May 14, 2013
In addition to soccer and track and field, another Wyoming state championship will soon take place: the annual Wyoming state hunting championship (also known as the Youth Hunter Education Challenge). The 2013 challenge will be held June 8 at the Upton Gun Club. Young hunters...
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February 27, 2013
Of all high school state championships – football, golf, soccer, speech/debate, track and field – none are more “Wyoming” than the state hunting championships.
The Youth Hunter Education Challenge, as it’s officially called, will be held June 8 near Upton. Young hunters need not qualify in a regional or district tournament to compete. All Wyoming youth 18 and younger who have passed hunter education are eligible to showcase their hunting skills (and probably learn a little).
The challenge tests youngsters in sporting clays-style trap shooting; .22, muzzleloader and archery marksmanship;wildlife identification; orienteering and hunter safety judgments.
“The challenge is designed to be a fun event for all participants – not just the winners,” said Jim Dawson, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s hunter education coordinator.
This is the sixth year the challenge has been hosted by the Upton Gun Club and officially sanctioned by the National Rifle Association. Participants in both age categories (15-18 years old and 14 and younger) are eligible to advance to the international competition to be held July 21-26 at the NRA’s Whittington Center near Raton, N.M. Several Wyoming youngsters have competed in the international since the Wyoming state competition began.
In addition to the department and the gun club, the challenge is sponsored by the Wyoming Friends of the NRA, Cabela’s and a variety of Wyoming businesses. All participants receive a prize for competing.
To participate, youth must submit copies of their hunter education card, birth certificate, photo, and a $10 entry fee. Entry forms are available at Game and Fish offices or at wgfd.wyo.gov.
“The members of the Upton Gun Club do yeoman’s work making this a fun, memorable event for the youngsters involved,” Dawson added.
For more information, contact Dawson at 307-473-3400 or Rick Rothleutner of the Upton Gun Club at 307-281-9980.
Read and join the discussion on Wyoming Youth Hunting Championships June 8 in Upton at OutdoorHub.com.
February 26, 2013
Multi-time world shooting champion, hunter and author Julie Golob has accepted an invitation to participate in the inaugural Wyoming Women’s Antelope Hunt, held Oct. 3-6, 2013. Hosted and organized by the Wyoming Women’s Foundation, the event will provide guided antelope hunting for 50 women.
“Hunting provides so much opportunity, from learning about the outdoors, safety and responsibility, to being able to provide food for the table. It’s not just for the guys either, and I am especially excited to share my passion for hunting with other women,” Golob said. “It’s such an honor to be invited to the first Wyoming Women’s Antelope Hunt. Add to it that this antelope hunt’s ultimate goal is to raise funds for the Wyoming Women’s Foundation only makes it all the more special.”
Golob is one of the most accomplished professional shooters in the world, having won more than 120 championship titles in international, national and regional marksmanship competitions. In addition, Golob is a veteran of the elite U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit and was named both U.S. Army Female Athlete of the Year and AMU Athlete of the Year.
In 2012 Julie authored her first book, SHOOT: Your Guide to Shooting and Competition, which is a valuable resource for new and experienced shooters.
An avid hunter, Golob is a member of the Prois Hunting Apparel Pro Staff. She also enjoys wild game cooking and sharing her recipes.
The Wyoming Women’s Antelope Hunt will take place at the historic Ucross Ranch in northeast Wyoming. The event will host women hunters of all experience levels, and the emphasis will be on safe and responsible hunting.
Monies raised by the weekend hunt will support the mission of the Wyoming Women’s Foundation, which is to invest in the economic, self-sufficiency of women and the future of girls.
To learn more about the Wyoming Women’s Antelope Hunt, visit: http://www.wyomingwomensantelopehunt.org/.
For more information on Wyoming Women’s Foundation, visit: http://www.wywf.org/.
Learn more about Golob at http://www.juliegolob.com/.
Follow her on Twitter: http://www.juliegolob.com/.
Follow her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jgolob1/.
Read and join the discussion on World Shooting Champion Julie Golob to Attend Wyoming Women’s Antelope Hunt at OutdoorHub.com.
November 20, 2012
NBC Sports Network’s weekend outdoor programming is highlighted by adventures and competition in areas from New Zealand to Africa, with episodes of Ammo & Attitude, Swarovski Optik Quest and Under Wild Skies. The programming begins at Noon ET on Saturday.
This weekend’s outdoor programming schedule (subject to change):
Sat., Nov 24
Ammo & Attitude: In back-to-back episodes, six women compete in extensive outdoor challenges to win the prize.
Sun., Nov 25
Swarovski Optik Quest: Dean Capuano and Rob Lancellotti embark on rough terrain as they hunt chamois and Himalayan tahr on New Zealand’s south island.
Under Wild Skies: Outdoorsman Tony Makris explores the wilds of Botswana’s Okavango Delta before heading to the Mababe Depression.
Read and join the discussion on Adventure and Competition in This Week’s NBC Sports Weekend at OutdoorHub.com.
September 10, 2012
“The buck stepped out from behind the tree, a scant 20 yards away. I raised my bow, picked a spot directly behind the foreleg, and without thinking the arrow flew directly into the middle of the heart-lung kill zone. I cannot remember releasing the arrow, but it was a perfect shot and the deer died within seconds.”
Does this sound like you? There are those moments in all sports when mind and body melt together into a dynamic unity of concentration and perfection just unfolds: “the zone”, as some sports psychologists call it. When you are in it, whether you are shooting an arrow at a deer or a target, hitting a golf ball, or throwing a touchdown pass, things seem to slow down, your concentration is flawless, and you effortlessly execute with precision. Then, there are those other times.
We all miss on occasion. Game animals are not stationary targets. Branches do get in the way. The wind blows. But, when “buck fever” strikes, it is as if a demon spirit has possessed us to prevent making an accurate shot, or even getting the bow drawn. “My hands were shaking so hard that the arrow was beating like a drumstick against my bow.” “I dropped the arrow off the string.” “I broke out in a cold sweat, and my eyes were watering, and then I sneezed, more from excitement than any allergy.” Sound like you?
If there was no excitement at the approach of game animals, then it is probably time to hang up the bow or gun and try photography. Or, if all you want is excitement, there’s always sky diving or bungee jumping. The real issues for the hunter to be successful are how much excitement that approaching buck stirs up and how you manage it. In this article I am going to offer some suggestions for turning “buck fever” into successful shooting. The suggestions are based on some of the latest training and preparation methods in sports psychology that are used by many world-class athletes.
Before we begin, let me say that I have hunted and shot competitive archery since the 1950s. In my teens, I shot in a Detroit-area league of Olympic-aspirants that included former Miss Michigan, Ann Marston. I had always been an instinctive shooter, but to try to increase my score, I switched over to a sight. It worked for a while, but when the arrow did not go where the sight said it should be go, I found myself in conflict about whether to trust the sight or my old eyesight and instincts. The result was a bad case of target panic that resulted in my setting down my bow and focusing my athleticism on playing intercollegiate football and rugby at the University of Michigan.
As a place kicker (leading scorer on the 1964 U. of M. rugby team) I learned some things about mental imagery and concentration that sparked my interest in sports psychology, which was really not even a field in the 1960s when I was in college. Eventually I came to see that I was happier shooting archery instinctively. It fit more with my personality. And so without the sight, I got back into archery and, wouldn’t you know it, my scores started going up as I applied new techniques from sports psychology about concentration, focus, and relaxation to shooting my bow.
I spent a decade using these techniques as a counselor, working with a number of Olympic, world-class and professional athletes in a wide variety of sports ranging from track, to football, basketball, and horse racing to mountain climbing and even ping-pong. Today I use many of the same techniques not only for shooting my bow, but also for acting. Concentration, focus, mental imagery and relaxation are critical skills in any kind of performance. Let me introduce you to some of those techniques.
Clearing Away Barriers to Full Concentration
Your self-image influences your physical performance. Practice helps build confidence as you learn to know that you can make the shot. This becomes a mental and physical platform to build upon. Practice does make perfect, but repetition alone is not enough. Perfection is rooted in learning to master the skills involved. Practicing by yourself, taking time to think after every shot helps you develop a routine, just like a golfer grooves his swing. Each person will have a different way that they are best able to evaluate their performance. Some will use physical feeling. Others have a checklist of what they must do each time. Some people have an image of perfection they create as a basis to judge themselves. Find a system that feels right for you to evaluate your performance, and use it to become aware of your faults so you can correct them. The goal here is for shooting to become automatic because you have integrated all the basic requirements into a system that works each time.
The key to consistent peak performance in all sports is concentration. Not so much willful bearing down, but more attaining a very focused mental state of mind-body coordination where intention and execution arise from a conscious decision that seems to happen without thought. Before we get to actually concentrating, though, the spadework must be done. All action happens out of context. Technically, “buck fever” is a form of performance anxiety. It differs from “target panic,” in that you are shooting at a living animal with the intent to kill it. The emotional issues associated with killing do influence some people’s shooting. That’s one reason why some tournament archers can’t hit the broad side of a barn in the field.
Let’s face it; some people miss shots at deer or other game animals because they have guilty feelings about killing. This is especially true for novices. The guilt acts like a voice over your shoulder saying, “No, don’t do it,” when you know you should be aiming. It either keeps you from shooting, or may make it difficult to concentrate and make a lethal shot. If this is an issue for you, I suggest reading my book In Defense of Hunting, which has a whole section about the honest motivational psychology of hunting which should make it very clear that hunting is a very healthy thing. You should feel no guilt about ethically and legally killing an animal.
Guilt is something you can exorcise before you hunt by thinking through the acceptability of killing an animal. You may also find it useful to plan how you will honor an animal that you shoot. In doing research for my book, The Sacred Art of Hunting, I found that a lot of hunters create ways to express thanksgiving to animals they’ve shot. Some may take along a little bag of corn meal and sprinkle some beside the animal as they say a prayer, like an Indian does. Some hunters will recite phrases from the Bible, or make up their own prayers. Veteran screen actor Marshall Teague (The Rock, Armageddon), who is an avid hunter, says that when he kills a an animal he prays, “Lord, bless this noble creature that has given his time and spirit to engage in the chase. Permit him green pastures to graze, thick forests to roam and take his heart and soul into your blessed hands.”
Having set aside the influence of guilt, there is one other preliminary attitude to be banished: fear. Excitement is good; fear of excitement is not. Reacting fearfully to excitement builds a vicious spiral of anxiety that results in target panic every time. The key to accurate shooting, whether at a target, in competition or at a trophy whitetail, is to manage the excitement much like a surfer catches a wave and rides it out in control. Fear contracts and tightens muscles. Movements become jerky. Learning to relax at will helps dispel any hindrance of fear in performance.
In recent years, sports psychologists have borrowed a number of techniques and concepts from meditation and martial arts and applied them to help athletes improve their performance. The results are dramatic. I can assure you that all major professional, national, and Olympic sports teams, as well as many college teams, use psychologists to teach methods and work with individuals on their mental game. Jack Nicklaus, Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods all will tell you that after you are in physical shape and have the fundamentals down, success is 90% from the neck up.
The following modern sports psychology techniques may be useful in strengthening your concentration to conquer your “buck fever.” They may also be helpful for curing “target panic.”
1) Use Visual Imagery
To illustrate how mental thoughts influence performance, try this simple experiment with a friend. Hold your arm straight out in front of you and make it strong, as if you are holding up a weight. Ask your friend to push down to determine your strength. He need not push too hard, just enough to affirm your strength. Now think of your arm as a wet noodle and have him test your strength again. You can try to resist as hard as you want, but if you have an image of your arm as a wet noodle, it will lose a significant amount of strength. This is essentially what happens when buck fever destroys your hunting success. Questioning your ability to hit the target translates into decreasing muscle strength, doubts, and reduced concentration, which contribute to the anxiety that is part of buck fever.
Now pick a point on a wall. Extend an arm and direct your hand at that point. Imagine that a beam of light is flowing from your arm. Point that beam of light so it hits directly on your target. Now ask someone to pull down on your arm. Resist their pressure. If your concentration and visualization are strong and focused, your muscle strength will dramatically increase, but your muscle tension will not.
Take your visualization technique with you when you pick up your bow. In practice, take a large sheet of cardboard and make a number of small spots, about the size of a half-dollar, with a magic marker. Now try practicing by never shooting at the same spot twice in any round. Move around the cardboard in different patterns each time. Make yourself concentrate on a new spot each time. Most deer are killed by shots of 20 yards or less. If you can hit a half-dollar consistently at a distance beyond this, then your chances of killing a deer at that range are pretty good.
Picking a spot to shoot at on a target, or on a deer, helps narrow focus and improves concentration. If you are an instinctive shooter, some people find it useful to imagine a laser light beam coming out of their arrow, extending all the way to the target, like a laser sight on a pistol. Some people imagine the half-dollar spot on the deer right over the kill zone.
2) Choose Words to Increase Focus
Recall how the image of your arm as a wet noodle decreased strength and confidence. Try the same exercise of extending your arm, making it strong, and thinking the word “focus” or “the spot” to yourself. Select a word that feels appropriate to what you are doing. “Bullseye,” “zone,” or “jackpot” work for some people. That word, mentally repeated while shooting, will drive away useless mental chatter that decreases your ability to be totally focused on what you are doing. Combine the imagery with the word, called an “affirmation,” and your concentration will improve more.
3) Learn to Control Breathing
Breathing is an important part of concentration. The breath is a physical act that unites mind and body, as well as an essential act of life. Breathing is an involuntary act that changes according to our level of excitement, but it is also an act that can be easily controlled consciously. If you can control your breathing, you can control your excitement as well.
To quiet your mind, try this exercise. Inhale slowly for a count of 10. Then hold your breath for a count of five, and exhale slowly for a count of 10. You may experiment with the number of beats, gradually increasing them to increase relaxation. Some people can develop a 32-count exhalation! Take your pulse before doing this exercise. After doing it five times, take your pulse again and you will see a drop in heart rate. It is a useful method to steady oneself before competition, and for that matter, in any tense life situation, including when a bull elk steps out of the brush 20 yards away.
If you combine your breathing with the draw of the bow, you increase your ability to concentrate as well as stay relaxed. A common rhythm is to inhale slowly on the draw, hold your breath when you are at full draw, and exhale after you have released the arrow. Combining breathing with imagery steadies your concentration even more. If you practice slow, steady breathing with each shot, it will make the jitters-factor go down a long ways.
4) Enlist a Helpful Witness
Sometimes it may seem difficult to concentrate. Your thoughts are elsewhere. At full draw you worry about whether the arrow is lined up correctly or the right elevation. Do you have the right anchor point? Have you drawn the bow back all the way? Is your posture correct? Did you draw correctly? Have you canted the bow too much? All these thoughts pull you away from your basic concentration on your target, and make it more difficult to hit the spot you are aiming at. Repetition in practice helps answer questions that can clutter the mind and get in the way of full concentration. Out of that repetition comes a form or style that is your unique way of shooting. Remembering your checklist, however, may seem to get in the way of your concentration. That’s when you need to turn over the checklist to someone else.
When actor Tom Hanks received his Oscar, he thanked his high school drama teacher, Rawley Farnsworth. Hanks said that a key in his success is that he always imagined Farnsworth sitting in a corner, off-camera, watching him act. That’s an example of a positive witness.
Your choice of a witness is personal. When Ted sings about Fred Bear being in the wind beside him, I would guess that Ted sometimes imagines that Fred looking over his shoulder, being a witness to his shooting. Hard for a bowhunter to get a better witness than Fred Bear!
When you go to the range and shoot, the first few times you shoot, be very conscious of your witness. As you develop a strong awareness of their presence, you will not need to consciously keep focused on them. Their guidance should become integrated into your shooting, because it is you shooting the arrows for yourself, not for them. Ultimately, you become your own witness.
Shooting in “the Zone”
“The zone” that athletes are talking about is a state of mind where time seems to slow down and physical performance seems effortless, despite whatever effort you may be expending. It is a state of excitement and relaxation. If you get “buck fever” know that you are half way there, because you’ve got the excitement part down. That adrenaline rush is the raw material from which perfect shots are made. All you have to do now is apply these techniques to bring that excitement under control; much the same way that rider brings a horse under control. As this happens, your senses will come more alive. Scenes take on freshness and nature becomes more rich and enjoyable. This is what “hunter’s high” is all about. “Buck fever” is just hunter’s high shifting into a higher gear. They key to success is to learn to ride that high, like a surfer takes a wave, and not lose it when the moment of truth comes to make that perfect shot.
I hope these tips are helpful. I’ve recently made a 60-minute instructional video, “Conquering Buck Fever With Sports Psychology Techniques,” that illustrates these techniques and others applied to archery and firearms. It includes appearances by Ted, Dave Watson, two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Kim Rhode, and former national sporting clays champion Lily Sieu. See http://www.jamesswan.com/snowgoose/conbuckfever.html for details on pricing and ordering.
August 6, 2012
While most of the world has it eyes fixed on London to see who brings home the gold, a group of over a 1,000 archers are making their way to the Seven Springs Mountain Resort in southwestern Pennsylvania to find out who the best bowhunter in the world is.
The 2012 McKenzie International Bowhunters Organization World Championship and Archery Festival draws archers from over 20 countries with the lure of $200,000 in cash and prizes— not to mention the title of World Champion.
People who watch Olympic archery know that it it’s about accuracy over distance: how many bulls-eyes can an archer shoot and from how far away?
The IBOWC approaches the question of who is the best archer from a different perspective. Competitors have their skills tested under simulated hunting conditions. Instead of aiming for the center of a bullseye, the shooters aim at life size replica animals and aim for kill shots. There are scoring rings marking the best possible shot but, according to IBO President Ken Watkins, “At distances of 20 to 50 yards, you can’t see the rings you’re shooting at. You have to have a good working knowledge of hunting and of the animals […] We want the hunter to learn what a good ethical shot would be.”
The IBO uses existing ski runs and natural terrain to create challenging ranges designed to test the visual acuity and balance of the competitors. The courses force the archers to shoot in low light, uphill, downhill, and deal with natural vegetation— all of which are challenges Olympic archers never have to deal with.
The event will showcase 24 ranges throughout the woods and more 400 3D targets which will resemble domestic and exotic species. The opening ceremonies will take place Wednesday, August 8 and the competition will run through Saturday, August 11 with awards distributed that evening. The public is invited to attend.
Outdoor Hub, The Outdoor Information Engine - World-class Archers Head to Pennsylvania for the 2012 International Bowhunting Championships
May 8, 2012
This article comes courtesy of John M. Buol, Jr. of FirearmUserNetwork.com. Check out his site for more articles like this.
The effective range of the .30-30 is about 150-170 yards. Some of the wizzy new Magnums can outperform this by roughly 300 percent, at least on paper. But can the hunter outperform the .30-30? Can you?
The .30-30 WCF (Winchester Center Fire) was a hot little number when first debuted in 1895 but today’s hunters complain about this “obsolete” antique. Standard wisdom states this cartridge is best contained within a range of 100-175 yards. A .30-30 will push a 150-170 grain bullet out at approximately 2200 fps or so. With a 150 yard zero, the bullet will be about two inches above line of sight at 100 yards and around five inches low at 200.
Few hunters possess enough shooting skill that warrants better performance than this. Are you one of them? Find out with the .30-30 Drill.
Begin by getting a good 150 yard zero for that anemic .30-30 (or whatever your favorite hunting rifle is chambered in). Set up a Y-ring steel target at 150 yards. If you don’t have a quality, self-resetting steel target that is about 8-10 inches in diameter, a paper dinner plate at 150 yards makes an ersatz substitute. Get a shooting timer, or a buddy with a whistle and stop watch, to record the time.
Start from standing up. On the start signal adopt a sitting position and fire one aimed shot at the plate. Stand back up and repeat the drill for a total of three shots. After completing this three string/three round sequence from the sitting position, do it again adopting and shooting from prone.
We are shooting at the distance we zeroed giving point-of-impact at point-of-aim on a nice, level playing field with no intervening brush, trees, etc. All the shooting is done from the two most stable positions available in the field. Furthermore, the target is presented whole, as opposed to a large animal with the vital zone hidden somewhere inside, thus eliminating the need to estimate target angle. Just hold center and let ‘er rip!
Regardless of elapsed time, a hunter claiming to need something better than a .30-30 should get at least 5 hits out of 6 shots (83% hits) or better on this six MOA target every time. If so, our hero can actually make use of the ballistic capability provided by a .30-30 or equivalent for field shooting. If not, their maximum effective range in field shooting is shorter than 150 yards and the capability of a .30-30 rifle exceeds their present level of skill.
A more competent hunter-shooter who can get those same hits in ten seconds per shot or less just might benefit from a “better” rifle. They possess sufficient skill to warrant extended range.
We can repeat this drill out even further. Use the same target and set at 200, 225, 250, 300, or out as far as you dare. Give the shooter an extra three seconds or so for every 50 yards beyond 150. Sight in appropriately and shoot. For example, .308/.30-06 and cartridges of similar ballistics can set their zero to 200-250 yards.
February 2, 2012
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has set the schedule for the 2012 Youth Hunter Education Skills Tournaments, marking the 34th year for the popular statewide shooting sports events.
The Commission will conduct nine district-level competitions in March, with hundreds of middle school and high school students taking part:
- March 3, Alamance Wildlife Club near Graham, Alamance County (District 5)
- March 10, New Hanover County Law Enforcement Officers Association Range in Castle Hayne, New Hanover County (District 2 )
- March 17, Camp John J. Barnhardt in New London, Stanly County (District 6)
- March 17, Catawba Valley Wildlife Club in Hickory, Catawba County (District
- March 17, Polk County Gun Club near Columbus, Polk County (District 9)
- March 24, Rose Hill Farms near Nashville, Nash County (District 3)
- March 24, Hunting Creek Preserve in Harmony, Iredell County (District 7)
- March 28, Coharrie Shooting Range near Clinton, Sampson County (District 4)
- March 31, Eastern 4-H Center in Columbia, Tyrell County (District 1)
Competition is conducted on senior (high school) and junior (middle and elementary schools) divisional levels, with overall team and overall individual awards based on aggregate scores in all events.
The tournaments represent opportunities for participants to showcase outdoor skills learned through the Commission’s Hunter Education Program. There are events in rifle, shotgun and archery marksmanship, as well as an orienteering challenge and a wildlife knowledge test.
Teams are organized within public and private schools, while home-schooled students and teams representing organizations such as 4-H or FFA also can compete, provided they meet eligibility requirements.
Winning teams will advance to the state championship tournament, which will be held at the Millstone 4-H Center near Ellerbe on April 28.
“These events are a demonstration of skills covered through instruction by the Hunter Education Program and are instrumental in securing the future of the hunting tradition,” said Travis Casper, state hunter education coordinator. “To pass this heritage along, we need to hunt like the future depends on it and share the enjoyment and fulfillment of shooting sports and conservation.”
While the Youth Hunter Education Skills Tournaments are for students 18 years old and younger, the Wildlife Commission offers free hunter education courses and advanced hunter education on a regular schedule for all ages. Successful completion of the course is required for all first-time hunting license buyers in North Carolina.
For more information on free hunter education courses, the Home From The Hunt safety campaign or youth programs offered by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, call 919-707-0031 or click here
Outdoor Hub, The Outdoor Information Engine - North Carolina District Youth Hunter Skills Tournaments Schedule Announced