Did you know there are around 11.4 million deer hunters in the US? Hunting is a rewarding hobby that gets you into the great outdoors. But what does it take to be a great hunter?
Unfortunately, it needs more skill than just being a good shot. Read on as we discuss the seven most common hunting mistakes.
1. You Don’t Think About the Wind
Thinking about the wind is learning how to hunt lesson one. Yet many people seem to forget about this fact. Even worse, they get distracted with new gadgets, guns and rely on their equipment more than their nose.
Animals, particularly deer, have extremely sensitive senses of smell. So sensitive, that even the best scent-eliminating products will never fully mask you from their senses.
Keep track of the wind, so you can aim to position yourself downwind of the animal. Remember that weather changes and so can the direction. For this reason, you should always have a wind tracker with you.
2. Ignoring Patterns
Many deer follow the same patterns year after year. They may use certain trails at given times or have migratory behavior. If you can catalog this, then you know where to look when the season comes around.
You can track these using trail cameras. Even better, spend time watching and waiting. Ask other hunters in the area what activity they have spotted and make notes of it.
Also bear in mind that these patterns can change. If you get evidence that goes against your knowledge of old patterns and trails, then stick with the newer intelligence. While animals are creatures of habits, just like humans they are also prone to change.
3. Driving Four-Wheeled Vehicles
This is another one that sounds simple on paper, but can quickly get forgotten when on a hunting trip with friends. Unless you have trouble with movement, you should never drive up to a treestand location. Nothing is more likely to make your prey bolt than the revving of an engine.
Remember that animals, particularly deer, are generally creatures of habit. They come to know routines and procedures. Thus, if it is a time of day when high traffic is the area, it may not matter that engines are roaring.
However, if you turn up in the middle of the night, then don’t expect them to hang about. Instead, park up a way off and walk to your spot.
4. Know Your Weapon
Rifles for hunting are very unique. One can feel and shoot totally different from another. They may have different mechanisms and loading.
When you start adding other products like scopes, the room for error and malfunction in your equipment increases. This is why it is important to know your weapon and equipment inside out.
Practice shooting throughout the year. Try to mimic the conditions you may be shooting in, by getting down low or shooting in bad weather. Even doing courses such as a hunter safety course will allow you more time to get to know your gun.
5. Waiting for a Perfect Shot
When you are hunting, the perfect shot very seldom occurs. If you are shooting animals such as deer, you will find even when on the spot they move and turn a lot. This makes whatever shot you can get, the best one.
Of course, you don’t want to take a shot that is not going to be ethical for the deer. Make sure you are getting a kill, but understand that the first good shot will probably be the best.
6. Overhunting the Same Ground
Deer are not stupid. If they know that a hunter is using a spot all the time, they will avoid it. This is a common survival instinct.
As such, you should avoid overhunting the same ground. Try to move locations regularly so that deer do not avoid your successful spots.
For some people, this may be the only area they have to hunt. In this instance, it may be better to do fewer hunts so the deer do not blacklist the spot, and increase your chances of success when you do.
7. Getting Blinded by Technology
We live in an age where a lot of technology is competing for our attention. As such, our attention spans are decreasing. However, on the hunt is one place you need to be on your game.
You will have to wait long periods in your stand. That is the nature of hunting. However, you will be willing to kick yourself when you look up from your SMS message and see your prey scurry away into the woods.
If you are hunting with friends this becomes more important. All it takes is one mildly interesting social media post in the middle of a quiet hunt to start a conversation.
8. Moving Too Much
The more you are moving around from one place to another, the more ground scent you leave. Even if you are in one spot, then leaving for lunch or a break and returning, you are strengthening the scent. Pick fewer spots and stay in them for long periods of time to increase your chances.
In summary, hunting mistakes come from a lack of patience. Know your weapon, know your grounds and follow your instinct. Hunting is a waiting game, so be prepared to dig in, and eventually, the hunt will come to you.
If you liked our article, then we have many more to help you. From outdoor advice to product reviews, we can get you into the great outdoors this season.