Mental blockade...

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dan
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Mental blockade...

Unread postby dan » Wed Jun 08, 2011 4:43 am

We have discussed almost all of the issues effecting us as hunters on this site probably several times over... But one thing I have not seen disscussed much are the problems associated with hunting big bucks that are caused "mentally".

One problem I see a lot with guys who have become "good" mature buck hunters getting to "think" they are great. And well, maybe they are great... But, they start to think they are the only ones that know how to kill big bucks because they are the best in there circle of friends.
What happens is they become close minded to learning new ideas, or tactics that work on other properties...

Another "mental issue" is when a guy learns a lot about how to kill mature bucks and has advanced his scouting, but lacks in confidance that is gained in killing mature bucks...
This can become compounded if the hunter is holding out for big bucks and does not have much experiance "killing" deer... Besides good scouting and sets, a good hunter has to become good at killing. Learning how to kill deer is best on does or small bucks. The time to learn when to draw, how close to get, etc. is not while your looking at the buck of a lifetime...

Thought? additions? comments?


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xpauliber
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Re: Mental blockade...

Unread postby xpauliber » Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:11 am

I think confidence in your setup cannot be overstated. It is such a HUGE part of the mental game for me. If I don't have confidence in my spot, or the wind changes partway through my hunt, I get so disgusted that every 5 minutes on stand feels like 5 hours and I end up climbing down and leaving.

I can recall the night before rifle season as a kid not being able to sleep at night because I knew that the next day, a big buck could come running by at any minute. Now that I've grown in my archery career, I take that same mentality with me into the archery woods because I have confidence in my setups. Now, I can't sleep the night before the archery opener and I hope that I don't have to go out on the first day of rifle.

I can sit for hours, even all day, and enjoy it because I've done my homework and I know that at anytime a whopper could come by. I've talked with people that struggle to stay on stand the first 2 hours in the morning or the last 2 hours in the evening. I really believe it's because of a lack of confidence in their setups.

I read somewhere that before you set a stand, you should ask yourself, "Why am I putting my stand here?" If your answer is, "because this is where there's some deer sign", then you aren't going to have confidence in your setup. You should be able to say something like, "I'm putting my stand here because I know they bed at the tip of this ridge, they drop down and feed in the corn in the evenings. I can access this spot undetected by walking the creekbed and using a west wind. The deer will be walking passed me with a crosswind in the evening on their way to the cornfield." If you know that much information about WHY you're hunting a particular spot, then you are going to have a TON more confidence in your spot and be that much more focused when you hunt it.
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Re: Mental blockade...

Unread postby cornfedkiller » Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:15 am

Excellent post Dan..that all makes a ton of sense for sure.

I have a question to add- Do you feel that killing does is adequate practice for killing that buck of a lifetime, or do you feel its a totally different mental game when that big buck is standing under you?

Reason I ask is, because if its not the same, how do you practice for killing those big bucks if you want to let the smaller deer walk? I feel like I have no problem killing does, but I feel that would all be different with a mature deer under me. My problem is that I dont want to shoot smaller deer, even if it is just for 'practice', so what can I do to help me gain that confidence needed when the time comes aside from shooting a bunch of 1.5-2.5 year old bucks?
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Re: Mental blockade...

Unread postby magicman54494 » Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:21 am

Along with that line of thought and by far my biggest obstacle in becoming a better hunter is unlearning the things that I used to believe were true. When I saw something that didn't fit the mold I would try to pass it off as something out of the norm and of no use. I find that I have had to force myself to realize that everything (especially when it comes to mature whitetails) happens for a good reason and holds great value. Old habits die hard! I think it's the #1 reason hunters who don't shoot big ones probably never will and the hunters that are successful continue to be. Both sets of hunters continues to do the same thing each year and they continue to get the same results! In learning a new hunting method you first have to convince yourself to unlearn your old ways then have enough faith to stick with the new method long enough to see the results.
From a personal standpoint, success came only when I realized that mature deer are different and needed to be hunted different. Up until that point I just hoped my old methods would produce a mature buck.
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Re: Mental blockade...

Unread postby Hodag Hunter » Wed Jun 08, 2011 6:01 am

I agree along the lines with Magic. I have killed a pile of deer with the bow and gun....a really big pile. :oops: How many were "big" bucks? Not many.

This is where the "un-learning" is tough to do to just chase the big boys.

I have always had a knack for finding deer and killing them even in low deer denisty areas....was out shooting the old man at a young age but the quality was never there for me.

About 6 years ago now, made a decision to only try and shoot 3.5 or older bucks with still taking a doe or two. The kill count has really slowed down the past few years. :lol: :shock:

A big eye opener was the spring scout with Dan and Magic......found myself saying to myself, this would be a good tree or this spot looks real good, but it fact they were not good spots at all for mature deer. Sooooo much to learn and un-learn yet.
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Re: Mental blockade...

Unread postby Wrinkleneck » Wed Jun 08, 2011 7:06 am

I guess I never really had a mental block, as I have only started to take bow hunting whitetails serious the last 5 - 6 years. So if I have a mental block I blame it all on the BEAST!!!! ;)
By the way this is a great topic. Always willing to learn something new.
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Re: Mental blockade...

Unread postby dan » Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:40 am

Do you feel that killing does is adequate practice for killing that buck of a lifetime, or do you feel its a totally different mental game when that big buck is standing under you?

Yes and no... Its a stepping block. Learning to kill deer, any deer, takes time spent killing deer.
Shooting does helps a lot. When I was young I would kill about 1 out of 5 deer that came into my set ups. Now I kill about 4 out of 5, if not more. I believe thats totally because I have mastered stand placment, shot placement, when to pull the bow back, patence, etc...

However, you still have to get over the mental block of "buck fever" when the buck of your dreams comes walking into view.
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Re: Mental blockade...

Unread postby BackWoodsHunter » Wed Jun 08, 2011 10:37 am

My biggest mental block, besides lacking confidence, is that I hesistate too long EVERYTIME and tend to miss opportunities. I think its a combined lack of experience and lack of "kills" under my belt that causes me to second guess and hesitate usually missing my best opportunity. I always think "maybe he'll come closer" or "maybe thats too far" and I hesitate missing my opportunity.


Also, I've shot AT my fair share of does and small bucks in search of that experience but I always end up giving them quite the scares and they always jump the string. I hate to be the guy that blames his equipment but my old bow shot sooooooo sloooooowwwww and made this funny "slap" noise when I released and it gave the deer a real "heads up" that and arrow was coming. I recently upgraded and am hoping this year to put a 2.5yr old deer or older down I think thats fair goal for this year especailly considering the lack of deer in our area....


I agree though my biggest struggle is confidence and timing I guess...I draw back at the wrong times and hesitate when I should be shooting....
"The history of the bow and arrow is the history of mankind." Fred Bear
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Re: Mental blockade...

Unread postby Swampthing » Wed Jun 08, 2011 12:38 pm

A mental obstacle i,ve endured is the waiting for the PERFECT shot syndrome. I,ve had nice bucks that have offered me decent shot oppurtunities and I,ll hesitate and then it,s too late. You put so muck effort into everything going into the hunt,that you don,t wanta screw it up.
I,ve been trying to train myself to just take the first descent shot oppurtunity I,m given by the deer.
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Re: Mental blockade...

Unread postby Swampthing » Wed Jun 08, 2011 12:48 pm

xpauliber wrote:I think confidence in your setup cannot be overstated. It is such a HUGE part of the mental game for me. If I don't have confidence in my spot, or the wind changes partway through my hunt, I get so disgusted that every 5 minutes on stand feels like 5 hours and I end up climbing down and leaving.

I can recall the night before rifle season as a kid not being able to sleep at night because I knew that the next day, a big buck could come running by at any minute. Now that I've grown in my archery career, I take that same mentality with me into the archery woods because I have confidence in my setups. Now, I can't sleep the night before the archery opener and I hope that I don't have to go out on the first day of rifle.

I can sit for hours, even all day, and enjoy it because I've done my homework and I know that at anytime a whopper could come by. I've talked with people that struggle to stay on stand the first 2 hours in the morning or the last 2 hours in the evening. I really believe it's because of a lack of confidence in their setups.

I read somewhere that before you set a stand, you should ask yourself, "Why am I putting my stand here?" If your answer is, "because this is where there's some deer sign", then you aren't going to have confidence in your setup. You should be able to say something like, "I'm putting my stand here because I know they bed at the tip of this ridge, they drop down and feed in the corn in the evenings. I can access this spot undetected by walking the creekbed and using a west wind. The deer will be walking passed me with a crosswind in the evening on their way to the cornfield." If you know that much information about WHY you're hunting a particular spot, then you are going to have a TON more confidence in your spot and be that much more focused when you hunt it.

Your right on the money.Confidence is the Key. I,ve found myself having a open weekend for hunting but with no good leads on a good deer.You tell yourself ,"Well I can,t shot a buck sitting in my truck".So you just pick a spot and hope for the best. Your finished b4 you even hit the tree. Cause your not getting there early or staying late or as meticulous with your entry or stand set-up.I,ve also noticed that when I,m onto a solid lead I,m doing everything BY - THE -BOOK and it just a totally different mind-set.
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Re: Mental blockade...

Unread postby Autumn Ninja » Thu Jun 09, 2011 11:35 am

This subject has always interested me....I've met hundreds of people that know bow hunting inside and out....when, why, how, they can quote facts and strategies like there reading straight out of the "How to kill mature bucks" hand book......But they cant kill one and probably never will. Some sort of Mental blockade I guess?

They have recognition down pat, interpretation usually starts to get sketchy and when it comes to application there completely lost.
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Re: Mental blockade...

Unread postby virginiashadow » Thu Jun 09, 2011 3:24 pm

Just like there are superior sports athletes, there are superior deer hunters. And there are superior mature buck hunters. Some people are "great" mature buck hunters because of where they hunt. Some great mature buck hunters luckily hunt in plentiful big buck areas, making them big buck killing machines. Other "average" hunters hunt down and kill 2.5-3.5 year old bucks on hard to hunt areas, yet are only deemed "average" by their fellow hunters. The list goes on and on. That being said, I MUST have a mental blockade. :)

The best thing I ever did was let go of any type of ego in the deer woods. When I did that about 3-4 years ago, my learning curve accelerated.
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Re: Mental blockade...

Unread postby KLEMZ » Fri Jun 10, 2011 3:58 am

dan wrote:One problem I see a lot with guys who have become "good" mature buck hunters getting to "think" they are great. And well, maybe they are great... But, they start to think they are the only ones that know how to kill big bucks because they are the best in there circle of friends.
What happens is they become close minded to learning new ideas, or tactics that work on other properties...


An observation..
I enjoy reading the Wisconsin Outdoor News. Each issue has 2 or 3 pages of reader "trophy" photos. 100% of kids are grinning ear to ear. 100% of women are grinning ear to ear. But, a full 50% of guys pictured with trophy deer are dead serious in their picture. Each issue is the same. I'm not sure why but I assume it is related to the mental blockade theory.
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Re: Mental blockade...

Unread postby KLEMZ » Sun Jun 12, 2011 6:18 am

This thread was clipping along nicely until my previous comment of guys taking trophy buck hunting so seriously. I see it came off a bit harsh.
I believe a big reason for all the seriousness in those photos is the same reason why "buck fever" causes us (me) to miss seemingly simple shots at deer. I think we worry to much about what other people think. I think thats a major reason we miss.(If I miss then I'm not as good as the next guy). Perhaps one reason some guys kill big bucks consitantly is they are past that "worrying " part of growing as a hunter (and as a human being). It is a difficult lesson to learn. I'm 51 years old and I'm not totally there yet.
Kind of "deep", but it is a factor IMHO.
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Re: Mental blockade...

Unread postby dan » Sun Jun 12, 2011 6:45 am

Peer pressure certainly can be a mental blockade to overcome... So can an over desire to succeed.


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