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This goes off of another thread where some were insinuating because some youths got big bucks they were lucky. So I was wondering what percentages you would give each.

Now if everyones starting on a level playing field i.e. taking location out of it, I would say that deer hunting is 80% skill 20% luck.

However we all know location is unequivocally the biggest factor, but my take on that is location can be grouped in with skill. I will also pair dedication in with skill as well. Most of us are not blessed with owning big tracts of private ground but for those with the dedication and people skills some how always manage to find ways into good locations. So my overall assessment would be:

85% Skill 15% luck
 

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I believe that hunters, by in large, make their own "luck". They make it by studying the habits of the animal they are hunting and then applying that knowledge to the activity of scouting to locate the most likely places where they will be successful. Then, during hunting season, they apply the knowledge and hope for success. Luck becomes less of a factor when hunters apply "skill" that has benn gained from their hard work. I am a lousy deer hunter because I don't scout or take much time to plan. I know that and it's one of the reasons whi I don;t complain about "no deer"....
 

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Discussion Starter #3
jimsdad said:
I believe that hunters, by in large, make their own "luck". They make it by studying the habits of the animal they are hunting and then applying that knowledge to the activity of scouting to locate the most likely places where they will be successful. Then, during hunting season, they apply the knowledge and hope for success. Luck becomes less of a factor when hunters apply "skill" that has benn gained from their hard work. I am a lousy deer hunter because I don't scout or take much time to plan. I know that and it's one of the reasons whi I don;t complain about "no deer"....
You are light years ahead of many. And I agree with your thoughts on luck but no matter how meticulusly you plan and prepare I do believe there are outside forces impossible to control.
 

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I've been a believer of you make your own luck for years.

80% skill / 20% luck
 

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i read some where once that in pa 80% of the big bucks are killed by the same 20% of hunters year in and year out...that being said it would leave you to beleive that skill has alot to do with it but "skill" can be a confusing word...skill can be enhanced infintely by hunting location, time spent in the woods and execution of the shot...the latter being the most important. if you cant follow through with the shot the other things mean zilch and therefore are irrelivant.

the true "skill" comes from practice at the range and knowing you and your equipments abilities
 

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Fantastic subject IMO.

Is acquiring a great hunting spot luck or skill? Some say both. I have acquired 3 spots based upon working a contact/friend/acquaintance. I try live a clean life, work hard, and do my best to live by "The Golden Rule" and be good to the people I come in contact with and know. So is it my "skill" that got me those spots or the luck that I know 3 people that have good spots to hunt?

Is hunting a great spot all season and seeing lots of deer but none ever presenting an ethical archery shot despite multiple stand locations/sits luck or skill?

Is having the actions of other hunters adversely affecting deer movement luck or skill?

Is having a bad wind direction and/or weather on the limited number of days you can hunt luck or skill?

Is sitting stone quiet and still for 2 hours, standing up to take a leak and have a buck come trucking in while your mid wiz luck or skill? Then the buck takes off but in the one direction that he could present a shot? Luck or skill? Or was it my skill in selecting a spot that would present a shot in that direction? Then dropping him with a 100 yds slug gun shot through saplings? Luck or skill?

I'm sure due to the ego in all of us, we'd like to think that our success is primarily due to our ability and not to the randomness of it all. And I would agree to an extent. But I'd go 60% Skill/40% Luck because seemingly in each aspect of the 1000's of variables to whitetail hunting while skill is certainly needed in order to be successful, luck plays an integral part.
 

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Deer hunting is being in the right place at the right time.
 

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I think it is about 70-30 Skill vs luck which also depends on where you hunt. That being said I think guys that consistently kill deer in archery season has more to do with skill vs luck. The deer have consistent patterns and are unpressured therefore if you know your area and where the deer move and when that is skill not luck.

In rifle season its much more complicated considering there are many many more variables considering pressure number of hunters in the woods etc. YOu can scout an area all year for bucks but if the bucks run past other hunters first on the first day and get shot you dont get the deer and that is more bad luck than poor skills.

My theory on it goes this way...If you have skills, scouting, reading deer sign, understanding patterns, shooting etc you will consistently put yourself in a position to be successful...That being said there are variables outside the hunter's control as to whether they get a deer like the deer showing up while they are hunting.

If you consistenly put yourself in a position where the deer are at you will be more successful but in the end there is still a component of luck that is out of your control.
 

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We make our own "luck." I know a family of local hunters 2 sons, mom and dad all hunt. They have all killed a buck every year they have been a licensed hunter. They do it on SGL's. I can't say all of their success in from luck. The old man is 70 and has taken a buck every year since he was 12.
 

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If someone is consistently killing deer its not luck. It could be an awesome property they're hunting but that's still not luck. One hit wonders with a big buck do not impress me, consistency commands respect.
 

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I think HammerDown hit it in the OP. Of course location is a huge factor. Despite anyone's talent, first and foremost the property on which they hunt has to hold deer.

Taking location completely out of the equation, I agree with the Hammer, it's mostly skill, 80-85% sounds about right, and it also takes some pure, blind luck.

This is NOT to say that people who hunt prime properties have exceptional skill. When deer are totally unpressured, when someone has stands and cameras and trails all set up for them, it's not automatically the case that they have "great skills". The can shoot pretty decently, beyond that, it depends on the situation.

If you take a group of hunters, and put them on the same piece of ground, say one month before the season, and give them equal access and resources, then skill will win the day.

Remember the IROC racing, where everyone was put into the same cars. If we had IROC-style deer hunting, I'm not sure some of these "big buck killers" would ever SEE a buck and some of the folks who never killed more than a basket eight point would crush the biggest bucks each and every time.

Skill in deer hunting does not equal the same definition of success, and vice versa, since the property on which you are hunting is a massive factor in that "success".
 

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5% of the hunters kill 95% bucks with consistency.
 

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HammerDown15 said:
And I agree with your thoughts on luck but no matter how meticulusly you plan and prepare I do believe there are outside forces impossible to control.
I agree..While quality hunting property with large ,lightly hunted herds,and large amounts of hunting time will invariably make someone more successful, lady luck is always the deciding factor in the end.
 

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Pa-Guy said:
5% of the hunters kill 95% bucks with consistency.
Hunters who scout move to where they bucks are at kill consistently. Look at hunters who kill large trophy deer like the hunter on here from near Pittsburgh, and I know 4 or 5 others who constantly kill large bucks. First you have to move to them they are not going to be on the same property every year so if you by land and think your gonna kill a trophy deer every year its possible, but buy many acres. Scouting and woodsman-ship will prevail when it comes to killing good bucks on a regular basis.
 

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Yes and everyone is not on an equal playing field...That's why you just have to enjoy getting out...It's not a competition..When it becomes that, it's no longer enjoyable.
 

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i'd rather be lucky than good.
 

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5% skill the rest is luck I know areas where I can shoot a buck every year but don't have any permission to hunt these areas depends on the places you hunt.
 
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