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Deer Hunting tips, the best deer hunting guide for gun and bow hunters

For details on Deer Calling, Deer Decoys and Deer Rattling go lower on this page.

General Tips

1. Don't leave before the legal shooting time is over. Probably the best time of the day to kill a buck is the last minute of shooting light. Don't leave your stand like me and most hunters tend to do, 10 minutes to early.

2. Check your equipment when you get in the stand not when a buck walks out. Is your scope clear, will your bow draw back properly, shell in the chamber, etc. etc.

3. If you are going to hunt a large field or food plot hunt it in the evening.

4. Deer love heavy cover. Try clearing a path through the cover that would be beneficial to the deer. A deer usually would prefer the easy route. Once the path is established hunt over the path in a tree stand.

5. If you don't have any faith in a deer call, afraid of scaring deer away, only use it after you see a deer that you are not going to shoot! You will get to see that it doesn't scare them and get to see their reactions. Make sure to use the appropriate call though are you might confirm to yourself that they don't work.

6.  So here is my Number 1 best tip. Guarantted way to increase your luck. Hunt more! Sounds dumb but its the truth. You say you hunt every chance you get when you don't have to work!!! We'll that may be true but how much of that time is spent at the camp? Why not spend the middle part of the day in the woods? Staying in bed due to bad weather! Not a good excuse! Remember deer are killed every single day of the deer season. My biggest buck was killed in the middle of the day. The largest bodied deer was killed in between rain showers(I had a poncho). You can scoff and say this is not a real hunting tip but I promise you one thing, if you were to live by this one rule it will increase your kill opportunities more than any other tip you find ANYWHERE!

7. When hunting a new area it pays in the long run to hunt a new stand each day for awhile. This is the fastest way to learn the deer movement patterns.

8. If you shoot a deer and you jump it up a short distance from where you shot it then back off and give it time to die, wait overnight if it was shot in the evening!

9. For bow hunting it amazes me that people will spend untold hours shooting their bows from the ground and then hunt from a tree. I shoot exclusively from a tree stand when its within a month of bow season.

10. Why so many pins. I only use one pin. I find it easier to aim high or low on the deer than to try to remember to use a certain one when the big one walks out.

Deer Calling

Determining what deer call to use is not a matter of which rut phase you are hunting, but which sex and age class of deer you want to attract. Does respond to distress calls and Maternal/Neonatal calls primarily out of maternal instinct. All bucks respond to any call, which may lead them to an estrus doe; particularly a Social Grunt or a Low Grunt. Dominant bucks also respond to Mating calls and aggressive grunts out of the desire to exert dominance. Subdominant bucks may respond to these Mating calls during the breeding phase, but they may not respond because they are afraid of encountering a dominant. If you are hunting for any legal buck it may best not to use mating calls or aggressive grunts.

There are four basic techniques for calling deer that can be used anytime during the rut. The fourth technique is not as effective during the Rest Phase and Post Rut because the bucks are exhausted, not as aggressive, and not as interested in breeding.

1. For does and young bucks; Distress Call or Fawn Bawl.

2. For any deer; Social or Low Grunt.

3. For all bucks; Social/Low/Tending Grunt.

4. For dominant bucks; Social/Low/Tending Grunt or Grunt Snort.

Deer Rattling

1. Rattling for deer is most effective in areas with high buck to doe ratios. It is also effective in areas with high numbers of older/dominant bucks; in limited habitat such as urban areas; in the marginal habitat of prairie river bottoms; and on property managed for trophy quality.

2. Bucks respond to rattling out of curiosity and dominance; they want to find out which bucks are fighting, and if there is an estrus doe with them. Rattle near areas bucks regularly use; buck feeding/sparring areas, buck bedrooms, doe feeding and staging areas, and dominance areas of rubs and scrapes.

3. Rattling works any time during the rut, but works best during the peak of the rut, when bucks are most aggressive.

4. Rattling works best in the morning when bucks are still searching for does or heading for core areas, and is less effective during midday when bucks are bedded. Older dominant bucks may respond best in the evening.

5. Rattling, like calling and using scents, works best when Security Factors are high. Deer prefer to move during low light conditions, when there are low wind speeds, and when few hunters are afield.

6. Bucks that respond to rattling are intent on discovering the source, which leaves you vulnerable to discovery. Take precautions to conceal or disguise unnatural sights, scents, sounds and you from the deer.

7. Rattling is most effective where you have a chance of seeing the buck before it discovers you. Use treestands in dense or brushy habitat. Natural cover or blinds can be used to conceal you and your movements in open country.

8. Wary bucks responding to rattling or calls generally approach from downwind. Use buck in rut, tarsal, forehead, doe urine or estrus scents to add realism and bring bucks into range after being attracted by rattling and calls.

9. Hang a second set of antlers from your tree stand. When bucks get close these antlers can be jerked and rattled, keeping movement to a minimum and away from you.

10. Thrashing brush and rubbing trees near buck high use areas also attracts bucks, especially mule deer that express dominance by thrashing.

11. Rustling leaves and pounding the ground with a stick or rattling racks, and grunting and blowing add realism to the sound of rattling and thrashing.

12. Larger antlers and some imitation racks work best because their sound carries farther. Be sure to use racks with a neutral color so they aren't easily detected by the deer.

13. If bucks are not nearby the initial contact of the antlers should be loud to get their attention. When bucks are nearby rattle softer.

14. When you rattle loudly bring the racks together with a crash, then roll your wrists and grind the racks together, simulating two bucks pushing and shoving each other for 1-3 minutes. Then stop and listen for a buck's approach for 3-5 minutes before beginning again.

15. If a buck shows up, but won't come into range, rattle softly while it can't see you, or use a grunt call to coax it into range.

16. If the buck starts to leave before you get a shot, or won't hold still, use a grunt call to stop it.

17. If you don't get a response when you rattle, wait a half hour and try again, then move a 1/4-1/2 mile away and try again.

18. Before leaving the stand site check the area thoroughly, especially if you have been watching a deer. More than one buck may have responded and be nearby.

19. A buck or doe decoy added to rattling, calls and scents provides the final visual stimulus to bring in reluctant bucks and distract their attention from your position.

20. Patience is an asset in rattling. Bucks may respond from as far as 1/2 mile in calm weather in open country, and may take up to a half hour to come in. Rattle every 10-15 minutes to keep the /buck interested.

21. During the pre-rut use long, loud rattling sequences to attract wide ranging bucks.

22. During peak rut, when the bucks are most active, use short, loud rattling sequences. Long rattling sequences make you prone to discovery.

23. During post-rut use quiet, long rattling sequences. Bucks are not as aggressive after the rut and don't travel as much, give them time to respond.

24. Don't try to rattle the same buck from the same site on successive days. If the buck comes in and you don't get a shot wait a couple of days before rattling from that site gain.

25. Try not to rattle to the same buck more than three times if it doesn't see a decoy or a deer when it comes in. If bucks don't see a deer when they respond to rattling they learn that something is wrong.

Deer Decoying

Where and how you place your deer decoy may determine how successful you are, and which sex and size deer respond to the decoy.

1. For safety use a decoy with blaze orange, hang fluorescent tape nearby, or hunt from an elevated stand.

2. Don't get human or unnatural scent on the decoy. Use gloves when carrying and positioning the decoy, then spray it with deer scent or cover-up.

3. Place the decoy in a high use area; near trails, rubs, scrapes, bedding, staging or feeding areas with nearby cover.

4. Don't place bedded decoys directly on trails. Deer don't usually bed on trails.

5. Place decoys upwind of where you expect the deer to appear. Bucks like to approach downwind from cover if they can.

6. Place decoys within your personal shooting distance in a clear shooting lane.

7. Place a doe decoy with its rump toward you. Bucks often approach does from the rear or side, presenting you with a shot.

8. Place a buck decoy with its head toward.you for a shot. Bucks generally approach another buck cautiously from the front.

9. Don't place the decoy in a direct line between you and where you expect the deer to come from, the deer may see you. Place the decoy off to one side of your stand to distract the deer's attention from your position.

10. To get the buck's attention on the decoy, tape a small piece of white plastic to the tail area, so that it can blow in the wind, or use one of the new tail motion decoys.

11. To keep the buck's attention focused on the decoy place a few drops of deer urine on it, doe in estrous for doe decoys, buck in rut for buck decoys.

12. Use buck or doe scents, and calling or rattling to create the illusion of another deer in the area, and to initially attract bucks to the decoy.