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Mistakes Hunters Make on a Whitetail Deer Outfitted Hunt

Mistakes Whitetail Hunters Make with Whitetail Deer Outfitters

Prior to beginning this article it is imperative that the reader know the material being presented is not being presented in sarcastic or critical manner. The information presented in this article provides solid advice on how to harvest a buck on your whitetail deer hunt with an outfitter. If you read a topic you may be guilty of, please do not become offended but rather challenge yourself to see if you need to make adjustments in the timber to be successful while on a hunt with a whitetail outfitter.

Thousands of whitetail deer hunters each year travel abroad, hunting with whitetail deer outfitters. Hours upon hours are spent on the internet, reading books, reading magazines, and checking references so the hunter can arrive at a decision of what whitetail deer outfitter or guide to select. It can be a time consuming effort to arrive at the most productive decision. While other articles on our website speak of how to select a whitetail deer outfitter, it is time to address how to ďcash inĒ on the hunt youíve purchased. After being a whitetail deer outfitter and guide for thirteen years I have watched dozens of camps come and go. Each year I see a minority group of hunters that come to camp that spoil their own outing or whitetail hunt. Some hunters go away having learned a lesson, while others donít put two and two together. The hunters that are unable to realize the error of their ways really are not responsible. They have simply believed and wholeheartedly swallowed how television and media has represented the sport of whitetail deer hunting.

Donít Guide the Guide

When a hunter arrives at our whitetail deer outfitter service the first thing we do after helping them put their luggage in a room is take them through an orientation. The first subject covered in the orientation is entitled, ďThings the Hunter can do to Ruin Their Own HuntĒ. To begin, never guide the guide. Often times the hunters that come to camp represent some of the best whitetail hunters in the nation and are very successful in their home state. However the tactics these hunters employ in their home states are not the same tactics that work in the Midwest. Why? Whitetail Deer evolve differently in each region or area. Whitetail deer in Pike County, Illinois do not travel across a given piece of terrain like whitetail deer in New York, or South Carolina. Therefore guiding the guide will always ruin your hunt as most hunters are not familiar with the movement in the state they have booked an outfitted whitetail deer hunt in. I had always lived in Missouri until 1994. In 1994 I moved to Pike County, Illinois for a period of several years. The first year or two I lived in Pike County, Illinois I was not successful in the pursuit of trophy whitetail deer. I was hunting deer with Missouri whitetail tactics. While both states do border one another the deer herds move totally different. In Missouri, deer are hunted by rifle during firearms season. As a result deer have evolved in a more paranoid environment as the hunter can shoot 4 times as far or more to harvest them. Therefore the deer in Missouri donít just walk out into the middle of fields and mindlessly meander into open areas as they fear they will be harvested by a whitetail hunter. Meanwhile in Illinois, firearms hunters are forced to use shotguns or muzzleloaders only. The deer in Illinois do walk right out into field in broad daylight and have learned to adapt to the type of hunting regulations the State imposes by process of association. In Illinois a whitetail hunter can sit on a fencerow in the middle of a field and hammer a deer of a lifetime while a hunter in Missouri would be severely hampering his odds of success by employing this type of tactic. Thus, deer do evolve differently in different states. As a result when you book a hunt with a whitetail deer outfitter in another state you never want to come into camp and try to tell the outfitter what to do or where to place you.

Hunters that come to a whitetail outfitter for a hunt and remain humble and do whatever the outfitter ask of them are normally the ones that are successful. (That is provided you have booked with a quality outfitter like IMB Outfitters that actually knows what they are doing and cares about your success.)

When a whitetail deer hunter books a trip with a whitetail outfitter or guide there is normally a time frame of a few days that the hunter has to harvest a buck. The average hunter books a hunt the first of the year and then spends 10 months or so thinking about the upcoming hunt trip. During that time period normally the hunter is watching Outdoor Television, reading hunt magazines and books, as well as watching dvdís and video regarding whitetail deer hunting. While itís fine to learn as much as you an about whitetails the media misrepresents almost all aspects of our lives whether it be politics, Hollywood gossip, sports, and yesÖÖÖÖÖÖÖ.whitetail deer hunting. Outdoor television has been wonderful for the hunt industry yet it has misrepresented how difficult hunting trophy whitetail really is.

Shoot the First Trophy Buck you See

When you get to the whitetail outfitter you are hunting with and are placed in the woods you need to shoot the first trophy deer you see. Failure to do so normally results in going home empty handed. There are many reasons why hunters donít shoot the first good buck they see, which in my opinion are all mistakes with the exception of one reason. Letís cover the reasons why whitetail hunters pass up trophy bucks while hunting with a whitetail deer outfitter or guide.
1. Hunters come in on a five day hunt and naturally possess a five day mentality. Therefore if on day one or day two a trophy buck walks within weapon range sometimes they donít shoot thinking that another buck that will perhaps be larger will walk past them later in the five day outing. Many times a second opportunity to harvest a trophy buck doesnít occur. Reasoning behind this is twofold. A. The hunter doesnít want his buck hunting to be complete early in the hunt. B. The hunter thinks every camp will be just like a television program and that trophy whitetail bucks are a dime a dozen just like on television. This simply isnít true. Any buck exceeding the minimum requirements for the Pope and Young Record Books is simply nothing short of a great accomplishment.
2. Some hunters have adapted a mentality that each year they need to kill or ďtopĒ the biggest buck in their trophy room or they wonít shoot anything. This concept is one I simply donít understand. I have harvested 27 trophy animals, 14 of which are Pope and Young Whitetail Bucks. If I would have employed a strategy wherein I would only shoot a larger buck than the previous year I wouldnít have fifty percent of the animals hanging in my trophy room that are currently present. Think if you employed this same principal to earning money. Do individuals refuse to make no money during a certain year if they donít make more money than the last year? Of course not. This is but one example we can display to show the insanity of employing such a principal in the woods. Let me take this a little further with a live example. In 2008 I had a hunter in camp that was positioned to intercept a 140 inch animal at the buckís bed area at first light. When we picked the hunter up after completion of the morningís hunt he told us he didnít shoot the buck broadside at 12 yards because he didnít know if the buck would top the 142 inch deer he shot the year before. This hunter went home empty handed. Donít get me wrong, this fellow was a nice guy but thatís one less whitetail that will be hanging on his wall for the rest of his life.
3. A minority group of hunters believe they should not shoot a buck unless it exceeds the requirements of the Boone and Crockett Record Book Club. This measurements are 170 typical and 190 for non typical. Letís get realistic for a moment. To harvest a Boone and Crockett Record Book whitetail deer is to accomplish any whitetail enthusiastís goal of a lifetime. The chance at killing an animal this large is always a possibility. We harvest many of them each year here at IMB Outfitters, however to hunt only for deer meeting this standard is a huge mistake. A hunter may go an entire lifetime without getting a legit opportunity to harvest a record book whitetail buck which is over 170 inches. Therefore hunterís cannot afford to sit and wait on booners only.
4. As mentioned before there is only one reason any hunter should not attempt to harvest the first record book whitetail buck that passes by on an outfitted hunt. Maybe 3 to 5 percent of all hunters that come to camp already have more than half a dozen Pope and Young Bucks on the wall and for some reason some of them simply are not excited by bucks scoring less than 150. If youíve got a wall full of trophy bucks and your one of those in the 3 to 5 percentile looking for something better for legit reasons then that concept is one I understand. Iím not saying I agree with it but I certainly understand it. This to 3 to 5 percent of hunters are perfectly fine with either going home with a 150 or 170 plus whitetail or no deer at all.
5. Waiting on the perfect shot can kill you. While its true you need to make ethical shots once in a while we will get hunters into camp that wonít take a shot unless itís a perfect 20 yard broadside opportunity. While itís great to be given a ďchip shotĒ at a big deer, true hunters have to make shots happen. That why itís important to practice from all angles and elevations prior to season. Odds are you wonít be presented with a perfect shot offering so donít sit and wait for a trophy deer to pose for you like the deer you may have shot on your favorite Outdoor Television show.
6. Fear of the Fine. Most whitetail deer outfitters employ or impose a fine if you shoot a deer under a certain size. Normally if the hunter shoots a deer under 125 inches some type of fine is imposed. This assures and prevents hunters from shooting inferior animals so they can grow into the next generation of trophy bucks. As an outfitter I donít get many hunters that shoot a buck that is too small. Adversely I see a situation created wherein hunters refuse to shoot in fear they will be fined. Thatís all well and good but most of these hunters are passing up trophy deer because they havenít done their homework. Prior to booking any hunt with an outfitter or guide one needs to spend countless hours learning and reading literature surrounding how to field judge trophy whitetail bucks. On many occasions I have talked to hunters about the buck they passed up. By the time they got through describing what they passed up it becomes obvious they have passed up a buck near 150 inches or at least make the minimum for Pope and Young. Refine your skills with literature on how to field judge trophy whitetails before you arrive in the camp your hunting.

Hunt as Much as Possible

Hunt both morning and evening while hunting with your whitetail deer outfitter is very important. Each year there are a handful of hunters that come to camp with a recreational attitude of just getting away to enjoy themselves. There is nothing wrong with this as we all need a vacation and time away from home and work. However, I have about a dozen hunter each year that refuse to hunt in the morning because they want to sleep in and just hunt in the evening. If your trying to hammer a trophy whitetail and you are on a five day hunt but donít hunt morning then know you are reducing your hunt success by 50%. Think of it this way. If you have a five day hunt booked then you have 5 morning outings and 5 evening outings to try and harvest a trophy buck. Obviously by not hunting in the morning then half your hunts are non existent. A whitetail outfitter has just a few days to successfully complete his task with you. The more time you put in the timber the higher your odds increase at doing just that. This may mean taking a book or computer game to your stand just to make yourself stay on stand longer. Anything you can utilize to keep you on stand longer is worthy of purchase.

Enjoy Yourself

I am the type person that when I go hunting I want to kill something. Itís hard for me to enjoy myself if I donít. I am in the woods to kill and often times are so highly motivate I never relax. In the Spring of 2007 I went spoonbill fishing in Southern Missouri with some friends. My goal was to snag one of these prehistoric fish and nothing short of that would suffice. I just had to have one on my wall. The friends that accompanied me were having a blast. They were having a few beers, telling jokes, and enjoying themselves. I stood at the back of the boat, stern faced pulling the huge treble hooks and sinkers across the reservoirís bottom in search of my trophy. I pulled on the large rod and reel combo hour after hour for 3 days. In 3 days of snagging we didnít catch one fish. Everyone else was happy but on the way home I called my wife and said, ďI donít know why I went fishing. I didnít catch a darn thing. What a waste of time.Ē At that very moment I realized my happiness what being determined by if I caught a fish or not. To think I had not enjoyed the trip simply because I didnít catch a fish. No matter what your seeing with your whitetail outfitter learn to enjoy your trip. When one purchases a whitetail hunt remember that is just what you purchasedÖÖÖÖ.a whitetail deer hunt. Donít fool yourself into thinking you have purchased a whitetail deer.


In 2008 I saw a trend in our camps that was new. Hunters had watched so much Outdoor Television that they were overcalling. Remember that television shows have sponsors. Many of the product introduction and implementation is actually filmed post kill. Thus we see television celebrities on Outdoor Networks saying they are calling in deer with deer calls that they may or many not really be calling in. I only use a grunt call or rattling horns when I see a big buck I KNOW is not coming to my treestand and is headed in a different route. Hunters that sit on stand and call too frequently will not be successful. Just today I was talking to a hunter that said he saw some deer before light when it was too dark to start calling. You would have thought he was turkey hunting. Successful trophy whitetail hunters donít sit on stand and call too frequently. You are simply giving away your position.

Telling the Truth

It is important to tell your outfitter or guide exactly what you are seeing. It may be hard to admit if you missed a big buck because it could be embarrassing but your whitetail outfitter needs to know what occurred so he can make certain adjustments for your success. A hunter might be tempted to not admit he or she saw a bunch of deer or some good bucks because heís afraid the outfitter would put someone else on that location. A quality outfitter would not move you from a successful hunt area. If a hunter will tell the outfitter what he saw rather than not then the outfitter can make stand adjustments if needed or make decisions to make you successful.

Year after year I watch hunters make the same mistakes foiling their whitetail deer hunt. To build your trophy room successfully one needs to adhere to the aforementioned suggestions to tag out on an outfitted whitetail deer hunt.

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