Deer hunting is a precise sport. Some might say that it is like a high-level game of “hide and seek” in which both you and the deer are trying to stay off each other’s radar. Tracking a deer requires a lot of patience, and most novice hunters end up spooking their prey before they have a chance to shoot it.
There are several small and seemingly insignificant mistakes that inexperienced hunters make, and these mistakes can warn the deer of your intentions and make it run away and change its track. Of course, spooking a deer at the last moment, after you have put so much effort into tracking it, can be quite frustrating.
Therefore, I have put together a list of six mistakes that you may be making unknowingly to spook your prey; Keep reading to see if you are making any of them.
Not keeping a round in the chamber
I’ve seen many hunters who keep their rifles loaded, but don’t have a round in the chamber. When you are ready to take your shot, you shouldn’t be wasting any time charging your rifle. Furthermore, the pressing concern is the noise that the gun makes while you are cocking it.
Any experienced shooter will know that charging a bolt action rifle can make a significant noise, which is loud enough to spook a deer, and shooting a running deer precisely is very difficult, especially if you are inexperienced.
Deer have better hearing than humans, and they can hear even small noises from more than 500 yards. Therefore, keep your gun loaded, with a round in the chamber, and the safety on so that when the time comes to take the shot, all you have to do is flip the safety lever and pull the trigger.
Not using the right rifle scope
I believe that your hunting rifle is incomplete without a proper scope mounted on it. Riflescopes make it easier for you to take long shots, and they help you be more accurate as well.
When you are looking for a scope, you should choose one that has some decent range but is also lightweight, because you don’t want to carry a rifle with a massive 15x scope on it; on most terrains, you won’t have a clear line of sight to take that long of a shot.
A smaller 4x or 6x optic is much more suitable for hunting. You should also consider using night vision scopes for hunting at night. You might be thinking that night vision scopes are super expensive, but you can find night vision scopes under $500, and as far as pure hunting goes, that is more than capable of getting the job done.
Not setting up your ground blind effectively:
Setting up ground blinds is a common strategy used by deer hunters. If you have scouted the track of the deer properly, this strategy is super useful. However, many new hunters make the mistake of thinking the camouflage print of the blind will be enough to fool the deer.
For an adequately hidden ground blind, you need to use branches, leaves, and other items from your surroundings to properly blend-in.
Spooking the deer with your lingering scent
When you are hunting or scouting deer, it is essential to hide your scent. Deer have a strong sense of smell, and if you are trying to mask your scent, you are fighting an uphill battle. This is why most experienced deer hunters set up their scouting positions or ground blinds upwind from the track of their prey.
You should also remember not to leave and gear in the field with your scent. Even though deer are creatures of habit, if they get the slightest scent of a hunter, they will change their track, and all of your scouting will be wasted.
Not setting up the scouting gear properly
Scouting is an essential part of hunting deer. You can’t just go to the jungle and expect to find a deer to hunt. Deer usually stay away from common hunting spots; therefore, you need to track and scout them to figure out their regular paths.
Scouting cameras are quite commonly used for this purpose; however, if you don’t set up your scouting gear correctly, you may end up doing more harm than good.
Firstly, make sure that you choose cameras with infrared illumination instead of motion sensing flash illumination. Though flashes don’t commonly spook deer, some deer might, so why take the risk. Moreover, infrared cameras provide better footage, as well.
Secondly, you need to hide the cameras and camouflage them properly; otherwise, some curious animals might damage them or move their position.
Lastly, you should also try to wipe off your scent from the cameras; otherwise, they might make the deer run away before you even get a chance to hunt it.
Not coordinating with your hunting buddies
Deer hunting is a sport that is best enjoyed if you have some company; however, if you don’t have any means to communicate with your hunting buddies, you might have some problems finding your prey.
Some hunters use grunts to communicate, but that can be confusing at some times, and it can also alert the deer of your position. Therefore, in my opinion, you should opt for some walkie-talkies. Walkie Talkies will allow you to communicate with your buddies even if they are out of your sight, and you will be able to coordinate more efficiently and effectively.
Moreover, if you ever get lost in the woods while hunting, a walkie-talkie can be handy, especially since you might not have any service on your phone.
To sum it all up, deer hunting is an exciting and lucrative sport, but it also requires some serious patience, resilience, and planning. Scouting the deer can be quite tedious, and if you unknowingly spook the deer after so much effort, it is very frustrating. However, if you keep the mistakes mentioned above in mind and try to avoid them, you will be able to bring a lot of improvement in your hunting game.