7 Reasons You Fail To Take A Deer Every Year

whitetaildeermonsterbuckI know and you know, sometimes we just have lousy seasons. There may be things that happen that are out of our control that cause us to miss an opportunity to bring a deer, or deer, home.

However, there are a number of Hunters who fail to bring a deer home year after year. I know several right now who haven’t killed a deer in 5 years or more. I bet you know a few also. In fact, you might be one of them. This list is to help you change you skills. Notice I didn’t say “change you luck” because in deer hunting, I believe you make most of your own luck. I’m not writing this to be mean, I’m writing this for those of you who can’t seem to bring home  a deer.

Here are 7 reasons you fail to bring home a deer every year.

  1. You fail to take deer hunting seriously. Some of you see deer season as a chance to get away from the ole lady and party. That’s fine, but be honest about it and tell people you getting away for a few days, not deer hunting.
  2. You fail to become proficient with you weapon.I know a guy right now who misses a lot of deer every year. He’s a lousy shot with a bow, rifle and muzzleloader. Why? He doesn’t practice! He claims he doesn’t “have time”, yet any given day after work he’s either at a Bar or napping in his recliner back at home. He has time, he just doesn’t want to make the time to become proficient with his weapons.
  3. You’re lazy. You walk out into the Woods just far enough so you’re sure you don’t get lost and plop your butt down at the base of a tree. You don’t bring a tree stand “because it’s too darn heavy” or because “ole so and so kills ‘em off the ground,  I can too.” You could use a blind if you didn’t want to hunt out of a tree stand, but you have your excuses for that also.  Perhaps if you learned how to use a map and compass or GPS you would venture further from the roads but then “that’s too far to drag one” you say. So you fail year after year.
  4. You Fail to Scout.Some of you wonder aimlessly through the woods opening morning,  spooking deer from other people looking for a “spot”. Or, you always hunt out of the same permanent stand because you killed a deer out of it 10 years ago or someone you know killed a deer from there 10 years ago. Times change. Deer patterns change. Just because one spot is hot one year, does’t mean it will be the next year, or even the next month. You need to get out and pattern the deer in your hunting area. You want to kill deer? Learn what they’re doing in your hunting area. You may find out that you need a new hunting area!
  5. Where Your Buddies Hunt, You Hunt! I know guys who never kill a deer simply because where ever their buddies hunt, they hunt. They have no idea where to hunt in that area, but because they have friends hunting there, they hunt there. It never occurs to them they should find their own space to hunt. They’re more worried about missing the Poker game that evening than killing a deer. I love deer camp as well as anyone. If I stay with a group of hunters, it’s because I have a place to hunt in the area. Otherwise, I’m up early driving to my spot, even if it’s not in the same location. Go to where you know the deer are and worry about the Poker game later.
  6. You Let Everyone Else Pick Your Hunting Spot. Here’s a news flash. If you’re the type that lets everyone else find a place for you hunt, yet you’re not killing any deer, it may be because they’re putting you there to keep you out of the way. Unless you’re killing deer every year, you need to be finding your own hunting spot.
  7. You’re the Last to Leave and the First to Get Back to Camp or the Truck. I know guys who wait all year to take their vacation during the hunting season, spend loads of money on gear and drive hundreds, if not thousands of miles to get to their destination. Then, they hunt an hour or so in the morning and their back in Camp goofing off the rest of the day or walking all over the freakin’ countryside. Then, in the afternoon they sit an hour and leave well before legal shooting times because they’re afraid of getting lost in the dark. If you’re going to hunt, then HUNT!

With the deer population the way it is these days and the availability of public lands probably better than it has ever been, there’s no good reason one can not kill a deer if they want to. In all honesty, if you go year after year without killing a deer, chances are it’s because you meet one of the reasons above. It usually comes down to rule #1 in the list above.

So this year, don’t make excuses, suck it up and get down to deer hunting and make gut piles, not excuses!

7 Reasons You’ll Lose Your Deer Lease This Year

I received an email from a buddy the other day. Seems him and his group are losing their deer hunting lease that they’ve had for the last 12 years. This is a large deer hunting lease that has quite a few members. My buddy doesn’t know where he’ll find another deer lease to get on for the upcoming season. They’ve taken some nice deer off of that lease over the years. I know they’ll miss the deer hunting that it provided.

deer hunt

Over the years he’s told me some of the things that have went on at the deer lease. Not all have been nice things. Like the time someone left a gate open and the Ranchers cows got into a pasture where they shouldn’t have been. Or the time someone mistook a calf for a deer. I could go on with the examples, but you get the picture.

According to my buddy, the Rancher said that he the hunting group had wore out their welcome and that he’d be leasing his Ranch to a commercial hunting operator next year.

Here are “7 Reasons You’ll Lose Your Hunting Lease This Year”

  1. Your group disrespected the land. Over the years I’ve heard all the reasons why people lost their deer hunting lease or their permission to hunt private land. The #1 reason I keep hearing from landowners is that the Hunters are trashing up their land or failing to take care of what’s there. Open gates, litter, wildfires, downed fences, cutting trees for firewood without permission, etc, etc. How can you blame landowners for not wanting you back? These same people who disrespect the landowners land are the same ones who would throw a fit if you did the same thing to their land. You should treat any land you have permission to hunt as if it was your own…because in some ways it is.
  2. The Landowner received a better offer. This is probably the 2nd most popular reason people lose their deer hunting lease. Someone else wants it worse than you do! Times are tough and I see big corporations and commercial hunting operators coming in and literally paying more for a lease than the going rate. This can be due to several reasons, either the commercial operator needs more land for their Clients or the Corporation can overpay for the lease and still save money they were paying other places. In some rare cases, I’ve read where non-hunters were buying the leases in order to prevent hunting on the land. I think we’ll see more and more of that in the future.
  3. The price of a lease increases so much that you can not fill all the spots. In many cases the group buying the lease depends on having X number of hunters so they can afford the lease. When the price gets astronomical, many hunters simply cannot afford the lease and the group fails to raise enough money to secure the lease.
  4. Your members lose interest. This is something I’ve been seeing lately. It seems there are fewer and fewer hunters these days. As our numbers decrease, I often found myself wondering “why”. The simple fact is that we aren’t showing our younger generations how to hunt and fish. Now instead of hunting, Families are going to major sporting events or taking up other outdoor interest like Golf. Adding to this is the fact that in most areas, traveling to the hunting area includes a several hour drive. I see this a lot in the Houston area. Instead of traveling halfway across the state a few times during the season, would-be hunters are spending their time on the Golf range, fishing or some other type of sport that keeps them near home and with the entire family.
  5. The land is sold and the hunting rights are not transferable. This is happening more and more. As our landowners age or die off, the land comes up for sale and many times the new owners do not want the hassle of dealing with a deer hunting lease. I read on account where the sale would only go through if the hunting lease was terminated at the closing date. Just so happened the closing date was in the middle of deer season! The members were contacted at the last minute and told if they had anything on the lease to get it off and that the land would be off limits the upcoming weekend. Talk about ruining your hunting season!
  6. You fail to help take on some of the cost of liability insurance. We live in a time where everyone wants to sue for something. I talked to a landowner several years ago that said he ended the lease on his land after one of the members, an attorney, threatened to sue him because he’d walked into an old fence before daylight one morning and cut his self up pretty good. The landowner then went to the group and asked them to help buy liability insurance and they refused. The attorney never did sue, but it scared the landowner to where he refused to let anyone hunt on the land after that. I know most lease operate without liability insurance, but it seems it’s been a growing trend in the last several years for either the landowner or the group leasing the land to carry liability insurance, or for both to share the cost. From what I understand, this can be pretty pricey depending on how large the lease and the group leasing it is. Many members feel they are paying enough as it is and the landowner should pay the premium…especially since it benefits him!
  7. The economy takes a downturn. No one knows what will happen tomorrow. Should there be another event that causes our economy to take a nose dive, many Hunters will be spending their lease money on car payments, mortgages and gas for their cars. After 911, I know many Hunters that held onto their lease money for fear it would be needed at a later date. And who could blame them?

While there are many reasons you may be losing your hunting lease this year, by far and away the most common reason is neglect of the land or someone else coming in and buying it out from under you.

This is where building long lasting relationships with Landowners will benefit you in more ways than one. Treat the Landowners land as if it were your own, because in many ways it is. Then, when an outsider comes along and tries to buy the lease from under you, you just may have the advantage of having a “friend” as a Landowner instead of a Landlord. As the old saying goes, “No one likes to screw their friends.” Make a friend out of that Landowner!

Hunting – The Ultimate animal Guide

Bear Hunting

The first step you are going to take on your hunting adventure is the preparation portion. When you have all of the equipment that you need and have the essential items that it takes, you are much more likely to succeed and bring home your trophy. The first thing you should do in getting prepared is figure out where it is that you are going to be hunting. Once you figure out where you want to hunt, the next step in the process is to make sure you have the licenses and permits required by the state government department of wildlife.

Then comes the part where you start to get your equipment together. Please keep in mind, you probably won’t get a bear on your first trip, and your chances are even less on your first day. It is important to show patience throughout the process. That being said, you usually want your trip to last at least 7 days. That way you have plenty of time to give it a try. Then you have to think about shelter, which means camping gear unless you will be staying in a cabin or even a hotel. You can also find most of the general required hunting gear to have success through a variety of online resources or by asking someone that has already gone.

We HighlyRecommend Bringing Bear Repellent Defense Pepper Spray along with you during any bear hunt.

Getting To Know the Bears

Most people are under the assumption that a bear is going to spring into action and attack them if they have never been hunting before. While they do have instinct to survive, most of the time they are going to run away in order to preserve their survival. This is why you really have to be patient and be prepared for extremely long periods of waiting for anything to happen. Learning how to not move and sit in that perfect position is a hard task, but can be perfected over time. Although bears might not have the best sight in the world, they do have a very good sense of smell. This means you will have to be sure you don’t have anything that is unnatural on your person, like cologne or shampoo or anything like that.

The knowledge of the habits that a bear has is very helpful as well. Bears will generally feed at the same spot more than once, that is unless they feel like they are in danger at that location. Insects, fish, and vegetation are going to be the bulk of the bear’s diet, which means you can scout the locations in which a bear is likely to use for a source of food. When you know when a bear is going to eat and what it is going to eat, you already have put yourself in a much better position to see success.

The Right Bear Hunting Spot

Once you have located a few positions that you think are going to be right, you want to try and lay out a bait station in that area. This means that you won’t be shooting the first day, you will come back and see which stations have been eaten by bears and have tracks. Then you will come back the next day and lay out that same bait station again, and this time you will be there waiting. If you are not setting up bait stations you can simply try and look for areas that you have seen evidence of bear tracks, then set up a spot in which you will be up in a tree and have a good view that is not obstructed around you. You also want to be downwind from the area that you are targeting, that way the bear won’t catch your scent.

When The Bear Shows Up

The first time you see a bear approach, you want to be sure that you stay as still as possible. Most people’s first reaction is to grab their gun, which would be wrong. You want to use your binoculars to look at the bear, and make sure that it is a bear and that it’s not another hunter. Then you want to make sure that it isn’t a female bear. Then you want to estimate the size of the bear and make sure it is what you are looking for. If it is, the next step would be to grab and raise your gun or bow, but only when the bear isn’t looking at you. You have to be calm during all of this and doing it slowly as to not spook the bear.

After all of that, you are ready to take your shot at the bear. But, you have to know where to shoot it first. You want to hit it in one of the organs that are vital, which means the heart, lungs, or liver. A vital shot is really the only way to go, as it is the quickest death for the bear and is the most humane. Even when you get a vital shot, you still have to track the bear after. They will not die right away, and it could take a while.

After You Get the Kill

The most important thing after bagging and possibly skinning the bear is to make sure you follow the CDC’s Game Safety guidelines that are put in place. This will ensure that you don’t run into food borne illness or infectious blood transfer. Then you need to report your catch to the proper state channel in order for them to track the population of the bears in the area.

Red Stag Hunting

Did you know that red deer are the largest wild animals in the country? Well it’s true. The mature stag can get as tall as four feet at the shoulders and can weigh around three hundred pounds. They are famous for their antlers that grow to be magnificent on the stag, and they are a very proud creature to say the least. If the antlers are more than thirty five inches, that is considered a good head. You can catch hunters referring to them by a point system, and that simply means the number of spikes on the antler. You might hear someone call one a ten pointer or something like that.

What About A Twelve Pointer?

A twelve pointer, also known as a royal, has three on top, trez, bay, and brow. At the base of the antler you will find the brow tine branching out, the bay and the trez are a little higher than the brow, and the top will usually consist of at least three different spikes. People often ask me to tell them what is considered a point and what is not, but it really is so simple that they laugh. There is an old rule that simply states if you can hang your binoculars on it, it counts as a point. It is a funny way of putting it, but it is still efficient none-the-less.

How Many Points Can They Get To?

Fourteen points is usually the most you are going to see on feral deer, although you may be able to find more on those that are in captivity. There are a few in parks around the nation that have twenty eight points. Deer shed their antlers once every year, which usually ends up being in March or April. By the time the end of July usually roles around, they are already back to the fully matured antlers. When the antlers are growing they are covered with a velvet like substance and they are soft, but by the time they are matured that substance falls off and they are left with the hard relentless antlers.

All About the Rut

The peak of the rut is usually going to be between September and October, depending on where you are hunting. This is when the stag is going to be attempting to get as many hinds as they can. Not only are they going to be busy with that, but they also have to serve those that are in the harem. Not to mention they have to fight off other males and find food as well. This is also when the stag is going to have a vocal presence, when they are challenging other males to a dual of strength. People usually think that this is some big scene where the males fight to the death, where usually it is just two of them sizing each other up, locking horns, and then finally one of them gives up and walks away.

Other Facts about Red Stag

The fawns tend to be born in June, and there are rarely ever twins. By the time Christmas roles around, you will barely start to be able to see the growth of antlers show up. Those won’t mature into full antlers that are proper until the second year has come around. Many people aren’t aware of the coolest fact about the red deer, which is that they can pretty much adapt to any situation and surroundings. They always have a lot of success on the farms that don’t have browse, but the grass tends to be plentiful.

Waterfowl Hunting

Waterfowl Hunting really has become one of the most popular ways to hunt, and that is mostly due to the challenge and variety that it offers. It doesn’t matter if you are hunting turkeys or you are hunting one of the smaller game birds, you are going to find something that you like out of it. It can be hard learning what to do in certain situations and training yourself to be ready for each scenario, but with a few tips and a little practice you should be ready in no time at all.

Practice Waterfowl Hunting In the Preseason

Clay pigeons are a great way to get some practice in before you actually get in to hunting season, and is a method of training used by many hunters. It really will give you the best practice with your shotgun, and will teach you where to shoot each bird and how you can improve whether it is a falling bird or a rising bird. Not only will you be working on your shot, but you will also be working on things like reloading and speeding up your process. It is basically going to be as close as you can get to the real thing and offers the best chance at improvement.

Scouting In the Preseason

One of the first major things you should be tackling before you hunt is the information about the bird that you are going to be hunting. Find out everything you can about them. Things like what they eat, where they are hiding, and when they might be in a particular area. If you know where a bird is most likely going to be, it is going to make things a lot easier when it comes time to hunt. Then you can scout that area and look for places that you can hide yourself and be ready for when the birds do come out during hunting season.

A Good Hunting Dog

Having a well-trained dog working with you is going to make things a lot easier on you. Often times birds will just stay hidden and try and wait out the hunter, but when you have a dog that is trained to flush them out the bird no longer has that option. The dog can also be a good option for the retrieval of birds that have been downed, as they really have a keen sense of smell and will be able to track the bird quickly.

Clothing & Decoys

The clothing that you wear on the day that you go hunting is also going to play a big role in the success that you have. You need something that has you blend in with your surroundings, since the birds will be able to spot you otherwise while they are in the air. If you are one of those hunters that uses decoys, you want to make sure that your decoy is set up correctly and that it plays its part as well. They have to look natural to be successful.

The Right Shotgun for Waterfowl Hunting

Being able to know which shotgun is going to work for which birds is a good place to start. There may be situations that call for the 12 gauge, or situations that call for the 20 gauge, or one of the other less common choices. Then you want to work on shooting, which should take one motion to swing your shotgun towards the game and then mount in on your shoulder. You want the muzzle to be below the flight line that the birds are going to take, that way it won’t ruin your view of the birds.

Be aware that shotguns do have a pattern that spreads, which means you will have some room for error, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still take your time and focus. You may also have hit a bird that is still flying and that is why it is important to watch the birds as long as you can. Sometimes birds that get hit will still be able to fly off for a while and then finally come down. A lot of hunters aren’t patient and lose the bird because they simply weren’t watching.

Moose

The moose (Alces Alces) is the largest member of the deer family (Cervidae), which also includes deer, elk, and caribou. However they have several distinctly different characteristics, which are described below.
Physical Characteristics

Male moose, or bulls, are notable for their very large and impressive paddle-shaped antler configurations, unlike any other deer in North America. They are big, somewhat awkward looking animals perhaps more known for their long legs and droopy, overhanging noses.

Moose are impressive animals simply for their overall body size. Mature bulls have been known to reach shoulder heights of over 7 feet tall and weigh as much as 1800 pounds. All moose have a large flap of skin, called a dewlap or bell, dangling from underneath their chin. A very unique and interesting bodily feature, biologists are still not certain as to what purpose this dewlap serves.

The body color of a moose will typically vary slightly between a brown to a dark blackish-brown depending upon the season; with the legs being a lighter color than the rest of their body, sometimes almost completely white.

Habitat of the Moose

Moose typically dwell in brushy, forested areas that offer plenty of cover. Flourishing brushy areas near lakes, ponds, or other sources of water are ideal. They prefer to stay near these lush green areas in summer as it helps them to regulate their body temperatures. Moose can be spotted both in elevated timber forests on mountainsides and brushy, marsh lowlands in valleys and drainages.

Diet

Moose feed on many different types of plant life. At times they can be seen in or near lakes and ponds munching on aquatic plants, and other times they may nibble on green leaves, shrubs, and buds off trees in the earlier parts of the year. When moose are hunted during the fall, their diet consists more of woody brush, twigs, and bark off of willow, birch, and aspen trees. This is often referred to as Browse.

Reproduction

The moose breeding season, or rut, typically begins around mid-September and continues until mid-October. It is at this time that mature bulls will become very territorial and aggressive towards bulls as they compete for attention from the females, also called cows. Bulls can often be observed raking and destroying brushy shrubs or trees with their antlers in incredible expressions of dominance towards other moose.

During the rut, both bulls and cows are very vocal. Bulls have deep, guttural grunt they use to assert their presence and call to the cows. Cows, in their desire to mate, will let out loud, nasally moans in an attempt to get a bulls attention. Because of the flurry of activity that occurs during rut, this is one of the best and most exciting times in which to hunt moose.

Baby moose, or calves, are born the following spring. A mother moose will usually give birth to one, two, or even three calves. Three calves are rare, but two at a time are not uncommon. At birth each calf will weight about 30lbs, and will grow very rapidly gaining as much as 2 lbs a day. The calves will usually remain with their mother until they are about 1 ½ years old.

Whitetail Deer

-If the temperature lowers to under ten degrees Fahrenheit, the whitetail deer will usually move during midday.

-Those bucks that are well nourished are going to sprout new racks starting in April. There antlers can grow up to half an inch every day.

-The big ears that are found on a deer can spin up to 180 degrees in order to pick up sounds.

-Before the molting process is complete for the whitetail deer, they are going to have taken months to finish it. Their coats change from to auburn by the time late summer comes around.

-Those that hunt during the month of October will see a coat change as well, it will turn grey after being red. It usually only takes a couple of weeks at the maximum for this change to take place.

-In the winter, the whitetail’s hair appears to be a greyish-blue color. Then during autumn new hair is going to be mixed in, which basically adds insulation. The points of this hair that grows in are dark, which gives a nice hue to the whitetail.

-Even after a human has left the woods, a deer can still pick up their scent days later. If bucks do happen to pick up a human scent, they will often avoid that area for weeks even.

-Bucks are able to detect danger while they are in bed by laying on their side and having themselves face downwind. This allows them to pretty much use all of their senses to know when trouble is coming.

-Deer are some of the best swimmers you can find, sometimes swimming across water at ten miles per hour. They can often be frightened into water and swim away.

-Some times you can find deer tracks from strides as far as twenty five feet apart, because of their huge stride.

Buffalo Hunting

This is really a sport that the true sportsmen really want to try at least once in their lives, mainly because of the size of the animal and the challenge that it represents. Not to mention the fact that you are hunting one of the most iconic animals in our history as well. However it is not found just anywhere, and is really limited to certain parts of North America. There are companies out there that can help you plan your trip to one of those areas that has them, and then you can finally get the trophy of a lifetime.

Where In the United States Can I Hunt Buffalo?

You can only hunt the American Bison and Buffalo in three states in the United States, they include Alaska, Utah, and Arizona. There may be other states that allow it in certain situations, but those three states are the only ones that will allow hunting of these animals for sport. There are also a few provinces in Canada that allow for the hunting as well that might be worth a look as well. They include Alberta, British Columbia, the Northwest Territory, Saskatchewan, and finally Yukon.

Information About Them and Their Habitat

Buffalo isn’t very specific and in fact it is a common name that is used to describe many large wild oxen. The name buffalo was first given to the black water buffalo in India. This animal was given this name because of its size and the way that it would just lay around in pools of water for several hours at a time. The water buffalo can indeed be dangerous in its wild state. In the warmer parts of Africa and Asia you can find the buffalo tame and working for the people that tamed them.

There is a buffalo that is small and black that lives in forests that are dense and that can be found in Mindoro, which is an island in the Philippines. It is unique because it only stands three and a half feet in height. It also has horns that are going to first point upward, and then they point backward. There is also the anoa, which is an even smaller forest buffalo, can be found in the East Indian island called Celebes. The color of this buffalo can range from black to brown, and the horns are straight.

You can also find wild buffaloes in Africa as well. A large black buffalo known as the Cape Buffalo can be found in in South Africa and has a temper that nearly matches that of the Indian Buffalo. It is also like the Indian Buffalo in many other ways as well, but the only major difference is that the Cape Buffalo has never been tamed. Another difference is that the Cape Buffalo has shorter horns, and the horns also come in a different shape. They look like they have more of a helmet on their head. Another buffalo of the wild variety that inhabits Central Africa and Western Africa in certain areas is the relative of the Cape Buffalo. It is also very short as well.

The American Bison (Buffalo)

Most of the people in America simply refer to the American Bison as the American Buffalo, although that is not really true at all. Zoologists do not consider it to be a buffalo, and so the correct term for it is an American Bison. Not like the other buffaloes that were described in the previous section, this bison has a large neck, along with a large head and has shoulders that are humped. The rib count also comes out to 14 pairs, rather than the 13 of the true buffalo.

The American Bison is going to be blackish-brown nearly everywhere except the hind area of the body, which is going to be more of just a brown color. They have long hair that is going to cover their hump, head, and neck. They also look like they have a beard around the chin and the throat. They have horns that look just like a domestic male would, but theirs are much larger. There are even some horns on some of them that are going to be wider than 30 inches at the peak between horns. The wider the space between the horns at the peak, the better trophy it is going to make.

The bison is an animal that will be social with a herd, and the cows and the bulls both graze together the entire year. A new calf is usually born in May or June. The lead bull of the heard is the one that usually takes on the protection duty of the mother and her new calf. Bison have the ability to mate when they are just three years old, even though they are not fully grown another five years after that. There have been some extreme situations in which a bison has lived more than thirty years. They are not trainable as well due to their short tempers.

They are going to feed mostly on a few small plants and grass, with grass making up the majority of their diet. There have been some ranchers and breeders that have tried to create a hybrid between a domestic cow and an American Bison, and the result really hasn’t lived up to the hype. So, they have all but stopped doing this and just focused on other things.

Tips for Hunting Buffalo/Bison

These are just some basic tips that will really help you when hunting anything, and it is best to ask your guide or an expert for more information on this type of hunting.

  • Please remember to be aware of what the weather conditions are going to be like for that particular area. I can’t tell you the number of people that were unprepared the last time I went, it was pretty ridiculous.
  • Never, I mean NEVER, hunt all by yourself. You need to have at least one partner that can help if something goes wrong.
  • When you are climbing up something or just aren’t using your weapon, unload it or unchamber it. There is no need to give yourself a chance to hurt yourself or those around you.
  • Some of the hunting trips can take a long time, and it is important that you stay hydrated throughout the process. Take as much water as you can with you.
  • Please don’t consume alcohol while you are hunting. It can lead to dangerous situations for yourself and those around you.

Make 100% sure that the animal you shoot is dead before you walk up to it. If the bison or buffalo is not dead, it can do a lot of damage to you with a charge. Usually your guide or whoever you are with will carry a small handgun should they need to shoot it once more to down the animal.

Mule Deer Hunting Tips for Early Season Success

early-season-mule-deerThe Mule deer you hunt in November is not the same Mulie you’re trying to sneak up on in August or September. It’s important you know the differences if you hope to get within bow or muzzle-loader range of a good Mule Deer buck.

Here are some quick Mule Deer hunting tips to help you succeed in the early season.

  • If you’re hunting mountainous areas, think high for Trophy Mule deer. In many cases you’ll find the big boys above the treeline where they can bed down in the open. They’ll also be looking for a breeze to keep the insects off those sensitive velvet covered antlers! This is where good binoculars and a spotting scope come in handy.
  • Now the Location of Watering Holes.Early in the season, Mule deer and other animals may travel many miles everyday to water. Use a good topo map along with aerial photo’s to find and scout out water holes in your area. Thirsty Muley’s have been know to travel miles for a drink of water. Remember, not all watering holes are created equal, scout as many as you can then pick the best 1 or two and set up a blind or tree-stand.
  • Tree-stands are not only for Whitetails! Treestand hunting can be an extremely effective tactic for Mule Deer. From my experience, they look up far less than Whitetails. As stated above, find a good watering hole to set up over. If you’re scouting from a distance, try to see which game trails they use every day and then set up over those trails.
  • Watch the Thermals.When hunting in mountainous areas, remember that as the day warms up, the thermal currents will carry your scent up the mountain. This is one reason some big Mulies will bed near the top of a peak. They can see and smell anything coming up from below. In the afternoon as the temperatures cool off, the thermals will take your scent downhill as the air cools. Something to remember when you’re planning that stalk on Mr. Mule Deer!
  • Practice shooting at steep angles.It always surprises many archers and muzzleloaders how shooting steeply uphill or downhill affects their impact point. Practice to see how your equipment will behave!

Keep these tips in mind the next time you head out in the early season after Mule deer. Early season Mule deer hunting is fun and can be extremely rewarding. It can also be challenging so be prepared!

Hunting Gear List – What do you need for hunting?

Hunting Gear ListChoosing the right gear for hunting is an easy task. Where you hunt and the way you hunt will dictate what gear you’ll take hunting and deer hunting.

Obviously if you’re hunting 100 yards from your vehicle, you’re not going to need a backpack, tent and camping equipment or other gear that someone hunting miles from the nearest road will need!

For the sake of this article, I’m assuming that you’re hunting public land from your vehicle or from a base camp.

Here’s a list of hunting gear you should have for a day hunt:

  • Multi-Tool W/Leather Sheath is a must have no matter where you hunt. You can never tell where you’ll need a set of pliers or a Phillips screwdriver…or even a bottle opener! This tool will pay for itself many times over. I wear one on my belt every day and I’m still amazed at how many uses these tools have and how often I seem to need them! The knife blade is even adequate for field dressing a deer.
  • A Compass is also a necessity, even if I’m hunting near the vehicle. Should you have to trail an animal, you never know where or how far it may run. Finding you way out after dark can get a little tricky if you don’t know which way you’re heading.
  • A GPS unit is also handy if you want to pay the money for one. Unlike the Compass, you do have to remember to check the batteries and carry extra’s.
  • A Quality Hunting knife is a must have. Sure, the blade on a Leatherman will work, but it’s not as good as a sturdy 3 to 4 inch blade. That’s all you need to field dress any Deer. You can always spot the Newbies in the field, they’re carry Rambo type knives!
  • Folding saws are also very handy. You’ll find them a necessity for not only cutting shooting lanes in the early season, but they can be used for a variety of other uses such as cutting the pelvic bone on a Big Game animal or other bones.
  • Parachute cord and a short length of rope. When a daypack goes kaput or you have a “wardrobe malfunction” in the woods, nothing is more handy than a section of parachute cord. You can tie Deer’s feet together and a myriad of other uses. A stout length of short rope should be brought along to drag the animal out. I prefer the harness type systems now on the market but I have put a rope around a buck’s neck and the other end around a short length of sapling and pulled many bucks out of the woods.
  • A first aid kit is also a must. You can find many small pocket sized first aid kits in most of the Outdoor Catalogs such as Bass Pro. You never know when you’ll need it and it can be the difference that keeps a minor injury from becoming a life threatening one. They’re a small price to pay for the value they add.
  • Flashlights are also another must have. I generally carry two of the mini-maglites with spare batteries. They put off a great amount of light for their size. They can be your best friend when it’s dark and you’re miles away from your camp or vehicle.
  • Waterproof matches and a Bic lighter. Yeah, I carry both! I carry the waterproof matches in a waterproof match container. A Deer hunter can’t be too careful! I also carry a couple 35 mm canisters with cotton balls soaked in lighter fluid or commercial type firestarters. It can be tough to get a fire going when everything’s wet!
  • A short length of duct tape wrapped around a pencil. I’m killing two birds with one stone here! If I’m hunting in a state that requires you to sign your tag with a pen, then I wrap the duct tape around the pen. I also carry a pocket size notepad.
  • Water and a few snacks round out the gear I take on short day hunting trips.

This may sound like a lot of stuff to carry around. It really isn’t. I keep most of this gear in a zip lock bag wrapped up either in my fanny pack or one of the pockets on my pants.

Choosing the right gear for Deer hunting can make or break any Deer hunt. Be prepared for the unexpected with your own deer hunting gear kit!

Click here to find more of the Best Hunting gear to add to your Hunting Gear List!

Best Survival Kit List – Great for Hunters, Fisherman and everyone else!

Click here to find the best Survival Kit package!

survivaltipsRecently I was planning a Deer hunt for a section of National Forest and throwing together a little survival kit for day hunts. When I called my buddy and asked him if he had his survival kit together he asked “What for?”

It then struck me that many Deer hunters do not give a Survival kit serious thought.

That’s understandable seeing that a majority of us hunt land that is fairly close to a road. On the other hand, there are also many Deer hunters who head off into vast tracks of National Forest, BLM or Timber Company land every year who get lost. Some make it out alive while a few others don’t.

Wilderness Survival Is No Accident

There’s no excuse for a Wilderness Hunter coming out of the woods in a body bag. All it takes for a hunter to survive in a Wilderness setting is a plan and a few basic tools and skills.

The first thing in your Survival kit should be some type of firestarter. While I’ve carried several different versions of the firestarters, I’ve also created my own from cotton balls stuffed into 35mm canisters and soaked with lighter fluid.

I also carry a waterproof match case with matches and a BIC lighter. I also carry a magnesium fire starter. You can’t have enough fire starters in my opinion!

Other Items To Include In Your Survival Kit List

Here are other things you should include in your Wilderness Hunter’s Survival Kit.

I’ve found a kit like this is easy to stash in a fanny pack. It’s there and does not hinder my hunting. I forget all about it unless I need it! A small Survival kit like this would have saved many Outdoorsmen over the years if they would have taken time to assemble such a Survival Kit.

Click here to find the best Survival Kit package!

Colorado Archery Hotspots for Mule Deer

For those of you who are about to head out for Colorado to do some Mule Deer hunting, there are a couple hot-spots that any bow hunter may want to consider. Some of these areas are overlooked by other hunters for one reason or another while the others may be known by the locals.

Here’s where to start looking for your Colorado Mule Deer buck this season.

Look to North West Colorado for Your Trophy Mule Deer

Probably your best bet for a public land Mule deer trophy is the North-West corner of the state. This area produces huge Muley’s year after year. Some of the best GMU’s to try are 11, 21, 22, 23 and 211.

Of those, I’d choose GMU 23 around Meeker. Colorado DOW reports that deer numbers are on the rise in that area and there are some real monsters back off the road.

Two Mule Deer hot-spots around Meeker are the White River National Forest and the Flat Tops Wilderness area. Click here for High Resolution topo maps of both places.

In GMU 22, some of the former Public land is being tied up for Oil and Gas exploration on Federal and State lands. Be sure you check before heading out. These were 20 year leases and many are coming due. Don’t be surprised if last years hot-spot is off limits this year.

GMU 211and 11 lie North of Meeker and have a lot of BLM land.  Early in the Season, you’ll want to hunt high up unless early winter weather drives the deer down. Hunting from a tree stand is a good method if you can find water in the Aspens. A good high resolution topo map is a must for finding springs and ponds that these bucks will water at.

How Good Is the Trophy Potential in Colorado for Bow Hunters?

Pretty good in my opinion. The above areas are where I’d head if I was looking for a trophy Mule Deer on Public land in Colorado. As far as Western States go, I’d put Colorado just behind Utah in terms of Trophy potential.

For example, take a look at the new World  Record Mule Deer taken in Colorado in 2006. Click here to read the story.

Good luck and if you happen to bag a big one, send me a comment and let me know!

How To Bag The Biggest Buck Of Your Life – Book Review

Rated 4.6 out of 5 stars
Rated 4.6 out of 5 stars

I’ve been a fan of the Benoits ever since I was a small child. My Dad use to get all the major Hunting & Fishing Magazines and I can still remember that 1972 issue of Sports Afield with Larry Benoit on the front cover looking through his peep site at me. The caption of the front cover was “Is This America’s Best Deer Hunter?”

Over the years I read anything I could find on the Benoits, even though their hunting conditions didn’t fit my area (we just didn’t get that much tracking snow in Oklahoma!) However I was able to put much of his knowledge about Whitetail bucks to good use. Day in and day out a Whitetail buck is a Whitetail buck no matter where he lives. Sure, there are some differences in patterns due to local conditions or climate, but they still have the same wants and needs pretty much whereever you find them.

In 1975 Larry Benoit wrote the original version of “How To Take The Biggest Buck of Your Life.” This book has now become a collectors item. Expect to pay over $150 for a copy in Good condition on eBay.

If you’re just wanting to learn some good information from the Benoits on Big Bucks, then get a copy of Larry’s republished book of “How To Bag The Biggest Buck of Your Life.”  This is one of those books you won’t be able to put down once you start reading.

You can find the new version of “How To Bag The Biggest Buck of Your Life” at Amazon. I will tell you that the new version is a lot cheaper than an original! Click here to see “How To Bag The Biggest Buck of Your Life” on Amazon.Com

Late Winter Scouting Can Be The Best For Fall Bucks

I know most of you have probably already forgotten about Deer hunting and are turning your thoughts to fishing or Spring Turkey hunting. Hey, that’s okay. But if you want a crack at next years Big Buck, get out and do some post season scouting.

In my opinion, post season scouting is some of the best scouting you can do. In the post season, you can find out if your Buck is still alive and more important, where he’s hanging out. Many places either have snow on the ground or will have snow. This can be the best time to follow a Buck and see where he’s holing up. In most cases, he’ll still be in his hiding/evading mode due to Small Game hunters in his area.

The places he likes to hide, his travel routes and his escape routes will be much easier to find this time of year than when your scouting in the Pre-season. It’s also a great time to snoop around your public hunting land and see where he likes to hide or where other hunters are setting up.

I’ve found more Big Buck escape routes and Sanctuary’s by scouting when there was snow on the ground than any other time of the year. Snow almost makes it too easy…almost! And you don’t have to worry about things like Mosquitoes, Snakes and Chiggers like you do when you’re scouting for deer in the Summertime.

While snow on the ground is my favorite time to scout for Bucks, I’ve also found good areas for the upcoming Deer season when I was scouting and hunting for Turkeys. Many of the movement habits of Deer are the same ones Turkeys use in their day to day life.

Bottlenecks, feeding areas and loafing areas that Turkeys use can be the same areas Deer use. I’ve also located new Deer hunting areas when out Turkey hunting. It’s amazing to me how much Deer sign you can find in the Spring. The Deer will normally be in their Fall and Winter patterns before greenup and it’s just an excellent time to find new areas and to tweak your existing hunting areas and treestand sites.

Post season is also an excellent time to find sheds. With the exception of actually sighting a Big Buck after Deer Season has ended, nothing says that the Big Boy is still alive like finding fresh sheds. You’ll typically find sheds in bedding areas and travel corridors.

So take a few days off from fishing or just get out in the snowy woods for a romp of your deer hunting area. I’m betting you’ll be surprised at what you find.

Oregon Deer Hunting Season Looking Gloomy

oregonbiggamemap1.thumbnailLower than expected deer numbers in many parts of the state, disease and encroachment from developements all wait to greet Oregon deer hunters this year. There are few bright spots in the upcoming Oregon deer season, making scouting all that more important if you plan on bringing home the venison.

Finding Clearcuts May be the Key to Finding the Deer

In many of the hunting zones, deer numbers on Public land is down and deer numbers on private land are slight up. Many of the State’s biologist give the credit for this to logging. Due to the “tree hugger” mentality that plagues many Western states, there are fewer and fewer logging operations taking place on Public lands and this is impacting the big game herd not only in Oregon but other coastal states such as California and Washington.

On private land where logging is allowed, there’s more browse in the clear cuts that will support more deer. Hunters will do well to find an area with mixed age clearcuts and old growth timber. The more different types of habitat you can find, the better.

Disease Affecting Oregon Deer Numbers

Blacktail and Mule Deer numbers are down this year in Oregon with some blame going to the deer hair loss syndrome. This disease is affecting deer populations from Washington to California and hitting the Blacktails especially hard.

This disease is primarily affecting deer populations below 1800 feet. No news as to why this is the case, but hunters heading out should be aware of this and adapt their scouting accordingly.

The Bright Spot For Oregon Deer Hunters

If there is any encouraging news for Oregon deer hunters, it’s that the buck ratio’s are up in many areas of the state.

The North Coast biologist are seeing buck ratios from 21 to 37 bucks per 100 does.  In the Central part of the state, buck ratios range from 16 to 21 bucks per 100 does.

In the High Desert areas, a mild winter and good spring green-up was expected to bring big numbers for Oregon deer hunters, but this hasn’t been the case. Biologist are placing the blame on average to slightly lower numbers on the increase in Coyote populations and rapidly expanding developements. Biologist say Coyote numbers in Harney County are at a 10 year high which has resulted in poor fawn survival rates.

The bottom line is that Oregon deer hunters will have to get smart if they hope to score this year. Their scouting habits will have to change and they’ll have to be smart about where and how they scout. As one Oregon biologist put it,

“Hunting someplace ‘because we’ve always hunted here’ doesn’t work anymore.”

Well said. That’s not only good advice for Oregon deer hunters, but for deer hunters anywhere. I wish all Oregon hunters a good year and hope for the best!