Wednesday, October 24, 2007

For the beginning hunter

I am writing this post to give a basic "how to" for those who wish to learn to hunt but may be having trouble finding advice from a non-biased individual. I don't sell any of the products that I endorse here. But, I have wasted my money on a bunch. Do what works for you... but what follows is my recipe for a successful hunt.

  1. Launder clothing in "Scent-A-Way" detergent and then store the clothes in a plastic tote. Be sure not to use the earth scent if you hunt in a tree this will tell the deer that there is something different in the woods. In fact, all such cover scents or scented detergents and soaps tend to have the opposite effect for me. I use the plain only. I use "Scent-A-Way" because that is what works the best for me.
  2. Take a scent free shower using "Scent-A-Way" soap and shampoo and use their deodorant as well.
  3. Put on your hunting clothes then drive to the woods. In the summer time I like to wear silver ion antimicrobial shirt, hat, socks, and underwear. They really do prevent odors related to sweat and as an added bonus they keep you cooler too.
  4. Be sure someone knows where you will be exactly. And stick to the plan.
  5. Once you have gotten out of the vehicle and gathered all of the equipment that you are taking with you; spray everything (including your clothing, equipment and your boots) that you're taking into the woods with "Scent-A-Way" spray (again just the plain stuff). Interesting note: I dress before leaving for the hunt. My thinking is that if I happen to pick up scent particles on my clothing while driving to the stand, I will likely have it also in my hair and the rest of my skin as well. If, on the other hand, I am going to be wearing a jacket and bibs I will pack them in a tote for the trip. A general rule is this if it is practical to wear something that is scent treated on your way to hunting and then change when you get there, then do that. But, if your like me, I don't feel comfortable stripping in the open which is where my truck is normally parked.
  6. I hike out to the treestand wearing only what is necessary in an effort to avoid sweating. I like to pack a backpack with survival gear if I am going any distance into the woods. I take: sharp knife, multi-tool, magnesium fire starting device, canteen, rope, deer drag, compass, GPS, toilet paper and a flashlight. It could be argued that you should bring some peanut butter with you or something to sustain you should you be injured in the woods and need to spend a few days there.
  7. If at all possible, have your treestand/ground blind placed in an area that is between a known bedding area and a known food source. To determine if these areas are active: look for tracks, disturbed plants (bent or cracked, pushed a certain way), poop (if the poo is clumped together then you know that this is a feeding area that is close to a bedding area. The clumpy stuff is their first poo after waking up.
  8. Now when choosing a place to put your stand/blind keep some simple but important things in mind. Deer don't see in 3 dimensions. To truly understand this walk in the woods and close one eye. Notice how hard it is to make out details. Be very careful not to walk around doing this or you may run into trees or fall off a ledge. Additionally, deer see in black, white and shades of gray. Now, that is not to say they don't pick up any movement at ground level or 20 ft up a tree. Guard against sudden movements and plan any movement to correspond with the movement of the deer. Because as they move do does their environment around them. Movement that is timed to be about in pace with a walking deer will seem to them to be normal. So if you can draw a bow, gun, etc while the deer is walking they are less likely to pick you off and take every deer in the county with them.
  9. Be sure that you consider the wind in your effort or it will be for not. I have had deer down wind of me (I have never used carbon suits because I think they are a gimmick) with no ill effect, however if you take all precautions you will be more consistent in seeing deer. A general rule: hunt with the wind in your face while facing the direction that you expect the deer to come from. For example, if you are hunting in the evening deer will most likely be coming from the bedding area that you found earlier. The morning hunt they will probably be moving from the food source. During the rut try to set up where you would go if you had a super dupper deer nose and wanted to smell if any chicks were in the general area. Downwind corners of fields are great for this.
  10. Never hunt right in a bedding area or right on a trail. Deer are very familiar with these areas and will notice something out of place just like you would if someone rearranged your bedroom furniture. I like to stay 50 yards away from a bedding area and about 20 yards off of a trail.
  11. Practice shooting often, before and during the season. All the above work won't help you if you miss the deer and educate them in the process.
  12. Once a deer is shot, wait a minimum of a half hour before climbing out of your stand. Once you climb out of your stand go to where the deer was shot. If using archery equipment, inspect the arrow if it has bubbly blood you have a lung shot and the deer is probably not far. If you find anything less than bubbly blood on an arrow then give a few hours before starting the tracking process. If you see food or anything green on the arrow you have gut shot the animal and need to wait until tomorrow to track the deer.
  13. Tracking a deer is really a lot of fun. Remember the hunt is still on until you have the deer motionless in front of you. Try to keep talking and noise to a minimum. Even if you know that your deer is down keep the area minimally disturbed for future hunts. Go to the place where the deer was shot. Take your survival bag with you. Follow the blood trail into the woods and place a piece of T.P. (toilet paper) on tree limbs as you go to give an easy reference point should you loose the blood trail. Also, this makes leaving the woods in the dark safer. Don't get too upset if at some point you seem to have lost the trail. Many times deer bound and jump over logs which seems to scatter the blood and decrease it temporarily. When you notice the trail is thin on blood, search the area in a small circle paying close attention to leaves that seem to be at a deers chest height. Gradually widen you circle until you pick up the trail again. If this doesn't work, then go back to the last know blood and place a T.P. marker there. Look around and see if there is a place that seems to be a path of least resistance. The deer will likely go in that direction. If multiple choices apply follow each for a short distance. IF AT ANY TIME YOU SEE WHERE A DEER HAS BEDDED DOWN (big pool of blood) and then got up and moved again. BACK OUT OF THE WOODS and return in the morning. You are chasing the deer and going any further will only push them deeper into the woods. A deer can go an awful long way despite being injured. I have seen deer that had two broken legs make it hundreds of yards in only a few minutes. So try not to push them. They often seem to run out of blood when on the run. Remember that.
  14. Once you have found your deer it is time to tag it. Do this before anything else. Use a knife to cut the appropriate dates into the tag and cut a whole in a does ear and tie it using a piece of string. For a buck just tie it to the antler.
  15. Gut the deer. Probably better to have someone show you this first. There is a ton of information that can be gained from your local DNR (Department of Natural Resources) aka, game warden. Most hunting regulation manuals include a step by step for those without someone to teach them. If you are unable to find this information. I will gladly write more on the subject.
  16. Place a roped deer drag around the deers neck and pull them out of the woods following the trail of T.P. to get back to your hunting spot. A headlight is awful handy here. Do what works for you.
  17. Be safe, and remember accidents can happen so be wise and plan for them.
  18. Enjoy this awesome sport. There are many rewards that we get from hunting. Keep at it and it will get easier. There is a slight learning curve. It just takes a little time to get the basics and a lifetime to perfect them.
  19. Once you become a successful hunter consider sharing your passion with others who don't hunt. Hunting can use all the support that it can get from non-hunters. Be mindful of your comments and flashing gore around town. Most non-hunters will be offended by a detailed description of your harvest or a public display of the same. Be proud of your sport but respect others in the process. Let's give hunters a good name and not a bad one.


Fred Gill said...

Interesting blog. This is one of my favorite blog about hunting and I also want you to update more post like this. Thanks for sharing this article.

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Jade Graham said...

Depending on the terrain, landscape and hunting pressure around your area the deer may be a bit harder to find this time compared to earlier in the season. Deer Scent Reviews