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Beginning Deer Bowhunter help


gtfourmn

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Hi. I made the decision to attempt to deer hunt this year and purchased a compound bow from a local archery outfitter over the weekend. So far, I have my bow tuned in and seem to be getting the hang of it.

Now, I have never hunted deer in my life. My dad is not a deer hunter so I was not exposed to the sport/hobby like some of you guys.

Is there any good book or references to read, watch, or listen to?

Do I need a tree stand/ground blind or can I just find a nice tree and wait?

What bow tips are best for deer? The ones that open up upon impact good?

Should I buy blaze orange clothes since I will be hunting public land?

What equipment/things do I need to make this season successful?

(Optimistic) Do I gut the deer onsite before I bring it home?

I thought about hiring a guide, but do not have the budget for it. Are there programs or archery hunting clubs in the metro area that offers help or mentoring?

Thanks

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You are in a great position to have a lot of fun and learn a ton! Here's what I suggest:

1) practice a lot! Find out what distance you can shoot inside a pie plate 5/6 times and don't consider shooting at a critter outside of that range.

2) find a fixed broadhead (G5 Striker, Slick Trick, Magnus Stinger) and confirm that your broadheads hit the target at the same spot as your practice points. If you can't make your broadheads hit the same as your field points, go back to the place you bought it from and get some help.

3) get a tree stand and a set of screw in steps.

4) lots of good books, but I'm not sure of which one to recommend about basics, like you're asking. Anyone else

5) You should only need blaze orange if you hunt during the gun season (whether you're carring a gun or a bow- doesn't matter).

6) Another piece of equipment I'd strongly recommend is a safety harness. In addition to that, make sure you have a camera with you- take pics of lots of things while you're on the stand.

7) Gut the deer onsite- don't bring it home. Another option is to do the "gutless method", which isn't nearly as popular, but very nice to do (do a search on it if interested).

8) What else do you need to make the season successful? Well... that depends on what you define as successful. If your goal is to go out, learn a bunch, and have a good time in the process, you should find success. If you need to shoot a deer to find success, you're probably off on the wrong foot (just my opinion).

9) Related to #8-- always, always, always, pay attention to the wind. Find a good trail, figure out which way the deer are probably/definitely moving in the morning and evening on it, then set up with the wind in mind. If they smell you, it's all over. You don't need anything other gadgets, clothing, or stuff- just keep the wind in mind. You don't even need a tree stand, but it sure helps.

Most importantly, have fun! There are tons of internet sources for good info and this is a great one! You'll likely get a lot of good info here.

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Scoot covered it pretty good. Not sure if your hunting private or public land but I would start out with a 15ft ladder stand make sure to place it in a heavy travel route. The food source is key for the first month and half corn, oats, acorns if your in acorn country like myself. Then when the rut starts which starts around end of October and is the best around the weekend of Halloween through November.

If your going just for the sport I would highly recomend harvesting the first deer you get a clean kill shot on even if its a yearly. You need to build up the confidence and take some does in order to feel comfortable in a stand and when time comes to "take" a buck you know you can do it under pressure. Disclaimer is needed here....this is a very addicting sport and once you start you'll be hooked for life, good luck and ALWAYS WEAR YOUR SAFETY HARNESS!!! (not holloring but stressing a safe return back to your loved ones is your first priority) Muddy and others make comfortable harnesses.

Feel free to fire away with any questions, I almost gaurantee that at some point or another some one has asked it before you. Stick and String, Scoot, Harvey Lee and many others have a ton more knowledge then me and I listen to what they say because of the many years of experience.

Good luck and be safe!

mr

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I like the fact that you are willing to read books and do research, but I think many publications are not geared towards the beginning hunter. Your best bet as a beginner is going to be information everyone will give you here. On this sight, people will cut to the chase and tell you what you need to know right now.

Everything Scoot has told you is dead on.

Practice, daily, if you can. If not daily, at least try and get out a couple of times a week. Get comfortable with your equipment. Try and shoot from the sitting and standing position. Get your anchor point down, that needs to be second nature. When that happens, you are getting close to being ready to hit the woods. If you have to think about your draw in the woods, you are not ready.

I will second the fixed broad head, I think they are slightly more forgiving than mechanicals and are one less thing that you have to worry about. You do have to make sure they fly like field points.

Spend some money on good bunch of camo outerwear. Buy it large enough so you can layer, but light enough that you can wear it alone if its warm. Keep your outerlayer clean and washed in scent free soap (wash all your hunting clothes in scent free soap). Put it in a tub with a scent wafer (unless its scentlok) and only take it out when you are going to your stand. Dress and undress in the field. Shower with scent free soap before you go out. The key to being successful in the bowstand is trying to get in close to the deer, and trust me, their nose, knows. You'll figure out if you are doing a good job. When their nose goes in the air, you are busted.

A harness and stand are, I think, a must. Get a decent climer if you have the trees for it (they need to be straight), or get a good hang on. I prefer ladder stands, but if you are on public land, they are not the best method.

Your getting a little ahead of yourself with the gutting, but your positive, I like that. If you do shoot a deer, you will want to give it time to expire. Usually a couple of hours for a good shot, maybe longer (overnight) for a marginal shot. I don't even take a knife with me when I bow hunt as I know that I will probably go home to wait after I shoot one anyway.

Thats all I got for now, ask more questions when you think of them. We'll give you lots of advice. Use what you want, everybody has there own methods, but most of the people on here are fairly successful bowhunters.

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Check out the "Achery tip of the Week" as there are a ton of useful ideas there listed.

If you can, try to find someone who bowhunts and learn from them.

Purchase some bowhunting videos that are instructional and some serious hunting.

When you get a tree stand, practice putting it in a tree only a couple feet up the tree. Making a mistake at that height is easier on the bones. Also use a safety harness so you can work both hands putting in your tree stand.

Look now for places to bowhunt and get your stands up so the deer get used to them and the area to settle down after placement. A few good rains help wash away your scent.

Good Luck! grin

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There is some great advice so far. I'll try to add a little more.

1)As far as finding information the internet is a great place to start, and you should be able to find some good info that will help you. Also if you ever have any questions if you ask on this forum you are almost guaranteed to get some helpful advice.

2)I would not suggest just sitting next to a tree while bow hunting because unless you have the perfect situation you are going to get busted either by smell or because the deer will see you try and draw back and this will really make you frustrated as a new hunter. A nice portable tree stand would be my suggestion either a hang on stand or a climber stand. A ladder stand is another option but Im not a big fan of these for bow hunting but thats just my opinion. A ground blind is an option if you dont like being up in a tree but I like to get up off the ground to give you a little more of an advantage.

3)As for broadheads theres a bunch of them out there and some are better than others. I personally use expandables and have never had a problem but some people dont like them, again do some research and decide what route you want to go.

4)Blaze orange is not needed unless you are hunting during firearms season, but if you wanted you could buy a orange vest or hat to wear while walking to your stand and then take it off once you get there just to make sure some nut doesnt mistake you for a deer while walking out.

5)As for other equiptment, like mentioned before some good camo clothes is a good start. Some good comfortable boots are another thing to consider. A flashlight is a good thing to carry with you too. As you get more experienced you will start finding out about other tools like calls and stuff that will maybe help you out every once in a while but for right now I would just focus on getting out in the woods and learning as much as you can.

Another thing I am going to add is dont get frustrated with it! You are going to make mistakes the first few years, heck ive been doing this for 10 years and theres still things I look back on from the last year and think how stupid I was for doing this or not doing that, but learning from your mistakes makes you alot better hunter. The learning curve is going to be huge the first year or two so dont get down if you dont get a shot off, or if a deer busts you drawing back or things like that, its happened to us all and we are all better hunters the next time because of it.

Just get out in the woods as much as you can and eventually you will have a hunt where everything falls in place and you get a shot off and hopefully you have enough practice to where you will make that shot count, dont worry if you miss either because im sure 99% of us on here who have been doing this for a while have missed a gimme shot at least once, it just happens. Soak up as much advice as you can and hopefully you will have your first deer by the end of hunting season! Good luck.

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Welcome to the sport, everyone here has given great advice. I started my bow hunting career two years ago, about the only difference is I've hunted deer all my life with firearms. That being said, archery is a different game and one you'll love. I have a couple more suggestions for you based on my experiences both with gun and bow in hand.

First, I agree, a stand is a must. Once you have your stand, I feel it is important to set it up as you would use it hunting and practice from it. Shooting from a small elevated platform is much different than standing and shooting. Practicing from the stand accomplishes a couple things, you get better at setting your stand, quieter, more efficient etc. And you get used to the different shooting angles and changes in aim point. Make sure you wear your harness for practice too.

Second, start a journal. Try to write down your experiences every time you leave the woods. I try to do this even if I didn't see a deer. This gives you a great reference point to study, either before hunts or in the off season. Reading articles and everything is great, but first hand experience is the key. By keeping a journal you can reflect back on what you did right (or wrong) to bag that deer.

Good luck and keep us posted on your progress!

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All good info, not sure if it was mentioned yet about the stands, if you choose to get a hang on, I would recommend getting climbing sticks vs. the screw in steps, especially if hunting on public land, much faster, and more safe in my opinion. But like mentioned, a stand is a must no matter what kind you get.

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gtfourmn, do you know where you would be hunting at? If you're around the Willmar area I'd be willing to take you out hunting. Anytime I can help out a person intrested in hunting I'll do it. I have all the gear and some good spots to go.

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Builders

there ya go, great way to start is with a fellow hunter.

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same goes for me, if ur around the stcloud area, ur more than welcome to come out and hunt, or at least get out and shoot a bit- make a post and I can shoot an email.

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hey musky...............you originally from c.c.?? i graduated from maccray in 01!!

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A few tidbits.

Don't get sucked into the marketing hype. You don't need $300 scent proof camo. Plain cotton works fine if you wash it in scent free soap, line dry it outside, and keep it in a scent free bag and put it on right before you hit the woods. Don't wear it around camp and in the car if possible. You'll end up smelling like gasoline and breakfast

$1000 bow are nice, but anything that lets you shoot softball size groups at 20 yards (with broadheads...not just field points) is good enough for bowhunting.

Use the wind. If you are hunting a trail, hunt the down wind side. If you are hunting a field edge, make sure the wind is blowing from where you expect the deer to come from to you. "Forget the wind....just hunt" is terrible advice. You can ignore the wind and shoot deer from time to time, but not as often as the guy that really sets his hunt by the wind.

Breaking up you outline is more important than camo. When you place a tree stand make sure you are nestled into branches. If you are set up in a telephone pole tree with no branches you are more likely to get busted. Same goes for on the ground. Sit against a tree trunk. Sit in the cattails and clear a lane to shoot to a field.

While on stand don't fidget, don't text, don't read a book. Sit still with your hands in your lap and your back against the tree. Move your eyes not your head. The first and last two hours of the day are the most important and at the very least you should be motionless for them. Sitting still the the most underated quality of a good hunter. Don't let edited hunting shows fool you. Whispering and moving while deer approach will get you busted.

Drawing a bow on deer is one of the hardest things to learn about bowhunting. Deer have terrific peripheral vision. When I set up stands I try to find where the deer will be walking, where I'll first see them, a good screen point like a big tree where I'll draw the bow when there is is blocked, and a shooting lane to stop them in for the shot. Of course things don't always go as planned and some times you have to take a risk and draw the bow and hope they don't bolt, but that should be 'plan b'.

Don't get caught up in shooting bucks and big deer. Take the very first broadside shot you can on a calm stationary animal within 20 yards. Any deer with a bow is trophy and is something to be proud of. When your heart stops pumping shooting does or when you'd rather stretch your season out a little longer, then start getting picky about the size of the deer you shoot.

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if you place a stand, i might recommend walking off distances to known shot areas and hanging a ribbon or something at like 20 yards. that way you know how far away the deer is. during low light, judging distances becomes harder, so any advantage you have makes things easier at crunch time.

also, if you make a shot, make a mental note where the arrow hit the deer. did the deer run away with the arrow in it? where was the deer standing? where was the last place you saw it? all of these things will help in tracking.

always wait at the very very minumum 30 minutes before you start tracking. if you know the deer didn't go very far after the shot, you may want to just hang out in your stand for a while so you don't spook it getting down. if you know of anyone who has experience tracking, it would be a good idea to have them with you on your first tracking job. use toilet paper to mark the blood trail as you go. follow the blood, don't guess on where the deer went, or where it ended up, let the blood show you the way.

know your time commitments for the next day or that night. if you take a shot at a deer, it's your responsiblity to do everything you can to find it. often, if i know i can't be late to work the next day, i won't take a shot unless i know i can recover the deer that night - under 15 yards, lots of light left, no branches, perfectly broadside and not moving.

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I'm also a beginner to bowhunting (this will be my 3rd year) but have been rifle hunting 20+ years. Just my 2 cents from my experiences...

As others have mentioned, take that first shot you know you can make. Rifle hunting made me a little too picky over the years since I know I'll see a lot of deer within 150 yards each year. Getting a deer within 20-30 yards requires a lot of patience and persistance, and after blowing 3 chances waiting for bigger one down the trail, I'll be taking the one sitting right infornt of me whos clueless that I'm right above!

Do some research and watch videos about gutting a deer. Videos are best so you can pick up on things they don't right about in the books, like 'what do I grab first'??? Believe me, standing over your first deer wondering 'what do I do next' makes for a funny story, but it also makes for a lot of deer hair and/or urine in your meat...been there...

And, if you have the option of hunting with an experienced hunter, do it. I learned more from being in the field with others than I ever could have read online or in a book. As good as the advice everyone here has given, and it truely is great advice, there's a great deal more that can be learned from watching others and even more from just getting out there and making your own mistakes. I've been busted by 5 times as many deer as have walked by me because of foolish mistakes I made, but it still gets my heart racing and puts a smile on my face every time!

If you have realistic expectations and enjoy being outdoors, you'll be hooked after your first day! Best of luck!!!

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Get out as much as possible! Simple as that. My wife started last year and what she has learned by simple butt time was more than I could ever have taught her.

She learned about the wind, when she could draw, how deer use their nose, eyes and each other.

Have fun, it terribly addicting!

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A few tidbits.

Don't get sucked into the marketing hype. You don't need $300 scent proof camo. Plain cotton works fine if you wash it in scent free soap, line dry it outside, and keep it in a scent free bag and put it on right before you hit the woods. Don't wear it around camp and in the car if possible. You'll end up smelling like gasoline and breakfast

$1000 bow are nice, but anything that lets you shoot softball size groups at 20 yards (with broadheads...not just field points) is good enough for bowhunting.

Use the wind. If you are hunting a trail, hunt the down wind side. If you are hunting a field edge, make sure the wind is blowing from where you expect the deer to come from to you. "Forget the wind....just hunt" is terrible advice. You can ignore the wind and shoot deer from time to time, but not as often as the guy that really sets his hunt by the wind.

Breaking up you outline is more important than camo. When you place a tree stand make sure you are nestled into branches. If you are set up in a telephone pole tree with no branches you are more likely to get busted. Same goes for on the ground. Sit against a tree trunk. Sit in the cattails and clear a lane to shoot to a field.

While on stand don't fidget, don't text, don't read a book. Sit still with your hands in your lap and your back against the tree. Move your eyes not your head. The first and last two hours of the day are the most important and at the very least you should be motionless for them. Sitting still the the most underated quality of a good hunter. Don't let edited hunting shows fool you. Whispering and moving while deer approach will get you busted.

Drawing a bow on deer is one of the hardest things to learn about bowhunting. Deer have terrific peripheral vision. When I set up stands I try to find where the deer will be walking, where I'll first see them, a good screen point like a big tree where I'll draw the bow when there is is blocked, and a shooting lane to stop them in for the shot. Of course things don't always go as planned and some times you have to take a risk and draw the bow and hope they don't bolt, but that should be 'plan b'.

Don't get caught up in shooting bucks and big deer. Take the very first broadside shot you can on a calm stationary animal within 20 yards. Any deer with a bow is trophy and is something to be proud of. When your heart stops pumping shooting does or when you'd rather stretch your season out a little longer, then start getting picky about the size of the deer you shoot.

very well said
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GT:

was in your boat last season as well. Although I have rifle hunted deer for many years, last year was my first season with a bow. The guys/girls on this site are very helpful and will always give you some darn good advice and tips. About the only things that I can add to what the others have said, is keep posting on here. When you go out and have an "experience" during your hunt, good or bad, post it on here and you can bet that someone will have had a similar experience and can other some advice or we will all give a congratulations. The power of the web (and this site) is a great tool, so use it to your advantage!

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hey all, I also have recently purchased a bow for my first sttempt at deer hunting. Dad and I hunt rifle, but he is done hunting I think (79 yrs old) and this was a way to let him "out" of going without making him feel bad...know what I mean? Anyway, I have been to Gander, had the bow tuned, shot some arrows, and the guys at Gander say I am a "natural" whatever that means. I get buck fever rifle hunting so I don't have great expectations. However, I noticed that some of you seem willing to buddy up with a rookie so I thought I'd see if anyone around the Bemidji area is willing to let me hang with them this year. I will say that I am female, 48 yrs young, have a hanging stand, screw in steps, camo, range finder, and the willingness to let you laugh at my mistakes.....I live in the Fargo/Moorhead area but we have a place in Bemidji.....thanks for thinking about it....

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The best piece of advice I can give a new bowhunter is to have fun. Laugh at your misses(we all have done it I choked on a mature buck last year and have been at this for 25 years) and learn from your misjudgements ther are no mistakes just learning opportunities.

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I would also like to extend an invite for anybody who wants to to come hunt I have the stands hung here in the beutifull bluff lands of S.E minnesota. Only thing required is a hunters safety system of some type. I dont ever want to find somebody laying in the woods on my watch.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • SkunkedAgain
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