What Are Some Common Hunting Mistakes To Avoid – Top 20


Hunting has been an age-old pastime for many generations of human history. Our ancestors started hunting for survival but with modern technology, our comfort levels have risen to a level that we don’t need to actively hunt anymore! Still, people are out there hunting when the time comes to enjoy the more primitive sides of things and feel a connection to our ancestors. However, people end up making some careless mistakes that take away from the experience and make it less than enjoyable.

So what are some common hunting mistakes to avoid? As we have adapted, so too have animals like deer. They are sharper and escape at the slightest hint of danger. This makes hunting even more difficult when it shouldn’t be! This is due to the hunting mistakes that people make. That is why I am here to share some of the more common ones and how avoiding them can make you enjoy them once more! Whether you are a beginner or a veteran hunter, it is always worthwhile to brush up on your knowledge of hunting to enhance the experience!

Key Takeaways

  • There are many common hunting mistakes that people make.
  • Over-reliance on tools like trail cams, bait, and gear instead of other important things like scouting and understanding deer movement is a very common mistake.
  • Clothing, scent control, access routes, wind, and weather conditions are all things that a hunter should know about before embarking on a hunting trip.
  • Learn from your mistakes so that you avoid making them in the future. Repeating the same mistakes will not improve your skill as a hunter.

20 Most Common Mistakes to Make While Hunting

Here is my list of the 20 most common mistakes to make while you are out hunting for your desired game. My focus will be more or less on deer hunting but you can always adapt these mistakes to other games as well!

1. Uncovered hunting stand

Uncovered hunting stand

I love hunting on a hunting stand! There is nothing better to sit there out in nature and absorb all its beauty while you are scoping out your prey. However, what many people fail to realize is that hunting stands are not the end-all-be-all for successful hunts! One of the most common mistakes that people make with hunting stands is to use them uncovered.

While I don’t mean that you have make a treehouse on your hunting stand, what I actually mean is that you should cover the backdrop of the hunting stand. Most animals are clever enough to look up at the surrounding. If they were to notice even your outline (even under the heaviest of camouflage, an animal like a deer will immediately bolt in the opposite direction. Having your backdrop covered makes it more difficult to notice the deer and makes it easier to line up your shot.

2. Over-reliance on trail cams

The beauty of trail cams is that you get to see where deer or other animals are passing through without you necessarily being there in person. But a trail cam can only tell you about half the story. Mature bucks for example take the road less traveled. You might notice fawns and does walking about where you would expect them to be but bucks will travel all over, especially in areas where you don’t have your trail cams! That is why it is important to not be over-reliant on your trail cams and combine your cams and your eyes equally.

Not practicing

The old adage of practice makes perfect rings true for anything that you do. No matter what you do, the more you practice the better you will be. That will be the same for hunting and practicing with your weapons as well! The time that you will spend shooting your bow or rifle will be less than 1 percent of your whole hunting trip. That is why it is important to get used to using your weapon of choice so you don’t mess up during that small percentage.

Not only that, but you should be practicing effectively. What I mean by that is practicing shooting a bow and arrow in your backyard in your most comfortable clothing is completely different from a mid-autumn morning when you are geared up! That is why the best practice you can do for hunting is to do field practices so that you are also used to your gear as you are practicing. The right equipment matters when you are doing the practice for actual hunting.

Distracted during a hunt

If shooting makes up less than a percent of the whole experience, then waiting around for that chance makes up the majority! In that time, you are bound to be bored. How much longer are you going to watch the trees stripped of their leaves when dawn has just passed for that buck to pass you by! I get really bored when I am out hunting as well and often distract myself with my phone or something else. But that is exactly why you should limit all sorts of distractions. You never know that 10 minutes you spent on your phone could result in a buck walking past you and you have lost your opportunity! So be patient and keep the distraction to a minimum so that you are more focused on the hunt itself.

Disturbing bedding areas

Disturbing bedding areas

Under any circumstances, you should NEVER disturb the bedding area of an animal. A deer has heightened smell sensors in their nose, which is more powerful than most dogs! That means that your presence in their bedding area would make them more alert and would absolutely ruin your hunt. An animal will frequent their bedding area so you should make sure that you are taking appropriate routes to your hunting stand or where you are setting up to make sure that you don’t alert the deer or other animals of your presence.

Improper scouting

Scouting is very important for a hunt. Knowing where the deer are and how they are moving about halves the time that you spend on actually hunting. However, if you do improper scouting, you are left with long periods where you don’t see even one game in sight! That is why scouting is so crucial to ensure success for your hunt at the end of the trip. Make sure you analyze the area and know the general location of the bedding and scrapes in the area so you can make a calculated decision on where the animal will be passing through.

Not planning access routes

As important as scouting is, knowing and planning your access routes is equally important. The access routes are where the deer or other animals will pass through less so you don’t leave your scent in the area that will make them alert. Learn to plan your access routes to all the important locations like bedding areas, your hunting stands, scrapes, and the other routes that the deer or other animals take when they wander around. With proper planning, you are raising the success rates of your hunt!

Clothing choice according to the season

Clothing is important, especially for the season that you will be hunting in. Summer season will mean that you will be sweating during mid-day but the mornings will be chilly. So you will need to wear a few light layers to keep yourself warm and then take them off as the day gets warmer. For colder seasons like autumn and winter, you will need to wear three effective layers to help keep you warm while still being able to move around properly. An inner vapor transmission layer made of breathable material like polypropylene, a second insulating layer of wool to trap the heat, and an outer protective layer that will hide you over all of these layers will help to keep you warm and away from the sights of the animals. So be sure to read up on the different clothing you need as per the season to avoid making crucial mistakes.

 Scent control

 Scent control

The reason why selecting the right clothing during a hunt is because of scent control. You will release body odor that might not be a lot for you but for the animals, it will be a 1000x worse! Animals like deer have a keen sense of smell and can smell you from a mile away so scent control is very important. On top of your clothing, you will need the right scent control products for the specific animals that you are going to be hunting. You will not only mask your scent but also make it so that you are actually attracting the animals as well with the right scent control products!

Wind conditions

The reason that deer are able to smell from so far away is because of the wind that carries the smell to them. Understanding upwind and downwind, where the wind is flowing from, and the location of the deer are all important to ensure that you are driving the deer away from you. Not just that, but wind conditions will also influence where the deer will be moving towards! That is why it is important to know how deer move in the wind and understand what types of routes they take to cross new bedding areas and such. So wind is a double factor that you need to consider for your hunts to avoid a very common mistake during your hunt.

Weather fronts

And last but not least, the major influence of deer movement is weather fronts. If there is a warm front coming to the area, it will mean that the deer will move around a lot less and stay put in an area. They will want to conserve their energy and move when the weather is a bit cooler. That is why on hot days, staying up on your hunting stand will prove fruitless because only a handful of bucks are moving about. You can expect a lot more movement during cold fronts when the deer will be out foraging for food. So a combination of scent control, wind conditions, and weather fronts are three mistakes that combine into one giant mistake that hunters, especially beginners, make when they are out hunting.

Forgetting equipment

Imagine the situation: you are out on your hunting stand. You see a young buck constantly approach the area and move away. You think of using a deer call or antler rattle to bring them closer to where you can shoot them from. So you reach into your bag to bring one out but you find that you didn’t bring it! By the time you look up, the buck has already heard noises and left the area. For those opportune moments, forgetting your hunting equipment would spell disaster. That is why to avoid making such a mistake, learn of the essential hunting tools you need so that you are prepared for any situation when out hunting!

Rushed shots

Rushed shots

Now imagine the opposite: you have successfully lured the young buck into your hunting range. So now you scope in and are getting prepared to shoot. However, a sudden movement from the deer made you rush the shot and you completely whiff it! The loud sound has alerted all the other animals in the general area and your hunting stand is now rendered useless. That is why rushing into a shot is probably the worst mistake that you can make. Learn to pace yourself and make it absolutely sure that you are going to land the shot so that you are hunt is successful.

Patience and aggression

With a rushed shot comes the talk of aggression and patience in your hunt. As deer are sensitive creatures, they will react to the situation with a flight reaction (unless it’s rutting season). So you will need to find the right balance between patience and aggression in your hunt. Making sure that your shot is perfect is crucial because you will lose your opportunity. But being too passive will also net the same result. That is why being patient and aggressive at the same time is needed. At the end of the day, understanding that in theory will only get you into the forest and not implement it. Making such a mistake is a learning experience for young hunters and it is a great way to correct the mistake that you make.

Using baits too often

One such passivity is using bait too often. Sure, a deer will be attracted to corn or peanut butter and using them as bait might be good. But using bait too often can be detrimental to the deer and your hunt as well! They will only be visiting areas where deer find the bait and not their usual grazing areas. This can severely harm the deer ecosystem as well as other animals so don’t use it too much or too often. Use it sparingly and where it is legal because not all states allow the use of bait during hunts.

Not utilizing rattling and calling

While baits might not be legal in all states, the use of calls and rattles is not! They are very good ways to attract animals to your hunting spot without revealing your location. This is a common mistake I have seen not utilized to its fullest potential by many hunters, vets and beginners alike! So remember to carry on your hunting trip to use it while you are waiting for an unsuspecting buck to make its way towards you.

Hunting in the same spot again

Hunting in the same spot again

One of the most common mistakes that inexperienced hunters often make is to use the same spot again and again. One spot will only get lucky once in a while and not every time. The deer population as a whole will begin to realize that a particular area is dangerous and avoid it. And since they move around during dusk and dawn, they might be long gone! That is why scout out new areas for hunting spots so that you are increasing the chances of sighting deer on your hunting trip.

Hunting gear maintenance

Going on the tangent of using the same spot again and again, hunters often use the same equipment so much that they stop working in the middle of the hunt! This could be catastrophic during an emergency situation which is why you should be doing your due diligence and taking care of your equipment after each hunting trip. This ensures that your hunting gear is in good condition and know how long you can use the gear before it needs replacing.

Not preparing for emergencies

Speaking of emergencies, it is crucial that you prepare your hunting gear including emergency clothes and rations. You never know what might happen while you are out on your hunting trip so it is best to be prepared for any and all situations possible. It is equally important to tell your close friends and family that you are out on your hunting trip and how long you will be away as well. In the case that they don’t hear from you within the time that you told them you would be back, they can let the local authorities know of the situation and prepare accordingly to come search for you. You can never be too prepared when you are out hunting so make sure that you are prepared for any circumstances.

Using misinformation

Last but not least, the common mistake that people do when they are out hunting is to use outdated information and myths that are easily disproven. This becomes a habit for some people when they hear something in passing and think it is true. Listening to such misinformation will lead to many unsuccessful hunting trips and discourage you from hunting in the future. That is why learning different aspects of hunting is important. Always try to logically think of the information that someone imparts to you so that you can figure out which ones will be effective or not.

So there you have my 20 most common mistakes that hunters make on hunts and these should be your top priority to avoid as well!


What is the most common way to hunt?

The most common way to hunt is by utilizing hunter stands. It puts you in an elevated spot away from the animals and ensures a good vantage point to take a good shot. However, it is important that you set up your stand properly to make sure you are hidden away from the animals while you are waiting on one.

What makes a bad hunter?

Not respecting animals and having poor etiquette while hunting is what make a bad hunter. Those who drink while hunting creates this negative image of hunters to others who might already have a negative image of hunters due to ethical reasons and such.

What is the most important part of hunting?

Scouting and preparation are the most important part of hunting. Being prepared and knowing the lay of the land will increase your hunting success rates. Not to mention that good preparation means that you are prepared for any circumstances that arise.

Final Thoughts

Overall, making mistakes is not a bad thing. Mistakes are the best way that you can learn from and amend your ways so that you don’t make them again. However, making the same mistake over and over again would give no fruitful results for your hunts and diminish the experience. I know many such hunters that keep making the same mistake over and over again without even realizing that they are mistakes, to begin with! That is why first identify the common mistakes that you might be making on your hunting trip and avoid them in your future hunts!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *