We’re gonna tell you straight up: you’re hurting your hunt. Don’t know how? We’ll tell you:
1. Being a fair weather hunter:
You can hardly be blamed for wanting to stay home and sit a hunt out due to freezing temperatures, but sometimes, the worst weather days are the ones destined to bring you the big buck. Not only will deer and other animals have to emerge during frigid days to feed in predictable places, the temperatures will keep competing hunters away, positioning you perfectly for the best kill of the season.
2. Ignoring the direction of the wind:
When hunting deer, you always want to be downwind of the animal you are hunting. Too few hunters take stock of the wind, but even a gentle breeze can carry your scent for miles and alert an animal to your presence well before you get close enough to take a shot.
3. Not using scent control, calls, or decoys:
Some hunters like a no-frills experience, without a bunch of accessories. Still, the fact is that hunters use scents, calls, and decoys because they work. They go hand in hand, too: if you use a deer call, a smart buck will head downwind of the sound to check for your scent.
4. Hunting in heavily-wooded areas:
Thick woods and plentiful vegetation can be a hunter’s biggest enemy and may well be the only thing to come between you an a huge buck. Either trim the vegetation around your vantage point or go hunt in a wooded area that isn’t so full of obstacles and sightline obstructions.
5. Holding out for the perfect shot:
Whether you are an inexperienced hunter worried about missing your target or a seasoned veteran who wants to get the cleanest shot possible, the hunting field is no place for procrastination. Take the first clean shot you get and bring your buck down while you still have the chance.
6. Not planning the right route to your stand:
Sometimes, the most direct route to your stand can be the worst route, as it can tip nearby deer off to your location. Consider wind and deer feeding and bedding areas before you head to your stand each day.
7. Hunting in heavily-traveled areas:
Many hunters head to local trails to do their hunting, not a bad choice from a convenience or familiarity standpoint, but one that can be poor for deer hunting success if that trail sees a lot of traffic, whether it’s from other hunters, winter sports enthusiasts, or just friendly hikers trampling the deer feeding areas.
8. Staying in one location:
Deer are in different parts of the woods at different times of day. Learn their locations and spread yourself out rather than remaining sedentary for an entire day in the field.
9. Not being willing to travel for a good kill:
Sometimes, the properties where the big trophy bucks live are nowhere near your house. Don’t be afraid to drive a half hour or so to a new location if it means better hunting potential.
10. Underestimating the learning curve of a new rifle:
Even a seasoned hunter needs time to grow accustomed to a new weapon. Head to the firing range to learn the shooting and recoil feel of a new gun before you take it into the field.
Did you know all of these hunting must-knows? Good for you! If you didn’t, you’re welcome.