Hunting is much more than shooting a bullet or arrow into a deer. It is a mind game of epic proportions. The moment before you fire is a mind wrecking car accident of a feeling. Your heart is exploding out of your chest, you can’t find the air for your lungs and the muscles in your arms seem to turn to jelly. So how in the world are you expected to make a good shot given this kind of reaction? Well it’s all in your head. The key to successfully handling the pressure of closing the deal on a deer is to be mentally prepared. How do you go about doing that? Watch this interview with tournament archer Kevin Wilkey as he explains how to mentally ready yourself for the shot.

Here are a few key things to remember from this vid.

  1. Practice in situations similar to those you will experience during the hunt (e.g. running around the house before shooting, to emulate your increased heart rate).
  2. Follow the same shot process every time.
  3. Visualize the situation.

One thing I like to do while I sit on stand is to imagine different scenarios happening. In my head I will play through what I will do if a buck comes from my left side, I imagine the shots I can take if a deer comes in from behind me or I plan for how to maneuver my weapon if a deer comes in from a less than optimal direction. This mental preparation has absolutely helped me several times. In particular, I had a deer last year play out exactly the scenario I had imagined earlier that day. Because I had mentally ran through this scenario, I was prepared and ready to react to it. The result was one dead deer and a happy hunter.