Deer Hunting: Getting Started

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Published on: Oct. 23, 2013

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private ground, expect to get turned down a fair bit before you get a “yes.”

When you receive permission to hunt a great deer-hunting spot, treat the permission for what it is, something precious. Tell few, if any, people about the spot. Before you do anything, such as putting up stands or cutting shooting lanes, check with the landowner to make sure it’s ok. Find ways to thank the landowner for hunting permission, such as helping with chores. There’s always work to be done on a farm, much of which requires two sets of hands.

If you are unable to secure a place on private land, don’t despair. There are lots of great public lands available for hunting as well. Find a list, as well as information on urban and managed hunts, and all things deer-hunting related, on the Department’s Deer Hunting page at

Hunting Strategy

Among deer hunters there occurs a small subset, highly skilled (and a little lucky), who tag deer every year. If you had the opportunity to ask them for hunting advice, here’s what they would say.

Stand Placement

In preparation for the hunt, do everything you can to prevent deer from ever knowing of your presence. Scout and prepare stands well ahead of deer season. Right after deer season is the perfect time to prepare for next season. Deer will still be on their fall/winter patterns. If the area doesn’t change, these patterns won’t change either. And if you spook deer, they have a year to forget about it. A productive time to scout is when snow has been on the ground for several days, leaving tracks easy to spot.

Place stands between feeding and bedding areas, preferably where several trails come together because of a terrain feature, such as a bluff or a body of water, which confines deer travel.

Movement and Scent

A deer’s vision is very sharp at picking up movement. If you sit still, however, you can fool a deer. Not so with a deer’s nose. One whiff of human scent, and deer either bolt or slip away undetected. A deer’s sense of smell is its main defense, and that’s what you must strive to overcome.

Establish several stands, which will allow you to keep the wind in your favor. If possible, place stands on high points, where wind currents are more predictable. Winds tend to swirl in draws and

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