Hunting is a skill that takes weeks to learn, but a lifetime to master. Not only do you need the right hunting gear, you need the skills to track down your game of choice. This learning process of deer hunting is ongoing for every hunter, regardless of experience level.

Deer Hunting Mistakes Even Experienced Hunters Make

It’s important to be aware of any mistakes you could be making so that you can correct yourself in the next hunt. We’re going to dive in and discuss some of the deer hunting mistakes that even the most seasoned hunters can make. 

List Of 6 Deer Hunting Mistakes

1. Losing Focus

Sitting in a blind or up in a tree stand for hours can be excruciatingly boring. It’s not uncommon to sit for hours at a time without seeing any hunting game. It’s a good idea to bring items you entertain yourself during this downtime but don’t let the quiet distract you too much. 


Getting too distracted by your phone or a book may help pass the time, but it may also prevent you from noticing if a game animal crosses your path. You may end up missing the one deer you’d see all day because you were distracted doing something else. So, while entertainment may help pass the time, be sure to keep your eye on what’s going on around you. 

If you find yourself losing focus frequently when hunting, don’t be afraid to use some mindfulness techniques. Mindfulness can help you be present at the moment so you don’t miss the shot of a lifetime. 

2. Avoiding New Tactics

It’s easy to develop habits when you’ve been doing something for a long time. For hunters that have been in the sport for decades, it’s almost impossible to not have picked up specific ways of doing things. You may have a specific way that you like to track a game or a particular type of weapon or accessory you like to use. 

While having a preference for something is not inherently a problem, it may cause you to get stuck in your ways. For example, you may have a spotting scope that you’ve used for many years and it’s never let you down. You may be reluctant to try a different scope because you don’t want to change what you know. This type of situation could prevent you from finding new gear that works better or has more features than what you’re using now. 

Air rifles, for example, can be good firearms to keep on hand. They can be a particularly helpful learning platform for practicing with different rangefinders or decoys. This experience could be invaluable when you find yourself on your next hunt. All around, air rifles or rifle scopes are a great tool to have at your disposal. Not only are they great for learning skills, but they are also fun to enjoy with friends. 

3. Not Practicing Existing Skills

While you need to be open to new ways of doing things, you also need to make sure you’re practicing the skills you already have. We’ve talked about habits in regard to hunting. When you’ve had a skill such as tracking for many years, it’s easy to get lazy with it over time. 


Working under the impression that you don’t need to practice your skills will land you in a position where you make lazy mistakes that could cost you a kill. Practice reading maps, tracking, and all of the other skills that are critical in a hunt. 

You may find that practice reveals a knowledge gap in an area where you didn’t expect to find one. It may just end up that the piece of knowledge that you filled in will be useful on your next hunting trip. 

4. Routine Maintenance of Gear

No one wants to get out in the woods, only to find that there is a malfunction with a piece of gear. A broken scope or outdated maps can mean that you miss out on a day of hunting. While it’s impossible to foresee everything, most of these malfunctions can be avoided with proper gear maintenance. 


If you know that hunting season is coming soon, take stock of your gear and what kind of shape it’s in. Note any problems that need to be addressed or any items that need to be replaced. Take the time to clean and inspect any firearms you will be bringing with you. 

A firearm malfunction can be extremely dangerous, so be sure to carefully check the gun as you clean it. If you aren’t comfortable inspecting the gun yourself, you can take it to a gun store where it can be inspected for you.  

5. Waiting Too Long to Take the Shot

This is a mistake that happens to almost every hunter at some point in their life. You see the perfect target only to hesitate because you’re waiting for the right moment. The truth is, there is no right moment when it comes to taking a shot. Waiting for the right moment means that you will likely wait until your opportunity has passed, as there’s no shot left to take. 


A change in the wind or a sudden noise may spook the deer, snatching your opportunity for a shot. If you see a viable shot, take it. This will save you from telling regretful stories about the game that got away instead of touting an impressive hunt. 

6. Forgetting the Does

When the rut comes around, a lot of focus goes straight to bucks. However, don’t forget that bucks are looking for does. So, you need to pay attention to where they go to find bucks. 

During the rut, does is looking for food. In other words, if you look for food sources, you’re going to eventually see does and bucks are going to follow. 

Becoming a great hunter takes a lifetime of trial and error. Even with experience, it’s easy to make a mistake that costs you a day of hunting. Hopefully, with the tips listed here, you’ll be a step closer to the hunter you’ve always dreamed of becoming.


About David Gray

David Gray is born & raised in Bozeman Montana, USA. He has been hunting & fishing since 2009. And used most of the outdoor gear during his 22 years of hunting experience. He likes to spend most of the time in the woods, on the trail, or by the water. He taught us about his outdoor journey and equipment experience.

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