The thrill of deer hunting comes while you are in your stand in the woods, hoping that a twelve-point buck is about to walk into your line of sight. Yet, there are several steps you need to take so that you are fully prepared for this moment.
Enroll in a Hunter’s Safety Course
Safety should be your number one priority when it comes to deer hunting. If you do not know how to properly load a gun or handle it when you are around other people, your trip to the deer woods could instead turn into a trip to the hospital. In many states, taking a hunter’s safety course is a requirement to get a license, but even if it is not required, you should enroll anyways for your own safety and the safety of those around you.
Choose a Weapon
There are several different types of weapons you can use for deer hunting. The most common weapon to start off with is a rifle, but you also have the option to hunt with a bow, atlatl, or pistol, if you so choose. A rifle is typically the easiest to learn on if this is your first time hunting, but you should go to a gun store and try out several types of weapons to figure out what works best for you. A few affordable starting points include the Winchester Model 70, the Savage Trophy Hunter XP, the Weatherby Vanguard, the Remington Model 700, and the Ruger American Rifle.
Once you’ve taken your hunter’s safety course and purchased your weapon, you need to take a sufficient amount of time to practice before you go deer hunting. Otherwise, you could come home empty-handed, or even worse, injure a deer without killing it, which would likely cause permanent disability or a slow death. For practice, you can purchase an inexpensive target at a sporting goods store, or you can draw your own target onto a cardboard box. Then (after making sure you are allowed to fire your gun in the area), set up the target twenty-five yards away from you and start firing. Move the target farther and farther away until you feel comfortable with your accuracy.
Buy the Proper Deer Hunting Gear
Ask any hunter: your gear can make or break your deer hunting trip. If you do not dress appropriately, you could risk being shot by another hunter or you could end up miserably cold in your deer stand. A basic list of items you need to purchase and bring to the deer woods with you include a blaze orange vest and hat, camouflage jacket, a box of ammunition, a sharp knife, rubber gloves, a warm hat and pair of mittens, and your permits. Depending on the tagging laws in your state, you may also need to bring a ziplock bag, zip tie, and pen, and you might want to consider some hand/foot warmers if you are hunting in very cold weather.