Understand your equipment, and practise until using it is second nature. Familiarity with your equipment and how it performs in different situations helps you make the right decisions, quickly and safely, when it counts.
Know and look after your hunting grounds, and draw up a plan. Where do the bucks go, and when?
How do you get to a position, unseen and unheard, from which to take a good, safe shot?
Keep a weather eye open. In very rainy conditions, the bucks will often move around less than usual. Strong winds from specific directions may make them abandon their favourite haunts.
Pay close attention to the wind. As a rule, you should have the wind in your face and it should carry your scent away from where you expect the buck to arrive.
Use the terrain to your advantage. As far as possible, keep to shady areas, and, when on the move, camouflage your silhouette by following hedgerows, stone walls and the like.
Move slowly and silently. Stop and listen. A snapping twig or crackling leaf can reveal the presence and location of a nearby buck.
Bucks are normally most active at dawn and dusk, so these are the best times. But bucks also need to eat during the day, so you might easily encounter one in broad daylight.
When stalking a buck, move only when it has its head down and is not looking in your direction.
Don’t forget your binoculars, and use them frequently. Animals are good at disappearing into the undergrowth and binoculars are a good way to get an early fix on them.
Be patient. The buck is not likely to be standing there waiting for you on opening day. Make good use of the wait. Listen, observe and enjoy nature, and the buck will be along soon enough.