Looking Back at 2016: My Seasons in Review – Part 2: Massachusetts Shotgun Season

After coming up empty in North Carolina, I returned home for Thanksgiving.  After a break from the woods, I refocused myself on bringing home some meat to hold my growing family over until winter.

At this point, my wife was coming up on the end of her first trimester and I was feeling even more pressure to get it done.  I wasn’t sure how much time I’d have for hunting after the baby came – and I still don’t know.  I’m hopeful that by the time deer season rolls around, I won’t need to be home constantly to help shoulder the burden.  A pipe dream? Probably. But I can hope.

Read More »

What A Season: Lessons from Failure

My hunting for the year is pretty much over.

I got blanked in North Carolina the week before Thanksgiving.

I missed a deer in Massachusetts on a snowy Monday in December.

My plans to obtain a friend’s muzzleloader for the last three weeks of the season have fallen through.

I failed at every turn in deer season.

But I’ve learned so very much! That’s the best part: I don’t have meat in my freezer that I harvested myself, but I do have another season of memories and lessons learned.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be doing a series of posts on my post-mortem of my season.  A few quick hits until then.

  1. Trust your gut.  The morning I missed a deer, I just felt DIFFERENT.  It was 5:00 in the morning, but I was jazzed up without coffee.  Butterflies in my stomach and I felt honed in and focused.  I just had a feeling something was going to happen.  I was right.
  2. Practice. Practice. Practice.  I shot a lot this summer and was on a pie plate out to 50 yards with my 870 slug barrel with iron sights.  But I didn’t practice during pheasant season and never practiced under stress.  So when I saw the doe, I didn’t react calmly and let the adrenaline dump shake me up and ruin my focus.
  3. Do your research.  Did you know that during shotgun season in Massachusetts you can hunt with a muzzleloading rifle? No? Neither did I.  If I had been, I’d have been eating fresh venison backstraps.

I’m sure I’ll have a post between now and the holidays, but just in case: Merry Christmas! Happy Hannukah! Happy New Year!