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15 Worst Excuses for Unfilled Deer Tags

Brow Tines and Backstrap

15 Worst Excuses for Unfilled Deer Tags

Posted 2024-03-04  by  Josh Honeycutt

Sometimes, you eat tag soup for a good reason. Often, however, deer hunting excuses don’t pass muster. Do these flimsy justifications sound familiar?

Deer season is finished, and some hunters still have unfilled buck tags in their backpacks and wallets. Of course, some excuses for unfilled deer tags are acceptable, but these aren’t those.

Here are some of the worst excuses for unfilled deer tags. Sharing these at deer camp or in the mirror won’t get you much sympathy. Here’s why you shouldn’t use them.

Image: tag_soup

Deer season is over, and some of the reasons you’ve used for that unfilled deer tag don’t pass the bar. Image by Realtree

1. Your scouting efforts sucked.

Proper scouting is a multi-pronged effort. E-scouting via apps and the web. Calling experts in critical areas, including biologists and consultants. Brainstorming with hunting buddies. Glassing from afar. Putting boots on the ground. Conducting hang-and-hunt missions. These and more are integral to success.

2. You didn’t use all resources at your disposal.

Modern deer hunting is loaded with advancements. Forget SD trail cameras. Cell cams pack even more horsepower. Stack on powerful hunting apps, hunting-focused databases, applicable research case studies, and more. Many tools are within reach.

3. You didn’t maintain gear properly.

Some gear malfunctions happen without warning. Most don’t, though. Keeping an eye on degrading bow strings, squeaky treestands, and other issues can prevent an issue before it happens.

4. You took poor entry and exit routes.

The importance of access is equally important to blind or stand location. Taking entry and exit routes that alert deer to your presence via sight, sound, or smell negatively affect the hunt.

5. You missed because of a poor reason.

A pesky limb dissected a shooting lane. You pulled the shot off. That tree limb rest was a bit shaky. Pull any number of poor reasons for a miss, but most aren’t acceptable. Generally, they could have been mitigated with better planning or execution.

6. You blamed it on the deer.

Jumping the string. Turning last minute. Some other subpar excuse. Don’t blame it on the deer because the shot broke poorly. Even if it was out of your control, things happen. Move on.

7. You let the weather beat you.

Bad weather during the rut? Really hot on opening weekend? Often, the weather changes daily. Other times, it’s even more or less frequent. Regardless, deer season is long, and the weather changes too often to let it be a season-long excuse.

8. You caved to the pressures around you.

Hunting poses a lot of pressure. Neighboring hunters tagging target bucks. EHD and other diseases sweeping through herds. These and more create major hurdles. Each can serve as good reasons for unfilled tags, but only if they have scorched-earth effects. If you still have target bucks on the landscape, caving to the pressure isn’t a good excuse.

9. You were too aggressive.

Moving in too soon is a mistake. Hunting too often is as well. Pushing too close to a bedding area is, too. These and more are blunders that can be chalked up to being overly aggressive. A proper dose of aggressive hunting can be good, but that’s only true in moderation and at proper, calculated times.

10. You were too passive.

In contrast, being too passive can be equally damaging. Waiting too late to make a move. Not hunting enough. Posting up too far from daytime deer movement. These and others can cost you opportunities.

11. You moved chess pieces when you shouldn’t.

Deer hunting isn’t a game. But don’t lie and say that hunting isn’t about moves. Every stand deployment, trail cam check, and step you make is a move, and setting pieces in motion when you shouldn’t isn’t a great excuse. Of course, you’ll lose some battles. But by the season’s end, find checkmate.

12. You reacted poorly in critical situations.

Opportunities with big deer are rare. They don’t occur often. So, when a good one steps out and you botch it, don’t cry to your buddies. They’ll just tell you what you should have done better, and you’ll know it.

13. You didn’t learn from mistakes.

Making mistakes is part of deer hunting. But not learning from those isn’t a good excuse. It’s bad one. Perhaps among the worst.

14. You put in poor effort.

Not trying happens. Faith, family, friends, and work come before deer hunting. But if less important things prevent you from putting in quality effort, that’s no good.

15. You just didn’t go.

There are many reasons to not go deer hunting. Few are acceptable or good. The aforementioned reasons, plus health concerns, among others, are more than OK. But some things that prevent you from going hunting shouldn’t.

If you didn’t commit these sins this season, you might have a good reason for unfilled tags. Check out the other side of this coin, and decide whether your excuses are good or not.


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