From late September to mid-November, everyone’s social media feeds are stormed with deer harvests and big buck pictures of hunters and huntresses that they either know or follow. This phenomenon occurs every year and if you are anything like me, you always feel like you are the only one that is not connecting on deer. You have put in the pre-season scouting, minimized your scent exposure, checked your trail cameras, and have only hunted your spots when the right conditions occur. But still no deer… The stress of this continually weighs heavy on your mind and you start to become discouraged. And this often leads to preemptively shooting a non “hit list” buck, just to prevent being skunked and to join the social media community with your deer harvest pictures. I am here to tell you that if you keep grinding, eventually that buck you are after will present itself.
Deer hunting is a chess match where both you and the deer are strategizing their moves to succeed. For the deer their success is surviving another season, and for you it is to take that trophy you have been waiting for. If you make the wrong move, the deer will win, and vice versa. To win this battle for the year, you need to get your shit together.
You need to first start by controlling your mind and emotions. Hunting and harvesting a deer is not a game against other hunters. The more you think about your lack of success for the season, the more distracted you become. This often leads to poor choices while hunting, and can cause rushed shots, clouded judgment, and overall will inhibit you for accomplishing your goal. So, throw out all the negative energy of social media harvest pictures and in essence “DO YOU”.
The second action to take is to sit back and reflect on what you have done up until this point. Ask yourself the following questions. Is your stand location in the right spot? Are you seeing deer just not shooter bucks? Is your camouflage being exposed to some foreign scents? Are you entering the woods in the wrong spot? Are you hunting a spot too much? This list can go on forever, but the main point is to try and reflect on what you have done or haven’t done so far. If you can answer any of these question with a yes, then you are already on the path to succeeding. Recognize the issue that is presenting itself. There is no cookie cutter, 1 option solution to these problems but understanding that you might be causing your devastation is the key. But here are a few good starting points.
If you see deer that are just out of bow range, make a stand adjustment based on wind. If you are seeing deer, just not a shooter buck, stay put and wait for the rut, a mature whitetail will show himself. If scent is the issue, rewash your camouflage, and hang dry it outside for a day or two. Enter the woods away from the direction that the deer a traveling, and cautiously sneak into your stand. If the deer sighting numbers are dropping, you are probably hunting the spot too much, back out for a few days, and let the woods calm back down. Basically, there are unlimited answers on why something is happening, so try and figure out what you are doing on your end that may be inhibiting success and adjust accordingly.
The last action is to keep grinding. Success while deer hunting is directly related to the time spent in the stand. Stay out as long as you can during the rut. Increase the hours spent sitting in a tree from this point on. This is very demanding both in body and mind. So, keep a clear head, and try not to let the success of others, prevent your success.
Cro-Mag Outdoors has started a new Instagram feed called, The Grind. We are documenting an entire Pennsylvania archery hunting season. We are 100% public land whitetail hunters and we face the same struggles as you do in the woods. Head on over to our Instagram page and follow us and watch our story. Together we can become successful. We just all need to Grind.
Remember, having the desire to become successful in hunting, takes a mindset change and that is the hardest part in this endeavor. We can help you with changing this mindset, and once you have changed you will appreciate the hunt more, and start understanding what being a sportsman/woman is all about. Remember our mission is to redefine tradition. Challenge traditional thinking and push others to do the same. We must dedicate ourselves to hone in on our primal instincts and combine them with new methodologies and technologies to truly master evolution.