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What’s Your Definition of a Successful Hunt?

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June 17, 2016

By: Lora Varju, Bowtech Pro Staff ~

What is success? Webster defines success as: the correct or desired result of an attempt.  By definition that’s pretty broad. As hunters, our definitions will likely vary.  It may be filling a tag, or finally drawing a tag that produces a once in a lifetime hunting opportunity,  a physical obstacle overcome, or simply personal growth.

Here’s a little background about myself.  I did not grow up hunting.  My dad took my brother and I on hikes and repelling trips when we were kids.  He served in the Marines and always had firearms with him, but it wasn’t until I was 18 that I picked up a gun for the first time. I immediately fell in love! My desire to hunt came after I shot targets for a few years. In my mid-20’s I took hunter’s safety, and I held my first deer tag at the age of 25.  I finally felt like I had found what I had been called to do my whole life.  Now that you have my back ground, here is how I define success.

In the words of Fred Bear, “A downed animal is most certainly the object of a hunting trip, but it becomes an anticlimax when compared to the many other pleasures of the hunt.” This, this is how I see a successful hunt.  Of course we all desire to fill our tag at the end of the day, but for me it’s so much more than that.  For me success comes in growing in my skills, overcoming obstacles, or sharing in the recovery of a buddy’s trophy.  It’s about so much more than punching my tag. When I sit back and relive memories from the past season I ask myself, “What is my perspective?” Am I disappointed that I am eating tag soup again? Sure, of course. Discouraged? Never. When looking back at the year, I take a look at the overall journey.  I measure my success through my accomplishments and personal growth. Success is adding more poundage to my bow, building my accuracy at longer ranges, or overcoming an obstacle such as a fear or physical limitation.

2015 was filled with successes.  Never in a million years would I have thought I would be capable of packing in an extremely heavy pack, 13 plus miles, let alone spending a week in the wilderness chasing elk at extreme elevation changes.  Of course I had dreamed of such an adventure and spending that time with friends and my other half/best friend.  I pushed my body to limits I had never pushed to before.  This trip forced me to face fears and find a strength I didn’t think I had.  When I picked up a bow for the first time 2 years ago I was barely drawing 30 pounds. To legally hunt elk in Oregon I had to draw at least 50 lbs. Being 5’1 and a 115 pounds this was a challenge. I accepted that challenge and proved to myself that no matter the dream or goal, if I truly put my mind to it, it can be achieved.  In 2015 I got an opportunity at a beautiful coastal Roosevelt bull elk.  Just like with all bowhunting, several factors have to be just right for the shot to happen.  I got close enough for a shot, drawing on the bull twice, but unfortunately the wind was not in our favor.  The outcome was not what I hoped for, but a success nonetheless, tag soup and all.

I believe the definition of success exists in the mind and heart of the individual.  Success is based on our own personal perceptions, not on the perceptions of others.  Own your success through your dreams and the goals you set for yourself. When and how you reach them belongs to you.

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