Skip to main content Skip to main content

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

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Popular Videos

Crash Course: How to Choose the Right Crankbait for Bass

Crash Course: How to Choose the Right Crankbait for Bass

You have lots of options in a shallow crankbait, but don't overlook the No. 1 important thing.

'Never Seen Before' Technology in Shimano Jerkbaits

Bass pro Alex Davis explains Flash Boost, Jet Boost and Scale Boost, featured in World Minnow and World Diver jerkbaits. With Game & Fish's Adam Heggenstaller at ICAST 2021 in Orlando.


YETI's New Crossroads Luggage, Duffels, Backpacks

Legendary cooler maker can keep you organized in the field, boat or airport. With YETI's Hannah Killbride and OSG's Lynn Burkhead at ICAST 2021 in Orlando.

See All Videos

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Game & Fish stories delivered right to your inbox every week.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now