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  1. #1
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    Mental Toughness?

    I can't help but correlate sports to hunting, particularly mental toughness.

    Spring turkey got the best of me this season, I gave up before the hunt was over and of course I went home empty handed.

    I remember reading an article once that you have to expect good things, ie that 6x6 elk is going to be around the next hill, etc... and I usually do think positively and expect good things to happen, even though they often don't.


    So I'm curious if any of you out there have thought about this, and if so how you fight off defeat on the 10th day of a bad hunt, etc... bottom of the 9th how you manage to stay tough?

    of course I realize some hunts I'm more focused than others, as well different years/times, whatever is going on in my life can affect my hunt, as for sports, with time and training I feel you can increase your mental toughness as well.

    I guess I would like to get to a place where I can give 100% for an entire hunt every time, but I'm not there yet, are any of you?

    Also I'm somewhat sure when life is going well being mentally sharp during a hunt becomes a bit easier.


    If you have any tips or personal experience you'd like to share, I'd be curious to hear your perspective.

  2. #2
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    I just think about how hard I work in the preseason and if I quit I'm cheating myself. You need to have a good mental toughness before you get out of the truck. It's hard but being in good mental and physical condition is a must.

  3. #3
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    I never think about it. I'm having so much fun I can't imagine cutting the hunt short.

    Maybe if you try to enjoy the hunt itself more, and don't get discouraged if you aren't getting a kill. Pace yourself, and have fun.

  4. #4
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    As you get older, your prospective on hunting, fishing and other outdoor sports goes thru some changes. I have been what everyone now calls a "hardcore" hunter (and fisherman too). But I am now 70 and I can't do a lot of the physical things I used to do. I have to push myself (and do) and do more mental preparation. I have been a competative shooter for over 50 years and have learned a lot on how to prepare mentally for what is my goal. When I played college football, I depended on my physical strength to perform at a high level. The mental aspect of it came when I got hurt. Last fall I did a wilderness elk hunt in Wyoming to celebrate my 70th birthday. 33 mile, 9 1/2 horseback ride to get to camp. Up everyday at 4:40 and not back to camp until 8:30 at night. I had to prove to myself that I could still do it! Thats where the mental part came in, especially at 4:30 AM when they woke us up each morning.

    I try to visualize what I am going to do, before I start. I guess everyone has their own way to prepare. I especially use this technique when I' m at the gym working out. I learned this when I started shooting many years ago, it has served me well.
    Colorado Cowboy
    Cowboy Action Shooter; Endowment Life Member-NRA
    The Original Rocket Scientist-Retired
    "My Father always considered a walk in the mountains as the equivalent of church going."
    Aldous Huxley

  5. #5
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    Eat well, keep hydrated and don't get too carried away early on and blow yourself out.

    Do everything you can ahead of time to prepare for success so that you have the confidence you need to stick with it.

    Have fun! If your having fun and getting to hunt your not going to want to head back to work.

  6. #6
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    I agree with the advice; dont push so hard your wasted. There is a limit with fatigue where your mind and body will only want rest, at this moment a person starts to question the idea of pushing on. Know this limit in yourself and stay on the sunny side of it. When I personally push myself over the edge, i then fall back on reminding myself how much I will regret giving up early.

    I have killed alot of animals on the last day of a hunt. I have known alot of hunters that have made kills on the last day, last hour, of the season. This makes sense too, because near the end you are more likely to be hot on the track of the animal. You have become more in tune with they ways of the prey, and lay of the land. The odds are highest for success at the end of a hunt, IMO.

  7. #7
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    I agree with Old Hunter and Colorado Cowboy. Its mostly about your perspective, and having some fun. I don't have any expectations when I hunt other than enjoying myself. The weather, your physical shape, what you are eating and how much sleep you aren't getting can sometimes pull you down, especially on long hunts, but you can do things to prepare for that before and during the hunt.
    I also feel that what personally defines a successful hunt to a individual plays a role in there attitude, and subsequently whether or not they may or may not stick it out. I had an experience in the past where the hunting was tough and 2 other guys were ready to give up after a couple of days because they felt the area was no good, so they left....quit....their heart wasn't in it, the fact is they had unreasonable expectations, they expected to see elk right away and expected to kill one right away, A buddy of mine and I stuck it out, our attitude and expectations were different....we were just glad to be gone hunting, enjoying ourselves whether we got an Elk or not. Our results were different also, we took 2 bulls on that trip.

  8. #8
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    Now that I am on the back side of 50, to be mentally tough, I have to get good rest and eat good meals! If it is just a 3 or 4 day hunt, you can stay focused for that many days pretty easily. When you start hunting past 5 days then I start to get worn out mentally. I combat that by taking a morning or evening off to catch up on what I need. Maybe just hunt close to camp so you are still hunting but you get to sleep longer and eat a relaxed meal instead of the rushed meal. Sit in the sun, boil some water and take a shower, hang all your clothes out to dry and get them descented. Just relax and be ready for the next encounter

  9. #9
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    Good rest,meals. Have fun and enjoy being in the outdoors and take alot of photos and it's not just about the kill{get over it the sooner the best}you will have more fun.I have found alot of neat stuff while hunting i.e. old wagons,minning stuff{pioneer days} trappers cabins.traps and so on.
    Can you handle the challenge.... hunt hard but safe!!

  10. #10
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    Excellent post.. And much more difficult to give a blanket answer. I think a lot of this has to do with how much you hunt too. I used to hunt 4 days a week from September 1 to November 28th, and then another 2-3 days until Jan 15th. Mental toughness was awful late in the season, neglecting your family, work and even questioning how your prioritize life if you hunt this much and again it's a worthy note that I have a young family. My previously employer didn't care about how many hours I worked as long as I produced but then I got a new job and now had vacation and was limited to only 5 weeks a year (awful by the way ) so now I know how valuable the time is, so staying focused is easy.

    I guess what I'm rambling about is evaluate your hunting style, maybe consider fewer hunts and have a more concentrated focus on quality ground. And last, keep your wits, stay to your hunting style.

 

 

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