Editors Blog

My Deer Hunting Predator Mode

Dan Schmidt Deer & Deer Hunting

Whether I’m after a buck or doe, I practice my “predator mode” in the months leading up to archery season. I’ve found it difficult to turn it on and off when deer show up throughout the season. For me, I have to be mentally prepared at all times to make a quick, clean shot while bowhunting. (Daniel Schmidt)

Scout. Manage. Hunt. That’s what modern deer hunting is all about. But to seal the deal we still must embrace that inner predator that’s hard-wired in our DNA.

A deer will often show up sight unseen. If it’s a deer you want, you have to make the shot, and you have to make it fast. How many times does this happen to you? You’re in your treestand, you’re looking down, you’re looking away … you look in front of you … and BAM, there’s a deer standing there. It just showed up out of nowhere. Two more steps and that deer is going to be back in the brush and, most likely, out of your life forever.

It’s now or never. You have to get to full draw and make the shot.

If you practice, you can become a deadly quick-draw bowhunter. In these situations, I insist on only one of two options: a deer that’s quartering way or completely broadside. Anything quartering to — even slightly — is not acceptable for quick-draw shots.

Quick-draw shooting is about embracing your inner predator. This isn’t an exercise in hitting dimes on a target. It’s about becoming an alpha predator and making a quick kill.  If you practice, you can hit a deer’s kill zone 10 times out of 10 on every opportunity that’s 20 yards away or less.

Practice should involve these three key steps:

Step No. 1: Bow comes up, release goes on the string.

Step No. 2: Come to full draw in one fluid motion.

Step No. 3: Acquire your target, settle the pin and touch the release’s trigger.

Honing your predator mode requires adopting an aggressive, take-action attitude. That’s often the difference between success and an oh-so-close encounter, and if you master the shot process, you’ll be able to act decisively when the moment of truth arrives.

This same attitude pays off for gun-hunters, especially when that buck of your dreams is out of range. Sometimes you just need to summon some extra self confidence, climb out of that stand and take your game to the deer.

Don’t worry about failing. As with any worthwhile pursuit, success is a by-product of failure.
Great hunters aren’t born, they’re made.




Dan’s Gear List for the 2016 Deer Hunting Season:

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Mathews Inc. Halon Compound Bow. 29-inch draw length. 55 pounds of draw weight.

Apex Gear. Covert 4-pin archery sight.

New Archery Products. Spitfire Double-Cross broadhead. 100 grains.

Carbon Express. Maxima BLU, Maxima RED and PileDriver arrows.

Horton Storm RDX Crossbow. 165-pound draw weight. 365 feet per second.

Mossberg Patriot Rifle. Bolt-action. .30-06.

Hornady American Whitetail cartridges. .30-06. 180-grain Interlock.

Nikon Sport Optics. ProStaff riflescopes. EDG Binoculars.ProStaff 7i rangefinder.

Cuddeback. Long Range IR game cameras.

Wildlife Research Center. Scent Killer Gold odor-elimination spray.

Anilogics. Deer feed, minerals and supplements.

Millennium Treestands. M150 Monster hang on stand. L200 Ladder Stand.

Boss Buck. Deer feeders.

Bush Hog. Field mowers and tillers.