I have been hunting for nearly 15 years now. I was fortunate enough to have learned some great tips from my grandfather and father at a very young age. In recent years, I have quit gun hunting and concentrated fully on taking a Ã‚Â“matureÃ‚Â” deer with a bow. I have been fortunate enough to take several nice deer. Here are some tips in which I follow: (more will be added as time goes)
As you know, the serious white-tail hunter has always read, been taught, or learned the hard way that a deerÃ‚Â’s nose is the most important way in which it functions. I have purchased the $400 dollar set of scent blocker/scent lok gear, I have used the deodorants, soaps, mouthwash and every other gimmick they sale. They all have their advantages and IÃ‚Â’m sure work to a certain extent, however, they are not 100% scent free. Between sweating, touching clothes putting them on, the odors of the house, garage, or anything else that is near your clothes when you store, it is tough to be perfect when it comes to scent free. In my mind, one of the most important aspects any hunter can have when it comes to being scent free is rubber knee high boots. They will always be scent free no matter where they are kept. You can buy the scent free boots, but the cost of them will break you before you know it and there are still pieces of material that carries scent. Knee high rubber boots come in contact with more in the woods than anything around you. Most of your brush in the woods is knee high or less, with rubber boots it doesnÃ‚Â’t leave a scent behind. Whitetails pay attention as they walk, always smelling and paying attention of their surroundings. As it walks and feeds itÃ‚Â’s nose is usually somewhere in the same height that your rubber boots come in contact with. I would like to have a dollar for every time a deer as walked down the same trail that I used to get in and didnÃ‚Â’t smell me. Not only does rubber boots stay scent free, but they are also affordable; they come in different colors, heights, and insulation. You can get them for cold weather or for the hot early season hunts.
How high is high enough?
Ask this question any hunter and youÃ‚Â’ll different answers. I have hunted with people who have success at the 15 foot range and IÃ‚Â’ve hunted with people who hunt in godÃ‚Â’s country and have success. On a personal preference I keep two things in mind when I hang a stand; wind and terrain. When I walk into a stand I first look at the wind, which way is it blowing? Then I look at the terrain, am I on a hill where the deer in front of me will be eye level and the deer behind me will be way below me? Or is it level ground? Always try and hang your stand up wind, the key word being Ã‚Â“try.Ã‚Â” As we know, unfortunately most of the time it just doesnÃ‚Â’t work out that way. If that is the case get high in tree (if heights arenÃ‚Â’t a factor). The scent of human will rise as it and go with the wind as it leaves your body. If youÃ‚Â’re high enough, the scent will stay above the deerÃ‚Â’s nose and give you that extra chance of bagging the trophy. This in my mind is beating a deer at his own game. If your fortunate enough and can place a stand upwind, height shouldnÃ‚Â’t really be an issue, however, there are still some important factors to keep in mind. Silhouetting is a very big problem a lot of hunters have. The do all the right things but never look at their background after they hang the stand. I always try and face my stands away from the from direction the deer will be coming, I would rather my shot to be a little tougher rather than them taking a chance on seeing me. DonÃ‚Â’t clear out to much brush around your stand either, brush and limbs can easily break up that Ã‚Â“dreaded stare-downÃ‚Â” between the deer and yourself. Another important factor to keep in mind is to be ready, comfortable. IÃ‚Â’m as guilty of it as anyone, using on old tree stands the clothe seats rotted away and IÃ‚Â’m in such a bind in the tree with room that I donÃ‚Â’t even have room to hang my gear. The older I get the more comfortable I want my tree stands to be. Now when I set my stands, I go ahead and hang my hangers, get my limbs situated, etc. I usually carry a swivel arm for my bow which is always screwed in on my shooting side, for easy access. My bag is always hung on another hook on my right side for easy access with my right hand. Having this stuff organized will pay off in the crunch time when your looking for that second arrow, or need to squeeze off a quick first shot. Another important part of stand hunting knows when to move/draw. Mental preparation is something I always try and do with every new stand that I hang. As that first morning comes in that stand, I start ranging yardages-making mental notes. Pinpointing large tree for maybe that stand and draw, look for lay downs, or a tree between u and the trail that the deer will eventually be behind, always have everything pre-played out in your head so when the time arrives, itÃ‚Â’s a lot easier to focus on the shot. Always keep in mind however, no matter how high or low you getÃ‚Â….wear a safety belt.
If you have hunted long enough you know that whitetails are an incredible animal and at times seem to have a very strong desire to live. IÃ‚Â’ve made the good shots, IÃ‚Â’ve made the bad, there just are times where the deer is not comfortable and wonÃ‚Â’t lay down, making your tracking job tougher. Over the years I have learned a few things from magazines, books, and trial and error that I believe can come in handy.
First and foremost, no matter the situation you owe it to the animal, the state, to work hard. The whitetail is a beautiful and fascinating creature; pay your respects and do all that you can to find that wounded animal.
Immediately after the shot, the tracking starts, start taking mental notes as the deer is running away, landmarks, hills, ditches, bushes, etc. Also be listening for any crashes, trees breaking, water splashes, etc. Now is the decision that most hunters donÃ‚Â’t choose wisely. Think of the shot, where was the deer hit? If you are unsure a general rule of thumb Ã‚Â“When in doubt, wait it out.Ã‚Â” The animal will eventually expire give it time and then starting trailing. If you heard it go down and are sure of an excellent shot, give it a few minutes, let the woods calm down, replay everything in your head. Then slowly start to retrieve your game. Once you have played the waiting game comes the scene of the crime. Look for any hair, blood spatter, hoof marks etc. If you canÃ‚Â’t find blood, think of that mental note you took in the stand. Start walking slowly toward it, just off the trail that it took, looking for any blood spots. Once you find blood you need to recognize where the deer is hit. The hair at the crime scene can help you a little with that question, but the for sure way is to either check your arrow/ or the blood trail. What color is the blood? Does it have bubbles in it? Are they bits and pieces of food in the blood or on the arrow? Bright-red blood is a great sign, usually indicating an oxygen rich artery hit. Pinkish, frothy blood usually indicates a lung hit. Many times bubbles will appear on the shaft of the arrow or even the blood droplets. Easy-to-follow dark-red droplets that disappear after a couple of hundred yards often indicate a muscle shot. The chances are slim to none when trying to find these deer, but not impossible. The key to these shots are waiting on the animal. Something else to always remember when trailing is to mark the locations of the blood trail. I carry toilet paper with me, mark a limb as I find a new piece and will constantly be looking back at the trail the deer took. One last thing when trailing a deer, if you lose the trail of blood and start to become frustrated, now is the time where you become an investigator. Is there frost on the ground, dew? If so, get down on your hands and knees, look for the trail that has leaves turned. Are the spiders webs tore down? Are there indentions in the wet ground? As I mentioned above, do all you can to recover your wounded game, pay your respects to the sport and the creature.
Archery Shooting for Beginners
I was fortunate enough to be introduced to archery hunting at a very young age. I can remember some of my first hunts, going in and sitting without a sight even close and flinging arrows at less than 20 yards at the does walking beneath me. As I became older and I became more serious about my trades I started to practice my shot. At the age of 16, I began shooting indoor 3d tournaments, more often than not I got my butt handed to me by some great shooting adults, but I learned so much from them during that time.
First and foremost, if your not willing to practice and practice again, archery will not be a good fit for you. A good archery shooter has a rhythm, a sequence that he goes through each time before the arrow is released. After you have made the commitment to practice itÃ‚Â’s time to get yourself set up. Find a good shooting bow, something you feel comfortable with. Have a local dealer help set you up, the correct length, a release, and the correct weight. ( I shot heavy bows indoors for more stabilization, in the woods, I like something light, something I can maneuver easily.) Once youÃ‚Â’re set up itÃ‚Â’s time to shoot. One of the biggest mistakes I see beginners make is not anchoring the string at the same point every time. Some people prefer kisser buttons, myself I anchor out of the corner of my mouth and with my peep sight. Find where youÃ‚Â’re comfortable and stick with it, have yourself a mental checklist as your practicing, things you should check, in order to make it like the previous shot. Secondly, donÃ‚Â’t fight your sight when practicing, if you start to get tired, let it down. With practice your muscles will strengthen and you will be steadier and able to hold the draw for longer. Continuing to shoot when your muscles get tired, will cause you to pick up bad habits and hurt your confidence. I use to shoot year around, now that I am not shooting indoor tournaments anymore, I have to retrain my muscles each season, trying to shoot 3 to 4 times a week at least 20 to 25 shots each time out. Now..your staring down your peep, it sounds simple right, line that sight up and pull the trigger?? In a round a-bout way yes, but there are some tricks. Tunnel Vision is something I learned when shooting 3D targets. Always, I mean always look through your site to the target, or dot. Your eyes and mind will automatically put that sight inline with what you want. For example, take your hands together as youÃ‚Â’re reading this and make a diamond shape placing your pointing fingers and thumbs together. Now place it on something across the room, the object will automatically be centered between the diamond. The same concept works when you look through your sights. ItÃ‚Â’ll take some practice, but it is a piece of art and will be the difference in a well placed shot and a great shot. Breathing comes next, as youÃ‚Â’re at full draw; you still have to control your breathing. When your shooting in the yard, you made hold your breathe, trust me when I say you wonÃ‚Â’t be able to hold your breathe when that buck is 20 yards away and your heart and stomach are trying to jump out of your chest. Control your breathing while your shooting, its no different than shooting a rifle. Find a rhythm!! Next is the squeeze of the trigger (if you shoot a release). Again this is just like shooting a rifle, place your finger on the trigger ( I shoot a back tension thumb release) and slowly try and squeeze. Something I like to do is try and see how little I can squeeze the release without it going off. You want the surprise factor to happen. You do not want to punch a release, punching it can cause so many bad habits, jerking of the arm, loosing focus on your tunnel vision, and it will hurt your consistency. Practice, Practice, and Practice more. I promise you these things will help you become that archery shooter you want to be.