Making mistakes is a part of life that we all know rather well. No matter how hard you try, regardless of the best effort you put forward, sometimes details are overlooked and mistakes are made. This does not make us bad hunters; instead, provided we learn from mistakes, it will ultimately make us good ones. The good thing about mistakes, however, is that all we tend to make the same ones, making it easy to learn valuable lessons from one another.
When you find yourself reaching a hunting plateau in the hunt field, perhaps there is a reason, or reasons, why. It could be a small detail or something completely innocent that is messing with your mojo, but whatever the mistake is, it has thrown the hunt off and you need to get things back on track. Here are five commonly made mistakes that could be to blame for the slip in your game:
1. They say you can never have too many friends, but in the hunt field it is possible that you can. Overcrowding hunting areas can put too much pressure on deer, leading you to miss out on a harvest. Whether it is opening your land up to use by friends and family or hunting public land with the masses, it is important to remember that more hunters does not necessarily mean a merrier hunting season. Sure, go for a hunt with your pals, but don't follow the crowd, instead picking your own secluded spot. When it comes to opening up your owned or leased property to others, place restrictions on how many can hunt and on what days. You don't want your property picked clean before you have a chance to get out there yourself.
Photo: Buck Manager
2. Don't place too much weight on a food plot. Although a food plot is a good draw, the bigger, smarter bucks can be hesitant to approach except under the cover of darkness. Instead, they will feed on alternate sources of food, which you should take note of as well. Scan the woods and clearings for honeysuckle, blackberry, and the like and you might find a buck soon comes to nibble on them.
3. Just because it worked before does not mean it will work again. Hunting is part skill, part luck, and part circumstance. Sometimes when we have success, we are tempted to recreate a circumstance that paid off in the past in hopes it will do so again. While this sounds great, the truth is that bucks learn from predictable behavior. Vary things up such as tactics, approach, and hunting location. Just as you would any other adversary, keep deer guessing.
Photo: 365 Whitetail
4. When you rattle antlers, do so like you mean business. If you've ever seen two bucks engage in a fight, you know it is serious business. Real fights can be heard from great distances, so you need to make your rattling heard, too. If you want to draw a buck, be convincing by rattling aggressively.
5. Your impatience gets the better of you and you prematurely move to a different stand. Keep in mind that bucks tend to move in cycles that last three days. This means moving anytime shy of that timeframe could result in a missed opportunity. When you choose a location, wait it out, but also save your best locations for the ideal opportunity. Don't immediately perch yourself in prime real estate just because you can; save it for when the time and conditions are just right, giving it the time it requires when you get there.
Photo: Wide Open Spaces
Sometimes all it takes is a minor adjustment for the cards to fall for or against us in our hunting efforts. In order to give ourselves the best chance possible to score that longed for trophy buck, we need to give ourselves every advantage possible. This means following not only the tips mentioned above but also embracing others shared by fellow hunters we encounter.
Do you have any other suggestions as to actions to avoid in order to have a successful season? What have you learned from as trial and error from personal experience? Let us know in the comments!