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lilwalter

First time deer hunter---HELP!

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lilwalter

My son and I have been asked by our turkey huntiing land owner to thin out his deer herd. We have never deer hunted, but are excited to give it a go. We will be hunting intensive harvest area with slug guns. What do we need for gear to make this successful. Curious about scent free clothing, attractants, rattles, calls. Also am consiidering ladder stands. Tell me what we need please! Area we are hunting is open farmland surrounded by woods. Thank you...

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Steve Foss

First of all, tell us your level of experience with guns and other types of hunting. I'm not sure based on your wording whether the farmer is a turkey hunter or you and your son are turkey hunters.

Since you're shooting slug guns, you'll plan on shorter range shots. What kind of guns and slugs are we talking here? Rifled barrels? Scopes? Or slugs through smoothbore shotguns?

Your range really will to some degree determine stand placement. I think a few ladder stands will be a fine option. For example, you don't necessarily want a stand at the edge of the field with 600 yards of open country because many shots will be way too long for the slug guns.

You'll need to scout, or rely on the farmer if he knows the deer movements on his land. I'd suggest a couple stands on the edge of where woods meet fields, and a couple more stands along the heaviest-traveled woodland trails. Once your stands are placed, you'll probably want to remove some limbs to create clear shooting lanes.

Since he wants the herd thinned out in an intensive harvest zone, you'll be concentrating on does, because knocking down the doe population is how you thin a deer herd. Doesn't mean you won't shoot bucks, just means that you don't have to target mature bucks, which often calls for different stand locations than those best for does and small bucks.

Those stands also are pretty stable, and with two beginning deer hunters, it's a safer way to hunt than walking through the woods a couple hundred yards apart from each other.

Don't worry about spending hundos on scentless clothing. It's just not necessary. Mind the wind and make sure your stands are placed downwind of where the deer are moving. If, for example, a deer trail system runs from east-west, put one stand 50 yards north of the trails and one 50 yards south. Then you'll be able to hunt no matter what the wind direction.

You're going to also need to spend a bunch of time on the range. Slug guns or rifles, you still have to sight them in, fire lots of rounds at various distances so you know how the slugs behave, and get used to your weapons.

Lots and lots to think about. Deer hunting is one of those things that takes years of learning to become accomplished at, yet offers some of the best times in the world right out of the gate, too. Welcome to our wonderful world.

Good place to ask this question. You should get lots of advice and perspective here. I just barely scratched the surface. smile

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TooTallTom

At this point, using firearms, I'd be inclined to save money on scent-free clothing, rattles, calls, and most attractants. What I would spend money on in order:

--Blaze orange, anything from a pull-over bib to a parka depending on your situation

--rifled barrels/ scopes (if possible with the other expenses, skip it if not)

--more slugs to sight-in your guns

--ladderstands and harnesses, (multiple stands for each of you, depending on the property)

--a few mineral blocks or rocks to put out on travel routes near stands as needed between now and when you're hunting. (The rocks I'm thinknig of are called Trophy Rocks, available lots of places, but more spendy than blocks. Make sure any blocks you buy DO NOT have yeast, molasses, apple, or any other food product, just minerals.)

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BobT

With all the gear you mentioned I think you might want to consider stepping into this more slowly. Since the area is intesive harvest that suggests there are plenty of deer around and the idea is to reduce the doe population. With that in mind I wouldn't suspect finding deer will be the biggest problem.

My first priority would be comfort. Make sure you and especially your son are outfitted to stay warm and dry if the weather doesn't cooperate. When you purchase your outer clothing (blazed orange) consider materials that don't make a lot of noise when brushed by limbs and other fauna.

Are you hunting primarily forested or open country? In open country it can open up more opportunities to get up off the ground to some degree as this improves your viewing area so perhaps a stand is okay but not an absolute necessity. I've had my share of opportunities sitting on the ground in both open and forested areas so for someone just starting out maybe you don't need to make that investment just yet. In the forest a stand that isn't too high can also improve visibility and in some cases make it less likely the deer will notice you for a little longer. Contrary to popular myth though, they do look up.

A grunt call is a relatively inexpensive toy to bring along and maybe could add a little excitement to your hunt. I use a TrueTalker grunt and I know I've managed to gather their attention with it a time or two but it isn't something that will make or break your hunt and could be a spared expense. I hunted for 35 years before I got my first one.

I've never used rattles so can't speak about their effectiveness. My brother uses them on occasion but he also has indicated that he prefers not to use them and relies more on attractant scent and grunts.

Buck attractants have proven successful for him. I have never used them but I am not one to sit in one place very long either. He is one of those that will stay on stand from daylight to dark and so leaving a scent trail has proved worthy for him.

If I was just starting out and not sure how I'd like it, I would invest in warm clothing so I'm comfortable, a good firearm and get confident with it, build myself a ground blind using brush from the area to conceal my position, put something in there to sit on, and enjoy the hunt. The blind doesn't have to be totally concealing. It only needs to break up your form a little and reduce the chance they might catch movement. The last one I used was only 2 feet tall and I had a timberwolf and an 8-point buck both walk out to within 25 yards of me and not even notice me sitting there. Well, the wolf saw me when I moved to get a better look at him but he was down wind and had caught my scent so he knew I was around and was looking for me. Above all, when sitting on a stand silence is golden.

One other thing. Unless the law has changed, if your son is under the age of 14 it won't be legal for him to hunt unless you are sitting with him at all times. From 12 to 14 they must be accompanied by a legal guardian. I would double check the rules about that.

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goblueM

lots to say and I'm actually going to thin a herd out in about 5 mins (crop damage, legal spotlighting!!) so i'll keep it short for now

BUT one thing that Steve touched on is sighting in your gun. Not only do you need to get your gun sighted in, but you also have to pick ta brand of slugs.

Different shotguns (even two guns of the same make/model) will all shoot slugs differently. My Benelli shoots some slugs great, but with others I can't hit the broadside of a barn. There's several different styles of slugs, (foster, rifled, sabot, for example) and you want to be careful which kind you are shooting in a rifled slug barrel versus smooth bore.

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surewood

Adding a little to the others you mentioned open farmland. Get the binoculars out before season, find a vantage point with a good wind and watch where they come out in the evening. You'll know right where to put your stand.

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lilwalter

Thanks for the quick responses. My son and I do turkey hunt this land and are familiar with deer movements in the spring on the property. (They have busted us many a times!) Can we expect similiar patterns in the fall?

We also are avid waterfowlers. He is 14 so I will check on the "hunting alone" piece.

We do have rifled slug shotguns with scopes, that a buddy who now hunts in rifle zone is borrowing us.

The land is about 300 acres, rectangle in shape. Woods on three sides, but maybe only 40 acres of woods are his. Crop land in the middle, which is terraced farmed. I know the wood edges would be good locations for stands, what about a ground blind in the terrace crop land?

Is blaze required on private land?

And if you can walk me through the gutting portion of butchering a deer, or point me to a website that does a good job of it,let me know. I have looked at some poor quality videos that weren't much help. We plan to have one deer taken, processed for our consumption, any others will be donated. I have found a location that takes deer close to our land. Thanks again.

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pulleye16

Like others, don't bother with all the scents, ratles, scent block...Go to the gun range and get comfortable. sounds like there are plenty of deer anyways.

Keep your son interested. It can get slow out there espicially for someone that young.

Nothing worse then getting cold. If I were to spend some money somewhere, it would be on nice boots, bibs, and a parka.

YES-BLAZE ORANGE IS REQUIRED! Go head to toe if possible.

Brings up another point...READ THE REGULATIONS for deer hunting and become familiar with the laws.

But-out is a nice tool. Ladder stands are awesome and very stable. I love the two person for one person use.

Ground blinds...HATE THEM! my opinion of course. Almost got shot sitting in one last year (on public land though). If using one, use more blaze orange on them then are required or come equipt.

Find a good whitetail book and have a good read. It'll go through scouting, gutting, proccessing...

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Powerstroke

Grab yourself a set of the hunting regs. There is a very detailed section on deer hunting and what is required. Here is the link.

Yes blaze orange is required for all deer hunters during the firearms season. You need to have orange above the waist.

Don't worry too much about getting fancy with deer hunting your first time out. The most likely way deer bust you is by scent followed by movement. When you buy your blaze orange clothing pick up a bottle of scent free clothing wash. For under $20 you're get as scent free as clothes can get. Camo for deer is unnecessary as long as you get in the air and use a stand or tree that breaks up your shape. Scent free is not exactly the truth. There is no way to be scent free, so you still need to pay attention to the wind.

Next thing to do is get familiar with the body of the deer and learn where to make your shot. Since you've never hunted deer its important to know your target and know the proper shot placement. Find a picture that shows the skeleton so you can see where the shoulder is. A shoulder in a mature deer will deflect a slug and you will wound the animal.

According to the regs your 14yr old son can hunt by himself and with his own license. That being said, I would consider hunting together in the beginning until you both get the hang of it. I think you will benefit by hunting together.

I think its great that you and your son are expanding your hunting interests and I commend you for teaching your son to hunt.

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Steve Foss

I'll add it's good to see you're using rifled barrels and scopes. The fella you're borrowing them from will know which slugs shoot best out of them. And they'll likely already be sighted in. Plan to spend time on the range getting used to the kick. Your boy especially may shy from the wallop, but even grown men have been known to flinch in anticipation of that smack. gringrin

Once I got used to the kick, and quit worrying about it and flinching in anticipation of it, my range groups tightened up significantly, to the point where I'll take a 150 yard shot with total confidence now with my rifled barrel/scope combo.

It's also good to realize that, when you are out in the field, you just don't feel the kick when you shoot at a deer. Your mind is on other things. Likely you already realize this, since the kick when patterning your turkey gun on the range is quite a bit harder than when you've got that bead on a Tom in the field.

In my Mossberg 695, I'm using Federal Barnes Expander sabots these days. I shoot 12 gauge, 2 3/4 inch, and 3/4 oz loads. They kick less than 3-inch mag loads or even heavier 2 3/4 inch loads, shoot tighter groups, have fast muzzle velocity for flatter trajectories, and still pack a huge load of power upon impact.

Truly, the shotgun can be an ultimate white-tailed deer hunting weapon with the right configuration.

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BobT

Quote:
And if you can walk me through the gutting portion of butchering a deer, or point me to a website that does a good job of it,let me know. I have looked at some poor quality videos that weren't much help. We plan to have one deer taken, processed for our consumption, any others will be donated. I have found a location that takes deer close to our land. Thanks again.

No different than cleaning your ducks or geese, only bigger. There are some things you can do or use to simplify the process.

When you split them open you can also use your knife to split the sternum all the way up to the throat for easy access into the chest cavity. Just cut through the cartilage along one side of the breast plate.

It's not necessary to split the pelvic area as some guys do. Use your knife to cut around the anus and pull it through. It's a little work the first couple times you do it but it gets easier as you do it more often. There is also an inexpensive tool available called a butt-out that really simplifies this. Might consider this as a purchase option.

I also like to pick up a bag of surgical gloves (teflon) to use for cleaning deer. Makes it nice for keeping your hands cleaner, especially if you've shot your deer in the chest.

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TooTallTom

In my opinion, scent won't be a major concern with a rifled barrel/ scope combination in the right hands and stand setup. If you're comfortable with 75-yard shots or more, I don't think that deer will be too disturbed by your scent. I think it registers, and they're aware of you, but at that distance you're simply not identified as a threat. Deer are confident in their ability to outrun lots of predators, but they don't quite understand firearms. grin Archery is a whole 'nother ball game, though...

As far as setups in the middle of a field go, I'd skip them. Your highest-percentage stands for does and immature deer will be on the field edges around the time the sun is coming up or going down.

For a field dressing crash course, you might want to check out the Minnesota Deer Hunter's Association (MDHA) website. I also know that Ramsey County puts on a course through its public-education program (or at least it has in the past) which might be another good resource. A guy at work took it, and said that it was worth doing. They dress an actual deer during the course, but I'm not sure about the timing relative to your season... One tool I love is the Sagen Saw. It makes splitting the pelvis and opening up the rib cage a much safer, quicker job, and designed to help minimize contamination from the bowels.

I have a couple of books you might like to read. One is a general white-tail hunting (I think it's actually about trophies, but the tactics and techniques will still be good info.) guide. The other is called "The Perfect Shot North America" and is about shot selection/ placement for North American animals. There is, of course, a section on white-tails. I live and work in uptown, if you want to pick them up you can either PM or email me. I'm busy this evening, and I'll be out of town for the weekend starting Friday morning. Other than that, I'm pretty open as far as times to meet up.

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surewood

Scent is important to a point. If they're downwind your gonna get busted no matter what you do. The reason I wash all my hunting clothes and put them in a sealed tote and only wear base layers to and from hunting spots is to not contaminate the area. I also wear rubber boots for scent control. Your scent can hang in an area for days and they will start to avoid those areas. If I don't use gloves and go as scent free as I can just to check my game cams it takes a couple of days before they use the area. Low impact hunting will increase your success significantly. Remember your in their living room they know the smells and how things should be. Little changes can put them on high alert.

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surewood

Also I purchase scent free soap and deodorant and shower before my hunts. Not saying you can't be successful without doing these things, but it does help. Good luck.

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Farley

I just wear a blaze orange vest during firearms season, with an blaze orange hat thats enough. Like it was said before, get your guns sighted in and get comfortable shooting slugs, they kick a little more than bird shot. Ladder stands are nice if you have a good spot to put them but I like to have one hang on stand and climbing sticks on the ready in case I come across a better spot while hunting, they are a little more portable. Other than that, dont worry too much about calls, scents, etc... Rubber boots were one of the best investments I've made, they dont leave as much of a scent trail. Use the wind to your favor as much as possible. Do some scouting before the season with a good pair of binocs. Gutting a deer is nothing more than just pulling out all the innards, just be carefull not to pull the tenderlions out with the guts, just take your time and be carefull not to get any bodily fluids on the meat itself. Lots of good info on this site if you do a search for specific things. Last but definetly not least, probably the most important is like Powerstroke said, learn where to put the shot. Good Luck to you and your boy.

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