What was your biggest mistake deer hunting?

Discuss deer hunting tactics, Deer behavior. Post your Hunting Stories, Pictures, and Questions/Answers.
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What was your biggest mistake deer hunting?

Unread postby Brokenarrow1980 » Sat Jun 19, 2021 2:40 pm

What is the biggest mistake you have ever made deer hunting, mine was during late flintlock season in PA i busted this group of doe out of a thicket in a bowl. I couldn't get a clean shot at them and my focus was so intensive on this group of doe I failed to notice the 150 inch buck that stood up to the right of me 15 yards away. He stood there watching me try to bead one of them doe, put my hammer back down and then I turned and saw him. Soon as he heard that gun recock he was gone in a flash. I had the gun shouldered ready to shoot with a buck of a lifetime standing 15 yards away for several minutes and this was before antler restrictions so any rack buck was a trophy. I will remember the image of that deer standing there till the day I die.

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Re: What was your biggest mistake deer hunting?

Unread postby muddy » Sat Jun 19, 2021 2:53 pm

My biggest mistake always revolves around leaving a stand too early or getting there late... always.
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Re: What was your biggest mistake deer hunting?

Unread postby Itchy Bones » Sat Jun 19, 2021 3:07 pm

Not listening to what your ears are hearing. Not listening when your gut is telling you something and the occasional moved too soon. Other than that not being out there when I could be.
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Re: What was your biggest mistake deer hunting?

Unread postby Dewey » Sat Jun 19, 2021 3:18 pm

I have been busted a few times climbing down early after a slow evening thinking nothing was moving. Both times were real big bucks I was hunting. Never again. I don’t move till closing time now. Those last few minutes are prime.
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Re: What was your biggest mistake deer hunting?

Unread postby PAbowhunter10 » Sat Jun 19, 2021 3:42 pm

My biggest mistake which I have done for several years is setting up on sign that’s not fresh or setting up when I know deep down that the spot is a dud.
I know this sounds stupid but hear me out. To explain in further detail, I have limited time every year to hunt because of my job and family. (Maybe 2-3 days a week if I’m lucky) I try to do the majority of my scouting in the off-season so I’m not wasting too much of my limited time scouting during the hunt…. (Which I know now is a mistake) In doing so I’ll go to spots that I think will be good based off previous scouting missions but as I make my way back into the spot there will be limited sign or I’ll find that another hunter has burned the spot. (The later happened a bunch last year.) Then to try to make the most of my time I’ll try to throw up a set and hunt with the little I have to work with knowing that by the time I get back to my truck, I would have burned another hunting day.
I know this is a big mistake and has probably cost me a few seasons in not having consistent success. With that being said, I’m making it my goal for the 21-22 season to not waste my time if the sign isn’t there or my gut is telling me to move on, even if that means more time boots on the ground scouting then actual hunting. Trust me, I have spent enough time on stand with limited mature buck sightings to know that trying to throw a Hail Mary at the end of the game will almost always get you picked off. :lol:
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Re: What was your biggest mistake deer hunting?

Unread postby Mountain man 89 » Sat Jun 19, 2021 3:44 pm

Shooting the first buck I saw. First day, dead…second day…dead…didn’t matter if it had horns I would shoot it almost always. I thought why can’t I kill a big buck, lol :doh: :doh: :doh:
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Re: What was your biggest mistake deer hunting?

Unread postby WyattBaker » Sat Jun 19, 2021 4:00 pm

Failed to understand the wind and it got out of hand!
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Re: What was your biggest mistake deer hunting?

Unread postby szwampdonkey » Sat Jun 19, 2021 4:55 pm

Not getting on stand by at the latest 2pm in the Fall. Two of the biggest bucks I have seen in the wild I saw at 3PM when i wasnt set up yet. The first actually walked right up to me as I was walking in with my stand on my back. I didnt know what to do so i just sort of bent over and squatted down a bit and he ended up not noticing me until he was about 15 yards away at which point he spent 10 minutes head bobbing and slowly working his way around me keeping me totally pinned down. The tree i planned to hunt was about 20 yards ahead of me.

The second i got in and up a tree, was pretty much set but my bow was still on the ground on my pull rope. I looked up to put my bow hanger up when the buck i set up on decided to stand up from his bed behind the lone cedar tree growing right on the edge of these remote cattails. I looked at him coming in right on the trail i needed him to be and then looked down at my bow wondering if i could get it up the tree before he got too close. No dice, he was 12 yards from me before i got that bow halfway up the tree. He got passed me and went on his merry way. I got my bow up and checked the time, 3:04PM on a near 90 degree day in early Nov in which i figured they wouldnt move until last light, i was very wrong!

I always make a point now to be in by no later than 2pm for an evening hunt as that 3pm time slot most dont think many bucks would be moving has bit me twice now.
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Re: What was your biggest mistake deer hunting?

Unread postby Lockdown » Sat Jun 19, 2021 5:26 pm

Getting trigger happy.

In the early days I used rut tactics all season. What a waste.
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Re: What was your biggest mistake deer hunting?

Unread postby Coalcracker » Sat Jun 19, 2021 10:53 pm

You know the saying "If I only knew what I know now". Twenty or thirty years ago would have been a good time to learn all I could.

I spent way too much time hunting "terrain". I really wasn't learning much about the animal I pursued. Several justified reasons: way I was taught, it worked on younger deer, deer numbers were high when I was young which meant seeing or killing deer wasn't a problem. Anyway, after I made the decision to really concentrate on hunting for mature bucks (10 years ago) I started learning a lot more about deer. Its been an awesome learning experience.

So, my advice to young hunters. Learn all you can about the animal your pursuing and keep learning. It doesn't have to be mature bucks, deer in general. The education will pay dividends for a lifetime.

All the other "mistakes" are part of the process. Repeating mistakes are the kick in the rear.
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Re: What was your biggest mistake deer hunting?

Unread postby Chad Gus 715 » Sun Jun 20, 2021 3:42 am

Back in my early days of mature buck hunting, i used rattling horns alot during the rut. Got to my stand around 1 pm one day, i was set to in the edge of a big bowl that was all swamp grass and alder. Did rattling sequence and with in a minute of hanging up the horns i could hear a deer walking my way, bout 80 yards out i finally see him, 147 inch, 22.5 inch wide 11pt. He walking right to me and at 60 ish yards i reach back and hit the horns together lightly, he stops, looks up at me for a couple seconds and turns around and goes back to where he came from. An hour or so later he comes back through dogging a doe, stops in the exact same spot and looks up at me for a second before trotting out of my life forever. The guys who owned the land that butted up to the public ended up killing him during gun season, that's how i know his dimensions.
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Re: What was your biggest mistake deer hunting?

Unread postby Colddriver » Sun Jun 20, 2021 5:01 am

Three things,
1 Doesn't matter what the weather is doing deer will move.
One year at camp it was raining all nignt and into the morning me and my brother were the only ones up and heading out to hunt out of 12 guys..
They said deer won't be moving till later when it clears up.
It was a very painfully slow morning, nothing moving, no birds,no squirrels nothing...
After sitting till about 10am i was doing the old mind games, should I leave now, nahhh wait 10 more minutes. Nah nows good, nah wait 10 more.
2 listen to your gut, if 10 mins is what you are feeling DO IT!
Decided to wait 10 more minutes and caught a slight movement to my right side, figuring it was bird I saw swoop I turned quickly and probably the biggest buck I've see was 10yrd away now staring directly at me.
I am right handed so to get the gun up and turn to my right was goi.g to be impossible but I went for it. He stood there and just watched, I followed his front leg up to the money spot and pulled the trigger!! He kicked like a good hit and bolted... couldn't believe it. I called camp saying g good buck down to come help as I was waiting I went to see blood and nothing....?!?!?!
Looked all over nothing, no blood no buck, few guys came to help so I went over the story in my head, went to where the buck was standing stooped down so my face was about heart level and THEN I noticed it.....
A tree about as thick as a pop can was missing half of the trunk. I hit the tree and must have just hit him with shrapnel and wood splinters.we scoured the woods for hours and never saw any signs of a wounded deer.
#3 look for small trees and limbs before shooting.
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Re: What was your biggest mistake deer hunting?

Unread postby Drich » Sun Jun 20, 2021 5:25 am

I had been managing a smaller chunk of private land for a few years. Had set aside one part as a sanctuary for the deer where we did not enter, or did so only rarely. I lost patience hunting a buck on the outskirts of the sanctuary and went in after him one morning. Put the hang-on on the tree a couple of hours before shooting. Probably 15 minutes or so before shooting he comes in. It was still too dark for me to clearly see what I was looking at, but I could make out a large rack. I moved in the stand shifting my body weight to try to get a better look at him. The stand made a noise. I could make out him looking up at me in the darkness, then hustling out of the area towards the neighbors. 20 minutes later one shot from the direction he ran. Never saw that buck again.

I've made bad shots on deer and think those are the worst mistakes to make. This was my biggest.
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Re: What was your biggest mistake deer hunting?

Unread postby greenhorndave » Sun Jun 20, 2021 11:35 am

Getting into places later than I should and not being ready at any second to have the bow ready to draw. Seems like the deer movement has frequently been earlier than anticipated much like Szwamp said and not having the bow ready to go (either on a hanger or not having an arrow nocked) has cost me two decent bucks in very different settings.

PS - Lot to be learned in this thread and kind of therapeutic in a way to remind one's self not to do it again! :lol:
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Re: What was your biggest mistake deer hunting?

Unread postby UntouchableNess » Sun Jun 20, 2021 11:54 am

I had the biggest buck I've ever seen while in stand coming in fast from an open field, about to jump into a thicket behind me. I "merped" too loudly trying to stop him under me, he immediately dropped, spun, ran out to 35 yards where he stopped broadside. My arrow hit the dirt under him. If I hadn't tried to stop him, it would have been a moving shot at a steep angle since I set up too close to the crossing.

So was it the stand selection too close over a trail, the merp or the whiff the mistake? Three strikes, you're out. Haunts me to this day. Sure he would have went 200" as a typical 12. :cry:
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