Thanks for the thread, Roger. I remember my first deer hunt. Would I be able to shoot? Would I be able to overcome a pounding heart and cold hands to shoot straight. Do I take the aspirin before or after "buck fever?" Her dad brought out a box of cartridges. Only seven remained. "I've had these thirteen years and got thirteen deer." he said. How could I possibly measure up? I felt it was my duty. Besides, my new wife had just bought me a 12" Bowie for the gutting. It was time to man up.
First comes the mindset. I am going to win. I am going to study all there is to know about the enemy. I am going to choose the best tools for the purpose. Thirty dollars was a lot of money back then for a surplus 303 Brit. I am going to learn how to use that tool. I played rifle aerobics until it felt part of me. I worked on trigger management. I hand loaded several hundred rounds and set up targets on a power line. Then I practiced snap shooting, all the while visualizing a trophy buck to make any father-in-law proud.
When the ball sudenly dropped, and time slowed, I didn't have time to worry about breathing or heartbeat. The mindset was "You are mine." The shot was perfect, as if made by some highly efficient killing machine. My father-in-law said that young forked buck was the tastiest he'd ever had.