By: Ted Nugent
Mind over matter is a beautiful thing, when we can find it. Emotional and spiritual management is a daunting task that never comes easily.
I think we can all agree that the more time we spend in the soul cleansing Great Outdoors benefiting from the healing powers of nature the better equipped we are to maintain sanity, overall quality of life control and meaningful emotional management.
Upon the death of my beloved younger brother John recently, I found myself desperately floundering about, and pretty much an emotional wreck. Losing a loved one will always be one of life’s worst hurts and most confusing, challenging times.
Such deep, dark heartbreak literally poisons the system.
My hunting season from September 1st of 2019 had been going simply splendidly, and I was celebrating some of the best arrows and most exciting hunts and kills of my life.
Following the most gratifying and enjoyable musical tour of my life and spending increased quality time with my loving family had brought me much happiness and satisfaction which made for a reasonably calm, easy going spirit as the hunt season erupted.
My archery/bowhunting shot sequence had become as solid and controlled as ever, and the mystical flights of my arrows were consistently what dreams are made of.
Even my occasional gun hunting fun was extremely gratifying with my aim small miss small marksmanship dreams at an alltime high.
Life was good and each and every one of my daily hunts were literally out of body Samurai thrills.
Then in early 2020, John passed away and a dark, tsunami of pain and sadness enveloped the Nugent tribe.
We all consoled each other the best we could, and remained strong yet fragile.
I didn’t hunt for a few days following his death, simply not feeling the spirit.
After a few days I decided to hit the deerwoods as John would want us to continue to live a good life and remain as positive and alive as possible.
I headed to my best guess treestand to continue my whitetail harvest and felt rather confident that my shooting was spot on and choice of ambush setup was well strategized.
My pre-hunt arrows at the range that day were as good as it gets, and as I settled into my ladderstand, I had high hopes of killing a nice buck or a doe.
Temperatures were warm and with the big moon, SpiritWild VidCamDude Bob and I sat the first three hours without seeing anything at all.
My mind wandered constantly with thoughts and memories of brother John and all the trauma everyone was going through, pretty much not paying attention at all to the hunt on hand.
Trailcam photos of a great mature, hulking 10-point buck kept me on my toes all season so far without a single encounter or sighting of this magnificent #1 hitlist beast.
Then at dusk this evening, there he was, slowly, carefully stepping across the Buck Forage oats foodplot, headed right down the prime trail, a dreamy 20 yards upwind of my tree.
My mind snapped to attention as I slowly slid my release onto the bowstring loop and cautiously lifted my Mathews into shooting position.
My God, he was right there at 20 yards broadside! And huge!
I took a deep breath and carefully came to fulldraw, going through my left hand, right hand, sightpin, trigger finger shot mantra, when all of a sudden the glowing orange Lumenok’d arrow sailed right over the big buck’s back.
I hadn’t missed a shot like that in over four months, and at the most desirable buck of all that I had been waiting on forever.
I couldn’t believe it.
Well, actually, I could believe it.
Do not underestimate the role that emotions play on archery accuracy and predator focus.
Arrow control is the definitive self-control, and if our self is not fully and properly controlled and in great wellness condition, our arrows will never be what they can and should be.
Every master archer will admit and proclaim that archery is 90-99% mental, which of course means the best archery is more a psychological occurrence than a simple physical occurrence.
I have always been and am more now than ever convinced that we cannot possibly shoot our best arrows unless we are in the best physical, mental, emotional and spiritual condition.
Quite simply, as goes quality of life, goes quality of our arrows and our hunts, and that begins with a well thought out and responsible lifestyle.
This includes good, smart, healthy diet, good, sound, consistent sleep, good overall balance, great frame of mind, a positive spirit and good emotional management.
I know John would want us to get over the sadness as soon as possible, and we are certainly working on it.
In the meantime, I must put forth more and better effort to get back to peace of mind if I want to fill the rest of my tags this season.
I’m working on it. The work never ends.