PRACTICE OR CRY
by Ted Nugent
We’ve all been there. Indescribable sacrifice and all those muscle numbing months, weeks, days and hours on stand, trying to outsmart the backstrappers of our dreams, when finally that magic moment of truth arrives, and, we blow it. Curses!
We all know that us humans are painfully fallible creatures, but there is no way out from under the agony of a blown shot, regardless whether bullet or arrow.
And then, horror of horrors, often, it happens again.
I hate that.
Have you ever thought of just quitting? I certainly have on more than a few occasions in the past. In fact the memories are so painful I refuse to regurgitate the ugly details of any of them here with you now. Who needs it?
Being the hyper uppity, exposed raw nerve ending kind of bowhunting guitar nut that I am, it took me many, many very trying years to finally figure out this malady on my own, and if the professional, fulltime nutjob MotorCity MadMan can figure it out, I assure you, anybody can.
As human beings, it is likely that we will never totally eliminate the curse of bad shots, but there exists a pretty simple, proven system by which we can remedy this damning phenomenon quite handily in a very short period of time, IF we truly apply ourselves.
Believe it when they say, it’s 99% mental.
Step 1-Stop, relax, take a deep breath, maybe look deep into your own eyeballs in a mirror, and tell yourself you are not going to miss anymore. And mean it. I am not referring to a casual note to one’s self. I’m talking about a hardcore, serious as a heart attack, clenched fist, moment in time contract with God. A solemn promise on a stack of Bibles oath kind of thing.
Up thoughtful review, in the big scheme of things, if sounds ridiculously simple doesn’t it, maybe even too good to be true. But I am here to tell you, a serious psychological commitment to becoming a killer shot represents, for lack of a better description, the whole shooting match. Really.
Based on the level of migraine inducing torture I have personally experienced and witnessed by my fellow hunters after an inexplicable blown shot, my proposed remedy is a gimme.
For many years now, I have the good fortune of guiding hundreds of hunters each season in various hunting camps around the world, and what I see and hear is very telling. We make it a point to always shoot our bows and guns together, and watching someone shoot speaks volumes as to his or her capabilities with bow and gun.
Be it known that there are many archers and marksmen far superior to your humble guitarplayer out there, and we can all learn much from these dead-eye, precision shooters.
The best shots all have one thing in common; they look and shoot smoothly and comfortably, with a fluidity derived from many, many hours at the range. Simply stated, they are obviously one with their bows and guns. Their every move is confident, graceful and sure, their weapon a natural extension of their very being.
Conversely, the bad shots also have certain traits and movements in common that can best be described as awkward and uncertain. Too many riflemen squirm and gyrate in an attempt to find the target in the scope. They usually fumble with the bolt or lever action, seemingly uncomfortable with the feel and function of the gun. You can tell right away they have not invested adequate effort and time to become at home with their gun and the shooting process overall. That, my friends, is simply a choice.
When I see an archer struggle whatsoever when drawing their bow, I know we are in for some trouble. The curse of accuracy destroying, over-bowed bowhunters must come to a screeching halt as soon as possible.
Shooting a few bullseyes at the range does not an archer make. I see them looking to connect the arrow knock to the string, searching to find the string loop with their release caliper, bouncing the arrow off the rest, and basically shooting with inexperienced, clumsy, bad anti-archery form. To do so is also a choice.
It all boils down to the number one violation of not shooting enough to become one with the shooting sequence and feel for their weapon. It takes many, many hours, many, many days and many, many shots to develop a meaningful deadliness with bow and gun.
Add into the equation, the mind rattling intensity when in the heat of battle, when the beast is about to give it to us, it is imperative that our training kicks into auto pilot. Muscle and psyche memory from effective training through prolonged, intelligent practice will go a long way in reducing, and I believe, nearly eliminating missed shots on game.
I am well aware of the fact that hunting means different things in varying degrees to different people, in a multitude of ways. Some of us absolutely live for our cherished time afield, others approach recreational hunting as a casual get away from the yearlong daily hustle bustle of everyday life. And that’s all well and good. However, not only does a blown shot cause anger and an overall sense of frustration, but much more important than this personal consideration is the fact that a less than perfect shot can unnecessarily wound and possible waste a game animal that so much time and money has been invested in.
We all know that we can all make mistakes. It is up to us conscientious, reasoning predators to do everything in our power to make sure we make the best shot humanly possible everytime we unleash our projectiles at a living animal.
Prioritizing scheduling to maximize time at the range is a primary responsibility of every caring hunter. And if the nearest range is difficult to get too with any regularity, then there are alternative practice procedures that are available to everybody, anywhere, anytime.
We can derive much desirable familiarity with our bows and guns right in the convenience of our own homes. The living room, basement, backyard, even the garage can accommodate meaningful practice time. The simple act of drawing our bow, settling the sight, and squeezing off a controlled shot into a proper target is very effective even at ten feet in the garage or living room.
Handling, mounting, sight, breathing and dry fire trigger control can all be accomplished just about anywhere, and will go a long way in training us to be one with our deer rifle or weapon of choice. I won’t bother harping on safety considerations, just as I don’t feel its necessary to tell you to wear clothes when going outdoors. I have immanent faith in my fellow man.
As my old man used to tell me; practice, practice, practice, then practice some more.
If we are sincere in our desire to avoid the horrible feelings of blown shots, then the answer is simple- put our hearts and souls into being the best that we can be by putting forth the effort needed to become one with our weapons of choice. More practice equals more backstraps. Go for it.