Here are the top 5 things a hunter should never do.
The list of things a beginning hunter should do to ensure success is almost limitless. From picking out the right equipment to mastering your shooting skills, from watching your scent to checking wind and weather patterns repeatedly before a hunt, and from taking your time with a shot to learning how to track blood trails, there are tips and essential strategies for every single stage of the hunt.
But while hunting guides are loaded with the “dos” of hunting success, it is also important for a prospective hunter to think about the equally vital list of “don’ts” that he or she will need to consider before heading off into the woods. Here are five of our favorite entries on the “don’t” list.
1. Move on from a hunting spot too soon: It’s been said before that the sport of hunting is no place for the impatient, and to a certain extent, that’s true. While most of us would simply love to have a huge buck wander past our treestand 15 minutes into a morning hunt, such an occurrence is extremely rare. More likely, you will spend hours—if not days—without seeing much activity at all. Still, while such scenarios can be frustrating, it is important to remain patient. Many mature bucks move in three-day cycles, so don’t ditch your treestand location after a single fruitless evening. Who knows, the buck of your dreams could show up right after you throw up your hands in disgust, and you would never know it.
2. Return to the same hunting spot too frequently: This tip might seem to contradict the first one, but truthfully, there is a fine line between leaving a favorite hunting spot too soon and relying on it for too long. Just as it is easy to give up on a spot after a few days of limited nearby movement, it is tempting to return to the site of a major kill one time too often. If you rely on the same one or two treestand locations all season long, you might get lucky a few times, but eventually, the deer in the area are going to figure out your patterns and routines and avoid your prime hunting spot—possibly for years to come.
3. Ignore the wind: Rain sucks and sun is nice, but the most important aspect of the weather for hunters is the wind. Since deer use the wind – along with an acute sense of smell – to avoid predators, you must to use the wind to kill your prey. Even with all the scent control in the world, it is hard to entirely eliminate your scent, so pay attention to the wind to make sure that Mother Nature isn’t helping every deer in the forest to catch your scent.
4. Become a public land snob: Too often, hunters will write off hunting on public land entirely after having a good experience or two on a buddy’s private property. But while private land can often be the best place to hunt, having multiple spots is an important ingredient to a successful hunting season. If you can find five or six private acreages to hunt, more power to you. If not, keep an open mind to public spots. Try to find small, off-the-beaten-path land parcels: they may just house the prize buck that no one else is looking for.
5. Get cocky with a shot: Here’s a revelation: even if you’ve spent hours at the shooting range and in the woods, practicing with your weapon in every type of scenario possible, you can still miss the shot when it counts. Adrenaline – like the kind that pumps through your veins after seeing a monster buck – can be a real game-changer, and it can send all your training and shooting sense right out the window. So don’t get cocky with the shot. After all, more hunters lose bucks by shooting too quickly and missing than taking their time and missing their chance.