Print Posted 01/05/2017 in Hunting

What the Beginner Needs to Know for Deer Hunting

What the Beginner Needs to Know for Deer Hunting

Those that have been hunting since they were young know the in’s and out’s of getting a big buck and don’t have to think twice about it. For someone that’s never been out in the bush chasing a buck, there is much to learn. From finding the right kind of rifle, to knowing what time to get up in the morning, getting a 10-point buck isn’t as easy as it sounds.

There are certain things that anyone who wants to become a deer hunter is going to want to know. The first is when deer season is for where they will be hunting. Next, they need to find a place to hunt, maybe a ranch or a deer lease somewhere. They will also need a rifle to shoot with, camouflage to wear, and a decent knowledge of how to field dress a deer if they will be going alone.

The Beginner’s Guide to the Deer Hunt

Know the Seasons

deer huntingThe first part of going on a deer hunt is knowing when it’s legal to shoot a deer in the state. Each state has its own laws concerning deer hunting, and that means their own seasons as to when it’s appropriate to go about shooting a deer. Bow hunting and black powder seasons will differ from the rifle season and are typically longer by a few weeks. A simple Google search that includes the state will yield results giving info on the season for one’s state. 

Choose Your Weapon

There is a whole science behind finding the right caliber rifle for someone that wants to go deer hunting. The truth is that there is no perfect rifle or caliber for going deer hunting, but there are more common choices that many people prefer to use. A .270 is a great deer rifle, it doesn’t kick too bad and it has plenty of strength for bringing down a white-tail buck. But a .243 Win., all the way up to a .308 Win., any of these calibers would be able to bring down a deer just fine. For a more in-depth discussion, check out this hunting guide on finding the right caliber rifle for deer hunting.


Proper attire is needed for someone going on a deer hunt. Depending on the location, it may be necessary for them to wear a certain amount of orange for hunter safety purposes. Be sure to do proper research on this depending on the state, as it’s illegal to not wear orange where it’s required. Otherwise, be sure to dress warm, as deer season takes place during some of the coldest months of the year (and the coldest times of day). Wooded camouflage works best, but it really depends on what kind of the environment looks like where one is going to be hunting. 

Location, location, location

The next step is deciding where to go deer hunting. One may have a friend that owns a ranch, a farm, or somewhere else where deer hunting takes place such as an event run by a hunting outfitter. That’s an ideal situation. If that’s not the case, there are deer leases available for someone to go and hunt. There are also game ranches in some states where – for the right price – a potential hunter can go and shoot their first deer. Though many people are attracted to the thrill of a hunt arranged by a hunting outfitter who normally has a team of hunting guides that will be able to guide the hunt and know where to go to get the best game.

Once the location is known, there are other steps to take. The best times for deer hunting are dawn and dusk, when the deer are feeding. Many deer hunters use a feeder that uses corn to lure deer from the dense woods into an open area where a clean shot can occur.

For the beginner: it’s important to be in a deer stand, or in the spot where one will be waiting for the deer, by the time the sun comes up. Coming into the stand after dawn is too big of a risk that there will be noise that could spook any nearby deer.

The Stand

While some deer hunters prefer to roam and stalk deer on foot, most hunters do their hunting from a deer stand that’s in a prime location with a clear view of a feeder or a feeding plot of land like alfalfa or Bermuda grass. When going to a game ranch or a deer lease, find out if there are any stands available to use. If there aren’t, there are many mobile stands that can be assembled on-the-fly. Remember, it’s important to be in the stand before dawn or dusk, whenever the hunt is taking place. 

Taking the Shot

Finally, the shot is going to take place. The kill-zone for deer is around the shoulder – think above the front leg. The neck is also a kill-shot, but is riskier and easier to miss. Taking a shot above the front-leg about halfway up the side of the deer will put the bullet around vital organs including the heart and lungs, bringing it down quickly. No one wants to be tracking a deer through the woods as it bleeds out.

Field Dressing the Deer

The next step is field-dressing the deer. If going alone and for the first time, there’s not an easy way to practice this. Here’s a hunting video that explains it well. If possible, bring someone that’s done it before. However, the best way to learn is by getting your hands dirty.

Deer is one of the most popular game to hunt. They make a great trophy-mount, and their meat (especially the backstraps) tastes great. Remember to dress warm and get to the stand before the sun comes up, and happy hunting! 

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