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2 Things to Consider When Mentally Preparing for Hunting Season

Mentally preparing for hunting season is just as important as the physical preparation. Keep these 2 things in mind when getting mentally geared up this fall.

[caption id="attachment_6442" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Glassing on a hill. Mentally preparing for hunting season is something you are already doing. Keep these two tips in mind to get mentally geared up.[/caption] Hunting is something lots of hunters think about almost everyday. Even when seasons are far away in the future, some brief vision or plan will form in our head. It may be something as crazy as hunting a grizzly in Alaska, or something as common as climbing the same stand you've sat in for 20 years, but it crosses our minds. How we see ourselves hunting ends up becoming how we actually hunt. Our thoughts create our hunting adventures and shape our reality. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, the impact of positive visualization has been vigorously researched. The results of this research has strongly indicated a relationship between positive thoughts and increased performance. Thinking about an upcoming hunt, and imagining your great success, will ultimately help you in crunch time. Although positive visualization is great for increasing your performance in a high pressure situation, it can also help prepare you for other situations as well. Here are 2 things to keep in mind when mentally preparing for hunting adventures this fall.

Plan for Reality

Recently I was shooting a few practice arrows in my yard with a close friend when we got to talking hunting. As generally occurs when two hunting buddies get together, we retold tales of past hunts, close calls, and our hopes for the upcoming season. You can bet that our stories nearly always included animals and how we either got lucky, or they somehow managed to escape. As we were talking though, I realized our discussion really didn't reflect the reality of our hunting experience and what we should be expecting. If we were to talk realistically about our hunting experiences, we would probably talk about all the days we didn't see anything and didn't get a shot. In fact the slow days probably outnumber the exciting days in my hunting past. It is just how the game of bowhunting works. I believe most bowhunters out there would attest that more often than not we actually don't get the chance to shoot. Understanding this reality is important when you think about mentally preparing for hunting season. If you think about nothing more than bagging a monster buck, odds are you may be in for a few rough days till then. While it is good and fun to think about the Booner buck, it is also good to realize all the days you won't see him as well. As those days tick by and you've come home unsuccessful or unlucky, doubt begins to creep into our minds. We begin to question all sorts of things like "Are the animals even here?" or, "What am I doing wrong?" This mental doubt actually kills more success than anything else. It is what causes us to throw in the towel early and hit the snooze button when we should be hitting the road. Mentally being prepared for slow days will keep your spirits up when they arrive.

Give Yourself a Chance

I'm a teacher by trade so I get a chance to interact with a variety of personalities everyday. One thing that constantly stands out to me is the low bar people set for themselves and how they convince themselves they will fail. "I can't do that," or "That's too tough for me," are statements people convince themselves of all too often. What is really happening when you say these things, is you are self-created a mental barrier to hold you back from succeeding. Lots of times we create these barriers to stay comfortable, secure, and avoid putting ourselves at risk of failure. For some people the risk of failure is a chance they simply won't take. I've seen enough kids not reach their dreams because they were scared to fail that I simply can't see a benefit to this type of thinking. Don't sell yourself short. The old saying "Whether you think you can or you think you can't; you're right" is so true. The truth is you can accomplish nearly anything if you set your mind to it. Whatever goal you have set for yourself this year like arrowing your first deer, taking a new species, or getting your first real wall hanger, can be accomplished, but first you have to believe you actually can. Sure there will be tough days, days when it seems like you are trying something impossible, but hang in there and it will happen. Give yourself some credit and believe the simple truth that you can. Whether you are casually thinking about hunting seasons or you spend a good deal of time mentally preparing for hunting season, keep these two things in mind. Prepare for the rough days and don't sell yourself short. If you can stay realistic knowing there will be lots of slow days it will help you stay mentally tough when they arrive. It is also important to set the bar high and believe you can achieve. Don't create a make believe mental block to your success. Hopefully this advice will help you on your way to success this bowhunting season.

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