To Shoot, Or Not To Shoot?

Al Cambronne thinks that, occasionally, it’s just not time to pull the trigger. And, some days, even dedicated deer hunters should just go fishing instead.

In a recent post, I talked about the importance of planning for a successful hunt and keeping a “blood bag” in your vehicle.

But there’s another kind of planning that’s important, too. Plan for contingencies, use your imagination and think carefully about when to not shoot.

I’m not talking about being certain of what’s beyond your target, and I’m not talking about looking twice to make sure a deer has antlers or doesn’t, depending on the type of tag you have. That goes without saying. But you should also ask yourself questions such as these:

  • Do I really want to drag a deer through that swamp I just waded through?
  • If I’m now a mile from my truck and 600 vertical feet lower, do I really want to shoot the buck that’s standing on the other side of that ravine?
  • If I do get a deer tonight, I’m going to be butchering it myself. If the temperature is rising, can I take tomorrow off work—even if it means missing that important sales meeting?
  • If it’s going to be warm the next few days, and if we’re waking the kids up early tomorrow morning so we can drive to Grandma’s for Thanksgiving weekend, then should I even be going hunting tonight?

When the hunter is ready, the deer will appear. But sometimes, it’s just not time.

Do you agree? Hit the forum link below and join the conversation.

Al Cambronne is co-author of “Gut It. Cu It. Cook It.: The Deer Hunter’s Guide to Processing and Preparing Venison.” His most recent book is “Deerland: America’s Hunt for Ecological Balance and the Essence of Wildness.” On Twitter: @AlCambronne.