marksmanshipEvery time I go hunting, I learn something new. Usually the learning lesson comes from making a mistake. The buck winded me, or He must have seen me, or He was just too far to shoot! Everyone has a truckload of excuses. The trick is to embrace you mistakes and learn from them. Here are a few hints that hunters often overlook.

Stand Placement;

Now is the time to begin placing your deer stands. This way, deer will become accustomed to the stand and its smells. Some stand sites are consistent good bets. Feeders, where legal, can bring the deer toward your stand. Never place stands too close to trails, rubs, scrapes, bait, or sign. Stay off the trail enough to mask your scent and blend into the cover. Consider placing different stands for morning and evening hunts. This is especially true when hunting hills, water sources, and mountains. Convection wind currents change as the air is heated or cooled. Hot air rises and cold air sinks is what we were taught in school. Tie a feather or string to your weapon. You will see the wind without moving. Know the wind conditions for every stand.trail cam placement


Sitting still in a stand is paramount. Move slowly and minimally. Position your weapon at ready using a tree hook or hanger. Routine exercise will help you sit still. If your body is in good shape, your cardio will keep you from cramping or getting cold. Adjust your seat height to be slightly higher than a regular chair. This allows you to stand or reposition, more effortlessly to shoot. Hand warmers, decent all- weather compression gear is also helpful. If you can sit still, you will see the deer before they see you.

 Seeing movement is key to seeing deer. Never look for a deer, look for a piece of a deer. Horizontal lines and shapes can be the back or belly of a deer. Trees are vertical. Usually you will see an ear flick, eye blink, or something shift. Deer can see 50 yards further than you, under the best conditions. Deer are color blind, but can see reflected light from bright colors easily. Your nose pick, belly scratch, or stand up will let a deer know your position way before you have a clue they are there. Orange vests, clothes with brighteners, shiny metal parts, or any shiny component are included on this list.

Shooting glasses and optics are a must. Now you can see what a deer sees. Try 10×42 power binoculars. Wear a chest harness that hold them close for smooth, and shooting safe, use. Search the cover by using a pattern. Left, right, up, down, etc. You will be amazed how many more deer you will see, before they see you.

Practice your shooting;archery practice

 Shoot more, shoot more often! Knowing your weapon, and maintaining its accuracy are essential. If the ammunition is expensive, try air rifles, BB guns, 22s, or calibers you can easily reload. The muscle memory of shooting is a perishable skill. Trigger pull, mounting the weapon, sighting, safety, breathing, and loading are all important when hunting. You should be able to manipulate your weapon easily and freely without looking at it. Archery practice is the same. Hand and eye coordination are critical to accuracy. Muscle exercise is also important. Practice your shooting in similar areas to your hunting zones. Take a range finder and practice estimating ranges. What may seem like an impossible shot, may be closer than you think. Always pre-range trees, objects, or landmarks, when you get to your stand. With practice, and preparation you will become a more consistent, and satisfied hunter.

Placing stands/scouting, sitting still, learning how to see movement, mastering your marksmanship, are hints you need to always embrace. Always hunt ethically and honestly. Put in your practice time and preparation now so you can spend more time giving great hunting stories and less excuses.

Aim small, miss small!

Montana Grant

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