Open Field Hunting

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May 092016
 

There is a long farming tradition in my family. It was my great grandfather who started the business and we all carried out the tradition. But, it’s not the only tradition I inherited from my father, and he inherited from his and so on. We are hunters, too.

We own a piece of land and woods and I am the only person in my large family who prefers hunting in open field rather than woods. The reason is simple – it is much easier to hunt a deer in the non-wooded area than in wooded and here is why. First of all, it’s much easier to get to open field than into the woods; meaning the fields are much closer to our ranch than the woods. But that’s certainly the main reason for choosing open areas over woods. The main reason is that deer spend much less time in the woods than in open fields, it’s much easier to track them and much easier to decide where to put blinds or a hunting stand.

open field whitetail

Whitetail deer buck in an open field

For example, if you have to cross the filed of crops and you see there is already a path made by somebody else, would you make another one or use the existing one? Of course you would use the existing one, but the deer would too. So, you can easily set up a blind in a clean shot range, for a rifle or for a bow, and wait for deer to come.

Deer go where there is food and water. Mostly, they eat corn and soybeans, and those are the fields where I hunt them mostly. But, you have to know that deer only enter the field at dawn or twilight; so it’s pointless to wait for them during the day. Other important thing to remember is that deer most often don’t go deep into the field. Mostly, they eat from the edge, as far as they can reach, and they go all the way around.

If you have any water at your fields it is almost certain that deer will visit it. Deer often like to sleep at our pond and whole herd of about 40 deer can be seen there often. So, your job is simply to place you blind or stand and wait for them to get thirsty. Don’t shoot all of them, of course.

Our land lies on our woods on one side and the creek flows on the other side of our property. There are deer trails all over the woods and field. But the easiest way to pick the waiting spot is to locate their exit path from the woods, or entry path into the field, if there is any significantly deep trail.

Sometimes, when the creek is low, deer love to cross it and to refresh themselves in it. But, when it’s raining they usually avoid it, because they are not good swimmers; however, they are smart enough to notice that the water level has risen.

Crossbow Hunting Deer

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Apr 272016
 

Crossbow deer hunting is awesome. I actually heard some people say they find it a lot easier to hunt with a crossbow than a regular bow (or any other weapon, for that matter). People who aren’t strong enough or are small-framed might have problems hunting anyways, but the crossbow really makes it easier for them, and allows those who love hunting to truly participate. Whenever asked, I always recommend that crossbow hunters use the best scope they can afford – it makes a big difference to the outcome of your hunt!

deer crossbow huntingThe crossbow was around for a very long time and was initially used as a weapon during battles. The arrows or bolts (which would be the “munitions” so to speak) are launched using a trigger system (similar to a hand gun). It’s a convenient and a swift weapon, which makes hunting “smooth” so to say, especially when the hunter knows how to aim well. Crossbows are very similar to old-fashioned bows; they have a limited range, as do regular bows. What that really means is that if the hunter wants to be a 100 per cent sure he won’t miss his target, he has to be very precise to estimate the distance between the crossbow and his prey. Most hunters prefer a shot distance of 20 meters, but crossbow manufacturers say they can go as far as 40 meters.

Another pretty important detail when it comes to crossbow hunting is that you have to know when to draw your bow; doing it too soon can be a mistake. This sort of act requires a special kind of patience. I had a friend who was so close to the deer he could almost touch it. The mistake he made was that he didn’t give the animal enough space, and the deer actually got spooked and ran off. You should always be careful to give your prey enough space and draw your bow at the right time. One other very important thing to mention is that hunters, in general, are encouraged to not simply injure the deer (that would be a great shame to simply cause it pain and then let it live on with a wound in the wild) but actually kill it.

There are some rules in crossbow hunting, like children under the age of 14 can’t hunt deer with a crossbow, however, that is not a very clear-cut rule. I have seen kids at the age of 10 hunt with a crossbow, very efficiently I might add. Also, hunters usually have to wear hunter orange. I usually use a camouflage too, just to be more “professional”.

One of my favorite things about this type of hunting is that it helps me be pretty precise, and I just love arrows and the way they penetrate the “meat”, like in ancient times, before all the high-tech guns came about. Most crossbow models have a scope sight. And I don’t mean to brag, but seldom do I miss my target. I also think that broadside shots are most effective. When I do miss my target, it’s usually because I scare it off. There are different seasons for crossbow deer hunting, but the most popular one is usually in November. And it just happens to be the month I was born in. You want to know what I usually do for my birthday? You have one guess.

Finding Good Whitetail Hunting Spots

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Apr 042016
 

I cannot properly stress how important it is to be well-prepared before hunting. One of the steps of preparation, apart from scent blocking and proper clothing, is definitely scouting. You simply need to go around, observe, make records, evaluate and make an important decision where to make a waiting spot. It’s not as nearly as hard as it sounds, especially if you know something about deer behavior and their routines.

If you spot a deer group, you must know that usually female deer group together; while male follow them around, especially during mating season. So, if you are after a large buck, just look around a large female gathering; he might be lurking somewhere near.

You should know that deer are often gathering where the food is. Accordingly, you must know what they eat. So, deer cuisine often consists of corn, soy beans and fruit, depending on the season; they also eat grass, leaves, stems, shoots, herbs, acorns, mushrooms and fruit.

whitetailLook for some agricultural fields, they are probably having their feast there, but carefully because they won’t be there in a broad daylight; meaning, they usually don’t just walk into an open field to feed. They walk towards the field, stop at a safe distance, or the hotspots, if you will. There, they chew whatever is suitable until sunset. This means you should check for chewed bush branches, chewed leaves, and find a spot from which you have a clean shot. Deer usually gather at the hotspots 10-30 minutes before sunrise or sunset.

Following the trails is also important, but keep in mind that there is one useful trick which very few hunters are willing to reveal. First, as I already mentioned, deer usually roam around the fields until they actually enter it. This is good to know, you can easily find the trails around any field. What’s more important is to find the crossings of multiple trails. This means, they use this road more often then others. They might use that road a couple of times and will probably come back again. When you spot the crossing, find a suitable clean-shot area and prepare it for your ambush.

Another important thing to look for is scraping. Male deer mark their territory by scraping trees and bushes with their antlers. They also dig holes in the ground and urinate in them, but scrapings are much easier to find. Look for especially fresh ones.

Also, look at the areas with water access. Naturally, like any other beings, deer need water. Water is especially essential during winter, when deer won’t roam much; they usually stay in woods to avoid cold winds. But they won’t stay anywhere in the woods; rather they will opt to be near water, so they can avoid moving around a lot, which will help them to preserve energy, since there is not much food during the winter.

Finally, look for droppings. I know not many people are into animal, or any other type of droppings, but you must know what they look like if you want to be a successful hunter. Deer droppings are deep, dark brown, tightly clustered and oval. With time, they become paler. A truly fresh one looks shiny and moist.