Deer Hunting for Beginners

If you're interested in beginning to hunt deer, start with this introduction to the basics, from tips on choosing a place to hunt to illustrated steps for dressing your kill.

| November/December 1989

  • 120-098-01i1.jpg
    Learn to sit quietly and pay attention, and you will get deer.
    PHOTO: ALAN & SANDY CAREY
  • 120-098-01i2.jpg
    Look for deer tracks to find out where deer are traveling in your hunting-ground.
    KAY HOLMES STAFFORD
  • 120-098-01i3.jpg
    A few walks in the woods should turn up deer sign such as droppings, if deer are in the area.
    KAY HOLMES STAFFORD
  • 120-098-01i4.jpg
    Use your topographical map as a sighting log.
    KAY HOLMES STAFFORD
  • 120-098-01i5.jpg
    Practice from positions you'll actually use when you're out hunting.
    KAY HOLMES STAFFORD
  • 120-098-01i10.jpg
    If the deer is facing at an angle away from you, the usual rule is to shoot through the deer toward the opposite shoulder.
    KAY HOLMES STAFFORD
  • 120-098-01i9.jpg
    Wait for a shot that you're sure you can make, then go for the high-percentage heart-lung area.
    KAY HOLMES STAFFORD
  • Deer Hunting Simple Tree Stand
    Your best whitetail deer hunting method will be to sit down and stay put. Set up a tree stand, like this one, or simply park yourself against a big trunk with the wind in your face.
    KAY HOLMES STAFFORD
  • 120-098-01i11.jpg
    Use a sharp, thin-bladed knife to "core" around the anal opening so that you can grasp and pull it out far enough to tie it off with string, to prevent feces from escaping.
    KAY HOLMES STAFFORD
  • Deer Hunting Protect Intestines
    Cut slowly, using your hand to hold the viscera away from the knife to avoid puncturing the intestines.
    KAY HOLMES STAFFORD
  • 120-098-01i14.jpg
    Cut around the bladder until it is loose, then carefully remove it without spilling the contents.
    KAY HOLMES STAFFORD
  • 120-098-01i12.jpg
    Cut around the sex organs using shallow cuts to avoid piercing the bladder or intestines.
    KAY HOLMES STAFFORD
  • 120-098-01i15.jpg
    Use both hands to work the innards out onto the ground.
    KAY HOLMES STAFFORD
  • 120-098-01i18.jpg
    Reach up into the chest as far as you can and sever the gullet and windpipe.
    KAY HOLMES STAFFORD
  • Deer Hunting Carry Deer
    Transport your kill in the back of your truck or van, or wrapped up in a tarp inside the trunk, rather than strapped to the hood.
    KAY HOLMES STAFFORD

  • 120-098-01i1.jpg
  • 120-098-01i2.jpg
  • 120-098-01i3.jpg
  • 120-098-01i4.jpg
  • 120-098-01i5.jpg
  • 120-098-01i10.jpg
  • 120-098-01i9.jpg
  • Deer Hunting Simple Tree Stand
  • 120-098-01i11.jpg
  • Deer Hunting Protect Intestines
  • 120-098-01i14.jpg
  • 120-098-01i12.jpg
  • 120-098-01i15.jpg
  • 120-098-01i18.jpg
  • Deer Hunting Carry Deer

There's something addictive about deer hunting. The sport may not appeal to everyone, but those of us who are susceptible to its lure can feel the hooks pulling from deep within. Perhaps no other form of outdoor activity is as inextricably entangled in our history, myth, and language. Consider that the term venison, for the meat of the deer, is derived from the name of Venus, the Roman goddess of love. Other English terms sharing the same derivation are venerate ("to regard with reverential respect or with admiring deference"), venery (which means both "the art of hunting" and "the pursuit of sexual pleasure"), and venial ("meriting no particular censure"). Not to mention good old venereal, which, I suppose, needs no introduction. (Sounds like the stuff of a graduate-school thesis, "Buck Fever; Venereal Disease?")

At any rate, many men and women, after some degree or another of exposure to rural life, decide that the time has come for them to take a crack at deer hunting. Perhaps the motivating factor is a dinner of venison chops at a neighbor's house; maybe it has a more negative genesis that follows watching Bambi and family mow their way through the vegetable garden. Regardless of the reason for the urge, the novice nimrod is likely to find that game-meat gurus are hard to come by. Thus the reasoning behind our presenting this brief guide to deer hunting for beginners.

I can't teach you everything you'll need to know when hunting deer, though a few readers will most likely absorb the following pages and go out to score a good buck on opening day (those doing so will earn my envy and, probably, that of their closest friends, but drop me a line anyway should you be the one to strike it rich). Most beginners, though, will go on to look for an experienced friend, relative, neighbor, or coworker to augment (and undoubtedly at times contradict) the information presented here. What I hope to do is cover enough essentials to keep you from sounding like a bozo when you ask for that advice, to spell out enough parameters to allow you to judge whether the advisor in question is someone you really want to hunt with, and maybe even to ask you to look at your own motivation for deer hunting, and decide whether you really should be out in the woods.

In fact, let's start right there.



Deer Meat: A Cheap Eat?

I wonder just how many would-be deerstalkers actually believe that the sport is a shortcut to a ready supply of low-cost protein. I suspect that the rationale is more commonly used to justify the purchase of a new rifle, a bow, or any one of the innumerable pieces of paraphernalia that every nimrod "must have" at one time or another. At the risk of ruining a perfectly good rationalization, let me set the record straight. If your only reason to take up hunting really is to obtain a supply of low-cost, chemical-free, low-fat meat, don't buy a rifle. Instead, buy a beef calf, feed him for a season or three, and butcher him yourself. I mean, it is possible to find a low-cost, used rifle or bow, throw on your gardening clothes, and bag a hundred pounds or so of venison, but it doesn't happen often. More common is the deer hunter who, after decades of pursuing his game—sometimes successfully, sometimes not—may reach the point of amortization at which his venison nears the cost of beef—but only beef as served in the better restaurants of New York, Chicago, Kansas City, or L.A.

Don't get me wrong. Venison, if properly cared for, is delicious and healthful. Furthermore, the meat of a wild deer can't be duplicated, even by the ranch-raised venison served in the aforementioned eateries. It takes additional savor, too, from your pride at having supplied it and from the memories that help to season it. Its unique flavor should be just one of the reasons you drag yourself out of bed before dawn to stumble through the dark and climb a tree. The cost of the meat should have nothing to do with it. Remember, venison is priceless, but it sure as hell ain't generally cheap.

civilbrando
9/19/2018 9:10:03 PM

I’m an avid shooter and have always wanted to try deer hunting, after all, it’s delicious!


dorkerjubas
1/30/2018 11:40:14 AM

I'm actually shocked that people are such uneducated pool noodles as to not realize that Nimrod is a famous and skillful hunter king from biblical lore. I mean, heck, it's even the Book of Genesis so you don't even need to read that deeply. (I'm not even part of their religion and I know this.)


PaxUponHim
12/4/2017 3:46:44 PM

The economic value of hunting depends on the effort you want to put in and where you live. With patience you certainly can find a functional rifle or bow. Just skip all the gimmicks the industry wants to sell you and you'll be fine. Here in North Carolina, we can harvest up to six deer per year on a single $36 license! Just do the math! At that rate even a new rifle will pay itself off in a year or two. You just have to be willing to put in the time and effort to harvest all you're allowed (and the best way to do that is to find someone who is already doing it; nearly always he or she will want to help you learn, too).







Mother Earth News Fair Schedule 2019

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Next: February, 16-17 2019
Belton, TX

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!

LEARN MORE








Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).


Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard
Free Product Information Classifieds

}