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The Masters' Secrets of Bowhunting Deer

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"Good bowhunters can be better bowhunters if they don't commit sins that decrease their odds for bagging any deer and especially trophy deer. Following are 10 of the most common mistakes, according to Noel Feather, that even good bowhunters -- sportsmen who have taken several deer with a bow and who have hunted for four or five years -- make.


Most bowmen want to be trophy hunters. Once a bowhunter gets into the sport and begins to read about Boone and Crockett or Pope and Young trophy deer and about the archers who take these kinds of animals, he sets a goal for himself to become a trophy hunter. However, most of these sportsmen don't put in the hours or take enough deer to become good hunters -- much less trophy hunters.

I think these hunters are making a very big mistake and missing out on a lot of fun. As a trophy hunter, the outdoorsman may hunt all season and not even see a Pope and Young set of antlers. A buck must have extremely large antlers to make the book. A bowhunter may search his entire life for a trophy deer that's Boone and Crockett size and never find it. He'll have to let numbers of nice deer walk by without ever harvesting them.

One of the best reasons for becoming a bowhunter is to take deer with a bow. Bagging deer with a bow is what the sport is all about. Therefore the hunter who becomes a trophy hunter too quickly misses the best of bowhunting, because he's so obsessed with taking a trophy.

Another problem associated with becoming a trophy hunter too soon is if a bowhunter hasn't bagged quite a few deer with a bow, I don't believe he'll be mentally ready to take a trophy, even if the shot presents itself. If the hunter's ever going to have shaking knees and shortness of breath before a shot and be so nervous he can't hold his bow steady -- it will happen when a big set of antlers comes into bow range. Only by learning to deal with the emotional problems directly affecting arrow flight in the woods can the hunter expect to be successful. Only by taking numbers of deer can the hunter learn to control his emotions at this moment of truth.

I think the bowhunter who wants to become a trophy hunter should have bagged at least six to 10 deer with his bow before he tries to become a trophy hunter, and 20 deer would be even better. In my opinion, this idea of being a trophy hunter has been overplayed. I don't think everybody should hope to be a trophy hunter.

The Masters' Secrets of Bowhunting Deer is $13.50

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