Many of us would like to always come home with game for the dinner table, but the fact is, many hunters don’t. If you want to be one of those hunters that does, you need to know what makes them successful. Here’s an example of how many hunters actually bag game. In 2013, about 88,000 deer were harvested in Oklahoma. This includes all seasons and bucks and does. Approximately 200,000 hunters hit the woods for deer season, so we’re looking at over half of deer hunters went home empty-handed.
And, if you figure that many hunters harvest more than just one deer, the number of empty-handed hunters only increases. And hunting in Oklahoma is pretty good. Across the whole U.S. deer are more abundant than ever before in history, but still there are many hunters that don’t bag anything (I’ve been one of those hunters many times).
Now here’s what I think is a clincher fact. According to one report in an article I read on American Hunter, for 2008 the average amount of days each hunter spent in the woods was 15. That’s right, 15 days.
Sure, there are many hunters that go out and happen to be in the right place at the right time. Many first time hunters will shoot a 130 plus buck on their first hunt. But has that happened to you (if it has, don’t talk to me)? I heard one expert deer hunter explain that hunting was simply putting the odds of shooting a deer as much in your favor as possible. That’s it in a nutshell.
I think that’s a good definition, and if we take it seriously, than the conclusion of what we need to do to be more successful is obvious. And I’m talking across the board hunting, not just deer hunting. We need to be in the woods more.
What you need to do
1) Scout more, 2) hunt more and 3) hunt smarter. Let me expound briefly on these points, though future articles will explain how to do these things in more detail.
1) Scout more
You’ve got to know where the deer are. I’m talking about where they bed down, drink, feed, common trails they take, hidden trails they take, etc. You need to know as much about the place you hunt as possible. This is key to putting yourself in the best possible positions to seeing and shooting deer.
2) Hunt more
Like I mentioned earlier, 15 days was the average amount hunters spent deer hunting in 2008. Certainly this is weighted by most hunters being gun hunters, and two weeks is how long many gun seasons last. However, many places have several gun seasons, and they all total to much more than 15 days. And if you include all hunting types, most deer seasons last three and a half months! That’s 90 plus days!
Certainly if many hunters want to be more successful they simply need to hunt more. And if they’ve done the scouting they should have, they will be in the right places. Now it’s just a matter of being there at the right time. Again, hunting more simple puts the odds of seeing and shooting game more in your favor.
3) Hunt smarter
This is also really important, because although I believe you should hunt more, you also need to hunt smart, and there are times when its better to not hunt at all.
For example, maybe because of circumstances you are only able to hunt really close to home this weekend. That means you can only hunt this one small parcel of public land nearby. And on that parcel there are two really good places to hunt. However, the wind is in the wrong direction for you to hunt either place. Chances are you’d only spook the deer and not get a shot at any. Well, that’s a perfect example of when not to hunt. Don’t spoil that hunting ground by going out at the wrong time. Hunting smarter will put the odds more in your favor. If not for today, than another time.
These points are crucial to being more successful. They are the same things that every successful hunter is going to tell you. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel to be successful, just do what successful hunters do. You’re still not going to come home with game every time, but by simply being out more you’re already increasing your chances of bagging game. Be sure to do these three things to improve your hunting experiences.
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