Deer hunting is a complex and difficult challenge that requires careful consideration from novice deer hunters to the most seasoned outdoorsmen. Consideration needs to be given to a lot of things such as deer movement, weather, wind direction, stand setup, and more.
Every day, deer cope with the possibility of being preyed upon, making them extremely elusive. The tiniest mistake can quickly put an end to a hunt because the deer has acute senses, which far exceed our own humble faculties.
That is why the wise hunter never stops learning, he will always try to learn new things about deer hunting. Those things can be scientific or about deer biology.
In this article, we will mention 22 Deer Hunting Tips that can help to boost your chances of a successful deer hunt and avoid frustrating hunting deer season of trial and error.
22 Deer Hunting Tips
- Know Your Quarry
Whether it is whitetail deer hunting or any other type of deer, the first thing you should do is to learn as much about deer as you can. For instance, When are they most active, Where do they sleep, Where is their feeding area, and How do they get from where they eat to where they sleep? Once you know about deer, it becomes much easier to predict where they will be and what they are up to at any given time of day.
2. Mask Your Odour
The hunter’s odour is a number one deterrent to approaching deer. They will undoubtedly spook and send them in the opposite direction. So, It is essential to mask your scent if you want to have a successful hunt.
You want your scent to help your hunt, not hinder it. So keep your hunting attire sealed in a plastic bag with foliage and soil, and try to shower with odour-free soap. Also, keep in mind that visual camouflage is as essential as olfactory camouflage.
3. Cover Up Your Noise
These animals should not be underestimated as they have excellent senses. They can hear at ultra-high-frequencies that we cannot, so try to make as little sound as possible. You should do this by treading lightly and parking a good distance from your stand.
4. Learn The Deer Language
Deer use a variety of sounds to communicate with each other. You can use it to your advantage. Take various kinds of deer calls with you when hunting. It’s important to learn the deer language so you can attract different kinds of deer at different times.
5. Choose Your Weapon
Now that you know about deer, their habits and how to plan your hunt. It is time for a weapon choice. There are two deer hunting seasons. One is bowhunting, and another one is with firearms. Each season is defined by the weapon used.
6. Learn To Use Your Weapon
Learning how to use your weapon is one of the most important tips for new hunters, and it can not be stressed enough. Whatever the weapon you choose to hunt with, you must master that weapon.
If you want to be a good shot with the bow, it is going to take more time and practice than master shooting with a rifle. You need to buy the best archery target that you can afford and shoot every day, even if it’s just a few shots.
Practice makes perfect. If you want to be an expert shot, then put in the time and effort necessary for improvement. You should put in the time and practice necessary to improve your skills so that you can make quick, clean kills when presented with such an opportunity.
7. Where Will You Hunt?
The next step in this big game of hunting is to find a place to hunt. You have two options, public land or private land.
Public Land Hunting
You may have a lot of company when you go hunting on public land as anyone can hunt there, but sometimes that can actually help.
More hunters being in the woods will tend to push deer and keep them on their feet, which increases your chances of seeing deer, depending on how much security cover there is where you hunt. Good deer are being killed on public hunting property by new hunters despite the high hunting pressure.
Private Land Deer Hunting
When hunting on Private Land, permission is always required, and usually, it is written permission. You can ask friends or family members who own private land where you can hunt deer, or you can try to ask the property owner at a local farm or larger parcels of land in your area, be sure to check your state’s hunting laws.
When hunting on a private hunting land, the odds are that you may be the only person with permission to hunt on the property. But if there are others, there is a chance you will know them, and you can plan accordingly.
8. Scout Your Hunting Property
Once you know where your hunt will take place, it’s now time to start scouting out your hunting spot. It is essential to study your hunting area and get boots on the ground in order for you to find deer signs.
Deer signs are important for identifying the presence and location of deer. Those signs are any clues that are left behind by the deer, which could be tracks, rubs, scrapes, beds, trails, deer sightings and more.
The post-season is the best time to scout your area. All of the foliage is down, and all of the deer sign from the previous season is still visible, which allows you to easily see and record your findings.
Also, try to find the trails the deer use to move from place to place. Pay attention to where they are feeding and where the deer bed is. You can also set up trail cameras to determine when and how many deer are using a certain trail.
9. Essential Deer Hunting Gear
What hunting gear you need for your hunt is a personal decision, but there are some essential items that every beginner hunter should have, which are Tree Stand or Deer Blind, Tree Stand Safety Harness, Hunting Boots, Binoculars, and Clothing.
Of course, there are other hunting gears that you can use, such as a deer hunting knife, trail cams and more. As we said, it all depends on a personal decision.
10. Pay Attention To The Wind
A good hunter knows the direction of the wind before leaving home so he can stay downwind from the deer, or it will smell him., but there’s even more to it than that. Hunting the wind doesn’t only mean staying downwind of the deer when you see it. It also means staying downwind of the deer on the way to your stand.
You can reduce your scent and possibly get closer to the deer when it is downwind, but a mature deer will not tolerate your scent for very long, if at all. Hunters have to try to reach the deer stand without the deer being alerted to his presence with his smell.
Hunting higher ground is better for a successful hunt as in the creek bottoms, it is very hard to remain undetected as they are notorious for swirling winds.
Another thing, It is important to keep an eye on the constantly changing wind thermals. You can find the wind thermals tend to rise up In the morning and take with them your scent while at nightfall they will drop, and also your scent will do the same.
11. Put Your Stand in The Right Place
There are a few good options for where you can put your hunting stand. But when placing it, keep in mind that scent control is an important thing. You have to keep your scent from reaching deer around you when hunting. The ridge works well for this point and also it gives you a good view.
Another great option for a hunting stand location is near the corners of fields. Deer enter the field from these areas to feed, so put your stand in a tree a bit off one corner and catch them when they go in.
Also, you can look for an intersection where several bed-to-feed paths meet. This will give you the best chance of spotting a deer that uses one of those specific routes.
For those who want to bowhunting, the distance your stand should be from where you expect to see the prey is about 12-20 yards. You should also make sure to stay downwind from where you expect the deer will come, so they don’t pick up on your scent.
12. Put Your Stand Up Early in The Hunting Season
The deer are a lot more aware than you might think. They notice changes in the wood, especially the mature, wiser ones you have really got your eye on.
Hanging your stand up early in the season is a great way to get deer used to its presence, and they do not think anything of it, which increases the chances for deer to cross its path.
13. Practice Getting into Your Stand
After putting your stand up, you are ready to go. Practice getting in and out of your stand without noise. Get used to doing this so that when the time comes, you can slip right into position silently and avoid being detected.
Also, you will be less likely to fall out of it ascending and descending the tree in the dark as falling out of tree stands is one of the major causes of hunter injury. So you should use a good safety harness for your safety.
14. Do not Call too Often
If you are using deer calls, don’t use them too much. Give your deer enough time to come if it has heard the call before you try again. If there is too much noise, this could spook deer feeding nearby or at least tip it off that something is not right. You should wait around 20-30 minutes between calls.
15. Preparing For The Shot
It is now time to prep for your shot. This is the part where all that shooting practice earlier will pay off. Confidence is the key to making a good shot, and you must be confident.
You can only gain a good level of confidence by practicing over and over again and making many good shots, even if it is at a target.
These are some tips to help you prepare for the shot.
- Wait for a good, open shot, In order to take a good, open shot at deer, you must first be patient and wait for the perfect opportunity. Marginal shots won’t pay off, so don’t take them.
- Remember to breathe and pull the trigger or release as you are exhaling.
- It is important to ensure that the deer is broadside or quartering away slightly.
16. Where To Shoot A Deer
Now it is time to take a look at deer biology. You have to know where the deer’s vital organs are, or their kill zone, In order to know where to shoot a deer.
For an efficient hunter, it is important to know how to shoot properly. The double lung shot will help ensure your kill happens as quickly and efficiently as possible, meaning that the deer has to be broadside or slightly quartering away so that you can put an arrow or a bullet through both lungs.
17. What To Do After The Shot
Now, after you have made your shot, here is what you need to do next.
Watch the Deer Closely
Watching the deer closely after you shoot it is an essential thing. Did the deer hump up, run a little, then walk off slowly? or Did the deer mule kick and run off wildly? You can get a tremendous amount of information about the shot from the deer’s reaction when it was hit.
Also, remember where you last saw the deer. You are going to have a rush of adrenaline, and it will be difficult to control your thoughts, but in order to successfully find your deer, it is essential to remember these things.
Give The Deer Time
Giving the deer time is extremely important unless the deer is down and dead within sight, and here is why. After being mortally wounded, the deer will lay down and die. You must wait for it to expire as it will get up and run, if you go after him too soon, which is the number one reason for lost deer kills.
If the deer is not down and dead within sight and you think it was a good shot, wait at least an hour before checking on the deer. But give the deer at least 5-6 hours and more if it was a bad shot.
18. How to Blood Trail A Deer
All right, you’ve waited the allotted time, and you are now ready to blood trail your deer. Next, you should go back to where the animal was standing when it was shot and look for any signs.
If you were bowhunting, the arrow would tell a lot about your shot. Blood bubbles, in this case, mean that lung shot, and that is the thing we are looking for. You are also looking for any sign or any other clues to how good the shot was, such as blood or hair or more.
You do not follow the blood trail from where you last saw the deer but from where that deer was shot because there is a lot you can learn between those two spots.
If you shoot a deer and it does not bleed much right away, as most of the bleeding is inside the deer, then you may have to go to where you last saw the deer.
You will want to proceed slowly and take a good look at every leaf and blade of grass for any sign that blood may have been present. You also may have to get down on all fours and take a good look around.
19. Mark The Last Blood That you Found
It is an essential tip when blood trailing your deer. You need to mark the last blood that you found on the trail with a piece of toilet paper. So, as you head out on your next adventure, don’t forget to pack some toilet paper. This way, you can find your last spot if you lose the trail.
20. Do not Approach A Dropped Animal Immediately
When you find your kill, don’t run up to it immediately. Even though it might appear dead, there is a chance it might still be alive. Instead, make noise or throw a rock or two from afar. If it still doesn’t respond, then you can probably go in safely.
21. Learn The Skill Of Field Dressing
When a deer is killed, its meat will spoil more quickly if it still contains its entrails and the body maintains heat longer. Removing these things will help slow bacterial growth and preserve your trophy, which is known as field dressing.
Field dressing will not only allow the deer to cool faster but also will make it easier to get out of the woods. For this, it is better to buy the best deer hunting knife that you can afford.
If it is your first time, it is better to get help as it will be much easier. Also, you have to be very careful not to cut yourself when working with a sharp knife inside the body cavity.
And the bowhunters must make sure that the broadhead is not still in the deer. Make sure to carry disposable elbow-length rubber gloves as they will make field dressing much cleaner.
22. Drag Your Kill Out Of The Woods The Easy Way
After field dressing, you need to get the deer out of the woods. Although a little help will make it much easier, the job can certainly be done on your own.
Grabbing an antler, then starting dragging is the most common way. For a doe, the rope that you used to secure your safety harness to the tree will be very helpful. Lace around the neck of the deer, then drag it.
Although this way will get the job done, there are easier ways to get your deer out of the woods. You can make it easy on yourself and use deer sleds, that will be very helpful. All you need to do is place the deer in the sled, then start dragging your sled across the ground.
Best Time Of The Season To Hunt Deer
The deer season is divided into three parts. The early season, the rut and the late season. Now we take a look at each of them to determine if there is the best time of the season to hunt.
Hunting Early Season
Early season hunting can be a great time to be in the woods and is usually limited to bowhunting. This time of year, the deer are very predictable. You can see them day after day using the same food sources, typically fields, and they will continue using this pattern with very little human pressure.
At this time of year, you can follow a great tactic by scanning the fields late in the day to find out where the deer are entering and take notes of the result. After that, you can set up a downwind of that spot before they typically get there.
Hunting The Rut
The rut is deer mating season, so if you want to hunt a big deer, especially mature bucks, this is the best time. During this season, some giant bucks take off looking for a doe. They will cover miles running around trying to find one.
While the big buck is looking for a doe, it will use natural funnels to get where it wants to go. They also scent check the doe bedding areas in search of an opportunity.
Notice that when you hunt the peak rut, stay all day and hunt pinch points and downwind of doe bedding areas if you want to kill a trophy buck. So in order to find the mature bucks, you need to find the doe traffic.
Hunting Late Season
In order for deer to survive the winter, it is now necessary to put on weight. So focusing your hunting around the cold fronts is one of the best deer hunting tips for hunting late season.
The deer need to eat in order for their body temperatures to stay warm. So to stay warm during the long winter nights, they will come out to the field during the late season in order to eat early.