Deer are among the most popular game animals for hunters in the United States of America. While deer are to be found in almost all the states, in many the deer population is so much that they are considered a pest. Consequently, hunting licenses are easily available, however, you should be able to know the difference between the two most common kinds of deer, mule deer, and white-tailed deer, as tags are issued only for one species. Deer hunting is a complex activity and beginners should not assume that all you need to do is to grab a gun and shoot. Some helpful tips for those who are new to deer hunting:

Hunting Solo or In a Group

While you can choose to hunt alone or in a group, both methods have their pros and cons. When you hunt alone, you get to keep whatever you manage to kill but the chances of being able to get anything at all is slim. Not only you will be alone throughout the day but also if you are lucky enough to shoot a deer, you will have to manage to pack it all by yourself. Hunting in a group delivers more consistent results as some people can act to drive the deer into a position that enables others to have a better chance to kill. It can be great fun provided the group gets along with each other and agree to share the spoils. Beginners will do well to go on their first hunts with an experienced hunt organizer like

The Choice of a Weapon

Rifles are by far the most popular weapon used for hunting deer due to their long-range and power. According to expert shooters, it is best to choose a high-caliber rifle that uses at least .300 bullets. Bolt-action rifles are preferred over semi-automatics because of the extra power they deliver. A high magnification scope is essential for getting long shots to count.

Shotguns are also popular for hunting deer primarily for two reasons; they have enormous stopping power and compared to rifles, safer to use in areas with high population density, as the buckshot does not carry for long distances and cannot hit people a long way off. A 12-gauge shotgun used with 00 shot is the most practical option, as it will drop dead a deer at 50 yards. Muzzleloaders, pistols, and bows are for enthusiasts and beginners can avoid them.

Check this link if you want to know what is the maximum effective range of a crossbow for deer hunting?

The Hunting Season

The deer-hunting season in most states starts from mid-fall and goes through to early winter; effectively this means that you have a deer-hunting season stretching from end-September to mid-December.

Early season: Going up to the 10th of October, the deer are still foraging so you can find them in open fields where it is easy to spot them but they are very alert and spook at the slightest sign of humans. According to, deer have a very keen sense of smell and they can smell humans from as far as a mile away. The ideal places to position you for a shot are clumps of tall grass or sources of water downwind of the deer.

The pre-rut: From around October 10 to 22, the deer start moving into the thicker forests. The best chance of success comes if you can locate a source of food near to a place where they are bedding down. Oak trees are good because the deer love the acorns.

The seeking phase: Till the beginning of November, the deer will prepare to go into rut. While the big bucks are still not ready, the young bucks may run about in the open giving you a chance of a shot. Instead of trying to make a stand near a scraped tree, you should find out where they are bedding and take up a position in between the bedding area and the food source for the best chance of a kill.

The rut: till November 10, the deer will be at the peak of the rut and during this time, it is common to find the bucks most careless as all they are concerned about is finding a doe in heat. Setting yourself downwind a little distance from a game trail can be productive, especially if you resort to calls and decoys as the bucks will try to chase the imaginary doe. Avoid the food areas as the deer are known to not eat for extended times during this period. The doe bedding area offers the best chance of a kill should you be lucky enough to find one.

Lock-down phase: Lasting till around November 20, all territorial disputes have been worked out and the bucks are busy mating. It can be difficult to find a deer during this period as generally, they are in deep brush. Situating yourself near bedding area remains your best bet as you can get a headshot if a buck stands up.

Post-rut: During this time, the deer enter their winter mode. The chance of finding a deer is near the food sources, water sources, and trails but generally, the deer know to stay in cover to avoid the hunters. Some of the younger does that have not been able to breed may be found in the open and you could find a buck chasing them. Using calls can be effective in luring the bucks out of cover.

Best Time of the Day to Hunt

The ideal time for hunting deer is just after daybreak when the deer are going to drink water or forage, however, you have to be in position at least a couple of hours earlier so that they are not spooked. In the late afternoon, the deer are hungry once again so may come out in the open to forage and go to the sources of water. The only time you can find deer all day is during the rut, so if you are really lucky, you will be able to harvest more than just one in one day.


Deer hunting can be a great activity, especially when you are in a group that has more experienced members. You will be able to pick up valuable tips that you can use the next season. Hover, even if you are going on your first hunt, it pays to be well prepared in the techniques and the right hunting gear. Read up on the net or ask experienced deer hunters about how to prepare for the hunt so that you enjoy it more.