There is nothing as exciting as a hunter carrying his game home after a successful hunting spree. However, most deer hunters do not get to experience this feeling because they keep on making the same mistakes every time they go hunting. Deer season is here with us. Want to maximize your chance at getting prize the next time you go deer hunting? Here is everything you need to know.
Best deer hunting locations in the United States
Location is everything for a successful deer hunting spree. You cannot expect to find deer where they do not live. There are several factors to consider when choosing a perfect location for hunting. Some locations have a great deer population. However, you must also consider the population of hunters in the region.
There are two options to finding a deer hunting location in America. The first option is finding public hunting lands while the second option is leasing or buying private land. Access to private land is not a privilege many hunters can afford. Although public land deer hunting may be more challenging, the proper strategies will be sure to earn you game. Many hunters overlook public land while it may be very rewarding. All it requires is to go deeper to the more remote areas where other hunters won’t delve.
It is easy to find public hunting grounds in the U.S. information about areas open for hunting can be in a wide range of sources including Game Management Authority, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Park Victoria, hunting organizations, maps, private land owners, and Victoria Police.
It is important to learn about the legality of hunting in a particular area to avoid getting into trouble with the law. The U.S, especially North America, is home to a remarkable number of what we call the Whitetail deer.
Considering factors like hunters success rates, total harvest numbers, age of the deer’s harvested, here are a number of the best places to go deer hunting in the country: Georgia, Texas, South Carolina, Mississippi, Iowa, Kansas, Illinois, Missouri, Minnesota, Indiana and Kentucky.
Hunting Seasons in the United States
Deer hunting season varies across different states in the country. The Length of these seasons is dependent majorly on the population of the Deer herd. There are four major hunting seasons; the early season, the pre-rut, the Rut and the late season.
The early season
The early season, which mainly happens in the fall, starts at September and October across the country. The early season is characterized by a higher population of deer in the woods. It is the most convenient time to hunt because the weather is favorable, the herds are relaxed, their food patterns are predictable and they are in smaller herds. Their feeding and sleeping patterns are more predictable hence it is easier.
The pre-rut season
During the Pre-rut season, the predictable patterns of the bucks are now changing. The deer become more active within their home range. It is the best time to hunt mature deer. This is before the deer mate. Does and Bucks are seen grazing together in the fields. At this stage, the deer are more aggressive hence becoming a bit careless, hence the pre-rut becoming an ideal time to hunt.in this stage, bucks lay down their individual scent to communicate with other deer. This is done through laying down scrapes and rubs. This season happens during the early autumn in September, a few weeks before the rut season. To succeed in bagging down catch during this season, the hunter should hunt scrapes at old roads or trails through forested areas while hunting during the day, or scrapes on the field edges while hunting during dawn and dusk. It is a great season to call.
The rut season
This is the season that bucks are seen actively fighting for dominance and chasing females. This is the most action packed of all deer hunting seasons. To be successful during this period of hunting, it is wise to camp out where does spend most of their daylight hours sleeping. This is because mature bucks will be looking out for does’ bedding areas. It is therefore wise to hang stands around there. During this season, bucks are on heat and does are in panic hence, you will rarely be noticed. It is also important to go in the direction where the wind is pushing hard in one direction. During this period, bucks tend to take refuge in predictable places like alleys, creek bottoms, dense timber, making them easier to spot. Midday is the perfect time to get a catch because the mature bucks wait for does to lie down, then go scent checking for does that have reached estrus at their bedding areas. Setting a stand there increases a chance at scoring a buck. This season is ideal time to employ calling tactics, especially within the early stages of the rut.
Bucks are more willing to respond to calling and rattling.
The late season
During this season, deer are done with breeding and winter is almost here. Their focus will mainly be on food and safety. This season occurs mainly starting from December. It is the toughest time to hunt.
After the rut, families will start assembling together again, bedding and feeding in the same areas. They will however be paranoid to move during daylight because of the hunting season pressure. During this season, the best strategy to hunt will be to scout for food sources before making a plan to hunt them. It will be a great opportunity to make a catch at a food source.
A hunter’s success is paramount to the level of scouting he has made. Scouting helps a hunter get accustomed to and understand the fields at which he plans to hunt. The major reason hunters scout is to find out strategic locations to place their stands. Scouting should be done before the hunting season starts. This is possible through the use of aerial photos and maps of the hunting fields. For clear knowledge, check for maps with clearly detailed topography. Google earth and google maps are important resources for scouting. Some of the features to check for in an aerial map are:
1) Rivers and creeks – these are common routes for deer. They are likely crossing points and stand sites.
2) Ridges and points – the juncture between two ridges is a potential place to find deer trails while looking for ridges, search for dips where a buck can stay hidden.
3) Hollows – hollows leading from daytime beds to feeding areas are potential travel routes.
4) Ponds – this is where deer come to water down during hot and dry weather.
5) Power Lines – this is where deer feed here, you will find power lines about ten yards back in the woods where animals can see into the clearing but remain hidden.
During deer scouting, it is also important to find out the deer bedding areas and forage areas. Test the direction at which the wind is blowing, so as to test the right places to place your stands.
Deer Hunting Geer
While choosing proper gear for deer hunting, a newbie might be overwhelmed over what to pick and what to leave. I have compiled a list of the basics that you need to enable a successful hunting spree.
Before anything else, you need to ensure you have the necessary deer hunting license before you can start hunting. Most states require that a hunter undergoes a hunter safety course, before receiving their certification. This is a ten hour course that is available both online, and within your state.
Before choosing the proper hunting clothing, it is important to look at the local weather forecast for the period you intend to go hunting. It is also important to choose clothes that camouflage with the surrounding environment you will be deer hunting. An important tip is to wash your hunting clothes with a scent free soap to remove any foreign odor. To stay warm, layering of clothes is the best way to go.
It is also important to select a good pair of optics to enable clear view of your terrain. A good binoculars enables one to scan heavy cover. It also aids in trailing a deer after the shot.
To know the exact distance a deer is before making a perfect shot, range finders are a must have.
The deer grunt call is the call most hunters go for because it is the most flexible and most successful.
Choosing your weapon
To find an effective weapon, there are several factors to consider. Any weapon you choose must be legally acceptable and within your state’s current deer hunting regulations. Every hunting season has its own specified guidelines about weapons hence it is important to check the guidelines in your state and comply.
Setting up for deer hunting
To create an ideal environment for successful deer hunting, there are several factors to consider. The most important are: food, cover and water.
It is therefore important to consider this factors when considering the perfect location for setting up your tree stand. It is important to get to your tree stand undetected so ensure you use blinders to cover your tree stand. From the deer’s vicinity. Tree stand blinders also protect us from harsh winds. Preparing your shooting lanes should be done before hunting season to enable the deer to get accustomed to the smell. You should set up a tree stand in a place that you can easily access or exit without alerting the deer. You should stay as undetected as it is possibly.
You should also ensure that your safety is assured by getting appropriate safety gear. Ground blinds are another option from tree stands and are safer for beginner hunters. Like tree stands, they should be set up weeks before the hunting season starts to give room for the deer to get accustomed to it. It should camouflage with the surrounding environment.
Where you shoot a deer will determine the success of your hunting spree. As a responsible hunter, your main goal should be to shoot the deer with a single shot.
While many may argue that there is a perfect place to place your shot, the shot is dependent on several factors including the angle the hunter views the deer, the distance of the deer from the hunter, whether or not the deer is calm, gun placement and many other options.
The most traditional shots that most hunters can swear by has been said to be the shoulder area and the area behind the heart and the lungs.
Other effective shots have been argued to be the ones that aim the brain, and a shot just below the back of the skull, which renders the deer inactive immediately, the neck will also be an effective shot, due to the massive damage of the spinal cord.
While making a shot, it is important to consider the amount of meat that may be damaged to avoid losing a remarkable amount. However, it may be wise to choose losing a small amount of meat than losing the whole animal.
Aiming correctly is the final score at successful deer hunting. It is important to consider that; how you hit the deer will determine whether you will get your catch or not. When you shoot and the deer runs away, it will be wise to watch out and listen for it because it most probably won’t run far.
Choose your shots thoughtfully and go for those that will be sure to earn you a better probability at scoring. Swiftly but thoughtfully. That would be the most important advice ever given to hunters.
I hope this article has been resourceful and has answered some of the most asked questions deer hunters have. Feel free to engage with me in the comment section.