7 Best Deer Hunting Tips To Practice All Year

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

To be a successful deer hunter, study tips and techniques of those who are proven successful in the field. Get to know deer hunting strategies and secrets. Make plans way before fall hunting season. Make a checklist and check it twice. The time to incorporate proven successful hunting strategies is now. Practice hunting tips all throughout the year and you'll be more than ready when hunting season comes. Even though deer hunting in Washington State runs in the fall, successful deer hunters know, deer hunting is a year-round sport. Listed below are 7 deer hunting tips to practice throughout the year. Incorporating these tips will help make you a successful deer hunter in October.

SCOUT FOR DEER IN THE OFF SEASON
Whether you're hunting for white-tailed deer or mule deer in Washington State, your scouting efforts in winter, spring, and summer will pay off during deer hunting season. Scout your favorite hunting spot and you will learn valuable information about deer in your hunting area. Fresh snow may be able to show animal tracks quite clearly. In the Okanogan Highlands, Snow Shoe Rabbit tracks, coyote tracks, and deer tracks are seen every winter as all three flourish here. You don't need to be an expert to read animal tracks in the snow since paw prints are readily seen and quite recognizable on snow.

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GET TO KNOW YOUR PREY: DEER BEHAVIOR
Mule deer are browsers. They eat leaves, twigs, shrubs, and leaves. They eat the most nurtritious parts of a plant. Find a mixture of this environment and you'll likely find deer. They reside in coniferous forest and desert scrub lands. Get to know your hunting spots. Where does your local deer population feed and get sources of water? Deer are maternal. Unrelated bucks hang out together. The 2 sexes meet during mating season. Deer are most active during dawn and dusk. Knowing that, make sure you're at your tree stand or hunting spot before dawn and before dusk. Deer detect human odor up to a half mile away. Consider this and check wind direction. Arm yourself with some scent killers.

STUDY CHOSEN HUNTING SPOTS AND AREAS
Your state's game department may provide different tools to help you plan a successful deer hunt. Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife has "Go Hunt," a nice interactive tool of hunting areas.  While on their website, study the rules and regulations. They may change yearly.

Familiarize yourself with the names of towns near your favorite hunting spots. Knowing the names of nearby towns would help you watch the news for local events that may affect the deer population. Perhaps, the winter was unseasonably warm in your hunting area. Was there a disease such as Blue Tongue that affected the deer population in your hunting area? Chelan, and Omak in the summer of 2015? It would also help if you have friends that live close to your hunting spots. They'll hear of deer hunting successes and failures.
Deer Hunting in the Okanogan Highlands
Find out if any significant changes have impacted the deer herd. Has any of your hunting spots become so popular that deer run the opposite direction at the smell or sound of humans?


PRACTICE PHYSICAL FITNESS ALL YEAR
While hunting deer, you maybe pushed to your physical limit. This is especially true while hiking in rugged and challenging terrain like ours in the Okanogan Highlands. It's important to be physically fit so you are prepared to hike most of the day. Even sitting inside a hunting blind or on a tree stand may be exhausting. Oftentimes, you are in a cramped position for extended periods. With both hunting scenarios, you are exposed to outside temperatures. A year's worth of physical training will come in really handy when covering ground in October. Most physical fitness gurus, recommend at least 3 days of exercise weekly. It's best if you're able to engage in cardiovascular exercises such as running, spinning or cycling and swimming. Augment your chosen form of cardiovascular exercise with strength training. As you know, a good amount of strength is needed to pack out your mule or white-tailed deer from a hunting ridge. You'll thank yourself for engaging in physical fitness routine all year.

PRACTICE GOOD EATING HABITS AND DRINK PLENTY OF WATER
Throughout the year, observe which foods or food groups give you long lasting energy. Sorry folks, coffee and sugar is not on this list. Protein sources come to mind. A heavy lunch full of carbohydrates is not going to help you trek in the woods for a number of hours. Are you at your physical best with some fruit and a protein bar for lunch? Do you function better with a hearty sandwich? What's the
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best breakfast that will help you stay at your physical best? What gives you stamina? Does it involve eggs, toast, and bacon? By keeping fully hydrated throughout the year, you're guaranteed to keep the same habit of drinking an adequate amount of water during hunting season. Try to drink water with your meals. Water is vital to the optimum function of every organ in your body.

USE OR WEAR THE SAME HUNTING GEAR THROUGHOUT THE YEAR
It's a good idea to use your hunting gear throughout the year. Are you going to be using the same eyeglasses or sunglasses in October? Get use to the same spotting scope and binoculars. Wearing the same boots while scouting, will help you break the boots in. There's nothing worse that gear that fails when you spot that monster buck within your shooting distance. Don't buy new hunting gear in October and expect everything to work just right. Your boots may not be waterproof like the manufacturer said. In the Okanogan Highlands where temperature can climb and fluctuate in October, the newer high tech fabrics work best. You don't want to be sweating and feel a chill. Choose moisture-wicking fabrics.

PLAN AND PRACTICE HUNTING TECHNIQUES
Are you going to hunt alone? If you're taking a friend, do some planning with him or her. Are you going to use a tree stand? Are you going to use a hunting blind or use natural environment for cover? Are you going to spot and stalk?Review hand signals with your hunting buddy. Another trick in a successful hunter's bag of tricks is practicing to use your weapon all year. Practice grabbing your bow or rifle from sitting or standing position. Practice different shooting distances. Use your range finder. Practice hiking in all weather conditions. Try to walk as quietly as you can in the woods. Most of all, have fun.

What do you do in the off season to be a successful deer hunter come fall?


Sources:
Mule Deer Foundation. Online. Accessed on November 4, 2019.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Online. Accessed on November 4, 2015.


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