Hunting deer is a skill that requires practice and preparation. This means that you can’t just wander into the field mid-season and expect to be as successful as possible. Instead, you have to keep certain things in mind even when hunting season isn’t around. These secrets and tips will help you stay on top of your game and ready for the hunt all year round.

Start with a License

When it comes to the red tape and legalities of any activity – hunting included – you want to make sure that you have plenty of time to be ready. So, it’s a good idea to get your hunting license in order before the season gets underway.

The specific requirements for securing a hunting license vary depending on the state you’re hunting in as well as if you’re a resident or non-resident of that state. So, you’re going to want to check your local guidelines as you get ready to apply. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has a state-by-state guide to help you out.

Scouting

Any good hunter can tell you that going in blind during the season isn’t the best way to find success. Instead, you’re going to want to scout out the area beforehand. Walking into the woods and choosing a random spot once the season starts isn’t a good way to ensure that you cross paths with deer, much less have a successful hunt.

The goal when you’re scouting for whitetail is to look for patterns and signs that they frequent certain areas. This can include paying attention to scrapes, where food and water are available, and other signs of inhabitance and frequency.

Remember, when you’re scouting for deer, you want to do it the same way you hunt. Take the same care and caution. If you just carelessly tromp through the woods, you aren’t likely to see all the signs that you’re trying to keep an eye out for as you scout.

Choosing a Weapon and Practicing

Another thing you don’t want to leave to the last minute is choosing your weapon and practicing with it. Being able to make a clean, effective, and ethical kill means that you need to have mastery of your weapon.

Between firearms and bow hunting, you have plenty of options as to what type of weapon you take with you when you’re out on the field. For beginners and experienced hunters alike, air rifles are becoming a popular choice. They’re great for small game hunting but they’re a pretty versatile piece of equipment. These are also a lightweight and affordable option when it comes to hunting rifles.

While the season is out, it’s a good idea to hit the range and practice with the tool you’ll be using. You’ll also want to make sure that you keep your bow or firearm in top condition throughout the year as well so it’s safe and ready to go as soon as you need it. You should do the same maintenance checks on all of your other gear as well.

Do Your Whitetail Research

Researching your game is just as important as knowing how to use the equipment that you’re carrying. Not only is this crucial for proper scouting, but it’s also critical information to make a successful kill. If you don’t know where to take a shot, you may end up with an ultimately unsuccessful or unethical catch.

You should also make sure you take the time to stay up-to-date on your field dressing skills. You don’t want to forget to prepare for your outing after the hunt just as much as you prepare for the time leading up to it and the shot you take itself.

Take the Time to Work Out

You don’t need to be in the condition of a bodybuilder or professional athlete to enjoy success on your next hunting trip. However, you’re going to feel quite a strain with tasks such as hauling game back at the end of the day if you aren’t ready to handle it. It’s a good idea to set aside some time to work out during the offseason to make sure your body is ready to handle the more strenuous tasks you’ll run into on your trip.

If You’re Hunting On Private Land

Many hunters today take advantage of public hunting land but if you’re hunting on farmer’s lands, you’ll want to take care of that relationship out of the season for the best results. Stopping by to say hi or even offering to help them prepare their land for the upcoming season are great ways to maintain a strong relationship with the person who’s land you’re using.

Hunting whitetail is an enjoyable task that takes plenty of skill and patience. When you keep tips like these in mind, you can stay prepared all year round!