Top 10 Hunting Mistakes That Newbie Hunters Make
As the old adage goes, we should learn from our mistakes…
Nearly all rookie hunters unknowingly make mistakes that cost them a lot. Luckily, learning these errors will help you avoid them next time you go out hunting and increase your chances of bagging a monster buck.
In this post, I’ll take you through the 10 top hunting mistakes that all beginner hunters make and how to correct them.
Let’s do this:
Mistake #1: Neglecting Your Gear
One of the biggest mistakes you can make in your hunting career is neglecting your equipment when the season comes to an end…and believing that they’ll make it to the next hunting season unscathed.
Your hunting gear needs maintenance.
Whether you’re using a gun or a bow, you have to maintain them to keep them ready for the task ahead. Just ensure you do regular maintenance for all your hunting area and accessories.
Mistake #2: Over Equipping Yourself
You’ll all agree with me that there are thousands of hunting equipment on the market today. And more are being introduced with the advancement in technologies.
Unfortunately, most beginners tend to invest in nearly all these equipment and entirely depend on them to compensate for things like shooting range, accuracy, stand placement, and so much more.
In my view, this is abusing the equipment since they’re just made to help you not to be wholly depended on.
Before you buy any hunting gear, ensure you fully understand what it is, what it does, how it works, how to utilize it, and the limitations it comes with.
This will ensure you only buy the necessary equipment that will help you take your game to the next level.
Mistake #3: Overusing Scents and Calls
While scents and calls are some of the most valuable assets any deer hunter can have in their hunting backpacks, it’s important to use them with caution.
Saturating your hunting area with scents or filling the woods with crashing antlers or grunt calls isn’t a smart move for you.
The trick is to know when to use what call or scent.
If you’re hunting in the pre-rut and breeding phase, rattling will do just fine. As for the scents and grunt calls, you can productively use them when the bucks are actively trailing the does on heat.
Remember not to overdo it!
Mistake #4: Leaving Your Scent Uncovered
Newbies do this all the time;
Leaving their scent trail behind. And this is sure to warn the deer of your presence. The rule of thumb here is ensuring that everything goes up the stand with you- whether it’s your soda cans, packs, flashlights, and of course your human scent.
Avoid leaning against the trees, grabbing every grass blade you come across or dropping any of your gear (no matter how small or big) on the ground.
Leaving your truck far away from your stand and wearing rubber sole boots are also significant measures to ensure the deer don't note your presence.
Where possible/applicable, use scent covers.
Observe this rule for the years to come, and you’ll always have an easy time taking home the biggest of the bucks.
Mistake #5: Not Being Prepared For the BIG Moment
Assuming you’re a newbie in the woods and a deer unexpectedly shows up behind you, what action would you take?
Would you halt and make a shot right over your shoulder? Or would you take your bow and start ranging on the buck?
As the veteran hunters will node in agreement, you’re always bound to encountering this unexpected and surprising scenario countless times in your hunting life.
To ensure you’re always prepared for that BIG moment, I suggest that you practice drawing your bow in different, awkward angles- e.g., when sitting.
Mistake #6: Movements On The Stand
It’s a well-known fact that the deer are always fully aware of their surroundings. Newbies tend to wiggle with nervousness while resting up there on their stands.
This has always sent the deer away before they even notice it was around.
Movements can sometimes be unavoidable-say when you get bored after long hours of waiting or due to cold weather. However, you can counter such scenarios with a sharp mental focus and cladding in cold weather clothes respectively.
Another way to prevent making mistakes on the stand involves investing in a durable, fully padded, and comfortable stand that will hold up for long hours without making you feel exhausted.
No matter what, observe silence while up there.
Mistake #7: Impatience
Hunting is a game of patience. Most of the times, it involves sitting on your stand for long hours (probably the whole day) as you wait for a deer to show up.
Sadly, rookie deer hunters don’t seem to understand this fact.
They sit in their blinds or stands for a few hours, and when the deer don’t show up, they start moving around.
This is a big mistake as you’re more likely to spook any deer when moving than when quietly sitting in your stand.
Mistake #8: Failure To Scout
Believe you me, failing to scout (and do it right) will ruin your new hunting career more than anything else. Proper scouting doesn’t end; it can’t be done in a single day or a few weeks. Adequate scouting takes time.
So, when and how should you scout?
The best time to carry out your scouting activities is a few weeks after a hunting season comes to an end. At such a time, you’ll get to know what the deer were doing as they were being chased. You’ll quickly discover their hiding spots, travel trails, etc.
With all this information at hand, you can readily devise a game plan that will yield a trophy in the coming season.
Mistake #9: Following Up Too Soon
So you’ve finally released your arrow and made a perfect shot that has knocked down your target buck? Congrats!
But what’s next?
If you’re like most of the newbies out there, you will move towards your deer immediately after, hoping to find it totally wounded and immobile and ready for bagging.
That’s a grave mistake!
If you feel that your shot was a perfect one, I’d advise you to let the buck sit for around an hour. You can extend this time depending on your shot placement.
Following up immediately might make you spook your already injured deer to disappear for good (yes, it can still run), without leaving a blood trail. This will honestly give you a hard time trailing it.
Mistake #10: Taking Bad Advice
Lastly, listening to and implementing bad advice is another way many rookie deer hunters mess up with their newly found hobby. True, listening to expert hunters is great, and I highly recommend it.
But keep in mind that they can give you misleading advice at times.
For example, they may have forgotten the basics of starting out in this game after spending years in the woods, so they’d tell you things that are beyond your scope. Others would want to sound like expert hunters you believe they are and they'll end up misleading you.
My advice is;
Make it precisely known to the person advising you that you’re an absolute beginner who wants to learn how to start out. And let it be someone who gives you the motivation and confidence you need to get the job done.
If you notice that your mentor is assuming you know certain things or is trying to belittle your efforts, that’s a RED flag! Seek advice elsewhere!
If you’re planning to venture into the deer hunting world, it’s important that you take note of the common mistake above that beginner deer hunters tend to make over and over again. This will help you start your new hobby the right way and set you on the path to greatness.
Likewise, if you’re already in the game but always get frustrated, you need to take a pause and evaluate your hunting activities. If you find you have been making these mistakes, you can correct them on time and improve your game.