Show Notes:

Before you step foot into the deer woods you need to have a plan for what you are going to do if you are successful. Most newer hunters are not ready to process or butcher their own deer. Learning to hunt, getting equipped, scouting, and field dressing absorbs all of their focus. I recommend you save processing a deer for a future hunting season, if you are interested in trying it. 

Finding a good deer processor is key and will relieve a lot of anxiety when it’s time to hunt because you will have a solid plan. This episode will help you learn everything you need to know about finding and vetting a good deer processor and what you need to do before and after.

Take Aways:

  • Get your deer to a processor as quickly as possible. Field dress it within minutes of the kill and then go straight to the processor to minimize chance of spoiling.
  • If you are able, wash out the animal and pack it with some ice. Nothing else is needed after you field dress it, and even these steps are optional.
  • Make 100% sure the processor you find will give you back the meat from the deer you brought in, not just meat from the last deer butchered. 
  • Ask the processor for a nice variety of meat items back, even if it costs a little more. Get steaks, roasts, ground, sausages, sticks, jerky, and any other options they have. It may cost a little more but it will help you learn what you like and you will enjoy the animal to it’s fullest.
  • Expect to only get back meat that is 60-70% of the weight of the deer after it is field dressed, if everything on the animal is perfect. There are many things that could result in you getting back less meat, and some things that could help you get a little more. 


Show Notes:

When it comes to deer hunting, it is best to think about what to do when you succeed before you ever step foot into the woods.  Feeling prepared and comfortable enough to field dress a deer is very important to the overall experience. It will give you confidence and help you focus on the hunt.  In truth, gutting a deer takes about 5-10 minutes. It is a fast, simple process that anyone can learn to do. In this week’s episode we talk about how to get ready, what you need to be prepared, and how to get over feeling squeamish about it.

Take Aways:

  • You always want to shoot a deer in the front lower quarter where the vitals are.
  • Never ever ever take a shot a deer’s back half, it will make field dressing most unpleasant.
  • Always have some rubber or plastic gloves on hand, you can get good Game Cleaning Gloves or around $5, maybe cheaper.
  • Keep a sharp knife in your pack at all times.
  • There is no best way to do this. Watch lots of videos and pick the techniques that you are most comfortable with.
  • Watch videos until you feel comfortable and can tell the difference between how different people do it. When you can do that and say which way you like more, you are ready.
  • Whether you are very meticulous or do a complete hack job, if you don’t puncture the guts, and you keep things clean, it does not matter much. This is easy.

Here are a number of videos to help you understand and become comfortable with the process:








Show Notes:

When it comes to deer hunting there is no perfect gun. There are just too many variables such as your size, style, preferences, hunting area, local hunting laws, budget, etc. But there are some basic principles and recommendations that can help you select the right firearm to get started. In this episode I give guidelines that can help you find the right gun, as well as a few sample recommendations.

The most important thing to keep in mind is once you get some experience, you will develop preferences and opinions about what your ideal firearm for deal hunting is. So do NOT spend a ton of money on your first gun, get something that will do the job and enable you to get some experience, then you will know what you like and you can make an informed decision.

Take Aways:

  • Go with a used or very inexpensive firearm to start. Next year you can probably sell it for close to what you paid and put that towards getting your ideal gun.
  • Get something that has good ammo availability and reasonable pricing in your area.
  • Make sure your gun is light enough to carry through the woods for a day.
  • Once you find a potential gun, pull out your phone and do some research on that model while you are still in the store to see if you can identify its strengths, weaknesses, reliability, accuracy, and any safety recalls.
  • Make sure you test the trigger before you buy.  It is very important that you are satisfied with the trigger, nothing impacts accuracy more.
  • I recommend getting a .308 rifle, a .30-30 rifle, or a 12 gauge shotgun to start with. A partial list of other good rifle calibers include the .30-06, .270, 7.62 x 54r, or the .243 if you are recoil sensitive.
  • The .223 can be used for deer hunting, but it requires a more precise shot at closer range, so I do not recommend it for new deer hunters unless you already have one, are a smaller individual, or have an injury that makes recoil a concern.
  • If you want a new firearm, look for seasonal sales and manufacturers rebates.
  • Be sure to listen to Episode 6, The Worst Rifle For Deer Hunting.

Sample firearms mentioned in the episode:

Show Notes:

You can get started hunting deer with very little equipment and spending very little money.  The biggest thing to account for is the weather, colder weather will mean more total gear is needed to stay out for long periods of time. There is a big misconception that you need all professional camo gear to hunt with. That just isn’t true.

What you need is gear that is warm enough, offers some concealment, and will enable you to start hunting so you can get some experience and see what kinds of gear you want to invest in down the road. On this episode we talk about the bare essentials, and give some modest recommendations for cost saving entry level items.

The below specific gear recommendations are items that I feel are worth investing in right off the bat. For instance, you don’t need to spend $500 on a top of the line blaze orange coat, you can get whatever warm neutral colored coat you already have or can get at a thrift store and then toss a nice $30 blaze orange camo vest on top of it and you are in good shape.  You can also get by with cheap or existing boots if you have good socks and some warmers to add to them, and if you can stay dry.

Specific Gear Recommendations Mentioned On The Show

General Gear Items To Remember

  • Warm Bootsashlight
  • Camo, Black, or Neutral Pants
  • Camo, Black, or Neutral Coat
  • Sharp Knife
  • Water and Snacks
  • Pen and String
  • Umbrella or rain gear
  • Ziploc Bags, Garbage Bag, Paper Towels
  • First Aid Kit, Including safety whistle and compass
  • Camo, Black, or Neutral Color Backpack

Don’t forget that deer do not see reds, oranges, and browns well or as threatening. Blue’s, violets, yellows and whites can stand out like bright glowing indicators. Never wear blue jeans, never wear white, and avoid anything that shows any of those colors whenever possible.

Staying in the shade, keeping still, and being quiet will do more for you than any fancy high priced gear.  Yes, quality gear can help you, but 100 years ago people were still enjoying white tailed deer hunts without the big ticket brands we have today. No matter what your budget is, you can have fun and be successful.

Show Notes:

Finding a good place to hunt deer may be the single most important thing you can do to be successful, second only to being stealthy.  For new hunters I recommend pursuing doe instead of bucks. The tactics are simpler, the chances of success are higher, and it is just an easier entry point. If you can take a buck, then great, but I would save that pursuit until after you get your feet wet if you are able.  In much of the country you can get a doe tag, and often doe season is less crowded, so the hunting is easier too.

Here are four approaches to scouting you can use to help you find a good place to get started.

Water – Find streams, lakes, pools, springs, or puddles that deer can drink from. Then walk those areas looking for sign, mainly footprints and droppings. When you find some density of deer tracks, you have identified a travel route or congregation point. That can give you clues about where to setup and start looking for vantage points.

Food – Deer like to graze in fields, on bushes, under oak trees, as well as under apple and other fruit and nut trees as well. Find areas that have food and search around them for sign.

Trails – If you are hiking and exploring an area you are likely to follow the paths of least resistance through the terrain, especially if it’s thick. Deer do the same thing. So as you are walking, regularly look down and you may be surprised how often you find yourself walking in the same place deer do.

Vantage Points – If you have limited options when it comes to hunting areas, you may have to start by looking for the best vantage points of where you could sit and safely take aim. If this is the case, then find the best vantage points available to you, and scout out your shooting lanes looking for sign. Then pick the best vantage point as your spot.

Show Notes:

Deer hunting is a great place to start, they are one of the most hunted game animals in North America and for good reason. This episode is the first of a series dedicated to helping you get started or get better at hunting deer. Specifically we look at the reasons you might pursue deer hunting.

Here are four reasons why you might hunt deer:

An Iconic Game AnimalIn the United States there are few hunting pursuits more widespread and historically celebrated as deer hunting. It is an American past time, even children who do not hunt and are in non-hunting families are often intrigued by majestic white tails.  They are beautiful animals and a joy to hunt.

Good Sport – Deer are challenging and rewarding quarry, they are smart, instinctive, and cautious animals, designed to outsmart predators.  They can be a lot of fun to go after. And there are different levels. Taking a doe may be the easiest. Taking a buck can require more skill and strategy. Taking a mature or even a trophy level animal can be an advanced pursuit that even hunting masters do not tire of.

Culinary Delights Deer are delicious, plain and simple. I have had venison that rivals the best filet mignon I’ve ever had. I’ve also had lousy deer meat. What you do as a hunter and a chef can greatly improve quality of the meat and the final product. If your first experience with venison isn’t great, don’t give up, it can be some of the best meat you’ve ever had.

They Are Around – Just being real, you can only hunt what lives in your hunting area. Deer cover the continent. Hunting skills you develop in your area can easily translate to deer hunts a thousand miles away. They can also translate into skills that are valuable for bigger game like elk and even moose.

As I mentioned in the show, Paul Harrell has an awesome YouTube channel with some great tips for deer hunting, hunting in general, and smart practical firearms use. Check it out here.


Show Notes:

What is the worst rifle for deer hunting? Well the answer differs some depending on your hunting situation but there are some common things to watch out for.  On this week’s episode I share my own personal experience with my “worst” hunting rifle and give some tips to help you avoid the same mistakes I made.

Here are some take aways:

  • A rifle that is too heavy will be hard to carry, hard to shoulder, and hard to be quite with.
  • A gun that is too long will be awkward and cumbersome, difficult to store and again hard to be quite with.
  • A firearm that has been heavily modified may loose some reliability and not function as consistently.
  • A rifle that does not complement your hunting situation will make things more difficult, for example a rifle setup for short range brush hunting will be hard to use well at long range, etc.
  • A gun that you are not familiar with and well trained with can be both a safety concern and something that is hard to use quickly when you need it.

And last but not least, here is a photo of the heavily modified and relatively ineffective Mosin Nagant 91/30 that I talked about in the show.