Thinking about going deer hunting and want a few tips before you head out? Good thinking on your part and hopefully the tips below will help get you started in the right direction.
Tip #1 – Know the Laws
I know it can be exciting researching the best gear, places to hunt, etc. but don’t skimp on this step.
The good folks over at SurvivalLife.com have put together an awesome resource with hunting laws by state that you can find here.
I highly recommend you check this out. Nothing will ruin the good times of a hunt like being on the wrong side of the law.
Tip # 2 – Practice Shooting
Whether you’re going to hunt with a gun, compound bow, or crossbow make sure you get your scope or sights dialed in. Having your weapon of choice properly sighted in not only ups your chances of bringing home dinner but also minimizes the risk of needlessly injuring a deer that you don’t actually bring down.
John McAdams over at TheBigGameHuntingBlog.com has an outstanding and thorough guide on sighting in a rifle.
For sighting in a crossbow, I recommend this article by the guys over at BestCrossbowSource.com.
And finally, for sighting in a compound bow, I recommend this article by Steve Flores over at bowhunting.com
One more word of advice when practicing shooting. Regardless of gun, bow, or crossbow MAKE sure you practice with the same bullet, arrow, or bolt that you will be hunting with. Even slight differences can be significant enough to cause a missed or poorly placed shot.
Tip # 3 – Know Where to Shoot the Deer
Before you attempt to shoot a deer, make sure you know where to aim!
Watch the video below, they do a fantastic job of explaining where to aim whether you’re using a gun or a bow.
Tip # 4 – What to Wear
Dressing appropriately for your hunt isn’t as simple as throwing some camo on and hitting the woods. You need to plan for the weather. If it’s the warmer part of the season, layering is your friend. It may start off cold before warming up. By layering properly you’ll be able to stay in the woods much longer and much more comfortably as well.
Side note: In my opinion, one of the most important pieces of clothing you should invest in is a quality set of waterproof boots. I learned the hard way early on. I cheaped out on shoes and found myself barely able to walk out of the woods one day. My feet had gotten wet, the temperature dropped, and I stubbornly tried to tough it out. Long story short, I couldn’t feel my feet the whole hike out that evening. It’s hard to explain the feeling but it scared me into getting a good pair of hunting boots before I went out again.
As far as camouflage goes, it is important, but it’s not the end all be all. Deer are essentially red-green colorblind meaning they see red as green. That’s why you can and should wear an orange vest.
However, just because they are colorblind doesn’t mean they can’t see. They can see movements and pale skin very well. For this reason, camouflage can be helpful. Camo that blends in with it’s surroundings can make it harder to spot slight movements.
For those of us with pale skin, I highly recommend wearing a face mask and gloves to cover any visible skin.
Last but not least, do not wash your hunting clothes with regular washing detergent. Modern detergents contain UV brighteners that show up like neon lights on a Friday night to deer. Instead, wash your clothes with UV free detergent.
Tip # 5 – Control Your Scent
A deer’s sense of smell is likely its greatest defense mechanism. Scent Blockers, including sprays, detergents, deodorants, soaps, etc. have all been invented to give hunters an edge.
While they certainly help, and if your budget allows, I would certainly utilize them. However, there is a simple way to keep your scent largely at bay. Hunt with the wind in your face. Even if you don’t feel it, the wind is there. An easy way to determine the direction of the wind is to carry a small bottle of powder or ash with you. Throw some out and see which way it goes to determine the wind direction.
If you find you enjoy deer hunting, I would definitely recommend investing in quality scent blockers.
Tip # 6 – What’s the Best Time to Hunt Deer?
Since this is a beginner’s post, I won’t bore you with all the technicalities of deer movement and times by season. For now, let’s look at the two basic guidelines for hunting deer:
- Option 1 – Get to your stand or blind right before daybreak and stay until around 12-1:00 p.m.
- Option 2 – Get to your stand or blind approximately 3 hours before sunset and stay until dark. Just make sure you carry a flashlight to get back out. And no shooting deer at night…that’ll get you in trouble real quick-like.
If you want to delve deeper into the best times to hunt deer, I recommend this article by Sammy Garrard over at Soutdoors.com.
Tip # 7 – After the Shot
So you’ve patiently waited, taken a great shot, and finally have your deer. Time to jump down from your stand and go get him, right? Not so fast.
If you take nothing else from this article, take the time to watch this short video about the proper way to track a deer once you’ve shot it.
I hope these deer hunting tips will help you as you plan your next trip to the woods.
If you have any questions or need more clarity on any of the topics above, please don’t hesitate to comment below. I’ll be glad to help!