Tips for Whitetail Deer Hunting

By Robin Odach , last updated November 25, 2011

When hunting for Whitetail deer, you may want to consider a few tips that will make your experience a better one. Whitetail deer stick to established routines. They prefer living in timbered areas and grazing in open fields. If the fields are dense enough, the deer feel safe and stay there for long periods. Experienced hunters watch the edges of fields to figure out where deer are entering and leaving. Visit the field edges during the middle of the day to see how the deer get back to the timber. Look for signs, including droppings, hoof prints and bedding areas. Choose a hunting spot that is about 100 yards away from the field and wait for the deer to come to feed.

Use a Tree Stand

Many hunters prefer using a tree stand to hunt whitetail deer. The stand allows the hunter to sit as motionless and comfortable as possible while waiting patiently for the right deer. Deer are skilled at detecting motion, sound and smell. A tree stand with greenery attached to the bottom helps keep deer from sensing a hunter. The greenery camouflages the hunter and covers up any detectible scent with a natural odor. Be careful not to cover up any firing lanes when attaching the greenery. A deer stand can be as simple as a chair anchored half way up a tree, or as complicated as a platform positioned among the tree branches.

Be Stealthy

Deer hunting requires an ability to move stealthily. It is done by keeping your weight on your back foot until the front foot is fully placed. This is important because you’ll be able to stop quickly and silently when you see the game animal. Careful placement of the front foot keeps you from breaking twigs as you bring the foot to the ground. Biologist Terry Trier at Grand View State University in Michigan writes that “soft and gentle” is the way to go when walking in the woods, because nothing alerts a deer like someone who is stomping around and making noise.

Be Conditioned

It takes a lot of stamina to go deer hunting. Hunting trips often involve snow and cold temperatures, and layers of warm clothing. Wounded deer need tracking, and once you get a deer, you’ll have to drag him out of the woods. Nicholas Wyskoarko, cardiologist at the Marshfield Clinic in Wisconsin, recommends that prospective hunters get checked out by a doctor if they smoke, are overweight, have high blood pressure or diabetes.

Bring Needed Equipment

Deer run off when they smell a strong human scent such as urine, so Trier recommends bring a temporary receptacle along. Field-dressing a deer requires quite a bit of other equipment. The kill tag, flashlight and sharp knife are essential. You’ll need a couple of plastic bags to keep the heart and liver, and rags or towels to clean up. Take rope to drag your deer out, and twine to tie the legs together. Heavy latex gloves keep blood from getting under your nails. Don’t forget a camera so you can record the big moment.

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