By Alex Comstock
The rut is a busy time of the year for most whitetail hunters. All day sits, running out to a stand for an hour after work, road trips, long days and short nights, and the list could go on and on. The month of November is something we look forward to during the eleven other months of the year almost as much as anything. Yet, when the time finally comes, and you start to get busy and tired, corners are cut and it's easy to stop doing the little things that can ultimately decide whether or not you end up at the end of a blood trail.
What good has cutting corners got you in your life ever? I know it's never been anything positive for myself. With that said, why cut corners during the super bowl of whitetail season? For example, why would you stop shooting your bow? In fact, now is when you should be shooting your bow the most. There is a lot that can happen to your bow or sight when going back and forth in the woods. Take the five minutes and sling a few arrows to make sure everything is dialed in every now and again.
This mentality can extend to various other things as well. Let's throw out the scenario that you've got a week for vacation. The first day you are very careful about scent control, go the round about way to the treestand to avoid bumping any deer, and are especially alert while on stand all day. Fast forward four days. You've pulled three all day sits, and are tired beyond belief. You sleep in, get out to the stand late, aren't as careful about scent control, and aren't as alert on stand. All of these factors could potentially cost you an opportunity at a mature buck. Whether one smells you, surprises you because you're not mentally ready, or shows up on trail cam while you slept in, all of these things could have been avoided.
The Little Things Make The Big Differences
This season, I challenge you to not cut those corners and forget about the little things. Remember that the little things can make a big difference when it comes down to it. What sucks more than anything is when one little thing causes a negative occurrence that could be avoided.
Last season, not doing one little thing cost me an opportunity to harvest a mature buck...
It was November 17th, 2016 and I was headed into one of my best rut stands for the afternoon. Before leaving, I vividly remember looking at my block target, and thinking I should send a few arrows given that I probably hadn't shot my bow in over a month. I decided time was a wasting, and I bypassed shooting the bow to get out to the stand earlier. After sitting for roughly an hour, I had an encounter with a mature buck, and ended up having him slightly quartering away at 43 yards. I completely rushed the shot, pulled it forward, hit him in the shoulder and the buck lived to see another day. Looking back on this moment, I truly believe that had I shot my bow that day, the story would have ended a different way. I would have been more confident in my shot, and wouldn't have rushed it the way I did.
That's just one example, but it goes to show how not doing one little thing neglected all the good things I did to get into position to make the shot.
There is a ton of hard work that goes into pursuing mature whitetails. Hours upon hours spent in the off-season scouting, shed hunting, making adjustments, and the work continues into the summer, and the cycle keeps on going. But when it gets down to it, and you're in the midst of hunting hard during the best week of the year, remember the little things - it may be the difference maker.