Deer Hunter’s 5 Deadly Sins

Don't let these sins be the death of your hunting season.

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As long as you are willing to keep learning, you will.  This is especially true with deer hunters.  There is so much information available, and growing every day that hunters will never know everything there is to know about deer and deer hunting. Here are 5 hunting sins you should learn to avoid.  By doing so, you will be a better deer hunter.

OVERHUNT YOUR STANDS

It is best to have a number of select stand sites.  Having just a couple of favorites that you hunt from will allow deer to quickly pattern you, and avoid the area all together.  Even though it might feel like there are no deer in the area, they have just associated that location with danger and stay away.  This will make it hard to fill your tags.

Deer stands cost money to purchase and time to hang in a tree.  As nice as it would be to have dozens of stands to choose from, the money and time factor does not make that realistic for most of us.  At a minimum, have two stand sites for each consecutive day of hunting.

For example, if you are going to hunt a week straight, have a dozen stands in place.  Half of those stands should be hung with the prevailing wind in mind.  If you are just going to hunt 2 or 3 days, have a stand prepared for every wind direction, with an extra or two for prevailing winds.

Always keep your best stands for the rut.  The best opportunity to kill a deer out of any stand is the first time you hunt from it.  Your odds for success go down each time you hunt from a stand.  It is best to have several stands to choose from.

ALERTING DEER YOU ARE IN THE AREA

The biggest reason deer are able to pattern us, and eventually avoid our stand locations is because of the human odors we leave behind.  Everything we touch and brush up against will have our scent on it.

It is estimated that the whitetail’s ability to smell is about 10,000 times stronger than human’s.  it is impossible to gain complete scent elimination, but we can control and reduce our scent.

The best way to do this is by spraying all of our gear and clothing with scent elimination spray.  Using scent-free soaps and laundry detergents will help reduce the bacteria that is responsible for most human odors.  Also, use creeks and ditches as entry and exit routes to keep your scent away from deer.  Open fields also holds less human scent.

HUNTING MEMORIES

Just because the bucks were in one spot last year does not mean they will be there this fall.  Food sources change, new construction changes the landscape, hunting pressure all of sudden picks up.  Stay abreast of any changes, and be willing to change with them.  The hunter that is willing to adapt is often the successful hunter.

NOT PRACTICING

Just about any time I pick up my bow in the middle of the summer and shoot a few arrows, I am hitting the bull’s-eye.  However, this is not how hunting is.  In order to be confident in our shooting abilities, we need to practice in realistic hunting conditions.

This entails shooting while wearing a complete hunting outfit, even in the dog days of summer.  Don’t forget about shooting from elevated platforms and/or from inside a ground blind.

Don’t forget to practice with your broadheads well before season opens.  They could hit differently than the field points you are shooting.  Practicing in advance will give you plenty of time to correct any problems.

Instead of shooting from known distances at broadside targets, make it real.  As nice as it would be to have every deer standing broadside at 20 yards, that does not usually happen.  To simulate realistic hunting conditions, practice shooting from unknown distances at different angles.

Deer will often offer shots quartering away and to, rather than broadside.

FAILING TO SCOUT

Having confidence in your hunting area allows a hunter to stay put for longer periods of time.  The only way to build confidence is by scouting.  Your best chance to kill a deer from any particular location is the first day you hunt it.  On each day after the first, your chances decrease.  Make the most out of the first day afield.

The best time to scout is as soon as the current season is over.  Deer sign is still fresh and easy to locate.  Shed hunting is another great way to find out what bucks survived the season, as well as provide an enjoyable day outdoors.  Trail cameras offer year-round scouting opportunits, and glassing from afar is a great tool to use in the summer.

CONCLUSION

There are no guarantees in deer hunting.  All a hunter can do is put the odds in his or her favor.  If you take these 5 deadly sins out of your hunting life, you will have a better chance of taking a nice deer this season.

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Jason Houser
Jason Houser is an avid traditional bowhunter from Central Illinois who killed his first deer when he was nine years old. A full-time freelance writer since 2008, he has written for numerous national hunting magazines. Jason has hunted big game in 12 states with his bow, but his love will always be white-tailed deer and turkeys. He considers himself lucky to have a job he loves and a family who shares his passion for the outdoors. Jason writes full time and is on the pro staff of two archery companies; in his free time, he fishes and traps as much as possible.

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