10 Pieces of Hunting Advice That Never Get Old
June 21, 2019 How to Guides, Duck, Elk, Mule Deer, Turkey, Whitetail Deer, Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Wisconsin, Bow, Muzzleloader, Rifles, Shotguns
When it comes to our love of the pursuit, these 10 pieces of hunting advice will never fail.
Whether you deer hunt, duck hunt, or dove hunt you will always want to keep a few items in your back-pocket mind for use in the woods, fields, and swamps. There are as many articles about hunting advice as there are stars in the sky, in fact the venerable Outdoor Life lists no less than 50 items that can help to make or break your hunt.
Being mindful that asking five different hunters can garner you five different responses, we’ve narrowed it down to a mere 10 that can always be useful when the chips are down. Deer hunting tips in particular can be as varied as the states that they originated in, such as tree stand placement, hunting the rut, and even what decoys to use and when.
Hunting locations, whether you are on public land or private land can make or break your hunt, but when the season opens you will need much more than positioning to help when the shot is at hand. The last thing that you want in the early fall is to miss a good shot or lose big game because your scent control was off, or the hunting pressure got there before you did.
The camo you use or the set-up you leave for yourself is one thing, but when you finally get that shot will you be ready mentally? Preparation is the key, and a big part of your preparation must be what you think about before the hunt as much as the hunt itself. Scent control for whitetail deer is a must, so it goes without saying, just as sighting in your firearm each year. Can you even imagine bowhunting without taking a few shots before the season starts?
So, before you go on a duck hunt without a duck blind, dig into some hunting advice that goes a long way towards keeping your mind fresh. We could all use a little advice, even the veteran hunters of the world, but sometimes it’s a little easier to take reading rather than listening. As written in “The Hunter’s Way” “Contrary to this are the experienced hunters whose egos are fully enlarged. Their uncertainty is confidence, their failure success. They are the ones who will usually find ways to brag about their harvest, or who will take a lifetime to achieve any skills worth sharing. The one thing their egos won’t let them do is admit it.”
Low and Slow to Drive Deer
For many years we watched as other hunters did everything except bang on pots and pans to move deer after the season was a few weeks old. Maybe the worst-case scenario was that it actually moved deer… into the next county! As we began to see the folly of this method, we realized that some deer would “squirt” out the sides in an effort to escape.
It dawned on us that the deer we were hunting would many times flee, but try to stay just ahead of us so that they could project the danger in front of them. To get shots at these deer we began to conduct these deer drives slower and slower, keeping a low profile and stopping often. In this way, our sitters began to see deer at a much more reasonable pace, trying to follow what was behind them instead of projecting ahead of them so much.
We’ve been filling our freezers with fresh doe (and buck) ever since.
Patience is a Virtue when Trailing Wounded game
If you’ve hunted long enough then you have had the displeasure of trailing your animal too soon. We’ve all done it, and it was always out of excitement rather than misdeed. It’s just that when you know you’ve made a hit on a good shot, you expect the world- that world being your harvest lying at your feet.
From New York to Nebraska, and from Texas to Ohio the one rule that is always a constant is: give them time. We’ve even watched animals that immediately fell below us and learned to wait. Why? Because wild animals—especially whitetail deer are so much hardier than we give them credit for. Giving them time is a lesson in patience we all need to learn sooner rather than later, at it will pay off in the end.
Immediately Mark Where Your Game Went
This is so crucial. As said, excitement causes us to do strange things, and most of those things are wrong. Tag a tree in your mind near your quarry immediately, or a bush. Did it quarter towards you or quarter away? Keep your eyes on your animal as far as you can see, then, when it is out of your sight, start making mental notes about that spot pronto. You won't have a map (but you can see one right here) so you're on your own.
Since you will presumably start at the spot where you launched the arrow, or touched off the shot, you will be following a blood trail which will cause you to keep looking down. Mark that tree or bush ahead of you, if you can, and stick with the blood while peering off into the distance just a bit to help you correct your course.
Don’t Give Up
This is easier said than done when a blood trail starts to grow cold, but we’ve had successful hunts where it seemed that the blood trail never started and still found our animal. We’ve seen too many hunters get frustrated and quit when the going gets tough. Sadly, one of the sorriest and most common reasons why hunters give up is because their game crossed a property line, even though the trail was still good.
Make a phone call. Knock on some doors! The neighbor wants you to get your prize too so get down on your hands and knees if necessary, and by the way- darkness is no excuse. Spotlights and headlamps are commonplace items for hunters these days and they are cheap and easy to come by. Even on public hunting land, other hunters will help you to find your game so there is no excuse to stop looking, even into the next day.
Tie Your Deer’s Front Legs Forward to Drag it
If you’re not using an ATV or just don’t want to scare up the woods with the noise, then you’re going to be dragging your game. One of the easiest things that we ever found to make this chore less stressful is to pack the animal’s front legs forward by its head, cinch the legs in place with your deer drag and off you go.
It’s amazing how much less the animal will hang up in the woods and brush, even a buck. This works for deer, antelope, and even game such as hogs or a gator.
It’s All About the Feet and Hands
Let’s face it, staying warm on stand, in the duck blind, or on any hunt where you have to sit for long periods has come full circle in our day and age. Still, many folks wait until it’s too late to take care of this most important area, or do an underdeveloped job of it.
Even the best gloves will do you no good if they are too tight and don’t give your hands room to let the blood flow properly. The same goes for your feet. You can spend the buck on boots that can be rated as low -100 below zero, but if they are too tight your feet will still get cold.
We’ve found that very basic things like women’s items or even kid size cotton gloves that stretch will fit inside of larger, looser fitting gloves- especially glomitts. The idea being that a basic air-activated or rechargeable hand warmer can be placed just inside the part of the glomitt that covers the hunter’s fingers.
We all want to wear layers, including the best possible socks, ut the bottom line is that if you pack your feet into your boots, they will get cold.
Move Slowly and Precisely to Avoid Sweating
Sweat is the enemy. The worst thing that you can do is to let yourself get wet from the inside during the cold weather when you expect to sit. This is especially true for bigger men that get overheated easily. Even in the coldest weather it is still possible to shed some layers—at least temporarily—to keep yourself from sweating on the way to your stand.
Even when it does happen you should already have a spare shirt ready, and a plastic bag to place the wet one. Remember, sweat begets a feeding ground for the bacteria; bacteria whose feeding on that sweat produce the gas that we all call body odor: the devil’s playground inside of a deer’s nose.
Be Ready for the Close Shots
We target shoot on the range generally from 50 out to 100 yards or more, always expecting our quarry to come in and lock up, or quarter away out of range. We shoot clay pigeons out in front of us like birds crossing the yard, and always plink bottles and cans out on the fence, but we’re hardly ever ready when game comes in right in front of our noses.
Scopes have been putting game down since they were offered to us as the next great thing for the hunt, but when you think about it they can be a detriment at the wrong time. Look-under systems are a great idea, but many who use them don’t take the time to sight in with them, instead using the ammo to make their reticle right on.
The close shot can happen at a moment’s notice so you should spend at least some small amount of time peering through a scope at a target that’s not completely clear because it’s only 10-yards away, or trying to bust some clays as soon as they leave the thrower. You’ll be better off for it
Think Outside of the Box
One of the best pieces of advice we got was to invest I a simple drake mallard call. That quiet “dweek-dweek” sound, which is the only thing that a drake ever utters, can take the edge off of a group of puddle ducks like no other.
Another great tool is a turkey call in your treestand. A few well-timed clucks and purrs in the autumn woods can create a wellness zone for deer that can’t be matched. And speaking of turkeys, locating them with an owl hooter or a crow call are pretty standard stuff, but did you ever try a rooster pheasant call? (did you even know that they make one?)
Some people even think that mooing like a cow can make nervous ducks be at ease when hunting them in fields near cattle! The fact is that wild animals respond to things that even the most veteran hunters can’t expect. Trying some of these, or finding something that no one else has can be the difference between success and failure.
Grind Your Own Meat
Grind it yourself, make your own jerky or sausage, but whatever you do, do it yourself. You worked hard for that victory in the woods so don’t leave it in someone else’s hands to make the final product.
Having a good butcher or processor to take your wild game to is priceless, and doing it all yourself is even more so. Care after the hunt matters as much as the actual hunt. Taking the time to address your harvest is what all good hunters should be about.
Until then you can set your sights on land of your own by simply cruising through our website, to your hearts content, at all the possibilities by clicking every state on the map at our home page, check access to premium land leases, maps and tools. If you’re interested, check out our giveaway page to see what might be yours for the taking.