The hunting industry doesn’t always match up with the individual hunter. Confused by what that means? Read on.
Periodically, I feel the need to clear up some myths (lies?) I keep seeing repeated among my fellow hunters, propagated by the hunting industry. Those marketers are doing a great job of separating us from our money!
You’ll notice that many of these tips are related to whitetail deer, but what do you expect? I’m a deer biologist, it’s what I care about.
I hold a master’s in Wildlife Sciences from Auburn University, where I completed my research on deer reproductive habits. During that research, I spent countless hours, year-round, up close to mature, wild deer.
So if it makes you happy to keep wasting your resources on this stuff, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
On with the show, and you’re welcome in advance for saving you time and money…
1. Moon Charts
Charts depicting the moon’s position are a complete waste of time. While studies have shown some slight correlations to animal activity related to moon phase, the feeding time moon charts based on moon position have been repeatedly shown as total BS.
Solution: Hunt whenever you get the chance!
2. Food Plots
Let me explain this further. Food plots, as marketed to grow you bigger bucks, are a lie.
Food plots can be great for attracting deer to a place in which to kill them. However, your bucks will not grow (noticeably) larger deer, no matter how much more money you spend on white clover seed.
And as for the paltry “research” that “proves” otherwise, an increase of a few inches of total antler to your herd’s average will never be noticeable to you. Stated differently: even if the average B&C gross score of your bucks 4.5 years old or greater went from 115″ to 120″ (a pretty big jump statistically), you’d never know.
Solution: Plant food plots if it makes you happy!
3. Doe Harvest
Again, this references doe harvest as a tool to grow bigger bucks. It doesn’t work that way. And as above, even if it did, you wouldn’t be able to tell.
Solution: Shoot does if you need the meat!
4. Culling Bucks
They say “Once a spike, always a spike.” The only way for your bucks to get noticeably bigger is for them to grow older. If a deer has a messed up rack, typically it’s a result of a physical injury, and there is very little chance that the trait is heritable.
That particular deer may never grow a 170-inch typical rack, but then again, almost none of your other deer will, either.
Solution: Shoot him if he makes you happy!
Except for turkeys, the animals you hunt CANNOT SEE COLOR.
Please, oh please, stop posting on message boards asking which camo pattern blends in better for the terrain in area X! Stop with the moving testimonials about how you were wearing pattern Y and animal Z looked at you but couldn’t see you! Stop with the black and white picture comparisons to prove that pattern A is superior to pattern B! One of the best treestand “camo” patterns is a white t-shirt.
Solution: Don’t wear blue, and don’t move when the animal can see you!
6. Scent Control
I sometimes can’t believe that there are people out there who have been so brainwashed by the industry that they still insist on showering, changing clothes, using scent-free soap, scent-away spray, etc, etc, ad nauseum ad infinitum.
But they are still out there. If you are one of them, stop wasting your time and money! I really can’t fathom that anyone still buys “scent control” clothing. It doesn’t work, period.
Solution: Hunt with the wind! Sometimes animals spook, and sometimes they won’t. It has nothing to do with your scent-control procedure.
The bottom line is that if you enjoy spending your time and money on these things, then by all means go ahead. If it makes you more confident, keep at it.
But if you are like me and have limited time and money to devote to hunting, these are six key areas that you can cut out right away and never know the difference.