Deer hunting involves a pinch of luck and a pound of skill. Like all abilities, deer hunters must continually hone their crafts by practicing and learning. While some hunters bag a twelve-point on their first attempt, the most successful hunters know what brings deer to them.
Fortunately, successful deer hunters are happy to share their knowledge so newbies can become better faster. Here are ten tips for improving the success of your next whitetail deer hunting venture.
Zero in on scent control
Deer have a nose that detects the most subtle scents. Deer in the wild find human smells like laundry detergent, breakfast burritos, and underarm deodorant unfamiliar, and so they run from you. That’s why it’s vital to eighty-six your personal scents before you go on the trail.
Along with scent control, you also need to block the energy emitted from your body. Animals like deer are sensitive to the invisible electromagnetic radiation put off by our bodies. Cutting-edge innovations like HECS Hunting clothing block your body’s natural EMR from your heartbeat and muscle motions. When you wear EMR-blocking camo, deer perceive you as an inanimate object, so they don’t worry about you until they’re already in the crosshairs.
To prevent your EMR and scent from infiltrating your camo, take a scent-free shower, put your camo in the truck, and put it on when you arrive at your destination. Be sure your towels are scent-free, don’t put on any deodorant, and keep your cigarettes and cigars in the truck. With intelligent scent control, the deer you’ve been stalking all year will stick around long enough to be your score.
Don’t forget to dress for the weather. If you start sweating, you’ll release an odor that the deer don’t like, ruining all of your careful prep work.
Learn how to be silent
Your scent and EMR should be lowkey, and so should your steps and voice. Along with having sensitive noses, deer listen to everything happening around them. If you make noise, these skittish animals will hear you and stay away.
You can quiet your trek into the woods by wrapping your weapons in padding, covering your tree stand in duct tape, and only bringing your car key and not your entire collection of jingling keys. If you must cough, talk, or clear your throat, be as quiet as possible. If you want to shoot a deer, you must be silent. Any noises will give away your position.
Your silence at the tree stand should also include staying off of your smartphone. Deer hunters often miss a big buck because they’re too busy looking at pictures or texting friends. The purpose of hunting a deer is to catch one, not to play on your phone and ignore what is quietly happening around you.
Keep in mind that phones aren’t always silent. If you’re not careful with your phone, it could ring or click, and that noise could take away your chances of getting a deer. If you don’t need your phone while you’re hunting, then leave it in your truck.
Remember that deer can see you, too. If your deer stand isn’t high enough, or your blind doesn’t look like it fits in naturally in the woods, deer will avoid you. Cover your deer stand with leaves, faux Christmas tree branches, or twigs you find on the ground. Do the same with blinds that don’t blend into the surroundings.
If you want a better chance of shooting a deer, you’ve got to hide from all of their acute senses.
Consider your comings and goings
Being silent and out of sight during the hunt is essential, but deer do remember if they’ve seen predators in their territory. If your comings and goings from the truck to the blind are noisy and smelly, you probably won’t see many deer while you’re silently waiting in your blind.
Everything you do from the moment you leave deer camp can affect your success or failure on the hunt.
Look for deer all year
So you know exactly where to set your deer blind or tree stand, watch where the deer feed throughout the year. Deer tend to haunt the same feeding grounds. If you watch where the animals find food and water, you’ll have a good idea about where to set up during the hunting season.
Many hunters set up trail cameras in key locations so they can track deer on their land. Record the times when game animals arrive and depart. Notice if you have bucks or does, and how many show up together. Little details will help you establish a hunting spot where you can bag a deer. Don’t forget to track the weather, wind direction, and other animals you see.
You should also look around for the bedding areas. Wander around your land, mark the bedding areas you identify and plan your tree stand locations based on what you find. Deer don’t wander too far from their bedding locations unless it’s rutting time for the bucks.
Let the wind help you
Your scent is the biggest giveaway to your location when it comes to deer hunting. The wind can play a significant factor in keeping deer from approaching your stand. Because the wind changes throughout the day, some hunters set up tree stands in different locations. Some hunters hide in ditches and wander through creek beds to avoid having their scents get caught in the wind.
If the wind is against you, choose a different hunting day. Unfortunately, some hunters only have a few days available, so they have to figure out how to use the wind, topography, and hiding places to their advantage.
Understanding the difference between being upwind and downwind can help you get your deer. If you are upwind of the deer, the wind blows your scent right to them. If you’re downwind, the deers’ scent blows toward you, and that is the situation you want. When you’re upwind of deer, they tend to stay far away, making your expedition more challenging than a downwind day.
Use the best gear
When it comes to hunting gear, you get what you pay for. Your hunting gear should help you mask your scent and keep your EMR under wraps. The tree stand or blind you buy should be silent in the wind and be free of any smelly chemicals. Read reviews, shop around, and buy the stuff that will help you bag a deer.
Investing in top gear saves you money in the long run. The cheap stuff tends to break, so you have to replace it. The good stuff lasts for years and works in all types of weather conditions.
Follow the doe
Another helpful way to get a big buck is to follow the does. When bucks begin to rut, they start looking for the does. If you’re looking for a trophy buck with a substantial rack, look for doe bedding areas, and he just might show up.
A rutting buck isn’t as cautious as one who already has a doe, so it might take more of a chance wandering into sketchy territory where you’re sitting and waiting. No matter your skill level, you have a better chance of getting a big buck if you find where the available does are spending their time.
Keep in mind that bucks become more active when the rut begins. Usually, bucks move at night, but once they start chasing the does, they move any time of the day or night. You can learn where the bucks are when they rut because they leave scrape and rub lines. These signs can also lead you right to a prize buck.
Remember that the scrape lines disappear when the bucks get their does. Male deer activity changes when they’ve hooked up, so they don’t need to leave scrapes and rubs. Buck activity changes several times through the rut.
If you do get the opportunity to take a shot, make sure it’s an ethical one. Aim for the heart near the front of the body, so the deer dies quickly. You might not be able to take a shot because you only have a view of the backside or another part without any vital organs.
Bowhunters have to be especially cautious because they could hit the deer, and it could wander around with the arrow in it for a long time. The goal is to make a shot that will quickly and cleanly kill the deer. Disciplined hunters wait for the right opening, meaning they don’t shoot if they can’t do it ethically.
Be patient and watch
Finally, you must enjoy the experience. Being patient, watching, and taking in the scenery and experience make hunting pure joy. Of course, the goal is to shoot a deer, but if you walk out empty-handed, you still enjoy nature. There are benefits to quiet time in the woods, deer or no deer.
Improving your hunting success means taking time to learn about your prey and what spooks them. Being quiet, scent-free, and alert increases your chances of getting a deer. Learn about the does, look around for bedding, and invest in quality gear.