Chad Mendes

Top 10 Traits of Highly Successful Hunters

Great hunters set themselves apart by demonstrating these traits. 

Chronicles have been written about what it takes to be a successful hunter. Ask 100 hunters what they think are the necessary requirements to be a great hunter and you'll likely get almost as many answers. That said, there are some tried-and-true traits that we think are universal for hunters. Not only will they help you succeed in the field; they'll also get you a long way in other areas of your life as well.


This doesn't mean you have to tell everyone where you're hunting or how big that buck is that you have on trail camera. We do ask, though, that you avoid over-exaggerating your stories (and please don't be one of these guys).


So, this is a given. Even the best hunters can go through a dry spell or wind up eating tag soup at the end of the year. Be patient, have a plan, and stick with it, and you'll be in a much better position to succeed.


You're not surprised ethics made it on a list of top hunting traits. but this one isn't as straight forward as it may seem. Here's one of those great examples where 100 hunters will tell you 100 different things. The best advice? Don't take a shot beyond your skill level. Don't cheat. And don't be wasteful.


A Habit of Thinking About Safety

Many hunters get confused about this. The first goal of every hunt is not to bag a giant trophy. Rather, it's simply to return home to your family. Every hunt that ends safely is a successful hunt. Practice shooting. Know your gear and equipment. And always make sure someone knows where you are and when to expect you back home.


Respect, in this sense, has two parts. We must be respectful of the animals we're pursuing. They're not for our abuse. In the same regard, we must be respectful of people. This is true for hunters and non-hunters as well, as difficult as that may sometimes be. Don't be one of those jerks that rags on everyone just because they have a differing opinion. Every disagreement is an opportunity to both learn and educate.


Why persistence when we've already covered patience? Even though they're similar, there are some major differences. Where persistence differs from patience is when circumstances don't go our way. Persistence is that "stick-to-it-iveness" that gets us back up after a defeat or in the face of difficult odds. It's often easier to be patient when waiting for that big buck you captured on camera. Persistence is missing that buck and going back again, and again. Never giving up.


Not so much an attribute, per se, but something every great hunter swears by. You must be diligent with your practice if you want to succeed as a hunter. This is true not just during the season. It's also not simply shooting. Practice and prepare yourself physically and mentally as well. Getting both your body and mind in the right place will help you maximize your odds of a successfully filled tag.

Willingness to be an Educator

You could also say hunters should avoid being selfish. This is perhaps one of the most important traits on our list. Whether it's your time, your skills, your knowledge or any other resource, don't hesitate to share with someone. Introduce someone new to the world of hunting. Educate an anti-hunting family member or friend on the benefits of hunting for both animals and people. Always be willing to help get the youth involved and teach them respect for the sport and proper techniques.


Okay, maybe we sound like a broken record here. But it's true. You won't bag a trophy every time. Become used to that idea. And if you do tag a giant? Well, don't be a jerk about it. Hunt long enough and you'll know that what goes around comes around. Whether that's with a hard time over a missed bird or gloating over the biggest bull of the year.

Sense of Humor

This trait is often overlooked, but it definitely deserves to be on the list. A great hunter will stay upbeat, positive, and be able to laugh off whatever error they just made. It seems like the folks who can relax and enjoy themselves are the ones who succeed.

Who knows? You might even find yourself the center of a crazy story like this one. Some folks need this reminder a bit more often. For a lot of us, it's amazing just to be outdoors and enjoying the beauty that is nature. Others will sometimes take things too seriously. We get it. You're competitive, but don't let a bad attitude ruin your season. Worst yet, don't let it ruin anyone else's.

Like what you see here? If so, click here to read more great hunting, outdoor, and shooting articles by Reid Vander Veen. Also, check him out on Twitter @ReidVanderVeen and on Instagram.