If you are considering going deer hunting for the first time you are probably overexcited and cannot wait to get to business. Dear hunting, however, may not be as simple as you think. If you are new to hunting be sure to check these deer hunting tips for beginners to get on the right track.
Keep it legal
Are you ready to grab the rifle and get into the woods? You should have a little more patience because there are several legal formalities to get out of the way first.
The deer season usually runs from early fall until the late winter, however, there may be differences from one state to another. Another factor that applies to the hunting season is your choice of weapon. Whether you are going to be hunting with a bow or a special firearm like muzzleloader, or with a regular rifle, as well as the ammunition you are going to use, may assign you to a different part of the hunting season.
Before you plan your first hunting trip you should check the following with your local wildlife agency.
- When does the deer hunting season begin and end, considering your choice of weapon and ammunition?
- What is the limit of kills per hunter per day?
- What hunting license do you need and how to obtain it?
- Do you need to pass any additional safety certification classes?
The above information varies depending on your location and is the very minimum you’ll need before you can get set for hunting.
Get to know your weapon
When it comes to hunting the first thing you need to decide on is what are you going to be hunting with. There are certainly a few options, including bow, pistol, even atlatl. However, since we are currently looking at deer hunting tips for beginners, it is advisable to start with something easy and accessible, such as a rifle.
Being comfortable with your weapon of choice is essential for the success of the hunt. After all, you should be able to hit your target and this requires some practice before going in the field.
During the off-season, try to go shooting as often as possible. If you plan on hunting in a forested area 50 yards may a good practicing point. If you think about hunting in wide open areas, however, 50 to 100 yards may be just a warm up before you move up to 200 yards.
While shooting at the range try to work the action slowly and quietly as you would in the field. After each session, don’t forget to put the safety on.
Getting ready for the hunt
If you have already passed all legal formalities, the hunting season has started, and you feel comfortable enough with your weapon, then you are pretty much good to go.
When it comes to preparing for the actual hunting trip, there are several other deer hunting tips for beginners you will want to keep in mind.
Get dressed accordingly
You need to have a lot of patience when you go hunting. You may spend quite a few hours just sitting and waiting so you have to be prepared for changes in the weather.
Before you go you must keep an eye on the forecast. If it’s going to be warm you better wear several thin layers in case it’s cold in the morning and evening and hot during the day.
In cold weather wear heavy warm coats and always bring a neck warmer and a cap. Warm and waterproof hunting boots are also a must in the cold.
In some states, there is a requirement to wear orange on a hunting trip. When gun hunting, you should wear an orange vest at all times so you are easily noticed by other hunters. This might just save your life.
Pack the necessities
While hunting there are several other pieces of equipment that will come in handy. Be sure to pack a headlight for the beginning and end of the hunt, some extra ammo, a rangefinder, and binoculars. A good pair of binoculars might sound like something extra for a beginner hunter but they will save you a lot of time walking around and will help you notice animals you might have missed otherwise.
In case the hunt is successful you will also need a sharp knife, some zip-ties to tag your game, a rope to hang it for the rest of the hunt, and a tarp to drag it more easily afterwards.
Always apply insect repellent
It may not sound as exciting as the gutting knife you’ll need after you shoot the deer, but bringing insect repellent might be one of the most underestimated deer hunting tips for beginners.
First of all, it may save you a lot of pain if you avoid getting bit by ants, mosquitoes, and especially by ticks. On the other side, the deer might notice something is not right if you keep swatting sand flies and mosquitoes.
Don’t forget to apply the repellent not only on your skin but on your clothes as well to make sure you don’t bring any ticks or other insects home to your family.
Eliminate your human odor
Deer have an extremely good sense of smell. Before heading to the hunting area you should make sure you eliminate as much of your human odor as possible. Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol from the previous day and use odorless products when showering.
Additionally, it is highly advisable that you line your hunting clothing with activated charcoal and carry odor eliminator while hunting.
Hunting is a game of patience. You may be lucky enough to go home from your first hunting trip with a kill in your book. Most of the time, however, hunting deer means waiting quietly at your spot and waiting for the deer to come around.
Sometimes you see the deer but miss the shot. Other times you may not see a single deer through the whole hunt. It may be frustrating at the moment but having patience will pay off in the long run and will help you gain the skills to eventually side along with the expert hunters.
Remember that practice makes perfect and following these deer hunting tips for beginners will surely improve your chances of filling up some hunting tags.
But most importantly, do not forget to enjoy the experience.