So you want to show proudly to your friends the antlers or stuffed head on the wall, and tell them about your last hunting trip with all it’s glory. If this describes you, then the following 10 tips are worth considering.
1. Get up early or hunt late: "The early bird gets the worm" is a great old adage, and with deer hunting this saying certainly carries weight. Deer are often up, grazing for food, at dawn which gives you a great opportunity to put your crosshairs on one first thing in the morning. But, as the day goes on, it gets more difficult to spot a target. By midday, your odds of bagging a buck will have dwindled down to 10% or less. However, at dusk, the deer tend to resume their activity levels and you have another great opportunity to get a night kill. So the lesson here is to hunt in the early morning or at night, but never in the middle of the day.
2. Your clothes: Okay, you’re a sure shot with your compound bow and muzzleloader, but were you wearing a t-shirt and shorts when you practiced that sure shot, back at home? With winter clothes your movements will not be as easy. A little jerk here, and your camo jacket gets in way of a good aim and spoils a good shot opportunity. May be you will sweat a little back home while you practice with your winter clothes on, but that sweat is well paid in the woods with a firm hand to get a trophy buck.
3. Select your hunting area before season opens: The rookie that dashes into the woods unprepared, on the beginning day of the hunting season, rarely bags his buck. Most of the bucks and does, prowl more for food to store energy to use in the hard part of the winter. So the idea is to find a good food source in the woods, late in the season, and locate the trails leading to that food source and set up your tree stand in a suitable place where you will have good cover, but a clear shot at your target. Always remember “Preparation is the key to victory”.
4. Fuel is important to your body: Carry enough water and high energy snacks with you during your hunt as when it gets late in the season, you need to consume more food to keep up your energy.
5. Are you with the changing times: If you are using the traditional black powder instead of the modern primers of black powder substitutes? Then please remember to keep your muzzleloader in a place not inside the house, but outside safely and secured. Taking out your gun from the cozy warmth of your house to the moisture atmosphere, it is likely to build up condensation. You really want that shot at the right time don’t you? Then take care of your weapon and make sure it's ready.
6. Remember the coach’s words: What does your coach says during your school and college days? “practice, practice and practice”. Same goes in deer hunting as well. Use your weekends to keep your muscle toned and eyes sharp by sending more and more arrows and shots, and make sure you can place your shots within a few inches of each other. For best realism, practice on a 3-D deer target and keep it in your backyard. This training will ensure that when you're in the woods, you can repeat your shot, when it is needed the most.
7. Get hooked: I mean equip yourself with enough hooks to help you to secure your belongings, be it your bow, quiver, binoculars, food and other belongings into your stand. You don’t want a falling water canteen to frighten away that buck, do you?
8. Prepare your battle field: With a good pair of shears cut out the low lying branches and outgrowths during your scouting of the area. Same goes with cutting out any dried up branches and twigs lying nearby. During your walk to the woods and approach to the stand you can be as quiet as possible. After all you don’t want that trophy buck to be warned about your approach.
9. Paint your horns: If you want to rattle in a buck with antlers, be sure to paint it with a good fluorescent orange. This will make your fellow hunters; think before aiming that they are not sighting the real buck. And it is better to avoid the area frequented by other hunters. Getting a 12 pronged souvenir is important, but more important is your safety.
10. Pay attention to wind and weather conditions: Before you head out, get the weather report of the area from the local newspaper or, if it's available in the area, call the weather hotline for updated reports. The direction of the wind will likely be the most important condition that can affect your hunt. It's futile to try and hunt in a tailwind, as the deer will pick up your scent before you can even see them. But if there's a gentle headwind toward where you placed your tree stand, it's game on, get out and hunt!
+Bonus Tip: If you've tried the above tips, but are still unable to find that trophy buck, you may want to look into booking a hunt with whitetail outfitters, as they are experienced in finding worthy trophies and provide great hunting trips for their clients.