When whitetail season gets tough, here’s what to do to finish strong!
You may be two weeks, or two months into whitetail season, but at some point
many of us feel the effects of “the grind.” This is when things get tough, deer are hard to find, and challenges have piled up making it difficult to keep hitting the woods. To put it mildly, your favorite pastime has turned into a mental and physical marathon. So what can you do to persevere, keep hitting the woods, and beat the challenge of “the grind?” Here are some tips to help you push through the wall and reach the finish line strong!
GRINDING IT OUT:
1. Have a support group. Don’t buy into the “everyone else has shot a big one” lie that is perpetuated on social media. Have other hunters you can talk to to help keep the juices flowing and enthusiasm high. Just don’t let it turn into a pity party that will allow you to accept defeat. The grind is a mental game, so stand guard and don’t let those negative thoughts creep in that will quickly wear you down and make the grind that much tougher.
2. Remember the basics. Don’t start questioning everything. If you know the basics of where and when to hunt, remain confident. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t possibly change things up in your approach or location, but remain confident in what you know works. When you start second guessing everything you’re losing the mental game, which as I said is key to enduring the grind.
3. Give yourself a pep talk. Remember that you’ve had tough seasons before, and that you can still find success if you stay persistent with what you know works. If that doesn’t work (or you haven’t had success during the grind) read articles or listen to podcasts about other hunters doing exactly what you are trying to do who found success. This should lift your hopes and give you enough motivation to keep at it and grinding until you have a success story to share (which will make it all the sweeter)!
4. Change it up. Are you in a rut? Have you gotten stuck doing too much of the same thing? Changing locations, approaches, gear, etc. can inject some hope into your hunting season and be just the trick to keep you moving forward with a positive attitude. It could also be just the change needed to make something happen. But beware, these should be smart changes, not just guesses (READ the HOTSPOT Continuum to learn about choosing highly productive spots) or stabs in the dark. It just takes one action to get a different result, so think about what you can do differently to make the grind a little less grinding and hopefully a lot more rewarding.
5. Coffee! Need I say more? Ok, sometimes getting up at 4 AM can wear on the most grizzled hunter. A little caffeine might help get you over the hump those mornings where the bed seems to be calling louder than the woods.
6. Remember why you’re doing it. One way to fight the “call of the bed” on those early mornings is to recall why you are doing it. Pull up that trail cam picture of that big buck you’re chasing, think about all the hard work you’ve put in in the off season that you don’t want to throw away, or visualize what it will be like to be holding that buck at the end of the day. Focusing on this, not your current aches, pains, and what your sleep deprived brain is telling you should be enough to get you out that door and into the stand, which is the only place you can catch up to that buck!
7. Don’t be afraid to rest. That being said, we need to know our bodies, and know when we need to take the day off and sleep in. If you do, then use that time to re-evaluate your approach, do some scouting, or patch up your gear that has been neglected. Taking care of these things might be the shot in the arm you need to not only keep grinding, but get you over the hump and finally get a big buck in your sights!
What do you think? Put your tips on “grinding it out” in the comments below!
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