As the sun sets on your final hunt of the year a bitter taste begins to build in your mouth. A taste which seems to grow throughout the spring and summer months like a noxious weed with no relief in sight. This sensation is one that many hunters know all too well. The cold, nearly intolerable flavor of buck tag soup. No, not even a healthy dose of salt and pepper is going to make this tag consomme go down easy.
When the window to your buckless fall ends the door to a grueling off-season begins. Over the next few months you may become the punchline to a few jokes from your hunting buddies, and if you’re like me you may even catch some flak from your better half who asks “Why do you even bother to go hunting any more? You never kill anything.” Make no mistake about it my friends; eating tag soup at the end of a deer hunting season is not an enjoyable thing.
However it’s not all doom and gloom for those of us who go buckless for a year (or three in my case). After all, when life gives you lemons what do you do with them? Throw them back in life’s face and tell him to bring you some lemonade, that’s what!
So as you reflect on yet another failed hunting season try to look on the bright side and keep in mind a few of the benefits that come from eating tag soup.
1. No Taxidermy Bills
The last time I checked a good whitetail shoulder mount was over $500. Depending on your taxidermist and the form you pick for your trophy your bill may even exceed 6 Benjamins. That’s a pretty penny for a stuffed animal to hang on your wall; and you don’t even get to cuddle with him at night! So if you did go buckless last fall your bank account is most likely thanking you.
2. Minimal Deer Dragging
In many cases a mature whitetail is the largest animal on 4 legs that’s roaming your neck of the woods and they’re no easy task to retrieve once downed. If you didn’t manage to put a lethal arrow into one of these monarchs last year you missed a golden opportunity to create some lifelong back problems on the drag out. Although a little extra cardio is never a bad thing keeping your back in tact does come in handy for off-season golfing and/or fishing.
If you got injured helping your buddy drag his trophy out you just got the Double Whammy. Let’s just hope you’re not too laid up to miss the next season.
3. Save Money on Broadheads
While they aren’t as expensive as a shoulder mount today’s broadheads are certainly not cheap. With most running around $40 for a 3 pack you can certainly save a few dollars by keeping those arrows firmly tucked in your quiver. With the money you save you can buy your wife some flowers to keep her focus away that honey-do list which seems to grow exponentially during October and November.
4. They’ll Be Bigger Next Year
What better way to “Let ‘em go so they can grow” than by not shooting any bucks at all? Maybe that giant you missed at 20 yards as he was standing still looking the other direction will grow a couple big club-like droptines and pack on a few extra points this off season. If he does you can either double your money by closing the deal or cry even harder when the neighbor shoots him.
5. Tastes Horrible, Less Filling
Okay now all kidding aside there is one benefit that can come from not filling your buck tag and that’s time to reflect on where you went wrong and the opportunity to make things right next year. Eating tag soup can be a humbling experience however many of the greatest achievements in life come from the efforts put forth following a failure. In time that bad taste in your mouth becomes a burning desire and you may find yourself scouting new locations, shooting more practice arrows, planning your hunts a little more closely and paying attention to those details that often mean the difference between success and failure.
So this year when you take down the buck of a lifetime don’t worry about spending your vacation money on a full body mount or throwing your back out during the recovery; it will all be worth it in the end.