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Buck Fever: How to stay calm when the perfect deer appears!

Buck Fever is the nervous excitement of an inexperienced hunter at the sight of game.  I would be willing to argue that it is not just inexperienced hunters. Maybe not just in the realm of hunting either.  We have all experienced that moment when nerves seem to just dissolve.

Dealing with this “target panic” is one of the greatest challenges that face a hunter every fall.  What you do next will determine how you will get to tell the story over the water cooler.

People have come up with many ways to deal with buck fever, and although there is no one right answer, here are some suggestions that have worked for some hunters:

  • Focus on controlling your breathing. Take very slow deep breaths. Breathe in, completely filling your lungs, hold it and then slowly release all the air out. Doing this during the moments leading up to a shot seems to help control your heartbeat and generally calms you down.
  • “Don’t overthink! Just take a deep breath and try to pretend like your taking practice in your backyard.”
  • As the deer approaches, picture the deer naked (not naked naked, but where its vitals are).  Start focusing on the deer and where you are going to put sights. Whatever you do, don’t look at the antlers again.
  • Keep your mouth closed, and breathe out of the nose.  To help slow your heartbeat. Less intake of air helps to focus more on your shot.
  • When that deer’s head is behind a tree, or when it looks the other direction that’s when you get ready for your shot, i.e. drawback.
  • Do not focus on the antlers. Rather focusing on the shot placement. Actually, try to pick out an exact hair where you want to hit.
  • Aim small, miss small.  It works, just try to control your breathing.
  • Focus on the tuft of hair, start to sing your favorite song in your head while breathing very slowly, and finally before the release, breath in deep and exhale soft and slow, and finally at the very end of the exhale let it fly.

Hope this helps and practice will make it perfect.  Just to get to this point, with a shooter buck or doe in front of you, you must have done close to everything right. But it is these crucial few seconds at the end of your journey that will decide the ending of your great hunting story.