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Embracing the Emotions of Bowhunting

From disappointment to jubilation, you're bound to experience it all.

Embracing the Emotions of Bowhunting

Kelsy Robbins took this tremendous, 170-class Saskatchewan buck on Dec. 2, the final day of the 2022 archery sxeason. Her success is one more reminder that in bowhunting, the biggest successes often occur unexpectedly after long stretches of failure.

Bowhunting is an extremely detail-oriented pursuit, and the stars really have to align to punch a tag and experience the thrill of victory.

Think about it; you need months of shooting practice and gear preparation before the season ever opens. Then, once it does, you need the right weather conditions and wind direction to finally hunt that spot you’ve been dreaming about. And after all that, you still need a wild animal to pass within mere steps of your perch, in defiance of its keen senses and innate survival instincts. Even then, the game is not over. In order to capitalize on your rare opportunity, you need your equipment, your body and your mind to all function flawlessly, delivering a broadhead-tipped arrow to the kill zone. Despite all the time and effort we invest in getting to the moment of truth, it is easy to mentally self-destruct — and most of us will from time to time!

I’ve been a bowhunter my entire life, and to me, other than family, nothing is more important. I think the best part is the emotions that bowhunting can make you feel. Think of the moment when your target animal passes by, and for one reason or another you don’t get a shot. Think of the sadness and disappointment you feel. Now think about how great it feels when you watch your arrow disappear in the perfect spot on an animal you’ve been dreaming about for a long time.

In both scenarios, your emotions are extreme. What makes these emotions in bowhunting so electrifying? Why are the lows so devastating? And why are the highs so euphoric? I say it is because in bowhunting, the odds are stacked against us — and we know it!

As bowhunters, we need to accept that we aren’t going to notch a tag every day we head afield. Or every month. Or even every year. We should never forget that those incredible days of success are a rarity, and those occasional mountaintop experiences are what make bowhunting so darn special.

In some ways, this column is a recap of the pep talk I gave my wife Kelsy while we were drinking coffee together on the final morning of hunting season last fall. We had both hunted hard all season and shot nothing. Physically and emotionally, we were battered, bruised and beaten.

At daybreak, we parted ways and went to two different stands. I sat that last day in one of my favorite spots on earth, waiting for a big whitetail buck. The weather was brutally cold, and although I had to suffer for it, I saw 10 different deer that day. However, the big fella never showed. On the walk back to the truck that night, emotionally crushed, my phone dinged and I received the accompanying photo from Kelsy. There’s just no way around it — bowhunting is AWESOME!

It had been three years since Kelsy shot a whitetail with a compound bow, and this amazing buck walked in at 3 p.m. on the last day of the season. She made a perfect shot at 20 yards with her Bowtech Solution, and she was over the moon! It is memorable moments such as this that drive us as bowhunters. They are the lights that guide us through the dark times, reminding us that no matter how deeply the odds may be stacked against us, something great could happen at any moment!

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