Hunting has a lot of benefits ranging from getting fresh food to contributing to the conservation of the world around you. One of the biggest things it provides, though, is a challenge. If you want to have a successful season, you’re going to need the right tips and tricks mastered on opening day.
Choosing the Right Firearm
The first step in getting ready for hunting season is to choose a firearm that works for you. There are plenty of top-notch models to choose from. You’ll want to consider not only technical matters such as caliber but what you’re comfortable wielding as well. Before stepping out into the field, you’ll want to make sure your comfortable using your firearm as well as well-versed in handling it safely.
It’s also important to take the time to choose the right optic for your gun. This will help you get a clearer view of what you’re aiming at. Most hunters spend about half as much if not as much money on their optic as their gun, so you’ll want to consider your options carefully.
Scout Before the Season Starts
If you go into the season blind, you’re going to have a hard time. Instead, before the season even starts, take the time to scout for deer. There are plenty of tips for scouting deer, so we’ll go over a few of them here.
First, remember that you always want to scout the way you hunt. If you simply go traipsing through the woods, you aren’t going to spot the normal behavior of deer. You need to use the same care and keep up the same attention to detail as when you’re hunting during the season.
There are certain factors to look out for when you’re scouting deer. Of course, scrapes and rubs are obvious signs that deer are nearby. It’s also worth looking out for their needs such as sources of fresh water.
It’s also important to take note of where you see these signs are. It’s best to mark them both on a physical map and a GPS. This way you’ll know where to go once the season starts.
Consider a Spot Other Hunters Wouldn’t
When hunting season starts and guns start firing, deer are going to react. Basic survival skills are going to drive them away from where most hunters are camped out.
You can capitalize on this by looking for spots where deer are likely to go when they’re looking for safety. This is going to be near their homes and in more densely wooded areas. You’ll want to be ready to wait it out in these spots. So, it’s best to find a good place for your tree stand and wait for your chance.
Mask Your Scent
Deer have a strong sense of smell. You’ve probably already heard tips on using doe estrous – we’ll get to that in a second.
Before worrying about using their scent, you need to worry about your own scent. Make sure that you’ve avoided any artificial scents before you head out into the field. This means taking measures such as using unscented soap in your morning shower.
It’s also a good idea to keep your field clothes in a bag with ground debris such as dirt and leaves until you get ready to go out for the day. This will help you take on the natural odor of the world around you.
Using Deer Scents
Using deer scents can be effective but it won’t work if you just pour a bottle out on the ground. You need to know when and how to use different scents to make the most of them.
Doe urine is the most basic scent. You can use this throughout the season but it’ll be most effective before the rut. More than it’s used to draw in bucks, it’s useful to help deer feel at ease. If deer smell the scent of other deer on a path, they’re more likely to go there.
Buck urine, on the other hand, is used leading up to the rut. This should be used in high trafic areas and on scrapes. You can create your own scrapes or use existing ones. The goal here is to draw buck out by challenging it. This works because bucks are getting competitive at this point and they’ll be drawn out by the scent of an intruder.
Doe estrous gets a lot of attention but it should only be used around two weeks before peak rut to make the most of it. This is going to attract bucks because it holds the promise of a mate. Doe estrous can get pretty pricey, though, so you’ll want to make sure you use it correctly. Most hunters use it with a drag to make a path to your stand. It can also be helpful to use extra scent around your stand to mask your own scent.
Tarsal gland is the remaining scent and it should really only be used in tandem with doe estrous. It works well to promote competition amongst bucks and that draws them out and towards you.
Use Charcoal to Make a Mask
There are plenty of pictures out there of hunters with grease paint smeared across their cheeks. This isn’t photo fodder either – this face paint helps to camouflage your face so it isn’t popping out to deer.
Of course, you can reach for greasy paints marketed for this purpose but it can be more helpful to use some charcoal. You can grab a standard briquette and crush it into a powder. You’ll want to make sure you use standard charcoal rather than any treated to light quickly.
This isn’t just a quick way to save money either. The carbon in charcoal also works as an odor-represent.
Getting ready for hunting season is a big endeavor, so you’ll want to make sure that you’re ready on the first day. Tactics like these are ones you’ll want to keep in mind as you get ready to head into the field.