Big Game Hunting Tips

When searching for a place to locate a deer stand, look for ground scrapes. Bucks make ground scrapes on trails that are often used by does...

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Rise and Fire
At midday, mature whitetail bucks frequently bed down on high ground next to the edge of heavy cover, within hearing distance of moving water. Identify such places in your hunting territory and check them for signs of large single deer beds. During hunting season, approach these bedding spots cautiously from downwind, and be ready for a close-range shot at a deer rising from its bed.

Get Moving
You can't move too slowly when still-hunting for deer. Take a step or two, then study the terrain around you for anything that doesn't quite fit. If you see deer running away, those are deer that saw you first¿¿a clue that you're moving too fast. The same is true if you have to look down to place your feet. Plan your steps so that you can keep your eyes up, studying the terrain, when you are in motion.

Turkey Call When Deer Hunting
One good reason to take your turkey call along when deer hunting: Deer are often reassured by turkey sounds. An occasional turkey feeding call made between bouts of deer grunts and antler rattling gives nearby deer a sense of confidence that your area is safe. After all, turkeys don't feed or talk when they feel endangered.

Bed Down Buck
When a buck track turns downwind and begins to move uphill, assume that the buck is going to bed down. He will probably stop at the edge of heavy cover, on a high spot that offers a view of his surroundings and permits him to see and get the scent of anything following on his backtrail. To approach his bedding site without being seen or winded, circle away from his track for roughly 100 yards and then move cautiously parallel to the track. Study the terrain ahead carefully and be alert for any shape that does not quite fit.

Hard to Remove Carcass Hairs
Use a handheld propane torch to remove the hairs that always stick to a carcass after skinning. First, wipe off as many hairs as possible with a damp cloth. When the carcass is dry to the touch, singe the remaining hairs with the propane flame just long enough to make them disappear. Better table fare will result.

Pushed Deer
When deer are being pushed, they head for high ground and thick cover. If there are a lot of hunters in your area, go to a remote place that offers high ground and thick cover and wait for deer to be pushed to you by the activity of other hunters.

When to Come Back to the Stand
It is best to hang tree stands and cut shooting lanes a full month before you plan to hunt. The scent you leave and the disturbance caused by cutting brush can cause ture bucks to avoid a stand site for some time when it is new. After a month, big bucks will be accustomed to the changes you made and will return to their former haunts.

Finding That Great Stand
When searching for a place to locate a deer stand, look for ground scrapes. Bucks make ground scrapes on trails that are often used by does and return frequently to check the scrapes for signs that a doe has shown interest by marking it. Locate your stand where you have a clear shot at the scrape, for that is where the buck will go.

Loading Carcasses
Loading the carcasses of big-game animals into your vehicle or boat is much easier if you first remove the lower legs at the knee joint. Not only do the lower legs tend to catch on things, but they also cause the carcass to take up more space than is really necessary.

If You Missed Your Shot...
When you miss a shot at a deer or other game animal, don't move. Unless your quarry actually sighted or smelled you, the noise of the gun probably caused the animal only momentary alarm. Its initial reaction will be to run for cover and then stop, listen, and watch. If the animal cannot identify the source of the sound, it will usually calm down and return to its natural behavior. Remain still for 20 minutes after missing a shot; then resume hunting. Chances are good that the animal will still be within range.

Dropped Antlers
Dropped antlers in the spring are a sign of where bucks spent time the previous winter. The vicinity in which you find a large dropped antler is also an excellent place to start looking for a big buck late in deer season of the following year. Look in places that offer a food source such as acorns, beechnuts, corn, or apples, close to heavy cover that might offer a quiet hiding place.

Close Range Deer
When a deer suddenly appears at close range in response to your grunt call or antler rattling, don't be afraid to move slowly to pick up and shoulder your gun. Deer coming to calls will usually just stop and stare at you, mistaking your movements for those of the deer they were expecting to see.

Antler Rubs
When you find antler rubs on trees of more than 4 inches in diameter, you are in a big buck's territory. Summertime scouting for a concentration of large rubs made last autumn will tell you where to expect a big buck to show up next deer season. If those old rubs are freshened up again in early autumn, the buck is still alive and still using his old turf.

Effective Rattling Antlers
To make a set of effective, comfortable rattling antlers for deer hunting, choose a pair that are of medium thickness with long tines. They make the clearest sounds. Hacksaw off the brow tines, then use a rasp to smooth away any burrs or ridges that will make the handle section uncomfortable to grip. Drill 1*4-inch holes through the antler bases, and string them on a carrying cord. An annual coat of linseed oil will preserve the resonance and give the antlers a "live" sound.

Deer Movement
Deer move little during heavy rains and snowstorms. However, they actively seek the most nutritious food sources the day after a period of stormy weather ends. On the day after a storm breaks, concentrate your hunt wherever trails lead to feeding areas such as oak groves, beech ridges, or cornfields. Does and fawns will be heading out to feed, and bucks are sure to follow.hey make the clearest sounds. Hacksaw off the brow tines, then use a rasp to smooth away any burrs or ridges that will make the handle section uncomfortable to grip. Drill 1*4-inch holes through the antler bases, and string them on a carrying cord. An annual coat of linseed oil will preserve the resonance and give the antlers a "live" sound.

Deer Movement
Deer move little during heavy rains and snowstorms. However, they actively seek the most nutritious food sources the day after a period of stormy weather ends. On the day after a storm breaks, concentrate your hunt wherever trails lead to feeding areas such as oak groves, beech ridges, or cornfields. Does and fawns will be heading out to feed, and bucks are sure to follow.