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First Time Tips

17 posts in this topic

This year will be my first time hunting whitetails with a bow and arrow. Despite the countless hours practicing and researching tips and tactics, I still have concerns about my first season in the field. What are some of the stories, tips, and lessons learned that some of the more experienced members of this forum have had and are willing to share?

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first! if you haven't read all the tips of the week, do so!! alot of great info there! my only tip is about buck fever. this is going to happen! ( whether before,during or after the shot) first thing is to breath! grin.gif i'm not the only one that would hold my breath , and then be gasping for air during the shot. and have confidence in making the shot. if you are not certain you can make a killing shot? don't take it! having confidence will help you relax.

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I will always tell any first timer to go out and have fun and dont put to much stress on just the kill.Any deer with a bow is a trophy and you will always remember your first kill.Dont just hold out for a bigger buck.There is nothing wrong with taking a doe.You need to learn when and how to draw back on a deer.I personally think that is one of the more diffucult things to get done is to draw back without getting caught.Even if you are not going to shoot a deer walking buy,try and get drawn back to see if you could have gotten a shot.Delmar gave another good tip as to reading all the tips of the week. smile.gif

Now,go out and have a great fall and it will happen when it happens. smile.gif

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Another tip for a beginner is something that I struggled with early on... know your yardages and your shot limitations. Taking shots beyond your comfort zone will only spook or worse, injure deer. Have fun and be patient.

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First of all, I got DOE FEVER last year as the first deer I took ever with a bow was a nice big doe! Talk about nerves. What a rush afterward!

These guys all gave some great tips. Last year was my first year bowhunting and one of the best tips someone gave me was to not forget to mentally prepare myself for the hunt. That is, sit in your stand or blind and go over all of the scenarios that could arise given your hunting area - which directions deer could come from and what it will take for you to be able to get a shot off? Do you need to trim some shooting lanes? Or move your stand a little? Will you get busted easily in this spot if there's not enough cover. Also, this may sound nuts, but imagine the deer coming down the trail and front of your stand and practice drawing on that imaginary deer (better yet, bring a 3d target one time). When that first one steps out and you haven't drawn from the treestand before, you can get a little shaky. grin.gif

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Good tips so far. I like Chucks about imagining what you will do BEFORE the deer comes down the trail. A couple more.

1) Once late Oct/early Nov come, hunt as much as possible, the deer will be on the move because of the rut.

2) Wear a good safty harness!!! Not just a strap that goes around your waist.

3) Have a rope with to haul your bow up and down with.

4) Buy several of those small screw in bow hangers, I like to hang my bow and eventually you'll leave them in the tree. Along with this, have your bow equiped with some sort of 'sta jack' to hold the arrow on.

5) Practice, practice, practice! Nothing worse than spending half the night tracking a deer and not finding it. practice stump shooting, gophers, rabbits etc with a judo point. It give you good practice estimating distances.

Enjoy!!!

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My best advise is stay calm, cause when that deer is standing in front of you and that adrenaline is flowing and your heart feels like its beating out of your chest. Slow breathes and stay calm.

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Put your stand in trees that offer lots of cover or back cover. Nothing like sticking out like a sore thumb when that deer walks by. Rifle hunting I don't think this is as big of a deal because generally the deer don't get as close to you as when you are bow hunting. I know my first two years I spooked numerous deer because I wasn't truly camoflauged with my surroundings.

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I would say to make sure you are comfortable in the stand. When uncomfortable, you end up moving around a lot more. Usually as soon as you get down and go in for lunch...he walks past your stand as soon as you leave. Be prepared to sit all day. Bring lunch up there with you, bring a jug to "P" in and like said 1000 times before...HAVE FUN. Congratulations on picking up a bow and Good Luck!!

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These are all great tips. I really appreciate all the information. I went and scouted the public land that I haven chosen and found a lot of tracks and droppings. I also found two spots to set up. One is a small group of sapplings about ten feet in diameter that I will use as a ground blind, and also, a large oak tree with great base branches for climbing. Both areas have half of a dozen trails coming from the woods into a small clearing before entering a field of soybeans.

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I wanted to touch on what chucker said. He got DOE FEVER. If this is your first time bowhunting, feel free to take a shot on anything that moves. Your tag is an either/or tag. Don't feel like you need to wait for that trophy buck. The hardest thing to do is draw back and fire a quality shot on a deer....ANY DEER, let alone the BIG BOY. DOn't feel bad about shooting a doe because you will only boost your confidence.

I passed on a doe opening weekend last year (my first year bowhunting) cause I didn't want to shoot the little doe. I couldn't believe I was that close. Instead of getting that first one out of the way, I provided a mental barrier from then on. Finally in Oct. I shoot a small deer thqat turned out to be a button buck. I felt bad for taking a young buck, but it was a great feelingfor the kill. It was fast, efficient and I felt good.

Too many guys bowhunt for 5+ years without shooting a deer cause they want the big one. After waiting that long, few are able to take the shot cause they never have before. Just like the tip on visualizing.

Don't feel bad, take the shot. They sure are tasty in Sept over the grill!!

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Thought of one more tip last night as I was out driving around getting permission to bow hunt (got permission on one of the two places I asked).

Find multiple spots that are several miles apart to hunt. If you hunt the same 80 acres 3 times a week for 3 weeks, by the end of the third week, you won't be seeing many deer because the deer have patterned you and have turned nocturnal. If you have multiple spots several miles apart you're hunting different deer, they won't be as spooked. Multiple spots also helps with the next tip, which is only hunt stands when the wind is right!!! Don't get it branded in your mind that you're going to the 'Tree line' stand regardless of which direction the wind is from, if it will be blowing your scent toward where the deer are likely to come from, hunt a different stand. I create a list of stand sites according to what wind direction I can hunt them from, so when I'm getting ready to hunt and the wind is from the NE, I can then decide which spot is best.

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Have to agree with powerstroke and what a lot of guys have said so far - take the first nice deer you see if you have several tags to fill and most people do. Just getting any deer with a bow is an accomplishment. There are so many things that can go wrong in terms of them winding you, you missing on the shot, etc., that if you can shoot any deer with a bow period, you know you've done something special. When I showed the guys at work (mostly rifle hunters) the pic of my first bow deer - a 1 1/2 year old doe or yearling doe or whatever you call it - I don't know who was more proud, me or them. Even people who never hunted before were like, "So you got a deer with a bow and arrow, huh? I didn't even know people did that anymore!" Point is, be proud of that first deer and every one after no matter what it is. Just not spots if you can help it. grin.gif

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First I want to say congratulations on taking the bow hunting challange. Once you have done it you will be hooked.

All the guys gave great tips and I have a couple for you.

1) Partice from an elevated position. Shooting froma stand is very different, especially at nose bleed heights.

2) You don't need to be 20' in the air. I put my stand at the 10' mark if at all possible. The is a very confortable height for shooting and high enough to be effective.

3)Don't put to many gadgets on you bow. Keep it as simple as possible, that way there is less chance of something going wrong or failing at the wrong time.

4) Pratice at long distance. If you can confidantly hit your target at 40-50 yds that 20 yd shot will seem like a chip shot.

5) HAVE FUN

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I am like most people and I practice shooting at a block or a 1 dimensional target stuck to a hay bale. Definately read up and look at diagrams as to where the vital organs are on a deer.

Remember that you will not always get a broadside shot. So understanding where the vitals are on a deer will make you understand the angles that will be needed when the deer is quartering away from you. Visualize a line through the deer before you shoot and know where you want the arrow to exit. The arrow doesn't always have to go through the deer to make a kill- it has to hit the vitals to make a kill.

Practice these tips as well as keeping calm in the stand and I'm confident you'll do fine up there.

Good luck this year!

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Good post Chucker!!! Any deer with a bow is a trophy!!

One more tip: Always have sharp broadheads!! My rule is that any broadhead that hits the ground, I replace the blades. I want them sharp!! And practice before the season with broadheads, lots of times broadheads shoot differently than field points.

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I'll throw in a few things that I have learned over the last few years as well...

1. In addition to all the other tips the guys have given about stands, like making sure you are fairly well camoflauged, being able to get in/out without bumping deer etc, one comment I have is make sure that your stand is relatively quiet. i.e. make sure your boots don't squeak when you move on the platform, make sure there are no little noises that occur when you stand/sit, and in addition make sure that your clothing is relatively quiet as well. Personally I like fleece or wool as they are pretty quiet under any conditions. Its definitely not like rifle hunting where a little sound might not be a problem. With the deer so close in, even a little sound can bust you.

2. Get a good quality safety harness and wear it all the time, even when climbing in/out of your stand. Personally I like the ones that Summit supplies with their stands. They are designed to be used as a harness style with a safety rope when you are in the stand, or as a linemans belt when you are climbing up/down.

3. As mentioned already, practice from an elevated position, and practice shooting at different yardages and shooting angles. Research the proper shooting form and make sure you keep that form when shooting from elevation. Remember to always bend at the waist, rather than dropping your bow arm downward.

4. Also practice from your stand in the same clothing that you will be wearing when you hunt. Pay particular attention to the collar of your jacket to make sure it doesnt interfere with your bowstring! Wear your harness while you are practicing so that you know how to position it properly so that it will not interfere with your shot.

5. Practice with broadheads as much as possible, and zero in your sights for them (if they dont hit in the same locations as your field points).

6. If possible, practice in low light conditions, as this is a good test of your equipment. You will know pretty quick if your peep sight is too small or if your pins are not bright enough. In addition, low light periods really give me trouble in terms of accurrately judging distance, so I tend to practice in lower light conditions about once per week.

7. If you dont already have a small pack for all your extras, get a decent quality small pack to carry all your hunting necessities such as binoculars, calls, compass, etc. Don't bring everyt gadget you own, just carry the necessities.

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