By Alex Comstock
Deer hunting is something that is really unique. It brings people together, and creates friendships that otherwise may have never existed. If you have been following along with WhitetailDNA at all, you will probably have noticed that I include a lot about my hunting partners. I have my good friend Tyler that I do all of my hunting with in North Dakota, and then my friend Ben that I do everything with in Nebraska. Then I also have friends here and there who I will go scouting with, help hang trail cameras, or call up to help hang stands. The value of having a hunting partner is something I treasure, as I wouldn’t be able to accomplish what I do without them, and more importantly I have someone to enjoy my experiences with. If you don’t have some type of hunting partner, and go solo on everything, here is why you should change that.
Efficiency During Offseason Preparation
Four hands, two vehicles, two wallets. The amount you can get done and the efficiency in which you get it done is far and away more superior with two people rather than doing everything by yourself. When you are out setting trail cameras, hanging stands, scouting, you name it, having a partner to do it with makes everything much easier. What I do with my hunting partners is take turns buying mineral, batteries for cameras, treestands, etc. You can buy a lot more or purchase higher quality gear when going halves with another person. When you’re out setting treestands, it is much easier to do it with another person, not to mention it's much safer. There will be nights you want to go for a drive scouting, but you have to work or be at an event of some type. If you have a hunting partner, he/she might be able to go for that drive for you.
A Second Opinion
We like to think that we’re always right, right? If you don’t have anybody to challenge your ideas or give input, it’s easy to miss details or gloss over something. With a partner, you two can combine your ideas and thoughts, strategize together, and come up with better thought out plans to harvest a mature buck. In my situation in North Dakota, I am a much more conservative hunter than Tyler. He prefers a more aggressive, gung-ho style of hunting than me. Our styles are contrasting, but the results have proven that they work together. There are times his approach makes more sense than mine and vice versa.
You Learn more about Deer
The more you learn about how deer act, live, and move throughout your hunting property, the more successful you ultimately will be harvesting big mature bucks. By having your hunting partner hunting nearby, you can gather twice the amount of information you otherwise would have. Compare notes on what deer you saw, how they moved, when they moved, to what your hunting partner saw. Question why he/she saw 15 deer and you didn’t see anything. The added information will go a long ways with your quest of harvesting mature bucks.
This lesson applies to my situation perfectly. Last year Tyler shot a massive 177 inch 12 pointer that was at the top of our hitlist. The night Tyler shot him, he was sitting 500 yards away from me in a location we had never seen the buck, while I was sitting over a scrape where we had hundreds of pictures of him. If I hunted by myself, not only would that buck not have gotten killed, but I still wouldn’t realize how mature bucks really use the property. Tyler shooting that buck that night didn’t only benefit him, but will benefit both of our hunting efforts on that certain property for years to come.
Possibly the best thing about having someone to hunt with is that you get to have somebody to share all of your memories with. Some of my fondest memories in life are deer hunting, and some of them would have never happened if I didn’t hunt with someone. I get just as excited when I get that phone call from my hunting partner and he can hardly muster out any words because he just shot a buck or arrowed a doe that we need to go find. I live for those days. It’s not just about me shooting a deer, but being a part of someones great experience as well.
In this day and age, everyone gets so caught up in shooting deer with big antlers, everything else gets lost in the mix. It’s all you see in the hunting industry and on TV. Don’t get me wrong, I love shooting a giant buck just as much as the next guy, but it is important to not lose sight of why you hunt. I don’t understand how someone can be so over the top about shooting a big buck that they don’t let a single person hunt with them, or even know their hunting location. If it gets to the point where it becomes a competition between you and everyone else, how is hunting fun for you? Do those people even enjoy it when they do shoot a monster buck, or is it about the persona and the macho image of them in a picture sitting behind a deer with big antlers?
What it boils down to is that deer hunting is much more then just big antlers. It's about the time spent in the woods, enjoying gods creation and creating memories with others that will last a lifetime. Shooting some big mature bucks along the way is awesome, but don't let it consume you to the fact where it's all you care about. If that happens, you will lose sight of the fact that deer hunting is something we enjoy participating in, and is something you should always have fun while doing. Having a hunting partner is important, you will find that being able to share memories with a good friend is much more gratifying than only being able to replay them in your own head.