The power of the mind can be amazing, but if your focus is on things like fear rather than success, you can kiss your hunt goodbye. Here are some tips to help you stay in the game, despite a troubled mind.
Several years ago I found myself sitting at a desk going through my second session of court-ordered anger management. The class was going into its third hour and I was paying less attention this time than I had the first (probably why I was attending a second time). But, somewhere in the middle of that third hour a new instructor came in and started talking about something that caught my attention.
The instructor’s job was to help each person understand his or her own specific reaction and then harness that reaction to turn it into a positive outcome (instead of a third session of anger management). Now this subject may not seem like it has anything to do with wilderness bowhunting, but when you simplify things, you only have two choices when heading into the backcountry—complete your goal and stay for the entire trip, or talk yourself out of the hunt and head back early.
Each year hundreds of bowhunters head west with the hopes and dreams of tagging a big bull or buck on a multiday wilderness hunt. They’ve spent thousands of dollars on tags, gear and fuel, trained in the gym, lost weight and got as prepared as they could for the great adventure ahead. In reality, it’s always easier to visualize the ideal hunting adventure sitting on the couch. Unfortunately, many underestimate the physical and mental rigors of wilderness hunting and often talk themselves into cutting the hunt short.
Most hunters won’t head down the mountain early because of a specific incident that has made them fearful; but, the general concept behind the “fight or flight” response will eventually get the best of them.