Training your Game Eyes
Training: the action of undertaking a course of exercise and diet in preparation for a sporting event.
The trend of training your body for the grueling demands of hunting season has been brought to the forefront of the hunting community in recent years, and for good reason. Being physically capable of climbing the mountains to fill your tag every year can make or break a hunting season. Lifting a couple weights in the off season or hiking mountains on the weekends is a great way to prepare your lungs and muscle for the fatigue experienced on a hunt. There is one skill however that most hunters don’t practice enough before going afield, seeing game.
Anyone that has been on a safari in Africa will tell stories of the trackers spotting game from a moving vehicle 200 yards off the road. Those guys spend their life in the field looking for animals, and that gives them the ability to see the difference between a tree leaf and kudu ear from outrageous distances. Your game eyes may never be as good as theirs but, you can train yours to be better!
Training your eyes to find more game isn’t as easy as just going out and scouting before the start of your hunting season. Our years of living in big cities and under fluorescent lighting have changed the way our eyes see things. So the only true way to train your game eyes is too spend more time in the field away from the bright retina damaging lights.
Spotting game just like any other skill can be honed with practice over time. The more time you spend in the woods, the quicker you will be able to distinguish between an antler tip or a low hanging twig when glassing for deer. This year while you are hiking those hills in the spring and summer bring your glass and tripod, to train your Game Eyes. I like to take a few hunting buddies out with me and make a day of glassing into small side competitions. First one to see game buys lunch, or first one to see antlers gets a dollar. Making it a true competition will give you added motivation even though a punched tag is not the end goal.
This year remember there is no off season in hunting, just certain times of the year where a successful hunt is just watching your quarry through binoculars instead of a rifle scope.