Deer Hunting Tactics You Should Avoid

Go-to hunting tactics that could actually do more harm than good
Big deer

Every whitetail hunter out there is always on the prowl for the newest, cutting edge invention that will help them be more successful. While the list seems nearly endless, items such as camouflage, scents, calls, and tree stands are just a few items that are heavily purchased in the late summer and fall months.

All of these products will at one time or another, aide in the taking of a whitetail.

In other instances, they do way more harm than good.

I mention this because of our last group of clients that showed up here in Montana to bow hunt elk. The new bows, broadheads and camo adorned nearly each one of them. It's great that they were able to use the products that made them feel confident. But at the same time, I had to chuckle because none of it really makes you anymore successful. To each his own.

The week wore on and so did the jabs taken between client and guide. I didn't agree with their choice of broadheads. They didn't like the brand of truck I drive. This was a typical day for us. Good thing we could laugh about something because the poor elk hunting was not a laughing matter. The long, hot, dry, fire laden summer had created a miserable landscape that the elk don't care to hang out in. Thank God for understanding people and good conversation. And, like normal, the whitetail deer became the main topic more than once during the week.

I have been a whitetail nut for a long time. My clients are just getting started in some extreme property management ideas that will make their place a secured sanctuary. I was happy to hear the dedication and excitement in their voices.

Building a place for whitetails is totally different than hunting them.

The talk of the property soon turned to the improvable “What would you do?” scenario.

Throw it out the window

Before I go any further, I want to say that all hunting tactics will sometimes help you kill deer. A lot of tactics will help other hunters on neighboring properties kill more deer because you ran them off your piece. From a management standpoint, the whole point is to keep deer on your property for as many hours as possible during the day. That's why I suggest refraining from using these next few tactics.

Driving deer was one of my favorite methods of deer hunting growing up. The excitement of hearing deer crashing out of the brush in front of you, followed by gunshots was second to none. It's still a great way to kill deer. It's also a great way to make sure they don't stay on your property. Not to mention, a huge downfall to driving deer is the number of young bucks that get shot during the excitement.

If herd or property management is not part of your goals, this does not pertain to you. Carry on.

Morning hunting is another thing that ruins a lot of good deer hunting. Very few spots allow an undetected approach. Spooking deer as you walk to your stand in the predawn darkness is counter productive and moves them one step closer to the property line or becoming nocturnal.

The only time I'm really a fan of morning hunts is during the rut. Even then, I may wait till daylight to walk to my stand.

Some stand sites are golden and can be hunted any time during the season, morning or evening. If you have such a site, by all means, hunt it. Bottom line is to keep from educating as many deer as possible. It's better to stay in bed versus running deer around.

Calling deer in has a very limited timeframe to actually be a successful tactic. Too many deer will circle and get your wind before you even know they were in the vicinity.

The other issue with calling? Everybody and their brother blows on a grunt tube or bashes horns together. Educated deer are not dumb deer. What do you think happens the first time they hear these noises and then get a nostril full of human?

Yep, they run. What do you think happens the next time they hear those same noises? Do they run right in to check it out? Hahaha. No. They circle around the area and move on. Pretty good chance they won't respond to a call for the rest of the season and they will avoid the areas that they have heard them.


I could bash just about every hunting method out there, only to write an article the following week that contradicts everything I wrote the previous week and both would still be factual. That's hunting.

That's why it's hard to write a how-to article. “How-to” changes every time you step foot in the woods because everything's different every time you go out.

These are just my opinions and what has worked for me over the years. My objectives are pretty simple. Kill older deer and keep the deer on the farms I hunt happy so they don't leave. Should you have the same viewpoints as me? Maybe, maybe not. Depends on your own goals. Hopefully though, you read this and it gets you to thinking about your own hunting area and what goes wrong and what goes right during the season. Keep the things that work and adjust things that don't.

Good hunting.

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