How can I get into deer hunting? hunting?

How can I get into deer hunting? hunting?

First you should go to your local Walmart or Dick's Sporting Goods or where ever hunting licenses are sold and get a rules book for this year. The hunting requirements changes every year and it a good idea to familiarize yourself with the laws (season dates, hunting locations, equipment, tags required).

Then you need to decide what weapon you want to hunt with. Your choices will depend on your state laws, but the options may be rifle, shotgun, muzzleloading rifle, handgun, recurve or long bow, compound bow, or crossbow. Then you need to buy that devise and practice. A bow can take years to really master, and months and months of practice to be adequate enough to hit a deer's vital organs. Rifles and shotguns are much easier, but you should still expect to have several shooting sessions to become familiar with the gun and know it's (and your) limitations.

Next, you should read everything you can find about deer hunting. Go see if your library has old issues of Field and Stream and Outdoor life, check out some books on deer hunting, and do some reading online as well. You'll learn things like the best times to hunt, where to find deer, where you should aim when shooting at one, how to track one if it doesn't drop where it's been shot (they often don't, especially with a bow). You'll learn about using all of the weapons mentioned above, and the popular tactics used to locate and hunt deer. You'll also need to learn to field dress the deer (remove it's organs right after it's been shot) or else you could ruin it's meat if t he carcass isn't cooled quickly enough. And you'll need to find a local place that will process the deer (butcher it and wrap the roasts and steaks and burger up in butcher paper), or you can learn to do all of that yourself.

You'll want to determine where you'll be while hunting as well. Hunting from a tree stand is very popular. Ground blinds are another popular option. Some people "still hunt" where they very very slowly creep through the woods. I prefer to just sit on the ground leaning against a tree, but only on private property where I know there won't be any other hunters that could have a errant bullet come my way!!

Don't get too caught up on the best and most expensive hunting gear. I have friends that have thousands of dollars in the best camo and scent killing clothes. Personally I think camo is overrated, I often wear a plaid black and grey jacket and green Carhartt pants and an orange vest and hat, and just sit on the ground in the woods and I've had deer walk by 25 feet in front of me. Wind direction, your scent, and sitting still is more important than the best cover.

Finally, find a location. This can be public land, or feel free to ask farmers or landowners in the area. Be prepared to be turned down a lot, hunting isn't as popular as it once was. Be friendly and if you find a person that lets you hunt their property, do something nice like get them some gift cards every Christmas. And remember you don't need a lot of land, I own 2 acres of woods behind my house that I've hunted before.

Be safe, have fun, and good luck! It took me 3 years of trying before I figured it all out. Now I have a great location to hunt, and I know I can get my limit of 2 does every year as long as I spend enough time in the woods.

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