After a decade-and-a-half of sitting in the woods for hours on end every November, I finally am ready to share my theory on deer hunting.

I grew up in a hunting family, and the second I could take firearms safety courses and be out in the stand opening morning, it was go time. I've had years where I tag out right away, where I tag out at the last minute. There have been weekends when I see a parade of deer and weekends when I stare into the endless emptiness in front of me.

Here is my theory: the deer know when hunters have given up all hope. 

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The 2021 firearms season was when I feel like I really confirmed my theory. Sunday of opening weekend I needed to be out of my stand at exactly 9:15 AM so I could get ready to go to Brainerd with a friend for a photoshoot we had booked. It was a hard out on hunting because I had to get ready, and drive over an hour to the location.

I was hunting that morning but I wasn't taking anything too seriously due to the fact that I didn't want to be tracking or dragging a deer when I needed to be in the shower and doing my hair. So I spent most of the morning making TikTok videos (because if you can't shoot a deer, you can shoot content).

The second weekend of the 2021 season I had tickets to see George Strait at US Bank Stadium so I had basically given up on getting a deer in 2021. It was what it was, I wasn't going to be upset about not getting anything, it had happened plenty of times in the past. (Plus there's always muzzleloader season.)

Right at 9:15 AM is when the biggest buck I had ever seen in my life walked out in front of me. I was literally packed up and making the move to get down from my stand when he walked out following a few does. He knew that I had given up and was leaving the woods.

Based on the photo above you can see I took the risk of missing my photoshoot and took a shot at the buck and ended up getting him. (Thanks to the help of my uncle and cousin helping me track him!)

During early antlerless in 2022, my theory was proven again. It was Sunday morning, and after hunting Friday and Saturday of the weekend-long hunt I had basically given up by Sunday morning. It was in the upper 60s and harvesting a deer in that weather is a lot of extra work. As my dad and I were about to pack out, I saw six deer.

But you can't totally force it. I was at Camp Ripley for the bow hunt this year, and I told myself I had "given up hope" as I saw nothing all day, but I didn't believe myself. I was still hanging onto a sliver of hope that I would see something. The deer know. They can sense our lies.

They know when hunters are about to give up. So maybe this year during your hunt, give up hope early on. It might just work!

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