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Adult-onset hunter from IL


New Member
Jun 10, 2024
Hello all,

As the title says I am an adult-onset hunter and did not get into hunting until about 3 years ago (started with controlled release pheasant hunting) and last year was my very first year of deer hunting. This year will be my first compound bow season and my first season in the saddle.

I don't have any mentors to show me the ropes, so I rely heavily on youtube and reading hunting forums. Despite my fear of heights I made my decision to saddle hunt because I hunt only public land (no access to private) and therefore needed ultra mobility.

Very much looking forward to getting out this fall and trying my best. Right now I'm trying to put as much practice into shooting my bow and climbing trees as possible.
I started as an adult with nobody to learn from just like u and if I could go back and tell myself 1 thing it would be to not worry about climbing trees. U gonna learn much more, much faster, if u hunting off the ground and not spending time and energy worrying about getting elevated. Walk the woods, pop a squat when u need a rest, but go find the deer. Waiting on them to find u is boring
Welcome from Northern Virginia. Look up the saddle hunter map, there’s other folks who are probably close to you.
Welcome from Central Illinois! I began bow hunting deer with a buddy at 17 years old and no one we knew hunted deer. My Father was an awesome squirrel and rabbit hunter but knew nothing about deer. He had already taught me a lot about hunting in general. My buddy was taught by an old trapper and he became one of the best hunters I've ever known. I am now a bit over 2 months shy of 76 and will submit my summation for your perusal.
1. Practice until you are satisfied, then continue
2. Read every post on this site that relates to how you intend to hunt
3. Get out there and stay out there
4. Observe and learn from what you observe
5. There are no failures, only lessons learned
6. Above all, enjoy the beauty of the nature God created for us
Welcome from LA and congrats on the new endeavor! I have had the luxury of being taught since I could walk how to hunt and take the knowledge I know about it for granted a lot have a hard time putting a lifetime of learning (still learning) into teachable words. I have had seasons where I’ve felt my best then sitting in the stand wondering if I even belong there lol hunting is a lot like life once you think you have the deer figured you cant be further from figuring them out lol
I got back into hunting in my 30’s after only gun hunting in my teens. There already some great tips above.
Spend your time / money finding deer. when you see deer consistently - with a weapon your proficient with, then upgrade equipment.
If you can afford a $500 saddle/ stand or a tag , great, focus where you can find critters and learn in the process. Climbing a tree because a deer pooped there once will cost you a lot of sightings .

Ask me how I know
Biggest thing is setting expectations. With Bow hunting public land, there will be many days you'll be happy if you see even a doe, 80y away.