Ten Top Tips for a Successful Hunt

 

Growing up in Colorado, with the Rocky Mountains as my playground, I’ve spent many cold October days stalking through the brush, hoping to bag game. Whether it’s elk, antelope, or deer, I’ve always enjoyed the satisfaction of filling my freezer with my hard work. Hunting, a lot of the time, can be hit or miss, but the best hunters have their own set of tricks that help even the odds. Below are ten top tips I’ve learned from years spent hunting in the mountains of Colorado:

 

  • Scout your area
    • This is essential for understanding how to best maximize your chances of bagging game. Take the time to study the geography, layout, and elevation changes in the area you plan to hunt. Trust me, time spent researching now will save you hours of backtracking and hiking later!
  • Hide your scent
    • A deer has a sense of smell roughly 20 times as powerful as human. Make sure to keep track of the direction of the wind and geological elements that might hinder or help you in hiding your smell. Take a scent-free shower before the hunt, and avoid packing food that might carry unfamiliar odors.
  • Understand your game
    • Similar to scouting your area, take the time to research the eating habits, social structure, and general physiology of the animal you’re trying to hunt. This way, you’ll learn how to best use their natural instincts and habits to your advantage.
  • Be familiar with your gear
    • Make sure you have a comprehensive knowledge of everything in your pack. A huge part of hunting is being able to adapt at a moments notice, so you want every tool to be available at your disposal exactly when you need it. You’ll need different equipment depending on the animal, but that’s part of your research!
  • Don’t overdue it with calls
    • A huge mistake I made early on was the over-use of calls. Keep in mind that it’s not necessarily about how realistic it sounds, but more about when and how the call is used. Give it time, let the call do its job. This is why researching before you hunt is crucial.
  • Be mindful of the snacks/food bring
    • Keep it simple, quiet, and easily accessible. The last thing you want is to scare off a potential buck with the crinkling of a bag, or the sound of loud crunching.
  • If you’re hunting in a party, communication is key
    • If you’ve felled game, and you’re with friends, use teamwork to locate it. Walkie-talkies can be helpful, as long as you’re wary of the volume. Help each other keep an eye on game trails, watering holes, wind direction; anything that’ll improve your chances. Better six eyes than two!
  • Look for natural “cafeterias”
    • Keep an eye for the places where your game might congregate naturally. A lot of this can be learned from good research and scouting. Thick brush by a feeding spot, or stream where the herd gathers is a great place to hunker down.
  • Patience
    • This might seem redundant, but it’s crucial that you don’t let the thrill of the hunt get the best of you. By getting too excited after landing your shot, a frightened deer might use adrenaline to scamper off for another 100 yards or so. Be calm, still and patient, it’ll pay off.
  • Don’t force the shot
    • This is another no-brainer. If you’re feeling like you have to force the shot, due to distance or geographical obstructions, don’t. When it doubt, wait it out.

 

I’m by no means a hunting master—there’s always room for improvement—but these ten tips have helped turned my hunts around, and have led to quite a few medium rare venison stakes! Feel free to try these techniques out, and let me know how they helped your hunt!

 

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