Hunting partners can be beneficial or detrimental to your hunting goals.

Your hunting partner, good or bad, will usually determine whether you will be a successful trophy hunter or not.  Many trophy hunters hunt alone due to the fact that it is hard to find a good hunting partner.  This allows them to do what they have to do without any restrictions.  Hunting alone means having all of your best spots to yourself.  Anytime only one person enters the woods, they will only leave half as much scent on the ground as would two people in the same woods.

To have three or more hunting partners is probably not a good idea either.  Any time there are more than two people hunting any one area, the odds of one of them taking home a monster buck lowers dramatically.  Groups of people hunting on small, highly pressured areas are usually a mistake that cannot be fixed.

If you have a bad or indifferent hunting partner you should think of moving on if you want to be successful at trophy hunting.  Anyone who does not show up on time in the morning, or is not ready and waiting for you when you pick them up, should be avoided.  If you find yourself always doing all of the work for both of you, it is time to move on.  If your partner is always in a negative mood and does not push you to keep going, you are better off without them.  Never settle and hunt with someone who does not bring something positive to the party.

Careless mistakes your partner continually makes may not make them a good fit for you and your goals.  You may need to evaluate and change up your hunting strategy.

Slam the truck door

Complete lack of situational awareness that allows a person to get out of the truck on a cool, still morning and slam the truck door like they are running into Casey’s for a Mt. Dew and a sausage biscuit is a deal breaker. This is the time to “get into the zone” when you pull into your hunting spot to get dressed or prepare to walk in. Even when you have a long hike to your stand or blind there should be some common sense to not wanting to alert every animal in the county that you are present. Both you and your partner should be mindful of the stillness and embrace the stealthy frame of mind you need to be in for the next few hours.

This rule isn’t limited to just the front door. It includes the backdoor, the tailgate and any bow/gun/clothes cases you might need to get in. Not quite as bad, but still frustrating, is the guy who has to open and shut the door 10 times because he forgot all his gear in the truck.

Oversleep. Be Late.

Common curtesy when your partner pulls in is to be waiting for them, bags packed, coffee in hand and ready to go. Someone who constantly oversleeps or makes you run late getting to your stand past morning light does not understand the basics of hunting.  If getting out of bed to hunt or being prepared on time is too much effort, their interests & hobbies should be reevaluated!

Make hunting a competition

Spending time outdoors should be appealing and peaceful as possible and should be enjoyed.  Making a competition out of who gets the biggest buck, who takes an animal first, etc does not make the experience enjoyable.  Most people are happy for someone that gets that bigger buck and are excited to help pull it out of the woods and field dress it.

Complain and not fix it.

“That stand needs to be moved 20 yds

“There are no good shooting lanes cut”

“The camera on the point is out of batteries”

Move it. Cut some. Put new batteries in it!

A partner that has the desire and work ethic to not only notice problems but take the time and initiative to correct them is very much appreciated. Whining about it now and hoping it gets taken care of before you can fix it doesn’t count either.  Look for a partner that is proactive to keep the hunting property in fully working order!

Keeping intel to themselves

The efforts, costs, enjoyment and most of all the information gathered from the property by cameras and sightings need to be shared. Holding intel back will only hurt both of you.

Lack of Ethics

Working with a hunting partner that lacks ethics toward landowners, other hunters and animals may end up causing trouble for you.  Even if it is not illegal, it may give you a bad reputation for associating with a person that has bad hunting ethics.  Hunting values and dilemmas should be discussed before hand so you’re not caught in the moment of trying to be persuaded to do something you don’t think is right.

While hunting laws preserve wildlife, ethics preserve the hunter’s opportunity to hunt. Because ethics generally govern behavior that affects public opinion of hunters, ethical behavior ensures that hunters are welcome and hunting areas stay open.

  • Ethics generally cover behavior that has to do with issues of fairness, respect, and responsibility not covered by laws. For instance, it’s not illegal to be rude to a landowner when hunting on his or her property or to be careless and fail to close a pasture gate after opening it, but most hunters agree that discourteous and irresponsible behavior is unethical.
  • Then there are ethical issues that are just between the hunter and nature. For example, an animal appears beyond a hunter’s effective range for a clean kill. Should the hunter take the shot anyway and hope to get lucky? Ethical hunters would say no.

What a great hunting partner will do for you:

A great hunting partner will always make sure you get up in time in the early hours of the morning.  They will always share in all of the tasks that lead to that monster buck.  A great hunting partner is always willing to learn and is always willing to try something new.  They will work as hard trying to get you your buck as they do trying to get their own.

If you do not like hunting alone find yourself a good hunting partner.  Do not settle for second best, as you will always be disappointed.  Do not feel guilty if you tell your present hunting partner that you are no longer going to hunt with them.  This is for the best if you truly want to hunt mature bucks.  It is as hard to find a good hunting partner, as it is to find good hunting property.

Just because you find someone who shares your desire to hunt trophy bucks, you do not have to hunt the same properties.  They can help you set up your properties, and you can help them do the same.  Then when it is time to hunt, you both can go your separate ways.  At the end of each hunt, you can compare notes and give each other ideas on how to turn the odds more in your favor.  This works well in many cases.

If you can find a great hunting partner, and you both decide to hunt the same properties, you are very lucky.  Any time you can cover more than one direction that a mature buck might travel, you have doubled your odds of one of you getting a chance at him.  You will know when you find this kind of hunting partner, as you will not be afraid if they sit in one of your best stands.  You know they will be as careful as yourself, and the deer will not know they were even there.  You will both feed off each other, and even though you think the same, you both will have different ideas on how to handle each situation that you are confronted with.

After you’ve vetted the perfect hunting partner, get out and enjoy the sport of hunting knowing you have found someone that’s got your back and will help you with your hunting goals!