5You can count on one hand the 5 most important things about Deer hunting. In truth, there is an endless list of other important things but that is for another article. Things always change so it is essential to adapt.

Deer are incredibly tough critters to hunt. When you use a bow, muzzle loader, or single shot weapon, the hunt gets even tougher. Every hunter has their own special way they prefer to hunt. Some prefer long range shooting while others like to get close in with a bow and arrow. If it is ethical, legal, and honest, go for it!

Hunting smarter is more important than hunting harder. Here are 5 basic things to always consider if you plan to set the stage for success.

1.)    Hunt where there are deer!  This sounds simple but not everyone knows what deer habitat and behavior are. Deer sign and populations can be seasonal. Once the water, food source, or cover is gone, so are the deer. Some hunters prefer to set their stands in a “nice tree” instead of where there is actual deer sign. Scout your area regularly so you can accurately predict deer movement.

2.)    Be A Student of the Sport! Knowledge is power. Understanding the habits, characteristics, diet, and breeding habits are important. These facts will help guide you to a successful outcome. There are certainly many books and magazines on the subject but check out the videos and shows. Humans are visual learners. Watching someone demonstrating a grunt call or technique instantly makes sense. Great hunters hunt all year. The year around process and preparation for hunting season are just as much fun.

3.)    Become an expert with your weapon and gear.  Practicing shooting before you hunt is imperative. Practicing year around is even better. I know hunters that have only owned one box of rifle shells in their life. They tuned their bore sighted rifle in with a few shots, shot a few deer, and maybe lost a few shells. The rifle is now stored in a cloth case and stuffed under the bed until next season. Weapons, calls, stands, packs, range finders, optics, knives, and the gear in a hunter’s pack are needed and require organization and practice. Mentor hunters are a great way to gain additional knowledge and training.

4.)    Look for Deer!  For every deer that you see, there are many that see and smell you first. The first to see the other wins. You rarely see a whole deer. Look for a part of the deer. Usually, all you will see is an eye, ear, slight movement, or color. Scan the woods for horizontal lines. This will highlight the back or belly of a deer. Most lines in the forest are vertical such as trees, grass, or rocks. Optics are indispensable. Great binoculars allow the human eye to see clearer, further, and brighter in low light. Learn how to adjust and scan using this eye extension. You can also locate deer with your ears and nose. Sounds and smells will identify what direction you should be looking.

5.)    Hunt Often and Stealthy! If you only hunt a few days each season, odds are already against you. Many “lucky” hunters have a private farm, baited field, or honey hole that has been successful in the past. At some point, the land gets developed, laws change, habitat changes, and their luck runs out. Now it becomes a chore to learn how to hunt for real. For the rest of us, we learn to be the best hunters we can be. More time spent afield means more opportunity to encounter a deer. Wash your hunting gear in a scent and brightener free product. Once you have sanitized your gear, store it in a sealed tub with scent wafers or debris from your hunting area. Your goal is to look and smell like your stand sight. If you hunt in an orchard, smash fallen fruit with your boots. Cow and horse pastures have a different kind of apple to walk in. Move slow and easy. 2-3 steps and stop by a tree or rock to break up your profile. Hunt into the wind!

 Every legal, ethical harvest is a trophy. Teaching others is also a great hunter’s legacy. There is a reason why some hunters are better than others. Try these 5 tips and High Five yourself and your friends as you fill out your successful harvest tag.

Hunt more and hunt safe!

Montana Grant

For more Montana Grant, visit his website at www.montanagrantfishing.com.