Follow these deer hunting tips and you’ll be able to bag huge bucks year after year.
Get Good at Shed Hunting
1. Being good at shed hunting can give you insight to what bucks you have on your property and where they hang out. It can also be an easy way to give you a nice rack to hang on the wall. If you have a shed hunting dog, this makes this even better. If you don’t have a shed hunting dog, get a dog and train him.
2. Look in the thick stuff for sheds. Bucks love cover and the thick brush can knock off a loose antler leaving it for you to find. The thick brush is where they go to feel protected and safe from predators.
3. Many sheds are found anywhere a buck has to jump. A creek or fence crossing can offer a shed antler that has been jolted loose.
4. Be sure to check the south facing ridges for sheds. Deer frequent these areas in early spring to soak up the sun.
Use Game Trail Cameras
5. Digital deer scouting is cutting edge and trail cameras are the number one tool. There are even trail cameras that send SMS photos to your phone when motion is detected.One of the best selling trail cameras of all time is the Bushnell Trophy Cam. It takes 12MP photos and 720p HD video.
6. Use a mineral lick or salt block during the off season to bring deer into trail camera range. You can buy these fairly cheap at your local hardware or outdoor store. We even have a useful article on how to make your own salt lick.
7. Remember to bring an extra memory card and batteries every time you check your game cameras. This saves you an extra trip back to the truck.
8. Locate your cameras where they are easily accessible so you don’t over-pressure the deer. This is sometimes best said than actually done.
9. Position your camera to the north for the best quality pictures.
Big Buck Tactics
10. A part of seeing bigger bucks is letting the smaller ones walk. If you have everybody in 100 square miles practicing this, then you will continue to grow larger bucks. It’s not always practical that all your neighbors are doing the same thing. However, if your goal is to just get meat to feed your family, then the size of the antlers shouldn’t be your first priority.
11. Designate a few acres of your property as a deer sanctuary where it is safe for them to go. Give them a food plot, an apple tree, something they will really enjoy. Keep your scent in this area to a minimum, don’t be walking around all year round through this area heavily.
12. Post keep out signs around your sanctuaries and safe zones so other hunters don’t wonder in. It never fails there are hunters killed every year for trespassing onto another’s property.
13. Be cautious of bucks circling downwind anytime you rattle or call.
14. Use scents and lures conservatively. Many mature bucks have made a connection between man and scent overuse during the fall. There are a great number of good quality scents out there today. Choose wisely.
15. During the rut, find the bucks by locating the does. The buck’s hormones are going to be raging. They are looking for a mate.
16. Rattling techniques are most effective during the pre-rut phase before bucks lock down with a doe.
17. Most mature trophy bucks are killed between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m during peak breeding season.
18. Hunt the edges of thickets and the nastiest overgrown areas you can find. Bucks love heavy cover.
19. The snort wheeze is a great call to use on an aggressive buck.
20. Don’t be afraid to make a move on a buck. Most successful hunters tweak their stand locations once they gain more insight on buck movement. Try to do this as early as possible during the season.
21. If moving a tree stand is too risky, consider making a natural blind to ambush a buck. Some hunters move around just like they would during turkey season.
22. Don’t call or grunt to a buck that is already heading your way. Just be still and quiet and let the deer move right in.
Shooting & Recovery Tips
23. From a tree stand, come to full draw while standing upright like normal, then bend at the waist bringing the pin down to the target.
24. It’s always best to be patient and wait for the right shot to open up.
25. Anticipate a nervous buck taking off as soon as he hears the bowstring (ducking the arrow). Aiming a little lower can result in a better shot.
26. Don’t shoot further than what you are comfortable shooting. Stay within your comfortable range.
27. Have enough respect for a mature buck to let him walk if he doesn’t offer a good shot.
28. Pay close attention to a deer’s reaction after taking a shot to determine where it is hit.
29. Do your part and harvest does to keep the herd in check.
30. Listen once a deer runs off. Many times you will hear them crash after they are out of sight.
31. If you are unsure of the shot placement wait it out. Remember, when in doubt – wait it out!
32. Note the direction a deer runs after being shot. Use landmarks as a guide.
33. Examine your arrow for an indication of the shot placement. Hair and blood color can be a sign where your arrow hit.
General Hunting Tactics
34. Hunt bottlenecks, funnels, pinch points, and trail hubs.
35. Play the wind in addition to scent control clothing or scent killing spray.
36. Deer can see movement from a long ways, use slow motion if you have to move while on stand.
37. Don’t make any human sounds that aren’t natural to a deer’s environment. Coughing, banging equipment against a metal stand, or your cell phone ringing will ruin a hunt.
38. If you are going to carry one call make it a grunt call. Whenever deer are in rut and they hear that grunt call that sounds like another buck…….oh boy…..things are about to get good.
39. Check the wind direction several times an hour and get down if it switches to your disadvantage.
40. Don’t overuse deer calls. Deer don’t call as often as deer call makers would like you to think.
41. Scanning think cover with a good pair of binoculars is a great way to spot a bedded buck.
42. Leave your rangefinders in a handy spot in case you need them quick. The Nikon 8396 ACULON makes a perfect rangefinder for scouting and will last season after season.
43. Use rangefinders to mark yardages around your tree stand prior to a deer coming in.
44. Always let a loved one know where you’ll be sitting in case something unforeseen happens.
45. Hunt the travel corridors between bedding and feeding areas during the early season.
46. Leave your bow or gun where you can easily grab it with little movement. The last thing you want is for a deer to be running by and you don’t have any type of weapon to shoot it.
47. Stalking deer can be more successful on windy or rainy days. A deer’s hearing and sight are lessened during these conditions.
48. Be sure to wear a facemask or face paint to hide the familiar contours of your face. Yes, deer can see your face if you can see theirs.
49. Cover shiny equipment that might reflect light and look unnatural with paint or camouflage tape.
50. Deer move in all types of weather. Take advantage of foul weather when other hunters are sleeping in and you could score big.
51. In no way should you ever hunt with broadheads that may be dull. Keep your practice broadheads separate from your hunting broadheads.
52. Keep deer from patterning you by using different routes to and from your stand sites.
53. A pee bottle is a must. Bring an empty plastic bottle with a lid in case you’ve got to go.
Scent Control Tips
54. Activate your scent control clothing several time throughout the hunting season. Scentblocker makes some of the most advanced technology in blocking odors and human scent.
55. Be sure to shower with scent free soap and shampoo before every hunt.
56. Use field spray on all your clothing, boots, and equipment.
57. Don’t ride in a car or truck with your hunting clothes on. It’s better to dress in the field or outside your vehicle once you arrive.
58. Storing your hunting clothes in a scent free bag or container is essential.
59. Use scent eliminating breath spray.
60. Wear rubber hunting boots as opposed to scent absorbing canvas or leather.
61. Wear layers of clothing to stay warm. Plus you can take off a layer or two if you get hot.
62. Use cover scents that are natural to your area or you might spook game.
Following these deer hunting tips can certainly help you to have a more successful hunting season. What other tips have you found that work well to kill deer?