Amateur Moves

robby denning

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Thinking back over the years, I have to hang my head at the thought of the amateur moves I've made that have cost me some big deer.

Post up your stories that have cost you legitimate chances at killing big deer.

I'll start with one of many:

In 2011, SE got hammered with winterkill. I scouted all summer seeing very little for bucks over about 3 years old.

Finally, in late August, I got a glimpse, just a glimpse, of a good buck just as he stepped in the timber. It was just cracking light and he looked wide (I like wide) but couldn't tell much else. I should've just stayed and got a better look at him, but as always, in a hurry to get somewhere else. By late September, I had scouted/archery hunted a lot of other country and hadn't seen anything better, so decided to give the wide buck a try.

I showed up a two days before the season hoping to see him and decide if he was good enough to punch my tag or just keep looking for the season.

The day before the season, I hiked around the mountain on a narrow horse trail toward the hillside I'd seen him on. As it got light, I noticed there were buck tracks in the trail from at least 3 or 4 bucks. I had to choose between backtracking, climbing to the top and then glassing down, or continue on the trail on the same level the bucks were on.

I took the "lazy" choice and stayed on the trail convincing myself he probably wasn't in the group anyway as I still had a mile to go to get to where I'd seen him. I should have studied the tracks closer and I'd realized they were only minutes old.

Not 200 yards down the trail, I jumped the herd (remember the season is still closed till next day). There were six bucks trotting away at 100 yards, spooked by my aloof presence. I ripped the spotting scope out and got on them.

In the front was a buck about 30-32" wide and had heavy bases & beams to match his spread. He was only about a foot or so tall and had a huge body indicating an old buck. His lack of height explained why I couldn’t tell he was a giant buck when I glimpsed him in August. Even without the height, he was a great buck few people would pass up- especially me.

I spooked them so bad they hit the timber and turned down canyon. I spent 7 more days over 2 trips up there and never saw him again.
The mountain gets pressured quite a bit and I would have had to been on him opening morning to have a chance. If I'd just stopped and got above them when I saw the tracks, I probably couldv'e had his home address opening morning. To find a buck of that width on such a bad year was a God-send, which I blew.

Amateur move for sure.

and yours?
 
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twp1224

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I made a huge mistake (amateur move) last year. I found two huge bucks a 4x4 and 3x4 bedded down on a side slope in the morning. I put a long stalk around the mountain, up a cliff and came out on top. When I found the two bucks bedded down I dropped down the hill to parrellel them instead of dropping down on top of them. I spent 4 hours in the rain and hail waiting for the mto get up and move my way. After that long and cold 4 hours, they got up and moved down and away from me and i never got an arrow released. Next time I wont make the same mistake. Lesson learned.
 

Mckinnon

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Last year I came to this small meadow with a half-moon shaped thicket of alders that I knew deer frequented around mid day due to a water seep in there. Sure enough as soon as I closed within 100 yds I saw the bushes being pulled down and then whipping back up as a deer was feeding on them. I then had 2 options, back out 50 yds and get up on a small plateau that had a clear view into the alders, or sneek in really close and quiet straight at them. Well I didn't even think of the first option, and that was my first mistake. I stalked within about 10 yds of the deer, but the brush was still so thick I couldn't even see the deer much less shoot it, well now I realized what a pickle as I was in because I couldn't move for fear of spooking him. So I stood like statue for 15 minutes or so and then I felt a huge gust of wind at my back, it felt nice and cooled me off, hahaha, and then took my scent straight op that bucks nose. He busted out of that brush so darn fast it was all I could do to keep my britches clean! Well of course as he stood with the quick glimpse that I got I saw that he was a brutishly sized 4x4, a blacktail with width and height the likes of which I will probably never see again. Anyway, the lesson I learned was to think out the options before acting on the first one that pops into your brain, be patient, be patient, be patient some more. Love this thread, these animals always humble me in someway or another everytime I go chasing them and I love it!
 
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MattEastman

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I think it was 2007 during a high country archery hunt. I located a huge, huge typical in a beautiful alpine basin. Being to aggressive, I decide to try and intercept the buck as he headed for the timber to his bed. Unfortunately, I arrived just a tad too late. He busted me and vanished for the rest of the season. Watching that huge typical frame escaping 50 yards in the timber was heartbreaking to say the least. I hunted that buck all season long and never laid eyes on him again. With all that being said, every year since that I locate a good buck with my bow, I've been sorta scared to stalk them with a bow.........instead I've been leaving them alone and hunting them opening day with the rifle.
 

Backpack Hunter

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Too many mistakes on my part...guess I'm a slow learner. Most of mine were in the beginning of my "hunting career" and started with me thinking I could probably get by without the wind working in my favor all the time....most of those stalks ended with me 60-80 yards out and a wind swirl ending it.
 

Big Sky

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I thnk that biggest mistake that I seem to make every year is thinking that I am going to be that guy that was able to get a shot off even without the wind being perfect. And for some strange reason it never works.
 

Matt Cashell

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I think my best was when I looked at a little avalanche chute while archery hunting a bedded buck and thought, "He won't see me cross that." Yeah, they don't miss much...
 

Daniel Bybee

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My best(worst) was just this year in January. Glassed up two great bucks( one was later shot and went 168). they had about 15 does between them, the bigger of the two bucks bedded in a stalkable spot at the top of a ridge. I made about a 2 mile circle in the desert flats to get behind the ridge and Started what I thought was my final 100 yards. Just as I got to the top of the ridge I knew I was less than 30 yards from the bedded buck so I started to look for him and slowly make my way to him. What I didnt realize was the buck moved and was actually less than 10 yards from me. He busted out with no time to draw the recurve and bolted into the flats lol. Lesson learned!
 

muleyman

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I wiffed a chip shot on a great looking 30 inch buck last year because I rushed myself and didn't think to use my shooting sticks that were only 10 feet away. IMO nothing is more humbling than hunting big mule deer bucks, every year at least one of them shows me that I will always be an amateur.
 

tradair1980

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I was playing peak a boo with a group of does last year during the late season blacktail hunt . And the doe on point kept looking up the hill into the bluffs . And the short of it was a great buck was with them presenting a shot at 9 yards. So if a doe is giving you little attention at 7 yards and is looking hard somewhere else done get caught with your mouth wide open and eyes as big as oranges when a buck comes out of an area you damn sure should have known to be aware of ....hahaha
 

VANDAL

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An amateur move that I constantly battle every year is believing, being patient, and waiting out a big buck. I spend a ton of time scouting every year and most always turn up a great buck to go after. After locating "the" buck I usually go in a day or two before the opener and then plan on spending ~5 days during the first part of the season to try and get him and then more follow-up hunts after that if necessary.

Looking back what usually happens after day 1, 2, 3, or 4 is... #1. I loose patience and move to a different area OR #2. Go into the bucks backyard and more than likely push him out or make him fully nocturnal OR #3. Shoot a lesser buck
 

trdhunter

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Most of my mistakes revolve around not being patient. I scout all summer, do all sorts of pre-season scouting, but while hunting I wil see a nice buck and quickly plan a stalk. Problem is I don't plan enough or think that it just might be better to wait till he beds or think of all the possible problems with my stalk. But im not the smartest and I get excited and off I go, then after it doesn't work I think" damn, should of thought this out better then I think of how I could have done better."
 
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robby denning

robby denning

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trdhunter,
you said it: "most mistakes revolve around not being patient"
that's what usually gets me, too.
 

Hoytnut

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One of my biggest blunders also involved patience. One morning I watched and bedded two nice mulie bucks across a large canyon. They bedded around 9:30 a.m. in a small stand of pines and after watching them a few more minutes I mentally mapped my stalk and took off. Where they were situated I would not be able see them again until I slipped in above them. So I made my way around the head on the canyon and arrived at the spot where I would come down on them. The thermals were strong and steady so I slipped off my boots and took off. I slowly made my way down the rocky hillside and towards a stand of pines 20-25 yards above the stand of pines that held the bucks where I would set up and wait. I was excited because it seemed to be coming together just as I had hoped. I made my way to the pines and glanced to my left in time to make eye contact with a buck a mere 5 feet away. Both bucks exploded from their beds and I stumbled and staggered as they flew down the hill. I could have kicked myself because I've hunted this area before and routinely these deer bed for a short period mid-morning before bedding for the day. These deer had bedded once and then moved up the hill to the other bed for the day. Had I watched them a little longer I would have witnessed this and had a good chance at them. Good learning experience, but still aggravating!
 

In God We Trust

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I bedded a big buck 2 seasons ago during Colorado's archery season, he was with 3 other bucks. I stalked to within 35 yards of the bedded bucks and started to wait. I became impatient and told myself they must have slipped out while I was stalking them. I knew deep down they were still there but acted the fool instead. I threw a rock where I watched the buck bed in the valley and he exploded out of there with the other 3 bucks. I felt so sick! It is funny reading your stories about not letting the bucks get up feed for a few and then re bed before beginning a stalk. I have done that more than once. Muleyman I completely agree, every time an old buck fools me I am reminded "I will always be an amateur".
 

Segan

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Where to begin..

I'm sure I could right a Best Seller on What not to do. If it can go wrong it will atleast to me.

My most valued green horn mistake was in Wyoming in 2000. I had a group of 5 bucks spotted around 600 yards just before dark. I did not feel good about the shot so I bedded the bucks that night and went back early the next morning. I was in place as it started getting light and right off I spotted him. He was 29" wide and scored 191" (The buck was taken later that fall by a friend of an outfitter I know) I ranged him at 406 yards and got ready for the shot as i was settling in for the shot I noticed some movement bellow. My dad was with me and was in spotting scope he said the top buck was the biggest. So I got ready agian and fired. As my scope came back into sight I saw the buck tumble down the hill. Meanwhile my dad is telling me I missed. A long story condensed is I shot the wrong deer. As a matter of fact I killed the smallest buck I had seen in 6 days of hunting and 46 total bucks. It was a 18" 2X2 Talk about disappointing pack out.

Lesson learned check twice before you shoot. And invest in the best optics you can afford. Including on your rifle.
 

Jared Bloomgren

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I think it was 2007 during a high country archery hunt. I located a huge, huge typical in a beautiful alpine basin. Being to aggressive, I decide to try and intercept the buck as he headed for the timber to his bed. Unfortunately, I arrived just a tad too late. He busted me and vanished for the rest of the season. Watching that huge typical frame escaping 50 yards in the timber was heartbreaking to say the least. I hunted that buck all season long and never laid eyes on him again. With all that being said, every year since that I locate a good buck with my bow, I've been sorta scared to stalk them with a bow.........instead I've been leaving them alone and hunting them opening day with the rifle.
Matt, do you call that a good excuse to not hunt them with your bow? Come on man! Get with it and give it a try!! You'll be glad you did!

An Amateur Move......I had located a huge non-typical in the backcountry and watched him for a few days before season was to start. I began to know the buck well and felt confident that I could kill this buck. I tried an ambush/stalk on the buck opening day and was behind the 8 ball and wasn't able to get in front of the buck and his 8 other friends as they headed to bed for the day. I decided to wait for the buck to come back out....I was confident the bucks would come back out the same way they went in.....Let me set the stage....two fingers of timber came up in into a big meadow leading to the top of the mountain with a saddle that dumped into a big basin with freah water. I had a camera man with me to catch the hunt on film....I set him up in one finger of the timber and me in the other....the intent was for the camera to get the bucks coming out of the timber into the meadow and film me in the background coming to draw and passing an arrow through that buck....something that you have never really seen in a backcountry videoed hunt. I was sure it would work great.....after getting into position and waiting for a couple hours I noticed movement coming through the thick timber....the lead buck was one of the 4 points that was with the non-typical, the 2nd buck being a young 4 point and the 3rd buck was the buck I was after.....the first buck stepped out into the meadow at 15 yards from me unaware that I was just waiting for his big buddy to step into view....just then the first buck threw his head up and pinned down movement....he had pegged the camera man who was cleaning his filters on his camera and not paying attention!!!!! I watched in horror as the big non typical bounded back out of sight to not be seen again!

Needless to say....I was not a happy bowhunter that evening on the walk back to camp. I think the camera man may have cried due to the words I had chosen to speak to him. It was a hard lesson learned for both of us. Adding a camera and another body to the mix can complicate things quite a bit! I would have surely killed that deer otherwise.
 
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robby denning

robby denning

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Segan and Jared
ARRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGG!

Reading this thread reminds me how many things can go wrong!
 
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