April 11, 2012
Hunting advice is a wonderful thing. It's how we pass down knowledge gained from years of money and time spent on the pursuit of our firearms passion. It's the core of what we do.
But this pipeline of knowledge is a fragile thing, and let's be honest, there are a lot of idiots out there screwing it up for the rest of us.
Professional hunting writers, editors and personalities are some of the most avid gun guys and outdoorsmen around, so it stands to reason that they've endured as much pompous false knowledge as anybody in the game.
So, we asked our esteemed scribes to chime in with the worst tips they've ever heard, be sure to add you're own below. But until then, beware of what you hear around camp.
The 30-Foot Stand
On a recent deer hunt back home in Maryland, I ran into an old buddy who had just fallen into, and subsequently leased, an awesome piece of woods (about 600 acres) for bowhunting. We were chatting about stand placement, food plots and all the other normal land management stuff, when he came up with this dandy: 'I always hang my stands at least 30 to 35 feet high. Whether it's a climber or a hang-on, you got to be up there far enough that they can't see you...or smell you. ' I contested that this was a bit extreme, and that 20 feet would do just all as well with the right wind and scent/movement control. After all, that kind of placement creates tougher shot angles at greater depth and can, of course, make it much easier to die from a fall. I'm all for doing everything in my power to maximize my chances of killing, but this one made no sense.
Online managing editor, Petersen's Hunting
'Forget the Wind'
The worst hunting tip I ever heard is this once-popular industry campaign, 'Forget the wind, just hunt. ' Are you kidding me? I am a big proponent of following a meticulous scent-control program, but while this will certainly help reduce the amount of human scent you distribute, if you carelessly and callously permit mature bucks, bulls, bears or whatever to get downwind of you, you will lose. It is as simple as that.
Writer, Petersen's Hunting
'Just Put Some Lead in It'
I was hunting in another country a while back and we had been walking all day when we first spotted the animal. We could just see the animal's head and its rear end. The PH said, 'Just get some lead in him. ' Needless to say, I did not shoot. I have not heard any other guides say something like that on an unwounded animal and I hope I never do!
Blogger, Petersen's Hunting
The Almighty .22
Location: Cal Ranch store in Rexburg, Idaho, in 1999. Gun counter clerk: 'The .22 Hornet is flat-out the best all-around cartridge in the world. It vaporizes coyotes 'n stuff. With my heavy-barreled .22 Hornet, I can hit the head of a man silhouette target every time at 1,600 yards. '
Joseph Von Benedikt
Editor in chief, Shooting Times
Only Track for a Little Bit
Always track your deer just a little, right after the shot. As a bowhunter, this is the worst advice I've ever heard. By tracking your deer a little, people almost always quit once they've jumped the animal or once they've run out of blood. Patience goes a long way, and by waiting the appropriate amount of time, you will find a lot more deer. I've heard people talk about this in numerous hunting camps over and over.
Blogger, Petersen's Hunting
Headed to Africa? Load Up on Magnum
The worst hunting tip I have heard comes generally involves African hunting. It seems to be commonly opined (from folks that haven't actually hunted there) that hunters should bring a minimum of a .375 H&H to the Dark Continent. For the most part this simply isn't so. For the vast majority of hunters traveling to the red sands of this alluring destination, the hunt will be for plains game. When plains game the goal, in most places such as Namibia or South Africa dangerous game is not even present, so there is no need for magnum bone-crushers. Loaded with the right bullets your trusty deer or elk rifle will be ideal for every plains game animal encountered -- including eland. A .270, .308 or .30-06 is ideal for about 90 percent of the plains game on license. If you want to hedge your bets a bit, a .300 Win. Mag. or .338 Win Mag. will ensure short tracking jobs. Leave the Nitro Express at home -- unless you are specifically hunting the dangerous stuff.
Editor, Petersen's Hunting
Zeroing Too High
Zero your .270 3.5 inches high at 100 yards. Took me a while to discover what a pain in the butt a high-shooting rifle can be. Being able to hit something with a dead-on hold at 350 yards isn't nearly as important as not shooting over something at 150. Plus, a lot of guys have a tendency to hold a bit high, thinking they're going to 'help ' the bullet. That only makes it worse, particularly on uphill or downhill shots.
Executive editor, Guns & Ammo
Stay Out of Sight
'You need to be hidden to avoid a wild turkey's keen vision. ' In my years writing about turkey hunting and sharing camps with turkey hunters across the country, I've met a lot of hunters obsessed with physically brushing themselves into makeshift blinds or hiding in bushes and other vegetation to remain hidden from a turkey's excellent eyesight. The problem with that is if a gobbler approaches from an unexpected angle, which it typically does, the hunter can't cleanly swing his gun or reposition for the shot without making excessive noise or commotion. Learn to sit still and trust your camo. Sit with a large tree or other natural object behind you to break up your silhouette and when a gobbler approaches, adjust your aim as necessary when his head goes behind a tree or his own fan. Then you can punch his tag when he's in range and in the open.
Writer, Petersen's Hunting