My grandpa recently said in conversation, “There is something that happens when the weather turns cold and fall approaches; as a man wants to go on the hunt.” I think this statement embodies how we all feel as outdoors people, waiting for summer to pass and hunting seasons to begin.
The idea of going on the hunt is no longer as simple as the days when my grandpa enjoyed the outdoors. There is now a complexity to hunting that requires outdoor enthusiasts to plan well in advance. As I plan for my late summer and fall hunts, I refer to various checklists as I begin all the preparation. The first details relate to the timing of the hunt, the location, the game we will be pursuing and coordination of the #balance of life. All of us have to find the time in life to pursue our passions and coordinating with our kids and loved ones is always a priority.
Equally important is being prepared physically for my hunts. There is a direct correlation to being ready for the physical requirements to the level of enjoyment and success of a hunt. Hiking in the mountains, walking 6 to 10 miles a day and carrying a pack with average weight of 30 to 45 pounds requires me to prepare months in advance to be ready. I don’t believe you can start two weeks out from the day you leave and expect have your body perform at the level you will need it. I like to believe it’s a year-round process.
Knowing I am proficient with the weapon(s) I plan to use is as important as being physically fit. This process is also a year-round undertaking, making sure my bow shoots well out to 70 and 80 yards and my firearm is proficient at more than 500 yards. It is always my goal to have my archery shots under 40 and my firearm shots under 300, yet having the proficiency at longer yardages creates a built-in confidence I need to have in the moment of truth.
With my ultimate goal of every hunt being to enjoy the moment, I always make sure I have checked and re-checked all my lists and ultimately my gear so nothing is left to chance. I never leave home without my raingear, my binoculars, my satellite phone, DSLR camera and a handful of other absolute necessities that make me feel secure. I also approach each hunt with minimal expectations, so that the reality is often something I never dreamed would come true. I do believe this has allowed me to fully enjoy the moments.
Jeremy Elbert is the host of Wildlife Pursuit on the Pursuit Channel and Midco SN. He is a Scheels Pro staffer and Fargo area native.