Deer Gun Season

What a time to be in the woods. The blaze orange arm descends upon the woods in search of that elusive 30 pointer. Well not just blaze orange anymore. Blaze pink is now approved in several states. There are many different changes that happen in the woods during this time.

All the extra pressure can drive deer nocturnal but can also get them up and moving during the daytime as hunters are moving around. This is even more true in the states where it gets cold during the deer gun season. Hunters will get cold and move around. This moving around will bump and get them moving around. I try and use this to my advantage when I can.

I will follow many of the tactics that I’ve used during the bow season.  Scents, calls, and wind direction are still key when it comes to hunting those elusive whitetails.

Stand Location

If I am hunting public land, I will try to get on escape routes that I know that deer will take. I will dress for the cold and be able to stay longer than most of the other hunters thus allowing them to bump deer into me. I can’t tell you how many times this has worked to my advantage.

Hunting private land my tactics will pretty much stay the same as it was during the bow season. Stay in between the bedding areas and the food sources. If I am going to hunt near the boundary lines, I will use the tactics I discussed above as hunters get cold or impatient and will move around.

Try and stay all day in the stand if you can. I will usually stay all day opening day in stand and than the rest of the gun season I will hunt morning and early afternoon coming out for lunch. I will come out a little earlier than most people will during this time so I can be back on stand before they come back out. Over the years I’ve gotten a lot of deer during the noonish time frame when hunters are returning to the woods.

Gun Types

30-06 rifle, semi auto

A rifle shots a fast moving flat trajectory round. It is accurate out to great distances. This makes the round travel a long distance before gravity pulls it to the ground. Rifles come in many different calibers and actions. Its comes down to personal preference as to what you decide to hunt with. Just find one that shots good for you.

A shotgun shots a big round that is slower moving than a rifle. The trajectory is much more of a curve. The round travels a much shorter distance than a rifle does before gravity pulls it to the ground. Having much more mass pushing the slug forward makes much better when shooting in the brush. The slug will not get deflected as easily as a rifle round.

20 gauge shotgun, shotgun

Shotguns are much less dangerous than rifles when it comes to distance. A shotgun slug will usually hit the ground within sight where a rifle round can be dangerous over a mile.

A muzzle-loader is a modern primitive weapon. You have to load the weapon from the breach and only get one shot. When fired, it produces a tremendous amount of smoke out of the end of the barrel. They are only good for about 3 shots before they have to be cleaned.

They are more accurate than a shotgun especially when using sabots. Sabots are a bullet inside a plastic coating. This coating

50 caliber muzzleloader, muzzle loader
Muzzle loader

ensures a good seal for the explosion and falls off as the bullet leaves the barrel. I shoot mine at 200 yards accurately but hunting I don’t go above 150 yards. I want to ensure good penetration and a clean ethical kill.

Gun Selection

There can be a ton of debate on gun selection. This person thinks their gun choice is the best and another person thinks their gun choice is the best. Each gun has its advantages and disadvantages.

There are a couple of choices when it comes to gun to use during the gun season. Sometimes it will depend on your local or state regulations. Consult the regulations for the area you are planning to hunt prior to selecting a gun.

For example in Wisconsin where I hunt it used to be that if you were hunting south of a certain highway you could not hunt with a rifle. You had to use either a shotgun or a muzzle-loader. The original reasoning for this is that area was mostly farm fields with scattering timber mixed in. Rifle bullets can travel a long way and going across fields there is nothing to stop the bullet.

In my opinion choose the gun that the shooter can shoot accurately time after time. Bigger guns come with bigger kick which can cause a shooter to flinch when pulling the trigger as they brace for the kick. This flinching can cause inconsistency’s between shots.

For example if my eight year old daughter was to try and shoot my 30-06 she wouldn’t be very successful. Now if she was to hunt with a .243 which is a good caliber for a smaller person she would have much better chance at success. The 30-06 would kick too much and she would be jumpy at the trigger pull. It is too much gun for her. The .243 has much less recoil thus making it easier for her to make a smooth trigger pull thus making it more accurate.

In my opinion shoot the gun that you are the most accurate with and gets the job done as long as you are within the current regulations. I have several rifles, shotguns and one muzzle-loader that I hunt with. Over the years I’ve shot many different guns until I settled on the ones that I have.

Deer Drives

Deer drives are a way to get deer up and moving. The general idea is to push deer in a certain direction where standers are waiting to ambush them. Done correctly deer drives can be effective but there has to be a level of trust between the participants.

The drivers pushing the deer are down range of where the deer are probably going to be coming from. The standers have to be conscious of where they are before they shoot at the running deer. There can be the fixation of the target and not what is beyond it.

The other downside of drives is the standers and sometimes the drivers are shooting at running deer so the shot placement usually isn’t the greatest. Don’t get me wrong deer drives can be fun to participate in. Many deer are killed each year due to drives.

Personally I would prefer to have the deer come in not pressured and to take standing shots. Much more efficient and the shots are usually placed in an area where there is little to no loss of meat. Shooting at running deer this usually doesn’t happen. The question is some meat better than no meat?

Deer drives have been a rite of passage so to speak in many different hunting parties. I have enjoyed doing drives with the family over the years. It helps build commodore among the hunting party members. My kids even participated in deer drives before they could carry a gun. It helped get them involved and build excitement for when they could carry a gun.

Wrapping it up

The deer gun season is a time of year when the orange or pink armies hit the woods. It can build memories that will last a lifetime. I don’t remember every deer that I have killed but I do remember some of the more memorable ones. Building memories is one of the main reasons that I do hunt. Whether it is hunting with members of my hunting party to hunting solo, those experiences is why I continue to hunt.

Choose a gun that fits you and that you are able to accurately shoot. Shoot as many different kinds of guns that you can until you find one that you are comfortable shooting and that you are accurate with. I shot guns of some of my hunting party to help make a decision on which gun I wanted.

There are a few stores in the area that will let you shoot different guns to see which one shots the best for you. All you have to pay for is the bullets that you are using. It is better to spend a little money shooting different guns instead of purchasing a gun that you are not comfortable with and have to purchase a second gun.

I look forward to hearing your comments and questions below. Good luck hunting and selecting a good gun that works for you. Dan

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2 thoughts on “Deer Gun Season”

  1. I personally don’t practice deer hunting but I hear conversation about this activity every single week at work. Some of my colleagues are really experts and I can say that I have a lot of the theory but zero practice. I will be passing on this information to them because I learned about from it, especially the Deer Drives. I’m sure they will appreciate the  info 🙂

    • I appreciate your comment.  Deer hunting has been a passion I’ve had since I was a kid.  I’ve made my share of mistakes over the years but learned from most of them.  I get a deer or two at minimum each year.  In the end it is still a guessing game but one that you can tip in your favor with the correct tactics and strategy. 

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