The deer season "rut" is what I like to call the great equalizer, a 10-20 day period when the elusive whitetail deer let down their guard just long enough to make us hunters believe we are smarter than them. Heart pounding, breath heavy, and focused on the target you may ask, is this the one to hang on the wall or to fill up my freezer?

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So you have painstakingly worked, planned, put out deer feed, placed your game cameras, and put your deer blind in that just-right spot where you will take your shot at that future wall hanger. Now ask yourself, "what could I have possibly done wrong?" or better yet "what am I doing wrong now?"

Here are my Fearless Fave 5 top tips I always ask myself and my hunting brothers who have been planning and envisioning this very moment.

  1. De-Scent - Have I properly prepared by de-scenting myself and my clothing, and leaving my vices in the cabin or the vehicle? There's nothing worse than sitting in the blind and watching the deer come out to the edge of the pasture putting their nose in the air, then turning around and running off. De-scent properly.
  2. Timing is Everything - Granted, we all have responsibilities, we all have to work. But when you go hunting, make time to get out there at the right time. Check your cameras and time stamps and arrive at least a couple hours before the deer are getting there. Too many hunters run out to their blinds with an hour of daylight left.
  3. Deer Calls - Do you want to kill the rut the minute you get there? Then start using the wrong calls at the wrong time. Just because you put out your doe-in-heat scent and start grunting or calling doesn't mean the deer are going to come running. Survey your surroundings, and read the deer's body language.
  4. Antler Rattling - While bucks love to do battle, challenging one another, they love one thing even watch other bucks do battle. Rattling antlers only works when you do it sparingly to peak a buck's interest, drawing him out from the edges of where he's hiding. I've always found that rattling then setting the antlers aside tends to bring the big guys out.
  5. Patience - This tip is my biggest failure. Patience brings success every time, I promise. Many years back I was hunting on the Schreiber Ranch in Eden when a massive Boone and Crockett scoring deer stepped out from the edge of the pasture looking for the two deer he had just heard doing battle (I had been rattling). It was at that split-second moment when I leveled the cross-hairs and jerked the trigger back as fast as possible only to screw it all up. I missed it. I yelled an obscenity and stomped my foot on the floor of the deer blind only to notice about 50 feet away where the initial deer I shot at had been was a real Boone and Crockett record-setter, who stepped out long enough to show me his impressive antlers and run off.

Yes, "patience is a virtue" I've always heard, but I don't know what that really means. So, get there early, stay late, be patient, plan everything and prepare, prepare, prepare. I can't wait to see your B&C showpiece soon. Be safe and good hunting.

LOOK: At This Stunning Mountain Style Hunters Cabin Airbnb in Abilene

This is a perfect recreation of a Mountain Style Hunters Cabin Airbnb in Abilene

Gallery Credit: Rudy Fernandez

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Stacker analyzed data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine which states have the most registered hunters. Read on to see how your state ranks on Stacker’s list.

Gallery Credit: Meagan Drillinger

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