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The 7 Sins of Bowhunting Deer

By

Do You Break Any of These Bowhunting Rules?

Bowhunting whitetails (and other game for that matter) is no easy endeavor. It takes serious dedication, effort and skill to get the job done, especially in a consistent manner. On the flip side, make mistakes and things go south in a hurry. Making any of these seven blunders and hunts are over before they start.

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Bad Entry and Exit Routes

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1 | Bad Entry and Exit Routes

Entry and exit routes are key. It’s necessary to choose good routes in and out that will not spook deer. You can’t kill them if they vacate the area before you ever make it to the treestand. Bowhunting is a matter of yards. Deer walking down one trail instead of another 5 yards away can make all the difference. Disturbing them while moving about the woods can dictate their future patterns and behavior.

Photo credit: Brad Herndon

Bright and Loud Walks Afield

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2 | Bright and Loud Walks Afield

I no longer use a flashlight walking to and from the treestand unless I’m hunting on public land, areas other hunters are present, or land with dangerous terrain (for safety reasons). However, when deer hunting on private property where I know I’m the only one hunting at the time, I choose to walk without a flashlight. Why? It spooks deer. There have been times when I was walking to or from the stand and watched the impacts of my flashlight as deer ran around me like scared rats. However, there have been times when I was able to walk within 10 yards of deer when walking without a flashlight. The key is to allow your eyes to adjust and you’ll be amazed how well you can see in the dark. Then, move very slowly. Give yourself plenty of time to walk to the stand. If that means it takes 30 minutes to walk 300 yards, so be it. It’s worth not spooking deer.

Photo credit: Bill Konway

Scent Control Issues

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3 | Scent Control Issues

Bowhunters have to be extra careful with their scent because the game they’re hunting has to get close before pulling the trigger. It’s quite simple, actually. You just have to follow a scent-reduction regimen (scent-reducing showers, washing hunting clothes, keeping clothing scent-free, monitoring the wind, etc.).

Photo credit: Brad Herndon

Failing to Maintain Gear

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4 | Failing to Maintain Gear

I can’t speak for everyone, but I’m tough on gear. My stuff needs regular maintenance. Neglecting to make necessary repairs is a surefire way to have those things mess up while in the field.

Photo credit: Brad Herndon

Being a Devout Field Hunter

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5 | Being a Devout Field Hunter

Hunting fields can be productive at times. But that’s not always the case. Scout prior to the hunt and if fields aren’t looking promising for hunting, head into the timber and set up in thicker cover. The whole goal when bowhunting is to get close to deer, not just see a lot of deer.

Photo credit: Brad Herndon

Ignoring Minute (and Glaring) Details

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6 | Ignoring Minute (and Glaring) Details

As mentioned, bowhunting is a matter of yards, even feet and inches at times. Because of this, no detail (however big or small) can be overlooked. Be aware of your surroundings and always play the what-if game before the hunt starts. You want to be prepared for every scenario.

Photo credit: Brad Herndon

Being Hesitant

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7 | Being Hesitant

Hesitancy is a bowhunters worst enemy. It’s imperative to recognize opportunity when it presents itself. Don’t pass up a good shot (that’s within range) just because you’re hoping the deer will come closer. Don’t fail to call to that deer that is walking away because it’s walking over the hill and you don’t want to spook it. Don’t pass up on a deer on opening day that you’d shoot on the last one. The list goes on. My point: Don’t hesitate.

Photo credit: Realtree

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