Learning to be a successful hunter takes time, especially if we’re talking about hunting during the early season. However, some things are only learned through trial and error. Fortunately, we are here to help.
Improve your odds by avoiding these common mistakes during early season hunting:
1. You wake up too early
During early season, the buck’s eating and sleeping habits differ from the actual hunting season. Most mature bucks aren't experiencing the rush of testosterone that they will begin experiencing in a few short months. This means that the buck’s somewhat predictable: they feed on a regular, evening schedule and sleep fairly close to food sources. Applying unnecessary hunting pressure during the early season only increases your chances of ruining your hunting area by scaring the buck.
The safer tactic would be to focus on evening hunts. It will keep the pressure at a minimum and let you catch a few more hours of sleep. Of course, you also have to get in and out of the hunting area undetected. This brings us to the second most common mistake.
2. You don’t control your scent
Try and reduce any type of odors during the early season. As temperatures are higher during this period, you are more likely to sweat no matter what you do. Keep your body, breath, and hunting gear washed and clean.
When it comes to personal odor control, hunters typically use chlorophyll tablets as a safe and effective solution to combat unpleasant odors.
3. You don’t check the track before hunting
Even though the buck’s habits are more predictable during the early season, it is important to utilize scouting strategies. It can save you a lot of time and ensure you shoot to win.
Rangefinders, especially night vision goggles, can be of great help. Use them to locate possible staging zones, travel corridors, bedding areas, watering holes, and other transitional food resources and escape routes. This will help you piece together a complete daily pattern, establish routines, and identify habits and tendencies that can be exploited.
4. You take too little or too long to shoot
Experience is the best teacher a hunter can have.
Many good hunters don’t know when to take their shots. They either shoot before they have a good shot or wait for the very best moment and never get a shot. It often happens that the buck won’t give you the perfect shot you want. However, it is important to not distract the prey. More mature bucks respond quickly to hunting pressure. When you’ve got a good shot, take it.
To maximize the probability of success, keep in mind to also have multiple stands to hunt.
Hopefully, by having highlighted some of the most common hunting mistakes, you can bypass some of these pitfalls and become a more successful hunter. When those inevitable mistakes happen, learn from them and remember that hunting is all about the experience.