By Harrison Hoegh
2016 was the first season for the Iowa Slam blog and videos. Going into the season I was confident that I could get opportunities at all six animals in the slam and that I was prepared to make the shots. I did get opportunities, but due to bad luck, or needing to learn a few more lessons I was not perfect when it mattered. I ended 2016 having shot pheasants, ducks, a turkey, and a whitetail (doe). I missed opportunities on shooter bucks, and coyotes. I still have a great deal of confidence I will get that mature buck down next year as well as the rest of the team doing the same.
I shot a doe in mid-October and the rest of November and December I spent pursuing deer unsuccessfully. Many people don’t understand why someone would want to go sit out in a tree each weekend to return empty handed. I was watching Solo Hunter on youtube the other day and thought Boyd captured the concept well when he said, “it doesn’t matter what I carry to hunt, if I am in the woods I am a happy man, and I love it.” The way I see it missing a buck does not make watching a herd of does feed, or a family of raccoons climb a tree any less enjoyable. Last week, though I wasn’t seeing the buck I wanted to shoot while hunting, I still got a lot of enjoyment from hunting. I watched a coyote hunt and catch a squirrel and the first bobcat I have seen slink down a fallen tree.
Mishaps can get a hunter down, and out of the woods or they can get a hunter out there with a stronger drive. The ways that I failed this season make me believe I am doing a lot of things right, and so, these failures are more motivating than disabling. Though I am still kicking myself for dumb mistakes this season, I am excited to get back out hunting each day, and have taken every chance I can get. I was happy with what I learned about filming hunts, and the new strategies I developed for hunting. We will head into next season with more information on how and where to hunt than ever before. Also,in the next few months Stuart is going to put together our footage and I am excited to see how it turns out.
2017 should be an adventurous year with more species and locations to hunt, film, and write about. I am headed to New Zealand for the next six months to study abroad, hunt, and trap possums. My next blog post will be from New Zealand and will focus on the slam Max and I will attempt in New Zealand. Stuart and Jared will wrap up their deer and coyote seasons in Iowa in the next few weeks. Stay tuned for tips on scouting this off-season as well turkey hunting in Iowa, mule deer and elk hunting next year, and stories from New Zealand. Thanks for reading.