Deer hunting means a lot to many people. But, sometimes, it can seem intimidating to keep up with – especially if you’re new to it. With this A to Z guide, you’ll be able to reference a plethora of information about hunting.
A successful hunt doesn’t usually happen in the first few minutes. Success usually comes with paying attention to your surroundings for an extended period of time.
The gear you wear is just as important as the gear you carry. One of the most important wearables is your boots. To stay safe, dry, and focused, you’re going to need the right pair of boots.
Bow hunters especially utilize deer calls when they hunt. There are a number of calls including grunts, rattling, and bleats. Different calls have different purposes – there are plenty of guides to help you out.
Doe estrous is a tool that many a hunter uses. However, many make the mistake of pouring a lot out at once and hoping for the best. Instead, turn towards a dragline or rag. Most drag these behind them as they go.
Ethics is a key factor in hunting. This includes not only local laws but a respect for the quarry as well. It’s also only fair that you limit any unfair advantages that you’d have over the quarry. If they don’t have a chance to escape or you can’t make a clean kill, chances are it isn’t ethical.
First Aid Kits
Of course, you should do everything you can to avoid injury but it’s crucial to be prepared just in case. This means bringing a fully stocked first aid kit. The Red Cross has a suggested supply list.
If and when you move on the hunt, the last thing to do is loudly stomp along. Quickstep for a few yards, wait for a few minutes, and then repeat. A standard human cadence will put deer on the alert.
Whether outside or inside a shed, you never want to hang your game low enough for other animals to reach it easily. Keep them at 3’ or more above the ground.
It’s tempting when you see an animal drop instantly to come over. However, an instant drop doesn’t equal instant death. Give it a minute and approach slowly to avoid having an animal rush up when you’re too close.
Just Stay Calm
Hunting takes time and there are going to be moments of frustration and moments of excitement. For the best results, do your best to stay calm and steady your hand.
Whether you’re cutting branches or skinning a deer, hunting knives are essential. There are a lot of options here such as size and design. There are a lot of different opinions on what makes a good knife so you’ll want to do plenty of research.
This is one of the most important points for any hunter because it keeps everything legal and regulated. The exact laws for specific areas vary, though. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a handy state-by-state guide.
Map Out the Area
Scouting is one of the most important things a hunter can do. This allows you to get a lay of the land before the season starts. This includes looking for paths, scrapes, fresh water sources, and food sources. Remember, you’re going to want to scout the way you hunt: don’t rush. Use a map or GPS to mark favorable trails.
Aside from a first aid kit, you’ll want to pack some necessities. Extra ammo, water, food, binoculars, and rangefinders should all go in your bag. It can help to make a checklist of supplies before you go to ensure you don’t forget anything.
Most hunters spend about half as much or more on optics as they do their rifle. The National Rifle Association has tips everything to look for from glass to recticles.
We already mentioned that what you wear is just as important as what you carry. Hunting pants are usually camouflaged in design and insulated for warmth.
This is short and simple: if you aren’t using a call, it’s best to stay quiet. Talking or tromping through the woods is going to scare deer away.
A rifle is usually the biggest investments that a hunter makes. Whether it’s a transition into rifle use or a new one for your collection, you’re going to want to consider caliber, action, and what you’re comfortable using.
Any hunter worth their salt aims for a humane kill. According to the Quality Deer Management Association, it’s best to shoot through the lungs and heart. This will ensure a direct and quick kill.
The most important thing about tree stands is to know everything about your model before you go. Practice taking them up and down and getting in and out of them. Make sure to know the safety manual front and back and wear a safety harness too.
Understand Your Game
You can’t catch a deer if you don’t know how a deer behaves. Well before hunting season, it’s best to research your local ecosystem. It can be particularly helpful to turn to experienced hunters who have firsthand experience hunting in the area.
Safety orange isn’t something whitetails will see but other hunters will. This is also a piece of gear that is required by law in most areas.
Paying attention to the weather is essential because conditions will change how and when you can hunt. Snow lends itself to tracks, you’ll need gear to keep you dry in rain, and heavy wind can change the way you aim.
X Out Your Trace
We’ve already discussed ethics regarding your quarry but there are also ethics regarding the rest of the environment. Crossing out your trace means leaving the area as you found it.
Families often pass hunting down through the generations. There are plenty of intricacies to teaching young hunters but the two biggest tips are to check regulations for young hunters and exercise patience.
It’s a good idea to keep some zip ties with you when you go out into the field. They can help with a variety of tasks from tagging a deer to adding a cover to your stand.