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Hunting tips for the upcoming deer season
It's here again, the season of all seasons, opening day of the
firearm deer season is tomorrow. For weeks I dream of stalking, sitting
and waiting for the trophy of the season which doesn't always have to be
the granddaddy of huge bucks, but can be based on the hunt, the
experience and a good clean harvest.

I always like to remind those hunting for a trophy buck of a few
in-field pointers. For those of you who need a quick review on how to
size up a big buck here are some pointers to keep in mind.

For whitetail deer the fastest method to try to
determine the number of points is to check the points projecting off the
main beam when viewed broadside. These are most often referred to as
the number of points up. For example, a 3-point (6-point if you use
eastern hunting terminology) buck will usually have one point up; a
4-point (8-eastern terminology) will normally have two points up; and a
5-point (10-eastern terminology) will normally have three points up.
Don't worry about the brow tines at this point.

Check the inside spread of the antlers. The ear
spread, for an alert buck, is about 16 to 18 inches. Remembering that
most bucks are about 16 inches from ear-tip to ear-tip will help you
determine whether the buck you are field-judging is one you want to
harvest. Most bucks need at least a 16-inch spread to make the record
books. Although a few bucks with 12- or 13-inch inside spreads qualify
as trophies, they must sport very long tines, be almost perfectly
symmetrical and have long, thick main beams.

To judge tine lengths use a deer's ear. On average a
deer's ear is 6- to 8-inches long, which can be used for estimation in
tine length.

Determining main beam length is another factor a
hunter must take into consideration before shooting. An antler that
curves in at the tip rather than staying straight indicates a long main
beam. The rule of thumb in the field is that if the main beam has at
least 5 to 6 inches of antler bent inward at the tip, the buck likely
has an 18-inch main beam. You can help judge the length of the antler
bend by looking at the ear of an alert deer.

If you see the inward curve of a rack on the main
beam and it appears to be very close to the alert ear length, this may
be a trophy deer.

Mass circumference along the main beam is not a
critical factor for a high score in the record books. Although mass
looks nice it usually does not add enough to make much of a difference.
Mass can be estimated by using the circumference of the eye, which is
about 4 inches, as a comparison.

Mule deer hunters need to look for about the same thing as a whitetail deer hunter, but there are a few differences.

Look for a boxy appearance. Most typical trophy
bucks' antlers will look square and the antlers should be at least as
tall as or taller than one half the inside spread of the deer's antlers.

The inside spread of the deer's antlers must be as
wide as the deer's ears or wider. Look for one with at least an 18-inch
inside spread. An average mule deer's ears are usually around 20 inches
ear-tip to ear-tip. If the inside spread is 24- to 26-inches with long
symmetrical points, it should score well.

Try to judge the animal from different views before
shooting. The view from one side can be deceiving. From the front, check
to see whether the first fork on each side is out beyond the ears. Look
for long, symmetrical tines for a typical mule deer trophy. Any
differences in the measurements will be subtracted. Very few mule deer
will make the record books if they have only three points to a side, and
they would have to have very long, tines to score well. Having five
points to a side is desirable for Mule deer.

This year may be tough for hunters in some areas to
find deer as disease has hit the deer populations aggressively. But if
you hunt in the right places you may have better luck in locating deer.

Look for the right signs when deer hunting. Deer
prefer to move in areas with cover. When hunting look for parts of a
deer versus the whole deer, successful hunters look for the tips of
antlers, a twitching ear, the dark circle of a deer's eye, the glint of a
shiny black nose, a parallel line to the ground that may be the deer's
back or a limb sticking out from beside a tree, which may be a deer's
leg and not a limb.

Many hunters leave their stands too early; pack some
food, water and stick it out for a while. Trying to spot parts of a deer
is especially helpful in any circumstance and is crucial during
low-light times. Deer usually show up when and where you least expect it
so look for deer in the places where you normally might not look. Many
hunters forget to look behind them; checking your backside from time to
time may get you a glimpse of a deer. Deer might also come out of the
thickest part of the cover you are hunting or they may wade down a creek
or river. Successful hunters keep a sharp eye out in all areas waiting
for that least expected deer to show itself. Don't forget that last 15
minutes before dark is when most deer travel.

Keep still

The hunters who harvest deer walk the least and sit
the most, if you are not hunting the hills anyway. Walking hunters leave
their scent all over the woods, and can ruin the places they're hunting
for themselves and others. Successful hunters will find
productive-looking places in the woods to sit and stay there until they
kill deer. Letting the deer come to you is much easier than attempting
to go to a deer.

Setting up a stand

If you're going to set up a stand that you plan to
hunt from for two or three days or for two to three weeks, place that
stand so that it faces the direction of the prevailing wind. For
instance, if the prevailing wind in your area blows from the northwest
this is the direction you will face your stand or blind. This doesn't
mean that the wind always blows from the northwest during deer season,
but this is the direction that it most often blows.

The best stand placement also depends on the time of
day that you plan to hunt from that stand. Set up several stands in case
the wind changes then you have an alternative place to hunt. If you
have scouted or set up trail cameras you can locate travel corridors and
determine what time of day a certain trail is being used and hunt that
location accordingly.

Another mistake outdoorsmen make in locating their
tree stands is that many times they'll place a stand in an area so they
can see for miles. Hunters must remember that deer like thick cover and
usually move in thick cover. In this case the best spot for a tree stand
is an area where you can only see 30 to 40 yards.

Hopefully these field tips will help you harvest your deer this season whether you are firearm, archery or black powder hunting.
Written by Julie Geiser is an avid outdoors enthusiast and columnist.

Let God lead the way!
Give a man a fish he eats for one day, teach him to fish he eats forever!
I need to get me into some hunting!!

yeah you do
Let God lead the way!
Give a man a fish he eats for one day, teach him to fish he eats forever!

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