We as hunters are professionals. Granted 99.9% of us don’t make a living at it but we portray the defining characteristics of professionalism every time we step into the field. I have talked about this in previous posts but I really cannot stress it enough.
As hunters we hold ourselves to a higher standard the second we take that weapon out of our truck. What we are holding at that moment is responsibility and because of this I hold my head high an am proud to call myself a hunter. That said, this is a good jumping off point for today’s discussion.
As we hunters we tell stories around the campfire about that big buck you saw last week or the monster your brother-in law’s friend shot. We write articles about strategy discussing everything from stand locations to food plots to scrape lines. We talk equipment; broad head penetration, IBO speed, scent control. But there is that one thing we do not talk about… the wounded deer, lost but not forgotten.
To me this is a tragedy. No not that someone shot a deer they could not find, it happens. An old timer once told me that if it hasn’t happened to you then you haven’t hunted long enough yet. The tragedy is that we don’t talk about it. Let’s face it, things don’t always go as planned. Sometimes our emotions get the better of us and we rush a shot. Sometimes blood trails dry up and the tracking becomes impossible. Maybe you got a little to excited and jumped the deer before he expired. Human’s make mistakes, it happens, it is unavoidable. The important thing is that we can learn from them and not make the same ones twice.
We need to promote healthy conversation about these instances. We can learn from each other and help each other by sharing our own mistakes. Every professional organization in North America has a publication specifically for talking about undesirable outcomes. These serve as teaching opportunities and help voice what they are holding onto and thinking about inside.
Trust me coming from a guy who has shot a deer and not been able to find it, there is no worse feeling. You run through the scenario over and over again asking yourself what went wrong. Many times you do this alone when what could really be helpful is talking things through with some fellow professionals, many of whom have been there before.
Let’s face it, nobody goes out into the woods intending to wound an animal so lets try to avoid all these negative connotations and make something good of a bad situation. All that anyone can ask is that you do the animal the courtesy of exhausting your search and giving it your best effort to track it. So I encourage everyone to talk about that wounded deer, share your story, you might be surprised at the response!
Cheers and Happy Hunting