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Handling excitement when hunting, can we train for it?

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Unread 07-07-2006, 07:08 AM
Platinum Member
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 2,369
Handling excitement when hunting, can we train for it?

I was out again last evening making deer dissappear and during the dead space between my arrival and the calming of the location I got to thinking (dangerous stuff for me sometimes).

I decided to test myself and see if I could detect some change in my physical condition once the deer began to arrive. I was standing just inside the edge of the treeline holding the muzzle end of the barrel with the butt of my firearm resting on my foot. I decided to take my pulse while quiet and expecting no deer, upon first detection of deer arrival sound, deer actually in sight (the deer I intended to shoot) and immediately post shot. (Okay... I was bored but maybe we can learn a few things if a few folks do this type thing.)

Pulse check was a 30 second check then *2. Checks took about a minute a piece as I waited until the second hand was in the 12 or 6 o'clock position. So a 4 pulse event took at least 4 minutes of time.

I took my pulse four times during the quiet time before the spot calmed back down, 66, 68, 66, 66 so average ~66 bpm (beats per minute).

At the first sound of movement in the woooded area I was occupying, 70, 72, 70, 72 so ~ 71 bpm average.

Once a suitable deer was in sight (in this case the first deer). She arrived about 140 yards out and was feeding in a direction that would take her out of sight soon so only three pulse checks (I was rushed as I had promised a deer to my neighbor), 74, 74, 76 so average ~74 bpm.

Just after I fired the shot at the deer, 80, 74, 68.

For the first three checks I didn't need to move about, just sand still and hold the firearm. In order to shoot I needed to move my position to crouch behind a low straw bale used as a rest.

It seems to me that I still get a bit excited about deer but I don't think I'm in any danger of having an excitement induced heart attack either.

Anyone else have any observations or care to do a short "study"? Maybe we can train ourselves to calm down (I had a buddy that got wicked "Buck Fever" until he went through "counseling" with me).

Maybe we can get Ian to write an article... "Deer hunting... THE FIRST PROCEDURE IS TO TAKE YOUR OWN PULSE ."

(I really enjoyed the book, THOG and still apply law #3.)
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Unread 07-07-2006, 09:25 AM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Blackfoot, Idaho
Posts: 8,871
Re: Handling excitement when hunting, can we train for it?


By my standards you are 'stone cold'. My huntin' buddy laughs at me every time I see hide let alone a 'shooter'. If its a doe or 2 or 3 point I probably duplicate your numbers. If a good 4X or any elk I may get back to your numbers the next day....

My first buck, a real nice western PA 9pt, when I was 16, ran 60yds in the open at the shot. I didn't even see it! Also, the world was BLACK just prior to and at the shot. The deer made two long jumps, according to the blood spatter' prior to the shot. That's gotta be a bit more than "wicked" fever.

47yrs later its only a 'bit' better.

Maybe you could coordinate w/Shawn and tag a counseling session to the tail end of one of his classes for folks like me.
I may be the slowest guy on the mountain . . . . but . . . . I'm on the mountain!
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Unread 07-07-2006, 06:15 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Boise, Idaho
Posts: 419
Re: Handling excitement when hunting, can we train for it?

I'd bet that the larger the rack, the higher the pulse will be (this applies to other things as well [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img] ).

Anymore when I see a doe, I get a little jump and feel that short jolt of adrenaline - but if I saw a huge buck, I know that I would be as giddy as a little school girl and my pulse would skyrocket.
I keep nature balanced - I hunt everything!
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Unread 07-07-2006, 07:15 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: May 2006
Location: north dakota
Posts: 100
Re: Handling excitement when hunting, can we train for it?

When we all began shooting it was a dream to hit a target a 1000 yards away, now it expected to happen every time. It is a mechanical act to range, acquire position, target and then to fire. Now if you can just ignore all that horn. The more you hunt and shoot the more of a natural reflex it will become. I am lucky, where I live we can buy as many extra tags as we want so it is easy to take the edge off early in the season. I also shoot allot of coyotes to stay sharp. A coyote is always a good challenge with no bag limits. Few things get the heart pumping like a group of coyotes charging a call. If you can condition yourself to focus on the task at hand for just a few seconds your success rate will climb. That is one reason I prefer long range hunting. It is allot easier to stay cool while looking through a scope at a buck from 900 yards than it is to see one bust from cover at your feet. That being said, I could sit around and tell stories for hours. Some would make you laugh and some would make you cry. I think a missed chance every once in a while keeps our egos in check and keeps us trying to improve our skills.
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Unread 07-07-2006, 08:44 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: New Mexico
Posts: 244
Re: Handling excitement when hunting, can we train for it?

I think exposure has a lot to do with it. Before I began guiding other hunters, I would get excited at the sight of animals. After a number of years of numerous close encounters with animals, which were mostly low stress for me, since I wasn't shooting, I find that I don't get nearly as excited. Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy the experiences, but manage to avoid the fever most of the time. The exception is when i am coyote hunting. This still gets my blood flowing good as a coyote suddenly appears and comes running in.
Become sheep and the wolves will eat you!
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Unread 07-07-2006, 10:35 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 877
Re: Handling excitement when hunting, can we train for it?

Lanny Bassham "With winning in mind"

I had problems with "performance Jitters" back in my 3p and precision air rifle days. Shooting a match, after i threw down a couple of solid "pinwheel" tens, id know I was pulling ahead of the 2 guys I mainly competed against... and it never failed... there would be a 7 or 2 in the next few shots to knock it back down. The "gut matches" we shot which was basically the high pressure course of fire used to determine ties at nationals didn't help any either. I spoke to Lones Wigger about it when he came to coach our team and he turned me onto this book. He had a lot to say on the topic... since it basically cost him a medal the second time he went to the olympics. I don't have enough space on my wall around my loading bench to hang all the hardware this book helped me win.
Youve heard the saying about "ice water in his veins..." here is how to get it.


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Unread 07-08-2006, 08:07 AM
Platinum Member
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Sask. Canada
Posts: 2,410
Re: Handling excitement when hunting, can we train for it?

Great topic Dave. Something I am thinking about. Really interesting info you provided, would enjoy trying that in the field with my trusty blood pressure meter. Hmmmm.
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