Hunting strategies, techniques, and methods

Purposely finding a deer and getting a good shot will entails a knowledge of deer biology, on-the-ground scouting, and shooting ability all combined into a hunting strategy. The culmination of a well-executed hunting strategy is having a deer (or in some cases a particular deer) provide a shooting opportunity at range and shot-angle where the hunter is confident will result in a quick kill.

A “hunting strategy” is thehow” a hunter applies knowledge and skills in order to get a good shot. A “hunting plan” is where and when a hunter will implements his/her overall strategy. Experienced deer hunters can intuitively assess the potential of a variety of hunting strategies, and put a hunting plan together in a matter of minutes based on years of experience and familiarity with their hunting property.

However, in order to teach a novice hunter the process of developing a strategy and adapting that strategy into an effective plan, you will need to parse out the various steps involved and explain how various bits of knowledge are applied.  

For white-tailed deer, particularly in the East, there are two overarching strategies:
a) wait for the deer to come to you
b) actively go find a deer.
In the West, especially for mule deer, most hunters actively go find a deer.

Because white-tailed deer prefer thick, brushy habitat, most hunters elect to wait for the deer to come to them. Patience and confidence in location are keys to being successful.

Mule deer prefer open terrain, occur at much lower population densities than whitetail, and are much easier to spot at long distances. Once mule deer are spotted, the next step is to plan how to sneak within shooting distances. Often shots in the West are quite long when compared to those taken in the East.  

While the hunting strategy and plan adopted by your program will, to a large extent, be dependent on the preferred methods employed by your mentors/guides, we recommend that “stand hunting” be the preferred option. Stand hunting is highly effective, requires less skills and coordination, and the shots presented are generally at an unalarmed, still or slowly moving deer. 

 

Resources

Where Deer Hide -And Why

Deer season's over, and you struck out. Perhaps the ridge you've hunted for 20 years turned as deerless as your freezer. Or during scouting you found a woodlot trampled like the Chicago stockyards, but in November only one scrawny doe walked past your tree stand. Or the bucks you glimpsed during bow season took a Florida vacation before .270 time.

Five Tips For Novice Mule Deer Hunters

Mule deer hunting is an experience like no other. Western scenery is unmatched by anything else in the country. Mule deer are big, wary, and challenging to hunt. The land is vast and traversing hills and mountains will make your lungs burn. For eastern hunters unaccustomed to the ways of the muley, they can be downright frustrating. Here are my top five tips for first time mule deer hunters.

A hunter's guide to tagging the largest bucks

How many times has a buck snuck by you while you were hunting? Or how many times have you walked right past one that's hiding? You'll never know for certain, but rest assured it happens to all of us who hunt white-tailed deer. Few game animals have such superior senses and agility, or can vanish so quickly into dense cover, as white-tailed bucks. But by understanding some of their most cagey behaviours, you can definitely increase your opportunities for success.

Best Tactics for Hunting the Rut

A key part of hunting the rut involves trying to intercept bucks as they travel far and wide in search of does. The odds of actually doing so increase if you set up where deer are most likely to travel, and hunt when they're most likely to be in the area. These three stand set-ups can be employed across much of the whitetail's range. Try them this month on the land you hunt.

Antler Rattling

You will need a fairly well matched set of deer antlers. Medium to large sized antlers, with 3 or 4 points on each side (not counting the brow tines), seem to work best. (See illustration above). Remove the brow tines and smooth off any sharp points and edges. About two weeks before you plan to use your natural rattling antlers, place them in a bucket of water and let them soak until you use them. This will replenish their natural moisture and they will sound more realistic.