Thursday morning, nothing. Another long, tedious Thursday afternoon, and more nothing. A rather prolonged Friday morning set, nothing.
And so it went for seventeen mornings and seventeen afternoons, in game rich wildlife grounds, with the right wind, a great time of year, the ultimate ambush setup, and with the gungho stealth predator mindset in full on kill mode.
But when the critters don’t want to cooperate, even the ol WhackMaster is helpless to manipulate the un-manipulatable. And I am here to tell you, after a while the fun factor becomes but a distant memory and the abject frustration palpable and painful.
Now mind you, I enjoy the hunt as much and probably more than anybody, but as the horny vultures do say; “patience my ass, I wanna kill something!”
Do not think for a minute that just because you see us killing critters on every episode of our Spirit of the Wild TV show on Outdoor Channel, that sure-kills are standard operating procedure.
Quite to the contrary, I hunt over 300 days a year, but we only produce 26 hunting shows a year, which provides wide margin for the inevitable unavoidable days afield where we get skunked just like all hunters do.
That’s why we call it hunting and not just killing.
I often hear how my fellow hunters wait for the ultimate moon phase so as to optimize their chances for game encounters. And that’s all fine and dandy, but I can’t sit at home any morning or afternoon during the fall and winter hunting seasons just because the solunar tables are not quite aligning perfectly for predictable game movement.
I just wanna go hunting, and come hell or high water, that is exactly what I must do no matter what game activity charts may or may not predict.
Plus there is another little scientific reality I must contend with, one that Mrs. Nugent identified long ago. She is convinced, and science verifies, that I give off a wide reaching, animal scaring death alarm everywhere I go.
It has been proven for many years that some people give off more of an electromagnetic field than other people, and critters pick up on this pulse and avoid it like a cosmic pulsating deathwish.
It is amazing that I will sit patiently day after day as stealthily as I can, and not see a deer to save my life.
Then Shemane will agree to hunt, and on our very first afternoon, she with her bow, me manning the vidcam, and sure as can be, we are surrounded by animals.
Critters are simply not alarmed by her, and as long as I have a harmless camera in my hands, the critters appear to understand.
I believe her calm demeanor projects no dangerous signals, and my mindset is not deadly at all since I am not thinking about killing anything.
Do not underestimate the power of mind over matter. That sixth sense that prey animals have is alive and well, and it keeps them alive and well.
As always, I kept at it, and experienced many more no-kill days. But eventually I got my opportunity and brought home the bacon, always thrilled everytime things work out.
We should never give up, and I believe, never pass up an opportunity to get out there to match wits with the animals that so turn us on. Even skunked days provide spirit charging experiences and valuable lessons learned.
Like a good US Marine Corp warrior, hunting is all about improvising, adapting and overcoming.
Hunt hard, hunt smart, hunt often and hunt patiently. I am a firm believer that the more time we can be out there, the better we are tuned into the wild, her critters and our predator relationship with nature itself.
The straps will come, but are more exciting, rewarding and delicious based on the dues that we pay and the investment in time and dedication we are willing to make for our beloved sport and conservation dreams.