With each hunt comes some degree of anticipation. Do you enjoy this feeling or simply wish it was go time, right now? When does it hit you? The night before? Week before? Month? Or it could be you’re a bit of a pessimist and even have some apprehension leading up to the hunt. Regardless, if you’re reading this article I can only assume there is a certain level of excitement that builds to one degree or another before heading afield.
I tend to believe this anxiety is part of what we enjoy about the sport. For most of us hunting is limited to a window in the Fall or an outing or two throughout the year depending on the species. Unless you’re super lucky and get to hunt ½ the year the actual time spent in the woods is fairly minimal in the grand scheme of things. The preparation and journey is just as much a part of the experience as killing is.
Do you embrace it? I do. Training for a Western hunt is part of it. Practicing archery in the back yard or trying different brands/loads on the range falls into the preparation for and anticipation of the hunt. Who doesn’t like gearing up? I hate going to the store shopping. But, put a hunting gear catalogue or discussion about the latest upgrade I can make to my setup and I’m happy as a pig in sh_t.
Depending on if you’re stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something for the first time you can gain a tremendous amount of knowledge. We should always strive to continuously learn and grow. What better way than hunt a species or location you never have before. The map research, reading, phone calls, forums, etc. These help make up the pregame show.
As you prepare for a morning hunt in the back yard or a week long backcountry excursion, enjoy it. Learn from it. Savor it. It’s all a part of the journey. If you don’t have any eagerness or longing to be out there at some point prior to the actual event you may want to consider a new hobby. Remember, this is fun. Live. Make memories. Share. Good luck and make it happen.