Whitetail Mistakes | Video

7 Apr


If you ask any long-time bowhunter if that have ever made a mistake while in the stand and they say “No”… their lying. Bowhunting is a sport of trial and error. Making a mistake and then  learning from it. Honing your skills with every encounter in hopes of getting within range of one the most thought-about animals in North America. Slowing down and realizing that your bow is not the weapon, it’s your brain. That’s what makes you better. That’s what makes you a hunter.

Over the past 10 years of hardcore bowhunting I have made so many bad mistakes I would be embarrassed if I share them with you. But that’s what it’s about. It’s about realizing when you need to tear down your stand and move it 10 yards to increase the odds of intercepting your target buck. It’s about staying out of your favorite stand when the wind is not right. It’s about knowing when to to call, and more importantly, when not to. And that brings me to my encounter with the giant 12 pointer in the footage above…

I could go in to a ton of detail about the conditions of the hunt; the temperature, the time of year, the moon phase, or the wind direction. None of that matters because that buck did something different than every other deer did that night. He walked into the field instead of walking the field edge. But that’s not where I made my mistake.

The wind was blowing directly in to the field where the buck came from. That was my plan the entire time. Although I did not expect the buck to cut in to the field, it was my original plan hunt that stand on that particular wind. I had the advantage up until the very last moment. You can tell in the video the exact moment the buck caught my scent. He was at 35 yards straight on. He then turned around and the next time he stopped he was hard quartering away at 45 yards. A shot I didn’t feel comfortable with. And still, that’s not where I made my mistake.

This footage is a perfect example of how well a deer uses its nose in it’s decision making. Deer never question their nose. If something’s not right, it’s not right. That means it’s time to go, and why that particular deer had made it to maturity in the first place. The mistake came when I thought that I could change his mind. I grunted, bleated, snort-wheezed, and even rattled. THAT, was the dumbest thing that I could have ever done.

If you take one thing away from this blog, for the love of God, please let it be this: Do not, under any circumstance, call at a deer that has already busted you. You are not going to change his mind. The only thing that you will do by calling is to further educate the deer that you are there, decreasing your odds for another encounter. I bounced around in that area for 6 more days with no site or trail camera pictures of him. I ruined any other chance with that buck because I overcalled.

Since then I have made that mistake one additional time. And since then, I have learned that calling very rarely works. Although it has worked for me in the past, statistically it’s better to leave your calls in the truck. The success of calling is dependent on the attitude of the buck and what his body language is telling you. These days, the only time I will call is if I can see the deer, and if I determine if that deer is a shooter. Other than that, there’s no need. My experiences tell me that blind calling does more harm than good. But that’s just my opinion. Has calling ever worked for you?

Thanks for reading… and watching,
Dan (DFW)

2 Responses to “Whitetail Mistakes | Video”

  1. LS April 7, 2015 at 12:44 pm #

    I’ve had plenty of success calling in young bucks but not much success with mature bucks. I think success calling in a mature buck is totally dependent on his personality. Although I’ve had a little better success attracting mature bucks using a decoy with calling then just calling alone. The visual reinforcement of a decoy seems to really help.

    • Dan Johnson April 7, 2015 at 9:02 pm #

      I have only used a decoy a couple of times. Never any success, maybe i’ll try again.

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