By the time you read this, I should be deep in a canyon, surrounded by red rocks and mesquite trees. The mental preparation for this trip began long ago. What would I need to pack? What rifle would I use? Where would I go? These are all very important. Most importantly is the mindset that will get us to our final goal. The taking of a life, any life, is almost religious in nature. It is a responsibility that I do not take lightly. This magnificent animal will provide sustenance to my family throughout the year, and it's sacrifice will not be forgotten. Heavenly Father placed beasts upon this Earth to serve man, that does not give man the right to abuse these resources. It is my responsibility as a sportsman to insure that I make a clean kill, to insure that nothing is wasted, and to manage what I take wisely, so that others may follow in my path.
It is not about the kill, that is secondary and anti-climactic. The endorphins that are released into the body when you have made the decision to take an animal are powerful and difficult too control. It is man at his basic form, a hunter, some call it a relic of our distant past. A cruder form of society that has no place today. I challenge them with this, think of your last steak, did that cow suffer more or less than my deer? I already know the answer. Do you? Forgive my wild tangent, back on topic, endorphins. The taking of an animal makes you a predator, very close to the top of the food chain. It puts meat into your hands, protein that will give you life and make you stronger. The deepest part of your subconscious realizes this and dumps chemicals into your body to prepare you for the fight. Senses are heightened, respiration and heart rate go up. Muscles tense as your visual acuity goes up. You become attuned to the slightest sound, the rustle of leaves in the breeze seems louder than before. These are all great for fighting, but we are not fighting, we have to pull a trigger on a rifle.
These things are things that must be overcome to make a clean shot. Your body must be able to relax and focus on the fundamentals of shooting. I have found that mental exercises long before we reach this point allow me to keep my body under control. Almost as if you were mediating, imagine yourself shooting at animals in the field, under many different conditions, in many types of terrain. This allows your mind to follow thru all the steps without the distraction of an adrenaline dump. Every hunter, whether he admits it or not, has seen his cross hairs wildly moving as he tries too settle down and make the shot. Mentally preparing to take the shot ahead of time will make this easier, and allow you to put more meat on the table. To me there is little more satisfying than preparing and serving a meal that I have harvested myself.