12 Reasons You’ll Suck at Deer Hunting This Season

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Don’t Make One of These Deer Hunting Mistakes

I’m going to start this off by saying that I’m not a great deer hunter. In reality, I’m probably an average one. But I am confident in my abilities to find, target and kill mature deer because I pay heed to all the little things. The details. All of the minute factors that lead up to a successful hunt. Because of that, I’ve connected on quite a few mature bucks throughout the years. Not because I’m a great deer hunter — I’m not. But I’m constantly learning something new, studying my mistakes, and learning from them. And at some point or another in my hunting career, I’ve made every mistake on this list. But I made it a priority not to make them again.

 

You’ll Hunt Where There Aren

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1 | You’ll Hunt Where There Aren't Any Deer

This is one of the biggest mistakes people make. All too often deer hunters plop down in a tree expecting to see a parade of deer. But there’s just one problem. There aren’t any deer in that area to be in the parade. Effective scouting efforts implemented prior to the hunt will solve this problem.

Photo credit: Pavel Szabo/Shutterstock

You’ll Check Cameras Too Often

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2 | You’ll Check Cameras Too Often

Cameras are a good thing. But they can be more harm than good if you misuse them. Don’t check cameras too often or you’ll pressure deer. I only check them twice between June and September. Then, once the season opens, I check them every other week. The only time I check them more frequently than that is on short hunts and when I really need to know what a particular deer is doing.

Photo credit: Marty Honeycutt

You Won’t Use Cameras at All

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3 | You Won’t Use Cameras at All

This is the flipside of that coin. Some people completely refuse to use trail cameras. That’s a mistake. These are invaluable tools that most certainly have their place at the table. There have been several deer that I never saw in person, but did see on camera, that I would never have known existed. That’s the power of trail cameras. What if you have a 200-inch, double-drop tine monster on a place you can hunt, but you never hunt it because you don’t scout the place or run trail cameras? Think about that for a minute.

Photo credit: Josh Honeycutt

You’ll Be Too Aggressive or Passive

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4 | You’ll Be Too Aggressive or Passive

It’s all about having a happy medium. Don’t be too aggressive or passive. Be just right. Every situation is different. Read the hunt situations you get in and act accordingly. Always think before you do.

Photo credit: Chantal Honeycutt

Little Patience Will Be Too Much of a Factor

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5 | Little Patience Will Be Too Much of a Factor

Deer hunting is all about patience. If you don’t have patience, you won’t be very successful. That’s all there is to it. You have to be patient to succeed. So . . . be patient.

Photo credit: Realtree

One Treestand Is All You’ll Hunt

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6 | One Treestand Is All You’ll Hunt

We all have that favorite treestand. And over time, we find ourselves going back to it a lot. That’s a mistake. For one, you could burn out that spot. If you like to hunt a specific area, hunt different stand sites within that given location so deer don’t catch on to you. Secondly, hunting one stand might keep you from hunting other stand locations with more deer activity.

Photo credit: Realtree

You’ll Hunt Over Major Food Sources

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7 | You’ll Hunt Over Major Food Sources

Sometimes, you can kill deer over major food sources. But I — and most hunters I know — have had better luck hunting over travel routes between a bedding area and feeding area. Most of the time, the majority of deer don’t make it to big fields until near or after dark.

Photo credit: Josh Honeycutt

You Won’t Cut Shooting Lanes

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8 | You Won’t Cut Shooting Lanes

Cutting shooting lanes is very important. You can’t shoot something you can’t see. And it isn’t ethical to shoot through brush and debris to kill a deer. Instead, adequately prepare beforehand. See what that guy up there in the photo is doing? Don’t do that.

Photo credit: Realtree

Entry and Exit Routes Will Be Terrible

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9 | Entry and Exit Routes Will Be Terrible

Entry and exit routes are everything. I’d rather hunt an average stand site with a great entry and exit route than hunt a great stand with an average entry and exit trail. Access is key. You can’t let the deer know you’re there or you’ll never kill them.

Photo credit: Josh Honeycutt

You’ll Hunt Your Best Spot Before the Time Is Right

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10 | You’ll Hunt Your Best Spot Before the Time Is Right

Never under any circumstance should you hunt your “honey hole” until the timing is perfect. I prefer to let my best spots sit until around the end of October. That allows deer to remain as unpressured (as possible) until bucks’ testosterone begins to be too much for them to handle. The only time I ever break this rule is when I think I have a really good shot at killing the deer I’m after.

Photo credit: Realtree

You Won’t Pay Attention to Detail

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11 | You Won’t Pay Attention to Detail

You have to pay attention to detail. It’s everything when it comes to deer hunting. It’s the little things that mean the difference between success and failure. Look for tracks, study trails, differentiate between bucks when scouting from afar, study timestamps and weather information from trail camera photos, and do anything else you can. These are the things that make a difference.

Photo credit: Josh Honeycutt

You’ll Listen to Too Much Bad Advice

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12 | You’ll Listen to Too Much Bad Advice

Most of the things you will read and hear will be good information. But all too often do hunters apply bad advice to their hunting endeavors. I’ve done it. One time I took some advice from someone and it cost my a giant droptine buck. I won’t go into it here. But trust me, it took a few nights of lost sleep to come to terms with it.

Editor's Note: This was originally publish August 8, 2016.

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Photo credit: Josh Honeycutt

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