Season In Review
We often focus on the outcomes of the season versus what we learned along the way. I encourage you to look at both as we often learn more from our challenges and failures than from our successes.
I like to review my goals from last season and make a quick assessment as to whether I accomplished those goals. With that I ask myself three simple questions, what went well? what didn't go well? what do I want to change? Based on the answers to these three questions I craft my goals I will use going into next season.
After my goals are established, I like to make a quick review of my hunting journals from the previous season. I try to keep an active journal around all the hunting and scouting I do all year long. From these journals I look to form a list of items that I need to revisit in Spring scouting which can range from specific hunting sets to whole new areas that I noted along the way during the previous year.
We all have sits during the season that may have not played out the way we intended, but the encounter or the approach put us in the game and got us close. I like to use Spring scouting to revisit these locations and breakdown the "why" a deer may have behaved a specific way.
The goal for me is to "get inside" the deer's head to understand how they are using an area based on scent, sound, sight, and security. There is often a pattern deer follow in many of the areas you hunt. By physically going back to these locations you have hunted you can replay various scenarios and set-ups with the additional knowledge of knowing how the deer you encountered moved through the location.
This often leads me to identifying additional adjacent bedding, alternate food sources, other access trails, or leaning more about how the wind and thermals work specific to that location. I want to emphasize it’s not just about a "spot" you hunt. It’s about the "why", the "how", and the "what" as it pertains to the deer's use of the area that will make you successful. Doing this for multiple locations can allow you to draw parallels and similar patterns between hunting locations.
Then when going to a new area your mind will go right to the learnings you gained from previous locations and hunts, and you will find yourself being more confident in knowing how you need to set-up and hunt.
As each season passes hopefully you can continue to grow as a hunter and a person while enjoying the great gift the outdoors has to offer..