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Whether you’re a seasoned hunter or someone that’s just starting out, these 13 deer hunting tips will help you shoot that trophy buck!
First, you must remember the 4 most important deer hunting tips the next time you plan on hunting deer: hiding your smell, the deer rutting season, the weather and the availability of food. We’ll cover those important deer hunting tips first and move on to 9 other tips.
1. Hide Your Smell!
When deer hunting always check which way the wind is blowing. In many cases, a deer may hear/see you and will not get panicked nor scared but the second the deer smells you he will immediately leave the area. If they do smell your scent they will turn around and leave or bed down. They might bed down and watch you for as long as you stay at your stand. Always place your stand down wind of the place where you expect to see deer.
If you want to avoid the possibility of being smelled by the deer you should hunt with the wind in your face or in a crosswind so that it will blow your human odor away from the animal. If you hunt an older age class deer and he will smell you it is almost certain you won’t be able to hunt the animal the next season. Many hunters make the mistake to hunt stands when they are aware of the fact that the wind conditions aren’t appropriate to hunt from those stands.
2. Deer Rutting Season
As far as the rut aspect is concerned, many hunters affirm that this is the worst possible period for hunting deer. Although it is rather easy to find a location with a big deer population, getting close to one is very hard. The buck will always chase the doe anywhere where the doe goes, this is happening only during the rut season. The doe will run through the entire woods just to get away from the buck.
It is advisable to hunt funnel areas where both does and bucks have to pass. Some hunters hunt a small neck of woods with two fields on each side and large woodlots on both ends. Under normal circumstances, both bucks and does will run through this small neck of the woods. But during the rut season they will run across open fields. In this period bow hunters must rely on using calls to be efficient.
The third aspect regarding bow hunting whitetail deer which every hunter must take into consideration is the weather issue. Hunting before and after peak rut season under favorable weather conditions will give you many chances for a fruitful hunting experience. Hunting anytime you can just before a cold front coming in after a warm period is highly recommended as you will spot and hunt more older age class bucks.
The weather conditions affect not only all deer but also all does that is why when you will hunt before a cold front you will capture more bucks and does. The best times to hunt a buck with a bow are before a cold front moves in and a day or two after the cold front moves out. It doesn’t matter if you are in the pre-rut, rut or post-rut period.
Don’t plan any hunting during warm days as these periods are worst for hunting bucks. An interesting fact is that deer react to weather conditions exactly like humans do. Weather can be your greatest ally or your worst enemy.
4. Know Where Deer Feed
Fourth issue in order relates to the fact that every animal (including deer) has to eat every day that is why the best places to find deer (regardless of the period of the year) is near their favorite food. Even during the rutting season, the does of course have to eat and as we have mentioned before, the buck will follow the doe everywhere so you will have great chances of capturing a buck/doe.
If you didn’t know, deer prefer certain foods at different periods of the year in alternate locations and also you should keep in mind that certain foods are available in specific periods of the year. The key to hunting deer with a bow is to know where and when the deer will feed and to find the source of food so that you can come back later for further hunting experiences.
Hunters should be aware of the fact that some foods will last only a couple of days or 2-3 weeks so if you plan your hunt in an area where the food is out, you will only find tracks and droppings but no deer.
5. Be Alert
Always be alert. Listen closely for crunching noises and breaking twigs. Watch for even the slightest movement. Also look for deer parts; sometimes you won’t see the whole deer. Look for a head, a horn, an ear, a leg or a patch of brown or white.
6. Bring a Plastic Bottle
If you hunt from a tree stand carry an empty plastic bottle with a good sealing type lid. When nature calls, just use the plastic bottle. It will save you a trip down the tree. You shouldn’t leave your scent around your stand area because the deer will smell it and they won’t come anywhere near your stand.
7. Avoid Bringing Anything White
Do not be dressed in or bring anything white as you run the risk of being mistaken for a deer. If you think of using a map on the hunting field, most likely it has a white rear on it. This can be potentially risky since a deer, with its white tail up and you holding a map, with a white back, might look very similar to other hunters.
You should consider embroidering or pasting a piece of camouflage cloth to the map’s back. If the map you have is made of paper, you may think about adding synthetic laminating pages on the frontage and back previous to the fabric being sewn on to reinforce the stitches. This trick also makes the map waterproof.
8. Safety Precautions
The most important safety precaution is to always wear at least one piece of hunter orange clothing. Always use a flashlight, when you’re moving through the woods or getting in and out of your stand, in low light conditions. One other thing to remember is that you and your hunting partners carry 2 way radios. It is best if you only talk on the radio if there’s something terribly wrong or if, of course, you’ve just shot that trophy buck. Hunt smart and you will stay safe.
9. Prepare Your Path to Your Tree Stand or Blind
If you must pass through thick cover to reach your hunting stand, try laying a fallen log or two in trouble spots where you think you might make a lot of noise. The next time you go to your stand you can walk on these logs and make a much quieter approach.
10. Deer Calling
If you perform calling too frequently, the deer will get frightened as it will sound far from natural. You should call every 20-30 minutes; also differ the volume of the calls. If a deer is nearby you wouldn’t want it to be excessively loud. If you spot a buck at 150 yards and it’s windy, blow harder until you have gotten his attention he will lift his head and gaze towards your direction. Immediately after doing so grunt softer and softer; this will make him to come closer.
11. Don’t Smoke
If you are a smoker you should know it is never a good idea to smoke while hunting. Try chewing some sort of gum. Cherry or wintergreen flavor have a woody kind of smell that might not alert the deer. Better yet, while hunting, use a nicotine patch to reduce the craving.
12. Cover Your Scope
When rifle or crossbow hunting try keeping your scope covers on your scope until you are ready to shoot, especially in wet and snowy weather. This tip prevents your scope from fogging up. It may take a little more time to get ready for a shot, but you will be able to see your target through your scope.
13. Camouflage Your Tree Stand/Blind
To hide your (tree)stand or hunting blind, buy a camouflage tarp or camouflage blanket to wrap around your stand. This works for both gun and archery season. The deer will not see your movement and it will also muffle sound – this is very effective. Before putting the camouflage on your stand, spray it with cover scent and leave it outside for one week to hide the smell.