The Thrill of the Hunt

When prepping for a new hunting season, it’s tempting to invest in an array of new paraphernalia. It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of it all, akin to the first day of school. If you just pick up the right weapons and clothing, it will be the final step to improving your record from last year.

It’s logical that a lighter, faster bow that shoots with greater accuracy is more useful than an aged alternative that that has outlived its usefulness. Likewise, if you hunt with a rifle, maybe it’s time to upgrade a rusty decades-old family heirloom that no longer shoots straight. There is more to the art of fruitful hunting than just spending big, though. Attitude matters just as much as equipment.

There’s no getting away from the fact that you may need to upgrade your equipment before hunting season. The first and the most important thing you’ll need is a hunting boots. If you’re serious about hunting, you’ll be outdoors for prolonged periods of time in all weather. The wrong footwear can make you miserable at best, and provoke health concerns at worst. By picking up appropriate boots, you have one less thing to worry about.

It’s best to purchase the best possible footwear that you can afford, with a view to using them in the long-term. It’s an investment that will pay for itself before long. The same logic applies to hunting jackets, too. Don’t grow so focused on aesthetics that you neglect comfort – or vice versa. Take your time to find an appropriate all-weather garment that is subtle enough to blend into your surroundings.

How about weapons? Ultimately, this is a matter of personal choice. Your first decision will be whether you prefer to use a rifle or a bow. Beyond this, you’ll have a huge array of options. Hunting equipment evolves and upgrades constantly. It’s down to you whether you are happy with this march of progress. More traditional hunters outright reject gadgets and gizmos that claim to improve aim and performance. Others may enjoy these supposed advantages, looking to give themselves any edge they can over their quarry.

It’s worth remembering an old saying relating to DIY and woodwork here – “a bad workman blames his tools.” This could apply to hunting too. If you’re having no success in the hunt, it may be your technique that needs work – not your gear. Practice will improve your confidence – and make no mistake, confidence is at the beating heart of a successful hunting expedition. If you are confident in your own abilities as a hunter, you’re likelier to be patient and not lose heart when things do not go your way.

Hunting can involve prolonged periods of inactivity, sitting, and lying in wait. If you lack conviction that this will pay off, it’s quite understandable that your concentration will wane. Before you know it, you’ve missed out on a split-second opportunity to tag a target. Thus, the great cycle of draining confidence continues to gather pace. Do whatever it takes to gain confidence and a sense of self-belief. If that involves spending big on new gear, so be it.

Just remember, just as clothes do not make the man, weapons, and attire do not make the hunter. Again, to reiterate, you’ll need quality boots and a reliable jacket. That much is non-negotiable. Ask yourself if elaborate tools packed with bells and whistles really make you more efficient at the task at hand, though. It’s possible that unfulfilled promises of results will end up damaging your confidence in your own abilities even further.

The reality is, there is no substitute for preparation and practice. If you do anything for 10,000 hours, you’ll become an expert. That means spending time at the rifle range, perfecting your aim, and developing mastery over your weapon. Spend some off-season time rambling around your hunting grounds, getting a feel for the lay of the land, and learning the best locations to hide. Research different lures, learning what is likeliest be effective in attracting your quarry.

Ultimately, hunting boils down to a battle of wits. Man vs. Beast. Whoever shows the most fortitude, patience and awareness will come out on top. It’s worth remembering that any animal that escapes the attention of a hunter is equipped with nothing more than instinct and speed of thought. Take a leaf out of the book of wildlife and rely more on your own innate proficiencies than budget-busting high-tech investments. If you’re dressed appropriately and have the right mindset, the rest takes care of itself.