Deer hunting season is short, so being prepared is essential. You need to be on the lookout for opportunities and take advantage of potentially favorable situations when you have the chance — but knowing what to look for using the following 10 habits will be the ultimate key to becoming a successful deer hunter.
1. Take Inventory
Whatever your hunting gear of choice is, take an inventory of what you plan to use. You will also need a list of any added equipment and hunting accessories required. Having what you need at a minute’s notice — and knowing what you have — can make all the difference in the world, especially when hunting deer.
2. Making Sense of Your Scents
Deer can pick up a human scent from a very far distance, which is why you want to ensure that you do not use any scented deodorants or added colognes. You also want to avoid using aftershave!
Try putting your hunting clothes in a bag mixed with items found in the hunting area, such as leaves and some dirt. The clothes will be marked with those scents rather than your own.
Avoid wearing your hunting gear in any other place than your hunting location. Wearing it to the store or even a bar can add different scents to your gear that can scare off the deer.
Washing your hunting attire in baking soda instead of scented detergents will also remove smells.
When storing your hunting clothes, place them in an airtight container when not in use and add cedar chips inside, which will provide a natural scent that won’t get mixed up with other deterring smells.
3. Pay Attention to the Wind
Making sure you are positioned downwind of the deer will help prevent the deer from noticing your scent. Being downwind of the deer means you are physically placed below them on the terrain. If you are above the deer, you will be upwind, and they will smell you coming… which means no deer will come anywhere near you.
4. Be Quiet!
Deer senses are far more advanced. They not only know the sounds of other animals, but also the sounds that humans make. You have to be aware of every move you make near them
There are a few other tricks to implement to be as silent as possible. If you wear boots, try walking on the heels to make less noise. Apply foam padding to load your gear or wrap the metal gear in duct tape to help keep any noise to a minimum.
5. Know Your Gear
Being proficient in using your hunting gear, such as a deer hunting rifle, can only help you achieve a successful deer hunt.
6. Know The Land
Get familiar with the trails, spotting the deer tracks, and scouting out feeding areas and water sources.
7. Practice Makes Perfect
When a deer comes near your blind, it is critical to be prepared to take your shot — because you only have one chance. And due to a deer’s heightened senses, you won’t be able to move much without potentially startling them. Practice shooting in different positions, such as standing, sitting, and crouching, to perfect your shot no matter what position you happen to be in when a deer comes by.
8. Luring in the Deer
There are many alluring ways to draw in deer.
Using doe in estrus urine will give off the scent of a female deer in heat, which lures in the big bucks. A rutting buck scent will give off the scent of a competing male deer, which will lure in a dominant male deer.
You can also use food plots, which are meals that will attract the deer, such as alfalfa, clover, and corn. Or you can prep your own bait using a combination of corn mixed with grain or a prepared liquid deer bait. But check your local laws first to make sure baiting is fully legal.
9. Stay Focused
Don’t get distracted, especially with your cell phone. For example, texting updates on social media while hunting may cause you to miss that perfect shot.
10. Shoot Ethically
Regardless of whether you use a gun or a bow, making an ethical shot means minimizing any animal suffering, which is vital to being a responsible hunter.
The shoulder shot is one of the best choices as it will take out the aorta or even the heart itself, but this also requires a closer vantage point and a powerful rifle.
Another option is the chest. Shooting a deer head-on exposes the chest area, allowing the shot to kill the deer quickly — but make sure to aim where the neck and chest meet to guarantee a clean kill.
Hunt With Confidence
So there you have it: 10 tactics used by the deer hunters who bring home trophies. But deer hunting is more than just bringing home venison or your next trophy. Deer hunting helps keep your local ecosystem in a healthy balance, so when utilizing these 10 habits, it can be a win-win situation for both you and your environment.
Enjoy your next trek into the wild. Happy hunting!