HUNTING TIPS - KNOWLEDGE FOR BEGINNER AND EXPERIENCED HUNTERS
If you are just getting started hunting or a seasoned hunting veteran, we have hunting tips you can use. Our tips span deer, turkey, upland game, and more.
No nonsense advice for the everyday bluecollar hunter and for families looking for ways to get out at reasonable cost is what we are about.
If you scroll down the page, you will find a nice article on basics of whitetail deer hunting. We also have a great getting started turkey hunting article for the hunter just getting started in the great sport of turkey hunting. Also, the Missouri Department of Conservation has put together several excellent videos that might be of use to you, whther you be a Show-Me State hunter, or reside elsewhere. These can also be found by scrolling down the page, and are in convenient You-Tube video format.
Five Keys to Whitetail Deer Hunting Success
Regardless of where you are at in your whitetail deer hunting career, there are a few basic steps that you should know or perhaps review, prior to your hunting endeavors this year. If you are new to this sport, these ideas may be new to you. If you are experienced, perhaps reviewing these will be of benefit to you.
1. Scent Control
While this can be taken to any level of extremes, I guess you really cannot be too careful with regard to this matter. Some basic steps you can take include the following things. Do not wear the clothes you will be in while hunting until you are heading into field. Consider keeping your clothes in some form of scent proof bags until you get out of your vehicle (or camper, tent, cabin, etc.) and then slip them on just as you are ready to head out. Don't get up and cook breakfast for example and then wear these clothes to the field.
Remember this for sure; do not wear the boots you will wear in the field until heading out in the field. On that point, it is pretty well established that rubber boots carry the minimal scent of any other type of boots. If you are not in a cold place, cheap rubber boots are fine. More expensive lined (thinsulate is usually the material) boots may be required in colder climates. Scent-Lok materials are available for clothing and boots if you wish. Not required. Also, there are laundry detergents, deodorants, and scent-blocks available and these may be advisable, but again, are not absolutely necessary.
When I began hunting I did not know very much about this and I really wondered. Here's what I have learned, and perhaps more importantly, have experienced in the field. First, do not wear blue jeans. Blue is the one color I know deer can really see. Second, blaze orange is not a problem. No matter what you wear (as long as not blue), deer will not see you if you remain still.
3. Tree Stands
I hunt exclusively from a climbing stand and almost exclusively on public land. Here are the basics with regard to stand placement. Wind direction is vital. Know the prevailing wind direction where you will place your stand, whether it is fixed or portable.Always wear a safety harness...at all times from ground to ground.Scout the area ahead of time. This is not optional. You can get lucky if you happen to be in an area with lots of deer, but you do not want to rely on luck. I will expand on scouting in a later section so will leave it at that for now.Height is important, but you do not need to be 30 feet high to be successful. In fact, for the purpose of good shots, the higher you go, the harder it is to adjust for angle of shot. I often hunt between 12 and 20 feet and believe this is adequate in most all cases.If you are stand hunting, stay in your stand. Many deer are taken mid-day by hunters who have the perseverance to stay in their stand. An unpleasant reality is that you may need to relieve yourself at some point. Bring a container with you for this purpose. I just use a water bottle.
I can only be general here because this article is not designed to address in detail the issues of firearm or bow choice. There are too many variations to detail here. But here are a few commonsense items.
Be very familiar with your weapon. Know how to fix minor problems that might arise in the field and deal with them in a safe manner. For example, if you are hunting with a firearm, you will eventually get dirt in your barrel. Have the resources to clean your weapon should this happen.
Put in the necessary time practicing at the range prior to hunting. It is unacceptable to hunt with a weapon not properly sighted in. If you are lucky enough to hit anything, you may very well injure a deer with little chance for recovery.
Practice every safety precaution you can. This is especially true in bringing your weapon into your stand. Do it the right way. Never carry any kind of a weapon as you climb the tree.
This is not something you should just do if you get a chance. It is part of the hunting process and can be a lot of fun. Do it at least a week or so prior to when you will hunt so as not to disturb the area too much just before hunting.
Look for trails and sign. There is much to this as there are a variety of factors that can make an area look great, but then not yield any signs of life at the time of the hunt. One thing to keep in mind is that during the rut, many bucks do not follow their prior behavior. There is some evidence however, that some bucks do. In regard to potential stand placement, keep wind direction in mind. Once you have chosen a spot, make sure you have adequate vision of trails and shooting lanes. If you are hunting a deer trail, consider how deer are traveling the trail. Are you trying to catch deer as they enter or exit a food plot or are you trying to catch them as they enter or exit a bedding area? Have an entry/exit plan to your stand sight planned out. Use reflective tacks you can see with a flashlight or headlamp, or use surveyors tape to mark your route. This part is critical as your approach may be the deciding factor on success or failure. Use Google Earth as a staring point for your scouting endeavors. This does not in any way replace on the ground scouting, but it gives you a tremendous head start. Especially for those of us who are hunting public ground.
If hunting public ground, try and scout areas at least Â¼ mile from any road, trail, or access point. Believe it or not, just this level of effort will separate you from the majority of hunting pressure. Also, try and have a heads up on the pressure level you will experience for the season you will hunt. As an example of this, there are areas that I will hunt in the Missouri antlerless season that I will not venture near during the regular firearms season.These basic ideas are vitally important to your hunting success. There are clearly planning issues beyond these that are necessary. Knowing what gear to bring for example, is of critical importance. Knowing all pertinent regulations is vital. Most importantly, keep in mind that hunting is a sport that can be fulfilling without regard to whether you harvest a deer. I enjoy immensely that time I spend in the Fall woods. A deer is nothing more than a bonus.
Turkey Hunting Tips: The Basics
Let's get down to the brass tacks. What do you need to get started turkey hunting and what are the tips that will get you out in the field with at least a fighting chance to bag that gobbler? This article will detail the basic needs you will have for your hunt with a subsequent article on scouting and techniques for the field to follow.
All the advice you will get from the popular hunting magazines will only be of marginal use until you have spent a season out there seeing what it is all about. It is very likely that once you get the opportunity to hunt these magnificent creatures you will be hooked. Turkeys are in the midst of one of conservation's most dramatic good news stories and your chances today are about as good as they have ever been, no matter where you are located. In fact there are turkeys that have now been located in regions where they were never previously found.
So what do you need for Spring turkey season? The basics for turkey hunting are indeed basic. Your chances will be dramatically raised if you use full body camouflage. Turkeys have two basic senses that are incredible; eyesight and hearing. When I say you will need full body camouflage, I mean from head to toes. You need a camo hat and facemask, or if you don't want the mask, obtain face-paint designed for turkey hunting. I personally prefer the mask as the paint is very greasy and messy.
Obviously, you will need a firearm to hunt turkeys. There are varying regulations on this so I will defer to local gun shops and your reg-book. I will say that an inexpensive 12 gauge shotgun that chambers 3" shells with a full choke is a good starting point in most locales. You will need to pattern your shotgun at 30-40 yards to get an idea how it shoots and perhaps adjust the brand of shells or the style of choke accordingly. Typically you will be shooting #4 shells. A quick look at one of the big stores and you will see there are shells that are advertised as "turkey loads."
Here is as good a time as any to mention safety. Turkey hunting has inherent risks as you are carrying a loaded firearm, wearing camo clothing, and sharing the woods with other hunters. To make matters worse, you will likely be using a turkey call of some type which can also get you in trouble. All I can say is that it is your responsibility to seek out every single avenue you can pursue to make your hunt safer. If you have not taken hunter safety class, even if not required, please do so. When you hike into and out of the woods or are moving, wear some blaze orange. Do not sling a turkey over your shoulder and come out of the woods unless you have the bird draped in blaze orange. If you use decoys, be aware that every year decoys get shot at by dumb hunters and you could potentially be in the line of fire. Sit with a good backstop such as a large tree. These are just a few basic precautions. There are more that you can and should take.
You will likely use one of two types of turkey calls and maybe both. The two most common are box calls and mouth diaphragm calls. Both are great and have their purposes and you should familiarize yourself with each. In the confines of this article all I will say now is don't overdo it. I am a firm believer that calling is a skill that can mostly be learned only in the field. Practice with your calls at home and perhaps get a video instruction DVD. I like the mouth calls because they leave your hands free and reduce movement but I use both.
These are the basics you will need for your hunt. Next time we will talk about the basics of where to go and what to do once you are there. Remember, safety first! Then, I believe you are getting ready to embark on a journey that whether you bag a bird or not, you will find immensely rewarding.