Joy & Frustration – A Bowhunter’s Constant Companions

There are two seemingly constant companions of a bowhunter – joy and frustration.

Bowhunting is a crazy ride.  We spend hours upon hours thinking, analyzing, preparing, dreaming, practicing, scouting, and of course, hunting.  All of this time and effort will hopefully culminate in joy, but so often it also leads us to frustration.  I don’t know about you, but the frustrating moments keep me coming back just as much as the joyous moments.  I find the times of frustration make me hunger for success even deeper than the times of joy tend to do.  Sometimes it can feel like bowhunting is the ultimate challenge, and at times maybe even the impossible challenge.

Fellow bowhunter, Tom Ryle, recently put it this way… “It’s bittersweet but sometimes it’s good to be reminded that hunting is called ‘hunting’ for a reason – it can be difficult and challenge your every move. I’ve had a rough go over the past three days with only one spike buck called in. It’s been a ghost town in every one of my normal ‘hot spot’ areas.”

I read these thought from Tom right after getting home from one of those days that was filled with frustration, and ultimately joy.  The forecast for last Saturday looked great.  Friday night and Saturday morning were bringing the lowest temperatures of the year so far, the wind was right, and there was report of bucks up on their feet seeking after early does and claiming their territory.  Needless to say, expectations were high.

Long story short, I spent the first 11+ hours of Saturday in the stand without seeing one deer.  Nothing.  I found myself thinking, “How is it that on a seemingly perfect day, in a truly great spot, that I have not seen one thing?”  Getting 12 hours in on a tree stand hunt without one sighting is tough.  Heck, getting even 4 or 5 hours in can be tough.  I tweeted that day…

“Over 5 hours in and I haven’t seen a thing. All day sits are definitely a test of the will.”

A test of the will, indeed!  That day of hunting ended with a great encounter with an 8 point buck.  I drew on him 3 times, and had him within ranges of 40 to 0 yards, but I never could get an ethical shot angle on him.  It was one of those encounters that I will learn from, relive, and enjoy for quite a while.  The day ended in joy, but it was preceded by 11+ hours of frustration.

This is the life of the bowhunter, and I love it!

Check back on Thursday to see some of my favorite tips for making it through the challenge of all day, dark-to-dark treestand hunts.

The Author

Mark Huelsing is a regular guy with an irregular passion for bowhunting and the outdoors. Learn more about Sole Adventure or get in touch with Mark...

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  • Will Jenkins

    Good post Mark. After a few all day sits this year with limited sightings I was getting frustrated until Rudy and I encountered that nice 8 on Saturday evening!

  • Al Quackenbush

    I know these feelings all too well! I can only imagine the adrenaline fueled rush of having that big 8 right there, to have drawn on him 3 times and not have a shot. Heck, I’ll bet your mind tried to ‘create a shot scenario’ just so you could shoot. LOL! Great stuff to read, Mark. Best of luck the next time you go out!

  • Tom Ryle

    Mark, great post! Ironically, the bucks are running wild this week and I can’t hunt again until 11/17. I used to dread daylight to dark sits but the crazy thing is I can do it more easily from my Lone Wolf stand than a Double Bull blind. Less space is better for me to keep me focused. Good luck!!