Hunting the Whitetail Deer
Hunting whitetails is often done in many environments over the course of different seasons. Deer hunters must deal with the elements of Mother Nature as well as the keen instincts of the whitetail. To the inexperienced hunter, filling a whitetail tag can be very difficult. It is the challenge that the whitetail presents that makes hunting them such a labor of love.
Various types of hunting equipment can be purchased in order to increase the likelihood that you are successful. A good, backpack allows for important items to be carried into the treestand. Items such as food, grunt call, rattling antlers, scents and buck lures, a compass, matches, a knife, rope, first aid kit, etc increase chances of success.
Proper hunting clothing also plays a vital role in filling a whitetail tag. Start by choosing a camo pattern that matches the areas you will be deer hunting. This will allow you to blend with your surroundings. Your clothing should also combat the elements (rain, snow, cold, heat, etc) allowing you to remain in the field much longer.
Many clothes on the market will not only keep you comfortable, but will also reduce the chances that deer will smell you. When combined with body soaps, detergents, and various other products, you can diminish your human odor dramatically.
Lastly, you should strive to prepare yourself for the deer hunt as much as possible. This means physically and mentally preparing for the conditions you will face. Physically preparing can should include cardiovascular conditioning, weight training, and shot preparation.
Much of being prepared mentally comes from confidence. Confidence is derived from scouting, shooting, planning, practicing, and leaving no stone unturned in the quest to better understand what the deer in your area are doing. This is something the most successful deer hunters have learned to do.
Scouting a few weeks before opening day is not going to give you very much confidence. Neither is shooting a few weeks before heading into the timber. Quite often, those who fail to prepare, prepare to fail.
Practice makes perfect; so everyone says. However, perfect practice is what actual makes perfect. Make your practice sessions as realistic as possible. Target practice with deer targets and at 3-D ranges will make all the difference in the world.
When it comes to choosing hunting equipment, go with items that best suit your style of hunting. Bows, arrows, treestands, etc, come in various shapes, sizes and models. Before making your choice, experiment with different products and go with what feels best to you.
Essential items are a safety vest for hunting from a stand, a sharp knife, a drag rope, a flashlight, pruning saw, and perhaps a cell phone and some waterproof matches in case of an emergency. Of course, food and water should always be brought along.
A good GPS can also provide a sense of safety when hunting in large tracts of timber. You may also want to consider extra gloves and caps, as well as some sort of hand warming devices. No matter what hunting conditions you may face, there is equipment to help you overcome it.
License and Permits
In order to hunt deer, a permit or license is required in each state. The cost of such permits help support wildlife enforcement and provide money for many types of conservation projects. When hunting in an unfamiliar state, be sure to review the rules and regulations because every state has their own rules pertaining to the types of permits needed to legally hunt.
Sometimes the type of permit is not the only difference among states. Weapons used, color of clothing, and the displaying of licenses can vary from state to state. Failure to know these rules can result in fines or confiscation of game.
Regardless of what type of clothing you wear, be certain that it remains as scent-free as possible. Deer can smell any hint of danger and this is usually the area that causes the most problems for deer hunters. Don’t neglect your footwear when it comes to odor. Rubber boots are the best when it comes to leaving no odor on the ground.
Although deer have an excellent sense of sight and sound they are color blind. This limits their vision to mostly varying shades of black and white. As a result, deer see their environment in mostly dark and light gray colors. When they view the human face, they will immediately suspect that something is out of place. That is why it is important not to stop with camo clothing, but also cover your hands and face as well.
Regardless of what hunting camo pattern you use, remember, any type of movement at the wrong time will ultimately give away your location.
What goes on your feet is extremely important. The correct footwear should always be given plenty of forethought. When making your selection, consider the color pattern of the boot, the comfort rating of the boot, and its ability to keep your feet warm and dry. Make sure your boots do not fit too tightly and try to “break” them in before using them for the first time.
Socks are also an important part of keeping feet warm, dry, and comfortable. Wool is a favorite among veteran hunters because it helps to keep feet drier longer and provides very good insulating abilities against the cold.
Hunting Safety Knowledge
As with any sport, hunting isn’t without its own set of dangers. When you consider the extreme nature, and the weapons used, hunting ranks high on the most dangerous sports list. However, if certain precautions are taken, hunting can be relatively safe.
Knowing your hunting equipment, and the risks involved with using it will greatly diminish your chances of having an accident. A good base knowledge regarding survival skills can also be helpful. First time hunters should especially seek out the help of an experienced hunter, or attend a safety class before heading afield.
Proper clothing will also increase your chances of staying safe. As mentioned, you must select items that will keep you warm, cool, and dry when the circumstances demand so.
Lastly, always let someone know where and when you will be hunting. If you don’t return by a certain time, loved-ones will immediately know where to begin looking.