Hunting season is upon us! Some hunting seasons have been open for weeks, some seasons are starting today, and many more are right around the corner. If you are like most hunters, you have been planning, practicing, and dreaming about this season. Like myself, you have no doubt spent hours upon hours putting gear together, scouting lands, and ensuring you can make the best shot possible when the moment comes. So much of this planning and preparation has been focused on physical things – gear, shooting form, and the land being hunted. One thing that most hunters overlook, and in fact I think the number one thing that most hunters overlook is mental strength.
Mental strength is a critical asset when it comes to hunting. Mental strength can help you stay out longer, hunt smarter, and execute the shot more successfully. I have noticed that when I am practicing with my bow, the difference between a poor practice session and a great one is almost always my mindset. I would agree with a must-read article that I read just yesterday which stated,
“I’m convinced that once shooting basics are mastered, bowhunting becomes 90 to 95% mental.”
It is true that executing a successful shot is largely mental, which is why I think using a shot sequence is so important, but mental strength and focus applies to much more than just executing a shot. Mental strength is required to out-work, out-smart, and out-hunt the game you are after, as well as other hunters. Trevon Stoltzfus has a great series of articles in which he looks at the most successful bowhunters he knows and attempts to see what makes them so successful. I found it very interested that the majority of the aspects that make these hunters successful isn’t gear, or practice, or even experience (though these are critical factors). Many of the reasons that these hunters are so successful has to do with mindset. They visualize the hunt and the shot. They stay mentally strong and persistent, even when the hunt isn’t going well. They think on their feet and adapt their plans to how the hunt is unfolding.
So, whether you want to tag a big buck, a big bull, or just fill the freezer – you have to remember to be strong mentally.