Everyone wants to take home the biggest buck, but deer hunting is tedious and downright frustrating at times. Here are some tips for making your next season of deer hunting a successful one.
- Scout - Get to know your hunting grounds, and where you plan to hunt. Take a walk before the season starts and get familiar with the land. Who knows, you might just find a monster buck during your exploration.
- Markings - A good way of knowing if there any deer are in the area is to look for markings, such as rubs on trees, the ground, or even trails.
- GPS Device - Not too long ago, GPS devices were over $500. Now you can get them dirt cheap and for the money, they are a valuable and fun piece of hunting equipment. They are great for marking your cabin, hunting spots, deer sightings, and anything else you want to keep track of.
- Target Practice - There's a lot of downtime in-between seasons. This makes the perfect time to go to the shooting range and keep your skills tones. It also gives you the time to sight in your scope and make sure its accurate.
- Keep Quite, Still, and Awake - Most deer have pretty alert senses, as their main defense mechanism is to run. Try to stay quite, still, and awake during your hunting sessions. You never know when the monster buck will cross your path. Remember, all it takes is a few seconds for a deer to cross your path.
- Water Sources - Deer typically stay wherever there is water. Look for rivers, lakes, streams, or creeks. But be careful, it is illegal to shoot deer while they are in the water. You'll have to wait untill they are on land.
- Visibility - If you can't see the deer, you aren't going to have a shot. Make sure your hunting area has clear visibility. It's also good idea to carry a small hand saw with you if you hunt from a tree stand, so you can use it to saw off any limbs in the way.
- Dusk and Dawn - The time deer are most active is early in the morning and when the sun starts to go down. Be sure you're setup and ready to hunt at these peak times.
- Take Your Time - Don't shoot deer when you first see them. Instead, give them some time to see if they will come closer, or if other larger deer will come out. It's hard to say when exactly to take the shot, as all situations are different, you just need to take your time and use your best judgement.
- Deer Callers - Deer calling is a useful tool for luring deer towards your way if done correctly. Something as simple as a couple of shed deer antlers can work great as a caller. Although, I recommend spending some time practicing and perfecting your calling before attempting it during your hunting sessions.
- Doe Urine - During the rut is a good time to use some doe urine. Make sure you get pure doe urine and put some on the bottom of your boots while you hike to your hunting area. Also, put some around the tree or stand you plan to hunt from. The bucks will pick up on the scent and oftentimes it will lead them straight to you.
- Tree Stands - Hunting from tree stands are probably the most effective place to hunt from. You have good visibility and equally good coverage. If you hunt from a tree stand, you should climb at least 20 feet up. Otherwise, you'll risk being seen.
- Acorns - Look for areas covered in heavy acorns. They are a popular food for deer, and where you find acorns, you have a good chance of finding deer nearby.
- Safety First - If you are an inexperienced hunter, you may need to wear a safety harness if you plan to climb in a tree stand, and every hunter should wear an orange vest to alert other potential hunters. Don't worry, deer are colorblind.
- Antler Sheds - Deer antlers grow larger each year they being shed. Finding some shed antlers will give you a good idea of what size the bucks are in the area.
- Cover Your Scent - Deer have a very keen sense of smell, and if left uncovered they can know where you are before you even see them. Just some simple things, such as rubber boots and layered clothing can help cover your scent. This is common sense, but remember to never wear cologne or perfume during your hunt.
- Dressing - If you plan on going deer hunting, you need to know how to properly clean and dress a deer. The best way to learn is to go hunting with a buddy or family member who already knows how and let him show you.
- Be Slow - If you hunt from foot, be as slow and quite as possible. Take a few steps, stop, then take some more steps. You can't walk like you normally do when you're hunting.
These tips should help you during your hunting adventures, but the most important tips will come from your own experience. Take in everything around you, learn from your hunting time, and remember to always be safe!