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10 Bowhunting Mistakes You’re Making Right Now

By Mark Kayser
11/12/2012 2:35:41 PM

Who likes to fess up to mistakes? I don't. My dog doesn't. Few of my friends do. The president rarely even admits to making a mistake. Have you ever thought what a perfect world it would be if we all just confessed to mistakes and tried never to make them again? The divorce rate would surely drop, courtrooms would be less packed, and I'm betting your bowhunting success would increase. It has been my goal during bow season to never repeat a mistake, but each season I still can add at least one major mistake to the "never repeat" list.

One of my biggest blunders to date happened not too long ago. I found a short window between work trips, so I headed to my favorite whitetail haunt. Pre-rut magic hung in the air, and the excitement of being in the whitetail woods, plus my impatient personality, prodded me into rattling immediately after settling into my stand. As I hung the rattle bag back up, I froze in astonishment when a buck stood up in a tall patch of grass less than 40 yards away and stared in wide-eyed terror at my treestand-perched form.

You already know the rest of the story. Yes, the buck exploded, and I literally slapped myself while watching the buck race away through the thick cedars. Here are a few other mistakes I hope to never make again...I mean it...really!

1. Don't Overbow

I felt strong. I'd been lifting weights all winter in preparation for my new Mathews, and with a bit of cockiness I told my pro shop to crank up my bow to nearly 70 pounds, higher than any bow I had ever owned. My outdoor shooting sessions took place in 80-degree temperatures and T-shirt attire. Although I tugged to get the bow back, once it hit the valley I was able to settle in and shoot smoothly.

Throughout the early season I had no issues pulling the bow back, but then came November. Instead of warm temperatures and a mobile hunting strategy, my whitetail hunting switched to a sit-and-wait approach in frigid conditions. One crisp morning, a rutting whitetail buck came my way, and as he passed behind a tree trunk I stood, tried to draw my bow, but couldn't. I tried to reach full draw several more times, before finally giving up as the buck walked out of sight.

Between the higher poundage and my body responding to the cold by slowing the amount of blood pumping to my limbs, I didn't have enough strength to come to full draw. Today I avoid that mistake by setting my bow closer to 60 pounds and never struggle, early or late.

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