Can’t Let A Miss Get In Your Head

|   Category: Bowhunting Written by:

“Dad, I missed!”
 
I swallowed hard and nodded.
 
“Shhhh… it might come back, it can’t smell us and just walked away. Be patient, we might get lucky.”
 
Missing a deer
 
The cold snow pelting my face wasn’t the only thing I was feeling at that moment. This was the second deer my son had missed this season. This was unfortunate on several levels. My stomach was in knots.
 
“What did I do wrong?”
 
“Shhhhh…”
 
“Dad, how much are Elite bows?”
 
“Shhhhh…”
 
Yes, I wanted him to be quiet but I had to think about what he needed me to say at this crucial moment.
 

A Traditional Challenge

Traditional archery has to be one of the most challenging forms of bowhunting. My son knows this. I’ve watched him practice for hours every day. At 15-yards he can easily put three arrows in an apple sized target. I have no doubt about his proficiency.
 
Both misses have been identical. The shot windage is perfect, but in both cases he has shot a couple inches over the back of the deer. Whether it’s the angle of the shot when shooting from a treestand or his adrenaline is getting the best of him, one thing was for sure, this was not an issue of “What did I do wrong,” this is an issue of him making a course correction and continuing to focus on what he knows to do right.
 
After packing up our gear, we walked in the darkness together. Neither one of us said anything. As we neared the truck I turned to my son and placed my hand on his shoulder.
 
“Can you consistently hit the target at 20-yards?”
 
“But Dad, I missed!”
 
“Can you consistently hit the target at 20-yards?”
 
“Yes, but…”
 
“Are you a good shot?”
 
“Dad,…“
 
“Are you a good shot?”
 
“Well, I…”
 
“Son, in life you have to keep on believing and live on what you know to be the truth! Learn from your mistakes and move on. You can’t let a miss get in your head and keep you from being your absolute best. At one time or another everyone misses. You have to keep your focus and believe next time will be the moment. Understand?”
 
I watched the silhouette of his head move up and down, affirming he understood.
 

Keep Believing

My number one goal this year was to help my son harvest a deer with his recurve. The last thing I want is for him to get so discouraged he quits altogether. The challenge of the recurve is his choice and it’s my job to do whatever I can to keep him encouraged as he pursues the goal.
 
As a father, I recognize these moments go deeper than hunting or killing an animal. They are life lessons we take with us. My son needs to learn how to press on in spite of life’s misses. Berating him would have only led to frustration and frustration has never helped anyone solve a single problem.
 
It’s very likely there are some adults who missed this season. I‘d like to say the same words to you that I said to my son, “…in life you have to keep on believing and live on what you know to be the truth!! Learn from your mistakes and move on. You can’t let a miss get in your head and keep you from being your absolute best. At one time or another everyone misses. You have to keep your focus and believe next time will be the moment. Understand?”
 
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. – Galatians 6:9

About the author

Christ follower, husband, father and founder of 365 Whitetail. Randy is the former Online Editorial Director for Petersen's Bowhunting, Petersen's Hunting, North American Whitetailand Bowhunter Magazine. His passions include fly fishing, photography and exploring wild places.

View all articles by Randy Hynes