Buck fever, aka target panic, is very common. In fact, most hunters experience it at least once in their hunting experience.
A lot of hunters prepare for months, buy expensive gear, and then miss their shot, even if it’s an easy target, and their training should make it a child’s game.
This can be daunting to many, especially if it’s your first hunting game. Even experienced hunters can experience this.
There are ways to reduce buck fever and to calm yourself down. You can find these in our response post above, where we give you all the potential solutions to get rid of annoying buck fever for good.
How Do You Treat Buck Fever?
- What Is Buck Fever?
Buck fever is a real thing that can happen to both inexperienced and experienced hunters. Common symptoms include shaky hands, abundant sweating, augmented heart rate, narrow vision, and a distorted perception of time.
People who experience buck fever feel like time is quicker or slower than what it actually is. This can be a very scary experience. Some more severe cases can also experience nausea or even lose their hearing for a short period of time.
So no wonder you miss your shot if you’re in that state. It can really mess up your training and be a great source of stress for you.
Sometimes, it seems like an impossible challenge to overcome. But don’t worry, buck fever is very common among hunters, no matter how experienced.
While you need adrenaline to shoot, too much of it can reduce your capacities, both physically and mentally.
- How To Reduce Physical Buck Fever?
You might wonder if you can treat buck fever, and if so, how do you do it? Well, you can reduce it.
One of the first ways to do it is by taking beta-blockers. A lot of people who have to perform publicly take beta-blockers to calm down their nerves.
These can limit physical manifestations of stress caused by too much adrenaline and pressure. They are a type of pharmaceutical drug which can help to reduce jitters, no matter what kind. So naturally, a lot of hunters use that.
They prevent the physical symptoms that come with adrenaline spikes, which is one of the main reasons for buck fever.
Just be aware that beta-blockers are not a permanent solution, and you shouldn’t take them regularly, as there can be some harmful side effects and can potentially create a dependency.
Another safer way to reduce your jitters is to recreate hunting scenarios to prepare you for the real hunting day. This way, your body and mind automatically know what to do on the actual hunt.
For example, you can practice with a 3-D animal and a tree, and shoot from several distances, so you’re prepared for every possibility on the actual day.
Practice and familiarity can decrease the chances of getting buck fever, as you’ll be more confident in your skills and training.
You can also do some mental exercises before you shoot, which you can find in the last section of our response post.
What Might Someone With Buck Fever Do?
Someone with buck fever during a hunting trip often misses his shot, even if it’s an easy shot, and he’s been practicing it for a long time.
Basically, the adrenaline gets too intense, especially if you thought about this shooting moment for a long time and practiced a lot.
So your nerves can’t always handle that anticipation, rush, and stress. This means you can have both physical and mental symptoms that have a massive negative effect on your game.
Most often, in action, the target escapes before you realize it, and you either make the shot too late or in the wrong direction. Some people even freeze, flinch or take a poor shot without knowing why. This doesn’t have anything to do with the experience level.
It can either be a psychological or physical blockage or even both at the same time. If that happens too often, you should perhaps talk to someone who’s had that before to know how to overcome it and improve your game.
That’s because buck fever can affect your sensory sense of perception, and your time perception is also often distorted. Your nerves are also jittery because of an adrenaline rush that comes from anticipation, stress, and fear of failure.
Does Buck Fever Go Away?
Now that you know what buck fever is exactly, you might wonder if it can go away.
Well, as you can see in our first section above, there are physical things you can do to ensure you’re prepared as much as possible.
All of these are mentioned above and can calm your nerves. If you know, you’ve practiced enough, and are focused, you have nothing to fear.
Don’t overwork yourself either. If you’re tired on the game day, your reflexes won’t be the same, and all that prep work will have been for nothing.
So practice, but give yourself credit and give your mind and body time to rest and recuperate. Buck fever can go away, but you need to work hard and find which method works best for you and allows you to perform at your best on the shooting day.
If on a shooting trip, this physical preparation still isn’t enough, that means your buck fever mostly comes from mental blocks.
There are things you can do to relax and be focused on top of the physical preparation. Just read the section below to find what techniques could work for you. After this, you’ll never be afraid of buck fever anymore!
How Do You Calm Yourself Before Shooting Your First Game?
There are some mental things you can do to calm yourself down before you shoot your first game. This should keep your adrenaline levels regulated, giving you enough so you can concentrate and perform, but not too much that it gives you buck fever.
- Talk To Your Hunting Peers
The first thing you can do is to recognize that buck fever affects you.You can even talk to some of your hunter friends who might have the same problem.
In fact, you’d be surprised at how many people experience that extreme adrenaline rush as well and miss their target, no matter what level they’re at. There’s no need to be ashamed of that.
Too much excitement can play on your nerves and overall concentration, especially if you train for months on end for one goal in particular.
- Visualization: Mental Practice
You could also mentally practice your shot. Don’t laugh. Most athletes prepare that way, and it’s as important as the physical practice, and it’s an essential part if you want to succeed on the actual hunting day, without any nerves interfering.
Visualization is a powerful tool that can help you achieve the perfect shot. It’s not difficult either. Just take a few minutes in the day where you focus on this in a quiet environment.
Focus on every little detail, so you are really prepared for anything. Scents, colors, and emotions are all a part of this. You could even imagine yourself having buck fever and overcoming it.
Combine this with actual physical preparation, and you will feel ready for the actual game, both mentally and physically.
- Do Some Breathing Exercises
You could also do some breathing exercises to calm your nerves before shooting your first game and to prevent buck fever during the actual shooting. You could also meditate if you’re into that.
Tactical breathing can drastically help you cool down your nerves. In fact, navy seals use this technique.
This can relax you, and you can avoid taking beta-blockers. With this breathing technique, your heart goes back to its normal rate, and you won’t feel as jittery.
You can do these exercises before hunting, and they’re very effective in reducing buck fever. You can also practice them in your physical and mental shooting practice.
Tactical breathing is really simple. You always count until four. Let us demonstrate: first, you take a deep stomach breath for four seconds. Then, hold it for another four seconds. Finally, release by exhaling for four seconds. You can repeat this however often you need it.
It’s very simple yet effective in calming your nerves. The best part about it is that you can literally do this anywhere and for every situation in your life. It’s not just to get rid of buck fever!
As you can see, you can definitely overcome buck fever. You have to make sure you practice physically, so you can be as ready as you can on the actual shooting day.
But that’s not enough. You also have to put in the mental practice, which is as essential, if not more, for buck fever cases.
Most times, your performance isn’t the problem, but it’s your mind blocking you, which can be solved if you put in the work.
If you follow our recommendations, buck fever won’t be a problem for you anymore!