“Sometimes you get em, sometimes you don’t”

Missing is a sore subject in my book. I hate missing a shot.

Every hunter misses. I guarantee if they tell you otherwise, they’re full of you know what. Missing is a huge part of the sport, and it’s by far probably the hardest thing to get over. I am not talking about a firearm malfunction miss, but the misses that just happen. The ones that baffle you. The worst thing you can do is let a miss affect the rest of your day, or worse, the rest of your season. 

Missing a shot hunting isn’t like when I played sports. If we lost the game, we lost together. Hunting can be very solitary. The hardest part for me when I am trying to shake off a miss is the fact that it was just me, and nobody else. When I pull the trigger and miss, it creates a sense of disappointment and utter failure. I have to remind myself: Hello! Human Nature 101 – nobody is perfect; it’s okay. 

I missed my first turkey. He was strutting, coming in quick and I was so excited. I was shaking. I was so sure of myself as I pulled the trigger; and I missed. As that tom flew off I felt defeated. 

If you know me, you know I’m my biggest critic. I was so upset, embarrassed, frustrated, and flat out mortified. I know I was wearing disappointment all over my face because my dad just looked at me, smiled, and threw out one of his classic sayings: “Sometimes you get em, sometimes you don’t.” To which, if he was lucky, there was a slight nod; more likely, an eye roll. After we got home later that day I played the scenario over and over in my mind, trying to figure out where I had gone wrong. It ate at me so much: Did I take the shot at the wrong time? Did I not wait for him to get close enough? Did I move? Should I have shot my gun more before the season had started? How could I have been so sure, only to miss? It was such a gut wrenching and, quite frankly, pointless process. Going over it again and again wasn’t going to turn back time so I could fix it. 

Less than 24 hours later, I ended up with my first turkey kill. That hunt is on my “top five of all time” list. Not because I bagged a turkey for the first time, but because I never could have imagined what it’s like to have 4 birds run into the shooting zone all at once. They came in forming a perfectly straight line, gobbling as loud and as often as they could. In that moment the miss from the day before disappeared and became completely irrelevant. Gone. Just like that. And it had been ALL I was thinking about since I’d pulled the trigger the day before. 

Don’t let your misses get in your head. Don’t let them consume you. There are so many unpredictable factors when you are in the woods, so many times where absolutely nothing goes according to plan.

More importantly: If you miss, don’t let that discourage you from getting back in the woods. You missed, so what?! Everyone does. Eventually your list of “once in a lifetime” experiences will outweigh everything else, including the misses. 

Just remind yourself that “sometimes you get em, and sometimes you don’t.” 

Spring 2005

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