A couple years back I was in Gila hunting deer when I was glassing off of a ridge and saw two very nice muley bucks coming right towards me! One was a big boxy 170+" 4x4 typical deer and the other a big 160" 3x3. In hindsight I should have just waited for them to come my way and I could have dropped one of them without moving. Instead I made stupid move and tried to get closer by stalking right at them. I misjudged how far away they were and suddenly I thought I saw something through the trees and it was the big 170 buck staring holes through me and he took off faster than I could even get my gun to my shoulder. Still haunts me to this day! I was not patient enough and tried to make something happen instead of letting the bucks make a mistake. Moral of the story be patient
I'd say one of my biggest mistakes for a long time was failing to realize deer pattern hunters just like hunters pattern deer. I killed a whitetail that grossed over 180" despite broken points in 2009 because his tracks in the snow showed he was trailing me after dark, figuring my pattern out. I moved back another 100yds and hid in a thicket, shot him the next evening. The stories you hear about the first time hunter getting a monster buck I feel are often due to the first time hunter doing something unexpected. Since I have got over my fear of thinking outside the box, trying something crazy, I have been more successful. A simple example I can give is hiding in real low cover, lying on my belly watching places when deer expect everyone to be in a blind, truck, or tree. It isn't the most comfortable but it has worked. Don't be where they expect you to be.
I have made a bunch but I guess that is part of becoming a good hunter.
Here are a few.....
(1) Don't change your diet when you get to elk camp. You can get way with it when you are 24 not so much when you are 50.
(2) Treat every short walk as if you had just spent two hours walking to a honey hole. Take your gun, your bow, your license, your binos.
(3) Don't shoot the first buck you see unless you know it will be the best you see.
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I would have to say my biggest mistake is not taking every opportunity to go hunting I could. You never know when your lucky day will be. I know I've missed some great hunts because I didn't make the time to go.
My hunting buddy and I we're goose hunting eastern colorado late season on a reservoir. It was balls cold... Reservoir pretty much iced over with big sheets of ice we piled up to use as a blind. Spent HOURS out there freezing on the bank waiting for the geese to get up off the open water. When they finally did they came directly over my buddy 20 yards off the deck. I was about 40 yards away and he wasn't shooting... I was thinking WTF?
After they flew on by he starting cursing up a storm. He was shooting Browning A4 and some water had frozen his action. He put the shotgun on the ground, pissed all over it to free up the ice, tossed it up to his shoulder and fired off a round. Mist of piss blew back all over him! Hunt over!!
Lesson learned... Don't piss off your firearm!
That's hilarious PointsHunter!!
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That's funny PH!