Bow hunting success begins with the assumption that the hunter has chosen habitat with a good population of game animals. With this starting premise, the ingredients of bow hunting success relies on the mind and body of the bow hunter. The mental and physical state of the successful bow hunter has six essential parts consisting of: A positive orientation, being physically fit, knowing your equipment, good timing, patience and hard work.
A positive orientation simply boils down to keeping the hope alive. As long as the individual has hope, he has the desire to keep trying. As soon as a positive attitude turns negative, he stops applying the necessary disciplines that eventually bring success. The successful hunter pushes through the slumps, believing that his or her strong efforts will inevitably produce a harvested animal.
Physical fitness is an aid to a positive orientation. The more fit a bow hunter is, the more time he can spend and effort he can exert hunting. The hunter who does not have physical stamina is simply a prisoner confined to a small cell of time, and, or terrain. A high level of physical fitness permits the hunter freedom to traverse the same terrain and distance as the animal he is hunting. If you can’t do the time and leg work, a positive orientation won’t get you very far. That is why physical fitness is the number two ingredient.
Knowing your equipment allows you to “cash-in” on a positive orientation and physical fitness. Knowing your equipment implies skill building and many hours in practice. The successful bow hunter is intimately knowledgeable about his weapon and where he hits with it. He knows his maximum shooting distance and how to gage that distance. He knows how to effectively use his binoculars, range finder, compass, and any other aid he possesses. This knowledge gives him confidence.
The best bow hunters have impeccable timing. Timing is more than being at the right place at the right time. Good timing is related to your knowledge of animal habits and habitat. A successful bow hunter knows that deer and elk become more active when there is a sudden and drastic drop in temperature. He knows they are consistently more active in the first few hours of the day and where they feed. He also knows when he can draw his bow and shoot, when the opportunity is presented. Good timing is an enormous topic and is a key to success.
Patience and hard work are the last two ingredients. Staying focused on the mission through set-backs and disappointment is essential. Zoologists state that the cheetah achieves success less than 50 percent of the time and of those successes, half are stolen by other predators. Man is no cheetah, so don’t lose patience over failed stocking attempts. Failures come with the turf and should be expected. The hard work is not just leg work, but forcing oneself to be disciplined and patient at all levels of the hunt; from getting up hours before light, to tediously picking your foot path through dead sticks while always hunting into the wind.
All six ingredients of successful bow hunting depend and build on one another. Remove one of the ingredients and success will be greatly reduced. Consistent success in bow hunting can be achieved by consistently applying these six ingredients.