Outdoors Column: Dedicated Hunters

When a person commits to doing something, they should put 100% effort into it to be successful. Nowhere is this more true than in hunting. If a person puts out minimal effort, the return will be minimal. Chances of success are proportionally improved with the effort put forth. There are times though, dedication borders on insanity.


Monday morning, the wind was blowing, and snow was coming down sideways. On days like this, it would be much easier to stay in a warm bed than to get up before dawn to go sit in a tree on a windy hillside. Though it would be easier, that is not what hunters do. Mathew got up, put on most of the clothes he owned, and made his way through the darkness to his tree stand. He lasted until 10:00 when he decided to take a break before he froze in place. By spending this much time in adverse weather conditions with minimal deer activity showed him that he could spend an entire day in a tree on a regular day. A normal early winter day with normal deer movement would be easy. Success is surely in the near future. He now knows he has the dedication it takes.


Several years ago, I had the opportunity to go on a goose hunt in Louisiana. Being a novice goose hunter, I went with a guide, Bart. I found out all about the dedication of goose hunters from Bart. We got up at 0’dark-thirty to hurricane force winds, driving rain, and lightning flashing across the sky every few seconds. Bart was not only ready to go; he was excited about it. He said this was great goose hunting weather. I see myself as a dedicated hunter, but this looked suicidal. We traveled across a rice field sticking out like lightning rods. To my surprise, we avoided drowning in the pouring ran and did not get struck by lightning. When the sun came up, the skies were loaded with ducks and geese. We had our limit within an hour. Bart’s dedication to his sport has made him successful at what he does.


Perhaps my most foolish proof of being a dedicated hunter, other than risking life and limb on the goose hunt, was going deer hunting, during shotgun season, when it was pouring down freezing rain. The temperature hovered around ten degrees above zero on opening day. Rain was freezing as soon as it touched any surface including the snow-covered ground. I was on stand for the first drive. Walking to my pre-determined spot was difficult. Standing still was even worse. My clothes rapidly became coated making me feel like the tin man when I tried to move. My shotgun became coated, to the point I wondered if it would function if I could see a deer. Our first drive of the day was also the last of the day. Nobody was dedicated enough to fight the ice all day. We figured the deer would still be there the next day because they did not want to go out in it any more than we did.


It is good to put in maximum effort is what you do, up to a certain point. Like has been said, “What does not kill you, will make you stronger.” Dedication should stop right before “oops.”