Knowing when to pivot


Written by Alex Gruin
“Darn it!” I said this to myself as another day came and went as I was skunked in the tree stand. I am hunting private property. Shouldn’t this be easier than public land hunts that I’ve been accustomed to? One of the most frustrating times on a hunt is when I drive home and I think about all the things I could have done with the wife and kids instead of sitting in the tree because I saw absolutely nothing. I also paid to access this land and I’m not getting results I expected to be with the better access. While I have that immediate dissapointment, I realize that there are many benefits to getting skunked on the hunt. 

Time is a telling tale that truly gives you the ability to think. “What am I doing wrong?” “What could I have done better?” “What isn’t my fault that’s not controllable?”

Well, my scouting was there, my scent control was there, I had cameras laid out for 6+ months and I had a doe to show for it. I knew monsters were on the property but yet the last time I laid my eyes on one it was August. 

The one point that I truly look back upon that made me realize things need to change is based on something I can’t control. I wouldn’t have realized it but hunting pressure all around me is the biggest danger to a deer. Deer want to survive and their survival is the greatest desire for an animal to achieve. In times of survival a deer is looking for a great sanctuary and to fly under the radar by night. 

This is where I realized I had to pivot. Had I not been so involved and skunked so many times, I would continue diving to succeed this year in the same areas because I know there are deer there. The unfortunate part is that sometimes our own determination for success is also our own platform that sets us up for failure because the amount of time dedicated to trying to win actually causes you to lose in the long run. This plays into all facets of life but when it comes to hunting, unless our full job is to hunt, we all know that the couple weeks of vacation or our weekend warrior hunts cannot be destroyed by acts of denial or fear of failure. 

When I say it’s time to pivot, it means I’m moving to another platform for success. 

This year’s platform is hunting in 3 different areas that I feel great about. The drawbacks are that on 2 of them, I will have less ability to consistently scout which means I’m hunting on a whim. The positive is that well, I will be positive because of the constant excitement and we all know that is one of the most important things with hunting. 

Here is how I’m breaking them down from worst ability to best ability of familiarity ability. 

1. Colorado 3rd rifle season elk and mule deer hunt. Public Land. I am somewhat familiar with the place because I’ve hunted there once before but other hunters and only being there for 8 days before puts it in my worst scenario. 

2. Virginia State Land. Urban archery, rut and post rut hunting. Public Land. I’ve hunted here before and it’s 45 minutes from my home. I’m only familiar with 1 unit and I know patterns very well. I think this year I’ll harvest the big one on here. 

3. Virginia Private Property. I’ll be hunting in backyards of some large homes in the urban sprawl. It will be easy to get the deer patterned while also being super close to home. This will be highly successful as long as other dynamics don’t get in the way. 
As you can see, I feel that a pivot is needed in order to increase my odds and overall success. I’ll be documenting, filming and reporting out for the reason on these 3 places and I look forward to the success, failures and information that can be gained to help myself and all of you throughout this year and next. 

Hope you enjoy the read and maybe this is a good calling for you to make a pivot as well. 

Scout, Hunt, Repeat 

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