September can be the best month to hunt deer, depending on your land and preferences. On this episode I talk about why you would want to hunt the early archery season and how to do it effectively.

Reasons to hunt the earliest part of the season:

  • The deer have not yet been pressured; they are in their most natural habits.
  • It is warmer, so you need less gear and less budget.
  • Ground hunting is more feasible due to more available cover, which can be a cheaper way to hunt.
  • Deer are more active during the day because there is more daylight and fewer dark hours.
  • You can get into the woods after work and still have daylight to hunt.
  • Deer are likely to have not shifted to their fall and winter patterns yet, so summer scouting can pay off immediately.
  • Bucks are often still traveling in bachelor groups, multiplying potential opportunities.
  • No deer have been shot yet, giving you a chance at every buck alive that season.
  • You can tag out early to make time for hunting other things later in the season.

Listen to the episode to hear about HOW you can hunt effectively in September.

 

Shot placement is part of a deer hunter’s choice and preference to a large degree, but there are shots that are definitely more effective than others, and more ethical. On this episode I talk about not just where you can shoot a deer, but where you should in order to minimize suffering and have a quick, clean, easily recoverable kill.

Here are 6 of the different shot placement philosophies:

  1. Meat Hunter: Attempts to save as much meat as possible by shooting the deer in the head or neck.
  2. Opportunist: Will shoot at any vital area presented to take the deer home at any cost.
  3. Sketchy Hunter: Will shoot at any brown fur they see, and likely to take few deer home. This is also largely unsafe on often illegal.
  4. Heart Shooter: Aims for the heart to the kill the deer as quickly and painlessly as possible while preservice the head and neck.
  5. Traditionalist: Attempts to shoot through the largest vital area, both lungs, to produce the most consistent kills.
  6. Disabler: Tries to shoot through both shoulders so the deer is unable to run to escape.

Listen to the episode to hear the pros and cons for each shot style and which are the most effective and most ethical.

If you want to be a better deer hunter, fixing a few bad habits may be the fastest way to improve your level of success in the woods. On this episode I talk about 10 bad habits deer hunters develop and how to fix them.

Deer hunters, like anyone, can easily fall into a pattern that becomes a rut. If you keep doing the same things and do not get the results you want, there is an obvious issue. But because you only do it a few times a year, there may not be enough awareness or drive to really evaluate things and make a change.

Realizing you have a bad habit is sometimes all you need to do to fix it the next time around. You may become a better hunter just by listening to this episode. You may also learn some things that require proactive effort to put into practice. In either event, you should be equipped to do even better!

Listen to the episode to hear about the 10 bad habits! 

Getting your spots ready for the next deer hunting season should be fun and enjoyable instead of rushed and stressful. On this podcast episode I talk about strategies and timing to help you get everything checked off your list and ready for the next deer season.

Whether you hunt public land or private land, there are things you can and should be doing far in advance of the hunting season to give you the highest chances of success. Get your check list ready.

  1. Pick a spot – This is maybe the hardest to do and requires scouting, planning, strategy, factoring in future winds and much more. Listen to previous episodes to learn more.
  2. Food maintenance – Whether you are planting food, maintaining food, or finding food sources, the work needs done months in advance of the hunting season.
  3. Select your tree or spot – Once you have determined the right areas and how deer will relate to food, you need to pick the right tree or blind location that you will hunt from. DO NOT expect to just walk into the woods in the dark and find a good tree.
  4. Setup your stand or blind – Think safety first, second, and third. Use extra rachet straps, double the safety measures, and get it done well in advance.
  5. Mock scrape – Every good hunting spot should be paired with mock scrape to give you the best possible chance at focusing deer movement.
  6. Trail camera – Every stand and mock scrape should have a trail camera if financially feasible. This is how you learn where, when, and how to hunt each spot and if it is a dud without wasting your whole season sitting there.
  7. Removing or relocating debris – Cleaning up your area can be a good idea, but do not just get rid of every downed tree and branch, use them to your advantage!
  8. Creating cover – Deer need cover, and you may want to add some when you are able. Consider all available options such as downing trees to open up canopy, hinge cuts, switch grass, and more.
  9. Trail maintenance for deer – You want to keep certain trails clear to encourage and focus movement. Likewise, you may want to add obstacles in key places to limit movement options in order to try and get them closer or at better angles. 
  10. Access maintenance for people – Getting to your hunting spot quietly and while leaving minimal scent is crucial. Decide long in advance the best way to access your hunting spot and make sure you find or create a clear approach. 

Listen to the episode to for the details! 

Clover is one of the best plantings for a new hunter when it comes to deer and turkey hunting. It is easy, fast, inexpensive, does not require big equipment, and grows back every year. On this episode I talk about the benefits and easiest ways new hunters can plant clover as a food plot.

Take Aways

  • Whitetail Institute Imperial Clover is the gold standard that all clover is measured against. You can get started with a microplot for about $20.
  • There are way cheaper clover options though. If you go to your local AG store you can often get white clover by the pound for half the price.
  • I have used both and gotten good results with both. But I would still lean towards the Whitetail Institute Imperial Clover if cost and scale were not major factors.
  • The clover is a great food source for deer year-round, I have watched them visit it daily in the middle of January and February and paw through several inches of snow to nibble on whatever is left.
  • Turkeys also find clover patches very appealing, especially in the early spring. They eat the clover as well as the bugs that live on and around it.
  • To prepare the ground there are two easy routes, you can whack the vegetation down to the dirt with a weed eater or do a few sprayings of Round Up with a cheap hand sprayer.
  • Normally you will want to put down some pelletized lime when you plant to help the PH. $20 worth is plenty for most micro plots.
  • You can add fertilizer in the spring or fall if you want. Ideally you want something like a 0-20-20. Clover doesn’t need nitrogen, it creates its own and it only feeds the weeds when you use it. My local AG store has 10-20-20, and I use that. 
  • To plant clover you need very minimal tools if you can see bare dirt, just a cheap hand spreader.
  • Upkeep is minimal, just re-seed in late winter/early spring wherever you see bare spots and you should be good to go.
  • You can mow or weed whack the clover in the summer if you are getting competition with weeds, typically the clover will grow back faster than the weeds and take back over.
  • There are some special herbicides that will kill grasses and weeds without hurting the clover if your clover gets overrun, but most people won’t need them.
  • Listen to the episodes for all the details.

If you want to have more deer and more mature bucks on your property, then creating a deer sanctuary is key. And while the sky is the limit on what this can cost, if you understand the principles, you can get much of the benefit for free. On this episode I talk about what a deer sanctuary is and the strategy that goes into developing one.

Take Aways

  • A deer sanctuary is as a much a strategy as it is a physical place. You, the hunter, make an area a sanctuary by virtue of what you do or do not do. Sure, modifying the habitat can help, but it cannot serve as a substitute for how you manage and hunt the land.
  • It is amazing how cheaply you can create a sanctuary when you understand the concept and what makes an area ideal habitat.
  • Remember that mature bucks need to almost be treated like a different animal from does and young bucks. They are much more wary, strategic, and mindful. This is why they are prized to hunt, because they are the hardest member of the heard to take.
  • Even if you spend a fortune on habitat improvements, you undo it all if you are not mindful of your access points, walking areas, and stand locations. Hunting smart will always yield more results than spending money.
  • Listen to the episode to learn about what a deer sanctuary is and how to build one.

If anything hinders deer hunters, it is using the same tactics all season long. Deer habits change significantly over the course of the hunting season and this episode I talk about how to adjust your strategy to give you the best chances for latest season success.

Take Aways

  • The hunting season is a marathon, not a sprint. Learning how to hunt every phase of season both improves your odds but also enables you to hunt the phases you enjoy most.
  • Everything changes between summer and winter. Food, cover, bedding, habits, patterns, etc. It all changes. So the hunter must change also.
  • The late season can be a great time to hunt deer, but not the same way you hunted any other time of the season.
  • A big factor people miss is that there are now fewer hours of daylight and more hours of darkness, which means deer can more easily wait out the day to move under the safety of night.
  • To hunt late season deer you need to understand how they act in your area during the late season.
  • Early morning hunts become less and less productive and evening food sources because the best places to locate deer.
  • Listen to the episode to hear about the 5 tips.

So you are hunting and seeing way more does thank bucks. Should you try to reduce the doe population to better balance the herd? On this episode I share some basic deer management principles along with some of the biggest misconceptions.

Take Aways

  • Ideal doe to buck ratios are somewhere between 1 to 1 and 2 to 1.  A 1 to 1 ratio is so idealistic it is almost unrealistic. But a 2 to 1 ratio is certainly a reasonable goal.
  • Statistically speaking, the ratio can almost never get more lopsided than 5 to 1 prior to the hunting season due to birth rates.
  • Whitetail deer births are about 50% does and 50% bucks. So even if every buck in the woods was killed off last year, you would still end up with about 4 to 1 ratios depending on your area and survival rates.
  • Public land hunts where many does are seen without any bucks are more often the result of not hunting proper buck habitat or movement areas, or heavy hunting pressure.
  • If total deer numbers are low, it is best to take no does in order to build the herd
  • If deer numbers are high but ratios are heavily lopsided, it may be a result of habitat being skewed toward does.
  • Habitat is the number 1 factor impacting deer numbers and ratios, assuming the deer are not over hunted.
  • Before you begin harvesting surplus does, make sure you have a sound plan so none of the meat goes to waste. Often the meat can be used to help the less fortunate via donation programs like Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry. 
  • Do not just use the number of deer management tags you receive and assume you should take that many does. That could decimate your herd.
  • Listen to the episode to learn much more.

 

There are many different ways to field dress a deer and a lot of equipment you could use. On this episode I talk about the knives and tools that are really needed for the new or cost consciences hunter.

Top Tools

  • A Sharp Knife – Any sharp knife that is approximately the width of your hand will work great.
  • Should Length Plastic Gloves – Cheap and works great to keep you and the rest of your gear clean.
  • Nitrile or Latex Hand Gloves – Cheap and keeps your hands both protected and nimble.
  • Two Zip Ties – One to close the Butt and one to tie your tag on.
  • A Plastic Bag – To put everything in once you are done.
  • A Pen – To fill out your deer tag

Items You Do Not Need To Start

  • A Fancy Knife – It just has to be sharp, a fancy knife can come later.
  • A Back Pack – You don’t need enough gear to require a backpack to start.
  • A Set of Knives – One small sharp knife is all you need for deer and elk.
  • A Saw Of Any Kind – Cutting through or breaking the pelvis is only helpful in rare circumstances, usually you are better off on multiple levels by not doing so.
  • A Deer Butt Out Tool – They are cheap, but a knife and zip tie do the job just as well and you have one less thing to clean.
  • A Field Dressing Kit – Kits are usually overpriced and filled with things you do not really need. Either way, you don’t need one to start.

How To Field Dress A Deer – New Hunters Guide
 
Listen to the episode to hear more and to get the explanations and details.

Seeing a big deer walk into range after weeks or months of anticipation can cause a major adrenaline response that makes it hard to concentrate or take precision action. On this episode I talk about how to keep your cool when big game walks out and what you can do year-round to prepare for these moments and avoid common hunt ruining problems many people experience.

Take Aways

  • When we are extremely excited or pushed out of our comfort zone, our body often reacts by dumping adrenaline into our blood stream to prepare us for a flight or fight response.
  • Staying calm, still, and focused in these moments can be very difficult without practice and experience. Performing complex or unfamiliar actions can be very difficult.
  • Many hunters, even experienced ones, have missed easy shots, to the point where they fired at the antlers instead of the body of the deer and did not even know that they did it.
  • Fortunately, you do not necessarily need to practice this only while hunting to improve in this area. There are many other things that can benefit a hunter outside of the woods.
  • From public speaking to sports to working with deadlines, there are many activities you can use to sharpen your skills for dealing with pressure and adrenaline.
  • The more time you spend outside of your comfort zone, the more comfortable you become outside of your comfort zone.
  • Listen to the episode to learn more.