Hunting and football don’t have a ton in common, but treating your hunting season like football season might help fill your tag this year.

Football and hunting are not necessarily synonyms, or even all that closely related. Beyond the fact that Bo Jackson and Carson Wentz are football players who enjoy hunting as much as the sport itself, you would be stretching to find other correlations between the two. But applying things that you would to a football season into your hunting season, could pay some big dividends for you.

How can treating your hunting season like football season bring success and fill your freezers this fall? Well, it might sound strange, but I think taking this mindset into opening day could actually help keep you from eating tag soup this year, and possibly even help you put a trophy on the wall!

Apply these football concepts to the hunt, and better results will happen for you. It doesn’t matter if you are hunting turkey, big game, deer, or squirrels, this list will apply.

If you focus your efforts and time on these concepts, there is a good chance that your hunting season could turn out way better than expected. Football and hunting might just have more in common than you acknowledge.


football and hunting

Preparation is key in almost everything in life, but especially in the world of sports, when every competitive advantage can help you come out on top. Football though, in my eyes, seems like the sport where preparation is absolutely crucial. Preseason training camps are akin to preseason scouting, if you really think about it.

Then when the season starts, a football team has a week to prepare, and so does their opponent. If you miss a beat in your preparation, chances are it will cost you.

There are 22 players on the field at once during a football game, which many refer to as the ultimate team sport, so doing your homework on all the possibilities, matchups, plays, and schemes will put you in the best possible situation to win.

Just look at the New England Patriots, for instance. I’ll be honest, I despise the Patriots, but I can’t help but respect them because of their track record of consistently winning.

Bill Belichick is their head coach and regarded as the best NFL coach ever, and many credit their longevity and success to their system and preparation. If you prepare better than your opponent, more times than not you will succeed. Once again, preparation is key in success.

Just like the game of football, you can use preparation for your advantage when hunting. The more prepared you are for what the season brings, the more likely your percentages of succeeding will increase. It’s so important that I can almost guarantee it.

How do you prepare for hunting season, truthfully? Shoot your bow or gun, early and often. Get your body accustomed to good habits and mechanics. Shoot similar shots that you will take while activey hunting.

It is all about practicing in situations and scenarios that you will encounter and experience on a hunt. Prepare for those moments, so that when they come, you have “been there and done that” enough to where it feels like second nature.

You can also prepare by doing your homework. Use trail cams to gather data and figure out what the deer are doing in your area. Watch them from afar and get a good scouting report, just like a football coach and team would against their competitors. Watching game film and reviewing SD cards are actually pretty similar, right?

Cut shooting lanes, trim trails, and wash your clothes until they are scent free so the odds are in your favor. Be prepared for this hunting season like a football team is for their opponent, and your chances of success will sky rocket.

Realistic Expectations

This one can be a tough pill to swallow sometimes, both for hunting season and football season, but you have to have realistic expectations. If not, you may become discouraged very quickly.

If a football team heads into the year expecting to win the championship, but in reality they don’t stand a chance, it will only lead to disappointment. You always want to strive for the best, but sometimes there is a brutal reality to face. You have to have the right mindset.

At times, you won’t have the most talent, or players are injured and you have to find small victories in your season. Going into football season with realistic expectations can often help you find more success.

The same applies for hunting season. Unfortunately, most hunters aren’t blessed with thousands of acres, or the part of country they live in doesn’t produce huge bucks. That’s why it is important you head into opening day of hunting season with a realistic expectation of your accomplishments once hunting season comes to a close.

If you live in Florida and have 20 acres to hunt, you can’t expect to harvest the same deer that a guy in Iowa on a 400-acre farm would.

If you can set your goals and expectations for your upcoming hunting season with realistic outcomes, then it gives you a chance to enjoy your season and find success for your circumstances. In the end, meat in the freezer and wild game on your plate is always a win!

Know Your Strengths and Weakness

Knowing your strengths and weakness can be important for a lot more than just football and hunting. It can help you in your working career, your relationships, and life in general.

With than said, if you can focus on your strengths and overcome your weaknesses, and apply them to your hunting season like football players apply it to their games, you will find more success.

Like the athletes do on the field, find what you are good at and focus on mastering that and using it to your advantage. If you seem to shoot your bow much better from a ground blind that you do from a treestand, scout accordingly and find the best places to put ground blinds on your property. That way once a shot opportunity arises, you will have the utmost confidence in making an ethical shot.

If you seem to have a knack for spotting and stalking animals and you have zero patience to sit in a stand all day, use that ability to get close to animals to your advantage.

If you can focus on the things that you are good at, and use them in your hunting scenarios, chances are you will have much better success than trying to do something you aren’t good at.

A football team that has a good running game doesn’t want to get into a pass-happy, high-scoring affair with an opposing team. Instead of speeding the pace up and trying to throw the ball all over the field, it is better if they stick to their strengths and try to ram the football downfield with their tail backs.

Knowing your strengths and weaknesses will help you find more success this hunting season.

Pick Your Spots and Be Patient

Unfortunately, this one is much easier said than done. I think this is such a huge aspect that hunters too often overlook. I do it myself, and it is something that I try to get better at each year.

Be patient and pick your spots when you are hunting, both literally and figuratively. Don’t over hunt your best spot early in the year, just like you wouldn’t use your best plays early in the game.

Think of it from a football standpoint: If you have a certain play that you have practiced all week, and you know it is going to get you a huge gain, out of a tough spot, or a touchdown, do you bust it out on the first play of the game? No, instead you go with a game plan because you have prepared, and then at that perfect moment, you go to it, and you succeed with it.

Another example of this is the difference between a good running back and a great running back. A great running back stays patient behind his offensive line as the play develops; he waits for the perfect hole to present itself, then he picks his spot and hits the gap.

Now apply that to a whitetail hunting location. You have prepared a treestand with the work we mentioned earlier. You cut trails for easy entrance and exit, you trimmed shooting lanes so you had easy shots, and you ran trail cams long enough to know what bucks are in the area and what time they show up.

football and hunting

Should you go busting into that hunting spot every day from the first day of season on, no matter what wind direction you have that day? You could, I suppose, but you’ll drastically hurt your chances of bagging that big buck.

Instead, you should be patient and avoid pressuring that area until the time is right. Pick other spots early in the year so you aren’t busting the bucks out of your honey hole.

Then when the rut comes around, and bucks are getting on their feet during daylight, you can sneak into this stand with the perfect wind and give yourself the best chances of punching your tag on a big buck.

Just like with football, being patient and picking your spots will be very rewarding come hunting season.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

A good work ethic will go a long way on the football field, just as it does while hunting. But, it is worth remembering that you can work smarter, which can often keep you from having to work harder.

With football, having a high football IQ is incredibly important. You can be the hardest worker on the team, but if you aren’t applying that hard work into the right things, it is counteractive. As an example, a kicker can be the hardest worker on the team. But if he puts his work into the bench press most of the time, is that helping his kicking game?

The same goes for hunting. You can work extremely hard in many facets, but if it isn’t directed towards what will help you, the work you are putting in ultimately won’t make a difference.

It is important that if you are putting sweat and equity into food plots, it needs to be the right kinds in the right spots. If you are putting in hard work and have the food plot in a terrible place, it is all for naught. Or, if you are continuously and constantly practicing your bow or gun shots at ranges that are just too far, is your hard work really making sense?

football hunting
Tractor Supply Foodplotting

The food plot and shooting examples are just the first ones that came to my mind, but if you think about this concept, you can apply it to so many facets of hunting.

Working smarter, and not necessarily harder, will help your successes come hunting season.

Be Coachable

Obviously being coachable pays huge dividends in football. No matter what level you look at, high school, college, or the pros, there’s always a coach leading the way. I don’t really need to explain this in detail, but if you are open minded and listen to your coaches and apply that to your game, you will improve.

But how does being coachable during hunting season help your chances? It is easy for us to get stuck in a rut and continue to do the same thing over and over, even if it isn’t working. Be open minded on tactics and tips, and those adjustments might be the difference in killing that giant buck this year. Some of the greatest lessons I have found for hunting were in mistakes that I made and then improved on. Let experience be your coach and adapt over time.

Listen to other hunters, take advice from other hunters, and be coachable in your hunting. Don’t let a stubborn habit keep you from finding success this fall.

Use these points to your advantage, and I think your next hunting trip and season could be that much more rewarding.



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