-By Brandon Wikman
We are constantly bombarded with hunting tips, strategies, and techniques that are supposed to increase our odds in the woods. I’ve always been the person to closely listen and take note when professional hunters’ lips let loose about their secrets to success. I’ve included the top three hunting tips that I have found to be the most helpful in my outdoor adventures. Hopefully you will also.
- Cover Your Back!
- The Walk of Shame.
- Closing Time.
Hunters are always worried about the wall of natural cover that separates the space between them and the animal. They take so much time masking the front of their position with tree limbs, bushes, and other quick-picks around them that they forget about what’s behind them. Even though front cover creates a barrier that hides movement, the secret to camouflage is blending into your surroundings 360-degrees.
You must let your camo work for you, by sinking into your surroundings. Background cover is just as important as front cover. Sitting against a lonely slender tree with a small nest of forage around you is like trying to hide an elephant in an open prairie. Many pros suggest that sitting against larger trees will reduce your chances of being silhouetted. If there are no large trees to plop near, thick vegetation will work just as well. The essence of wearing camouflage is rather simple; it is meant to blend your body in, not hide you.
We’ve all been guilty of spooking game on our way to our tree stand or blind. It has happened to me more than I would like to admit, probably because I am a last minute type of guy. The only thing I like about windy days is that it covers the sounds of your footsteps. I would prefer hunting calm winds any day of the week. A few years ago, I sat front row in awe, listening to one of my favorite seminar speakers spill the beans of success. He exclaimed that he’d always snag a garden rake to bring into the woods with him before season.
The savvy hunter unveiled his tip of raking a footpath from the point of entrance to his tree stand or blind. He was able to slink quietly into his tree stand and hunt the fringe of hot spot bedding areas during any type of wind breeze. During last year’s archery season, I was able to use this tip to my advantage. It was a typical last minute rendezvous to my tree stand when all of a sudden I spotted a deer standing below my stand. I was able to slip into range and kill the fat doe off the ground! It would’ve never happened if I hadn’t cleared the debris of twigs, leaves, and limbs from my trail.
Back when I was beginning to take my bow and arrows out for the first time, I’d have the bad habits of cutting out early. Imagine, a 12-year old boy impatiently staring at an empty deer trail for three hours. I used to sit hours upon end and get so frustrated that I’d stand up, lower my bow, and climb down my stand. As my boot clobbered the first ladder ring, I’d here a complementary snort from a deer bounding to the next county. It wasn’t until my second year of bow hunting that I finally realized hunting to the edge of legal shooting hours was critical.
So many of us have experienced a slow afternoon of deer movement and decided to ditch early. Not only does that spook game that could possibly be on there way, but it also slowly erodes that hunting location by red-flagging hunter presence. Sitting until the last minute of shooting hours spares you a headache and may even reward you a kill!
I’ve had an array of lucky outcomes using different strategies and techniques pursuing big game, but it all boils down to trial-and-error. It’s fun trying new things that may help improve your success in the woods and field. There’s nothing quite like first-hand experience to demonstrate the conclusion, so you must try everything at least once.