In our modern day hunting world, it’s hard to get away from those trying to influence how we hunt. Whether we’re told we need to plant food plots or the only way to harvest mature bucks consistently is to run as many trail cameras as possible, there’s a lot being told and shown to us. See here’s the thing, whether it be through TV, videos, articles, podcasts, you name it, there is actually a TON of great information out there pertaining to hunting whitetails. What I try to stress as much as possible is not to decide 100% how you hunt based on what you hear or see. Here’s what I mean.
The experience a hunter garners in the field is more important than anything. Every hunter is in a unique situation. In this day and age, it’s easy to watch a TV show where guys stress waiting until conditions are optimal to make a move on a buck. This sounds great in theory, and might actually make sense but to others, this may not even be in the cards. Understanding what your situation is is crucial to how you hunt.
Realize Every Hunter is in a Unique Situation
The first step to being able to learn from hunting media without being influenced too much, is understanding your unique situation. What challenges face you on a daily basis when it comes to hunting? Do you hunt pressured public land? Do you have a mix of private and public? Do you travel to hunt? Each one of these situations presents different circumstances, thus changing expectations and the way you hunt.
For someone like myself, I mainly hunt in an urban setting in my home state of Minnesota. Then on the opposite side of the spectrum, I also hunt in North Dakota on mainly public land in seemingly the middle of nowhere. The differences between walking 50 yards off a main road in Minnesota, and over a mile into vast public land in North Dakota is immense. When I’m taking in whitetail media, I’m always thinking about how certain things would apply to my certain hunting situation.
Combine Your Experiences with Learned Information
Just because you shouldn’t let media dictate how you hunt, doesn’t mean it can’t be useful. At the end of the day, however, I value my hunting experiences over anything else. There are things you learn over the years hunting that are priceless, and specific to you and your situation. It’s why I am always fascinated listening to lifelong hunters talk about their time in the woods. When it comes to the modern-day hunting media, take the bits and pieces of info and combine them with what you’ve learned from your hunting experiences. Deer hunting is about continuous learning, and if you can pick up on something that applies or changes the way you hunt, it could be quite useful.
Try New Things
Do you know what the definition of insanity is? Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. So often, I see hunters getting stuck doing the same thing year after year, and not having success. This is insane! If you or someone you know falls into this category, I urge you to try new things. Once again, this is where learned experiences can still help you. Think through how you’ve been hunting in previous seasons. Ask yourself why you haven’t been successful. Is there anything that’s easily identifiable? What can you change?
The Hunting Public is one of those online shows that may change the way you hunt. They’re always trying new things and encountering success on public land.
To give you a recent example, I’ve struggled to have mature buck encounters the past few years. Based on the amount of mature bucks I get on trail camera, the sheds I’ve found, the sign I’m able to locate, I feel that I should be getting more opportunities than I do. I think a large part of it is because of my mindset that once I pick a tree for a stand, I stick to it. I’ve come to realize that this way of hunting hasn’t necessarily been working out for me. It’s a learned experience that has taught me to either A.) Not put as much pressure on my stands, or B.) Be more mobile. Given that I work full-time like most other hunters, I think I have to be more mobile next year. I might run and gun the majority of the time next season in an effort to increase my opportunities. It’s nothing earth-shattering, but through valuing my previous experiences, I’m going to change. I encourage you to do the same thing, and try and figure out what you can change and what new things you can try to help yourself be more successful.
At the end of the day, influences outside of your own experiences will always be there to “tell” you how to hunt, but in the end, it’s the learned experiences that will ultimately help you be the most successful. Learn to combine information you soak in through whitetail media and your own experiences, and hopefully, you can continue to evolve as a hunter.