The tall and enchanting deer stood on a high stone among the woods. Its long neck was looking continuously moving as if searching for something but the deer was itself still and rooted to the spot. One of its front legs was stretched out and one of the back ones was stretched back as if it was just about to spring forward and run away. It was now or never for me. Yes, you are thinking right! I was out there doing deer hunting with crossbows. The deer looked magnificent in that instance, standing in between tall trees, on a huge stone, with its face towards the sun and sunlight throwing sparkles on its skin. The orange of the deer’s skin looked gold at that moment and for a moment I was appalled and completely bewitched to its beauty. However, soon I came to senses, I straightened out from where I was standing in between the trees, hidden and positioned my crossbow. I set my target, pulled the trigger of my crossbow and shot. The arrow hit the deer straight in the abdomen, passing through both of its lungs.
The deer stumbled but did not fall and that is when I fired a second shot; this time the arrow hit its heart right on the spot, in between its shoulder and neck and the deer feel sideways on the ground with a loud thud. I went over to the lifeless body of my hunt and silently praised my work; this hunt was among my best ones until then and it still is until now. Soon, my fellow hunters arrived on the spot, most probably because they heard of the loud sound of the deer falling. The agenda of deer hunting was complete now and we were dying to taste our hunt apart from the fact that we were starving as well. Soon, we had a camp set up and we got busy in preparing our meal. First, we performed the caping as we had to take back the trophy of our hunt, then the skinning and butchering as well. The meal was delicious no doubt and we had a memorable day. I have been hunting for over ten years now. In this article, I will share some fundamentals about deer hunting with you which will help you out greatly.
I do not promise to teach you everything through this article but I assure you that you will get in the game of deer hunting and will learn a lot about it. It is possible that my information may differ from the one which you gained from other sources on the internet or from your friends or family. But this will be because I will be speaking on the basis of my experience which I must remind you is quite an extensive experience. Let us begin:
How to Do Deer Hunting?
1- Choosing Your Hunting Weapon
The first thing to decide is what hunting weapon would you like to choose for yourself. There is a huge variety of hunting weapons available in stores from which you can hunt. So, which ones is the better one? The weapon which you can use for hunting can be a crossbow, a simple bow, a pistol, a rifle, a shotgun, etc. You should choose from this list of weapons according to your own preference. Mostly, people start with a rifle as they think it is one of the easiest ways to go. A rifle is fast and is easy to shoot from as well. You just need a little training but there are certain disadvantages of using rifles for deer hunting as well. The most important one among them is that the loud bang of a rifle shooting can scare away your hunt into fleeing if you miss the shot once. So, you better be very accurate and an expert at what you are doing or it is good to not use rifles and move on to the next option which is the crossbow.
A crossbow does not make that much of a noise and also give you the true feeling of hunting whereas a firearm does not give that feeling. But with every pro comes a con as well and in this case, the disadvantage is the heavyweight of a crossbow and the extensive training it requires from the user in order to use it properly. A rifle is good for a beginner but if you have hunted before, then I will suggest you use a crossbow as it will give you the real thrill of hunting and will make you actually enjoy it. When buying a rifle or a crossbow for deer hunting, you must decide and fix a budget first. Your weapon of choice must be able to perform efficiently, is according to your preference, style and need, and affordable as well. In case of a rifle, it is a good choice to actually go to the store and try out different rifles or you can get a recommendation from a friend or family member who is into hunting.
The same buying technique can be applied to the purchase of a crossbow. Going to the store in real and actually trying out the weapon will make you see how you feel about the weapon in your hands and if it is for you or not. When it comes to a firearm, you must make sure to buy a gun of a caliber which is appropriate for deer hunting. If your gun does not have enough power, then it won’t be of any use to you during hunting. You can browse on the internet and you will find some good options which are used frequently by hunters. You can also read their reviews which clearly state the pros and cons of each gun. We all know that practice makes perfect so make sure to practice hard before you go on the actual hunt. This tip is for beginners only, of course but the expert hunters should also practice from time to time to stay at the top of their game.
2- Finding the Hunting Area
Before hunting deer, the first step is to hunt for appropriate land to do so. For this, you must decide what type of deer you want to hunt. You can hunt down whitetails and you can also go for the common ones. The presence of the animal you want to hunt is a prerequisite and a must in the search of hunting land. Choosing the right land also depends on the factor whether you just want to go on a one-day field hunting trip or you want to spend a few days in the wood. To find your area for hunting, you can search for such areas on a map. Detailed maps can be borrowed from federal agencies which have clear markings of various trails, hunting areas, roads, and public lands. You can also buy maps from the US Forest Service and can search on the web as well.
There are some secret hunting spots as well and trust me they fascinate more than other hunting lands because very few people know of these lands as they are owned by local people. The biggest difficulty here is finding them as they are not marked on maps etc. You just have to ask around from people or local government and find them on your own. If you choose to hunt on public land, then make sure to properly check their rules and regulations. Sometimes, vehicles are restricted in such areas and you might not want to get into any trouble so always check the rules first and make sure you follow them.
3- Carry Necessary Items Only
It is usually the case that vehicles of any sort are banned on hunting lands, and the only way to go forward is on foot. Which is why you must make sure to only carry a few items of utmost importance only. Do not carry extra items as they will just add to your weight. Hunting land is not like clear land, as we all know. You will have to climb, hike and what not. So, it is better to plan properly and pack only the essentials. A hunting weapon, let it be a crossbow or a rifle, is itself quite heavy and you would not want anything to add to that weight, especially when you are going on foot.
4- Getting Dressed Properly
A hunter should be properly dressed for the hunting trip. Also, he/she must carry the required gear as it is absolutely necessary to have some items to help one out during hunting. Here, a hunter must decide properly about the items he/she must carry and must not carry. Some of the items which you should carry are:
- A hunting weapon (gun, crossbow or anything else)
- A vest and a hat (preferably of orange color)
- Pack of ammunition in case you are choosing a gun as your weapon for hunting.
- A reliable and durable knife (most preferably a survival or a hunting knife for catering to different hunting chores i.e. skinning, caping and butchering the hunt).
- A torch or a flashlight
- Big gloves made up of rubber (for taking care of your hunt)
- Warm clothing i.e. jacket, gloves, and a hat if you are going for a hunt in winters.
- A backpack or a bag of some other kind for carrying your essentials.
5- When to Do Deer Hunting?
People normally find it appealing to hunt during the fall where the sight of burning wood, roaring fire, and chilly air enthralls them. Even though this is a picture which is printed in the minds of many people, the truth is that deer hunting most of the time is done during summer or in the early days of winter. There are a few reasons apart from the weather due to which hunting is performed in the early days of the fall. Here are some of them: In the early days of hunting season, there are plenty of deer out in the woods. Their number keeps on decreasing with time. Moreover, deer which are not chased by hunters for the most part of the year are very relaxed and thus their guard is down, which is why it is quite easy to hunt those deer down. This is why the early days of the season are referred for deer hunting.
Food is one thing about which deer worry about in those early days of fall when the season is changing and so do the sources of their food. This is why it becomes easy for us hunters to predict their food and use it to track them down. Food i.e. corn and soybeans are the popular food of early-season after which deer go. So, you can use baiting to attract deer towards you and within your shooting range. After all, baiting always works. Deer hunting is a very exciting sport and is quite frustrating as well. You must be determined to do it, and be prepared for running, climbing and hours after hours of chasing deer, otherwise you won’t be able to catch any and will soon lose track of your main goal. You look for trails and chase deer as if you are trying to solve some mystery. Most of the times, the hunter has to sit by the whole day just to let his strategy do its work as he bids his/her time.
What you can do is to target a prime funnel that is used by the deer for traveling. These areas can be used by the deer for bedding and for feeding as well. Then you can hide near that area and wait for the deer to come there. Just when the deer comes in your range, you can use bait to drive it closer and into your shooting range. That, right then, is the perfect time to hunt.
How to Create a Plot for Deer?
Creating a plot for deer is of utmost importance if you want to lessen the chasing phase and want your prey to come to you itself. Here are a few things which you can do to achieve this purpose of yours.
The first thing to pay attention to is the timing. You will have to plan the whole thing properly and will have to do lots of hard work as well. As we discussed above, it is considered a good practice to hunt during the early season, therefore, you should mark your calendar accordingly. This can be the difference between your success and failure and also between the plot of a poor hunter and that of an expert hunter. The deer are more comfortable during the early season and are feeling safe, which is why this time is considered as the best time to hunt them down. Also, some people also plant their baits early to attract a special type of species. An early plantation of bait results in a fully grown field full of food for the deer where you can hunt them down during the early days of the season. So, to sum it all, timing is everything!
2- Type of Food
The vegetation for the bait has to be planted in the wild where the deer live. This area can raise lots of problems as well. Plantation in the forest does not get much sunlight and cannot spread over a large area as well due to trees and shrubs. So, that leaves the hunters with very little option of food species to plant there. We have to go for the best option and in this case, the best option is to plant white clover. The white clover has the ability to grow in a shady area, where the sunlight is less and it can also sprawl which makes it one of the best options to be grown on the forest land. There are some other vegetation which you can plant i.e. cereal grains i.e. rye and winter wheat but these ones require the use of herbicides, otherwise, they will be gone already before the deer can reach them.
Many people get disappointed when they see that the area in which they want to hunt is not that fertile to grow vegetation and is poor. But you don’t have to be so disappointed. What you can do is to check the samples of the soil before you actually plan vegetation there. This is why you must do research before doing anything. Check the pH levels of the soil and then decide accordingly. You can treat the soil with lime or you can choose some other patch of soil for planting vegetation.
These are the some of the basics which you must know about deer hunting and will help you in your next hunt, for sure. Just be well prepared of what you might face there and choose your hunting weapon wisely.