New and beginner hunter's
This page is dedicated to the beginner hunters or the people who want to get into deer hunting but just don’t know where to start or how. To start off with if you have any questions just ask the people that visit this site are always happy to throw in advice and their thoughts. If you ask a question that one person doesn’t have an answer for I’m sure there is someone that does and that will answer it for you. If they don’t know the answer they can probably find it for you. On this page we will go over rubs, scrapes, tracking, shot placement, equipment, weapons, cleaning and field dressing, butchering, picking the right place for you to hunt, tree stands vs. ground blinds, and most likely much more. Always remember there’s always something you can learn no matter how long you have been hunting.
This page is under construction and un finished. But check out just my
thoughts and read some of the articles!!
There are different kinds of rubs but for right now we are going to start with the basics. Rubs are a buck’s way of marking his trail or territory. When you’re walking through the woods look for trees that the bark has been torn up and off. The bucks rub there antlers on trees to strengthen there neck and to rub the velvet off there antlers. Your goal is to find a rub line that is trees that make a line through the woods that have been rubbed. You can normally figure that it is a trail that a buck travels frequently.
Most hunters know what a rub is and when they see it they can call it out. But do you know the purpose of a rub and that they are different rubs? Everyone thinks that you have to have fresh rubs to be successful or they forget about the rubs and look for scrapes then hunt over them.
Bucks will visit old rubs from years prior and rubs that are from other bucks. The purpose of a rub is a signal to other bucks and does they are like bill boards different bucks will go through the same routine on the same rub and they do this to put there scent all over it. Other bucks will smell it and do the same thing. Much like a male dog peeing on everything he wants other dogs to know he is in the area.
Bucks in velvet will travel what’s called a rub line even before they start rubbing to get the velvet off. They travel these rub lines because they were put there for a reason safe travel route to food and bedding.
During early bow season bachelor groups will be traveling together and you guessed it using rub lines. Seeing three or four bucks traveling together down a rub line isn’t out of the realm of possibilities
In this article I’m going to describe different rubs and there meaning. We will go over pre-rut, rut post-rut, velvet, rub lines, and sign post rubs as well as when the best time to hunt them and how over the next week. One article on all that would be very long and that’s not what my articles are on here. So let’s start.
A rub is when a buck rubs his antlers on a sapling, brush, or small tree. Rubbing the bark off and leaving his personal scent and making it possible for other bucks in the area know he is there and make his presence known. The side of the rub that has been rubbed is the direction the buck was walking from. They make rubs to do multiple things some rubs are just to get the velvet off there antlers, strengthen his neck, and used to mark travel routes.
A velvet rub is when the bucks antlers have just started to harden and the velvet has started to drying and cracking becoming itchy. We will talk about this process latter on this week. This rub are normally small, very hard to see and on whatever is around at the time the antlers start itching. Those rubs mean very little and will be hard to determine anything other than there is a buck in the general area. There is a good chance you won’t even notice the rubs.
Rub lines are made and used for visual and scent communication connecting feeding and bedding areas. You can normally find a rub line in travel corridors and funnels that lead to a feeding or bedding area. Bucks in velvet will travel rub lines even though they aren’t rubbing and even if they didn’t make the rub line. They do this because the rub lines are normally on travel routes they have come to trust so they will use them for years and even re rub the same trees. Normally the only reason it would change is because of dramatic change in habitat or landscape. Several generations of bucks will use these preferred travel routes indefinitely with the same rub lines. Rub lines can also connect points of interest for a buck such as dense cover, cedar patches, and water. Rub lines are not a concentration of many rubs that would be a cluster and is normally found in what is called a staging area near a food source. A rub line is probably nearby so start looking!
Rut bucks will be with does and most likely not be using there rub lines as much but after they breed the doe they are with they will use the rub line again to travel to feed and bed down before they are back on their feet looking for another doe.
Post rut rub line hunting will be much the same way as early pre-rut. The pressure they have received could alter if they are using the same rub lines so check for fresh rubs.
Finding rub lines that include scrapes the combination means there is above average buck travel. Look for rub lines and rubs starting near feeding areas on in travel corridors and you should start finding rubs and that will turn into rub lines.
Hopefully you have enjoyed and learned something from this trail of articles on different rubs. Rubs can tell you a lot about a buck and are to me better sign that a buck travels through an area more often the scrapes. I hope your able to use what I have told you in these articles to put one on your wall.
During the summer bucks tend to be in bachelor groups that can be from two or six maybe more. When mid-august roles around and daylight time starts to shorten it changes bucks behavior, they fuse with other bucks gets smaller and they establish a pecking order by sparing and will eventually decide a dominant buck that will be proven and he will run off some of the competition and build his own territory.
If your states deer season starts in September your focus should be food sources or trails from food to bed. Bucks will bed down in or right on the edge of a food sources because there has been no hunting pressure. At first pressure this will change.
Scents and calls aren’t as useful right now so hunters should be as scent free as possible. Since it’s still warm bring scent killer to your stand use it threw out the hunt on your hat, under arms, and heavy around your neck line and arm cuffs.
You can use buck urine because they are more curious and less tolerant of other bucks. Putting buck urine in a shooting lane on a trail would get the buck to stop long enough to get a shot. Best advice right now is to leave your calls at home.
When October rolls around bachelor groups have broken apart and bucks are establishing territories. As the Pre-Rut gets into full swing bucks will start sparring heavy to defend their core area and show who’s boss. Right now is a great time to really use your rattles to make it seem like two bucks are really going at it. With that being said a buck will go down wind of the sound to check out the situation. Make sure to be scent free.
Place two scents up wind and off to the side of your stand so you can try and get the buck right in front of your stand. Start out quietly have a grunt nearby. Lightly rattle then grunt a few times then don’t call for at least 20 minutes. Then grunt 2 or 3 times then another 10 minutes of no calling. You have now got him curious with his ears and nose.
Doing this won’t spook deer that are closer then you thought. Now that nothing has shown up go hard really smash the rattle and make it a battle with lots of pauses. Make the fight last about one or two minutes then grunt a few times and keep your eyes downwind.
Here’s a bonus if you have a multi-toned grunt use both the mature buck and young buck tone. It makes it sound like there are actually two bucks just adding realism to your fight.
Scrapes are like a billboard to other deer mostly bucks that there is a buck in the area. The bucks will check there scarp to see if a doe or buck has it. A scrap is where the ground has been cleared out under a tree limb called a licking branch. You can make fake scrapes to try and trick a buck into thinking there is another buck in his area. When you find a big scrap 3 or 4 feet in diameter that is clear of leaves and other debris that means it is active and the buck will most likley visit again.
Most hunters when they start scouting want to find massive scrapes to hang a stand over because they think a buck will check it every day. Hunting scrapes aren’t a free pass and don’t need to be a big part of your hunting strategy.
The best time to hunt scrapes is during the early phases of the rut and not during the middle. Most hunters hunt the wrong scrape at the wrong time. A scrape that seems out of place not in a normal travel area probably needs little attention.
When does begin to go into heat or estrus bucks will have little to no use for them and will stop using them. Scrapes are more like a mailbox or fire hydrant for dogs used by males to track of other males or possibly maintain order to show dominance not for males and females to get together. The scent left in and around is a way for bucks to know a dominant buck is available in the area.
They most likely freshen scrapes that are happened on and don’t go out of their way to freshen a scrape. They should be used to identify buck travel routes. So look for scrape lines not just a scrape here and there that has no real purpose. You don’t have to sit right on top of it just where you can watch the trail.
Scrapes in early fall are more significant and early pre-breeding is the best time to hunt scrapes. They can be used for direction since he threw dirt behind him and that would be the direction he approached from.
During the rut you’re not so much trying to hunt the bucks as you are trying to put yourself in an area where there are the most does. By sitting on a rub line you’re hoping the buck has bred a doe and is heading to bed or heading from bed to search for more does. If your hunting scrapes your hoping the buck that made it isn’t with a doe or has already bred and trying to find out what is in the area.
Hunting the does and travel corridors is hoping you get a buck trailing a doe or that has found one and is staying with her until she is ready to breed or searching for doe using common travel routes that does use.
By sitting up in a travel corridor or rout you’re going to see more attention and your efforts of calling and scent will be put to better use.
If you think like a buck what would you do? If I’m looking for a doe I’m going to be where they are if I’m not with them I’m going to be trying to find them by traveling the same trails they do.
Just my thoughts on how to hunt the rut and weighing the options on why I think it works.
There are multiple stages during the Rut. Normally beginning three or four days before the November full moon bucks start roaming when they are expanding their range checking for does. The roaming phase and chasing phase overlaps then you have the peak rut before the hew moon.
During the beginning of November add doe urine and a doe bleat. Use a drag line soaked in doe urine. Before walking into your stand soak it and drag it to your stand. Hang your drag line upwind of your stand about two feet off the ground in a shooting lane.
Don’t remove the buck scent and calls! You can have a double drag line and have buck scent on one and doe scent on the other. Use your doe bleat but not too often. Does aren’t very vocal throw in a few grunts as well.
As you start in with your drag line dribble a few drops of doe urine every 50 yards as you walk in. at this time you can call more aggressively but don’t over call. Doe bleats grunts and rattles are all good calls at this time.
Since bucks are searching for does they will be looking for doe scent but will also want to run off other bucks if they think there are does in the area. With that being said making it seem like there is a buck and doe together should bring in a buck ready to fight off the other buck and show he is the dominant buck in that neck of the woods.
When tracking a deer that could mean many things in this article we will talk about tracking a wounded animal. The tracking starts as soon as you see the deer and when you pull the trigger. Make sure you know where he was when you pulled the trigger. Use the terrain and land marks before you pull the trigger to know where the deer was standing. If the deer runs off with its tail up you most likely missed if its tail is limp or twirling you have most likely hit your target. Watch him closely as it runs off pay attention to where it runs if it jumps or hits a tree make sure you know where it was. Make sure to stay quiet as it runs off listen for him falling then running again. You want to try and determine if he ran out of hearing range or is still within range when it stops running.
You can determine where you hit by the blood you find if its dark blood it is most likely a heart shot or you hit a major artery. Bright red with white or bubbles is normally a lung shot. If there are squirts of blood that’s dark you have only hit an artery. If there are just drops of blood you have hit but not in the vitals and should give it a few hours. If there is green or stomach content in the blood you shot was far back and he’s probably running a long ways.
Now that you have shot a deer and you think you have hit it and watched him run off and stayed still listing to him run when you can no longer hear it. Get up and slowly walk to where it was standing look for blood in that area from where he was standing looks the direction he ran. When you find the first blood drips mark it so you can find it again if you can’t find more down the line. Give it twenty to thirty minutes then start following the blood trail marking it as you go. If you could hear the deer crash it shouldn’t be too far away. Anywhere the deer jumped or bumped a tree should give you a good blood spot.
Best of luck tracking your next deer and let’s hope you never can’t find you wounded animal.
New & Beginner Field Dressing
First off you want to field dress your deer as soon as possible. Three main reasons why you need to do this:
1. It stops the growth of bacteria by getting the innards out as soon as you can.
2. The gasses of the innards can cause a bad taste later on the meat.
3. Fecal matter and urine are very toxic to the meat. You need to keep it away from the meat so that you don't end up with tainted or spoiled meat.
First step; Hang your deer up either by the neck or the back legs. It makes the process much easier by hanging your deer up. Now you want to weigh your deer. It's nice to know what your trophy weighs out at. Also if you are taking your deer somewhere to have it processed you will have an idea of what you will be getting back and what you will be paying for it.
Process from start to finish
Start off by making a cut around the anus, or you can use a tool called a Buttout. This tool is simple to use, and cuts the time down by half. Compared to cutting around the anus. The reason you start their first ; is so all the fluids and fecal matter can start draining from there. You don't want any bodily fluids on your meat. It will contaminate the meat and it won't taste or be any good. Make sure you use a very sharp knife! This is of most importance! It makes the process go more smoothly. Begin with a sharp knife-gut hook, pocket knife, or a cape knife. Make sure to have rubber gloves to wear during the process and zip ties or twist ties. When cutting the anus you want to cut a garden hose size hole around the anus as deep as you can. That way when you get it cut out you can pull it out a little ways and use either a zip tie or twist tie to tie off the section you just pulled out. Now you want to go to the front side of the deer. Feel for the soft spot around the brisket. This will be your second cut. Using your knife or gut hook (Be very careful) make a small incision it should be just underneath the skin. If you’re using the gut hook make sure the gut hooks point is facing down towards the head of the deer. Run the knife all the way up the deer's belly. Be careful not to cut the stomach liner. If you are using a pocket knife or caping knife, use your other hand to guide the cut. Make a V shape with your pointer and middle finger. Slip both fingers into the cut at the brisket, lift up a little and start cutting up the deer's belly slowly. Don't rush at this point! You don't want to cut yourself. When you get to the pelvic area; cut around the scrotum or around or through the utters. It's up to you. But do not cut all the way to the anus. If you do you are taking a chance of contaminating your meat. At this point I am going to emphasize to you, do not cut the stomach! You will know when you do by the smell of it. (If you want when the process is all done. Feel free to cut the stomach open to see what your deer has been eating in that area at that time of year. ) when you’re at the point where you have the cut from the brisket to the pelvic area; have a trash can with a liner in it ready if you are doing it at home or inside a building. If you are doing this process in the woods, don't worry about it. Let nature take its course. Now you need to reach inside the gut cavity and start cutting away some of the connecting tissue. When you get that done, grab and pull the anus through the hole and the gut sack will start to come out. You can pull the innards out at the same time with some minimal cutting around the connecting tissue on the inside. When you get down to the neck reach in with your knife and cut the esophagus (wind pipe). This will be your last cut. Now all your innards are out! The field dressing process is done. If you are processing your deer yourself, you can now begin the skinning process of your deer!!!!
Picking where to hunt
Tree Stands vs. ground blinds
Hunting from a tree stand gives you advantages that other tactics don’t such as they give you a longer view of your hunting area, you’re out of sight of a deer’s normal line of sight, and it reduces the amount of scent on the ground. A negative is that thermals can carry your scent farther by being high in a tree.
When hunting from a tree stand the most important thing is location. When trying to find a location you need to spend time scouting try and pattern the deer and understand where they are moving just because you shot a deer from a tree one year doesn’t mean it will be productive the next you have to scout and find well used trails every year.
You should probably not set up a stand near a bucks core area stand hunting to close could result in the deer smelling you set up your stand and hear you climbing the tree. You should place your stand at a comfortable distance away from where you think the deer will be you want to be within range but not to close. You want to be downwind or crosswind from the direction you expect the deer to come from.
In hilly country thermals normally rise in the morning and fall in the evening or afternoon. Consider how you will get to your stand you don’t want to make too much noise or sweat too much. Creek beds and streams are good routes if you can use one.
Be careful when hunting from a tree stand don’t fall asleep in your stand, wear a harness, and never try and climb a tree with your bow or rifle. Safe hunting!
Whitetails rely heavily on their hearing and nose but sight can be a major factor. Just because you sound and smell like a deer doesn’t mean that buck will come within range you need the looks to go with it having a decoy in front of you will add that realism to your calling and scent and get that buck within range or at least curious enough to come in and give you a shot.
Decoys are most commonly used by bow hunters and can be very dangerous for rifle hunters on public land or in areas that have lots of hunters. Using a decoy on heavily hunted property can bring un wanted attention from other hunters.
The purpose of a decoy is to add the visual effect and bring deer within range. A decoy allows you to try and get the deer at the right shooting angle within range and stop the deer to get a shot.
There are different decoys you have a 2D (paper target), 3D (looks like a deer), and 3D shooting target (bow deer target). You can add some realism to you decoy by adding movement like a white rag or bag to the ears or tail so when the wind blows and there is movement. Scent spray your decoy with scent that matches your decoy (buck or doe scent), and you can add real antlers. Keep your decoy scent free of human scent keep them stored where they get little human odor.
A doe decoy in pre-rut in a feeding position makes it seem safe to come out. Rut a buck decoy should bring in a buck ready to fight him off. Post-rut a buck and doe decoy should work together well at this time because a buck will be curious about if she is in heat.
When putting a decoy out choose a place with longer visibility ranges were you no deer walk through or will be and also were lots of deer activity is. Make sure to put the decoy within range and that you’re set up down wind or crosswind from your decoy. If your using a buck make him face you or broadside a doe should be facing away, broadside, or quartering away from you,
Make sure to take your decoy with you when you leave. Leaving your decoy set up will take away from the realism of the decoy.