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Dogwood

Newbie deer hunter book?

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Dogwood

At age 59 I’ve decided to give a go at deer hunting for food mostly; I enjoy venison. Finding a mentor is difficult as it’s not a tag along sport as is upland hunting. I know what a deer looks like and that’s about it. This will be a public land endeavor in all likelyhood. So, is there a good comprehensive deer hunting guide that walks one though the basics of scouting, guns, sighting, butchering, clothing etc that you can recommend?

 

Ah should mention my intent is to participate during the traditional firearms season only. No bow or black powder. 

 

Thanks in advance.

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Clueless1

One of the best tutorials on processing you can find.  (funny that Mike da Carpenter just posted one of this guys rust preventative studies elsewhere)

 

https://www.archerytalk.com/vb/showthread.php?t=730292

 

There are quite a few books out now on hunting public land.  Most are geared towards "getting away from crowds".  If you are just starting on deer, just about any that aren't geared towards 'monster bucks' are going to be good.  PA is hammered during the gun season, getting less so with each passing year though.  The one thing that is constant is that if you are willing to walk more than 500 yards from your vehicle you should be able to find spots on public land that you will have success.  I expect that's the same where you are.  

 

 

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Brad Eden

You could get everything you need as far as advice and experience right here. Just ask away.

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bobman
20 minutes ago, Brad Eden said:

You could get everything you need as far as advice and experience right here. Just ask away.

 

Yep

 

Ill give one tip that’s the best one I have, ignore normal scouting literature if you’re going to gun hunt public land in Michigan or Wisconsin. Instead  figure out the escape trails in thick stuff get there very early and sit all day opening day. 

 

Totally different experience than normal bow hunting, the hoards will push deer past you either right away in the AM or when they all go to lunch. The best times are between 11am and 1 pm on opening days in hardhunted states.

 

I ve probably killed a hundred deer in my life using this simple method.

 

Deer hunting is addictive lol

 

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Brad Eden

It can get very real. Which is awesome.

 

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MAArcher

Deer hunting can definitely be a tag along sport.  Its true most guys due to competitive nature don't want to hunt close even with friends, but my little brother and I used to scout deer and figure out the best spot to kill them and we always seemed to disagree which direction the deer would actually come from, so I just let him pick first and if they came from that direction, he'd take the shot, an if they came from the other I'd take the shot.  We'd use our climbers and went up trees right next to each other.  At age 59 it would be a good idea to have someone else along to help drag.  You could try and do what I've done, that's try and befriend any of the younger guys you meet in the woods.  If you make a plan to hunt the deer together you'll be there to help each other and it can work out well, and you could sort of trade him, take him bird hunting over your dog and he gives you hand with deer hunting.  Its worked out that way for me a few times.  

 

You can read books but the basic equation for most scenarios is to find where they bed and where they feed and then set up on the downwind side of the trail between the two, closer to the bedding area for morning hunt, closer to the feeding area for an evening hunt.   Feeding and bedding areas can change as the season progresses.  Scouting right now will help you identify late season hunting spots for the upcoming season, which you'll be glad to know when the deer vanish from the yearly season hot spots you'll identify during bird hunting.  Do as much pre-season scouting as you can to stack the odds in your favor.  In season scouting just cuts down on your actual hunting time.  Don't put all your eggs in one basket, have several spots scouted out so you have options based on wind, weather and hunting pressure.  

 

Butchering is gratifying work.  If you have a place to hang it and a big table to work on you're in good shape.  There's you tube videos you can watch and pause as you work along with them step by step.  Even before you butcher your own, I'd try out a local butcher or two so that you have one you like on speed dial in case you find yourself in a position where you can't or don't want to do it yourself.  If I shoot a deer on Sunday I bring it to a butcher because I have to work the next day.  Saturday deer get butchered by me on Sunday.  

 

If you surf around forums looking for deer hunting info, don't shy away from the bow forums just because you plan on using a gun, bow hunters are often the best hunters because they have to get closer and almost all the info they have to offer is applicable to getting one with a gun too. 

 

Bird hunting can also serve double duty as scouting.  Keep your eyes open for deer sign, rubs and scrapes, place and time of day you kick them up, etc.  That's all deer hunting is really, finding out where they spend their daylight hours and then trying to be there before they show up. 

 

Don't get wrapped up on scent control nonsense.  All you need to do for scent control is before you go hunting make sure your clothes are all washed without detergent, or with scent free detergent if they were really dirty, and to brush your teeth before you go.  And try and hunt with the wind in your favor if you can.  You never hear the brush your teeth advice but the truth is that all scent particles have weight, and the lightest ones travel the furthest on the air currents, and respiration is perfect for pumping light atomized scent molecules into the air.  All the scent control spray products do is add sent onto you.  ScentLoc lost a big chunk of money for making false and unsubstantiated claims.   Scent control clothing is a marketing scam and a big waste of money.  I have spent hours within  spitting distance of deer and I've never used scent killer sprays or expensive scent containment clothing.  Doesn't mean I've never been busted, but I've definitively been busted more due to movement than getting winded.  I've even read that most of the scent that our dogs pick up on is the birds breath rather than body scent and the absence of breath scent could be in part how they know if they are hunting dead or need to point or flush a living bird.  

 

I assume if you're hunting a gun season you'll have to wear orange?  If that's the case then it doesn't make any sense to me to buy special clothing just for hunting.  I'm not sure why so many guys by expensive camo and then put on a bunch of orange over it?  I'd just where whats comfortable/temperature appropriate and thrown a cheap orange vest on over it.  

 

As for guns, do you already have something?  Virtually any center file rifle larger than the small predator hunting calibers (.17 remington, 204 ruger, etc.) is going to be fine for deer.  Oddly enough, I've killed deer every year for 20 or so years with bows, muzzleloaders and shotguns, but never a rifle so there's others more qualified to opine on caliber.  I think bullet construction is almost as important as caliber based on my experience with muzzleloaders.    

 

What are you referring to when you say "sighting"?  Are you asking about sighting in a rifle?  Ammo is expensive so I like to make sighting in a rifle as efficient as possible.  I do this by bore sighting first (the store might do this if you buy the gun and scope from them).  Then I figure out what my scope movements are at 50 yards.  For example, if your scope says each click is 1/4 inch at 100 yards, then at 50 yards it is 8 clicks to move it an inch.  I shoot at 1" grid targets that I print off from here:  http://www.mytargets.com/target102 grid square center.pdf   I also use online ballistic calculators (actually an app I have on my phone) to then calculate how much over/under my point of aim (the bullseye) my groups should be hitting at 50 yards to give me my desired point of impact at 100 yards.  With a good rest and a good job of bore sighting, you can have the gun sighted in in just a couple rounds, and then I shoot a five shot group at 100 yards to verify.  

 

Are you going to hunt from the ground or a tree?  If you're going to be mobile (probably will have to be in pressured public land) then an important piece of equipment will be something to sit on.  This seat is hard to beat: https://thermaseat.com/product/self-support-series-the-wedge/  The side straps make it somewhat self supporting so you don't have to lean up against a tree.  If I didn't have one of these, I'd splurge and get a Tenzing predator backpack/seat.   The idea is that if you can are comfortable, you'll sit longer and increase your chances of getting a deer. 

 

If you're up to lugging around a climbing tree stand, then in my opinion there isn't one that is as easy to use and as safe as the Summit Viper SD.  The sling seat makes it super comfortable and some of the best naps of my life have been swaying in a tree top with that stand.  The sit and climb is simply the best there is.  And the aluminum version is only 20 or so pounds.  I've been hunting from the ground much more in the last few years, but I've probably shot over 30 deer from that tree stand.  The only complaints I've heard about this stand comes from people who didn't figure out how to nest the top and bottom correctly and didn't position the shoulder straps correctly when they put it together.  Done properly, it should be silent to carry and not hit the back of your legs while you're walking.

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lee sykes

Buy the book,  The Deer of North America by Lenard Lee Rue III and keep it as a reference.  It will help you to understand deer, their natural history and habits.  It will not only help you to read sign and understand deer and where and how to find them but it will make it more fun.  

Deer hunting can be a fascinating riddle to unravel.  

https://www.amazon.com/Deer-North-America-Leonard-Lee/dp/1592284655

 

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C.J.L.

Unfortunately deer hunting in Michigan has evolved to guarding a bait pile or food plot (same thing), waiting til a deer shows up to eat and simply lining up the crosshairs and killing it.  I find no sport or hunt in ending life that way.  Still hunting slowly along on private property can still be fun but it's not really fun to do on public land when you keep bumping into guys guarding their bait pile.  They get cranky.  

 

 

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Clueless1
22 minutes ago, lee sykes said:

Buy the book,  The Deer of North America by Lenard Lee Rue III and keep it as a reference.  It will help you to understand deer, their natural history and habits.  It will not only help you to read sign and understand deer and where and how to find them but it will make it more fun.  

Deer hunting can be a fascinating riddle to unravel.  

https://www.amazon.com/Deer-North-America-Leonard-Lee/dp/1592284655

 

 

Can never go wrong with Rue, Alsheimer, Woods, Weishuhn, and a few others. 

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Dogwood
1 hour ago, C.J.L. said:

Unfortunately deer hunting in Michigan has evolved to guarding a bait pile or food plot (same thing), waiting til a deer shows up to eat and simply lining up the crosshairs and killing it.  I find no sport or hunt in ending life that way.  Still hunting slowly along on private property can still be fun but it's not really fun to do on public land when you keep bumping into guys guarding their bait pile.  They get cranky.  

 

 

Because of CWD baiting is now illegal in the LP 

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MAArcher

Can you use bait?  If you can use bait that can increase your odds of filling the freezer.  You still have to scout and put the bait in the right spot. If you put it too far from where they want to be, they won't get to the bait until after dark.  Hunting over bait can be fun too because it can draw in other wild life to watch while you're waiting for the deer.  Baiting isn't the sure thing some people think it is, and I don't know about  WI but in the north east, you're not likely to shoot a mature buck over bait, they seem to have a sixth sense and rarely visit bait in the day time if at all.   Hunting over bait can really increase your chances of having a stationary broadside shot which is a big bonus for a first timer trying to keep buck fever under control.   

 

You mentioned you're hunting for food.  So don't let all the "tradition/sporting/fair chase" stuff get in your way.  Some people like to play with their food before they kill it, but if you're looking to fill the freezer use every legal method to your advantage.  There's nothing wrong with going into the woods and collecting your free ranging dinner as efficiently and humanely as possible. 

 

Another thought regarding pressured public lands, a good trick is to hunt right there at the parking lot/access points.  Lots of guys will be trying to get in away from other hunters and I've found that the deer will sometimes be right there, 40 yards off the beaten path in the thickest spot at the head of the trail and either everyone walks right by them, or they push them back there walking into their stands.  

 

Nothing makes better table fare than a yearling button buck shot just over the top of the heart.  With the heart still pumping they are drained of blood quickly and that's a key component to ending up with prime meat that holds up well to freezing and aging.  Speaking of which, read up on the difference between dry aging and wet aging and I think you'll find wet aging is the way to go and you'll want to get your deer vacuum packed and frozen as quick as possible after you shoot it.  

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lee sykes
47 minutes ago, MAArcher said:

Can you use bait?  If you can use bait that can increase your odds of filling the freezer.  You still have to scout and put the bait in the right spot. If you put it too far from where they want to be, they won't get to the bait until after dark.  Hunting over bait can be fun too because it can draw in other wild life to watch while you're waiting for the deer.  Baiting isn't the sure thing some people think it is, and I don't know about  WI but in the north east, you're not likely to shoot a mature buck over bait, they seem to have a sixth sense and rarely visit bait in the day time if at all.   Hunting over bait can really increase your chances of having a stationary broadside shot which is a big bonus for a first timer trying to keep buck fever under control.   

 

You mentioned you're hunting for food.  So don't let all the "tradition/sporting/fair chase" stuff get in your way.  Some people like to play with their food before they kill it, but if you're looking to fill the freezer use every legal method to your advantage.  There's nothing wrong with going into the woods and collecting your free ranging dinner as efficiently and humanely as possible. 

 

Another thought regarding pressured public lands, a good trick is to hunt right there at the parking lot/access points.  Lots of guys will be trying to get in away from other hunters and I've found that the deer will sometimes be right there, 40 yards off the beaten path in the thickest spot at the head of the trail and either everyone walks right by them, or they push them back there walking into their stands.  

 

Nothing makes better table fare than a yearling button buck shot just over the top of the heart.  With the heart still pumping they are drained of blood quickly and that's a key component to ending up with prime meat that holds up well to freezing and aging.  Speaking of which, read up on the difference between dry aging and wet aging and I think you'll find wet aging is the way to go and you'll want to get your deer vacuum packed and frozen as quick as possible after you shoot it.  

A button buck is not a yearling.  It was born in the spring of that year and is a fawn.    I agree that a yearling buck, which may be a spike on up, weighing over 100 lbs dressed around here, makes great eating and will yield twice the meat of a fawn.  Another plus is, no one will laugh at you behind your back when you pull into the tagging station with a real deer. 

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C.J.L.
1 hour ago, Dogwood said:

Because of CWD baiting is now illegal in the LP 

 Baiting was banned 10 or so years ago for a few years.  Know what they didn't ban? Selling bait.  Gas stations still had tons of beets, corn, apple and carrots.  Guys will still put bait out.  They don't know how to do it any differently.  

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Brad Eden

I've shot two button bucks with a bow. Our Expanded/management bow season runs until almost mid December. Late season, at dusk, but legal light, a button buck is almost indistinguishable from an average mature doe...which I thought I was shooting. All legal, and yes, button bucks may in fact be the best eating deer on the hoof.

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