Monday, October 13, 2008

Mistakes deer hunters make (Part 4)

© By Othmar Vohringer

In this edition of the mistake series I would like to discuss with you what I consider to be the fourth biggest mistakes hunters make: Getting patterned by deer.

“I scout every day and all year long. I know every deer in my hunting area” said the hunter with pride. This hunter is at the opposite end of the scale that I discussed in Improper Scouting of the second edition of Mistakes Hunters Make. (see link at the bottom of this article) While there is certainly such a thing as scouting not enough, there is also the problem of scouting too much.

Ironically, the hunter mentioned at the beginning complained that no matter how much he scouts and how well he knows each deer and what they’re doing, he still has failed each season to kill a mature buck. I was not surprised to hear that.

First I do not believe that a mature buck can be patterned. Once the rut begins a buck will be traveling day and night in search of receptive does. There is just no prediction when and where he will turn up with any amount of certainty that would come close to calling it pattern movement.

The other problem of course is that while the hunter does that sort of intensive scouting he will be patterned by the deer. In fact the deer, especially mature bucks, will have figured out the hunters comings and goings, and activities long before the hunter knows what the deer do.

With that much walking, hanging stands, exploring and polluting the area with human scent it is relatively easy for deer to keep track of these intensive scouting hunters. By the time hunting season rolls around the deer are familiar with everything these hunters do.

The best chance we get at killing a mature buck is the very first time we hunt them. Each consecutive time will greatly reduce our chances of success. Getting patterned by deer does not only happen to the hunter that scouts every day all year long. It can happen and does happen to all of us.

Many hunters are predictable. They park the truck every time at the same location and then walk the same route to and from their treestands. By doing that we leave a scent trail that gets stronger each time we repeat our visit to that same stand using the same route. “Ah”, I hear some of you say. “I use scent eliminating spray and wear rubber boots. There is no way the buck can smell a scent trail from me.” That maybe so, but that is no guarantee. As we walk through the woods we can’t help but brush up against vegetation or touch it with our bar hands. No matter how carefully we walk we still make some typical human noises. Repeat this a few times and the deer will have you figured out. To think otherwise is a huge mistake. Deer survive by been well informed what goes on around them and to never let their guard down. Especially older deer are masters at patterning hunters.

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Read related articles:
Mistakes deer Hunters Make (Part 1)

Mistakes deer Hunters Make (Part 2)

Mistakes deer Hunters Make (Part 3)


Joshua said...

I do understand too much time in the woods is bad and so is too little. On that note, I am limited in the area I can hunt and where I have found rub/scrape lines. I have one path in. The cover is too thick to enter this area any other way. Am I damned if I do and damned if I don't follow the same path in this event? I do not want to blaze new trails making a great deal of noise and leaving scent everywhere, but I do not want to be patterned. Any suggestions?

Rick Kratzke said...

Another good part to this series Othmar. I agree with you that they will pattern you, I have experienced that first hand in my earlier years.
I have sense started to change the way I do things and try not to repeat the same thing more than twice.

Othmar Vohringer said...

Joshua – Thanks for your comment and the questions. The answer of what you could do varies and also is a subject I hear often from other hunters. With that in mind I have decided to write an article about it that will be published on this blog.

I am going on a three day deer hunt on Friday and hope I can post the article before I have to leave.

Rick – Thanks for the comment. Humans are pretty predictable and it therefore important to remember that sometimes we need to change our habits. This can be something small like hunting the same stand at different times. I had a friend who entered his stand site predictably like clockwork at 6:00am. When he started to go to the stand as I recommended to him, an hour earlier of a have hour later he started to see deer.


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