As hunters we have all had those days where everything went wrong.
No matter what part of the country you live in, the stories are all the same. Here are 25 of the biggest problems that a hunter has almost certainly experienced.
Any number of problems can creep up on us when we head afield. Some are serious, and others, well, you can’t help but laugh at them.
Read through the problems that keep finding their way into our hunting trips, and see how many you’ve gone through.
1. Wet feet
We all know the feeling of the cold water creeping into our hunting boots. No matter how waterproof your boots are said to be, sometimes you just find water in them. A long sit out in the woods with wet feet is never a fun time.
2. Stolen hunting gear
If you leave treestands, trail cameras, and other gear out in the woods, you’re running the risk of them disappearing. Certain individuals feel they need them more than you, so you’d better lock the gear up well.
3. Cell phone ringing at worst possible time
While mobile phones are great for emergencies, there’s no denying they’re distractions from the hunt. Ever have your cell phone ring when you’re staring down a buck? Leave the ringer off or leave the phone in the truck, but don’t blow it.
4. Dropping gear out of your treestand
Gravity loves to grab items from you and throw them off your treestand. One time my headlamp fell and landed in some water. Luckily, it survived. At least it wasn’t my bow or firearm. That would make for a bad day.
5. Noisy neighbors
Lawn mowing, parties, or a barking dog can really put a damper on your hunt.
6. Loss of hunting land to development
It is a heart breaking part of life as an outdoorsman to see urban sprawl devour your hunting area. If it keeps up, our only hunting opportunities will be wildlife management areas and public lands (while they last). American hunters have lost a lot of land, and I can’t see many signs of it slowing down.
7. Woodland hikers with no purpose
In many public hunting areas here in Ohio, unless you are pursuing game or fishing during season dates, it is illegal to be there. This doesn’t always stop dog walkers, joggers, or others from strolling right past hunters. We know they’re just looking for wild places to recreate too, but having no respect for or knowledge of hunters in the area is a big problem.
8. Hunter harassment
Anti-hunters just don’t get how important hunters are for wildlife conservation. They will, however, try to ruin your hunt if they feel they’ll have an impact. These misled souls need to do their research on who really protects our wild resources, but until they do, they might be something you have to deal with.
9. Loud hunting buddies
Sure, your obnoxiously loud buddy might be fun at a party, but out in the hunting blind it can get annoying.
10. Someone hunting in your treestand
Hey, that’s a nice treestand you’re hunting in. I know because I put it up. It is always nice when other hunters decide to warm up your treestand seat for you in your absence (sense a little sarcasm there? Good!).
11. Finding out your targeted buck has been harvested by another hunter
Remember that 14-point whitetail you’ve been chasing for seasons? Well, some novice hunter on their first trip out just dropped it. Good for them, but not so good for you.
12. Too hot or too cold out
Temperature can change real fast while out hunting. How about the days that start out nice and then the mercury drops out of the thermometer to an arctic climate? Always dress in layers, and you’re less likely to encounter this problem.
Early season is bug city. From mosquitoes, ticks, chiggers, and flies to biting ants and even spiders, they are all bound to show up at some point in your hunting career.
14. Forgot the snacks
What could be possibly worse than filling your tags? Leaving the snacks at home, that’s what. End of story.
15. Packed the wrong hunting gear
Sometimes we’re in such a hurry to get to the woods, that we don’t take time to consider everything we’ll need. If you have more than one gun in more than one caliber, bringing the wrong ammo can be a serious issue. Be sure to slow down and pack wisely.
16. Forgot a hat or gloves
When it’s needed, a hunting jacket is imperative, but smaller accessories like hats, gloves, or even sunglasses are easier to forget. If you leave without warm gear, that sit out in the cold woods can seem like an eternity.
17. Call of nature
We all know it’s true: nature calls, and you can’t really ignore it. But if it happens in the heat of a hunt, you’ve got a tough decision to make.
18. Coyotes or dogs chasing off game
Canines have a knack for finding and chasing the same animals we’re after. Wild coyotes or free-ranging mutts can take a serious toll on wildlife, too. It’s no wonder predator hunting has become such a big deal.
19. Inclement weather
It’s not too fun to hunt in thunderstorms or blizzards. Sometimes a little moisture and the right wind can aid a hunt, but other times it can make it downright dangerous.
20. Finding time
Between work schedules, family requirements, and everything else we deal with, it can be tough to find the right time to go after some game. Trying to squeeze in hunting trips gets complicated quickly, and the conditions could be rubbish by the time they finally happen.
21. Falling in a hole (or just falling in general)
A couple seasons back I went over knee deep into a groundhog hole that was covered by leaves. I was miles back in the woods. When I lurched forward, I twisted my knee into an unhealthy pretzel. My guardian angel must have been watching, because I didn’t have any permanent damage, but it could have been much worse. A friend of mine once fell into an well while hunting upland game. His long barreled shotgun wedged in the top of the well, and was the only thing that kept him from falling into the deep abyss. Talk about good luck!
Ice loves treestands. Many a big game hunter has slipped because of that, but even walking to your hunting stand could be spell trouble. The frozen stuff can be a major problem anywhere you hunt in the winter.
23. Dropping gear in snow, mud, or other nastiness
How many of you have dropped SD cards can your trail cams into puddles, or watched shotguns fall overboard from a waterfowl boat. It happens, and always at the worst time.
24. Losing your favorite hunting gear on the trail
As a continuation to that last problem, losing your gear on the trail is a much bigger deal. I have lost pocket knives, ammo, and plenty of other gear over the years. It’s best to mark your gear with ID info, but then you’re relying on someone else finding it and being a good enough samaritan to return it. The odds aren’t in your favor.
25. Heavy hunting pressure
Ever get to your hunting spot and see an ocean of hunter orange working the area? As hunting areas shrink, more hunters pack in smaller areas. It’s not ideal, and it can be dangerous too.
How many other problems have you faced while hunting? If we didn’t list them here, it doesn’t mean they don’t happen, but everyone’s experience is a little different.
The best we can do is try to stay flexible, adapt to the conditions, and be as prepared as possible before we even step foot in the woods.
Do you like articles about the outdoors? Click here to view more articles by Eric Nestor. You can follow him @ericthewoodsman on Twitter, The Classic Woodsman on Facebook, and @theclassicwoodsman on Instagram. You can view more Nestor Photography photos at Nestor Photography.
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