Gain the advantage with these great deer hunting tips.
Be extra quiet as you approach your deer hunting stand. Prior to hunting season, use a rake to clear leaves and twigs from your stand approach trail. Rake the trail for about 50 yards from your stand. During the hunting season you can rake your trail as you leave your hunting stand. Being extra quiet that last 50 yards is very important when hunting bedding areas.
If you must cover a distance before you start still hunting, take the quietest routes. Try to stay on old roads, skid trails, cow paths or game trails. You will encounter fewer obstacles that will make noise and give away your presence.
I am concerned that too many people are being duped by the rubber boot craze in masking your scent. Simply put, they don't mask your entire scent. Animals smell because they catch small amounts of our dead skin, that fall off of us from any exposed area of skin, in their noses. Our skin cells can, and do, also come from our clothing as our skin rubs against the clothing it transfers dead cells to the fabric. These cells blow in the breeze and fall to the ground where animals can detect our scent. Therefore, rubber boots are not a cure all for scent elimination. Too many people are being caught up in the marketing and magazine articles espousing the necessity of rubber boots and they are robbed of big bucks in trying to find the perfect rubber boot. Yes, they might help. Especially if you have really sweaty, smelly feet, but they don't solve the problem completely.
When doing a typical deer drive, you send your shooters out at strategic locations and then try to drive the deer towards them. When you are driving deer you probably think you know where the deer are going to come out. Never assume the deer are going to go in the direction that you want them to go. I have found nearly 85% of the time, at least some of the deer will circle around the drivers and go back where they knew it was safe before the drivers were there. I always have at least one hunter on the back of the drive waiting for the deer to come toward their position. We now have better success with driving deer.
Sometimes when you are hunting you manage to spook a deer that is just close enough to get a shot at with the bow. If the deer is close enough for a shot and is looking right at you chances are he will run away after a couple of minutes of looking at you. When this happens just slowly raise your bow and draw it back in a slow fluid motion and you will confuse the deer even more and allow yourself to get a shot. This worked for me quite a few times.
When you track and find your wounded deer, make sure it is not still alive. Keep your distance and watch for any signs of life. Watch for breathing and or blinking of the eyes. If no movement is detected, move in closer (always approach the downed deer from the rear) and poke the deer with your gun or bow. If poking the deer did not evoke any response, it should now be safe to start the field dressing process.
If you must pass through thick cover to reach your hunting stand, try laying a fallen log or two in trouble spots where you think you might make a lot of noise. The next time you go to your stand you can walk on these logs and make a much quieter approach.
When you think you've roused a few deer while moving through the woods, just pull out a turkey diaphragm call and cluck on it. It will also help if you make quick rustling or scratching sounds if you're in leaves. The deer will think you are a group of turkeys foraging for food in the leaves. This has helped me prevent spooking animals as I head for my stand. It also makes the birds and squirrels more calm so they will not alert other animals of your presence.
To stop a running or (spooked) mule deer I use a cow elk call. The mule deer will think that it was the elk that spooked it and will stop and take a look around. Once the deer has stopped this will probably be your best chance to take a shot. If the mule deer doesn't stop by using the cow elk call, you might want to hold off and get ready for a long shot. The mule deer will almost guaranteed stop for a look back before it goes over the next hill or ridge.
When stalking, walk slowly and quietly through a small open field that is bordered by woods. As you get to the other end, stop, wait a minute and then slowly stalk back through the same open field. The buck that you seek could have watched you go by. Some of the smart bucks will hide rather than run from a hunter. Your sent will still be in the air and the buck believes that you are long gone. He will probably continue doing whatever it was when you first came along. Look into the woods about 10-45 feet deep, as you sneak back through the field. Look carefully in all of the small openings, and look for anything that could be part of a deer. This has worked for me and could work for you.
When still hunting or approaching your stand on windy days, try walking only when the wind is gusting or blowing hard. Try listening & watching when the wind isn't blowing as hard.
Many times early in the season my experience has been that deer can seem almost dumb to the first sight of a hunter. The past couple of years I have been charged twice and followed once by bigger bucks when walking in early morning before first light. The solution that I have found to be effective is to leave earlier than usual and take many breaks when walking in and just listen. However, this can also be difficult at times. The first buck that ran at me was actually sparring right in front of my stand. The acorns dropping at that time with the sound mixture fooled me. Excitement and anticipation make you foolish, so take your time and think and listen to the surroundings.
I have spooked a buck and not seen him at first, but then I noticed him crouch down and try to sneak low past me. The wise bucks will not always run, sometimes they will crouch down and sneak low or they might just lay there with their head on the ground and let you walk right past them. Remember they are fighting for their survival and will do whatever it takes to avoid you.
Always wear rubber boots when going to and from your deer hunting stand. Leather boots will hold and carry scent that can give you away. Rubber boots will make sure that you don't leave any scent behind and your feet will always be warm and dry in your stand.