Deer hunting tips & techniques for beginners
Even to a well-seasoned hunter, each deer hunt is a chance to learn something new and gain more useful experience. Still, as nothing can beat the thrill of your first deer hunt, to make this experience truly unforgettable you need to be well-prepared and comfortable with tasks which are ahead of you.
If you’re still thinking about your first deer hunt or considering to give it a try the very next season, here are some tips to get you going.
Safety Comes First
There are many laws and regulations you need to be familiar with before you grab your gun and start roaming the woods. In addition to that, you’ll also have to obtain a license and a certificate by the state conservation department. Most states will require you to take a 4-hours safety course and pass a written exam in order to get the certificate which you’ll need for purchasing hunt permits.
If you’re unsure whether this exciting activity is a good fit for you, you can first try some mentored hunting through hunter apprentice programs, which are available in most states.
Also, you need to acquaint yourself with the hunting regulations of the state where you plan to hunt, as some of them have specific limitations or requirements. Certain states, which are known as “draw states” among hunters, will require you to inform them in which zone specifically you plan to hunt.
Clothes and Equipment
When you’re deer hunting, you’ll spend many hours outdoors, and during that period the weather can change, so it’s important to be prepared if it gets rainy or cold. It’s wise to always have a hoodie or a coat in your backpack, as well as a pair of warm gloves and a hat for colder months. Make sure you always have a hunter orange vest and hat on you during your hunts, as it can be a life-saver.
Apart from your clothes and your weapon, you’ll also need to pack:
- Your permits
- A box of ammunition
- A field dressing kit
- A flashlight
- Scent blockers
- Zip-ties for tagging your game
Own Your Weapon
Before your first hunt, you need to be comfortable with your weapon of choice. Many beginners start with a rifle and opt for alternative hunting methods later on, and this is a general recommendation for novice hunters.
When shopping for the best hunting rifle for deer to begin your hunter’s journey with, make sure to pick the one that fits you and shoots well, so that it does its task quickly. It is always a good idea to visit different stores and try a couple of models out, see how each of them fits your shoulder and how quickly you can manipulate it. Check out online reviews as firsthand experiences of your fellow hunters can be a valuable source of information and help you narrow down your choice.
Once you’ve committed to a weapon, start with 25-yard stationary practice, and advance gradually to 100 yards, which is a satisfactory distance for your first deer hunt.
Mask Your Scent
Deers are great in recognizing human scents, and no camo clothes are going to help you if the wind is not right or your scent is not masked properly. So, before you find yourself in the great outdoors, make sure you’ve covered all your human scent with the odor-eliminating spray, and as your scent keeps building up while you’re out there, use odor blockers regularly all over yourself, including your hair and the hat.
Scouting for deer before the season opens, if and when possible, is a great way to get yourself ready for your first hunt. You’ll get familiar with their habits and their movements, as well as the grounds you will be hunting on. The deer are more active in the early morning and right before sunset, and since you’ll be scouting from the distance, don’t forget to bring your binoculars.
Remember to be a responsible hunter, which means that you should respect all the hunting rules and regulations and make sure that you handle your weapon carefully.