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How to Avoid 6 Common Early-Season Deer Hunting Mistakes

Avoid these common errors made by hunters during the early deer season to help shift the big-buck odds in your favor for the whitetail pre-rut period

How to Avoid 6 Common Early-Season Deer Hunting Mistakes
Preseason planning and adding some strategy to early-season deer hunting will help increase odds for big buck success. (Travis Faulkner photo)

Without question, the early-season can be one of the best times of the entire year to pinpoint, pattern and connect with a massive-rack wall-hanger. Pre-rut bucks will generally be following a predictable feeding to bedding pattern that hunters can exploit with the right strategies and setups.

This is especially true, if you’re able to identify, avoid and correct commonly-made errors that routinely prevent hunters from hitting pay-dirt during the early pre-rut period. Here are some of the mistakes you’ll want to correct and sidestep this season.

Deer Hunting Mistake 1: Inadequate Scouting

Just because bucks are typically following textbook feeding to bedding patterns doesn’t mean you can slack on doing your homework. The availability of multiple early-season food sources, sudden increases in hunting pressure, and pre-rut pattern shifts are all factors that must be addressed and handled with precision scouting techniques. Glassing early-season food sources, like soybean fields, locating a potential shooter, and throwing up a treestand sounds pretty good in theory, but that kind of effort will not produce consistent results year after year.

Correction: Utilize Precision Scouting Strategies

Glassing early-season food sources during the late evening hours is definitely a good first step. Once you’ve located a target buck, it’s time to roll-up your sleeves and really get into his head. Study aerial photos, such as Google Earth, to locate possible staging zones, travel corridors, bedding areas, watering holes, other transitional food sources and escape routes. Next, monitor these key locations with a series or network of game-cameras. This will help you piece together a complete daily pattern, establish routines, and identify habits and tendencies that can be exploited.

Read the rest of “6 Early-Season Deer Hunting Mistakes: How to Avoid and Correct” at

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