It’s hard to believe that even now bow hunters must begin thinking about the upcoming season. Not only do trail cameras need to be set up but, more importantly, we need to be honing our shot-making skills. And since I’m not one who shoots all year long, I am even more concerned about beginning this process. In bow hunting, the margin of error is extremely narrow, so for the benefit of everything involved, it is crucial that a well-placed shot be made. But there is also more that magnifies this need. For me, I will make another trip to Pike County, Illinois and will also make my annual trip to Missouri. I do not take either of these trips for granted. They both are home to some bruiser bucks that most of us rarely get to see, much less have an opportunity to harvest. To be unprepared for these opportunities would really demean and trivialize these rare occasions. For me, these trips are the highlight of my hunting season and the last word that needs to categorize these few days is “regret.”
When I think about this whole scenario, it really does fit into the way much of life works. If you notice, most of the time, the greater the opportunity and the greater the skill level; the longer the preparation. For instance, a heart surgeon must go to school longer than a mechanic. The importance of the heart surgeon getting her job right carries more weight than does the mechanic. If my mechanic makes a mistake, I am stranded. If the cardiologist makes a mistake, I’m dead. And while both use their hands and some very intricate tools, one must prepare longer because of the limited opportunity and the price of failure. Again, I may bring my truck back to my mechanic for a second time in order to get it right but I may not have the opportunity for a second visit to my heart doctor. Now back to my deer hunt.
I rarely have an opportunity to hunt big bucks in places like Pike County, Illinois. I may never get the opportunity to go back. So therefore, I need to make sure that, should I get the chance to shoot one of those Pope and Young bucks, I am confident in my skills to place a good and effective shot. And while this is my desire every year and while I practice for this same purpose every year; the cost of getting it wrong when so much is on the line, drives me to begin even sooner. If you are a bow hunter, you know what I am talking about. But here’s the clincher. The greatest decision in anyone’s life, and the one that carries the most weight, is what decision you will make about eternity. To wait any longer to make this decision is to not understand its gravity. And to remain unprepared for it is to demean and trivialize the exceptional opportunity.