Sunday, February 5th, 2023
Sunday, February 5th, 2023

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What is success to a hunter or fisherman?

Author, Jason Revermann, with a nice walleye caught and released on an evening trip.

How do you measure success when hunting and fishing?

As I headed towards Lake Mille Lacs for the night bite last week, I start to wonder how good fishing will be. There has been a lot of bad publicity over the fish populations and it makes me question if it is worth the trip.

You never know if you don’t go, right?

We get to the lake a little before dark and we are planning on trolling stick baits along the west shore like we have in the past. There are very few trucks at the access.

As we let out the first line my bother hooks a fish and pulls in a 14-inch walleye. Success! Right???  Immediately we start to think we are going to get into a great bite.

It wasn’t long and I hooked into a bigger fish and pulled in a 20 1/4-inch walleye. Success again.  But still nothing to keep.  Is that a success yet?

Well we ended up catching eight walleyes and two northerns but only able to keep 2 walleyes and one northern.  Is that success?

Everyone’s interpretation of success is different. The more success you have had in the past the more you expect out of your future hunting and fishing endeavors.

I feel that we place too much importance on the catch and kill these days and not enough on just enjoying the experience.

Success can be just being able to find enough time to make a few casts, a walk through a field, a little time in a tree stand.

I think that one reason kids are not as interested in hunting and fishing is because they want immediate reward. We have to show youth that the reward is not always a big buck, a huge walleye, or a huge turkey. The reward is simply being able to spend some time in the great outdoors with our children. The rest is just extra.

A bowhunter may spend night after night in a tree and see a lot of deer and never pull the string back because he has set his standards pretty high and will only shoot a 150 class buck or bigger. The next guy shoots the first deer to walk past and is more than thrilled just to be able to put some meat in the freezer. Who has had more success?

A walleye fisherman may set standards that make him release everything over or under a certain size but the next guy will keep everything that the state regulations will allow. Who is right? Who is successful?

Is success catching a meal of fish or a limit of fish?

A muskie fisherman may cast and cast and only have one follow.

I feel that we have to learn to appreciate the moment. Every minute we find to spend in the great outdoors can be seen as a success. Our lives are getting more hectic and it is getting harder and harder to make the time to enjoy the great outdoors.

So set your goals, set your standards. But don’t measure your success by what you catch or what you kill. Measure your success by just being able to spend quality time enjoying the great outdoors. If you want to feel a higher level of success then enjoy it with another person especially with our youth.

Try to take something from every hunt and every fishing experience. Every moment you get to spend in the great outdoors is really a true SUCCESS! The rest is just details!

So I leave you with a couple questions.  What is success to you? Do you appreciate the time and other experiences in the great outdoors, or is it all the catch and kill? How do you portray success to your kids or other youth in the outdoors?


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