There are two types of people in the woods: people who hunt, and successful hunters. Here's what separates the two.
Ever wonder why some people fill their tags year in and year out, while others don't? Do they have better gear? More knowledge?
Those kinds of factors play a role in success, but not as much as these character traits do.
Never enter the woods without confidence. If you want to kill a mature animal, you have to believe that you can. This has a lot to do with how much preparation you have put into your hunt. A successful hunter may spend months scouting their property. In some cases, it is a year round obsession.
You also must be proficient with your weapon of choice. If you know where the deer are and shooting is second nature to you, you can't help but have confidence.
We have all heard the story of a hunter who was in his or her stand for 15 minutes and before shooting the buck of their dreams. Sure it can happen, but don't expect it.
Patience works two ways here. You should wait to hunt a stand if the conditions are not ideal. If you can't wait and you hunt a stand with the wrong wind, you could ruin it for the remainder of the season. When the time is right and you're in your stand, you must be patient for your shot opportunity. Whenever I am at full draw on a deer, I repeat to myself, "one more step." This keeps me from rushing my shot. Patience is not easy to master; that's why they say "patience is a virtue."
When pursuing your prey, you must think like a predator. A successful hunter can anticipate their quarry's next move. This is intimate knowledge about game pursued. It can be acquired by spending hours on stand, collecting trail cam pictures, and in season scouting.
If I am after a specific buck, I want to know where he sleeps, where and what he eats, and when he travels. If I know this information, I can set up an ambush stand and hopefully get a shot when he least expects it.
This trait covers everything from equipment to weather conditions. A successful hunter always has their weapon dialed in before the hunt. Test all your gear in advance. Both you and your camo must be scent free. You should know all factors ranging from wind direction to moon phase. The slightest shift in the wind can change the whole dynamic of the hunt.
The key is to leave as little to chance as possible. Hunting is unpredictable, but you should be as well prepared for everything as you can be.
Rather be lucky than good? Most successful hunters will credit some of their harvests to being lucky. It's not dumb luck. You can put yourself in a position to be lucky. If you have been scouting effectively, you hung a stand along a trail that leads to a bedding area. When a hot doe is near, it may take a little luck for her to attract a Pope and Young buck. You did the homework to be around deer, but a little luck may be needed to bring in the right deer.
Take the time to learn these character traits and you will be well on your way to filling more tags. Every successful hunter possesses these traits. If you're serious about hunting, you should, too!