Preparation is an interesting concept. From the old scouting motto of ‘be prepared’ to the new word of the day ‘doomsday preppers’, it means one thing; being ready.
For deer season, preparation includes things such as planting food plots, scouting for funnel areas and game trails, setting stands, and sighting in weapons. Even the daydreaming that consists of visualizing the big buck come out and taking the shot is a form of preparation for what may come.
And then there is over-preparation. This will sound strange and contradictory but I am not a believer in over preparation myself. However I do believe you can convince yourself of something and become so expectant on the foreshadowed result that when it does not go exactly to plan, mistakes will result.
For instance, I have been fortunate to escape the anxiety of so called ‘buck fever’. Granted, I have only been in a position in which I was even within shooting range of the ‘big one’ a couple of times, and then only when I could not take the shot due to either legal shooting hours or the shot just not presenting itself to make it ethically. On opening day last year I was prepared to take a big doe or buck. I did all the things mentioned earlier. I knew when the deer would come out. In fact, the first doe came out within 10 minutes of when I expected, at exactly the location I expected. She walked up to within 10 yards of my stand. The problem was I was not prepared for the other five deer than came out right behind her and kept looking toward her. By looking at her, they were also looking in my direction, making it all but impossible to draw the bow for the fatal shot.
For those that do not know, I am an avid bowhunter. Over the last decade of my life the bow has become as much a part of me as any piece of clothing or facial feature I may have. I bowhunt year round, and have become extremely fond of bowfishing as well. But I have never competed in an archery competition.
Until this weekend.
I have shot in a couple of 3-d tournaments in which I did not keep score. A 3-d tournament is one in which targets designed as game animals are placed at different yardages in natural cover (usually in the woods) so that the archer has to judge distance and accurately hit the target in what would be the vital area of a real animal. The vital area is then sectioned off to smaller circular areas that count for higher points if hit.
The first tournament I shot in was at Cherry Point. It was mainly a way for me to, here comes that word, prepare for hunting seasons by visualizing the game in a natural setting. The second tournament was located in the mountains. It was a charity fundraiser shoot. My nephews and oldest son tagged along and we got to walk a beautiful course in a fun and challenging location. Each time I shot my hunting bow the way I have it set up for hunting, you know, since I was preparing for hunting season.
Now we are to this weekend. I recently took a position with Ben Pearson Archery as their Marketing and Media Director. Basically it means I write some stories for them, assist in some social media advertising, and get the thrill of being associated with the oldest bow manufacturer in the U.S. It also meant I would be abandoning the bow I have used for the last five years. Short story here is I sold my old bow and ordered my new Ben Pearson bow. The two week void between the new bow arrival and the sale of my old bow left me feeling as if I forgot to wear clothes.
Even worse, my new bow arrives within days of when I am to leave to Florida to shoot competition in an environment foreign to me. How do I prepare for this?
I prepare the same as with anything. I just have to be a lot more flexible in my preparation so I can expect whatever may happen. In this case, it is like preparing for the hunt before you know what you will be hunting with. I still scout, only this time by studying the animal targets that will be used. I still study where I will be ‘hunting’, only this time by watching videos of last year’s competition at the same facility.
I stay focused, but ready for whatever may be encountered. I just have to focus on a much larger picture with more variables rather than a singular task.
And as I prepare, and I now start setting up my equipment, I find that I have prepared myself to understand my equipment better. I have the forethought to be ready quicker without taking shortcuts and jeopardizing the experience. I have also found a lesson in preparation that will carry over to future quests.
The Western North Carolina Archery Circuit is composed of five clubs and will resume their competition February 9, 2013. The schedule and locations can be seen at www.blueridgebowhunters.org.
The Central Carolina Archery Association consists of eight clubs and will begin their schedule on February 10, 2013. They can be found at www.centralcarolinaarchery.com.
The Downeast Archery Coalition consists of five clubs and will begin their schedule on February 17, 2013. They can be found at www.downeastarchery.homestead.com.
Each association is off this weekend for the Archery Shooters Association (ASA) Easton Pro/Am in Newberry, Florida.