A Filled Tag VS Eating one.....

Discussion in 'Iowa Whitetail Conference' started by Sligh1, Oct 29, 2018.

  1. Sligh1

    Sligh1 Administrator Staff Member

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    After 25 years of bowhunting, my perspective on hunting has changed drastically. I absolutely acknowledge I am far more likely to be able to shoot a deer than even 10 years ago. Part of that is the land I hunt but more of it is the experience I have in chasing the animal.
    I've gone into this year with an early filled bow tag. Rare & only done that a handful of years. Many years, including recent years, I've eaten at least SOME tags. Years before then, eaten MANY tags.

    Here's my thoughts or ramblings for tonight..... Before things really get good, with the next 3 weeks of amazing hunting upon us, think about this a little. Is your season a success only if you fill a tag? Of course not. Is your season a failure if you don't fill it? Of course not. Is it more fun to tag a buck that you know, 100%, is the beast you've wanted to get a crack at? ABSOLUTELY.

    With time- speaking to the younger folks here - those of you who "worry" or have "pressure" to fill a tag will go way down. With years. NOT due to your passion to hunt, but taking in the fact that the hunt is vastly more than just shooting a buck. It's the time off. It's the peace. It's a "VACATION" for many, including myself. It's seeing things you don't see 40+ weeks of the year. It's things you'll remember FOREVER. It's learning for seasons ahead. WORDS don't make the "inner-pressure" one might feel go away BUT, at least hear them.... Give it your best but realize, your enjoyment, time in woods, relaxing &/or hunting hard - is a huge part of the experience. Time spent with buddies. If your day comes this fall - AMAZING!!!!!! If it doesn't - there will be another season before you know it and your day will come. Heck, how many years a "buck slipped by".... I ate a tag & a year later I shot the same buck, but he was bigger - that's been an experience I've had many years.

    There's fundamentally nothing one could have told me when I was younger to chill out on the "inner pressure" to fill my tag. But, at the same time, I don't recall anyone really telling me that either. Relax. Enjoy. It's a wild ride & many many seasons ahead, some good, some more challenging. I will bet a nickle I will eat a tag sandwich this year. I've eaten several in one year in the past & looking back - that's ok & doesn't bother me a bit.

    I KNOW many on here will have dream seasons, shoot dandies, have a blast. I know some (Some of this is luck, roll of the dice & just the year you're dealt) - will have challenging years. Those same hunters could have 180 degree different experiences next season. ENJOY. RELAX. TAKE IT IN. These next few weeks are a rarity. I wish you all the best... happy, safe, fun, exciting & challenging hunting. Remember, all GOOD & GREAT THINGS ARE CHALLENGING!!!! Why we do this and why it's rewarding the times it does work out. Expectations: be prepared for challenges, frustrations, lots of hours/days in stand, ups & downs. Part of it. No matter what, I hope you have an awesome experience - tagged out or eating a tag. Good luck!

    What's your thoughts? :)
     
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  3. FFDewey

    FFDewey Member

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    Isn’t eating tag soup part of being a hunter? I feel that if you are the type to hunt for one specific buck then you should be prepared to eat a tag. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. If you are worried about it then shot the first thing that walks by. Nothing wrong with that either. But like you said just enjoy the experience, and learn a little every year.
    I sure have ate some tags. Looking back on them I probably learned more those years then I did when I filled them.
     
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  4. Kkoppy

    Kkoppy Active Member

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    Congrats again on filling your tag with a true iowa giant. And good read. Any more after 25 years of hunting it doesn’t bother me any more to eat tag soup. It used to be discouraging to not shoot something for the freezer. But any more I only want to shoot a mature buck, unless I have an antlerless tag. It’s just fun being out in the timber watching and waiting.
     
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  5. cybball

    cybball PMA Member

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    So very true. Funny, but this is my 25th year as well. I really enjoy getting out. Things seem to slow down and I can just think. I’ve had loads of tag soup, but don’t really mind that much anymore. Although it’s great getting a deer, it’s just nice being in a tree.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  6. flugge

    flugge Well-Known Member

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    I am in my 20th year of deer hunting, and have relied on "the chase". I have gotten pretty good at tag soup, and am completely fine with it. I was actually telling a coworker yesterday that after the wife tagged her deer, she was a bit sad (although her second biggest bow kill) but she was happy to have had the chance to hunt. I think some people put too much pressure on themselves, and social media doesnt help. A lot of people shame others for a "small" buck or a "young" buck..To each their own...I hunt one specific deer a year, its just a challenge I have enjoyed. Our properties are only getting better and allowing opportunities as we manage them...
     
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  7. Tmayer13

    Tmayer13 PMA Member

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    Skip great post!
    I feel so many different ways about this subject and mainly its because of how much I love hunting. Everything about it, the shed hunting, spring plots, spraying in the summer, hanging stands when its 1 billion degrees, getting those first velvet pics, sitting your first night in the stand for the year, taking my fiance to sit in a blind, seeing the first mature buck...I love to wake up at 4 in the morning and drive an hour + to my lease....i love hearing those foot steps in the timber and thinking "this could be him". I love filling my doe tags. I also enjoy passing deer to not end up even filling a buck tag....A few years ago I spent all year after one deer, had my chance, and failed....it was my fault i forgot my rangefinder and misjudged the distance. I was heart broken...felt like the season was a failure...and that is the last year I have chased "one" deer...I now hunt to shoot any mature deer and if that means i don fill a tag so be it..
    Hunting means more to me than killing....I have been doing this for over 27 years....I started with my dad at the age of 6!!!! This is more than killing to me....
     
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  8. Jmac0501

    Jmac0501 PMA Member

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    Good words Skip. My pressure to be successful has always been put on myself. I often describe myself as a jack of all trades, master of none. The reality is, I've been blessed with many different God given talents, and I want to honor those talents by being good at whatever I do.
    This year was one of my busiest on record. I didn't get cams hung until during youth season. My primary scouting was during youth season. My wife wants to bird hunt this year. I have a work trip during rut. It just all piled up this year. I decided early this year if I had a 3.5 year old deer present a shot, I was taking it. There will be lots of years left to chase specific giant. The time I get to spend in a tree stand with my boys, will be gone before I know it. The time getting to hunt pheasants behind a good bird dog, those are hard to beat.
    I've got another doe tag. Not sure if I'll buy a late MZ tag, but, I've had a great season so far, regardless of how one measures success.
     
  9. supserdave

    supserdave PMA Member

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    Great post guys. I've dedicated my season to one deer and I'm fine with tag soup. I actually have several recipes for it, lol.
     
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  10. Daver

    Daver PMA Member

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    Wise words. ^^ Many good thoughts in this thread...sometimes we all need a reminder that we hunt for fun and enjoyment. I am old enough now that I can look back and laugh at myself for taking things too seriously at times. In the end, do what brings a smile to your face and if you are never able to smile...well then you just might be doing it wrong. I am hoping to have a big smile on my face here pretty soon! :)
     
  11. JNRBRONC

    JNRBRONC Moderator

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    Pretty much sums up the year I have been having with many family events and work demands on my time. I've had little "me" time but I guess it's not all about me. ;):D
     
  12. IowaBowHunter1983

    IowaBowHunter1983 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Lot of thought provoking stuff here.

    Internal pressure: Why do we do this to ourselves? Admittedly, I have felt that at times but have never really thought about why. When I was younger that pressure was far more intense. I vividly remember having feelings of guilt if I missed a day. Thankfully, I am way past that. As I sit here and think about the concept of internal pressure….. the source is just external noise. Call it whatever you want, ego, reputation, living up to some sort of “standard” that you may or may not have created for yourself based on past harvests or whatever. It is all really silly. Focusing internally is a much better place to be.

    Second thought: something that Steve Rinella (meateater) was talking about the other day was really interesting to think about. A lot of “hunting hard” is more fun in past tense than in the moment. Hanging 25’ in the air for 12 hours straight during the rut day after day can be drag. Sitting thru a monsoon to see the other side of a front with an hour of shooting light is miserable. Going out during late muzzloader in -15 degree weather to a ladderstand because that is the right spot can be agonizing. However, all these things, when you look back become very fond memories. In those moment in time, when they are happening, it is a grind. Being able to share these stories with buddies as you sit around a fire drinking a beer is the best.

    Third thought: What does success look like? This is a highly individual experience. Is success wrapping your tag around a target buck? Absolutely. Is success eating tag soup, but having a great experience and enjoying your time. Absolutely. A big part of success to me is seeing the fruits of my labor as far as holding deer. I LOVE habitat work. Taking a piece of dirt, shaping it, manipulating it, and seeing it completely transform in terms of quality to critters is a success to me. I have little doubt I will always be better at this than I am at hunting.

    Final thought: Enjoyment of this lifestyle and priorities change as we move thru life. If my kids are interested, I cannot wait to be able to take them out. I would absolutely be willing to put my own hunting aside to watch their success. At the end of the day, these will be the good memories, not whether I killed 6 great bucks instead of 12 in my life.
     
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  13. Daver

    Daver PMA Member

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    I totally agree, whether I shoot a nice buck or not, I get a big kick out of watching multitudes of deer where there were few before. I am definitely looking forward to shooting a nice buck in the next week or two, but if not, I have also already had a good season just watching the deer on the two sits that I have had. It will only get better from here! :)

    Also, as it relates to kids and hunting...just a FWIW, I am now old enough to look back and reflect on things somewhat as my 2 boys are now 23, soon to be 24, and 26. The oldest hunted with me all of the time when he was young and then fell back some while in college and so forth. Then, we would get together for just a day or two each season, as his life was quite busy at that time. I never pressured him, although I missed him being out there with me as often, and now, as his life is somewhat "settled"...he told me this summer that he wants to get back in to bow hunting together more this year. I did not turn him down and we are going next weekend. :)

    The youngest did not care too much for hunting when he was very young and I did not put a lot of pressure on him to go with me, etc. I did though tell the boys that they had to go with me once per season, just for father/son time. But the fire started burning hot for him when he was about 12 or 13...and it continues until this day. Neither boy was made to feel bad if they chose not to go hunting with dad on any given weekend and I think that was wise looking back. There are no hard feelings at all between us about being made to go, etc, or resentment from me if they chose not to go, etc. Just great memories of all of the times that we were able to go together. It's all good now and both boys are back pretty active...so life is good, even if I don't get a big buck.
     
  14. Obsessed

    Obsessed Active Member

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    I change from season to season. Some seasons I REALLY get bitten by the buck fever bug, and other seasons, I'm ambivalent about it. This season is an ambivalence year, so far, for me personally. I was excited at first, but work and personal life stresses have let some wind out of my sails. I have no desire to harvest any does this year, but will during shotgun season to fill freezers. I have no desire to harvest anything under a 150" class buck either, but that history tells me that really depends on the day, time, and specific moment. Sometimes I give em a pass and sometimes I put them down for a dirt nap. I sure do like seeing them though, even if they don't come into range, or I decide to give them a pass.

    Eating tag soup used to bother me when I was younger, but it doesn't as much now. Maybe it's an age thing, or maybe it's because I've harvested hundreds of deer over the years and know I have the ability to do it 'IF' the opportunity presents its self.
     
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  15. LYON

    LYON PMA Member

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    Good stuff fellas! Tag soup doesn't bug me one bit. Actually I've become quite fond of my ability to leave my bow on the hanger and not smack a marginal buck just because I think I need to put my tag on something. FYI, that's a nice sounding excuse for being a bad hunter...:D I tagged a bow buck in 2010, then not again until last year. I missed one or two opportunities in there, but that's okay. I've taken some flack for it from my wife about never killing anything. But I get it. In her mind, if I'm going to spend some time away from home and out hunting, I should at least have something to show for it, right? But that's the difference between someone who hunts because they love THE HUNT and someone who either doesn't hunt or just hunts to fill tags. I'm PERFECTLY content with not shooting anything. Do I want to? Absolutely. But if I don't, I'll be just fine. I honestly don't understand the pressure that some people seem to have about filling a tag with a buck. Even if it's not a buck that they really want to shoot, they still let it rip. Seems really odd to me.... I'm just ready to get some good sits in with a lot of action! We are getting so extremely close boys!
     
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  16. Bowfisher

    Bowfisher Member

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    Man this thread really brings up a lot of thoughts and experiences in my mind both good and bad after all the years I have hunted. Just not enough time to type it all.

    One thing I have learned from it all. Hunt for yourself, don't feel pressured you HAVE to shoot a certain deer or a deer that will score a certain size to impress others. Life is too short. Hunt for yourself, make yourself happy. Tag soup is part of the game sometimes. I have nothing to prove to anyone but ME! :)
     
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  17. loneranger

    loneranger Well-Known Member

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    I will put this out there and expect being shot, but I hunt number one for the meat. Don't like Tag soup..I need some protein. I eat almost exclusively Venison. On the other hand I like the challenge of taking an older animal. Never mind the horn. Some years after 80 hrs of sitting the best I see is a 3 yr old. I take now 1 doe. Not enough deer in my area for more than that. So I am a meat hunter discriminating just a bit. Some would say if hunting meat shoot anything,,yearlings,,2 yr olds. Well there aint much meat on them. Hard to pass on a 3 yr old in my area. Every year I vow to though.
     
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  18. meyeri

    meyeri PMA Member

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    Good thread. It's easy to get caught up in social media and the mindset that you're a bad hunter if you don't fill a tag on a booner every year. Every year I gotta tell myself, "slow down, enjoy the ride and soak in this grind that you love so much". In the end I inevitably end up ready to launch arrows at every squirrel that sounds like a deer and ticked when some rando doe blows at me.

    Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk
     
  19. Loomis13

    Loomis13 Member

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    I tend to agree with about everything that has been said. Sure I look forward to the moment of truth when the bow is hand and the heart is pumping, however that is such a small amount of time compared to the other memories that will be made. Those memories come from watching the deer in their natural habitat (one of my favorite things), our group of 4ish people who will constantly rib each other resulting in many laughs. Of course the memories from making a mistake, whether that be on a deer or forgetting something at the truck. Yet, perhaps the most valuable things taken away from each season are the lessons learned which help us grow as a hunter.

    Another wonderful month is upon us in the whitetail woods and I hope everyone enjoys there time in the stand, their harvest, and their tag soup. Clean kills everyone.
     
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  20. Gundog

    Gundog PMA Member

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    Year 23 with a bow for me but 27 chasing deer (first 4 were rifle in Nebraska). Hunting to me is exactly about that "the hunt". Having an opportunity to kill is icing on the cake. I've enjoyed numerous ups and downs from the sport and I think that is what has always had me hooked. From seeing my largest buck arrowed, die within eyesight to unfortunately making a poor shot and losing an animal (absolutely made me sick). Each time out is a new adventure and rarely are any two days the same. I still hunt but not as much for myself as I did, as my boy is now 13 and absolutely loves it. Having an opportunity to share what my dad taught me with him is more rewarding than pulling the trigger or touching the release myself. Being able to pass on the legacy of hunting to my boy is what it's all about for me now.

    Now chasing pheasants with a good dog! That might be a different story, haha!

    Good topic and good luck to everyone.
     
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  21. jkratz5

    jkratz5 Super Moderator

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    I hunt hard and I hunt smart but at the end of the year if they dhave not have one on the ground I will still call it a success. Between hanging out with friends and family, seeing cool things in the woods, having a few close encounters, etc it is all worth it.

    Lots of people don’t get me at work and In social circles, they cannot believe that i take 2 weeks of vacation to sit in a tree, but I cannot imagine it any other way. It is my sanctuary and has been since the first time I sat in a homemade 2-man ladder with my dad when I was 12, didn’t see a thing but I was hooked. Yes it is Always a bonus to harvest a brute of course but just a bonus for sure, but the chase is what it is all about.

    The woods every year brings me closer to God, sitting on a ridge surrounded by His creation allows a lot of time to clear the mind and really think about life and what the year has brought.

    Enjoy your time out there, don’t pressure yourself into killing a deer, take each sit as a learning experience and apply it to the future.
     
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