7 Things That’ll Go Wrong On Your Opening Day Hunt

By Brodie SwisherSeptember 22, 2023

Murphy’s Law – Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. 

Most any bowhunter can attest to the truth in Murphy’s Law. Things seem to go wrong in a hurry when we head to the deer woods. And if it can go wrong for the bowhunter, it probably will on opening day. 

In no particularly order, here’s a look at 7 things that’ll go wrong on your opening day hunt. 

1. You Got Lost On Your Way To Treestand

You thought you knew how to get to your treestand in the dark, but with daylight breaking on open morning, it’s a different story. Not using a headlamp seemed like a good idea at the time, but now you’re all turned around and can’t seem to find the right tree. This story plays out for countless bowhunters every year when opening day arrives. 

Use your headlamp. It’s not as alarming to deer as you might think. And be sure to have your stand and access routes loaded to the hunting app in your smartphone.  

Does Your Headlamp Spook Deer?

2. You Spooked Deer

A lot of hunters tend to forget just how edgy the whitetail deer can be. That is, until opening morning arrives and they’re spooking every deer that walks within a hundred yards. Whether on the walk in, or while sitting in the stand, you will spook deer. The key is to do your part to minimize these occurrences.  

whitetail buck standing in field

3. You Forgot Your Quiver/Arrows

This one will make you feel foolish. It’s a close second to actually leaving your bow back at the house. But leaving your quiver and arrows behind will shut things down quick.  Yeah, you got your bow in hand, but with no arrows to launch, your hunt was over from the start. Hopefully, you discover this mishap before you got too far down the trail. 

7 Things That'll Go Wrong On Your Opening Day Hunt

4. You Forgot Your Haul Line

Unlike leaving your bow or arrows, forgetting your haul line, or bow rope, isn’t exactly a deal breaker. It just makes things tough, and sometimes dangerous, when it comes to climbing into your stand. You’ll have to strap it to your pack, if you have one, or try to slide your hand and arm between the strings and riser to free up both hands as you climb. Again, it’s not a very safe method for you or your bow. So, always remember to have your haul line in your pack.

5. You Forgot Your Release

Throughout my bowhunting career, I’ve had reoccurring nightmares of being in the treestand, trying to shoot a deer without a release. Forgetting my release was a fairly regular routine in those early days, and the thought of doing so has haunted me ever since. Be sure to carry a spare release tucked down in your pack to avoid this issue. 

7 Things That'll Go Wrong On Your Opening Day Hunt

6. You Got Stung By Hornets

Wasps and hornets love to take up residence in treestand seats and platforms. And you can bet any deer blind or shooting house that’s been sitting out all summer will have a nest somewhere inside. It’s a scary situation. And when you’re 20′ up a tree, being swarmed and stung, it can be a very dangerous situation. Be sure to check all your stands and blinds ahead of time to spray and remove these nests before opening day. 

7. You Didn't Trim Your Shooting Lanes

Frustration will soon set in as you climb into your treestand on opening day and discover the same limb that blocked your shot opportunity or visibility last year, is still hanging there. Failure to trim your shooting lanes will cost you a shot. Get things cleaned up ahead of time. And keep a saw handy in your pack for any last minute trimming and adjustments that need to be made.  

Hunter trimming shooting lane

Don’t let the little things turn into big mistakes that’ll cost you an opportunity this season. Avoid the 7 fails mentioned above, and you’ll be one step closer to punching your tag this season. 

We want to hear from you! What are the biggest opening day struggles that seem to bite you year after year?  Comment below, and let us know. 

Brodie Swisher
Brodie Swisher is a world champion game caller, outdoor writer, seminar speaker and Editor for Bowhunting.com. Brodie and his family live in the Kentucky Lake area of west Tennessee.
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