The angler and hunter’s sixth sense

by Gord Ellis | October 9, 2018

hunter's sixth sense

During a recent fishing trip in northwestern Ontario, I had an unexplainable feeling. From the moment I got on the road and during the whole day of fishing there was this weird expectation a moose would be seen.

Needless to say my eyes and ears were on high alert. The trees and shoreline were scanned, every odd sound coming from the shoreline drew attention, and all stumps in the water warranted a double take.

On the ride home, when my funny feeling was almost gone, a moose appeared.

It was a small cow, standing on the side of the road. I slowed down and she ambled across the asphalt and disappeared. Was this just a random coincidence. An odd twist of fate. Or something else?

Now I realize some of my hunting partners might say: “Ellis, you need to have that feeling more often during the hunt!” And this I can’t argue. Yet this whole sixth sense thing happens enough to make me wonder where it comes from and how it manifests itself in others.

I’ve been with anglers who have had the uncanny ability to sense when a fish is about to strike. They coil up like a rattlesnake and sure enough, the strike comes.  

In the same way, certain hunters make the right decisions about game so often, one can only assume they are tapped into something so primal they might not even understand it.

hunter's sixth sense

Photo by Kaija Diane.

Yes, the cave man hunter is still in us, buried in our DNA, wired into our brains. The first time I truly felt just how much that primal being was inside me, was in the moments after I killed my first bull moose.

The feeling of walking up to that great creature- that mix of awe, sorrow, and joy – created a window to my roots I’ve rarely seen. 

For a moment much of the stuff that usually clutters up my psyche was gone. The primitive hunter, and his raw survival instinct, was exposed. The world felt different.      

This extra hunting and fishing sensory perception is not something I can rely on. The noise of modern life seems to squelch a lot of it.

Yet when I’m in the bush or on the water for an extended period of time, my mind and body seem to be more tuned to nature’s frequency.

During a hunt, the feelings and senses that make me feel more like a predator usually become sharpest about day 3. This is when I can often “feel” that a buck or bear is near and begin to follow my instincts more than my head.

So much of hunting and angling success is based on decisions, and being able to tap into raw instinct can never be a bad thing.

You can also place yourself in a state of mind that is more open to getting natural input. A good hunting friend of mine talks often about visualizing success and his results make me believe there is something to that as well.

Generating positive vibes is definitely on the touchy feely side of hunting and fishing, but we know what negativity can do. So why not visualize success? Why not think you are going to do well?

And if you have the ability to feel the presence of a moose, why not embrace it. There is a lot of mystery and beauty in hunting and fishing.

For me, the more time spent in the bush or on the water, the better my ability to channel what wildlife is up to.

Not all of us have the luxury to do that, but if you do, I feel confident you will get better at feeling what nature is doing.      

It’s a feeling I don’t tire of.

Read more about Gord’s outdoor adventures here.

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