We're all humans but these are just 10 of the dumbest mistakes you can make in the treestand and blind while you're hunting.
These hunting mistakes can do more than cost you that big buck, they can also cost you all of the hunting buddies you know!
1. Texting while hunting
TWH. Short for Texting While Hunting, has cost more deer hunters opportunities to harvest a deer ever year. We all remember the video of the hunter that was spooked by a deer that sneaked in on him while he was on the phone. Sadly, that video was of me and was filmed before I started working here at Wide Open Spaces.
The story behind that, although I'm not making excuses, but I was planning a proposal for my fiance and the only time I was able to make plans was while I was away hunting. Needless to say, being on your phone and hunting at the same time makes for a bad combination and comes in at number one of the dumbest things you can do in a tree stand or blind.
2. Drop your release without a backup
This may seem like an obvious mistake and sure it happens, but ultimately, this could be very costly. When it really becomes a dumb mistake is when you do it from a climbing tree stand. You didn't bring a backup with you so now you have to climb the entire way back down the tree and then back up again.
When you are trying your best to be still, quiet and always prepared, dropping your release just doubled your noise and movement and you may have just missed an opportunity at the buck you've scouted all year.
3. Fall asleep
So you wake up early and you drive out to your favorite spot. You are scent free, your trail is cut and you are extremely quiet. You are fully prepared for the hunt, except you are feeling a little tired. So, you take a nap. The dangers of doing this in a tree stand are obvious, but the reality is, this is just flat out dumb. If you want to sleep you should have stayed home.
Okay, maybe sleeping in the forest isn't all that bad and some of you claim you are just "resting your eyes" and your ears will hear anything come in. Regardless, you have decreased your chances a tremendous amount at getting a shot at anything. Remember, the early bird gets the worm, only if the bird stays awake to find the worm.
4. Fail to shut off your alarm
So, you may not be sleeping in the blind or your tree stand, but your phone might think you still are. We've seen this before right. We are in an important meeting at work or at school and its a weekend so we no longer need our 6:00 a.m. alarm because we were in the woods by 5:00 a.m.
The good thing is, if you fell asleep, you are now awake as your alarm goes off, only now you've awakened to find nothing because every deer on the property now knows where you are, thanks to your Luke Bryan "Huntin', Fishin', and Lovin' Everyday" ringtone.
So you think this is an obvious one right? Well if you are old school or new to the outdoors, this is a no-no. Sure I have heard stories at camp from old timers telling me I'm wasting my time with the scent free soap, deodorant and laundry detergent. They usually follow up with a "I've killed deer in my jeans, smoking on my pipe!"
That may have been a lucky shot, lucky situation, but I can assure you, smoking in the blind or in the tree stand is one of the dumber things you can do while hunting.
6. Listening to music
At first you may think, well of course that would be loud and it would scare everything away. I'm not talking about playing it over a speaker. Bringing your headphones and listening to music, watching videos or playing games on your phone defeats the entire purpose we are in the woods to begin with. The sound of nature is a beautiful song in itself.
Take the time to put the electronics down, keep your ears open and the headphones in the car and enjoy the beautiful outdoors, otherwise you will miss an opportunity to harvest an animal.
7. Eating loud and smelly foods
I spend most of my late October and all through November traveling all over the northeast region of North America hunting whitetails. I spend my day hunting from sun up to sun down. It's obvious I need food and water while I'm in the stand or blind but I'm not making this dumb mistake while I'm there. Doritos. They are loud and smelly.
I won't deny they are delicious, but they aren't a good snack to take with you while you're hunting. If you make yourself a turkey sandwich, it's probably better to hold off on the vinegar and pickles too. You may think it's a no brainer, but, as we all know, some are keen on being outside the box.
8. Being uncomfortable
Without a doubt, this is a silent killer to any good hunter. I can't even keep count how many times I've been set up on either someones property, ranch or an outfitter where I am expecting to sit an all day sit and I get an extremely uncomfortable seat. Whether it's a blind or a tree stand, be sure to be comfortable.
Not so comfortable that you are falling asleep and requiring the alarm clock to go off, but comfortable that you don't spend your time counting down the hours until last shooting light but able to enjoy and take in nature. Maybe it's more of a tip than a dumb thing someone can do, but with my experience, its dumb to be uncomfortable, period.
9. Adjust your climbing tree stand, while climbing
You may think you are James Bond or Indiana Jones as you make your way up the trunk, but it's just not a smart idea. Have I done it? Yes. I speak from experience. Some times it has worked out but other times, like last year, the bottom slips out, you fall from the tree and break all five arrows in your quiver and bend your brand new CBE sight.
I'm sure you're now wondering why I was climbing with my bow, don't worry I wasn't. As I landed, my Mathews caught my fall and then the ground as I had my bow and camera equipment tied off awaiting me to set up above. Adjust properly before you head up the tree and you won't run into this issue in your future.
10. Bring your wife when she has a lot on her mind
This idea came from a buddy of mine as I was telling him I was working on this article. His honest answer was, "Heck, it'd be dumb to bring your nagging wife!" Well that was obviously too inappropriate to title number 10 so I thought taking the politically correct way might deem more truth and respect. Let's be honest, when we are hunting the last thing we want to worry about is the leaky kitchen faucet. We don't want to be thinking about the lawn that needs to be mowed or sit and discuss what a crappy week at we may have had.
When we are hunting, it's quiet time. It's the most relaxing, most enjoyable time and some people will never understand that. Many of my friends will ask, "So you just go out there and sit for 12 hours in a tree...don't you get bored?" Yes, to answer the first part of the question and no to answer the second. It's me time. I need my me time and I love bringing my fiance with me, but I also got very lucky and my fiance loves the outdoors as well and knows it's not time to discuss family matters while we are on the hunt for the elusive whitetail.
None of us are perfect as hunters. We as a community strive to be great at what we do and at the end of the day we all love to hunt. You may go your entire life never shooting a Pope & Young or Boone & Crockett record buck, but nothing will take away the memories you've made while in the outdoors.
Some of these things are silly, comical and relatable. But nothing is more important than making sure we go home at the end of the hunt to our families. As I was writing this I wanted to leave you with the thought that hunting with out a safety harness in a tree stand was a dumb thing to do, but ultimately it's its own category. It may just save your life as one out of every three hunters will fall from a tree stand throughout their life according to a 10 year study conducted in Ohio.
Whatever you do out in the field, always practice safety but and ensure to enjoy your time out there.