There are a lot of things that go into hunting that contribute to a person’s success or lack thereof. Shooting is an essential part of that equation and, in the end, it might just be the single most important part. At the very beginning of his career, on one of his very first filmed hunts, Roger says that someone came right out and told him that he was a lousy shot. What was insulting at first, prompted him to dig in and improve until he transformed that crummy shot into an excellent one. Shot placement, he says, is key! Hunters put a great deal of time, effort, energy and money into hunting and while the experience itself is wonderful, the ultimate goal is to fill that tag and come home with an animal. If your shooting skills aren’t up to par, that makes a successful outcome far less likely. Roger says it’s important to be honest about your abilities, get to know your equipment really well and work to improve your skill set. When it comes to shooting and accuracy, one mistake that many hunters make is using too much gun or pulling too much weight. Roger says that shooting a rifle that’s too much gun can lead to flinching, which clearly impacts your accuracy. It’s not about going “big”, it’s about going with a caliber that will be effective, but that you can handle and shoot well. The same thing holds true for bowhunters. You don’t have to pull 75-80 pounds back to successfully arrow your animal, drop that draw weight. Roger notes that due to an injury years ago he was forced to lower his draw weight to 50 pounds and although he recovered, he never went back up to a higher poundage again. A lesser draw weight, like 50 pounds, is plenty to get an animal to the ground if you know where your arrow is flying and you are confident in your shot placement.
Hunting styles vary, as do tactics. Roger says that he is a 365-hunter, he keeps his eyes and ears open year round looking for different places to hunt. One thing he’s learned throughout his years in the outdoors is that you don’t need to have a giant property to hunt, instead you can use adjacent properties to your advantage. If you can get up next to a big property that has had minimal hunting pressure, that’s a great place to be. Hunt those fence lines, he says, you may just get an awesome opportunity to draw something off of one property and bring them right to your stand. You also have to be willing to get out of your comfort zone and buck conventional wisdom once in a while. Don’t go into the woods without hands free deer calls, says Roger. Use those tools to your advantage. They don’t do any good just hanging around your neck or sitting in your pocket. Put them in your mouth and blow on them, whether you see anything or not. Give a few short grunts every once in a while, and when you see deer don’t be afraid to be vocal. Roger says that hunters need to take an aggressive approach and do everything they can to work the situation to their advantage. If a buck is out of shooting range and walking away, get on the call and blow aggressively, if he is already on his way out you don’t need to be worried about scaring him off. That is the moment to try to turn things around, get on your call, blow and grunt and try to get his attention. You never know when you’re going to hit a nerve and send him running right back at you. Be willing to get out of your comfort zone and do something different in order to get different results.
Wind plays a big role in how hunters go about their pursuits, trying to get the wind in their favor so that animals don’t prematurely sense their presence and bolt. “If you can’t get the wind in your favor, don’t even bother going out!” say some pros. The problem with that though, Roger says, is that an average hunter is limited on time. Most deer hunters get less than 10 days in the field each year, so there isn’t time to wait for the perfect wind. Roger says that he uses scent buffers to help him navigate less than ideal wind conditions. Using some of his own scent products, he puts some Maniac 150 doe urine on a scent rag and as the wind blows that scent around, it provides a scent buffer. Although he gets to hunt more days each year than the average hunter, Roger says this is a challenge he experiences as well. When he goes state to state, hunting different places and only has a few days to make something happen, he doesn’t have the luxury of time and waiting for the perfect wind and weather. You’ll never be successful sitting inside waiting for the right conditions, so Roger says you have to roll the dice, get out there, put out a scent buffer and try to make something happen. Being as scent free as possible is helpful, however, regardless of how many scent elimination products you use, you’ll never be 100% scent free. Using a natural, good quality scent (where legal) is a good idea, he says. That scent not only acts as a buffer but it also doubles as an attractant.
Finally, Roger talks about the passion that drives hunters. He notes that he has an incredible whitetail trophy room and loves shooting big deer. However, size is not what dictates what a trophy is to the individual. Roger says he will never forget the first buck he ever took and how hard he worked to get that fork horn on the ground. Although it didn’t have a massive rack, it meant something to him, it was exciting. Roger says the pursuit is unique to the individual - whether it’s a doe or a buck of any size or age (as long as it’s legal), if that’s what gets you excited and that’s what you want to fill your tag with, you should do it! Roger highlights a particularly difficult hunt in Kansas with unseasonably warm temperatures and roaring winds where the deer weren’t moving much. So, when he finally got a chance at a 115-inch buck, he pulled out all the stops to get a shot, rattling it in and finally getting an arrow in it. Following the hunt, Roger says that a fellow hunter then questioned why he would ever want to shoot that buck. Diminishing anyone else’s success isn’t productive and Roger warns other hunters against that. Instead, he encourages hunters to go after the animal that gets them excited to be out there and not get so hung up on age and size.
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Catch “Roger Raglin Outdoors”, Sundays at 1:30 p.m. ET on Sportsman Channel and 2:00 p.m. ET on Outdoor Channel. You can also watch tons of previous seasons and episodes of “Roger Raglin Outdoors” anytime by hopping on MyOutdoorTV.
Hunt outside your comfort zone,