Getting Through The Grind of Deer Season

By Chris Larsen

I know what you’re thinking… grind? What do you mean grind? I love hunting. I live to hunt. There is nothing else I would rather do. Most hunters feel the same way. But after several days of seeing nothing we start to get frustrated. Getting up early, driving to our favorite honey holes, and dining on the best a gas station has to offer takes it’s toll after time. The mental component of hunting is by far the most taxing. Staying focused is difficult when you’re tired and frustrated. Mid-season is usually the toughest. Weather hasn’t turned yet and deer have figured out hunter pressure. Here are my four tips for beating the grind.

Sleep In
Most hunters dream of being able to hunt whenever we want. But with family & work obligations hunting time is at a premium. Many would never think about sleeping in on a hunting day because it would mean losing hours in the field. But days and weeks of getting up very early will wear you down. Yes, early morning and evening hours are peak hunting times. However, a fair amount of game is taken during the day as well, especially on public land. As hunters head out for lunch or sneak in to the woods for an evening sit, they can push deer right to you.

Do Something Else
If hunting time is a valuable commodity, bank it during the mid-season lull. Save your vacation time for peak rutting periods. If the weather is warm, skip the stand and take the kids somewhere fun or spend some time with your wife. Is your honey-do list complete? Fix things around the house when the deer aren’t moving so you’re not stuck at home when bucks are cruising. Building up a few brownie points is never a bad thing.

New Places
OK, so maybe you’re a total hunting junkie that just can’t miss a minute in the stand even if you haven’t seen a deer in weeks. One of the best ways to break out of a cold streak is to hunt somewhere you’ve never hunted before. Whether it be a new stand on your property, a fresh piece of public ground, or a friend’s place, hunt somewhere new. Even if the hunt doesn’t produce any action at least you’ll be in different surroundings. One of my favorite hunts took place a few years ago. My aunt invited me to hunt on her property. She wanted me to “get rid of the turkeys” on her back 80. I never saw a turkey in the weekend I hunted the place but it was gorgeous & quiet. I camped out and never saw another human.

A great way to invigorate yourself during a tough season is to hang out with other hunters. If they are having a tough season too, you can relate. If they are enjoying a great season, live vicariously through them. Offer to film their next hunt. I’ve found it just as rewarding to hold a video camera during a hunt as it is to carry a gun. Filming is also a great way to learn. You might see techniques you’ve never thought of. It’s also a good way to discover mistakes. You may not realize how noisy you are until you see someone else doing the same thing.

Trying different things and getting some rest will help get you through the toughest parts of the season. Staying sharp mentally is vital for success in anything. A tired, frustrated, and doubtful hunter is usually an unsuccessful one.