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Nose To The Wind

There are a myriad of concepts and lessons that I can talk about coming off of early archery elk hunting this season. It amazes me just how much I continue to learn every fall. This year my mind called back on a simple, yet crucial topic... The wind.

If you have been hunting for any amount of time, you know the importance of having your wind correct while making an advancement on wild game. It is one of the first concepts my father taught my brother and I at a very young age. Pinching a bit of dirt in his fingers or a palm full of side oats from the terrain, my dad would sprinkle them in the air and watch the direction the breeze would carry the remnants. "We want it in our face" he would say as he made adjustments to our stalk. Today, we have a bottle with some white powder in it and with a shake and a squeeze, we have the knowledge to make the best decisions. It is simple right? Know which way the wind is blowing, put your nose into and go, but it never is that easy.

There is one guarantee, the wind will change. The wind will change and you will have to change your position as well. That is only one thing to consider. Not to mention there might be other hunters going after that same bull/buck, the movement of the critter you're after could change, or the amount of cover you have while making a move. There is a lot to keep in mind, sometimes too much to keep us all patient enough to maintain a level head. our minds get consumed with what could be happening ahead of us that we forget what is happening where we stand. before we know it we forget the wind, it hits us in the back and the current hunt is over. Keeping your position within the wind has been a timeless lesson in my life and now an undeniable truth.

Letting go of what is out of our control

If you don't have the wind, you don't have a thing. You cannot control mother nature yet we try to mitigate the chances of getting detected from smell by spraying copious amounts of scent block on ourselves and equipment, but there isn't enough of it in the world that will make you undetected by game. The wind and wind alone is our only chance and that takes immense effort. We don't have control of the wind but we do have control of our position among the wind. Often times that means backtracking, taking extra steps, and more effort in general. It was not until this fall when I realized my myopic view of this concept as it relates to just hunting. We can learn a lot by the lessons we take from the woods and this one you could say hit me right on the nose. There is not a lot we can control in the woods. We cant control the wind, we cant control what other people do, we cant control the terrain, and we cant control the animals. The only thing that is in our grasp is how we react and adjust to what is happening around us.

It is a concept of our orientation in the world. I am guilty of dwelling over things to which I have no control over and have reacted in a negative way both in the woods and my everyday life. I have realized from some well-needed time chasing elk that I get consumed with these things and enter a losing battle with thoughts to no end due to the lack of control I have over them. My time is better off attended to how I react and adjust to the inevitable adversary coming my way. That is not meant to be cynical but realistic. This fall, after a few hardships while elk hunting, I made myself take a step back and let go of the things I could not control. Over time I came to have peace with the decisions we had made up to that point and felt the stress start to lift. The sunrises became brighter, The air became more crisp, and the bugles were louder and more exciting than ever. I had to change my orientation in the world and my mind in order to remove the clutter.

The bare minimum of doing things right

Checking, and moving right with the wind is the bare minimum of doing the right thing while making a stalk. If you do one thing and one thing only, put your nose to the wind. If you don't correct yourself with the wind you do yourself a huge injustice and your stalk will be over before you start. Give your quarry some respect and know, They will indeed smell you. There is no cutting corners to this concept.

Imagine if life was that black and white. We wouldn't have to worry about the person we hire for any job because it either gets done right or its not going to happen at all. I'm not going to contradict myself, I know its not in my control to have everyone subscribe to this idea of doing things right even if its the bare minimum but I can sure practice this in my own life. I know if I don't do things right that I make it harder on my self in the long run, wether that is work, or relationships with family and loved ones. If something, is in fact within your control, approach it right.

I have yet to figure it all out and I don't expect that will ever happen. The adversary and lessons that go with it will continue to come. I know one day I will leave this world just as naive to the these timeless lessons as I am now. Until then I will do my part to orient myself right among the chaos, attend to the things within my control, and always keep my nose to the wind.

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03 oct 2023

Randy is a Legend in the sport!

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