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12 Reasons You Couldn’t Kill a Buck This Season

Here are 12 reasons the 2015 deer season was not the home run you wanted. 

The 2015 deer season had its ups and downs across the states. Some huge deer were shot, but if you were like me you didn’t harvest your desired buck.

Reflecting over the last seasons, I’ve came up with 12 reasons you didn’t kill a buck this season.

1. You were happy with shooting a doe

deer season

A common misconception among hunters is the unspoken competition of shooting a big buck. Some hunters aren’t all about that hustle and bustle. There’s nothing wrong with notching your tag around a doe.

2. You weren’t prepared

summer prep
Zippo Outdoors

Let’s face it, sometimes there simply isn’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. Preparation is key to outsmarting a buck. Scouting the area during the summer and prepping spots is the difference from tag soup and shooting a big buck.

3. You didn’t hunt enough

No one ever said shooting a buck was easy. The more you’re in the deer stand, the better change of shooting a buck. If you’re a weekend warrior hunter like many, due to work and other obligations, the odds are against you.

4.  The population numbers were in flux


Some states had record harvest numbers, while other hunters in some states experienced very slow and unsuccessful seasons. You couldn’t shoot a buck, because there were no shooter bucks running around on the property. Hopefully next year will be a different story and the younger bucks have developed.

5. You didn’t make it happen

When everything isn’t working, you have to make it happen. This could mean resorting to pushes or a spot and stalk with a fresh snow. When the deer aren’t are moving, take it up a notch and make it happen.

6. You missed

hunter misses

It’s easy to get pretty excited when a big buck is coming into shooting range. This excitement gets your heart thumping and palms sweaty. At some point or another, most hunters have missed a buck. Maybe this is why you couldn’t kill a buck this year. Next year, practice shooting more and stay calm when the moment arises.

7. Your neighbor shot the big one

Gannett CDN
Gannett CDN

Sometimes it’s just not your year. The big buck you’ve been after since summer was arrowed by the neighbor hunter across the fence. It can happen to anyone, but this could be a reason why you couldn’t shoot a buck.

8. The weather never cooperated

The weather this winter and fall has been crazy to say the least. In Illinois, the temperatures for early November were much higher than usual. The unusual temperatures clearly impacted rut behaviors and movement routines.

9. Snoozed in the stand too much

NJ Adams
NJ Adams

A mixture of late nights and high noon suns create a perfect storm for a nap in the treestand. Could this be a reason you couldn’t shoot a buck? Possibly… maybe the bruiser buck you were after snuck through your area while you were catching some rest.

10. You spent too much time on your phone

Cell phone
Community/Deer Gear

Cell phones are a trap when it comes to making hunts count. Briefly glancing at your phone can turn into scrolling through Facebook for 20 minutes. One key to becoming a better hunter is keeping your phone in your pocket and paying attention. Although, that’s easier said than done.

11. You didn’t draw a tag


It’s hard to shoot a buck when you don’t apply or draw a tag. Let this be a lesson and mark on the calendar when you need to send off tags.

12. Never had a chance at Mr. Perfect

Let’s say your hunting senses were keen and you did everything right, but you still didn’t a get an opportunity to connect with the buck you’ve been thinking about all year. It’s tough, but hopefully your number one target buck made it through the season and will be healthy this upcoming fall.

If this wasn’t your year, take the time to prepare and increase your odds for next year. In the meantime, start practicing your turkey call, I can hear spring gobblers already.


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12 Reasons You Couldn’t Kill a Buck This Season