Everyone starts somewhere but, for your first trophy hunt, you may want to start by tuning up your hunting skills.
Of course, most hunters don’t venture forth in pursuit of big game unless they’ve been hunting for years (or decades). But the chances are good that your skills have never been tested like they will be this time.
Make the very best of this special big game trophy hunt by making sure you are prepared.
Get In the Zone
Trophy hunting is the Holy Grail for hunters. It’s both exciting and nerve wracking, but rampant emotions can be enough to put you off our game. Many a seasoned hunter has, in the excitement of the moment, blown that once-in-a-lifetime shot. Fortunately, with a little preparation, you can avoid that kind of mental lapse.
Take a page from the elite athlete’s playbook and work on your mental game before your trophy hunt. Concentration exercises are helpful as is meditation, as this will help you clear you head of background noises and distractions.
On the trophy hunt, you will be pushed to make instant decisions – to take the shot or not – and the intense focus of a calm mind can make all the difference. On the other end of the spectrum, many hours may pass in what seems like endless waiting. Despite these mental and emotional ups and downs, you must be prepared for quick action, and mental preparation will enable you to do just that.
Practice visualizing your goals, picture yourself posing for photos with your trophy and imagine how you’ll feel when it becomes a reality.
Work on Your Physical Fitness
Whether your first trophy hunt will take you in search of moose, elk, pronghorn antelope, mule deer, or another sought-after trophy, you will be physically challenged.
Most trophy hunts involve hiking arduous – and likely unfamiliar – terrain in search of your quarry. You will enjoy the experience much more if you invest some time in physical conditioning. It’s also likely that your trophy hunt will take place at an unfamiliar elevation. Prepare by combining cardiovascular workouts with weight training – which will also help prepare you for carrying your pack.
Consider talking with a trainer or athletic conditioning coach for recommendations, and always be sure to check with your doctor before starting a new fitness regiment!
Of course, not all hunts must be this demanding. If you prefer to skip the arduous physical preparation, or if your mobility is limited, you can select a trophy hunt that allows you to take aim from the comfort and convenience of a front porch chair.
Work on Your Hunting Marksmanship
Even if you are an accomplished marksman, it won’t help you on your first big trophy hunt if you haven’t practiced with a moving target. You will have a lightning-fast window of opportunity to take – and make – that shot.
Tightening up your skills is even more important if you will be working with a new rifle, crossbow or muzzle-loader.
Practice sighting and become intimately familiar with your equipment. Consider how it may respond differently during the hunt, when the conditions may be rougher, darker, colder or faster than those in which you’ve practiced.
When you take advantage of guided hunts, much of the preparation is handled for you. For example, you have little need to study the terrain, carry maps or follow a compass. That’s what your guides are for. But, as much as your guides will assist you in achieving your first trophy, your own physical and mental preparation will help you relax and enjoy the experience that much more, knowing you’re ready for whatever comes along.
The R & K Hunting Company is the premier hunting outfitter and private guide in the Intermountain West. We offer exclusive guided hunts, tailor made for you, at the finest, exclusive Wyoming and Utah retreats.
Call on us and we will ensure that you will always treasure the memory of your first trophy hunt.