Opening day is nearly here, and countless hunters will hit the woods with great expectation for whitetail encounters they’ve dreamed of all year long. Sadly, many will leave the woods in disgust due to chances blown and opportunities lost. We wait all year for the make-or-break opportunity that will be gone in flash. Will you be ready to capitalize when opening day arrives? Here’s a look at five mistakes that will ruin your opening day deer hunt this season.
Unfortunately, we’re not joking here. There will be far too many opportunities that never happen simply because we decide to snooze a little too long. Don’t be this person. You can nap at mid-day. Don’t oversleep on opening day! In fact, make a habit of getting up extra early on the first day. You’ll need the extra time to work through any issues that come up. Set your clock 15 minutes earlier than you originally intended. You’ll be glad you did.
Rushing the Shot
I’ve heard it said that the average time from the moment we see a deer until we pull the trigger is 3.5 seconds. That’s pretty quick. And whether that statistic is true or not, we are all guilty of rushing the shot from time to time. Sometimes it’s what we have to do to get the shot off before the opportunity disappears, but more times than not, it’s simply because we get excited and rush the shot. There’s no doubt we’d punch more tags and put more deer heads on the wall if we’d just learn to slow down before we yank the trigger. If the deer is calm and feeding along in the open, why rush? Talk yourself through it. Calm yourself down. Don’t make the mistake of rushing the shot and blowing the hunt.
Not Having the Right Gun
Don’t you wish you had a dollar for every time you heard your hunting buddy say, “I wish I would’ve had my other gun!” or “I’d of killed him if I would’ve had my other gun.” Not having the right gun is certainly one of the top hunting camp excuses for blown opportunities, but there is some truth to the excuse. Think of the times that you were under-gunned for the task at hand. You needed more reach, you needed more power, or better optics. Don’t let your gun rob you of the good times on your opening day deer hunt. Make sure you have a gun that is perfectly suited for the location you’re hunting. Take the time to make sure you have complete confidence in the way it shoots in a variety of circumstances, as well as how the optics on top will function in sunshine or rain.
Leaving Too Early
It won’t take but an hour or two into opening day until you find yourself weighing out the alternatives that await you. Breakfast at the café, hot coffee at home, or a nap on the couch by a warm fire. It’s the stuff that puts an end to many hunts across the country after just two hours on stand. Will you be the one? We cautioned against arriving to the woods too late, but the same goes for leaving the woods too early. You’ve heard it said before that the best time to kill a big buck is between 10:00a.m and 2:00p.m. Be sure you’re on stand when a big buck comes by. Don’t make the mistake of leaving too early on opening day.
Playing on Your Phone
Don’t laugh! Playing on your phone can be the biggest mistake you’ll make. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing games, scrolling through social media, or texting your buddies, time on your phone means time with your focus and attention away from what you came for. Sure, the smartphone is a wonderful tool that can certainly help pass the time when sitting long hours on stand. But it will cost you deer. I can’t count the number of times I looked up from my phone to see a deer slipping away. I never heard or saw it coming because my eyes were glued to my phone. Don’t let this one get you this season. Take a break from your phone. Tuck it deep into your pack and keep your focus on the game.
Don’t let the mistakes mentioned above cost you the buck of a lifetime this season. It all comes down to commitment. Are you committed to making it happen this year? No excuses! Be safe, and shoot straight this season.
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