2018 is in the books. It’s cliché really, but wow did it absolutely fly by. At this time of the year, I always find myself reflecting on the past season and it seems like just yesterday that I was looking forward to scaling up a tree for the first time. With that said, I always like to take time to review the previous season shortly after it concludes before taking some time off. That way everything is still pretty recent and fresh in your mind. When reviewing the last season, I find it helpful to go through and ask myself a number of questions so that I improve as a hunter next year. Here’s what I would recommend asking yourself these next few weeks.
It might seem obvious, but the first thing I like to go over is what worked this year. Did you accomplish goals you set before the season? Did you see more success during a specific time of year, like during the rut or late season? Whatever worked for you this year is important when looking towards next year, because it gives you a good foundation to build upon.
What Didn’t Work?
Just as you want to establish what worked, it’s also important to self-analyze and understand what you didn’t do particularly well. I almost find this to be more important than figuring out what worked. Knowing the positives is easy, but it can be a little more difficult to fully admit what you need to work on and where you messed up this season. Some things might have been out of your control, but others you might be able to change going into next year. You might have to ask yourself some tough questions, but if you can identify those things that didn’t work out this year, you have a place to begin for this next question.
What Can You Improve?
Once you identify what didn’t work, it’s time to ask yourself what you can improve upon. For example, you might realize all day sits didn’t work well for you this past year during the rut. The next question should be, how can I change that? Were you sitting in a spot that encouraged mid-day movement? If not, can you improve by additional scouting this year, and finding better travel corridors between bedding areas? Did you miss a deer this year because you rushed the shot? If that’s the case, how can you make sure it won’t happen again? More practice? A better shot routine? I think you get the point. Almost every question leads to another when it comes to figuring out how you can improve. How you go about making those improvements for next year will largely depend on what questions you come up with to ask yourself.
Are There New Things You Should Try?
As I am asking myself all about the season that just wrapped up and figuring out how to make improvements for next year, another question comes up: What new things can I try next season? Every year, I am trying to evolve as a deer hunter, and if you want to evolve as well, trying something new might be part of that. Not everything will work, but through trial and error, you may uncover something that will help you become an improved hunter next year.
An example for me personally relates to still hunting, and hunting from the ground in general. After last year, I identified that I wanted to become a more mobile hunter. And now after this season, that’s evolved into wanting to hunt from the ground more often. After hunting with The Hunting Public this fall, I got a taste of it first hand. Before then, I had never really put the tactic to use. I think when done right it can open a lot of doors with hunting mature bucks, and I definitely want to employ the tactic more moving forward.
Whether you had a successful season or not, there is always room for improvement when it comes to deer hunting. Anyone that tells you they have don’t need to evolve as a deer hunter probably doesn’t actually have much figured out themselves. In order to continually improve and grow as a deer hunter, I find it extremely important to review and reflect on the past season. You never know what you can uncover through self-reflection. Who knows? It might be something small that leads to a big moment in 2019.