Deer Hunting Tips
Whether you enjoy hunting, want to try hunting for the first time or just see it as a necessity for preserving a healthy animal herd, being better at it is something we should all strive for. There are many ways of hunting deer. Some have been with us for literally thousands of years, whereas others are a recent development. Knowing the most effective and humane ways to hunt and kill deer is the responsibility of every one of us who does it.
The best hunters tend to be more creative in their methods; use knowledge of the animal’s habits and instincts and most importantly have an abundance of patience. Some hunters give themselves an extra advantage by imitating the sound of a deer with a call to attract them, or by using scents to either pull in or guide a deer. In this article, we'll look at top tips for deer hunting that may be new knowledge for you or even old tricks that you've forgotten; either way, with hunting, it is always good to be on the top of your game.
Check out our top tips for deer hunting below:
Look in the Right Place
It sounds obvious, but knowing a little about the deer movement patterns will greatly increase your chances of at least getting a clean shot. The way an animal moves around its environment can have a lot of resemblance to how you move around your own home. The deer will go from a place of sleep to a place to toilet, off to get some water and maybe something to eat, and then back to a resting place etc… etc… Imagine your day off kicking around the house.
By understanding a little about the deer’s living habits (these can change with the season), you will have a better idea of where they might be found depending on the time of day. Do some research not only on the deer but also on the territory. Where are the water supplies? Where is the main track from open fields? And remember, you are as likely to find deer in open agricultural land as you are in forests.
Get Low, Stay Low
Deer are pretty jumpy creatures. Couple this with their 310-degree vision and you have to figure they’ve got a much better view than you. Wearing a high res jacket really (for good reason) makes you stand out, but this also means that deer can spot you easily. Deer are a very skittish species and anything that appears out of the ordinary will send them scampering away.
If you keep your position low into the bush line, they’ll be less likely to see you or at least to register you as a threat which will increase your chance to get a clean shot. They also spot movement well, so make sure you have a place where you can be still and comfortable for an extended period.
Be Aware of Your Scent
Our olfactory capability is almost zero when compared to that of the average deer. Before they can see you, they can smell you. Leaving scent markers and being aware of new scents in the environment is part and parcel of being a deer, they are constantly searching out smells in their territory and react when they find a new one. By being as “scent-neutral” as you can, you will be less likely to frighten the deer away.
Try washing with a scentless soap in the run-up to a hunting outing. You could even consider taking your clothes along in a zip lock bag to stop them picking up smells whilst traveling to your camp. Anything you can do to blend into the natural environment will help. Odor eliminator sprays are also available to buy.
Using A Hunting Stand
Using a hunting stand can give you a great height advantage over the deer and is great for scouting. They are also good at providing some cover and concealment when trying to pull off the perfect shot with a gun or bow. Whether you're using a tree stand or a freestanding tripod deer stand, they can give you the edge you need when deer hunting. They are typically very easy and quiet to set up which is essential for this type of hunting, while also sporting some great features that are tailor-made for deer hunting such as bow holders etc.
Use A Blind
Keeping out of the way and not being seen will be of enormous help in getting the chance of a clean shot. A blind not only conceals and protects you, but it just generally makes your outing more endurable.
Set up your blind before the season begins. This will mean that it has become a natural feature (at least to the deer) by the time you actually go hunting. Also, try and find a route to and from your tree blind that won’t disturb the deer in their natural movements; creek beds or streams are good for this.
You could also try making a pop-up blind. Check out this video to see how:
The most useful thing any hunter can have is patience. Take your time and don’t be in a rush to take a shot. Enjoy the experience of being outside in nature with good friends breathing the fresh, clean air. If you happen to get a deer, well that’s a bonus.
Rushing to get in a good position will almost certainly alert the deer that something new is in their environment, let them come to you. Most importantly, don’t be in a rush to take the shot. Trying to take a shot quickly can be extremely dangerous not only to the deer (injuries or non-kill shots) but also to other hunters. Take your time and do it right.
Once you've made the kill, you need to work out how you're going to transport it home. The best way to transport is obviously to have a big truck to throw it in the back of, but first, you need something to get it from the field to the vehicle. A popular method is to either tie the deer to a quad bike and drag it along, or, if you're closer to the vehicle you could use a good deer cart to secure it to and push along. There are certain practices you should follow when you're loading and unloading the deer, this just ensures you get the deer home in best possible condition and get the most out of it and makes sure you don't injure yourself.
Taking Everything Into Consideration
Deer hunting takes years of practice to master and even then the best hunters can still find it a struggle. Start by ensuring that you give yourself the best possible shot at hunting game by following the tips provided above. Remember the basic rules of hunting such as being stealthy and concealed, while also making sure that the equipment you have with you is up to the job.
Good luck game champion!