John's Journal...


Starting To Trophy Hunt Too Quickly, And Shooting Too Quickly Or Waiting Too Long

EDITOR'S NOTE: Good bowhunters can become better bowhunters if they don't commit 10-deadly sins that decrease their odds for bagging any deer and especially trophy deer. Here's 10 of the most-common mistakes that even good bowhunters – sportsmen who have taken several deer with their bows and who have hunted for four or five years - make that I've identified by hunting with through the years.

Starting To Trophy Hunt Too Quickly:

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 the archers who take these kinds of animals, he'll set 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.

Click to enlargeAnd 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 a season and not even see a Pope and Young set of antlers. A buck must have extremely-large antlers to make the book. 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 and 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, he's probably not 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 that directly affect arrow flight in the woods can the hunter expect to be successful. And only by taking numbers of deer can the hunter learn to control his emotions at the moment of truth.

Click to enlargeThe 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 over-rated. I don't think everybody should hope to become a trophy hunter. And like many other outdoorsmen, I don't consider trophy hunting the ultimate in bowhunting. I bowhunt because I like it. I still enjoy taking a doe or a smaller buck if I've had to hunt hard to bag the animal. I don't think that an archer must become a trophy hunter to be a good bowhunter.

Shooting Too Quickly, Or Waiting Too Long:

Many good bowhunters don't harvest deer as often as they can because they don't know when to take the shot. They either shoot before they have good shots or wait for the best shots and never get their shots. Experience is the best teacher that a bowhunter can have, because a hunter must learn when he should take a shot. But my rule is that when an animal presents me with a good shot that I feel I can put him down with, that's the time I shoot. I don't believe that you should ever hurry a shot. However, I've also found that you shouldn't wait on that best shot, because many times deer won't give you the shot for which you're looking. I've waited around for that best shot before, never had it presented to me, and watched a nice deer walk away from me. Don't play with a deer, don't watch a deer, and don't take a head-on shot either. But when you've got a good shot, take the shot.

Click to enlargeTo learn more about bowhunting, order “The Masters’ Secrets of Bowhunting Deer,” which contains information from more than 50 top bowhunters, written by John E. Phillips. You can send a money order or a check for $13.50 to 4112 Camp Horner Road, Birmingham, AL 35243 and specify the book you’re ordering, or pay by PayPal by sending the money to You also can learn more about the book by going to where you’ll also find a direct link to PayPal.


Check back each day this week for more about "ROOKIE ERRORS - 10 DEADLY SINS OF NEW BOWHUNTERS"

Day 1: Starting To Trophy Hunt Too Quickly, And Shooting Too Quickly Or Waiting Too Long
Day 2: Ignoring The Wind, And Overusing A Stand
Day 3: Controlling Body Odor, and Overdressing
Day 4: Not Knowing Where To Put Lure, And Not Understanding When To Rattle
Day 5: Not Being Alert In The Stand, And Waiting On A Perfect Day



Entry 317, Day 1