Dating back to tens of thousands of years, bow hunting a deer has been a milestone achieved by countless hunters and defining the success story of millions of bowhunters. On the way to Florida’s bow hunting season last year, I had many unanswered queries in mind about hunting and the picture was not exactly clear to me!
In the field, I met many experienced hunters who solved the puzzle and taught me some amazing tricks and techniques which made my hunt a big success. I want to share these tips as they may equally help you in the woods.
Tip 1: (Where to Aim & Shoot)
You should make your shot placement wisely. A deer has a very straight forward anatomy and it involves no mystery. The broadside of a deer exposes its vital organs. To get the job done; you need to place the broadhead in its chest cavity.
For hitting the heart or lung area, you need to slug your bullet behind the broadside deer’s shoulder. A reference point for deer hunters is the near leg area. To kill a deer you must aim at its heart region that’s why they set the pin at the lower chest. A headshot can also kill the deer immediately. So here you have many options of shot placement for bow hunting a deer.
Tip 2: (When is Deer Hunting Season)
The early bow hunting season for deer in US northern zone begins at 27 September and ends at 19 October whereas the late bow hunting season here starts at 3 December and ends at 9 December.
On the other hand, the early bow hunting season for deer in US southern zone begins at 1 October and ends at 16 November whereas the late bow hunting season here starts at 10 December and ends at 18 December. The easiest time during the year for bow hunting a deer in the early season.
Tip 3: (Which bow to Choose)
A compound bow would work best for hunting a deer as today’s transformed and modern compound bows are full of features with great efficiency and accuracy. These compound bows are categorized into four choices, differentiating from each other through the cam systems they use.
Selecting one among them is a matter of personal choice. You should choose the system according to your draw weight and comfort level. The modern compounds with long risers and short ATA length would work perfectly for doing the task. You can also add string silencers with your bow to not make a noise while shooting a deer.
Tip 4: (Rules and Regulations)
You must follow the rules and regulations of the state where you are planning to go deer hunting. You should avoid shooting instinct animals and shoot under the premises of the law. Most of the US states own some public land and you can hunt a deer there. To do so many people also lease the private hunting land. Sometimes state and national parklands are also available for deer hunting. You must read the regulations of the area where you want to bow hunt the deer. Never assume an area to be safe for hunting if you aren’t sure.
Tip 5: (Draw Weight and Arrows)
For ethical hunting, the draw weight, Shot placement and consistent accuracy are the vital elements. The minimum draw weight for bow hunting a deer is different in every state so you must check your state laws before selecting the draw weight.
A deer can be killed effectively with a bow having a draw weight of 40 pounds. It also depends on the distance from where a deer can be shot dead but guess what! This distance depends on the ethics and personal ability of the shooter.
Releasing an arrow is no doubt an explosive event. Heavier arrows make quieter shots. As sound travels three to four times faster than the compound bows, it is not necessary to select the quietest arrows. Remember, The deer should not hear you otherwise it will move within a second and you may miss your shot.
For bow hunting a deer, select carbon arrows with excellent shafts. You can choose among mechanical or fixed blade broadheads. The main thing here is that it should shoot true out of your bow with razor-sharp blades.
Tip 6: (Know your Distance)
You can kill whitetail deer’s within 100 yards or even a target distance of 20-60 yards is also enough. Although for a mule deer you may need to shoot at 200 yards or less but modern crossbow can even shoot a deer at 500 yards.
Tip 7: (Bait Strategy)
Corn can be the best baiting option for deer. This is no doubt a cheap option for the hunters. That’s why it’s a widely used bait and highly recommended source. Use soybean oil to cover the corn with glaze and make it an attractive enhancer.
The most attractive and effective locations for hunting are based on competing for food sources, terrain, wind direction, etc. Soybean fields act as free bait piles. Place your bait near bedding areas known to you. It generates a greater return on your feed and time investment.
Tip 8: (Be Patient)
The basic part of the thrill and drama of hunting is to wait. To grow as a successful hunter, you must be patient and persistent. It’s an all-day activity to hunt a deer because deer’s like to come to a silent area. You need some time to scout and get away from the beaten path.
Plan your hunt wisely and take appropriate precautions. Be vigilant and you must concentrate and think carefully before making each move.
I still remember my first hunt, when i was sitting on the tree all day from 6 am to 6 pm and came back without shooting. It happens, You should be patient enough if you want to enjoy the hunting in woods.
Tip 9: (Go Camouflage)
You must hide so the deer should not be able to spot you as a threat. Find a camouflaged position and a cover in the wild. Blinds and tree stand along with your dress make a great impact here. Make the deer come to you in the early season by attracting them through rattling antlers, estrus sprays, and urine, etc.
Tip 10: (Take a Partner Along)
Solo hunting may get difficult and dangerous so its recommended to take at least another person with you. it’s a great challenge for even the experienced hunters to pack out a whole deer alone.
Tip 11: (How to approach the Deer you have just shot)
Once you have shot the deer, wait a few minutes and remember the general spot where you hit the deer. Head towards the spot where you shot the deer and examine the ground carefully for any signs of blood.
Once you track the deer closely examine it before approaching if it’s dead or no. once you are sure its dead, field dress it properly with a good hunting knife.
Tip 12: (Things to Avoid)
- Never trespass on private land if the landowners have not permitted.
- Avoid bringing dogs with you while deer hunting because dogs are loud and may scare the deer off and lead to missing your prey.
- Another major concern while hunting a deer is scent control. You should not eat fatty foods and avoid drinking alcohol since a day before going hunting because their strong smell may alert the deer to your presence. Before going hunting avoid showering for a day or 2.
- Don’t pull the trigger till the deer is broadside.
- Avoid firing at anything which you can’t see properly and make sure there is no a private resident, person or road behind.
Tip 13: (Keep Silence in the field)
Deer’s are sensitive even to the most minor sounds made in the woods. Their hearing sense is excellent and can easily detect your movements even from a quarter-mile away. You better set up your stand one or two days before hunting to avoid gaining their attention.
Tip 14: (Pack Light)
Always pack light so that you are energetic and fresh when you reach the woods. Avoid taking extra accessories as you have to walk a lot in the woods till you reach your target destination.
Tip 15: (Select your Shooting Position Wisely)
A good hunter should be comfortable in all the variety of shooting positions which are possible for making an accurate shot. A standing position while shooting is the simplest and fastest but at the same time unfortunately unstable too. If shot properly, sitting positions are more comfortable and stable for accurately shooting a deer.
Tip 16: (Ensure Ethical Hunting)
Every responsible archer has the goal of killing an animal with a single shot. You can’t ethically hunt while breaking the hunting laws. You must use a powerful weapon which is enough to kill the deer immediately. Shooting a deer without the intent of recovery is killing, not hunting. Unduly harassing a deer during the hunt is not at all ethical.
Try to hit the deer in the area covered with vital organs. Follow every shot and if the deer isn’t dead you must dispatch it quickly in a humane way.
Tip 17: (Don’t Panic)
If you miss your shot don’t panic. Use a practice regime, breathe properly and distract yourself to avoid panic. Don’t worry; you will get more chances to hunt a deer because deer’s never travel alone. They either go around in pairs or groups. Even if you cant take the buck home, you acquired some experience from your shot. So be positive and stay relaxed.
Tip 18: (Safety Comes First)
Make sure you are physically fit before going for a deer hunt. You mostly have to use a tree stand for hunting a deer so be careful while climbing in and out of the stand. You must wear a full-body safety harness while hunting from a tree stand.
I hope these tips prove useful for you in the field just like they did for me! Being a bowhunter, nothing would make you happier than entering the woods and hitting your prey perfectly. Even today, deer hunting is one of the favorite sports of hunters bringing along delicious venison to their table along with a fun-filled experience.