Deer hunting is legal in the USA, Canada, Europe with some restrictions. Hunters hunt them for population management, meat, and pest control. If you are a beginner, don’t jump directly to deer hunting. At first, practice your hunting skill on small game animals like squirrels, rabbits, and doves. Modern hunters make this mistake quite often.
This article covers all steps of deer hunting in detail. So, read it from start to end before booking your hunting trip.
Deer hunting guide101 is a comprehensive guide for passionate hunters who want to hunt deer this year. From here, you will get to know where to start and what steps to follow during hunting. It also guides you on how to find deer and what to know about it before and after hunting. The most essential step is where to shoot on its body.
Everything about this game is written in detail. But remember just reading can’t make you a good hunter. You need to acquire shooting skills, scouting techniques, and many more!
Let’s dive into the step by step process of hunting deer:
Where to Start?
To start deer hunting, it is crucial to get extensive knowledge about your target species. Not all species are allowed to hunt. You should first ask some wildlife experts or check the hunting rules to know what species is legal to hunt in hunting areas near you. Search, search, and search is the key to success.
Local people are much aware of deer populations. They are the best source of your guidance other than internet sources. Be practical in your hunting approach. Spend more and more time to find out the whereabouts of the deer population on hunting grounds.
Things You Should Remember:
- The first step is to check deer hunting rules
- Check which type of hunting gear is allowed
- Ask local people about the deer hunting population
- Get extensive knowledge to locate deer bedding or feeding areas
- Get a hunting safety Certificate and set out with your reliable hunter friend
Things to Know Before Deer Hunting
You can’t jump directly to the hunting ground. To be a successful hunter, you need to get yourself familiarized with hunting techniques as well as safety rules. For this, it is a must thing to spend time with local hunters or hunting grounds before starting hunting.
Expert hunters will always advise you to do a few things before taking a shot:
Decide where to Hunt
The first step to do before deer hunting is to focus on your decision. Make a clear mindset after going through the wildlife rules. Mark your favorite hunting destination on the map and if you can manage to visit this area once or twice before hunting actually.
You should visit the area to get a clear view of where you can find your target animal. It will also give you an idea about the plantation growing near the deer habitat.
Decide what to hunt
After deciding where you‘ll actually start hunting adventure, the next decision will be to ask yourself the simple question.
- Whether I’ll hunt for male or female adult or buck.
- Whether I will hunt male or female (check rules first)
- Which species of deer will be your hunting target animal.
- Whether I‘ll hunt bucks or adult
- Whether I’ll take full venison with me or a part of it
Warning: Never aim at the pregnant doe. It’s an inhumane act. Check this article to tell if the doe is pregnant or not?
Now set up your mind that you’re going to hunt a male buck, female doe, or adult stage. Here again how to identify male or female deer can cause problems. Read this article to get the full knowledge of the identification of male and female deer.
This type of planning will save you from a lot of confusion and troubleshoot. For example, if you go on hunting a doe without knowing she is pregnant or not you may have to suffer from guilt or fine from the wildlife department.
Decide When to Hunt
Now the decision about the hunting place and target animal is final. The next step would be to decide at what time you will hunt. For this, you’ll have to think in this line.
Should I hunt day time or night time?
In which month, should I set off for hunting?
The best month is to hunt deer during rut fall. This rut behavior is different in different species. For this, you should do proper research about every species of deer you’re intending to target.
Apply Scent Blocker
The most crucial thing to do before entering the hunting area is to use a scent blocker. Remember deer can smell the human odor from ¼ miles away if he is not trying to hide. It would be really annoying that here you spot a deer and in the next moment the deer ran away.
For this, you’ll have to use scent blockers to hide your smell. This will help you to pursue the animal successfully. Deer are fast runners. Once they smell you, they’ll no longer stay there.
Wear Proper Hunting Clothes
Choose the right color hunting clothes. Deer vision is 20/100 that means it can see at 20 feet what humans can see around 100 feet. The color vision of the deer is low as compared to humans. He can’t see glaring colors or orange colors from far off distance.
They can distinguish blue from red, but not green from red or orange from red. They can see short wavelength color spectrums easily rather than long wavelengths. It would be a big mistake to think that deer are entirely colorblind.
That’s why you always choose the right color for your hunting costume. The costume should be made up of comfortable material that is easy to walk. There is a big collection of hunter dresses available now. YOu can get any of your sizes at a reasonable rate.
Check Hunting Rules
Deer hunting is legal in North America, Canada in some parts of Asia, Europe, and Africa. However, the hunting rules of each state can be slightly different. Do a proper search on internet sources before planning a hunting outstation.
Any violation or ignorance of hunting rules may result in hefty fines or even police arrest. Check the lawyers and safety guides carefully and if possible register yourself as a licensed hunter before hunting in other countries.
Buy Deer Hunting Gears
If you’re a shooter then it would be good to shoot with gears that you practiced mostly. If you’re a beginner, buy hunting gear after doing proper research. It’s up to your preference also. If you want to go on with bow hunting, buy bows, and practice random shots on deer dummy before entering the hunting ground.
If you’re good at gun shooting then go on to choose the right deer hunting guns. Here in this guide, we’ll guide you about the right deer hunting gear. So, keep reading!
Know About Deer
Finally, you’re done with target deer species to hunt. Hunting time. Hunting place. Hunting gear, hunting costume, hunting technique, and scent blocker. Early preparation is almost done. This is not enough. Get extensive knowledge about your target animal. You must know each and every fact of this animal related to hunting.
It’s impossible to learn everything about each species. But what is a must thing to know?
Get full knowledge on these topics before leaving home:
- What do deer eat
- What does whitetail eat?
- Where do deer go to sleep?
- How to identify deer poop, feces, or muzzle
- Deer foot marks identification
- When does doe deliver fawns?
- Deer Call and deer noises
- Deer activity Time
- Rut fall behavior in Male bucks
- Deer Vision and Color Vision of deer
- What food deer like most
- How to Attract deer to hunting grounds
Pack your Hunting Bag
The hunting plan is ready now. It’s time to pack your hunting bag and set off with your hunter friend. Never try this adventure alone or without telling any responsible authorities before. In the case of any mishap, they will reach out to you for help.
Ask for permission from responsible hunting authorities of each state. Get your permission letter and do inform them of the date and time of your hunting schedule. Keep in touch with them through wireless communication devices if you could not return back on time.
There should be the following items in your hunting bag:
- Scent Blocker
- Deer call
- Communication system
- Food items
- Extra hunting costume
- Optic instruments
- Hunting weapons
- Water Bottle
How many things you can take with you depends on accessibility. If you can take automobiles or hunting jeeps inside the hunting area or not. Mostly you’ll have to hunt while walking on foot. In African forests, you can take jeeps inside the forest. But in North America and Canada, it is impossible to track deer on jeeps. So, pack smartly!
Things to Do When you Enter Deer Hunting Areas
After following the above instructions, you can enter the hunting ground fully aware of hunting as well as safety rules. The first step would be to find the deer that is not easy.
Below are a few guidelines that can save your time in moving here and there in search of deer:
Find The Deer
Your first task is to search for deer. Never expect that you will encounter deer immediately right after your feet touching the hunting spot. Maybe you could not spot them after hours of search. This happens when you chose the wrong hunting area, hunting time, hunting month, and wrong hunting techniques. For this always plan your hunting schedule wisely. It will save you time as well as your efforts.
Below are few things to consider for a successful deer search:
Search for Deer Muzzle
The first evidence of deer presence near you is deer poop or deer muzzle. If poop is fresh, it means that deer have made their way through the hunting area recently. If poop is dry, it is also a clue that deer come there on and off. To identify deer poop, read this article, What does deer poop look like. Poop identification will also help you in pursuing deer herds on vast woodlands.
Search For Deer Favorite Food Sources
Deer are herbivores and browsers. They can eat fruit, veggies, browning plants, mustard as well as nuts. Keep an eye on the plantation along with the hunting areas. When you mind opened nuts, fallen from trees, you can expect deer near. However, deer preferences for feeding change with the availability of food sources.
During snowfall, you can find them browsing dry tree branches or leaves. Agricultural areas are very attractive to deer. Nowadays farmers are plotting certain veggies to attract deer populations to their property. If you want to hunt in such areas you should ask for permission from the property owner.
What do deer eat is a very informative article if you want to know the names of each plant type that deer like to eat. So, read this and keep the pictures of these plants in your smartphone devices to identify them if you feel it difficult to identify these plants in thick woodlands.
Search for Deer Track Or Identify Footprint
Though footprint tracking is overlooked by recent hunters. But still, it is helpful. Footprints of fawn fade away or disappear in the mud early. However, tracks of bucks stay longer on the ground if its weight is around 200 pounds. You can even identify deer sex whether it’s buck or doe through its tracks. Though doe and bucks have the same track bucks walk a little bit heavier on the palm of his track.
If toes are spread with two claws, it means a running track. It can be of doe or buck both. If toes are not spread it would be buck claws. If you find so many footprints mixed up to a certain distance and then disappear, it means that there will be a herd of deer passing that way.
By identifying their sex, you can tell whether it was buck herd or doe herd. In most species of deer, females stay in separate groups while bucks join up to make small occasional groups.
If you observe carefully, you will see there are different kinds of footprints on the land.
Search For Deer Bedding Areas
It is less likely to catch a sight of deer sleeping. As a fresher, you might be in search of sleepy deer to get a successful shot. However, it’s easier said than done. Deer sleep under long grasses and shady areas in woodlands. Where do deer go to sleep is an interesting article to tell you everything about deer bedding areas in detail.
During the daytime, it would be hard to find deer sleeping somewhere. Sometimes even at night, you may not be able to catch them, sleeping. It is time taking skill so I would advise not to search for sleepy deer. It would be good to find browsing deer.
Search Deer Through Deer Noise or Use Grunt Call
Once you get in the forest, you’ll hear so many animal noises. YOu can identify deer noise through its sound pattern. To get yourself familiar with such sounds, read on and listen to Mp3 of what noises do deer make fully. The best hunting time is to approach during rut fall. YOu can hear long grunt sounds like MEeeeeEEeeeeee made by adult bucks to attract doe. You can also use grunt calls to get called deer.
This technique has been successfully used by many experienced hunters. It saves the time of tracking deer. What you need to do is to buy a deer grunt call and play it until you get the deer’s attention. But keep at a safe distance. During the rut, there are so many stories of deer aggressive behavior.
Search Deer Near Shed of Antler
Search for deer through Shedd off antlers.
Deer may leave the area but leave a few signs for hunters. Male deer in most cases and females do, in exceptional cases shed off antlers before the breeding season. This antler is a heavy branched cover of bones. If you find one in a hunting area, it is big evidence of the deer population nearby. Hunters love to collect this antler as it is sold at high rates.
Deer search is extremely easy on public land. However, it’s quite challenging in hilly and snowy hills like Canada.
Use Binoculars to Search For Deer
Open hunting areas are very vast. It’s impossible to reach out to every corner. Even if you hear a deer sound, sometimes you can’t get close to him because the woods or plantations make him invisible. Thanks to technology that there are binoculars now, Being a hunter, you should get the advantage of hunting binoculars to save deer search time. Fresh hunters are not good at guessing the direction of animal noises. So, always take the help of this optic device to avoid guess game.
Things To Know While Shooting Deer
If you follow the above instructions, it’s impossible that you return back without spotting deer. Imagine you’re on the hunting ground and you successfully spotted deer. It’s time to take aim at your target.4 But stop read the lines below for successful shooting:
After spotting deer, take your position. Remember, if deer are in a herd you may have better chances to hit the target. But if the deer is alone you should take position quickly as it may leave anytime. And you must know they are good runners as well as a jumper.
Once they get out of sight, it is challenging to catch their sight again. You must be ¼ miles away from the deer and the right hunting position is as if your bow or weapon is directed right towards the belly or under the shoulder of the deer.
Set Up Hunting Gear
Put your hunting kit silently and hide behind the wood to take a shot if you’re using bows. In the case of gunshots, take aim when the deer is right in front of you. Your shot shouldn’t hit the head. It should go towards the belly or mass of deer. For more accuracy, get the optic instrument like a hunting rangefinder, magnifiers, or scopes. If you want to know more about rangefinder read these articles.
Where to Shoot
Now the deer is right at the target and you’re about to push the trigger. Or you are ready to shoot a bow. Take aim at the heart side or lungs side of the animals. It will cause immediate death and a big blood trail. Otherwise, you’ll have to go on for more shots.
How To Shoot
Shooting while walking can be risky. Most hunters do this. I would recommend if you’re a much-experienced hunter then you can do it. But for freshers, it is not a healthy exercise. Always take a shot in a standing position.
Things to Know After Shooting Deer
Wait, the game is not over yet. There is still something to do after shooting deer. Below are a few must-do tasks after shooting deer!
Wait For a Few Minutes
Hunters often make this mistake after shooting. They quickly rush towards the killed animal. Responsible hunters will never approach the drop off animal unless other deer from the herd fled away. Sometimes low-quality bow shootings may result in wounds, not death. When you approach an injured animal, it can hurt you or the animal more as he will try to run away with wounds. For this, make sure that the animal is dead and then approach.
Cut Your Favourite Piece of Deer Venison
Deer is a heavy animal that is not easy to carry. Choose your favorite piece that you want to take home with you and cut it with a knife. Leave the other part there for other hungry animals in the wild and leave the place before dark. Lions or other animals in the forest will eat up the remains.
Leave The Hunting Ground Before Dark
Never stay on hunting grounds at night. Such areas are full of animals that can attack you. In this case, if you‘ll have to stay there for weather or rainfall, do proper arrangements to hide or keep the fire burning to avoid animal attacks. If one hunter is sleeping others should be awake. In developed countries hunting hours are fixed. Hunter is bound to return back within the time.
Celebrate your First Hunt
Don’t forget to take a photograph of your first hunt. Call your friends to celebrate your success. Serve them with grilled deer meat. Enjoy!
This step by step deer hunting guide will make your hunting journey easier. Fresh hunters should practice hunting skills on other animals before joining the big animal hunts. For me, the most difficult step is to find the deer, and for you what is difficult? Share your experience and stories of deer hunting with us. We love to hear from you! Keep sharing!