10 Common Bow Hunting Mistakes December 07 2017
Bow hunting can be quite the exciting experience for both beginner and expert hunters. But no matter the level of experience, it’s possible you could be making a mistake (or several!) that is preventing you from coming home with the prize. Below are some common mistakes to avoid while bow hunting:
1. Catching the “buck fever” and running with it. While it’s exciting to see a big deer, don’t let it completely throw you off focus. You have a target to hit, so keep the excitement at bay and concentrate on the task at hand. Something that may help you is creating a pre-shot checklist, such as something similar below:
a. Calculate the shot distance.
b. Choose where you want to shoot and envision a target.
c. Make sure the pathway is clear before you shoot.
d. Envision the imaginary target on the deer once again.
e. Control your breathing.
f. Place your sight pin in the direction of the imaginary target on the deer.
g. Stay calm and patient.
h. Tense your back and gently pull the trigger.
For practice, hunt for does, varmints, and small game. These will help you get used to aiming for games with higher stakes at hand.
2. Failing to mentally prepare for opening day. The right mindset goes a long way! The night before the hunting season begins, envision this being the one and only day you have to catch what you’ve been waiting to hunt for all year long. This will help you stay alert and eager to strike when the opportunity presents itself. No matter what game you’re hunting for, see each hunting trip as your one and only. Work on your patience and developing aggression, and when to use both in the right moment.
3. Failing to maintain or practice stealth. When choosing what to wear while hunting, keep it simple, practical, and comfortable. Don’t buy into the hunting “fashion” trends; many can be noisy and bulky, which can hurt your chances at nailing the big kill. With bow hunting, silence is crucial. If your hunting attire makes noises, your cover is blown. Test your new attire at home and while hunting smaller game before heading out to catch bigger ones. Avoid waterproof and windproof clothing; these are quite noisy. Wool, fleece, and poly/cotton fabrics are always best. Make sure the zippers on your backpack are quiet, and inspect your deer stand for any noises that could occur while entering and exiting.
4. Failing at scent control. The longer your hunting trip, the more your scent will permeate the area you’re hunting within. Wind currents can carry this even further, which could cause that big game to pick up on your presence and split before being spotted. The best system has shown to consist of showering before you hunt with scent-free soap and shampoo, drying with a scent-free towel, and washing your hunting gear with scent-free products. Store them in bags or bins that will keep odor out and transport them to your hunting grounds this way; this will ensure the only scent they’re exposed to is that of nature.
5. Failing to test broadheads. This shouldn’t be done the day of hunting, or even the day before. In fact, it’s always best to test your broadheads three to four months before opening day. This allows you to experiment and practice by late summer and early fall. Same goes for mechanical heads.
6. Practicing in an inadequate manner. Don’t stay within the confines of your backyard; practice out in the woods with a deer target in the early morning or late evening, dressed just as you would if it were the actual day of hunting.
7. Poor scouting. The best way to know your area is to scout from post-season on up through late summer and early fall. Know the territory, the ins and outs, the tricky places, where the game seems to gather most, etc.
8. Being impatient and calling it quits much too soon. While it can get uncomfortable after a while sitting around waiting for what appears to be nothing at all, plan to stay through the late morning and on into midday hours, when a larger percentage of bucks are typically spotted. Don’t be afraid to pack extra cushions, as well as an adequate supply of food and water. Dress comfortably and warm.
9. Fearing the dark. Flashlights and headlamps could scare away the game, so consider traveling in the dark of the evening. If this just isn’t for you, consider purchasing a lamp with red or green lens, which are difficult to be picked up by deer.
10. Delaying the shoot. While it’s always a good idea to take your time with the shot, waiting too long can cost you. The perfect shot can be a myth; so if you see the opportunity to make a good hit, take it. Draw ahead of time and be prepared to fire away at will.