We all have beliefs related to life. We have beliefs as they relate to our religion, family, work, friendships and our lives in general. Those beliefs likely change through life based on our experiences, both good and bad. Many of the beliefs I have regarding how I hunt have developed over many years and though association with many other hunters. My hunting beliefs are probably firmly entrenched in how I approach hunting and while I "never say never", I will not likely change those beliefs as they are firmly entrenched in how I plan and execute my hunts. Here are some of my beliefs:
1. I strongly believe in scent control. Many years ago I became convinced that wearing clean, scent free clothes and hunting the wind would improve my chances of seeing wildlife. While I know I cannot 'prove' that good scent control has increased my chances of seeing wildlife, I can say that as I became more aware and took more precautions to control scent my observations of wildlife have tremendously increased. I even take those precautions when hunting game that don't use odors as a defense mechanism, such as game birds. It does allow me to see and enjoy other wildlife that I might otherwise not see if not scent conscious.
2. I believe game calls work. I've always carried a variety of calls including grunt tubes, rattling antlers, doe bleats, fawn distress calls, and other calls when I hunt. I'll be the first to admit I didn't pay much attention to when I used the calls and likely scared off more game that I called in. I had a revelation several years ago that has paid great dividends. I learned to use the "tending grunt" during the peak of the rut and the results, at least for me, have been remarkable. I have called in many nice bucks using the short "tuk, tuk, tuk," sound from the grunt tube I use. The call works best when the chase phase of the rut is on as bucks seem to be cruising for those receptive does and the tending grunt apparently sends the message that a buck is working a hot doe. Try it.
3. I believe in scents. Yes, I've tried them all, again probably not always at the best times of the season. I've learned through experience that certain scents can and do attract deer at various times of the season. I've watched bucks, nose down to the ground, follow scent trails I've laid down leading to my shooting lanes. I've also watched deer actually lick leaves of bushes where I've sprayed acorn scent. So, while naysayers will say scents don't work, the belief is in the eye of the beholder. They have worked for me and I will continue to use them.
4. I believe in patience. I used to just hunt for the first animal I saw. I believed if I didn't take advantage of the opportunity to harvest game when I first spotted them I likely would not have another chance. I learned differently and now practice great patience. By not trying to harvest the first game I saw I increased my opportunity to not only see additional game, but to observe the behavior of the animals. It has provided me the opportunity to harvest the best bucks of my lifetime and to learn much about animal behavior.
5. I believe in "being prepared". Yes, I was a cub and boy scout and learned the motto to "be prepared". I've learned over the years to take that motto to heart when hunting. More than once I've arrived at my hunting location only to discover I have forgotten my bug spray, or my gloves or face mask. One time I even forgot my ammunition; a rather embarrassing episode when I got back to camp and had to explain why I had come back so soon. I take the time before every hunt to double check my pack and ensure I have everything needed to increase my chance of success. While I know I've been the brunt of jokes regarding how much stuff I take with me, I'm not let down when the weather turns cold, the bugs become insistent, or I decide to sit longer because of all the activity I'm seeing. While hunting companions are back in camp because of the unexpected rain, or the weather turning cold, or the "bugs driving them out of their stands", I can sit comfortably for as long as I want because I was prepared.
These are but a few of my beliefs as they relate to my passion for hunting. I think they have served me well and have greatly improved my chances of success in the woods.