Today’s blog post is brought to you by our fabulous blogger and outdoor guru, Katlyn Spade.
Tracking animals and landing a kill requires a creative mindset, but 78% of workers feel they lack creative abilities. One way to improve your hunting is by honing this skill, so consider combining the hunt with a creative activity like drawing. You may already impose certain obstacles, such as limiting your weapons, to make the hobby even more fulfilling, but by adding the act of drawing into your hunting trip, you can increase your performance. Here’s how sketching can take your enjoyment of hunting to the next level.
Calming Your Pre-Hunt Nerves
When you're sketching your environment, you're forced to take the time to examine it more closely. This is actually a form of mindfulness meditation. You are becoming more present and in tune with the world around you, leaving you feeling calm. Hunters can be negatively affected by feelings of anxiety or anger, so using drawing as a form of meditation can calm your nerves and increase your chances of landing a kill. It doesn’t matter how good your drawings are. This part of the sketching process is more about observation than creating art. Rather than trying to draw what you think something looks like, closely observe the subject and draw what it really looks like. You will then be able to feel a sense of focus and calm so that you can respond quickly and effectively when there is something to hunt.
Forming Deeper Bonds With Nature
Many people hunt because they love being out in the wild and feeling like a part of the ecosystem. However, as humans it's easy to feel disconnected from all that. Spending time drawing the plants and animals you find helps you to feel more connected to them. By being in tune with wildlife, your prey becomes more predictable, and you will be more likely to land a kill. If you're not a confident artist, begin with basic shape outlines of birds or animals before adding the detail. If you're drawing a bird then you'll have to make yourself still and quiet so as not to scare it off while you add the finer details. Ordinarily, the bird would be alerted to your presence and would flee, allowing you no opportunity for connection. With a sketch pad in hand, you will get to know wildlife more closely through observation. More importantly, however, you are becoming more efficient at stalking and tracking your prey without them noticing.
Enhance Cognitive Capabilities
There is another benefit to performing creative tasks while out hunting. Drawing or sketching will actually improve your performance in this sport. This is because it keeps your mind stimulated so that your cognitive performance improves, and you can bring home more impressive kills. Firstly, sketching requires patience and focus, which are both essential to a successful hunt. Secondly, it is creative so it uses a different part of the brain to solve problems. This means that when you head out into the woods, you will be able to come up with more original and effective hunting techniques.
Hunting and sketching may not be an obvious combination, but it makes sense when you think about it. You are surrounded by beautiful countryside, so why not capture it? Doing so will help you to become a better hunter by calming down nerves or anger, while also being less likely to disturb prey and improving your cognitive performance. Creative hunters have more original techniques, along with the focus required for a successful hunt.
Today's blog post is brought to you by our fabulous blogger and outdoor guru, Katlyn Spade.
Start The Hunting Season At The Top Of Your Game
Two of the most common areas of the body injured by bowhunters are the rotator cuff and the forearm due to the actions required in bowhunting. During the off-season, many hunters neglect to train these areas, which can cause strain and the increased likelihood of injury when it’s time to pick up the bow again. In order to minimize the risk of putting yourself out of action during hunting season, focus on maintaining cardio fitness and strengthening both the upper and lower body in preparation for your next hunt.
Crank Up The Cardio
When it’s cold and dark outside, it’s tempting to neglect cardio training, but in order to perform at your best come hunting-season, it’s important to maintain your fitness and stamina. You could find yourself walking long distances to find the perfect treestand, and even scouting your catch can take you miles. The most efficient way to maintain your cardio fitness is to practice High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) which will increase your lung capacity and improve your heart rate. The principle behind HIIT is to alternate quick bursts of high intensity exercise with periods of moderate intensity activity. If the weather’s on your side, you can do this by running outdoors and increasing your speed for short bursts, but during the winter, you may need to consider indoor workouts. A treadmill is the perfect companion for HIIT - simply adjust the speed of the treadmill so that you can alternate bursts of high and moderate intensity training. For variation, follow HIIT videos online, which will coach you through a range of aerobic exercises.
Work On Your Upper Body Strength
The best way to prevent an injury to the rotator cuff when you’re shooting is to ensure that you maintain your upper body strength. Drawing a bow relies on the muscles in your shoulders, as well as those in your back and stomach. Whether you’re training at home or in the gym, focus your upper body strength training on your shoulders. Bent-over rows are particularly valuable to archers because they target the same muscles you use to draw your bow and ensure full rotation and flexibility. Use cable machines and resistance bands to practice the motions used in drawing your bow and holding a steady shot. Pay attention to strengthening your forearms too by using dumbbells or practicing pull ups.
In addition to regular gym activity, try to find time during the off-season to practice your archery skills. As well as training your upper body, this will help you stay on your game in terms of precision and accuracy, so you’ll be more likely to step into the hunting season at the top of your game. If you don’t have a shooting range nearby, a simulation bow is a good investment.
Don’t Forget Your Lower Body
While upper body strength is the most essential to bowhunting, it’s important to maintain lower body strength too. Your hunt will often involve steep climbs, and having your lower body strength in tip-top shape will make these easier during a hunt. Train your quads and glutes by working squats into your training program, and maintain your mobility and stability by practicing lunges. In the gym, do deadlifts to train all major muscle groups so you’re fully prepared when it’s time to lace up your hunting boots.
It’s tempting to hibernate indoors and wait for the winter to pass, but to ensure you’re at the top of your game when it’s time to pick up your bow again, make sure you train regularly during the off-season. You’ll reduce the risk of sustaining an injury when the season rolls around, and you’ll maximize your chances of a satisfying hunt.