What's Your Excuse for Not Filling a Tag?

News & Tips: What's Your Excuse for Not Filling a Tag?...

It doesn't seem like it matters what the situation is, if sportsmen don't fill their tags, there's always an excuse. One year it was terrible dry and dusty. I got back to civilization and everyone was saying how terrible the hunting was due to the dry weather.

ExcuseFillTag blog
When weather like this hits, you might as well sit by the campfire and keep warm.

No one elaborated. Was it because it was so dry that the leaves were crunchy and they couldn't sneak up on anything? Was it because it was too dry and the elk didn't like the dust so they just flew around instead of walking? I don't know. It was the best season of my life. I shot a buck on Friday night and a bull on Saturday night.

But then if it's too wet, we blame that also. I have to agree, though. I've never had much luck when it was raining. Everything seems to hole up and weather out the storm. You nearly have to step on game to get them to move. Granted if it rains for six days straight they have to get out and eat, but as a whole, they set tight.

Then of course everyone acts like that if snow will just hit, deer/elk will be hanging in every tree wanting to die. The truth of the matter is, if it blizzards, watch out. Fifty percent of the sportsmen will be stuck all over the mountainside and miss the hunt due to being stuck; 20 percent will set in their tents drinking coffee whining about being wet; and 20 percent pack up and get the heck off the mountain to go see mama.

That leaves the lucky 10 percent to be present to observe this magic moment. They see the bull of a lifetime and slap up their rifle to blast him, only to discover that their scope is packed with snow. With crocodile sized tears they drop their rifle only to discover that the bull of a lifetime is slowly walking over the ridge.

And what about bow hunters? They're in a category of their own. I could write volumes about if this hadn't have happened — if this one limb wasn't in the way; if this, if that and so on. If rifle hunters have 20, then bow hunters have a 100.

It's like Fred Bear said, "The chance of hitting a 1/4-inch limb is directly proportional to the size of the rack."

I've stuck stumps, trees, limbs, had bent arrows go awry, my rest fall off, release fall off the strap and the list goes on and on. And now, we have more gimmicks than ever to malfunction.

I remember one time I stopped and asked a guy if I could hunt on his land. He gruffly said, "Yes, but you'd better hurry up. They're usually out by now." He directed me towards his alfalfa field.

Since I didn't know the area, I set up behind a big cottonwood tree on the edge of the pasture and made a brush blind. I thought I'd scout out the area that first afternoon and figure out where to throw up a tree stand. I hadn't been there 15 minutes and saw a small group come out of the river bottom.

I ducked behind the tree and slowly started nocking an arrow. I looked back up and by now they were trotting towards me. Whoa, I'd better hurry it up a little. I then got off my 5 gallon bucket on one knee and looked again and they were at a dead run towards me by now. I pulled back and peeked up and they were right on me.

Now picture me on one knee at full draw flat against the side of a big cottonwood tree. A deer shoots by about 4-6 feet away at Mach 1. Whoa, where'd it go? OK, don't panic. I'll get the next one. Then another one shot by, then another one.

Oh no! I couldn't go back to work and tell my buddies I'd had four deer run by just five feet away and hadn't even shot. I had to shoot. The fourth one flew by, and I let one rip. Long story short, no one died that day.

To save all of our acquaintances the grief of hearing our excuses, let's just number them. Then we'll just tell them the number of the excuse. For instance, I didn't get a deer this weekend due to excuse #5.

  1. Factory ammo — it's just not consistently loaded anymore.
  2. Sun got in my eyes.
  3. Too dry.
  4. Too wet.
  5. I dropped my rifle in the river.
  6. Limb got in the way.
  7. The aliens stole my elk.
  8. It was the economy.
  9. To tell you the truth, I think my mother-in-law tweaked my scope the night before I went hunting.

Come on guys — I'm laughing with you. Do you think all this is all a big mystery to everyone around us? Do you think I'm revealing some deep dark secret that no one else knows but us? You think they don't all make jokes about what excuse we'll use this year when we get back to work? Sure they do.

Who do you think drew up the cartoon about Elmer Fudd? Walt Disney? Heck no. It was a group of mischievous hunting widows. They were gathered together one Friday night while all the hubbies were up in the mountains toiling away to fill the freezers. This devious group of misguided wives were setting around drawing cartoons about what kind of excuses that their husbands would come home with that season. One thing led to another and voila — there it was. A movie depicting us at our worst Elmer Fudd.