First time deer hunting as an adult can be intimidating. One of the goals of this site is to make the transition into deer hunting for beginners as easy as possible. If you are wondering how to get into hunting keep reading. While it is impossible to cover everything to know about deer hunting in one post the outline below should cover the basics of deer hunting well enough for you to get started.
Instead of thinking about the tips below as deer hunting for dummies, view them as fundamentals to success. Hunting is a never ending learning process and a lifelong pursuit. Enjoy the ride every step of the way. Without further ado:
Hunting Tips for Beginners :
Always make safety your top priority.
- Do not driver around in a vehicle or on an ATV with a loaded weapon.
- Always be conscious of where your rifle is pointed and treat it as if it is loaded.
- Be aware of your surroundings and where other hunters are if you are hunting with a buddy or in a popular area.
You will be required to enroll in a hunter safety course before you are allowed to purchase a hunting license. You can now take part of the class online here.
If you are inexperienced with firearms you should seriously consider attending a firearm training course like the ones offered by the NRA. They offer a variety of courses including rifles, shotguns, and pistols.
After completing some training it is important to go to a range and practice shooting until you can comfortably handle your weapon in a safe manner without much thought. You can practice at an indoor range but an outdoor range at 100-200 yards is ideal.
- Spend some time ahead of hunting season in the area you are going to hunt.
- Become familiar with your surrounds.
- Think about various scenarios that could happen during your hunt and if you have any questions ask a hunting buddy with more experience.
- Take note of any deer or deer sign you see during your scouting.
Find a mentor/hunting buddy with experience
Hunting by yourself is not your best bet when first starting out. Finding someone with experience can certainly speed up the learning curve. You will learn the ins and outs and subtle nuances that are hard to pick up any other way. Many times these types of things aren’t even at the conscious level but habits learned at an early age through the same process.
Read Deer Hunting Books
Books are a great way to improve your hunting IQ without years of experience. Checkout my picks for the best deer hunting books for some suggestions. There are hundreds of other books to choose from. Take advantage of the knowledge shared and passed on by their experienced authors.
Learn the land and study habits of the deer in the area
Deer travel on trails and are generally moving back and forth between their feeding and bedding locations depending on the time of day. Locating the trails connecting them will allow you to sit near these locations and wait for activity. Look for fresh tracks and droppings. If there isn’t any sign of deer you should move on to another area.
I know it can be exciting once you finally make it out in the woods but learning to successfully hunt is going to require patience.
Good hunting demands it.
You may spend hours at a time in a spot you believe to be good without seeing anything (like the author did in the photo below). Sometimes this happens. When it does you need to give some thought to why you didn’t see any deer. If it happens repeatedly then think about trying something different but don’t give up too soon.
While you don’t necessarily need to get the latest and greatest scent block, you need to avoid smelling out of place. Deer have a very good sense of smell. They spend every day of their lives out in the woods. If something seems out of place to them, don’t expect them to hang around.
Imagine walking into your home to the smell of fresh skunk. A smelly human in the woods is no different to a deer, especially if you are upwind.
We will be covering scent blocking techniques in a future article. For now, eliminate any source of unnatural scent. Don’t use scented deodorant, cologne, hair products, soaps, laundry detergents, etc.
Try to move at the same pace as the animals in the woods. As intoxicating as it can be to rush to the next hill hoping to see something, take some time to analyze what you are seeing. Interpret the surroundings like a deer does, looking at every little detail to decide if it is safe before it proceeds. If animals hear you coming, they will be gone long before you have a chance to even spot them. … have a good sense of hearing.
While the tips above target deer hunting for beginners, keep them in mind this season even if you are an experienced hunter. Sometimes we all get caught up in the excitement and forget deer hunting basics. I find that using a hunting checklist prevents me from forgetting important gear. Be sure to also checkout my article on how to get into hunting. The list above should set you on your way to seeing more deer this season. Good luck!