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Old October 31, 2005, 09:44 AM   #1
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How do you prevent 'buck fever' from taking over?

How do you prevent 'buck fever' from taking over when your sights settle on the buck of a lifetime?

Any tips would be appreciated. I missed a nice one last year, don't want it to happen again.
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Old October 31, 2005, 12:12 PM   #2
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Buck fever

How to control buck fever?? Same way an experienced actor deals with stage fright. It's there; it won't go away, you just don't let it control you.

Breathe slow, concentrate on the task at hand (sight picture or your entrance cue) don't think about all the horrible things that could go wrong.

Practice, practice, practice, beforehand. If you don't know your lines, backwards, forwards, and upside down, you have no one to blame but yourself when you forget them onstage. If you haven't been to the range, shooting, shooting, shooting, until sight picture and trigger squeeeeze are just a part of your being, well, that Jordan Buck is going to flip you the hoof and prance off into the distance.

Sorry, but there is no royal road to competence. You just have to put in the practice time.
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Old October 31, 2005, 02:21 PM   #3
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Shoot loads of spikes and does, by the time you get to the good one you will be over the buck fever thing.
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Old October 31, 2005, 02:25 PM   #4
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I have theory that "buck fever" isn't about the deer, but not having sufficient skills to shoot under stress (simply because it's hard to practice that).

Having "choked" on deer when I was younger, I noticed that my level of anxiety during the hunt decreased substantially after I started competetive shooting. My ability to shoot under the timer and with pressur to perform increased my overall ability to focus on the shooting and not what I was shooting at.

Competition or difficult firing drills under a timer to add stress may be helpful to you.
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Old October 31, 2005, 09:36 PM   #5
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I think Lycanthrope is on to something. I got buck fever one time with a doe and two yearlings. I was up in Michigan and it was the last night of the hunt. I was sitting with my back to a tree in the snow. The doe and two yearlings walked behind me about 20 yards behind the tree. I turned my head to look (thats all I could do without being seen). I started to beath hard and you could see the moisture from my breath. One of the yearlings saw me and walked up to me. Within a few yards. I could see the breath of the yearling as it was trying to catch my sent. All I thought was! "this is bad" OOHH "this is real bad" and as I thought about it I began to breath even harder. I was bad! I thought I was going to have a heart attack. The yearling for some reason just turned around and walked back to mom. They then walked right next to me and then in front for a good shot. I shot the two yearlings and let the doe go. That part of Michigan had to many deer and the DNR would let you shoot deer till they said stop.

Last edited by impact; November 1, 2005 at 05:38 PM.
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Old November 1, 2005, 06:47 AM   #6
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It is adrenalin which we produce naturally in a hunting situation, problem is the body goes overboard in a new or high stress situation, so you need to acclimatise and then the adrenalin levels stay lower. I used to hunt with a doctor and he gave me this info based on his professional knowledge. Me I'm all in favor of hunting more to get my adrenalin down, Lol.
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Old November 1, 2005, 08:58 AM   #7
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What seems to work for many, when the "thrill" of the hunt hits with an exceptional quality buck, is to no longer look at the rack. Many hunters, even experienced ones, will continue to stare at the rack. Once you have determined it is a legal buck, a dream buck, concentrate on your kill zone. Get your sights on target and keep them there until after the shot. You can't kill any deer, if you shoot the rack!

Upon seeing a huge rack it is too easy to zone out on those antlers until you no longer have a shot. Also, if the feeling of buck fever ever goes away I will no longer hunt. I still get excited with shooting any deer, well even with most small game there is still some element of thrill. This feeling is why many hunt. It is a good feeling and you should hope that it never goes away, just learn to handle it.

I have been fortunate and have been able to get many deer over the years, but I know if a monster buck walks in front of my gun/bow I will be worrying that he will be able to hear my heart pounding. And do you know what? I relish the thought!
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Old November 1, 2005, 02:33 PM   #8
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Looking ahead, longer term, spend more time (if possible) in deer country so you get used to seeing deer. The old familiarity thing.

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Old November 1, 2005, 02:36 PM   #9
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Art ~

One buddy of mine "hunts" with a camera all year long. He says it cured him forever of getting all het up whenever a deer hove into view.

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Old November 1, 2005, 04:11 PM   #10
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How do you prevent 'buck fever' from taking over when your sights settle on the buck of a lifetime?
Vaccinate yourself by repeated exposure to the disease vector!

(For you laymen, go hunting every chance you get. )
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Old November 1, 2005, 05:47 PM   #11
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A deep breath and concentration on the mechanics of the shot seems to help me. (Under no conditions do I allow myself to consider the size of those antlers after deciding to make the shot - that will come later if all goes well.)
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Old November 1, 2005, 11:15 PM   #12
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Trigger time, practice and field experience all help, however, I still get the shakes sometimes right before a shot. I then make myself concentrate on the shot and use the hightened state of awarness that comes with the adredalin flood to better my shooting skills.

You will actually find yourself moving into a highly stimulated yet very relaxed and competent state. You'll see every detail your hearing becomes more acute. You can visualize the bullet path and the correct angle for the wind. Your shooters meditative state is now one with the hunting gods all eartly and material objects float from your mind.

You can now snatch the pebble from the Shou Lin shooting masters hand....

THEN you freakin get in a hurry, yank the trigger back like your trying to break a hickory stick across your knee all the while jerking your head back and closing your eyes while gracefully dunking the muzzle earthward.

If it wasn't exciting I wouldn't do it!
Velocity is thrilling, But diameter does the real killing.
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Old November 1, 2005, 11:16 PM   #13
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This is an interesting thread.
All people react differently to the situation.
Some of the worst jitters I've experienced have been at indoor archery tournaments.
I've only shot two big game animals in my 46 years. Both were elk. In both cases, the crosshairs locked onto the "boiler room", and the rifle fired. Yes, I remember squeezing the trigger in both cases. I didn't get the adrenalin shakes until after I shot the elk.
Guess I'm weird.
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Old November 2, 2005, 12:10 AM   #14
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Buck Fever.... think Calm! Breath! With experience it goes away. First buck I ever shot at with a bow was over a shaking arrow knocking away on the rest (as in buck fever).... never happened again. I did notice that there is a bit of post-kill "fever" which to me is just part of the hunt and the thrill of success. You actually see it on TV on some of the hunting shows after a good shot.... guy gets a bit excited.

Buck Fever is really kind of a wonderful feeling. To think you can get that exicted about shooting a deer or whatever.
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Old November 2, 2005, 07:12 AM   #15
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Can't really help you. In all the years I have hunted, I have never experienced buck fever. I suppose its part of the 'fight or flight' adrenalin thing.
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Old November 2, 2005, 01:39 PM   #16
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If you dont get that "rush", you have no business hunting. The trick is to control it, as stated, calm full breaths, shoot on an empty lung, develop faith in your ability, and by all means spend more time in the field. I used to get the shakes pretty bad bow hunting, expecially when I'd watch a deer (doe or buck) come in from a long way out but not when one "just showed up". A few years in the field and I still get that rush. However, control it and you will be rock solid at blast off time. However, I fall apart with the shakes about a min or two after the shot...I love it.
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Old November 2, 2005, 11:02 PM   #17
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You Cant
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Old November 3, 2005, 01:37 AM   #18
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easy get married, then start an affair with the married woman next door, after a year of that ain't no little deer going to get your bp to rise.

HUN i was just kidding in case you read this.....

forcing your self to remain calm in everyday life. just cram emotion into your little dark place keep it there and never let it out, good practice too.

heheee Dude, biggest dear of my life, i hit it running about 120 yards away just methodical as shooting trap at the range. next weekend was sitting in the same tree, hear footsteps on the leaves and my heart just starts going BAM BAMBAMBAMBAMBAMBAMBAMBAM little spike walks by and i had to sit the gun down before i dropped it. who knows. just remember to breathe.
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Old November 3, 2005, 12:38 PM   #19
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I didn't think it ever went away...I kind of like it, whithout it I think a big thrill of it is gone...without the rush, where's the fun? Maybe I'm just an adrenline junkie....
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Old November 3, 2005, 09:24 PM   #20
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I didn't think it ever went away...I kind of like it, whithout it I think a big thrill of it is gone...without the rush, where's the fun? Maybe I'm just an adrenline junkie....
Thats why I like to hunt hogs one on one in the brush.
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Old November 4, 2005, 07:50 AM   #21
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It helps to have a steady rest.
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