By Alex Comstock
If I had to guess, I'd venture to say that probably most deer hunters would like to harvest mature bucks on a yearly basis or as close to a yearly basis as possible. Yet, when you get down to it, not many hunters actually do this. The are a multitude of reasons, but in this blog post, I'm going to go over three rules that if you have, and stay true to, will no doubt help you tag more mature bucks. The real question is, are you willing to commit to them?
Before I get into the rules that will help you tag more mature bucks, I want to make it known that I'm not saying you have to do these things. But if you don't, and then complain about how "so and so" shoots more bucks than you, understand that it falls on you. There's absolutely, unequivocally nothing wrong if you don't fall in line with these rules, and don't harvest mature bucks consistently. Some people just don't have the ability to do some of these things. Whether it be because of family, other commitments, etc. there is nothing wrong with that. But if you want to be a person that truly becomes one of those guys/gals that are always shooting a mature buck, these following things become much more important.
Rule 1: Hunting Mature Bucks Needs to Be a Top 3-5 Priority in Your Life
If you want to consistently tag mature buck after mature buck, it simply has to be one of the top priorities in your life. I've talked to numerous big buck killers that have brought this point up. When it's a top priority, you will spend more time learning, scouting, and hunting, and what it ultimately boils down to is time. The guys and gals that are putting down big bucks every year, or even multiple big bucks every year spend A LOT of time honing in on their craft. Can you hardly spend any time scouting or hunting, waltz into the woods and shoot a big buck? Sure, maybe every now and again, I'll give you that. But not if you want to be consistent with it. It's just like anything in life that you want to be really good at. Want to be a college football player? Well, growing up, that better be a top priority no matter how naturally talented you are at it and you better spend more time than others at it, otherwise you won't reach your ceiling. The same goes for hunting mature bucks. If it's important to you, and you make it a top priority in life, odds are you'll be more successful. If not, you probably won't shoot as many mature bucks, and there's nothing wrong with that, but you have to be okay with that fact.
Rule 2: There Can't Be Any Off-Season
How many people do you know that consistently shoot mature bucks that have other major hobbies throughout the year? If you want to become "that hunter", but you spend every last day in the summer fishing, or every Sunday during the fall glued to the TV watching football, it won't bode well for you. It needs to be a year-round season. Hunting, scouting, winter scouting, shed hunting, spring scouting, summer prep work, trail cameras, all of it needs to be done every month of the year. If you only spend a few weeks scouting in the spring, don't do anything deer hunting related in the summer, hunt every now and again in the fall, and take the winters off, you are not setting yourself up to be a consistent mature buck killer.
Rule 3: You Have To Accept Failure
This rule can actually be the toughest for some people to accept. If you obsess over whitetails, and want to consistently harvest mature bucks, it's easy to abide by the first two rules. But when it comes to accepting failure, for whatever reason, a lot of people are terrified by it. If you don't ever fail, then how on earth are you ever supposed to learn? I've learned some of my greatest lessons not only with deer hunting, but life in general from failure. You learn from the mishaps, and those failures are what will ultimately make you a better hunter. If you are afraid of failing, you won't try new things or make that move that could result in a harvest. Instead, you'll hunt "safely", and probably won't have near as much success in the long run.
I've hit on it a number of times, but it's worth repeating once more. And to better explain it, I'm going to share a quote with you from Gary Vaynerchuk. "Your actions must match your ambition." If your ambition is to tag mature bucks on a consistent basis, these rules will be important to you. If your ambition is to hunt when you can and have fun, then they won't be as important to you. But don't surprised when you're not harvesting mature bucks on a consistent basis, because you'll know why. At the end of the day, you need to evaluate what you value, and what your ambition is.