How Do You Measure Success?



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As long as I am seeing critters no matter what species I am hunting, though with deer it is nice to have a shooter buck in sight every once in awhile! Though the best hunts in recent memory are those where my kids have been sussecessful. If I get a shot great, if not there is always next time.
At this stage in the game for me I just want to get the population in check. I've got a potential booner and some nice bucks on my property this year. Which I no doubt wanna connect. But my number one goal is stabilizing the population.
I look at it like this, I have killed enough deer in my life that it isn't about me anymore and I don't want it to be about me. I consider last season to be one of my most "successful" seasons to date and I only saw one tiny yearling while doing a deer drive on the last Saturday of the season with a group of buddies. The reason I found it to be such a success was that earlier in the week I was hunting with my dad and uncle on a small tract of MFL land and on consecutive days I managed to chase a shooter buck by each of them from that small 80 acre piece of land. They both got shots and missed however, but it was the thought of them having the opportunity at harvesting a nice deer that really made it a "success" for me. Given that I don't expect to be hunting with either of them for many more years, it was a success for me to see them tell the story of how the buck came in and the chance they had, even though they missed the shot. I fully expect this to be the last season I pursue whitetails in WI with my dad, being he has moved to WY(he bought his tag before he moved and is planning on coming back in Nov.) and my uncle has had health issues for a while now and he most likely will hang up his rifle in the near future as well, especially since my dad won't be around to hunt with him either. My success is measured in how much fun and success others in our group have, and it has been for a while now. If I get lucky, then so be it, but that isn't what it is about for me anymore. My most successful season was when my daughter harvested her second deer, the reason it stands out more than her first deer is that it was harvested off my dad's old property and she had dad and grandpa within earshot when she shot and then hollered "Hey you guys, I got one all by myself and it's laying right here in the rye plot!" That is true success in my eyes. I wish everyone many "successful" seasons to come.
I've learned that even in failures I have success if I learn from it. So I don't really have a set goal for success that has to be met when I'm out hunting. If the habitat is improving and the plant and animal diversity is going up then I'm happy. But with all that said I sure wouldn't mind if a big one stepped out and I shot it :D
That's a great ? MO, and one I've thought about off and on now for the past hour. The most honest answer I can give is that it varies wildly, depending on the situation. When I take one of my children hunting, it's always been, just give me one of those "WOW, dad, that was so _____ (insert one of many good adjectives) when..." moments. When helping clients, it's really all about what makes them happy. That may sound cheesy, but isn't making clients happy what's important to any business? Sure, money is as well, but if clients aren't happy the money eventually stops. some are all about the kill and sooooo grateful when I put them on a buck they want and they kill it. You'd swear you just did something on the level of saving one of their loved one's lives, when all you did was get lucky enough for your intel to lead you the right way and the buck to cooperate. Other times they are happy just to see more deer than they did before they hired me, and the rest is just a bonus.

For my own hunting, it also varies wildly, depending on the situation. seeing a buck I was worried was dead can be a huge success. The days I've arrowed 3-5 does in a single sit (on disgustingly overpopulated grounds), finding them all was a big success. When hunting with friends, getting them to come back all shaky is a success no matter what I did. I kind of hate to admit it, but there are also times on the other end of the spectrum that if I don't kill the buck I'm after that sit, it takes something else pretty darn special happening to consider the sit a success. That's not a good thing, but it's an honest answer.

How I kill deer even plays into this. Last season I killed a 6.5 yr old buck that I'd tracked for 3 seasons. He was the first really good buck I'd actually seen on the property (both in pics and while out scouting) and, as cheesy as it sounds, was my security blanket. He wasn't overly predictable, but I could count on him being there through the horrific drought and 2 runs of EHD/BT. He gift wrapped himself for me to the point that I told my buddy he needed to hurry up and get ready, that I was killing that buck that day (I've never said something like that before).

That sit was a horrific disaster that would embarrass most first time hunters. I did everything in my power to mess it up, with one stupid thing after another, along with 2 groups of turkeys and a bobcat also doing their best to mess it up for me. I had 3 legit chances to kill him, spooking the doe he was with twice (not turning her inside out, just making her nervous enough to alter course) before finally spine shooting him, climbing down, sending an arrow through his heart at point blank range and then talking to him as he died. I couldn't consider it a "successful" hunt. I felt like an a$$hat. I had another like that, where I arrowed a buck text book quartering away (never shoot for the opposite leg. Instead, tuck it behind the last rib, through the liver, diaphragm and into 1 lung...MUCH more effective shot). I then chased him for 800ish yards, putting 2 more arrows into him before it was done. Hard to consider it a success after putting that buck through all that (his hide literally had a fine, dense, spider web of veins on it when I pulled the hide, from how hard I'd pushed him...never seen that before or since).

Extremely long way of saying, "success" to me is very situation specific. For the season, ultimately, if I can look back and say I had fun, nothing horrific happened and learned some things, it was a success.
The fact that I wake up in the morning next to a woman I love with 2 healthy boys just across the hall. Then to have the strength mentally and physically to venture out into the outdoors to play the ultimate chess game knowing that I am the most dominate predator in the woods is success.
Seeing my target animal and going undetected is just icing in the cake.
A successful season is having enough young venison in the freezer for many months.. I prefer that my daughters or wife kill the deer.

I like one shot kills and prefer the rifle over any weapon.

Any day in the woods is a success, but it is nice to see at last one deer once in awhile.
I don't hunt in an overpopulated area, never have. So to me simply putting myself in a position to harvest a deer, any deer, whether I decide to shoot or not is a success. Heck even if I miss it was a successful hunt because I put myself in the place to have that opportunity.

A successful season to me is harvesting one deer for the venison. Antlers are great but not necessary.
When helping clients, it's really all about what makes them happy. That may sound cheesy, but isn't making clients happy what's important to any business? Sure, money is as well, but if clients aren't happy the money eventually stops

Steve I have to really agree with this statement as well. I have sold millions of dollars worth of Herbicide and Seed to farmers over the years. But since selling food plot seed, my outlook in life has been changing from just making money too trying to help a guy that has never grown a seed in his life make something happen that he can enjoy all fall. The pictures and texts I get back have been pretty nice. Life is starting to not be about the cash anymore........It makes me happy if someone else can have a successful hunt with just helping them a little along they way!

Glad you wrote that. Every time I write something about a loyalty factor to clients/the responsibility I place on myself when they place their trust in me or how I need to do some things to help repay those that support me, I can almost feel people rolling their eyes, as I know it sounds cheesy on steroids. I think age and being finically stable (I'm no where near rich, but anyone that's ever seen me or me in a pic also realizes I don't exactly go hungry) helps a ton, but I do find more and more satisfaction in simply successfully helping others with each passing year. Unless one is independently wealthy, the $ is important to an extent. It just starts taking a backseat. That's been the case for me, at least.
At this stage in the game for me I just want to get the population in check. I've got a potential booner and some nice bucks on my property this year. Which I no doubt wanna connect. But my number one goal is stabilizing the population.

Dipper we got about two car loads (I was going to say m..... spreaders) full of DNR employees to send your way and help out with that problem. Many of us will help them pack.
Loyalty, whats that in today's society? Responsibility in this day and age is almost gone as well! But I really believe it is a key ingredient in business that people forget about, is why a lot of businesses fail, and fail fast!

I agree with everything in that post, but the portion above is a bottom of the ninth walk off homer, IMO. I just back spaced over a long rant on this. Instead, I'll just say I hear you loud and clear on that one.

Yes, it was my divorced mother of 2, way back when being divorced wasn't the least bit cool, who always worked 2, sometimes 3 and occasionally 4 jobs to support me and my brother (1 full time, the others part time), without ever getting a dime of child support and never applying for Gov assistance, yet somehow still made more time for my brother and I than any of my friends' parents, that literally drilled that and many other lessons into my head as a kid.

She never hit us and, being the oldest and being far less than a perfect kid, she was actually very easy on my younger brother, as it was me that always seemed to be in need of another of her "life lessons." When I'd mess up, she'd just lecture me every single second we were together for an honest 1-2 weeks straight. It drug on and on and on and on, until you thought it'd drive you insane, but that lady was a hell of a teacher, a great mother and still one of the strongest people I know. The funny part is that once I grew up and had kids of my own, she's told me several times that she was scared every minute raising us and that she believed she wasn't a very good parent. I never had a clue she was scared, and I wish I was 1/2 the parent she was, and I don't think I am/was too horribly bad at it. She was that good. So, yeah, she is responsible for any admirable traits I have...I'll take the blame for the bad ones myself.
This year? Group trigger control.

Any other year? Any one or combination of the following
*Being able to shoot a small deer with my camera instead of my rifle.
*Watching a deer or grouse feed on something I planted.
*A family member getting their first deer.
*Watching my brother dry heave while he's gutting a deer.
*Drama-free hunt.
*Decent weather and some deer sightings.

Ultimately? Being able to get a one adult doe so I can finally can some venison. I had a share of a small deer last year and did about 10 pints and it was delicious!
Agree with Steve, and had not really realized it. Success varies thru out the year. I also think age plays a very big role in how we all view success. I felt a lot of gratification this spring, to see what I thought was a good number of new fawns. Gotta believe stem count and food plots played a big role.
To me its just the enjoyment of the hunt.
Get up early, get in stand before light in the quietness of dark and see all of God's creations come to life! With the satisfaction of hunting my place that I worked hard for and all the work that I put into it so my family can enjoy.
This gives me great patients and its nice to get that big buck, but that is not the main factor in a successful hunt to me.
I love to shoot deer and that does drive me. However, the more improvements I make and the more deer that show up, I really hope for the older guys in our group to get a shot. They would rank near the bottom in any hunter rankings but are the greatest group of guys you could hope to hunt with. I am not even sure that some of them would even pull the trigger any more. I remember the first deer I shot with these guys. I called my father in law on the walkie talkie and told him I got one and where I was. Within30 minutes he showed up with the atv and a cooler of beer. Within 10 minutes of that the whole party showed up. They were so happy I got a deer they didn't even leave camp the rest of the weekend. That was ten years ago and some of those guys are nearing the end of their hunting days. Ten years later and none of them have shot another deer. My most successful hunt will be when someone else gets a deer and I bring the atv full of beer.
How do you guys view a successful Hunt? Do you have to pull the Trigger to make it Successful or not?

For me, I am happy just seeing some critters. How about you guys?

Mo, I feel the same as you. Seeing the deer and other critters using the place I've worked so hard to develop means much more than pulling the trigger. Its such a joy watching the sun come up over the horizon from a deer stand and seeing the dawn of another day - another unique day that will never be repeated in history. And there I am - a part of it all. What a great feeling it is!!!
Yep it depends.

Strictly habitat related it's housing something on the larger end of what my area is capable of. I've been working my piece of dirt for 7 years. The first year I bought the place we hunted and never saw a buck over 100 inches. 3 years later I killed a 140 incher and my Brother killed a 150. That was success then.

Today, if I can just house one mature shooter "for my area". I feel like its a success.

Someone has put one on the wall every year since the third year. That's a success for me even if I didn't squeeze the release or trigger.

My most favorite successes are youth hunts. My son and two other kids under 10 have taken their first deer on my dirt. That's cool for me!
Success to me is any day in the woods. I have really low deer densities so seeing deer in the habitat that I created make it that much better. Harvesting one for the freezer just puts icing on the cake. A wall hanger would be just out of this world.
Success varies depending on my expectation. Sometimes just seeing deer is a success - sometimes taking that particular deer you have worked for all year is. Sometimes just enjoying the outdoors is enough. Somedays I set out just to enjoy the day, some days I take my kids and just seeing deer to keep them entertained is all I ask for. Other time's I'm on a mission - and only a harvest will do. It's a mindset.