When Everything Goes Wrong

When Everything Goes Wrong

So I am in a slump.

That’s never fun. It’s even less fun to say it out loud.

I’ve been hunting hard this year. My job precludes me from hunting during the week, but I have been on the water or in a field at every available opportunity.

So what do I have to show for it?

Well I’ve got a bunch of “should’ve, could’ve, would’ve” stories and a mound of what is starting to sound like excuses piling up.

Slumps are frustrating. They are putting in the work and not reaping the rewards. They are crawling out of the rack at zero dark thirty, freezing your butt off, only to pack up at the end of the day and come home empty handed scratching your head wondering what the heck went wrong.

Fortunately my day job allows me to put food on the table because if my family was relying on my recent hunts to survive we’d be starving.

If waterfowl hunting season was graded I’d have an “F” so far this semester.

The spots we hunt are ducky as heck, but the ducks just aren’t showing up. I’ve been on the supposed “X” to hunt geese only to watch the geese land on the next farm over. I’ve got the “get your stuff and get down here” call, but for some reason it just doesn’t happen the way it was supposed to happen.

My holiday vacation days were spent waking up at 2 a.m. to head to the boat ramp two hours away from my house. I actually booked a guided hunt, months in advance, for my son and I, only to have the guide call me the day before to say “don’t bother coming down there’s no birds”.

Unfortunately I’ve heard the “they were here yesterday” speech more than once.

New Years Day I had the pleasure of breaking 4″ thick ice, turning my gloves into solid ice cubes and watching flock after flock of geese fly by while giving me the webbed middle finger. It’s definitely not a lack of effort that is causing this slump.

These events have obviously provided me with more than a little time to reflect. I’ve already been through the “wrong spot, wrong spread, wrong weather, why the heck do I do this” internal conversations.

Then I had a revelation…That revelation being that I might just be the luckiest man on the face of the earth?

I was out hunting with my 19 year old son who’s home on winter break, a good friend from my college years that I’d recently reconnected with and a new hunting partner that seems like a really good guy.

My wife was off enjoying a day to herself, my parents are healthy and planning a visit to PA this month, my sister seems to be happy with her life in Michigan and I’m in relatively good health for a 46 year old guy that’s not real good at taking care of himself.

I just wanted to take a minute to wish you all a Happy New Year and to remind you that there is a lot more than the harvest that goes into judging a successful day in the field.

May God continue to bless you (and me) with many, many more “bad days” in the field…

Pete Anstadt

Grateful son to two amazing parents, big brother to an awesome sister, husband to the woman of my dreams and proud father of the greatest son in the world. Mediocre waterfowl hunter, novice fisherman, aspiring cook and recently retired high school lacrosse coach. I'm looking to improve my physical health and to find a way to turn my "work brain" off through exploring my love of the outdoors, spending more time in the field or at the sporting clays course and expanding upon my admittedly limited cooking abilities. I look forward to the chance to share my successes and to poke fun at myself when I fail miserably with anyone crazy enough to read my posts.

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