Added: 9/24/07 Spice up Venison With Bacon
Deer fat that is included in ground venison does not break down completely when cooked, leaving a waxy coating in your mouth. To make venison burger that tastes terrific, trim away and discard all deer fat and grind a pound of smoked bacon with each 10 pounds of lean deer meat. The bacon fat adds a clear juiciness when cooked, and its smoky taste is enticing. John Rice
Added: 9/24/07 Keep Your Scope Fog-Free
Taking a warm rifle outside on a cold and damp morning causes condensation to form, fogging up the inside of your scope, and you can’t wipe it clear. Instead, bring your rifle into camp each evening to dry and clean it, then lock it in your vehicle for the night. In the morning the scope will be at the same temperature as the air outside, and condensation will not occur. John Rice
Added: 9/24/07 Bag a Buck in Heavy Cover
Bucks traveling through open woods usually stop when they enter a patch of thick cover to check on whether anything is following. Be aware of this as you’re trailing a buck and stop well ahead of where you see heavy cover in your path. A hidden buck often feels safe retracing his steps, so set up and try to lure him back to you with a deer call or rattling antlers. John Rice
Added: 9/24/07 Make Rattling Antlers Easier to Carry
Natural deer rattling antlers with long points snag on underbrush and are cumbersome to transport. Saw off the long points, leaving just 4 inches of bone extending beyond the forks. Use a flat file to smooth the main beams into comfortable handles. When clashed together and twisted, the shortened antlers make loud, realistic sounds, yet they can be comfortably carried in a pocket or stuck under your belt. John Rice
Added: 7/12/07 Hoist Your Deer With a Winch
The winch from a boat trailer makes an easy, one-man deer hoist. Fasten it to a tree trunk or upright post at waist level with a pair of 3-inch lag bolts. Run a strong line or cable from the winch through a pulley on an overhead cross pole and bind the loose end of the line to the gambrel that goes between the hind legs. The gears make it easy to lift the weight, and the stop mechanism will hold the deer in place until it can be hung from the pole. John Rice
Added: 2/22/07 Brighten Up Your Sights
If your rifle’s open sights are getting dull, use an emery cloth to remove bluing from the top of the front sight. Then paint the bare metal with fluorescent-pink nail polish or fly-tying lacquer. The bright color will help you align the front sight deep in the notch of the rear before you shoot, which will keep your shot from going high. John Rice
Added: 12/11/06 Learn From the Gut
matt green, Albany, N.Y.
Many years ago, I learned to open the crops of the first few quail I bag for clues to where the birds are feeding. Now I?ve found that the same approach works when hunting deer. Each member of my group notes the rumen contents and time of kill for the deer he field dresses. I compile this information in a chart and post it in camp so those who?ve yet to fill a tag can learn when and where deer are feeding. John Rice
Added: 12/11/06 Find Deer Migration Corridors
Once the snow cover in northern states reaches 12 or so inches, deer abandon their summer ranges for winter yarding areas. Between the two lie well-established, heavily used migration trails that usually follow sidehills facing major stream and river valleys. If you’re targeting these animals, search for places where natural obstacles funnel the corridors together, then hang your tree stand downwind of the choke point. John Rice
Added: 12/11/06 Find the Best Ammo for Your Rifle
Every rifle shoots one brand, load, and bullet weight more accurately than others. To determine which combination is best for your gun, fire at least three rounds each of several different ammo types at 100-yard paper targets. Use a felt marker to identify each group. Select the ammo that provides the tightest one, regardless of how close it is to the bull’s-eye. Now adjust your sights until the group is where you want it. John Rice
Added: 7/11/06 Call Deer With a Tree Root
With your knife handle and a tree root, you can arouse a deer’s natural curiosity and sometimes cause it to check your location. When you are well hidden and the woods are quiet, slowly rap your knife handle four or five times against a tree root. Repeat in 10 minutes, then wait and watch. Deer within earshot may move and reveal themselves. John Rice
Added: 7/11/06 Read Deer While Stalking
If you’re stalking a feeding deer, keep your eye on the animal’s tail to improve your position. A deer always twitches its tail just before raising its head. Freeze instantly when you see that motion and you’ll be immobile when the deer looks up to check its surroundings. Once the deer’s head is down, move in shadows close to tree trunks to be less noticeable. John Rice
Added: 7/11/06 Haul a Deer
A child’s vinyl plastic sled makes an excellent deer dragger. Drill four 1/2-inch holes on each side of the sled so that a load-fastening rope can be laced through and over the carcass once it is placed on top. Attach a 5-foot rope from the base of the deer’s antlers to the center of a 2-foot length of 11/2-inch-thick timber. Grip this handle with both hands behind your back and start walking. John Rice
Added: 06/08/06 Carry the Right Hunting Knife
Most hunters carry larger knives than necessary. A 4-inch blade is sufficient for field dressing all North American game animals, including moose. Longer blades tend to probe too deeply and slash the viscera. A folding knife is easier to carry in a belt sheath, and a locking blade won’t accidentally fold down on your fingers when cutting. Field & Stream Online Editors
Camouflage Your Tree Stand
Branches that you remove to clear a climbing path and shooting lanes at your tree stand should not be left on the ground. They may draw unwanted attention from people who might sit in your stand. Instead, drag them away from the vicinity, or lash some to the trunk above the stand to break up its outline and camouflage your silhouette as you hunt. Field & Stream Online Editors
Improve Your Field Accuracy
The standing offhand shooting position is notoriously difficult, yet it accounts for a significant percentage of shots taken at big game. You’ll be more accurate if you instantly drop into a sitting position when an animal appears and rest your rifle on one knee before squeezing the trigger, or move to a solid rest like a nearby tree and brace your gun against it. Field & Stream Online Editors
Stay Focused on Stand
To help pass the time when you’re spending long hours in a deer stand, take along a few ounces of birdseed. Scatter the seed on a nearby log or other bare area within a few yards of your stand. Birds, chipmunks, and squirrels are sure to discover the horde and will give you hours of entertainment, and their presence will keep you alert and remind you to remain still. Field & Stream Online Editors
Grow Bigger-Antlered Bucks
To produce large, healthy racks, bucks must load up on minerals before the onset of antler-growing season in early spring. Late winter is the ideal time to provide deer with a mineral supplement containing calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and sodium. Pour a granular mix into a depression where it will leach into loose soil. Deer will eat the soil occasionally, as their bodies require. Field & Stream Online Editors