You met Jared Bloomgren a few months ago (Who Is Jared Bloomgren?) on the Rok Blog. I regard him as an expert on the subject of solo backcountry hunting. I asked him to share some thoughts with us on preparing mentally for hunting far from civilization.
“Cause sometimes you just feel tired, feel weak, and when you feel weak, you just wanna give up. But you gotta search within you, you gotta find that inner strength and just pull that out of you and get that motivation to not give up and to not be a quitter. No matter how bad you just wanna fall flat on your face and collapse,” Till I Collapse– Eminem.
Eminem may not be a backcountry hunter, but those lyrics are like the gospel to this backcountry junky. When I’m hunting, my attitude is the key to success. I simply refuse failure and when things aren’t going well on a hunt, the circumstances motivate me to work harder. When I’m beat down and tired, I get back up and push through. Quit isn’t in my vocabulary. It can’t be in yours, either.
Emotional preparation is critical for backcountry hunting. Being out there alone for days on end can be mentally exhausting. There are many highs and lows you must endure or it can break you very easily. However, always remember that if you can gut it out, you will emerge physically and mentally stronger.
My favorite hunt is usually the one I’m on at the time, but if I had to pick the perfect hunt, it would be hunting in the backcountry. Miles from civilization in wild and rugged places chasing big game is where I feel most at home and best describes my passion. I love every hunt, but the physical and mental challenges of a backcountry hunt forces me to be my best. Hunting the backcountry takes nerves of steel and confidence in yourself as well as your gear and equipment. Confidence can mean the difference in success or failure and even between life and death. There have been situations when I have asked myself,
“What in the heck am I doing here? Am I crazy?”
There have been times when the terrain and nasty situations made me feel like I may have pushed too hard, too far. When you hunt solo, a slip of the hand or boot could mean disaster. Hunting among wolves and grizzly bears gives you a whole new respect for nature. When you put boot to trail in steep terrain, you are removing yourself from the typical elements that modern humans are bound to. Being secluded and looking at miles of picturesque landscape made by our Maker really puts things into perspective. It makes you realize how insignificant you really are on this planet—merely a blip on the radar.
Regardless of the threats, challenges, and hard circumstances you might face, you have to embrace the experiences both good and bad. The challenge is why we all love hardcore, backcountry hunting so much! It is the unknowns that draw us in. It is the chance of taking home an animal that may have never seen a human. It is the chance to do what most others can’t or won’t do. It is the chance to really see what your mind and body can endure. Pushing yourself to the limits and beyond is an extreme challenge, but success in the backcountry is the ultimate reward! To me, success is not measured by the amount of inches of antler or horn I bring home, but by the experience, the knowledge gained, and the chance to succeed or fail.
I am honored to be a Rokslide blogger and look forward to building a relationship with the Rokslide community who share the passion for backcountry hunting. In the future, I will cover tips and tactics that have helped me become successful and share stories of past hunts and adventures.
For you, is mental or physical preparation more important for backcountry hunting?