Text and photos by Tracy Breen
In math, the difference between 10 and 90 is 80. In hunting, the difference between 10 and 90 is coming home with a meal or not.
In case you haven’t heard the “10 percent rule” in your hunting circle, it usually means that 10 percent of the hunters kill 90 percent of the animals. There is no scientific way to prove this, but the idea is that most serious hunters—who repeatedly tag whatever animal they are chasing—are the ones killing the animals. The remaining 90 percent of hunters, who are not as serious about the sport—either because they don’t take time or don’t have time to be serious—harvest only a small percentage of the animals.
If you’d like to join the 10 percent club, keep reading.
Hard work and dedication to the sport fills many tags, but I think a positive attitude helps put more animals in the freezer every year than anything else. I’m talking about having a positive attitude on the first day of the hunt, the last day of the season and every day in between.
It’s easy to have a positive attitude on the first day of the hunting season or the first day of a hunting trip. You just arrive in camp, spirits and anticipation are high, and everyone is looking forward to hunting. As the hunt continues, however, spirits start to waver.
It starts out subtly. You go two or three days without seeing a deer. The next morning, it’s raining lightly when you crawl out of bed. That’s when you start thinking.
“OK, this was supposed to be a 14-day hunting trip, but I can live with cutting it a little short. Things aren’t exactly going as planned.”
That type of attitude slams the door on the 10 percent club.
Over the last several years, I have tried to have a positive attitude and hunt as hard on the 12th day as I did on the first. After all, as I discovered, it isn’t truly over until the fat lady sings—as I found out in Canada.
A few years ago, while bear hunting with a bow in Quebec, I was ready to call it quits after six days because we had not seen a bear. With one day left to hunt, my friend and I decided to pull the trigger … we would drive home early.
And why not? Neither of us had laid eyes on a bear in almost a week of hunting.
That’s when a friend stepped in and persuaded us to stay and hunt the last day. We reluctantly agreed. But you know what? With only five minutes left in my hunt, a bear walked in, and I shot him. If I had gone home early, I would have struck out!
Here’s a preview of what will be in Beckett Crossbow Hunting magazine’s Holiday Buyer’s Guide. This issue comes out in November.