As people we tend to get comfortable in every aspect of our lives as we grow older and this bleeds over into hunting. A vast majority of hunters are just “ok” with doing it how grandpa did it or how their buddy showed them. This is why so many never get anymore successful, because like any other craft or skill, they quit growing.
Physically growing your hunting skills is EASIER than ever before, because we have technology, information and communications like we have never had. Our dads and grandpas had to wait for the next issue of Eastmans’ Hunting Journal or Field & Stream to show up in the mail box to get the latest tips, tactics & information. The exchange of information was slow during their hay day, thus many hunters developed their own set of skills based on the geography, terrain, weapon, animals and what their family had shown them.
Today, the best 25 year old hunters are like the best 35 year old hunters from just 10 years ago, at least from a physical hunting skill standpoint. Their education is expedited by watching Youtube, reading blogs and listening to podcasts. They are also no longer getting information from 1 or 2 sources, they are consuming them from a variety of different sources. I am not saying every 25 year old is a great hunter, but the ones who desire to be, sure the hell can be, if they put their mind and effort into it.
Mental growth still takes time because you must have both successful and unsuccessful experiences in order to maximize your mental game. You have to go through the trials and tribulations, in order to mentally develop your skills. You can shoot targets all day long and talk about spot & stalking, but you have to actually do it. You can’t just read about it, listen to it or watch it, you must live it. Personally, I am mentally x10 the hunter I was when I was 25, because my professional hunting guide career has fast tracked my experiences. Lets face it, I didn’t have the wealth to buy the hunts to gain experience, nor the luck to draw tags through the draw systems, so guiding 25 hunts a year and being around some of the best guides in the world, was priceless experience for me mentally.
So how does the Regular/Average guy grow as a hunter?
First, you must change your mentality, if you call yourself the regular or average guy, you are setting yourself up for failure. You can’t get better as a hunter, by not devoting more time, effort and money into hunting. Life doesn’t work that way… So be honest with yourself and truly decide what you value in life. If becoming a better hunter is high up on the list, than you will have to make sacrifices. I don’t know what you will need to sacrifice, but for me it was my career, time, money, heavy weightlifting and friendships.