Most things that go wrong, go wrong slowly. The downward spiral is all too familiar. A hunting problem leads to a buck lost.
The answer isn't to look for the swift and certain solution to the long-term problem. The solution is to replace the down cycle with the up cycle.
The (too common, obvious, simple) plan is to hunt with a cycle that caused the problem instead developing better strategies and tactics. The simple plan puts the blame on the outside world to stop contributing factors which lead to a negative output. If we just keep using unproductive hunting tactics long enough things will get better. This takes control and fate out of our hands and just isn’t going to work very well.
The more difficult but more effective alternative is to become aware of the down cycle. Once you find it, understand what triggers it and then learn to use that trigger to initiate a different cycle.
"This is my down cycle. How can I replace it with a different one? Who can help me? What do I need to learn? How do I change my habits and my instincts?"
This is incredibly difficult. But identifying the down cycle and investing in replacing it with the up cycle is the one and only best strategy. The alternative, which is to rationalize and defend the cycle as a law of nature or permanent habit, is tragic.
I feel very fortunate to have been raised in a rural community nestled in the rugged mountains of Idaho. In my youth, the locals paid little attention to game laws and seasons. Back then everyone hunted for meat. There was a certain amount of red meat that was needed be brought in to get everyone through the winter and we hunted until that supply was met. Hunting wasn’t for sport. It was for survival. We killed a lot deer. Those were the run, gun, and grin days of hunting here in Idaho. I loved every minute of it.
Times have changed. Those days are gone. But I would like to thank all the old-timers who so freely shared their hunting lore and secret spots with me. The lessons have not been forgotten. Thank you all.