Deer Hunting Homework


Deer Homework before the hunt


© copyright 2005, by Gary Benton

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Do you honestly want to get a deer this coming season? Well, I have been hunting deer for over forty years and I am still surprised by the lack of preparation most hunters take before the season starts. Most of my buddies simply throw some gear in the back of a truck on opening day and head for the woods. By the way, most of my friends are not very successful deer hunters either, because they don't do their homework or fieldwork. See, some serious planning is needed to insure your hunting efforts pay off and you get that big buck you've been after. Well, I suggest we prepare for our deer hunt both at home and in the field, and perhaps for months in advance.

Determine where you will be hunting and who you'll be hunting with. If you drive, you can bring more equipment and if an experienced hunter is along you don't have to worry as much about them getting lost or hurt. It can still happen, but the odds go down with experience

Decide if special permission is required where you'll be hunting. If the area is on private property or posted you should get permission before you hunt. Besides being illegal, it is plain common courtesy to ask permission before you enter someone else's property.

Home preparation is the easiest task to accomplish, but often done incorrectly or at all. Besides checking your guns and ammo, also check all of your gear. Nothing is more frustrating than getting in the field and finding out you have a piece of gear that no longer works.

Item four is very important, though often forgotten, and it is getting your hands on a map of the area you'll be hunting in. Deer will need food, water, shelter, and a good detailed topographical map will should you where all three areas may be located.

Another important consideration is scouting the area you'll be hunting. If there are homes, domestic animals, or roads nearby you need to know this to shoot at your deer safely. I have seen arrows go right through a deer and of course, bullets will do the same, so make sure the area behind your target is clear and not endangering property or life.

Once you've done your work at home and in the field, you can decide what type of hunting technique you want to use. Some folks like to sit and wait, others prefer to stalk, and many more prefer a tree stand. There is something about being at ground level, when the bullets and arrows start to fly from other hunters, which makes some of us very uncomfortable.

Agree with your hunting partners to meet back at your base camp at a certain time of the day (lunch for example) for safety reasons mainly, though it can be used as a time to discuss what deer have been seen or heard during the hunt.

One area most hunters never consider is the campsite. I always will find a spot away from the animal's food, water, and shelter sources to make my camp. I have found it to my advantage not to stress the deer in the area by making my camp to close to where they move and bed down.

Once your animal is down for good you should tag your deer. Failure to tag your deer violates game laws and can cause you big legal problems. As quickly as I discover my animal is dead, I tag it before I do anything else.

After your deer is back at camp, consider the way to get your game from the field to waiting transportation. While it is the individual hunter's choice, I always put some international orange on the deer's horns and on the game bag for safety reasons.

As you can see, there are many things you can do before the hunt that can assist in making your trip a successful one. Rare is their a hunter who goes to a new area, climbs just any tree and bags a huge buck on the first day, though I have seen it done. Most good deer hunters start to work well before the season starts and they stay busy up until they down the big one. Remember to do both your homework and your fieldwork and I am confident you'll down a big one on opening day.


Deer Homework

Gary Benton has over 45 years of outdoor experience in camping, hiking, fishing, and other activities. He's no armchair survival man, he's walked the walk from the arctic to the desert and all the area in between. Gary has an associates degree in Search and Rescue, Survival Operations, a B.S. in Industrial Occupational safety, and all but his thesis completed for a M.S. in Counseling Psychology.
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