You woke up early, set up the perfect spot and did everything right. So why did you come home with an empty bag? The disappointment you feel may be just too much to count lessons learned, but a bad hunt can actually help you improve if you take the time to reflect on what went wrong. Here are a few things we’ve learned from trophy-less trips:
1. Remember: a close target doesn’t equal a sure kill.
A buck right in front of you doesn’t mean you’ve got a done deal. Calculate your angle and don’t shoot until you know it’ll land the perfect shot. Save yourself – and your target – the unnecessary suffering from poorly executed attempts.
2. Realize your limits.
What are your strengths and weaknesses as a hunter? Are you a better shot from a standing or kneeling position? What’s the longest distance you can hit with accuracy? Assess yourself honestly – knowing your shortcomings will save you a lot of time, frustration and wasted effort.
3. Be patient before you pull the trigger.
You know the feeling: The air stands still, and there’s nothing capable of standing between you and your target. With this sudden thrill a certain anxiety may creep in, causing you to act before the moment is actually there. Stay calm, find the perfect second to shoot and make it happen without rushing.
4. Walk to the hunting grounds.
Some hunters don’t understand why they’re required to walk more than a mile to the hunting grounds. The reason? If you drive to the place where you hope to find game, chances are that the noise made by your vehicle will cause potential trophies to perceive the danger and simply take off.
5. Move with the wind.
No matter what advanced scent control technology you use, there’s no way to completely eliminate your scent. Be sure to hunt downwind of any deer you’re hoping to pursue so you stay undetected from their sensitive noses.
These are only a few of the lessons we’ve learned from coming home empty handed. What valuable insights have you gained from trophy-less hunts? How did your unsuccessful experiences make you a better hunter? Let us know!