Deer Hunting for the Average Man | Why having ‘tag soup’ at the end of the hunting season isn’t bad
Another season has come and gone for most deer hunters across North America. For some, it was a season of success and bragging. But for many, it was a year of frustration and what seems to be failure. Like many deer seasons, 2014 was a year of up and downs, and for those who failed to tag their deer, it may not be that bad after all.
For as long as we can remember, success in the field is marked by harvesting a deer. Whether it’s a doe or buck, the fact is that there is something about saying you got one that makes everything about the season seem better. At the end of the year, if you have a tag burning a hole in your pocket, you may think that you failed as a hunter. There’s no lying here, in some cases you have! But what you have to think about is the positives that come about from not harvesting a deer.
First, you were able to hunt longer than many others! That may seem dumb, but there are a lot of hunters that have the “love/hate” feeling when they tag a deer. They are happy that they were able to harvest a deer, but sad that the end of their season just drew a little closer. You also likely learned a lot, and will in turn, be a better hunter next year. Whether it was a miss or spooking one, or simply that you failed to get on the deer, having not harvested one this year will make you more aware and more determined next season. The odds of “success” are greater at that point.
Maybe you ate your tag because you were holding out for that one, giant buck. There is no shame in that. Far too often we shoot a buck to shoot a buck. Not for meat or management or self-satisfaction, but to just do it. Many of those bucks you passed this year will be a year older and a year bigger next season.
If you are a parent, maybe your tag was not filled but your child’s was! In that case, there is no need for anything here to tell you why you should be happy. That child (and you) will have those memories for a lifetime, which lasts longer then the venison in the freezer.
For many of us, we live for deer season. Our lives and minds revolve around it for 6 or more months a year. The end of the season is disappointing, but it is also a time of reflection. Every season spent in God’s creation is a blessing, and every moment is a learning experience. We become better hunters, stewards of the land, and overall people by completing a season. Passing on our experience, both successes and failures, to the next generation. Always striving for better, but satisfied with how we did. That is what the end of deer season is all about. Starting tomorrow, the preparation and planning for next year begins.