Tell me if you’ve heard this one: “More deer have been killed with a lever-action .30-30 than any other caliber. It is a great caliber for deer hunting.”
Or this one: “The .30-06 is the best caliber for deer because it balances a large bullet with higher velocity.”
Or even this one: “The 7mm Remington Magnum is the best caliber for deer hunting, as it has a flat trajectory over long distance and, as the venerable hunting writer Jack O’Connor, considered by many to be the “ultimate” authority on shooting in his day and Outdoor Life’s Shooting Editor for over 30 years and major proponent of the .270 cartridge said, ‘The 7mm Mag. does everything the .270 does, and does it better.’”
As the days become shorter and the leaves begin to change, hunters across this great nation are preparing for their respective seasons in mind, body, and spirit. Guns come out of storage; decoys cleaned and repainted. Bows are shot and deer silhouette targets are popping up in suburban backyards.
The first hunt is a right of passage for some and the fulfillment of a long-awaited dream for others, in many instances it is likely both. It is a part of the hunting community’s heritage and a coveted moment worthy of celebration when introducing a new member of the next generation to hunting. Having a young son rapidly approaching that age, I am certainly eagerly awaiting the day he asks for his opportunity to go afield. To that end, I am sure a beginner’s guide to hunting could be of value to neophyte and veteran hunters mentoring new hunters alike.
Game feeders are a great way to concentrate wildlife in a small area for hunting, photography and wildlife viewing. While they are not legal in all areas and certainly not suitable for regions were wildlife are susceptible to certain diseases such as Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), they are perfect in many areas. The harsh Texas brush country is rugged and unfriendly. Supplementing feed increases antler growth and provides the necessary nutrients to sustain deer and other wildlife during critical seasons.
After a through and exhaustive search, I am here to declare once and for all that hunting whitetails is hard. While that may be surprising to some—the ones lucky enough to walk out their first time with a bow or gun and a shiny new hunter education card and wallop a monster—to many it is knowledge earned after exhaustive hours in the field.
Hunting career ruined for life? Maybe, but I would be happy to be stuck with that stigma as 12-year-old Dylan Beach-Bittner of Motley, Minnesota may be. This young hunter harvested a 27-point, 229-pound Monster Buck in Minnesota in early November of 2012 giving him a story that he will be able to tell his entire life — without it getting old or stale.
As the suburbs continue to encroach on deer habitat, game departments have become more restrictive about which bang sticks hunters may use when hunting in the deer woods. Whether you are looking to extend your season beyond archery and muzzleloader, or if sticks and strings and front stuffers are simply not what you are looking for, buying a slug gun does not have to break the bank.
Over the past several years, the number of men participating in the sport of hunting has declined, while the number of women has increased. A 2009 report from the National Sporting Goods Association showed a 5.4 percent increase in hunting participation for women compared to 2008 numbers. Currently, women represent about 9 percent of the total number of hunters in the United States. The female huntress is no longer a mystery in our country. From bestselling author of Girl Hunter: Revolutionizing the Way We Eat, One Hunt at a Time, Georgia Pellegrini to top country singer Miranda Lambert, women are coming out of the woodwork as proud huntresses.
“When we were kids, my dad paid a bounty of 10 cents per mouse. This more than piqued the interest my brother (Brian) and I already had for catching mice. In the beginning, we thought cheese was the ticket. It seemed to work well enough in the cartoons, and we didn’t know any better. It didn’t take long to realize our mice were not fond of cheese. We decided that if we wanted to be successful, we were going to have to do some experimenting on our own,” said John Burgeson, president of Wildlife Research Center.
The TAC-15 Tactical Assault Crossbow bridged the gap between firearms and archery in a very interesting way. This strange device makes your AR lower receiver an integral part of a one-gun-for-everything concept. Basically, the TAC-15 is an AR-15 upper receiver with a crossbow strapped to it. To be more precise, it’s a CNC-machined aluminum bow secured by two 5/16-24 screws to the aluminum barrel assembly. When you attach it to your AR-15 lower, it uses the same fire controls and ergonomics of your existing lower, creating a complete weapon.
Cimarron strikes again with another legendry replica revolver: the Rooster Shooter, which comes complete with yellow “aged” grips. John Wayne’s single action Colt Peacemaker revolver the Rooster Shooter showed up in El Dorado, Cahill, U.S. Marshal, The Train Robbers, Rooster Cogburn and my favorite, True Grit. True Grit is the only movie that awarded John Wayne an Oscar. The original Rooster Shooter had two-piece grips had a yellowed finish on them that made them look old on camera. The Cimarron replica has one-piece, finger-grooved grips with the same old-looking finish. The metal on the gun also has a true-to-life old-looking finish.
The Cimarron Rooster Shooter holds six rounds of .45 Long Colt, has a 4.75-inch barrel and fixed sights.
The Taurus Judge is one of the most sought-after handguns. If you are the Judge, you certainly need a jury. Greenville Ammunition has made ammo just for your Judge. It includes six rounds of .45 Long Colt and six rounds of .410 buckshot with a 2.5 inch shell.
I’m not really sure why, but I’m a big fan of the military surplus oddities that we get in stock. The guys here tell me it is a rocket-propelled grenade launcher sight, which is exactly what I’ve been looking for! I mean how many opportunities do you get to buy your rocket-propelled grenade launcher a Chinese surplus sight? It has an illuminated reticle, 2.7x magnification, 13-degree field of view, 27mm eye relief, and it includes its own original carrying pouch.
Now that deer season is here, wouldn’t it be cool to process your own meat? Save money by doing it yourself. Brad Lockwood, award winning meat processor shows you how in the DVD. You will learn field dressing, aging, de-boning, packaging and more in this three-hour, in-depth instructional DVD.
Field dressing, or gutting a deer can be a messy job, but with a little practice, a sharp knife, and some patience, you can be back at the deer camp sipping a beer and relaxing in front of the campfire in no time.
Game Knives Don't Have to be Expensive, Just Sharp
Always remember that speed is important. Depending on the temperature outside, you will want to clean the deer as soon as it is dead. This will prevent a loss in body heat and won’t allow much time for bacteria to grow on the surface of the meat. Always don proper PPE. Wash your hands with soap and water before and after you clean your kill. Remember to wear disposable plastic gloves to reduce your risk of disease or infection. Always remember to clean your knife frequently during the gutting process, this will prevent cross contamination in the meat should some nasty critters be lurking around in your deer. There are several ways to position your kill for field dressing. If you don’t have a vehicle, you can use a length of rope to tie one of the animal’s legs to a tree to spread open the hind legs for gutting. If you have a truck or a four-wheeler, you can tie a slip knot around the deer’s neck, and throw the rope over a sturdy tree branch while tying the other end to your tow hitch, drive forward a few feet and the deer will be hanging from the tree. This will allow the organs to fall out of the carcass easier.
To start the cutting process, start at the bottom of the breastbone, and make a shallow cut by lifting the skin and muscle together. Turn the knife with the blade facing towards the sky. Insert two fingers on either side of the knife blade in the shape of a “V”. Use those fingers to push the organs and entrails away from the knife blade. Do not cut into the entrails, as this could spoil the meat. Continue this incision all the way down to the pelvis. Once you finish that cut, remove the reproductive organs with your knife. While holding the knife upwards, split the rib cage and cut through the breastbone. You can use your knife or a small saw for this step, especially if the animal is larger. Follow your previous incision from the pelvis to the anus. Using your saw, split the pelvic bone and cut around the urethra. Be careful no to sever the urethra. Carefully remove the anus by cutting around it’s connective tissues. You can tie off the anus with a string or rubber band. Next, hold the rib cage open and reach in to cut the diaphragm from the rib cage down to the backbone. At this point, be sure to avoid cutting the stomach or intestines as this will spoil the meat (and smell bad too). If the deer is on the ground, roll it over to dump out the entrails, you may have to help some of them along. Remember to cut connective tissue as needed, and remove the windpipe and esophagus.
Once you are able to remove the entrails, check the meat for any foul smells or greenish color. If anything looks or smells out of place, then DO NOT EAT THE MEAT. If you have access to a hose, use it to clean out the inside a bit and then dry it out with a towel. If you plan to take the carcass to be processed, do this a quickly as possible. I’ve had processors stay open a few minutes late after an evening hunt so I can get the deer into a freezer. You want to keep the meat below 40° F to prevent spoilage. Some processors will remove the hide for you, some won’t, it’s best to call your local processor ahead of time to find out what his requirements are.
Field dressing a carcass is definitely takes some practice and it’s better to have someone there who have some experience, but it can be done by a first timer with proper preparation. Remember to wash you hands afterwards to prevent catching any diseases. Happy hunting to all this season and we wish you the best of luck!
So, you’ve been following the deer on your property around all year. At dawn, they cross a certain road. At dusk they come to a certain feeder shortly after it goes off. When bow season begins, you bag yourself a couple deer and start hunting for that trophy that has eluded you for some time. Just as early November rolls around, you grab your rifle and head for your deer stand that is perched just on the edge of that 20-acre field. Only this time there are no deer. What changed? The simple answer is, we did. Deer can sense danger and they can certainly smell man. Most of the year people will see deer and not pay them any mind. As hunting season grows closer, man is spending more time in the forest. We leave our scent everywhere we go and the deer know this. I’ve have been hunting my whole life, and trust me when I say that deer most definitely know when hunting season begins. Food sources for the deer also change, as the months get closer to winter. This is another cause of their altered pattern. Throughout the year, deer become accustomed to eating in agricultural areas. Clover, alfalfa, corn, winter wheat, oats, soybeans, peas, sweat potatoes, and apples are all on a deer’s menu. As fall rolls around however, farmer harvest their crops and clear most of the food out of the way. This causes the deer to alter their eating habits to stay full through the winter.
So where do the deer go when their patterns change? Usually they will head deeper into the brush so they feel more protected. They will also tend to be more nocturnal, coming out only in the middle of the night to feed. As the harvest passes, Mother Nature starts to supply deer with their favorite food. A vast supply of acorns start to fall from the trees, and the deer are content to deal with this through the winter. It is important to track secondary food sources after the seasons change. Cloves are good until the first frost hits. After the frost, however, cloves die off and deer tend to ignore them. Some successful hunters will plant purple-top turnips. These turnips will last through the frost, and the deer will happily munch on them. If you are going to plant a food plot, try to keep it in thicker brush, since the deer will be more likely to spend time there. A deer in the brush is far more comfortable than a deer standing in the middle of an open field. These food sources may be your only link to finding out where those elusive little whitetails are hiding.
Late Season Buck
During the Summer months, deer will try to stay in large packs. Bucks will hang out with other bucks, and the deer will move as a group even across open ground. However, after the buck’s antlers come out and they shed their velvet, things start to change. The males will see each other as rivals. The first sign of rutting behavior is often sparring among bucks. Sparring may take place between bucks of equal stature or between a dominant and subordinate buck. Initially, these are usually short-lived, low intensity, pushing and shoving matches. These sparring matches may help establish the dominance hierarchy among males. As the peak of the breeding season approaches, sparring matches may give way to full-blown antler fights. These generally take place between bucks of similar hierarchical status. During the rut, bucks will make scrapes on trees or the ground with their antlers. This serves as a way to communicate through scent. If you find a rub spot, you know there is a buck around. It would be smart to put a food plot and a stand nearby.
Taking note of these changes will help ensure you catch that buck that has eluded your sights the past few seasons. Being pro active about where you plant food and where your stand is located is essential to tracking and bagging that trophy you have always wanted.
If you have land surrounded by urban sprawl, or you live in a state that requires that you hunt deer with a shotgun, you will have a lot more luck if you properly prepare yourself and your shotgun before you try to bag that 10-point with your grandpa’s old scattergun.
Pick a Gun Any Gun
There are a million different configurations of shotguns to choose. Bolt-action shotguns, while rare, offer a high level of precision, while maintaining that rifle feel. This is a good option if you are used to hunting with a standard rifle. Single shot breach loading shotguns offer high precision and very low cost, but should you need a follow up shot, you will waste valuable seconds reloading. Pump shotguns are great for almost any shotgun application. One obvious advantage is that you can shoot virtually any kind of ammunition out of a pump shotgun, and since the action is manual, the shotgun will cycle no matter what. Semi automatic shotguns are gaining popularity in all types of shotgun sports. Their recent reduced cost and improved reliability make them an excellent option for hunting deer or any other game animal. Whatever your choice, you should pick a gun that fits you, your shoulder, and your lifestyle.
A Barrel of Fun
So here’s what not to do. Don’t grab your bird hunting setup and try to drop a deer. Birdshot is useless when hunting anything but small game and clay pigeons. You will probably just make the animal angry and it will run off. Look at your shotgun model. If you own a common shotgun, like a Remington 870 or a Mossberg 500/590 variant, then you are in luck. They make interchangeable barrels for most modern shotguns in production. Grab yourself a rifled barrel and you will have in your possession a weapon that has an effective range past 150 yards, well inside the range of most deer kills. If you don’t have access to a rifled barrel or your shotgun is an uncommon model, deer hunting with a smoothbore barrel is still quite possible. Make sure you buy rifled slugs rather than traditional ones.
When hunting deer, even at medium range, you might find yourself staring down the barrel and only seeing a front bead sight. While very fast, this is not contusive to the type of precision that most deer hunters prefer. At close range or in heavy brush, you might be okay with traditional rifle iron sights or ghost rings. Red dot sights would also work well. Designers created the red dot to be fast, and inside of 100 yards, fast is good. If you are like me however, out past 100 yards or so, I need a little help to see what I’m trying to hit. A low power riflescope might to the trick.
Slugs in the Wind
Slugs are large and heavy. This makes them susceptible to manipulation from windage. Obviously, increasing range exacerbates this problem. Make sure you adjust your shot for windage, or you might be chasing your kill a long way into the brush.
The Bottom Line
I’m not saying that given the choice, I would use shotguns to hunt deer every time, but there are situations in which a shotgun is your only choice. That being said, it’s important to know how to configure your equipment so you can move in for that kill on opening day.