“No one cares, work harder.”
“No pain, no gain.”
There are many ways to keep yourself going on a difficult hunt. Sometimes get-tough mantras work, other times you’ll need to build yourself up. The biggest factor to success comes down to hunting longer. As a result, having a variety of ways to motivate yourself will lead to filling more game bags, truck beds and freezers.
Break it Down
A hunt can feel overwhelming after the first night. The realization that you’ll have to last a whole week on freeze-dried food and chipmunk will leave many hunters wishing they were back home. A bad attitude on Day One can spiral into fixating on the negatives for the entire trip. Instead, try breaking tasks down into small, manageable steps.
Personally, I tell myself I can go home at any time. This allows me to focus on each day independently. Instead of sinking under the thought of hunting three, seven or 12 more days, I’m focused on the present moment.
Lastly, wait until after eating dinner and warming up to decide whether you really want to call it quits. Take it one step at a time and a demanding hunt will no longer seem so intimidating.
Dangle a Carrot
Little rewards and accomplishments go a long way during a tough week. Check the weather beforehand. Knowing that you’ve made it past the coldest night can provide a much-needed boost in morale. I like to plan a better meal one day or look forward to taking a warm shower on another.
You’ll need to get your mind off the hunt at some point. I approached my last trip as a workday. I would hunt from sun up to sun down then turn my focus to other hobbies in the evenings.
Good books and podcasts can generate positive thoughts and make a hunt feel less isolated. A sports documentary like ”The Last Dance” might convince you to push through and shoot a grouse on day six. Personally, I avoid hunting podcasts. I try to not overthink what I’m doing while in the woods, but a good hunting story might remind you that success exists. Everyone craves different comforts while in the woods. Find what works best for you.
Learn to Love It
On past hunts I would get stressed when I couldn’t find animals or had to spend time relocating. Remember, even when struggling to find game, you’re still learning and growing. Success will come. You have found approaches that do not work. You now know spots that do not have trophies and can cross them off the list. The next time you’re browsing onX, you will move on instead of fantasizing about how good the hunting looks behind Kmart.
Remi Warren calls it “embracing the suck,” and other guys have different names for it as well. Try to enjoy sleeping under the stars, visiting new areas, and driving backroads. Even hiking is considered an enjoyable activity by some outdoor enthusiasts. Once you start to look forward to the boring parts, trips become easy.
Remember: treat yourself when needed and take it one day at a time. Present failures will contribute to future successes.
Good luck out there,