When preparing for a British Columbia hunt, we like to remind clients of some critical things they should do to be ready. This usually includes things like practicing with their rifle or bow, making sure flights are booked and working to be in the best physical shape possible. But almost as important as physical toughness and being totally organized and ready, hunters should prepare themselves mentally and with the right attitude.
Mountain hunting is tough. It’s challenging and that’s why we love it. Hunting this vast wilderness country in northern B.C. is beautiful and memorable. But it can be hard work at times. In any kind of hunting there are ups and downs. Sometimes, things go exactly as you planned or imagined. But more often than not, you’ll be forced to reckon with a few obstacles along the way. It can be the weather, the animals or any number of factors. The more you can mentally prepare to handle these challenges, the more enjoyable your hunt will be.
Here are three of our tips to being mentally tough and having the right attitude on a challenging big game hunt:
1. Be Alert and Ready
Every hunt has its ups and downs. But the hunter who can stay alert and ready at all times will often find more success. After a few days of hunting, it can be easy to let your guard down. This can be especially true if you’ve encountered unexpected challenges or feeling fatigued. Don’t let it get you down.
Expect every day, every moment to be the one that counts. By staying alert and ready at all times, you’ll capitalize on those fleeting opportunities. Every hunter knows it, but it’s worth reminding yourself that it only takes a moment to change the course of your hunt.
2. Look Around You
On any hunt, but especially on a hunt that’s challenging, it’s important to remind yourself why you are there. As hunting guides we’ve all seen hunters that arrive with an incredible amount of pressure on themselves to succeed. Of course taking home that desired trophy is a top priority. But even more important should be staying safe and having a great time. Remember that this is supposed to be fun!
During those long days and short nights on a hunting trip, don’t forget to look around. Occasionally take your eyes from the glass and soak in the moment. As you’re climbing that steep ridgeline, don’t forget to stop and look back. Admire the view and the accomplishments you’ve already made. Make sure your view of the hunt is broader than a dinner plate-sized window of the vitals. Enjoying the whole experience will help keep you motivated and ready for what’s next.
3. Stay Patient
Most mistakes made by hunters will occur toward the end of a hunt, when patience is wearing thin. After days of challenging hunting it can be easy to get impatient and make a mistake. Whether it’s moving at the wrong time or not waiting for the right shot opportunity to unfold, we can probably all tell stories of times when we blew an opportunity because we became impatient.
On a long hunt, it’s important to give it everything you’ve got. Hunt until the last day just like the first. And do your best, even late in the hunt, to maintain solid judgment and good decision-making. As you prepare for your hunt, prepare yourself to stay mentally tough and patient and for the duration of your trip. When that opportunity presents itself, you want to be cool, calm and ready to make the shot you’ve been practicing for and dreaming of for months!
Written by Ryan McSparran
Ryan McSparran is an outdoor writer, a hunting and fly fishing guide, and very proud to be a part of the Kawdy Outfitters team.