East Tennessee Outdoors… Whitetail deer hunter mistakes

Published 9:16 am Friday, October 2, 2020

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We all have excuses as to why we did not come home with deer meat for the freezer.

My gun misfired, I hit a stick, the sun was in my eyes, the wind was blowing too hard, I was using the wrong ammo, the deer was too fast, I was too slow or someone was hunting in my favorite spot are just a few of standby excuses we have all used.

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If you think about it, we don’t have many excuses for not killing a deer in the state of Tennessee. We have one of the best whitetail deer populations in the nation.

Remember the world record 47-point buck that was taken a few years ago?

Yet, there are some of us, me included, that doesn’t fill our tags every year.

After a lot of thought, I think I have narrowed down the top eight reasons we fail to kill a deer. If we can admit we do these things, it will go a long way to help get one this year.

8. We Make Too Much Noise

It’s Fall. The leaves are falling, and you sound like a herd of cattle walking through the woods. You say you are “stalking” deer, but any deer within three miles knows where you are and what you are doing.

They have decided you are up to no good and have left for more peaceful areas of the forest. They are going anyplace that is far, far away from you.

Sound familiar? The best cure for anyone deer hunting after the leaves have fallen is to find a good place to make a stand and stay there.

I know you get bored, cold, or sleepy, but stay in one place and let the deer come to you. Unless you are Fred Bear (the greatest deer hunter ever!), the odds you will stalk a deer and see it before it sees you are very low.

7. You Have Not Scouted Enough

Take some time to find the deer well before deer season. Use trail cameras and discover where they are feeding, where they are bedding and where they will go when the army of hunters come into the woods.

By the time the season opens, know those woods as well as your own living room. Know where you can put stands and if you use tree stands, set them up several weeks before the season begins.

6. You Have Scouted Too Much

With that said, do not scout too much. There is such a thing as scouting too much and leaving your scent everywhere.

If you do this, the deer will move out and you will end up with an empty freezer, especially if you are scouting too close to the opening of deer season.

Did you jump a deer when you were scouting? Did you spot that big buck in his bed and push him out?

If you can answer yes to either of these, you need to back off and let everything get back to normal before scouting that area again. The deer will come back, but it may take a few days if not weeks.

5. Cover Your Scent

The one thing that can kill a hunt quicker than anything else is not covering your scent.

There are hundreds of cover scents on the market, and any of them will work well. Use them and wash your clothes regularly.

Nothing says human more than body odor. Remember, you are going into this deer’s living room, and he can smell 1000 times better than you can.

Also, try to set your stand downwind from the direction you expect the deer to come. Outsmart his noise, and you will go a long way in getting him to walk by your stand during the season.

The secret to taking a deer this deer season is to fix the things you are doing wrong.

Next week we will discuss the top four reasons we fail to take a deer and how we can fix them.