9 Awesome Tips for Bagging Your First White Tail
If you’re on your way to your first hunting trip, you might be a little nervous about the experience. Hunting whitetail deer is both a sport and a way of life for many people, and these majestic beasts remain an excellent source of meat for hunters across the United States. However, if you’ve never actually sniped a deer from your tree stand, you might want as much help as you can get to prepare. Below are some tips that will surely help you bag your first deer.
Obtain A License
This is perhaps the most important thing you can do before you set off on your trip. If you hunt without the proper licensing, you could be hit with large fines or other penalties depending on your local laws. In most states, obtaining a hunting license is quick and straightforward, but many states also only issue a limited number of licenses each year, so applying early is the best way to ensure you’ll get one.
Tree Stand Placement
If you plan to hunt from a tree stand, which many hunters opt to do, make sure to place your stand in the best place possible. You’ll have to scout the area beforehand for optimal placement, and you can base your decision on the surrounding area and the activities of deer in the area.
Whitetail deer are capable of sensing even the smallest sounds and movements in the woods, and they spook pretty easily when disturbed. Whenever you are forced to track deer over a distance, do your best to take slow movements that won’t be noticed by any surrounding deer. That might mean pacing yourself such that it feels as if you aren’t making any progress at all, but that will insulate you from your prey.
Patience with Noise
Noises are more likely to spook deer than anything else, so if you accidentally cause a noise while walking through the woods, be sure to stop and wait for several minutes before continuing onward. A noise as quiet as a single twig snapping can often send deer running, especially if it draws their attention and they then hear more sound. That’s why it’s best to stop completely if you accidentally make a sound.
Prepare for Conditions
Depending on where you’ll be hunting, you may need a variety of different pieces of equipment. You might need something to keep you warm if you’ll be hunting in a frigid environment, or you might need the opposite if you’ll be hunting in exceptionally warm conditions. By properly preparing for what the world will throw at you, you can make sure you don’t miss an opportunity on a deer because of discomfort or lack of readiness.
Beware of Predators
You aren’t the only predator in the forest hoping to catch a deer. Coyotes, wolves, beers, mountain lions, and a whole host of other predators are out there as well, and they could wind up hunting you before you even realize it. Watch for signs of other predators, and try to avoid areas where signs are evident. In most cases, deer will already be aware of those local predators and will steer clear anyway.
Avoid Other Hunters
Other hunters can sometimes be an issue as well, especially if the land is public. For instance, if you’re hunting in an area with snow, you might find a set of hunter tracks following a set of deer tracks. In that case, you may as well pick another direction since it’s unlikely you could get around the other hunter to outflank the deer. While this is a possibility, common hunting courtesy dictates that you would need to go nearly two miles around the other hunter for this to happen.
Some deer will instantly fall to the ground after a shot rings out. That doesn’t mean the shot brought them down, but that they are in shock. When a deer drops instantly after an initial shot, always wait to see if the deer will spring up and run off after a moment. This will give you the chance to get in the final shot.
Once you’ve hit your target, make mental notes from your vantage point about identifying features near the spot where the deer was hit. This will make it easier to find the blood trail so you won’t have to worry about losing the deer after it has been shot but before it dies.