Sep 28, 2012, 1:01 AM EDT
by Bill Miller
Why do we do what we do? I mean, why do we devote this level of financial, time, physical and emotional resources to taking hunting trips around the world?
Each of us might offer a slight variation on the basic answer, but when it’s all said and done it comes down to this: “The increased heart rate. The flood of brain chemicals tied to the instinctive fight or flight response. The adrenalin coursing through our bodies. It’s the drive to experience the rush and sensation of the moment of truth that drives us.”
It’s not the isolated action of pulling the trigger or releasing the string. That’s just the conclusion. It’s those intense seconds, minutes … if you’re very lucky … hours leading up to the kill. That’s what makes us do this, and keeps us coming back.
Yet as core as the moment of truth is to motivating us to hunt big game, it’s too often an aspect of the hunt that is completely overlooked in our preparation and planning. And more is the pity. It’s in the moment of truth that hunts too often go bad. The weather cooperates. The outfitter delivers on every promise. The guide gets you to exactly the right position and within good range. The animal is totally unaware of your presence. But if you’re overcome with excitement, if all you can do is look at the rack, if you get the shakes, you’ll miss … or worse you’ll make a bad hit that wounds a magnificent animal that will never be recovered or will endanger your guide and trackers and yourself.
Field shooting practice is important, but that’s not what we’re talking about. This is preparing yourself mentally to be steady and ready when the moment of truth arrives.
Have you ever watched Olympic alpine skiers getting ready in the on deck area behind the starting gates? You’ll see them in their tucks moving and gyrating just as if they were flying down the course and tearing up the slalom gates. Actually, they are…in their minds. They are visualizing skiing every inch of the course on which they are about to embark and doing it perfectly. This is exactly what hunters need to do for weeks and months before embarking on each “hunt of a lifetime.”
Only it’s more difficult for us! The skiers have each been down that course on actual practice runs. They know what’s coming. The beauty of hunting fair chase big game is we can never be sure exactly how the moment of truth will unfold, but it means we must prepare mentally for every scenario.
Next “Around the Campfire with Bill” provides a unique way to practice for the moments of truth you hope to face this hunting season. It involves watching your favorite hunting shows on NBCSports! Now how much easier can practice get than that?
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