Column: Keep trying and eventually it will come together

Published 8:16 am Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Each year my family gathers around to share highlights from the past year, goals they have set for the upcoming year and steps they will take to achieve those goals. One is a physical goal; one is a spiritual goal; one is a relationship goal; and the final goal is financial. 

How have your New Year resolutions gone so far? 

Did you know 80 percent of Americans fail their resolutions each year, according to US News. 

Email newsletter signup

If you already failed your resolution in the first week, it is OK. There are still 358 more days until the next year so you might as well give it another shot. If you haven’t set a goal yet, I encourage you to do so. 

I set goals based on my highlights and lessons learned for the year. My biggest disappointment of 2022 came in the final week of the year as did the most exciting moments.  

I was lucky enough to get drawn for the primitive weapon hunt at Natchez State Park with my hunting buddy Steve of Redlick. On our second day of hunting, I saw the most incredible thing unfold. 

Hours of silence descended into chaos in a creek bottom as bucks chased a doe who was in heat. Their guttural grunts ticked like the mechanisms of a clock driving their movement forward. My heart raced as the sweet bliss of adrenaline coursed through my veins. 

My eyes scanned for movement as I heard deer running through brush on a ridge. A white tail flagged my attention to the left as one jumped into a thicket. A gray blur – I presume the doe –  ran past on the ridge to my left followed by two more flashes. 

Astonished, I turned my head back to a loud low grunting. Anxiously, I tried to hone in on the sound as the hammer on a borrowed .444 Marlin was cocked back. A buck walked out into a thicket of cane but from my view he was out in the open. 

Antlers stretched wide beyond his ears, I followed him with the scope of the gun waiting for a moment to shoot. He stopped his stride and looked around as I pulled the trigger. 

It turns out I must have pulled the shot as well. There was no thump, Steve told me afterwards. We could not find any blood and did not see any more deer on our hunt the following day. 

I give a lot of credit to Steve. He put me in a great position to see deer; showed me how to use the sunlight to my advantage; and calmed me down after missing what would have been my first buck. He reminded me the next day to take my time, aim and hold steady. 

I was also thankful for the experience as I saw the action of the rut unfold, “minus the X rated stuff,” Steve said. Out of humbling disappointment, I learned a lesson. 

I needed to compose myself and stay steady the next time I was in the position of shooting a deer. It was one of my steps to my physical goal of harvesting more game and catching more fish this year. 

Thursday morning, I turned off my alarm and headed out to the woods with little to no expectations. Northwest wind limits my options typically but I hunted a ridge similar to the one I hunted at Natchez State Park. 

About an hour and a half into the hunt I heard footsteps approaching. It was louder than a deer and I knew it wasn’t the cat Bruno. A deer emerged running down into the valley in front of me. I knew just what to do. 

Following her with my scope, I composed myself and made sure to breathe. She stopped and I put the crosshairs on the target and calmly squeezed the trigger. My hunt was “over” and I finally snapped the drought. “Thank you God,” I said as I took a moment to reflect. Already, I had made progress towards my physical goal for the year. 

It is the third year I have hunted on a regular basis. Each year I have learned more and more through experience, misses and close calls. My wife would not have any backstrap to enjoy this week had I given up when I missed the shot on the buck. 

New Year’s resolutions are similar. Failure is when you stop trying to meet your goal or resolution. Keep trying and eventually everything will come together.  

Hunter Cloud writes for The Natchez Democrat and The Daily Leader. Contact him at