Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Prepare For Your Hunt - Mentally

The time is closely approaching for hunting season to begin. Wether you're hunting deer, elk, antelope, or any other type of game one of the most important steps you need to take is to prepare for the hunt. There are many ways to prepare yourself for your hunt; you can prepare physically by exercising and trying to mimic the type of hunting you will be doing so your body becomes accustom to the movements. You can also prepare by making sure your gear is all in working order by practicing with it to make sure it is fully functional. But one step that I feel is just as important as any is to prepare yourself mentally.


First thing I do is picture myself in different situations and running through my mind what I would do. A fellow blogger and good friend Mark Huelsing over at SoleAdventure recently wrote a post about Shot Sequence which I think fits perfectly here. Imagining yourself with the animal in range, going through your shot sequence, and executing flawlessly. By doing this, you are preparing yourself for that situation once it arises. Running through different scenarios is a great way to prepare mentally for those moments once they present themselves.

Set Personal Goals

It may sound ridiculous but all things considered, having goals set in place will help hold yourself accountable as well as pushes you to strive to achieve these goals. I'm not saying set some lofty goals like "shoot the next Pope & Young record bull elk", rather set goals for number of days to be in the field, number of miles to walk, how long you will stay out glassing, and other reasonable and attainable goals. You may not achieve them all but you will at least have a list to prepare for while you are out hunting.

Know Your Game

Knowing and understanding the habits of the game you are after will give you an edge. You may think to yourself that you completely understand the game you hunt. What if you decide to hunt a new area or lets say you are going to try a hunt in a different state for a different species. By getting to know the game you are chasing you will better know their habits and be able to pattern them. Do your research by either reading hunting articles or some of the best information that I receive is from fellow hunters who hunt the species. They have experience and if they are in the same area, chances are they will have the same habits or patterns.

Idaho Whitetail Deer
Hopefully he's still around

Prepare for Failure

You may feel 100% ready and prepared for a hunt. Inevitably there is something that happens out of the norm that throws you off guard. Failure can be discouraging and many people fail at hunting a certain species then give up. Preparing yourself for failure helps calm you down once it happens. Having a backup plan for different situations will help you overcome the difficulties of failing. A failed stalk which you have crawled in the dirt and sagebrush can discourage anyone. Hunting spot and stalk antelope I had countless failed attempts but from each one I learned what to do differently. It hasn't made me a flawless spot and stalk antelope hunter but I understand better how to do so in different situations.  

Idaho Archery Antelope
After Countless Failed Stalking Attempts 
Many hunters have these thoughts running through their minds in the background. These are just a few of the steps I take to mentally prepare myself for a hunt, but I want to hear from you. How do YOU mentally prepare for a hunt?


  1. Great post, Dustin. I agree that mentally preparing yourself for the hunt is very important. Preparing to fail is an interesting concept too... I can related to failed spot and stalk antelope hunts! There have been several times where I've been tempted to put a broadhead or at least a blunt in a cow or snot flinging bull.

    1. Haha That's so true. Sometimes those cows can be helpful but the majority of the time they are just a nuisance. Thanks as always Emily for stopping by.