Factors that affect hunting success (or lack thereof)

JerryBobCoJerryBobCo Senior MemberPosts: 6,629 Senior Member
What, in your opinion, are the most important factors when it comes to hunting success? By 'hunting success', I mean taking game as opposed to just having a good time hunting.

For me, the hands down winner by far is where I hunt. If you put me in the middle of good country that holds lots of game, I'm pretty good. If that country is lightly hunted, or not hunted by anyone else, and the game is not used to being hunted, I do even better.

After that, pretty much everything else is tied for second place.

Gun control laws make about as much sense as taking ex-lax to cure a cough.


  • CHIRO1989CHIRO1989 Senior Member Posts: 11,032 Senior Member
    Hunt an area where game has been spotted and spend as much time in the field/woods as you can.
    I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn away from their ways and live. Eze 33:11
  • ojrojr Senior Member Posts: 857 Senior Member
    Not withstanding any other very important factor/s which will be bought up.
    I have to have complete confidence in the rifle I'm hunting with else I might as well stay home.
    I do not like hunting with other peoples rifles, eg your buddy say's "have a go with mine I know you've always liked it", well, maybe I have, but it isn't mine and untill it is and I've range shot untill I'm happy, I'll not do well with it.
    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,428 Senior Member
    If taking game is the only measure of hunting success that's being considered, I'm going to go hunt elephants- - - - -at the zoo!
    Hide and wail in terror, Eloi- - - -We Morlocks are on the hunt!
    ASK-HOLE Someone who asks for advice and always does something opposite
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 15,212 Senior Member
    The amount of time you spend afield is directly proportionate to your likelihood of success...
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • WeatherbyWeatherby Senior Member Posts: 4,782 Senior Member
    Weather can be a big factor
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 4,692 Senior Member
    JBC, I think you hit the nail on the head. Though it seems obvious, it's an often overlooked aspect. You've got to hunt where the animals are. Back east, most big game was on private or leased land. Your chances on the small patches of public land were, though not totally lacking, pretty dismal when it's surrounded by private ground.

    Here out west, the weather greatly affects where the critters are. What was a great area "last month" can be as dead as a moonscape "this month". You can substitute "week" or even "day" for "month" as you will.

    If you're not hunting where the critters are, you may as well go piddle at the range.

    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
  • NNNN Senior Member Posts: 23,987 Senior Member
    Desired food source seem to be a big factor around here, what with the drought and the hurricane; a lot of the normal areas are devoid of game due to the lowered food supply.
    A Veteran is someone that served in the Military, it does not matter where they served.
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 7,408 Senior Member
    Aside from having an area with high potential, I think that scouting is the #1 factor affecting hunting success. I know so many guys who just head out to some random stretch of woods on opening day and just "hope that something comes by." Sure, you might get lucky, but more often than not, those are the guys I talk to after the season who ate their tags because they were blindly throwing a dart out in the woods and hoping that it landed on a deer hotbed.

    If it's at all possible, I spend as much time as I can muster in the area I plan to hunt to see if it's worth a damn before I hang my season there. Again, I know too many people who assume that because an area was good the previous year that it will be good again this year. The vast majority of hunting failures I've encountered when working someone else's recommended area featured a mea culpa started with, "I don't know what went wrong. There were so many [deer/turkey/ducks/etc] here last year..." Last year doesn't mean squat. Crop rotations, flooding, drought, fires, human interfecrence (construction, road work, etc) - all of this can come about in the blink of an eye and totally change the landscape of the area you want to hunt. Know your area and know if it's got the potential to produce what you're after THIS SEASON, before you take a gun in the field. After all, the hunting should be done before the season ever starts. The killing gets done once the season is on.
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • jbp-ohiojbp-ohio Senior Member Posts: 9,599 Senior Member
    Trespassers!! Every time I get a turkey gobbling, some road hunter comes running in to 'cut them off'.....

    My brother once had a big buck patterned to an old orchard with a pear tree. He had it close a couple times with no shot (using a recurve bow). Then some big fat kid rode a 4 wheeler into the property and put up a ladder stand..... 10' from the 4 wheeler. Brother didn't see the buck again.
    "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." Thomas Jefferson
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 21,930 Senior Member
    1. You gotta have game where you're hunting and in reasonable numbers where you stand a Reasonable chance of seeing it.
    2. Weather can play a big role in whether you score game or not. For example it is well known that deer can stay hold for a day or two if it is too miserable for them to be out strutting their stuff.
    3. Personal preperations such as having your gun sighted and having the right ammo for the game and distances you'll be shooting at can make the difference in success and a dry run.
    4. Getting to your hunting area at the proper time. For example here in Texas we hunt a lot of blinds. If you're going out in the morning it helps to get there before the deer are moving. Get there before daylight so you don't run the deer away from the area. And don't make a lot of noise.
    5. For myself, I try to prepare my scent or lack of it. It all depends on the wind whether you're up wind or down wind. I think you can always kill a doe no matter, but a trophy buck may skirt the area and never show you his hide if he smells something he doesn't like.
    6. While Camo doesn't make much difference when hunting in a blind, it might when you're stalking or still hunting. It has been proven now that deer can see certain colors well, such as blue. Strangely enough they don't pick up well on hunter or blaze orange, even though it is one color not found in nature, so I say wear plenty of blaze orange to help prevent a Joe Public novice hunter from mistaken you for his quarry. I wear it even on private land. I have had on camo clothes and a big blaze orange vest and cap and stood still and had a buck look right at me standing in the open. But I didn't move a muscle and he just twitched his ears and went back to eating. Motion is what deer will pick up on, not so much colors.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 21,930 Senior Member
    How true, how true! I'll remember that on my next trip to the Zoo, LOL!!! If you can wait til the Zoo Keeper's throwing out chunks of beef it's even better.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 21,930 Senior Member
    I agree with you that 85-90% of the time patience pays off. There are a few times that you get to a stand or where you want to hunt, get set up and comfortable, and out walks Bambi's grandpa. But that doesn't happen enough to throw patience to theh wind. Most of the time you may have a two hour wait and I have seen that a few times you don't see anything until 8 or 9 oclock in the morning, two or three times I have seen deer killed as late as 11 or 12 noon. I read an article one time that said bigger bucks would not move sometimes until around noon when most hunters had left the area.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,726 Senior Member
    JerryBobCo wrote: »
    For me, the hands down winner by far is where I hunt. If you put me in the middle of good country that holds lots of game, I'm pretty good. If that country is lightly hunted, or not hunted by anyone else, and the game is not used to being hunted, I do even better.

    That sums it up for me, too. I hunted whitetails for many years with mostly slim success. Now, there are more deer around here, even in places where there used to be none. I can actually pass up the young ones, or marginal antler sized ones, now, and still be fairly confident of connecting later on.
  • U TU T Member Posts: 405 Member
    For me, my primary hunting is whitetail, and #1 goal or measure of success, is a mature buck, and that equates to hunting the rut, and that for me is mid November, archery.
    If it's not the rut, then I hunt areas that I know deer will spend time, bedding and food sources, and I hunt both bucks and doe, but don't expect a mature buck until the rut, as they seem to be mostly nocturnal most of the time otherwise.
    Once gun season starts, patience seems to work best, and staying on stand, unless you're into driving deer, which I don't normally do, although I feel it can be a good thing to have other hunters wandering around on adjacent properties, to get deer moving.
    As for turkey, I like the spring best, and that means breeding time too.
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 7,099 Senior Member
    My area has only about a 3% success rate for the required one fork or better bucks, so area obviously plays a part.

    All the successful hunters I know in that area - and I know a bunch of extremely successful ones - hunt and scout a lot, so time afield also factors in.

    But having spent as much or more time in the same area with these people for two seasons, doing the same things they are and continually seeing only does, spikes, un-confirmeds, or un-engageables, I have to conclude that there is luck involved, and thus far, I haven't had it.

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • orchidmanorchidman Senior Member Posts: 7,737 Senior Member
    JerryBobCo wrote: »
    What, in your opinion, are the most important factors when it comes to hunting success?

    Actually getting out there and doing it. And while you are doing it, keeping your eyes and ears open and building up a store of knowledge that will add to your experience.

    It amuses me sometimes when I read 'hard luck' hunting stories about guys who only hunt once or twice a year and expect to emulate the feats of those that actually spend a lot of time in the offseason 'hunting/scouting' and have built up a wealth of knowledge.

    Its a bit like expecting a formula 1 driver who sat on the couch for 11 months to go win a grand prix.

    Get out before the season starts with a camera and practise your skills if it is illegal to hunt all year round. Go to the range and practice shooting, not at 100yds, but pick random ranges within the zone that is comfortable to you.

    The most important factor ( for stalking) is SLOW. How many times have you heard stories of 'All I saw were deer bums'.
    Still enjoying the trip of a lifetime and making the best of what I have.....
  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 19,018 Senior Member
    hunting pressure
    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.

  • QuinianQuinian Senior Member Posts: 707 Senior Member
    I tent to hunt privatly owned ranches. It's a win win really. Rancher has spotted game, lots of it, feeding on his fields and wants them gone. I want them in my freezer. We both win.

    Factor wise though, I've noticed out here the weather isa huge thing to consider. If it's too cold they'll all be hiding somewhere. If it's too warm they won't come out till night. They seem to like coming out in snow, but not WHILE it's snowing. Same goes for wind. If it's too windy not only will they be hiing but just about any shot suddenly becomes very complicated.
  • MileHighShooterMileHighShooter Senior Member Posts: 4,768 Senior Member
    Wambli Ska wrote: »
    Once again, please refrain from cutting short any baseless totally emotional arguments with facts. It leads to boring, completely objective conversations well beyond the comprehension ability of many.
  • timctimc Senior Member Posts: 6,684 Senior Member
    timc - formerly known as timc on the last G&A forum and timc on the G&A forum before that and the G&A forum before that.....
    AKA: Former Founding Member
  • FisheadgibFisheadgib Senior Member Posts: 5,708 Senior Member
    I think the answer to this is gonna vary a bit according to the location and terrain of the areas that we all hunt. Where I hunt now in Alabama, we have lots of game but a couple of people have a hard time pinning down even a doe for the freezer while some can stack them up if they want to. Being cognizant of wind direction, weather, animals patterns and habits, and tons of patience all come together to put a deer in the truck around here. Having lots of game is only a small part of it.
    snake284 wrote: »
    For my point of view, cpj is a lot like me
  • HAWKENHAWKEN Senior Member Posts: 1,688 Senior Member
    Jerry, That sounds like a lot of fun, but carrying the decoys must be a ........Robin
    I don't often talk to people that voted for Obama, but when I do I order large fries!
    Life member of the American Legion, the VFW, the NRA and the Masonic Lodge, retired LEO
  • FreezerFreezer Senior Member Posts: 1,502 Senior Member
    I hunt northern california balcktail. These are brush loving little critters. I've been very sucessful but there is a lot of work to getting them. Patience is a big key. Be patient enough to walk slow! Real real slow. Patience to stay with it even though all you've seen are doe. Scent control is another thing but isn't as important as wind direction. When your on the ground still hunting no matter what you do you stink. Work the wind.
    I like Elmer Keith; I married his daughter :wink:
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