Check out these essential deer hunting tips where I share some helpful hints for being successful this deer season.
Deer season is here in some parts of the country, and is just around the corner in other places. While everybody loves talking about deer hunting calibers and ammunition, there’s more to deer hunting than just those things. Here are a few helpful deer hunting tips that will hopefully help you close the deal and fill your tags this hunting season.
Hunt Using the Right Wind
I can’t emphasize this one enough. Hunting with the wind in your favor is probably the single most important factor that goes into a successful deer hunt. As the saying goes: “you might fool a deer’s eyes or ears, but you won’t fool his nose.” This is especially true when hunting mature deer who have lived through a few hunting seasons.
Unfortunately, no amount of scent eliminating spray or clothing is 100% effective at completely removing all odors from you and your gear. Though they can certainly be useful and can help you during a hunt (as I discuss later), using scent eliminating products is no substitute for hunting with the wind in your favor.
Instead of relying upon scent eliminating products, use some sort of tool that indicates the wind direction. Several companies make “Windicators” that are pretty useful, yet inexpensive. However, a small bag or bottle of ash will accomplish the same thing and is even less expensive. Once you determine the wind direction, do your best to hunt into the wind and stay downwind of where you expect to see deer.
Wear a Face Mask & Gloves
This deer hunting tip is often overlooked by many hunters. However, wearing a camouflage face mask and gloves can be critical to success when hunting deer. Generally speaking, the face and hands are the two body parts that you move around the most when sitting on a stand.
Therefore, you should ensure that your hands and face blend into the background as much as possible. This is even more important for those of us that have light colored skin. Remember: a moving white object is used to communicate danger among whitetails. The last thing you want to do is go to scratch your face in the woods and a deer (that you didn’t know was there) busts you.
Dress in Muted Colors
It’s not necessary to wear the newest and most advanced camouflage patterns to be successful on a deer hunt. Our fathers and grandfathers successfully killed thousands of deer without dressing like they just stepped out of a Cabela’s catalog.
Deer do not see colors quite like we do. Generally speaking, their eyes see colors at the blue end of the color spectrum much better than colors on the red end of the spectrum. They also see light in the ultra-violet (UV) spectrum pretty well.
What does this mean? For one, it means that deer can’t see your orange vest. It also means you should avoid wearing blue colored clothing (such as jeans) when hunting.
Finally, it also means that you should avoid washing your hunting clothes with detergents that contain UV brighteners. This will prevent your clothes from appearing to “glow” from the perspective of a deer. Do an internet search for UV brightener free laundry detergents and be sure to wash your hunting clothes with them. Most of the scent eliminating detergents (like Scent-Lok’s laundry detergent) are UV brightener free, but you can also wash your clothes with just about any hypo-allergenic, scent free detergent that works almost as well.
Don’t Slam Your Car Door
This is another often overlooked tip. Especially when things are quiet, sound can carry a very long distance in the woods. A slamming car door is a very unnatural noise that deer hundreds of yards away can potentially hear. Deer that have survived a couple of hunting seasons aren’t stupid: they know what that sound means and they will behave more cautiously if they hear it.
Hunt During the Middle of the Day
In terms of sheer number of deer killed, it is true that the morning and evening are the most productive times of day to hunt. However, mature deer do not usually behave like most other deer and will quickly “pattern” the hunters pursuing them. If you’re consistently hunting from 6am to 9am each day, it probably won’t take long for the deer to figure this out and avoid the area during those times.
Additionally, the big bucks will often move the most at night during hunting season and will bed down for a couple of hours in the morning. By the time 11am rolls around, some of them will be back on their feet to stretch their legs and grab a quick bite to eat before bedding down again for a bit.
So what does this mean for you? Pack a lunch, and attempt to sit in your stand all day long, if necessary. If you can’t do that, then at least ensure that you’re in the stand during that critical 10am-1pm period of the day.