Continuing Education

Deer Hunting

Deer hunting theory and strategies vary widely from one hunter to the next, and over a lifetime of hunting everyone develops their own unique way of doing things. Following is a summary of things learned over the last twenty years spent hanging around in trees and sitting in blinds in hopes of encountering Mr. Big. Some are obviously important, and others may seem trivial. But, as all veteran bowhunters have learned the hard way, it’s often the little things that make all the difference. And the learning never stops. Or at least it shouldn’t. I hope you enjoy these observations and find something to apply to your own hunting situation.


If you enjoy killing, you shouldn’t be hunting.

Always wear a safety harness when hunting from a treestand.

Hunt terrain during the rut, not sign.

Hide your stand better rather than hang it higher.

Use a comfortable stand; you’ll stay in it longer.

Buck habitat is more about cover than it is about food.

Human intrusion is the biggest factor influencing mature buck movement.

The best habitat in the world won’t hold mature bucks if it is over-hunted.

The access trail is the most important feature of a stand site.

A wind advantage is the second most important feature of a stand site.

Always take thermal air currents into account when deciding where to hang a stand.

When choosing stand sites, first find the areas you can reach undetected, then pick the best spots in those areas.

The best hunting spot in the woods is often no longer the best spot the instant you hunt it.

Just because you didn’t see any deer doesn’t mean you didn’t get busted.

The only 100% effective scent control system is the wind.

Late season buck movement hinges on weather systems.

Always carry a grunt call.

Don’t try to “pattern” a mature buck during November.

Shooting deer is less about pinpoint accuracy than it is a mental exercise.

A gut-shot deer is a recoverable deer. Patience and persistence will pay off.

Don’t hesitate to tweak the position of your stand.

Make it impossible for a buck to see your whole food plot without entering bow range.

Deer are much less alarmed about noise than they are about movement.

Terrain features make buck travel routes during the rut (somewhat) predictable.

Big bucks hate trail cameras.

An old doe is the sharpest deer in the woods.

Old bucks are not smart; they are wary. There is a difference.

They are also lazy.

You can’t call the dominant buck off a hot doe.

If you see a monster buck with a hot doe and he won’t come past you, get down and go after him.

A yearling buck, early in the season, is only slightly more aware of his surroundings than the average rock.

Keep your release strapped on at all times when you are in the woods.

Take a kid hunting.

Henry Hershberger
Hillcrest Lumber

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