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One Law that Determines Hunting Success

Like the law of gravity, it reigns, and how you handle it (or don’t) makes all the difference!

We’ve all been there. We’ve all had that perfect day, and perfect hunt that goes

exactly as planned. The buck takes a ride in the truck, and we leave feeling like we’re the best hunter in the world. Most times, however, this is not the case. The deer don’t read the script, we screw something up, or are left wondering if we screwed something up. It seems a constant battle to figure out what could go wrong, and what we can do to make sure nothing does. I’m discovering there is really just one thing we have to worry about in hunting, one thing we have to defeat to gain success: Murphy’s Law.

If you aren’t familiar with Murphy’s Law, it states that if something can go wrong, it will. So if we want to have that “perfect hunt” scenario, we have to somehow bypass or minimize its effects. In this world we cannot change natural laws (gravity is always at work, and we have to plan our lives around that fact), and the same is true for Murphy’s Law. If something can go wrong while we’re scouting, setting up a stand, entering and exiting our stands, and hunting, it surely will, and all we can do is remove or minimize chances for this. We can’t eliminate it, but here are 3 biggies to minimize the chances Murphy shows as an unwanted guest at your hunting party!

The 3 S’s

Target Ohio buck that bolted
  • Scent: Bottom line, give deer absolutely no chance to smell you. Also, stay downwind of where deer will be, or where you think they will show. Never walk in or out so they can catch wind of you. This requires thoroughly knowing your area/bedding areas, knowing the thermals, and having self-control enough not to hunt when it isn’t in your favor to do so. Also know every time you take a chance with this, it is automatically decreasing your chances of success (hunting a higher impact spot deep in the property, etc.) Also, realize your scent matters when exiting and entering, not just when hunting. So pick your stand spots wisely, and entry and exit routes with extreme forethought as well. Further, everything you touch will collect your scent, leaving it at nose level for the deer. You need to be extreme here, so wear as much rubber as possible, and don’t touch anything with your hands or clothes (I was busted by this in Ohio this fall, when I had to walk a deer trail to trim a shooting lane. Later when my target buck came through, he smelled my scent on the brush and bolted just before my shot).

Find alternate routes deer won’t take so they can’t smell your presence on underbrush, grass, etc. Use carbon, ozone, storage containers, and become a freak about any scent on your gear. This is a hard task, but get innovative and find ways to remove scent from being any factor in Murphy’s arsenal!

  • Sound: The most overlooked, underestimated sense of whitetail, hands down. The industry barely acknowledges it, hunters ignore it, and deer don’t tolerate it. Research shows that deer can hear hunter noises better than any other frequency, and also hear noises well above what humans can (ultrasonic). These noises help them locate the source of the slightest sound, you, with pinpoint accuracy! Sounds such as metal, plastic, twigs, and crunching leaves can travel hundreds of yards alerting whitetail to your presence. And yes, studies also show that deer change patterns after one hunter encounter (noise in this case). So eliminating chance of making noise is crucial. Again, this is all inclusive: scouting, setup, entry/exit, and during hunting. Think about all the steps, actions, clothing, and gear associated with all these, and how you can eliminate noise in each scenario. It does not matter when you make this noise, but that deer hear it and associate it with your hunting location, thus avoiding it. I suggest removing all gear that is unnecessary (ask yourself “do you really NEED this?”) thus removing the chance to make hunt-busting noise with it.. What equipment survives this test, needs to be silenced. I use Buck Bumper on all my gear, and it drastically reduces noise and eliminates those chances for hunt-ruining mistakes (Discover Buck Bumper HERE). Whatever you do, do not overlook sound as a crucial gateway of Murphy’s Law!

  • Sight: This is not an article to tell you which camo to buy, as there are many adequate choices out there. I will say, however, that science is proving the type of camo is not a big factor for hunting success. In fact, deer cannot see detail like we do, but more shapes. So don’t worry about the camo, just find a way to adequately break up your form (yes, red and black check used to do this just fine). If you’re a freak for the detail and perfect definition, I hate to break it to you but this doesn’t even matter to deer (marketing secret: they are selling to you not the deer). Actually many popular camo patterns “blob up” into one dark color completely defeating the purpose. What is much more important is not letting deer see your form, or movement, which they are wired to see. This can be during entry/exit, or while hunting. Find ways to not let them see you move, it’s that simple. This requires knowing where they will be, and planning how you will enter/leave without possibility of sight. Use barriers, ditches, and cover to mask your approach, especially during late season, when foliage is off trees and motion is much easier to detect. Beware of being skylighted with inadequate cover, and hunt as high as you feel comfortable. And yes, this means stop dinking around in your stand and just sit still! If you have to move, do it so slowly no one would even know you did, so this last snare of Murphy’s law won’t trip up you and your hunting season!