A successful hunt is a positive experience for several reasons. It’s a way to get back-to-basics, a reason to spend time in nature and form strong ties with your hunting partners, and a potential source of high-quality meat that will last you and your companions a long time.
However, not every hunt is successful. What separates the good from the bad? Luck has something to do with it, and if you want to make your own, we suggest implementing these seven tips.
1. Plan Ahead
Every time that you set foot in hunting property, you risk disturbing the deer you’re there to find. Do any prep work weeks in advance, if possible. This will give deer time to get comfortable with your hunting location and increases your likelihood of success. It will also give you more time to consider logistical needs like transportation, as well as meal and weapon prep.
2. Learn Where Deer Like to Eat
One of the best ways to locate deer is by recognizing the path from where they bed to their favorite food sources. They prefer sugary foods like fruits and nuts. As part of your prep work, locate sources of these foods and plan your blinds or routes around them. You can set up a feeder ahead of time to raise your chances of a good hunt.
3. Mask Your Scent
Deer have an extremely keen sense of smell. When you do finally get out into the field, you want to be as fragrance-free as possible. Wash with scent-free soap and use odor-masking agents to prevent deer from detecting you.
4. Does Lead to Bucks
Hunting during mating season, or rut, is a popular technique because bucks tend to be more active at this time. However, you shouldn’t attempt to track the larger, more solitary males. Instead, seek does with the knowledge that bucks will follow them.
5. Attract Bucks by Simulating a Doe
As with many types of hunting, putting out a mating call and wearing scents that replicate the scent of a potential mate is an effective way of attracting that trophy buck. There are lots of options out there, but most effective hunters use this technique in some form to proactively draw in bucks.
6. Listen Carefully
You’ve done your planning, and you know the deer should be here, so why aren’t they? Sometimes, instead of moving frequently and scaring deer away, it’s best to rely on your hearing. Listen for calls and move stealthily toward them, or listen for the sound of deer rising from their bedding to seek food or potential mates.
7. Stake Out Bedding Areas
Thick, unkempt areas of underbrush make for comfy resting spots for deer. When you plan your hunt, set up some locations where you can rest near some of these areas. Grab yourself some high quality binoculars so you can see the areas from a distance without getting too close. Remember to consider closeness to food in the process. When a deer chooses to bed down in the thicket you’ve chosen, you’ll be in the perfect position.
The Thrill of the Hunt
These are our seven pointers for stalking and getting that 10-pointer you’ve dreamed of. No doubt there are countless other pieces of hunting lore, some more effective than others, that you can find on the internet and through your circle of fellow hunters. We’re starting with the basics here, but sometimes that’s the most important part.