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East Tennessee Outdoors… Why You May Not Kill a Deer This Season – Part 2



Deer hunting can be one of the most enjoyable yet frustrating things you have ever done. You only have to hunt a few times to realize how true this statement really is.

There are moments when your adrenaline is so high that you think your heart is going to beat out of your chest. Your shot is perfect, the deer falls and the freezer is suddenly filled with delicious venison. It’s a perfect day.

Then there are moments when nothing goes as planned and you swear you will never hunt again.

If you think about it, a deer is not that hard to kill. They have a brain that is a fraction the size of our brain, and we have primeval skills that give us an advantage to killing a deer.

We can track, read their sign on trails, and even understand their mating cycle. Add to this the fact we own weapons that can kill a deer 200 yards or further, and you have the perfect hunting machine, able to ambush and kill the smartest members of the deer family.

If we don’t take a deer, it is usually because we did something wrong.

Last week we discussed the first four reasons why we may not get a deer this season. Today, we are going to look at reasons three and four that lead to failure in the deer forest.

4. We Don’t Know Our Equipment

Number four on this list can be summed up in pure laziness. We have a bow, and we don’t shoot it from one year to the next.

We have a gun, and we don’t shoot it to see if the sights or scope are still accurate. All of these can lead to a missed deer and an empty freezer.

Take time to make sure your weapon of choice is sighted well before the opening day of the season. The deer is giving its life so we can eat.

The least we can do is make sure we make a humane, quick kill on that deer.

3. Buck Fever

A friend of mine who is not an avid hunter went deer hunting a few seasons ago. He was carrying a Marlin 30-30 rifle, a gun that probably has taken more deer than any rifle on the market today.

The gun has a lever-action to it that will allow you to flick another cartridge into the chamber with little effort.

One day he was hunting in a tree-stand and saw a 4-point buck. He threw his rifle up to his shoulder to shoot the deer and started ejecting his ammo from the rifle.

He was not firing the ammunition but just ejecting the shells. In his mind, he was firing every shot, but in reality, he was just ejecting his ammo. The deer ran away, and he never saw it again.

This is called buck fever.

This is when you get so nervous that you do stupid things like scaring the deer off. I have heard of men who got so excited when they saw a deer, they would unload their gun or shoot straight into the air.

Their nerves would not let their mind steady their body, and they would do something stupid and miss their deer.

I have found the easiest way to correct this is to take a deep breath and calm yourself before taking the shot. Everyone gets a little nervous, but the good hunters know how to control their nerves.

We all want meat in our freezer for the wintertime, so next week we will discuss the top two reasons why we may not take a deer this hunting season.