Become a Creature of Habit


By Steve Bartylla

We’ve been trained to avoid falling into ruts. After all, if we take the same route into the woods every time or hunt our favorite stands too often, we risk having deer pattern us. Still, some habits are good.

One is making a last check of the hourly weather before hitting the woods. More often than you think, that can tip you off to a sudden change.

For afternoon hunts, I’ve found that shooting a couple practice arrows before hitting the shower is invaluable. Hunting is much more of a mental game than most believe. Taking those couple of shots alerts me to potential equipment issues and increases my confidence that I can make the shot when it counts.

Another good habit is performing a highly detailed and thorough series of odor-control steps before each hunt. Each hunter takes a somewhat different approach. Still, you should bring the fewest items required to the woods and make sure each one is treated.

When climbing trees, always perform a quick inspection of straps and cables on the stand and climbing aides. Your well being and life are worth it.

When inside a blind or on stand, mentally play out how almost any shot opportunity could occur. If an obstacle could impede the shot, practice a mock shot to see if it will. Determine what adjustments should be made before the real shot opportunity arises. You’re more likely to succeed if you’re mentally prepared.

In hunting, not all habits are bad. Some can be your best friends.


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