By Billy Pryor
Whenever a hunter first sees a deer, whether it's a 200-inch buck or a doe, the body's natural reaction is for adrenaline to kick in. The heart begins to pound and buck fever begins its assault on our nerves. If you are an experienced hunter, you know exactly what I'm talking about.
As a longtime bowhunter, I have a surefire method of training that prepares heart and mind for undesirable reactions when a deer first appears in front of my ground blinds, up close and personal.
In an area where I can safely practice shooting, I set up a blind with pre-determined shooting lanes. I place a block target just outside the window, get inside the blind and hang my bow, being careful to point the broadhead-tipped arrow in a direction where I won't hurt myself for what I'm about to do.
Next, I quickly scramble out of the blind, race to the target, run it to the 20-yard mark, then race back inside the blind, and prepare to shoot.
While I am out of breath and my heart is pounding, I reach for my bow, draw and make the shot as smoothly and calmly as I can.
I repeat the process at different yardages, increasing my heart rate and breathing to replicate my body's reaction to encountering a deer. I have found there is a lot of difficulty aiming and drawing when the heart is racing, but now I know what to expect and my accuracy under duress is greatly increased.
This exercise helps me prepare for a real life scenario of heart-racing action, and I am much better prepared to control the shakes at the moment of truth. Try it and you'll see!