5 Tips to Becoming a Successful Deer Hunter Leave a reply
by Jason Brooks
With Oregon’s rifle deer opener coming up this weekend and Washington’s modern firearm season just weeks away it is time to go deer hunting! But before you grab the blaze orange vest and sling your rifle over your shoulder there are few things you can do to become a better deer hunter this fall. Here are five tips to be successful this season.
Most hunters make sure their rifle is sighted in but unfortunately few shoot the rifle enough to be proficient at it. When we were kids a box of .22 shells meant an afternoon of plinking but rifle rounds are a bit more expensive than the rim fire rounds. However, wounding an animal or just plain missing one is even more pricey than buying an extra box of ammo. Going to the range shouldn’t be to confirm the zero on the rifle; it should be using the rifle and becoming proficient at it. Find a range that offers long distant shooting at metal “gongs”. This is a fun way to spend an afternoon as well as learn your true shooting abilities.
Don’t shy away from the crowds.
Opening day is very popular and hunting the “pumpkin patch” can be discouraging. But deer adjust to the pressure and as long as you make adjustments to your plans you can use other hunters to your success. Find routes that are often used by fleeing deer when they are pushed. Sit on these routes can lead to a notched tag as hunter’s push deer around.
Hunt all day.
It always amazes me to see hunters head back to camp for lunch. The deer are still in the woods and often this is when they move from one location to another. Either to get out of the hot sun, or just to stretch after laying down from the morning feeding. You can’t shoot a deer from camp so why go there during the day. Stay out in the woods and still hunt timber stands mid-day and then head to a vantage point for the evening hunt.
Learn a new area.
Don’t get stuck heading to the same ridge or mountain each year. Sure, some traditions are hard to break but it can be heartbreaking when you get to “your spot” and find another hunter already there. By being flexible and learning new areas you are increasing your opportunities at finding a buck.
Opening day can be hot and dry, rainy and wet or even a surprise snowstorm. Deer often bed down during severe weather or during the heat of the day. Knowing this means hunting the bedding areas or waiting them out. Since hunting seasons are short and most hunters don’t have the luxury of waiting for the storm to pass learn to hunt where the deer go when storms approach. And if the storm does pass while you’re in the field be ready to set up and glass for deer coming out to feed after spending a day or two weathering the storm.
Deer season is upon us and it is time to get ready to fill the freezer with some venison. By preparing for the upcoming season you will have a better chance at notching your tag. Don’t let another year go by doing the same routine and becoming discouraged by the crowds.
Jason Brooks – Outdoor Line Field Editor