Hunting Tips

(Latest) Hunting Tips

1. Camouflage.  One idea is to use certain clothing, masks, face paint, etc. to basically `blend in’ with the surroundings. Choose a pattern, if possible, that most matches the surroundings, in both colors and features (leaves, tree trunks, and so on). Your face is important; cover your face, either with face paint or mask. And keep going, to your ears, forehead, neck, and hands. If you are hunting with someone, have them take a look at you to see if you have missed anything. If you’re alone, use a mirror, or take a `selfie’. The second idea of camouflage is to make something (yourself) look like `something else’. Deer and elk are particularly afraid of `people’ (humans!). If you can’t, or don’t want to, blend in, then at least look like something else. Sit, so you look like a stump, or a rock. If you must move a bit, do so on the ground; let the prey think you’re a raccoon, or opossum.

2. Little Things.  With respect to camouflage, don’t ignore the little things. Cover your watch (or don’t wear one). Common camouflage clothing has a nice pattern on the exterior, but the inside not so much; be sure you don’t have part of a sleeve or hem or the inside of a pocket turned inside out. Be careful of things that you are wearing over your camouflage, such as a radio (with illuminated face, or lights), optics, camera, etc.

3. Simplify.  It’s best to keep your methods, and gear, as simple as possible. In the excitement of the moment, or the stress of an emergency, it will surprise you what you end up doing, or omit, or do wrong, or what stuff gets in the way, or tangled up with other stuff. Can you get to your binoculars, or more ammo, without looking (taking your eyes off your pray)? Can you do a certain action with one hand instead of two? Can you do it in the dark? The more complex your plan, the more that can go wrong.

4. Cough Drops.  If you are hunting from a blind or stand, or are still hunting, or stalking, even if you are spotting and stalking, consider carrying some cough drops. Even if you don’t have a cough, or you swear you’re not sick; you never know when that little `scratch’ gets caught in your throat, and you need to cough. Learn to suppress your sneezes.

5. Resist Moving Before Dawn and After Dusk.  It’s my understanding that deer have dual mechanisms of sight: day vision and night vision. As it is getting light before dawn, and getting dark after dusk, they employ both, and see best. Us humans, on the other hand, only see poorly, with our day vision only. You may think that because you can’t see well, that the deer can’t either. Wrong. Either move well before dawn, or way after dusk, but not in that in-between time.

6. Twenty minutes.  Yeah, twenty minutes! Someone said it takes twenty minutes for things to settle down in the forest once you enter. I didn’t believe it, but I decided to try it, perhaps to prove it wrong. I went quietly into the forest, quietly entered my hunting blind, and quietly waited. Everything was quiet, and still. Twenty minutes later, yeah `exactly’, the forest became abuzz with activity! Squirrels came out from hiding, and the birds started chirping again. I keep this in mind when timing my arrival in the woods.

7.  Bipods.  A good bipod can be a game-changer for accurate shooting, particularly at longer ranges. Get one with extending legs, adjustable for various heights, slopes, or side slope conditions. A bipod is also a fabulous accessory enabling you to place your firearm in a stable, out-of-the-way condition, for example, on the ground next to you in a hunting blind, or beside you on open ground as you glass targets far away, or if you need to for any reason put the gun down. The gun itself is protected from ground contact, with less chance of `bumping’ the scope, or getting debris or moisture on the gun or in the barrel. And don’t let me ever see you leaning your gun up against a tree.

8.  Mistakes.  When it comes to hunting Whitetail Deer, mistakes are costly. When you make a mistake and it messes up an opportunity to get a deer, in addition to feeling sorry for yourself, you must learn to learn from your mistake. I assure you that the deer you missed did; doubtful that deer will (let you) make that mistake again. To be successful you must learn from the mistakes you make, and not repeat them; eliminate any thing, or action, that can go wrong.

9.  Catch Your Breath.   The two biggest things my Dad taught me, in the field, hunting were: 1) know your target; and 2) stop and catch your breath before crowning or crossing a ridge or hilltop.  The whole point of getting to the top of the ridge would be to see what was on the other side – hopefully deer! So, put the excitement to see what’s on the other side temporarily aside, and catch your breath. Let your pounding heart slow down. Collect yourself. Should that deer be on the other side, you will want all your faculties fully functioning. As a kid this meant being able to keep the crosshairs, or open sights, as they first were, steady on the target.