Hunting deer is an incredibly difficult task and requires a huge amount of skill and knowledge, but that’s not to say that beginners should be discouraged. Even the most experienced hunters are still learning every time they go out on a new hunt, so there is no shame in learning by trial and error. However, there are some important factors to consider before you pick up a gun and head out into the wild. You need to carry out planning, research and preparation, but once you’ve done this there is no reason why you can’t become a successful hunter. Make sure you’re on the right track with these 6 deer hunting tips for beginners.
- Get your safety certification and license
Before you get started you need to pass a safety certification course and obtain a license to hunt in your state. This will cover important information about where you can hunt and what for. There are likely to be some areas which are protected, and in some states, you must tell authorities ahead of time where you will be hunting. Visit your state’s Department of Natural Resources website to register on a course.
- Practice with your weapon
It’s crucial that you and anyone else accompanying you on the hunt is well practiced with their weapons. Whether you will be shooting a gun or firing a bow and arrow, you need to ensure you can use it confidently and safely. Try finding a shooting range to practice your aim and ensure everyone can fire it correctly.
- Dress for all types of weather
Hunting is hugely influenced by the weather, as this will affect not only when you are likely to have more success with your hunt, but also how you should dress. You may be waiting for a long time in the wild. If it’s hot you will want breathable clothing, whereas in the cold you will want something warm like Merino wool. Bring waterproof clothes and multiple layers so you can adjust your outfit if the temperature changes.
- Learn to read the wind
While you will probably be dressed in camouflage, the wind will take your scent to the deer and tell them where you are, so it’s essential that you learn how to stay upwind of them. You can also use products such as scent-blocking sprays, or even simple shampoos and body washes to mask your natural odor.
- Pack your backpack with essentials
You should take a backpack with you containing a kit of essentials such as extra layers, bottles of water, snacks, basic first aid, a knife, binoculars, scent blockers and extra ammunition. If you are taking kids with you, consider bringing a gaming device or phone they can play with while you’re waiting as they’re likely to get bored. You may need to bring gutting knives and gloves as well as alcohol-based wipes to clean yourself with when you’re finished.
- Hunt at the right time
Deer are intelligent and their behavior is often difficult to predict, but there are better times of day to hunt. For example, many hunters suggest that the last few hours before sunset, particularly the final 30 minutes, are the most successful.