Whether you manage to bag one or not, deer hunting is always a great experience.
Indeed there is nothing as rewarding and uplifting as shooting your target with a humane and quick kill. However, deer hunting also can be a bit intimidating, especially if it’s your first time aiming for a deer. There are various things you need to consider to have a good experience. If you are unsure how to deer hunt, the following essential pointers can help you out:
Identifying the Hunting Property
Firstly you need to determine the hunting property you want to hunt in. There are basically two options – public land and private land. There is a vast land available in both options and have plenty of deer roaming around. Whichever land you opt for, ensure you have the latest topographic maps of that land. The best source to find and study the updated topography is through Bing Maps or Google Maps. You can also visit state houses to obtain the latest maps of the land. Ensure you are aware of the areas where hunting is allowed and which areas would classify as trespassing.
Getting Permission from Landowner
Majority of the landowners are rather generous to hunters, but be considerate enough to get their permission beforehand and not last minute. Try to make efforts in helping the owner maintain the land – there are crops to harvest, fences that need mending, gates to restore or built. Offer to work in exchange to get permission to hunt on their land. If you are planning to hunt with a partner, make sure the landowner knows.
Getting Familiar with Hunting Regulations and Laws
Remember that hunting regulations and laws vary from state to state. Make sure you have the updated information on the rules and regulations. Go to the state’s website to familiarize yourself with the latest hunting laws and any changes that you should be aware of. You should also thoroughly understand the hunter education requirement of the state. There are a few states that require a new hunter to go through a hunter safety course first.
Having Hunting License and Tags
You have to pay in order to play. Make sure you have a deer hunting license with you whenever you go out to hunt. Obtaining hunting tags and license is essential as it supports the wildlife conservation.
Planning the Hunt
Once you have understood all the regulations, have the license and know where you would be hunting, you need to start planning the hunt. Go through your deer hunting gear and make sure you have all the tools and supplies. Note if there is anything missing that you need to buy or borrow from a fellow hunter. If you intend to borrow, make sure you ask in advance.
Pack up all your gear including appropriate weather attire, thermos, game scents and calls, first aid kit, gloves, caps, socks, boots, compass, maps, GPS, binoculars and any other tools you would need. You would of course need the right guns and ammo.
Map out which areas you would cover and how long you would want to stay out. Mark the areas in the map so that you know where to go once you reach the hunting land.
Setting Trail Cameras
You would need ‘eyes’ on the hunting area to witness what is happening when you are not in that particular area. This helps in making a successful deer hunting season. You would need time to locate the areas you want to set up the trail cameras, determine the position of the camera, mount it and test the recordings. Remember one trail camera may not be sufficient in a location. You can set multiple cameras on certain spots.
Inspecting Your Treestand
A treestand is an effective tool to harvest a deer. There are a wide range of treestands available – tripods, ladder stands, climbers, and hang-ons. It is not recommended to use someone else’s treestand set up without their permission. Ensure you have the latest treestand and it has TMA (Treestand Manufacturers Association) approval.
You must make sure that you are wearing a full body harness whenever you use a treestand; utilize a haul line for bringing up your unloaded firearm and maintaining three contact points when you climb up or down. Make sure you practice using the treestand at home to get used to it.
Understanding Your Rifle
Before you go hunting, you need to make sure you know your rifle and have practiced using it. If it was perfectly on target the previous year, doesn’t mean it would be properly sighted for this season when you take it out from storage. Ensure you practice well in a shooting range to get a hang of it, especially if it is a new rifle. If you are a new hunter, make sure you take the hunter safety course first.
Make sure you follow the major firearm safety rule – ACTT.
Assume each gun is loaded
Control the muzzle and ensure that it’s pointed in a safe direction
Trigger should be a fingers-off part until you are ready to make the shot.
Target – ensure you have eyes on target.
Always be aware of your surrounds, follow the rules and regulations and you would have a great experience hunting deer. It is best to go with a partner, an experienced one who knows well how to deer hunt, if it is your first experience.