whitetail at alertYou’ll see more deer by looking at the little places, Don’t look for a deer, look for a piece of deer! If you look slower, you will see more deer faster! A deer will hear you 3 times, see you twice, but smell you once! These are some great hunting tips, shared with me over the years, from successful deer hunters.

Deer habits are predictable. They feed, bed, rut, and live using predictable patterns. Scouting will identify these locations, and the hunter can then target them. Once you study, and learn, these characteristics, now you know where to look.

Unsuccessful hunters often target too large of an area. It is like trying to fish a large river rather than a riffle in it. There are plenty of fish, or deer around, but they are not everywhere at once. Look for deer based on the factors that influence them. These factors include, wind, weather, time of day, season, food, water, etc.

Deer Research has identified some interesting details about what a deer sees. Their eyes are designed to see the slightest movement. Deer need to have more rods in their eyes than cones, the vision cells on the back of their eyeballs. This means that deer see in black and white, not color. Deer have about 20/40 vision.

Deer can identify some colors. They do not see the longer light wavelengths very well. Blue is a color they seem to identify. Reds and oranges are not seen by deer but, these colors reflect more light, and can alert the deer. They are also able to see contrasting shades and colors. This is why hunters wear camouflage. Use a washing detergent, with no UV brighteners, to keep your camo scent and reflective free.

If you hunt, or see, too fast, two outcomes are guaranteed. You will spook the deer, and you will not see them. If a hunter can see 100 yards into the forest, a deer can sense, and see much farther than you. Their effective range will vary, depending upon the weather, time, and conditions.

The eyes of a deer can process 50 times more light, than humans. Their pupil is a horizontal slit that can regulate the amount of light it sees. The back of the eye is full of rods and a reflective membrane on the retina, called a tapetum lucidum. This what we see when a cars headlight shines on a roadside deer. Because they can regulate, and capture even the smallest amount of light, their nocturnal vision is also excellent.

Use a red light to travel at night. Make sure that your eyes have adjusted to the dark. Human eyes secret a chemical called Rhodopsin. This chemical enhances our night vision. Once your eyes are adjusted, avoid any other bright lights. It will take almost an hour to restore your night vision 100%. The red light will not impact your night vision, or be seen by the deer. This is so important when in your tree stand, while looking for your release, or gear. Turning on a regular white flashlight makes you look like a lighthouse. Every deer for miles knows where you are.

The dark does not hide the hunter. The deer can still see movement, smell, and hear. Try entering your stand when you can see. That way, you have a chance to see the deer before they are completely spooked. Ease into your stand slowly, with the wind in your face. If you want to get into your stand early, arrive at least a few hours before sunrise. Move as if it were daylight.

Camouflage is important. The pattern needs to match the environment you are hunting. If the camo pattern is too dense, in open cover, you will stand out like a blob. Once they see you, their other senses will now scan you. You just got busted! It is not so much the color of your camo as it is about how cluttered the pattern is. If you are not sure about your hunting camo pattern, hang it in your hunting area and take a picture. Put the picture onto your computer, and edit the picture to black and white. You will see what the deer sees or doesn’t see.

Movement alone is not what spooks deer. The hunting forests and fields are full of movement. Falling leaves, insects, birds, other critters are always in motion. I have always been amazed at how a deer can see a hunter in a forest of falling leaves. The movement will alert the deer. Once they see something not normal, they turn on their other senses. Multiple deer all do the same. The bigger the group of deer, the less chance you will have.

Distracted deer, like bucks in rut, are vulnerable because they are not focused on safety or survival. Their focus is a doe in season! Deer that have been spooked by other hunters, farm equipment, traffic, or predators, are also focused on other things. Seeing these deer before they see you is essential.

Look for deer the way deer look for hunters! Pretend that you are the deer. Observe everything that is around you. Tune your senses to max and listen, look, smell, and feel your environment. This is where the deer lives every day. You are the guest in the deer’s living room.deer

Optics will help you to see. 10×40 binoculars will help you to dissect what you are seeing. Look for an eye, antler tip, slight movement, white tail, or a piece of the deer. You rarely see the entire deer first. Use both hands to hold the binocs, and scan slowly. A good shoulder strap will allow you to hold them to your chest securely and safely. Look left to right and top to bottom. Look for horizontal lines. Most lines in a forest are vertical. Horizontal lines could be the belly or back of a deer. Discipline yourself to use optics and you will see more deer.

Seeing a deer is required before you can take a shot. Once you see the target, take your one best shot!

Hunt ethically and as a sportsman!

Montana Grant

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