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Hunting Deer Effectively

Aug 18, 2007
In order to enjoy the sport of deer hunting fully, a hunter needs a thorough understanding of the animal and, to a lesser extent, of the country to be hunted. This knowledge cannot be obtained in one short hunt, but must be acquired by years of hunting, by reading or by listening to other hunters who have this knowledge.

A very successful hunter once told me that deer hunting was ninety percent luck and ten per cent good marksmanship. He had hunted for a good many years and should have known what he was talking about.

'All that a man needs to do to shoot a deer,' he said, 'is to be in the right place at the right time and to be able to hit any deer that he sees.'

This man believed it was luck that placed him at the right place at the right time, but I am sure that the knowledge that he had unconsciously acquired about the habits of the deer in the territory where he hunted had a lot to do in enabling him to shoot most of his deer. While luck certainly plays an important part in deer hunting, the man who depends entirely on it is very apt to be disappointed at the end of the hunt.

The need for hunting knowledge varies with the method used while hunting. It requires little knowledge to shoot a deer in the nighttime with the aid of a light.

This is nothing but butchery of a bewildered defenseless animal. On the other hand, the man who enters the woods armed with a bow and a few arrows, who attempts to outwit an animal in full possession of all its faculties, must have a thorough knowledge of that animal to be successful.

I am not in favor of bow-and-arrow hunting for everyone, for, although the hunting arrow is deadly in the hands of an expert, the average hunter is too unfamiliar with the weapon to make clean kills - a necessary part of good sportsmanship.

A hunting method favored by many is to walk the woods roads and trails as quietly as possible, usually against the wind, with the hope of jumping a deer to shoot. I enjoy this type of hunting in the less heavily populated areas. By traveling quietly while constantly watching for game, a man will see many wilderness sights that will often repay him for the walk even if he fails to bag a deer.

I have killed quite a few deer by using this method and have seen many others that I did not shoot. On two occasions I have seen sleeping deer before they awoke. I permitted one of these to make a successful escape without firing a shot, but I killed the other - a nice eight-point buck - as soon as it started to run. I have always considered that these two hunts were equally successful, although a memory was the only reward for one of them.

One of the most important requirements for this type of hunting is good eyesight. Not necessarily 20-20 vision, but the ability to evaluate the constantly changing scene and to distinguish the difference between shadow and concrete objects. The ability to pick out one of the best camouflage of animals in its natural habitat. This hunting vision is not a thing that we are born with. It must be acquired and cultivated by hunting experience.

Hunting deer is an art as well as a sport, and with the right attitude and skills can be one of the most enjoyable of all. Good hunting!
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