|Whitetail bucks have a way of keeping a hunter honest
photo courtesy Dave Richey Outdoors ©2012
This doesn’t mean my valued readers are dishonest. It simply means that deer have the ability to make hunters learn new things on a regular basis.
They also can make those hunters who think they know everything about deer a pretty humble group of sportsmen. Hunters who feel superior often learn a humbling lesson at the hands of a savvy buck.
There’s not much a hunter can’t learn if he pays attention to deer
One thing I’ve learned over many years is to watch other hunters. It doesn’t take long to determine who the great sportsmen are, and who are braggarts. I’ve hunted in a good many camps over the last 60 years, and the loudest and most aggressive hunters are usually the ones who make the dumbest mistakes.
An old saying goes like this: it’s better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt. The best rule is to keep the mouth closed and pay attention those who really know what they are doing.
Picking people’s brains, and learning what they know, is fun and can provide valuable information. Savvy hunters never venture an opinion unless they know what they are talking about. That is especially true when talking about hunting whitetail deer.
Southern folk have some great sayings. They’ve been distilled from years of hard work and minding their manners. One saying that has a whole bunch of learning in it is “My momma didn’t raise no fools.”
Don’t belong to the foolish group. Learn by studying deer
Folks who gather around savvy hunters should keep that thought in mind. That means do less talking and a lot more listening.
Last year a man brought his son up for a hunt. The boy would come up to the house, make a dumb remark about deer hunting while several of us planned our evening hunts. We were tossing about ideas, and discussing where everyone would sit, and discussing the present wind conditions.
The boy kept nattering on and on. He was taking up precious planning time by constantly interrupting.
One of my friends eventually spoke up rather bluntly and loudly, and said: “Boy, you better learn more about deer hunting before speaking your mind. You want to learn about hunting, sit down, shut up and listen. You’ll learn more that way than you will talking nonsense about a topic you know nothing about.”
When intelligent and good hunters talk, others should pay attention
The boy sat and listened for a minute, spoke up, and my buddy looked hard at him, and the kid went running out the door. His daddy had money, and it’s almost certain that no one had ever talked that way to him before.
I’ve been around whitetails all my life, and spent many years hunting and studying the critters, but there are many others who know many things I don’t know. I listen intently to them and learn.
There are countless ways to learn things but in-the-field experience is the best teacher when it comes time to learn about whitetails. Hunting the animals, and studying them as you hunt, and during the off-season, is the best way to accumulate knowledge. Reading about it, and absorbing that knowledge and putting it to good use, is another way.
What is most important is the hunter can convert that knowledge into an action plan that works in the woods.
Experience will put a fine point on your acquired knowledge. Some of my early deer-hunting knowledge came from talking to old-time hunters and guides, and using some of that information on my personal hunts.
The more days spent afield each year will continue to add to a solid foundation, and one day after learning a great deal about deer hunting, you’ll know you’ve come a long ways in your gathering of deer-hunting knowledge.
That will be the day when you can honestly look yourself in the morning mirror, and confess: “I don’t know as much about deer hunting as I thought I did.
It’s called stacking time. And then you go out and stockpile another dozen years of in-the-field experience. No matter how much you think you know, deer always have a way of teaching us a new trick or two.