Locavore Blog: Preparing for Deer Hunting

How do you prepare for deer hunting?

No, really, I’d like to know.

Part of me is excited and part of me is incredibly intimidated as I work through learning archery in time for the upcoming fall season. It’s not the issue of actually killing the deer for meat (although at the actual time of contact, that still may be a factor) because as a meat eater, I’m aware that animals had to be slaughtered to appear on my plate — whether the meat be from a friend’s farm or from the grocery store (where I find myself rarely buying anything aside from the pantry staples and organic vegetables and hope to disown much of the commercial chain as we plant our first huge garden this year).

Practicing on a sunny day in Vermont.

Practicing on a sunny day in Vermont.

No, it’s the idea of being under pressure, buck in front of me, lined up in my site, and…then do I pull the release? Does the arrow hit where I think it will hit? Or will the animal be wounded and run, leaving me guilty and trembling?

I’m not sure that my previous experiences have really prepared me for this new one. Somehow I think that a stressful boardroom presentation isn’t quite the same type of stress I’ll feel when I have to release the trigger after deciding to commit to the buck in front of me.

I figure this will be something I think about constantly until I’m actually in the moment and have adrenaline propelling me forward, pushing me on, and when I do get my first buck, I know I will be a flood of different emotions. I keep thinking that thankfulness will be the main emotion that surfaces in knowing that the deer before me will feed me and my family. I will use the hide as I have a friend who has promised to show me how to tan them as he used to do it years ago. I will use and preserve as much of any deer I get as I can.

The author is excitedly looking forward to her first close encounter with a deer — any deer — while hunting. (photo by Dan Schmidt)

The author is excitedly looking forward to her first close encounter with a deer — any deer — while hunting. (photo by Dan Schmidt)

Any way we harvest our own food connects us at an intimate level. Whether that food be the trophy buck, fresh eggs from the chicks we raised or a full plate of greens plucked from the garden minutes before dinner, being in control and connected is what makes the experience about more than just food. This idea is one I’ve been pondering for months, possibly years, and learning to hunt makes the ideas come full circle.

How do you prepare?

2 thoughts on “Locavore Blog: Preparing for Deer Hunting

  1. colohuntress

    I think you hit the nail on the head…it’s an intimate connection that I feel gratitude towards each and every day! Like you, this will be my first year big game bow hunting and I am a little worried about the nerves…to say the least. In all honesty, to prepare, I have stuck to the old adage..”practice makes perfect”. My first goal is to practice shooting every day, even it’s only one shot, just get it in! My second goal is to shoot several times a week with an elevated heart rate…adds quite a challenge. Lastly, I try to hit as many 3D shoots in my area as possible. For me, the pressure of actually being watched…aka judged…by strangers make me extremely nervous!
    Our preparation may never be over, but the journey is worth each and every step and I only hope to get a little bit better from one day to the next!

  2. cowboystl1

    it took me 21 years to put it all together with a bow vs a gun i was burning them down at a young age.
    My issue was i get so excited i would not fallow my basics that i practiced when shot every day shooting the adrenaline is very powerful for me i can barely control my basic motor functions i have gotten over this by talking myself through each step to release and that has made me very successful. instead of the deer i focus on what i am doing my alignment sight picture and where i want my arrow to exit the deer. i still dont hear the impact like everyone else seems to but i do see my arrow hit right where i put it vs sailing over the deer like so many times years past. I realize its different for everyone but my buck fever is just as bad today as the first time i ever had a deer encounter i shake uncontrollably and cant breath even when not shooting a deer just seeing them while being in a tree or blind makes me come apart lol. some things need to be muscle memory but you still need to focus on making a great shot just like shooting your targets at the house

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