There is a hunting resource around every corner these days. No shortage of sentiment from self proclaimed experts and thousands of deviating ways of accomplishing the same objective. But something we can all agree on is that no one other that the late Fred Bear deserves the title "The Father of Modern Bow Hunting". Watch his videos from half a century ago and it becomes apparent just how far ahead of his time he was. From shooting a running Bengal tiger while perched atop a palm tree or standing face to face with a Kodiak bear at 20 yards, Fred Bear has done it all. These are his most noteworthy hunting tips with a little discourse to help implement it to your particular situation.
1. Don’t step on anything you can step over.
- Being a bow hunter is about paying attention to details. That sentiment resonates throughout these guidelines. Whether it be a log, a puddle, branches or dry leaves, if it is going to make noise when you touch it, don't.
2. Don’t look for deer, look for movement (and remember, it’s what they’re looking for, too).
- Experienced hunters have trained their eyes to look for things such as the flicker of a tail, the crossing of moving legs through a thicket, or the turning of an ear. Focusing on movement instead of trying to catch an entire silhouette will increase your sightings and help you see them before they see you.
3. Always approach downwind. In the cool of the day, move uphill; in the heat of the day, move downhill.
- Thermals, and the difference in ground and air temperature in certain parts of the day play a major role in air currents and ultimately the direction your scent travels. While it's not a huge deal in most of Louisiana it surely can make or break a hunt in a more hilly terrain.
4. The best camouflage pattern is called, “Sit down and be quiet!” Your grandpa hunted deer in a red plaid coat. Think about that for a second.
- Mossy Oak, First Lite, Sitka, Realtree. It doesn't really matter what you have on. If you can sit still, you will be fine!
5. Take only the gear to the field that allows you to hunt longer, harder, and smarter.
- There's nothing more frustrating than having to leave the stand early because you're cold, or thirsty, or hungry. Either train your body to do without these things for a few hours longer or make sure to bring them with you. Easy solution. (Your cell phone dying is not a good excuse to go back to the truck) #c'monman
6. A rainstorm isn’t a reason to quit the hunt, it’s a reason to stay.
- Weather changes can be some of the most rewarding times to hunt; especially if there is a major pressure change involved. Just make sure you dress accordingly to stick it out.
7. Camouflage your appearance, your sound and your scent.
- You are the apex predator. Own that fact. Unfortunately we have been out of the woods for a long long time and have lost a lot of those instincts. The more "ninja like" you become in your stalking and hunting the more successful you will be. Treat your quarry as if they are hunting you also. That will change the way you do everything from stand approach, scent control, and sound control.
8. Be sure of your shot. Nothing is more expensive than regret.
- We spend so much time waiting on the opportunity at a clean kill. As hard as it is, don't rush it by a minute or two. Don't try to thread the needle and squeeze that arrow between 2 branches or take an angle shot you haven't practiced. It is inevitable that after hunting long enough you will lose or wound a deer. If at any point that situation becomes anything other than gut-wrenching you need to check your moral compass and decide if you are hunting for the right reasons.
9. Hunt where the deer actually are, not where you’d imagine them to be.
- I know I'm guilty of hunting a spot because it's "pretty". If you're hunting mature bucks don't just look for deer sign. Look for big buck sign!
10. Next year’s hunt begins the minute this season’s hunt ends.
- Some of your best scouting comes in the late winter when everything is dead or close to it. Trails are easy to see, browse has become limited and rubs and scrapes stick out like a sore thumb. Next year's hunts should always be in the back of your mind, even now.