How To Become a Successful Hunter: Now

Adam Crews
5 min readMay 24, 2016

I Have Read Hunting Articles That State There Is Not A “Magic Bullet” When It Comes To A Whitetail Hunting Strategy. Maybe Not, But There Is A Formula To Success, And If You Apply This Formula You Will Experience Tangible Results.

Success = Location + Time + Attitude

How You Define Success matters a great deal, and helps determine how you set your goals. If you are hitting your personal goals (no matter what they are), then you are in effect a successful hunter.

Goals can change from year to year. One year you might have one particular buck you want to shoot, the next year you might want to fill the freezer with venison. Whatever your object, be realistic with yourself and your situation. Also, understand that if you want to reach higher rewards your level of output will have to be much greater. If you are happy with the status quo, then keep marching forward.

If you are determined to sharpen your skills, and reach new levels of success — then it’s time to dig in your heels, do the work and make some sacrifices.


Let’s get one thing straight from the beginning — Where you hunt will determine the quality of deer you can kill.

Be realistic about your situation and set multiple goals accordingly.

If you want to kill 160"+ whitetails, you have to hunt where they live. Sure, you can kill aBooner in Florida, but you’ll have a better chance in Kansas. If it is near impossible to kill P&Y or B&C deer in your area, sharpen your skills and hunt based off of age class. Determine to only hunt mature animals, and when the time comes to hunt out of state you will be prepared.

Going elsewhere doesn’t always mean crossing state lines. The quality of Middle Tennessee deer hunting differs greatly than that of East Tennessee. It is very common to see trucks of hunters from the Smokey Mountain region parked on Middle Tennessee public ground. Finding a new location is not always easy, and it’s definitely not cheap. You have to hunt where big bucks live and you have to put the time in to make it happen.


“You can’t kill them from the couch — Unknown”

Although hunting, is and should be fun — it’s also a lot of work. Sometimes the greatest sacrifice is putting in the time that it requires to kill good deer. When I was a kid I had the choice of going to watch James “Little Man” Stewart break the Tennessee all-time rushing record, or I could stay home and hunt. I truly wish that I could have done both, but the decision to not go to that game led to the most memorable hunt of my life.

Unless you are being paid to hunt your time is limited when it comes to hunting. Most of us are weekend warriors — doing all we can to experience a few hours in the stand. You have to prioritize, and not let minor things get in your way. Maximizing your time in the field cannot be stressed enough.

Make the most of your time — If the wind is not right, don’t hunt that day. If you really want to make the most of your time, go and follow Mark Kenyon’s advice and have some “burner stands”. Hunt the properties that are not as desirable, during the non-desirable hunting periods.

The best advice I can give anyone in regards to finding more time to hunt, is leaving home.

Get out of your normal routine, go somewhere that requires you to sleep in a tent, and just hunt.

Why sleep on the ground? Because you don’t want to get too comfortable. If you make the sacrifice to plan for months, pack up your truck, and buy the out of state tags — then your level of commitment will be significantly elevated. Being successful in anything requires commitment, and that sometimes requires a change in attitude. Put some skin in the game, and watch how your success rate doubles.


“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.” — Thomas Jefferson

While it could be argued that both location and time have more to do with your overall success, It’s debatable.

When I was in Marine Corps Boot Camp, I had a Drill Instructor that would always tell us that”Your legs will not stop moving until your mind tells them to.” No matter if we were on a death run, or if we were on a death march, those words would echo through my head and they were true.

Later in life I discovered Cameron Hanes and his slogan, “It’s All Mental”. You know what? Cam is right — It’s all mental. If you want something bad enough then go get it. Run that last mile, climb that last peak, crawl that last 100 yards. Don’t stop, and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t, always believe that you can. If you do that you will achieve your desired outcome.

The problem with being a little too ‘Moto’, is that you can become consumed with your desire. Motivation is great, but you have to keep your eye on the ball. Don’t lose sight of your overall goal because you are so wrapped up in making the kill happen. At times our desire to succeed can become a negative energy. When things just aren’t going your way, stay positive and enjoy the experience.

If you are a solo hunter your bad attitude just effects you, but if you hunt with a partner, your poor attitude also has an effect on them. Not only are you being too hard on yourself, you are also killing the mood for others. Don’t be that guy.

Last, but not least — Your “at home” attitude is also important.

My wife makes comments about my attitude during turkey season because that means 3:30 and 4:00 am wake-up calls. Guess who is grumpy and pretty much worthless?

This year I did my best to strap on the very best attitude I could on those days. The days that I wasn’t hunting, I did the very best I could to put in the quality time my family deserved and I can honestly say it paid off. I was able to hunt pretty much when I wanted, and I stayed on top of my real priorities.

So whatever you are hunting this fall — Keep this simple equation in mind, put in the work and you will see the results.

How about you? What is your secret to reaching your hunting goals year after year? Comment below or start the discussion on Twitter @chasethemtn

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