|This buck has a larger rack than you think; Count the points
illustraton courtesy Dave Richey Outdoors
My mind seemingly has tunnel vision. The only two things i seem focus intently on while bow hunting is studying deer, which really doesn’t make me all bad. I could care less about ball parks, Nascar races, or tournament golf.
Whitetails excite me; almost everything else is far less interesting, and certainly a lot less fun.
People question how I can only think about these two items most of the time. It must be easy because both passions have consumed my thoughts for more than 50 years.
Both thoughts are of equal importance, and without my intense study, there would be less hunting success. A number of years ago, I was asked a question at a bow-hunting seminar I was giving.
Another seminar attendee asked if the only thing I thought about was writing. I gave the man a straight answer.
It’s a wise hunter who can act and think at the same time
“Writing is what I do,” I said. “It’s how I make a living, and to do my job properly, I’m always thinking about the next story. It has to be what I think about on a daily basis. I’d be dead in the water without the next story idea. The same thing applies when I bow hunt for whitetails.”
My answer is based on these reasons. For me, hunting whitetails with a bow, and studying the animals at every opportunity, is what I do. To stop studying deer is to stop learning about whitetail deer. To stop learning means less opportunities and decreased success.
When I hunt, I become totally focused and immersed in my surroundings, and what the deer are doing. I never lose my concentration on deer, but I continue to focus and watch other deer. I can solve all kinds of deer hunting problems while sitting in my ground blind or in an elevated coop or tree stand.
Stay focused on your surroundings and remain alert
When working, my thoughts are always on deer hunting or trying to figure out why a particular deer did what it did the night before. Most people forget yesterday’s hunt but not me.
Some people find it hard to think about two things at once or have trouble chewing gum and walking. That often happens when deer hunting: I’ll be trying to solve a knotty little deer travel pattern problem, and a nice buck will walk out. My reflexes take over, and I can shoot that buck while shifting mental gears, and then I will shift back to solving other problems after shooting the deer or passing up a shot.
Solving any bow-hunting problem is always easier while bow hunting. Any hunting area always has some natural noises, but out there, the phone doesn’t ring to distract me.
Years ago I learned that many of my award-winning articles and columns came to me while sleeping. One part of my brain kicked into gear, and I would wake up, slip out of bed, head for my office and write it while the idea was still fresh in my mind.
The same thing happens while bow hunting. A problem may bother me for weeks, and then one night while sound asleep, the answer wakes me up faster than a face slap with an ice-cold wash cloth. I suspect that being asleep allows the subconscious to kick in, provide the needed answer, and usually the answer is so simple I wonder why it didn’t come to me much sooner.
Hunting and thinking is just as easy as walking and talking
I’m able to study deer, think about various deer patterning problems, and be ready and able to shift gears automatically, and shoot the buck. It’s what I’ve trained my body and mind to do, and anyone else can do it providing they’ve learned the basic fundamentals of drawing and properly aiming a bow and making a smooth release. Do those things long enough, and do them properly, and it becomes simple.
This sort of thing often happens while I’m hunting. When my two main thoughts meld while aiming at a big buck, it is one of the most memorable events of my life.