Looking ahead deer season is at best six (6) months away, but being prepared is never out of season and 6 months of practice never hurt anyone. So, whether you are an experienced deer hunter or simply a novice to the woods, the following tip will help you hone your skills for more success this coming season.
What is That Smell?
We humans may love our scents, perfumes and body washes but so do the creatures of the forest. People have between 5-6 million olfactory glands in our noses, rabbits have over 100 million, deer have 297 million while most dogs can top 300 million. So, as much as we like smelling good, when you head out hunting use a scent-free soap whilst showering before hand, a detergent as well for washable clothes and gear. Just as important, try as much as possible not to contaminate your clothes as you head to the woods. Do not wear them. Simply pack them in a sealed plastic bag or container. Moreover, add some leaves, dust, dirt and other ground matter found around your hunting stand to infuse a natural scent. Only wear your hunting clothes when you reach the fields. This will retain the integrity of the scents already infused into the cloths. Say no to smoking (anything) as well.
They are Not Always Looking for a Mate
The vast majority of hunters think doe estrous is only deer attraction to use. While estrous is an effective tool to have and use, it is only a tool. To be more effective, you need to draw from your knowledge of deer behavior. For instance, during early seasons, you take advantage of the deer natural territorial instincts. During early October, making use of estrous doe to attract a buck is really not necessary. Scout your hunting grounds, look for trails, droppings and other evidence of their common habits.
But Then Again
Drag a rag soaked in doe estrous during peak-rut. Very often, bucks will follow this trail right to your hunting stand, if you are quiet, still and ready.
Typically, hunters will spray themselves an odor eliminator just after suiting up and before trekking to the stand. Experienced hunters, however, will carry an odor eliminator to the stand. While at the stand, apply odor eliminator to your body, focusing on your hat and your hair as well.
If you are muzzle-loader hunting in the rain, stick a piece of electrical tape over the barrel end, this will keep the moisture out of the barrel. And when times come to harvest the deer, simply shoot through the tape.
There are ways to defy traditional rules of playing the wind with the right scent set-ups. One of these ways is to locate a long piece of cover or timber where the wind is blowing along its length. At the windy end, pour some doe estrous at different spots. Thereafter, set up high in a stand on the opposite of deer-scent dripped end. If you set up high enough, your human scent will flow above the deer.
Do not wait until hunting season comes along to practice setting up and taking down your tree stand. Do so before the season. While practicing, the main priority should be to get into and out of your stand as quietly as you can. While practicing use your cell phone to record the sounds and review them. Find that loose piece of equipment rubbing the seat or tree when you are just staying quiet and only breathing. See if you can hear your binoculars strap rubbing on your collar or hood.
And be sure to douse yourself with tick repellent when you go scouting during the summer as well as early fall. Celebrate their demise when the first frost occurs.
BTW Google Maps can help in scouting your hunting grounds. While nothing beets eyes and feet on the ground it can narrow your search.
Refrain from trimming your shooting lanes during the season. This will disturb the hunting area. Clever and adaptive bucks might start to associate the scent of freshly cut tree branches with human predication. Instead, trim the lanes during the summer, when you find that area where you will make your stand.
Considering using some concealment and maximize your camouflage as much as possible. Shiny black stand, fresh Armor All’d seat, might as well bring your iPOD as well. A camouflage cover will also shelter you from harsh winds.
Approach with Great Stealth
It is of critical importance that you get to your tree stand as undetected as possible. However, do note that cover of darkness does not always help. I for one trip over things a lot in the dark and the little curse words I utter travel far in the still moist air. As such, use forest curtains and creeks as much as possible to make your way to your stand. Do all you can do to stay off the observed deer trails, to not interact with the foliage around your stand.
All in all I hope some of these tips put some venison on your table and in your freezer. Deer hunting is a great thing to teach your kids, if your kids are taught to hunt you will spend way less time hunting for them.
Thanks Conrad Reynolds and, by the way, it is important to make sure that you have the best equipment. For example do you have the best long range scope?
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