You might be thinking about how to improve your game before the next hunting season. You might be looking for advice and tips that can help you catch more deer or lure larger bucks into your hunting area. With countless books, magazines and podcasts offering you hunting advice, it might be difficult to know where to start.
To help you get started, we have compiled a list of deer hunting tips that might help you improve your game for the upcoming season. These tips can be useful to you whether you’re just beginning your hunting career or you’re a seasoned hunter. Adding a few new tips to your pre-season preparation might make a significant difference in the outcome of your hunting season.
- 10 Deer hunting tips for becoming a better hunter
- 1. Mask Your Scent
- 2. Get Accustomed to Your Gear and Hunting Grounds
- 3. Preserve Your Hunting Area
- 4. Attract Deer to Your Location
- 5. Stay Still and Silent
- 6. Ideal Location Equals Effective Concealment
- 7. Arrive Early
- 8. Track Local Deer Movements
- 9. Search for Hard to Reach Locations
- 10. Use the Weather to Your Advantage
10 Deer hunting tips for becoming a better hunter
1. Mask Your Scent
This is one of the most important tip on this deer hunting list. Deer will not frequent your hunting grounds if they can smell your scent. There are several steps that you can take to minimize your scent while you’re hunting.
You should shower with scent-free soap and spray yourself with odor eliminator before heading out to hunt. For an added precaution, bring along your can of odor elimination spray and reapply it when you arrive at your desired location.
You should also avoid wearing your hunting clothes inside your car or in your house.
After use, wash them in a scent-free detergent before storing them in an earthen bag. Add dirt, leaves, and other natural smelling debris to the storage bag to infuse your hunting clothes with scents that are familiar to the deer in your area.
You should also be aware of how the wind is blowing. Choose a location downwind to prevent your scent from being carried toward approaching deer.
2. Get Accustomed to Your Gear and Hunting Grounds
You’ll want to be able to move through your hunting grounds silently and without leaving a trail behind you.
Practice setting up your tree stand before the hunting season begins. Once you become accustomed to setting up and adjusting your stand, you’ll be able to maneuver it to your hunting location and set it up silently.
It would also be beneficial for you to get an aerial view of your hunting grounds. Utilize apps or digital aerial maps to scan the area for good locations to set up your tree stand.
Getting an aerial map of the area also allows you to plot a path to your desired hunting grounds. You can walk along creeks and rivers in the area to cover your tracks and prevent deer from catching your scent.
3. Preserve Your Hunting Area
Although it may be difficult to reach your hunting ground due to thick underbrush, don’t attempt to cut it back or trim branches while in the midst of hunting season.
Deer can learn to associate the smell of freshly cut timber with the presence of humans. If you cut back or trim foliage during your hunting season, you might be warning the deer of your presence in the area.
You should only trim back areas during the summer season if you want to avoid spooking deer away from your hunting grounds.
4. Attract Deer to Your Location
Another important deer hunting tip is also related to their smell sense. Even if you’re quiet, you may be sitting in the same spot all morning without spotting a single deer if you don’t utilize deer attractors.
You can buy specialized scents that can be administered to scent drag lines, decoys or tree hangers that will attract deer to your area. Scents like doe-in-rut to doe estrous work to lure bucks to your location.
Decoys are a multi-use option. You can set up a life-like doe decoy to draw in bucks by sight. Some models even feature moving tails to catch the buck’s eye.
Calls can also work to lure in bucks. You should be careful to use calls sparingly. Once you have the attention of the deer, don’t continue to call. Let them become curious and come toward you.
The key to using attractors is to draw deer into your line of sight, not toward your hideout location. Make sure you leave your scent trail or decoy in a place where you can get a clean shot of from your location.
5. Stay Still and Silent
You should invest in gear that is quiet and efficient. Buy boots that allow you to cross various types of terrains and minimize the sound of your footfalls. Make sure your hunting pants fit well and do not swish or rub together as you walk or move into position.
To prevent your gear from making noise, you can wrap the metal pieces in hockey tape or other strong and dark-colored tape options. This will prevent metal on metal clinking while you are transporting and setting up your equipment.
Another trick that minimizes your noise level is to dampen the noise your equipment makes while you travel. Grease any metal joints and tighten or loosen straps to prevent squeaking and creaking while you transverse the terrain.
Pay attention to the movement of your gear as you walk toward your hunting ground and adjust your equipment to be as quiet as possible.
6. Ideal Location Equals Effective Concealment
Even if you find an ideal location for hunting, you’ll still need to blend into the terrain to lure any deer into range.
If you pick a highly trafficked area but remain in the open, the deer will steer clear of you and find a new location or pathway to use. You don't want to risk burning an ideal location, but you also can't utilize the location if you scare off all the deer.
If your do find a hotspot that lacks proper coverage, you might consider creating your own camouflage.
You can attach fake Christmas tree branches or summer leaf garlands to a curtain or blanket. Use Zip ties or rope to attach your creation to your tree stand or hideout once you arrive at your location. This technique allows you to set up shop at an ideal location despite limited natural concealment options.
7. Arrive Early
The cover of darkness will not completely hide you from deer in the area. You should try to arrive at your desired location before the deer begin to roam around your hunting ground to avoid spooking them away from your hideout. Deer tend to do most of their roaming near dawn as they make their way back to their homes.
You should head out to your hunting grounds an hour before dawn to ensure you arrive at your desired location before any deer pass through the area. Consider using night vision binoculars for the early hours, so you can better track the game.
You should also avoid walking to your location close to dawn to prevent deer from spotting you during their peak roaming hours. You don’t want to be roaming around in your hunting grounds at the same time your prey is.
8. Track Local Deer Movements
Keep a log of locations and times you encounter deer. Over time you’ll be able to see the larger pattern of deer behaviors in your hunting area.
It can be beneficial to track deer from long range before the hunting season begins. Spot patterns of behavior, common bedding grounds and watering holes and mark them on a map. You can use this information to plot out potential hunting locations before the season begins.
Once you discover the typical patterns the deer in your area follow, you’ll be able to track and hunt them more effectively.
You’ll also be more aware of how you affect their movements. You should be able to determine if you are effectively luring them to your locations, or if you are deterring them by leaving a trail behind.
9. Search for Hard to Reach Locations
If you expect to encounter other hunters working the same part of land, you’ll want to locate an area they are unlikely to set up shop in. Find places that may be difficult to reach or are deep within the hunting ground’s perimeter. Consider using a blind or a tree stand to shape the location to your hunting needs.
Studies indicate that deer change their patterns the day before hunting season begins as this is the time that most hunters explore the area and map out their hunting strategies. To avoid your pre-season plotting going to waste, choose at least a few locations that are out of the way.
Choose locations that offer cover for fleeing deer and food or water resources that might entice them to come to your more secluded location that has little human foot traffic.
10. Use the Weather to Your Advantage
Change your hunting plans based on the weather. Different temperatures and types of precipitation will change your prey’s patterns.
High pressure days are the most ideal for hunting. Little wind prevents your scent from being carried, and a clear sky enables you to see well. This type of weather is ideal for choosing a location and waiting for the deer to come to you.
Heavy winds can pose problems to your hunting strategy as strong winds can carry your scent over longer distances. In most cases, if there are strong and unpredictable gusts of wind, it is best to pack up your hunting gear and try again on a less windy day.
Rainy days make for excellent hunting days if you don’t mind getting a little wet. Rain gear is quiet and more scent proof than regular hunting gear. The rain also dampens your scent and makes it harder for your prey to spot you.
Snowy days are best for tracking and hunting down deer. Even a few centimeters of snow allows you to track your prey’s path easily, and a white backdrop enables you to spot deer more quickly.
Hot weather makes hunting difficult, and it should be avoided if possible. You should try to hunt in the early morning or late evening to avoid the brunt of the heat.
If avoiding hot weather isn’t an option, locate your hunting spot near a water source. Deer will seek a reprieve from the heat and will be instinctively drawn toward water sources.
Hunting deer can be a difficult and time-consuming task if not executed properly. You should make sure to begin planning out your hunting locations and prepare your gear before the season starts. Inserting these deer hunting tips into your regular pre-season preparation will give you a leg-up on other hunters in your area. You should keep a careful watch over the patterns of the deer in your area and use that information to plot locations and place lures accurately.
Buying and enhancing your gear is also important. You should invest in sturdy hunting gear that will last you multiple seasons of rough weather. You can also outfit your gear to ensure quieter transportation by wrapping it with tape and securing it with straps. Once you’ve found an ideal location and set up your tree stand or you’ve hidden yourself well in the foliage, make sure you stay silent and scent-free. Bring odor eliminator with you and reapply it when needed.
Also, take care not to contaminate your hunting clothes by wearing them in the car on the way to your hunting grounds or storing them in your house. Avoid washing your clothes with scented detergent and try to take showers with odor-free soaps. The most important part of upping your hunting game this season is learning how to pre-plan for the hunting season. The pre-season is all about learning and gaining new skills to put into practice on day-one of hunting season. Beginning your preparations now will help to ensure that this coming season is the best you’ve had yet.