Sunday, September 07, 2008

Mistakes deer hunters make (Part 1)

© By Othmar Vohringer

(The “Mistakes deer hunters make” is a series of several post on this blog over the next few weeks in my new column “Smart Hunting Strategy Tip of the week”.)

In the over 16 years that I have been hunting and studying whitetail deer, I have come to an opinion of what I feel are some of the biggest mistakes bow and firearm hunters make that will cost them opportunities of killing a deer. When I say, a deer, than I mean any deer not just trophy bucks.

This week’s column will deal with what I consider to be by far the biggest mistake.

Failing to understand deer.

As a deer hunter I have long ago realized how important it is to study deer. For the past 16 years I have become a student of whitetail deer behavior and the more I learned about the habits and behavior of deer the better a hunter I have become. Despite the knowledge I gathered over the years I am still constantly reminded of how little I know. Without fail, whenever I think that I have finally figured deer out they prove me wrong. The learning never stops.

It always has amazed me to a point how many hunters expect to be regularly successful if they don’t learn all they possible can about deer and then get upset if at the end of the season they have failed to shoot a deer. I have lost count of how many deer hunters feel that if they read regularly hunting articles it will improve their success rate. While I admit that reading about deer is important to improve your knowledge – otherwise I wouldn’t write about it – nothing is better than getting out in the woods and fields and learn from the animals you hunt.

You need to read deer signs, watch the animals and how they behave, where they travel or where they have traveled. What caused the reaction you observed? What makes this deer do that and another do something else? A successful hunter is one that always asks why and then follows up to find the answer. It’s like detective work where you look for clues and then try to find the answer to it. In the end the puzzle of answers are matched up and will become a picture. It’s an endless search for answers that always will produce more questions and the more you know the more questions you will have.

Without fail when I ask hunters on one of my seminars, what is the preferred food source right now? They will answer promptly. But when I ask what is the next available food source it is silent in the room or someone pipes from the background “I don’t know.” If you don't know what the next food source is how can you predict future travel patterns of the deer? I used to hunt a particular spot where deer at a certain time of year crossed a farm road. Each day hunters would ask, “What makes the deer do that?” but none of these hunters ever bothered to find out why. I did and as a result I shot a dandy buck.

In order to become a successful deer hunter I first had to become a deer detective. The answers and questions are endless. But the more you observe and ask the more you learn, and the more you learn the more knowledge you will gain. Successful hunters have all one thing in common, they are all knowledgeable about deer and they never stop observing and learning.

In next week’s “Smart Hunting Strategy Tip of the week” I will discuss the improper scouting with you, which is also very high on the mistake scale of hunter.

If you’re interested in booking my seminar “Mistakes deer hunters make” or would like more information about my other deer and turkey hunting seminars please contact me.


Tom Sorenson said...

Good point - somethings can't be learned any other way than getting out and observing. There's no substitute.

Othmar Vohringer said...

Sorry for the late reply to your comment Tom.
I have been hunting for the past two days. I am a firm believer that the best teacher for hunters is nature and the animals you choose to pursue. Study them long enough and you will get the answers to most of the questions.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever heard of VS1 Deer Scent? I've heard good things about it recently. You can get it at It's a little steep ($50!) but I'm thinking of trying it out. Any advice?

Othmar Vohringer said...

Anonymous – I am pretty sure that the VS1 deer scent works just as good as any other brand. After all pee is pee. On the other hand if it one of these artificial chemical concoction, in that case I will give a miss.

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