Deer hunting 101

This post is for you if you're just starting out hunting deer.

And feel like you're in the matrix. But can't decipher the information.

I'll give you a one-page model to help you do three things.

  • Understand how you hunt deer
  • Understand how you tie all the knowledge and skills together
  • Avoid being the hunter with all the gear and no idea

I've got another article for you if you're a more experienced hunter.

And on the path to mastery.

I'll link to it here when it's ready.

Information overload

The challenge If you're like me, when I first started out, you will recognize this keyword.


So many new concepts. So much to learn.

How do you do something? And why?

What gear do you need? How do you use it?

Why is one company saying something is a must-have? When another brand raves about a whole different feature?

Why is one buddy saying one way is right? When another has a whole different point of view?

Here's the challenge.

They might all be right.

But talk about different scenarios.

It's up to you to figure out who's talking to you and your situation. It's also up to you to get on top of the required skills and knowledge.

Because if you don't do that.

Then, come hunting time, you won't be able to read the situation. You'll spend too much time figuring out what to do and how to use your gear.

That's setting yourself up for failure. And you'll waste time and money.

Deer hunting 101 and the learning hack

Fortunately, there's a trick to help you cut through the noise.

Elon Musk talks about the semantic tree.

Where you need to understand the roots and trunk. Before you add branches and leaves.

Tim Ferris talks about the one-pager.

A concept that helped him reach champion-level in activities as different as tango and kickboxing.

But how do you get to such a one-pager? When it's a ton of knowledge condensed?

Easy, you leapfrog and use the model I've created.

It's based on my:

  • Almost 30 years of hunting
  • 15+ years of experience optimizing processes

Here's the model.

efficient hunting model

I'll run through each part now.

Mind you, this is an intro. I won't go into detail about each component.

Because I have a bonus for you at the end of the video.

Understand the situation

It doesn't matter if you're

  • Building a bridge.
  • Planning a military operation.
  • Installing a new IT system.
  • Or going hunting.

You need to understand what you're preparing for.

You need a clear set of requirements.

A description of key factors influencing your hunt.

I refer to that as the situation summary.

Decide on your strategy

Don't let strategy and tactics confuse you.

Strategy is your overall approach.

And we can boil things down to two main options.

  • Static hunting
  • Dynamic hunting

Static means hunting from a treestand. A tower. Or even a vantage point on the ground.

A critical success factor in this type of hunting is planning and preparation.

You create an opportunity to shoot in advance. Which means extra care when it comes to scouting.

Dynamic hunting means hunting on foot.

Which is referred to as still hunting or deer stalking. Depending on where you come from.

I use six universal building blocks to structure and plan my hunt.

As you see, they will make all other choices upstream and downstream much more specific.

Which means much easier.

Outline your tactics

With an overall strategy and six main phases in place, you can outline your tactics.

And it really just means describing how you will complete each phase.

For example. What will you do to get in range of the animal?

Set up a treestand by an active deer trail?

Or still hunt upwind along that same trail?

Pick your gear

With your tactics in place, you can pick the gear you'll need.

Not on a brand level but the kind of items and features required to implement a tactic.

Sometimes your current gear will have influenced your tactics.

For example, no need to plan to spend the entire day glassing if you don't have a spotting scope.

Other times you're free to choose.

Decide how you'll carry your gear

The next and second last step is to decide how you'll carry your gear.

This is quickly decided if you just carry your rifle a short walk to a treestand. For a short one or two-hour session.

As soon as your outings get longer. And especially if you hunt on foot. Then this part becomes more important.

sling banner

It pays to figure out to ensure easy access to critical gear.

Because you don't want that expensive gizmo to get in your way of hunting.

Describe how you'll use your gear

Finally, the last step is to describe how you'll use each piece of gear.

Some things are easy and obvious to describe.

Others, not so much.

You don't necessarily have to write things down. But you need to be clear enough that you know what to practice.

Remember, your goal is ultimately to use each piece of kit effortlessly.

You must reach the level of unconscious competence.

Using the hack to become a better deer hunter


Let's recap.

You're early on in your career as a deer hunter.

Which means information overload.

But with this simple learning hack, you can cut through the noise.

And make the most of the time and money you spend.

This was just a summary.

I've created an e-book with more detail on the efficient hunting framework.

ebook banner

I recommend reading it a couple of times.

Then use the framework to describe your next hunt.

Keep it very simple.

The objective is to complete.

Not to write a novel.

Because even in its shortest form, the framework will reveal areas you need to spend more time on.

It may be a missing piece of knowledge.

Or a skill you're not clear on.