View Full Version : my first deer hunt with a firearm

December 3, 2000, 03:17 PM
i went deer hunting on public land with a remington 1100 and i was very unsuccessful i sat for about 6hrs at a time i didnt have no blind or treestand i just sat up against a tree but i was very quiet i didnt see a thing i know i had a good spot there were deer trails everywhere but no fresh sign i dont know what i could of been doing wrong or did the deer just move to a no hunting zone or bed down and not move. can someone who knows what there doing please give me some tips

December 3, 2000, 04:31 PM
Sometimes people can go years without taking a deer. Don't get discouraged. Go to Barnes and Noble or some similar establishment and pick up a few good books on deer hunting methods, behavior, and signs.

December 3, 2000, 07:26 PM
I spent my weekend on my first deer hunting trip. I didn't get anything, but it was the most fun I've had in ages. It was a great way to relax before *cringe* final exams.

Art Eatman
December 4, 2000, 12:46 AM
"Field & Stream", "Outdoor Life", and "Sports Afield" always have articles about how to find where deer are likely to be during the hunting season. There will be articles covering the "how to" for different parts of the U.S.

Your best bet is to find a gun store or barber shop with some back issues. Usually, the articles start showing up in the issues which hit the news stands in August and September.

Not having any idea of where you are hunting, there is little specific info I could offer. In general, however, try to find a "hidey-spot" some 20 to 50 yards away from (and best if you're elevated somewhat) any place where you find a buck's scrape on the ground. It will be a place where he has pawed the ground and urinated. The problem is that he might only come back every couple of days, and possibly at night.

Deer are edge animals. They rarely wander out into broad open areas, unless the grass is pretty high--near shoulder height, anyway. They will often come out in late evening into open fields, and leave around daylight--which is why guys build stands in trees along such an edge. But you watch the field less than you look along the edge of the tree line. Powerline edges are also good places--look for deer trails crossing them.

If there is a lot of hunting pressure, "real" bucks are gonna lay up in some thick-brush hidey-hole near food and water, and not move during daylight. Oh, they'll get up and pee, sniff around a bit, and then bed down again. Places like that are best looked for well before the season opens, or at least a couple of weeks or so after the season closes. You don't want to unduly "educate" him.

Deer generally feed downwind. That way, they can smell any Bad Thing behind them, and see in front. If spooked, they tend to run back toward where they came from--they know it's safe, there. (Same on a highway, at night. Never try to cut behind a deer in front of your car. Cows, however, are just the opposite. So, go in front of deer; behind cows. Horses are suicidal; they try to stay in front of you, no matter what you do.)

When startled, larger bucks almost always run uphill and upwind, looking for a saddle in a ridge. Or, they'll bed down near a saddle, on the downwind military crest. Does and little bucks will go any old direction; and, as I said, mostly upwind--but not always. (There ain't no "always" with deer.)

If you jump some does, and there are few if any fawns/yearlings, don't watch the does. Look the other way; the buck won't stay with the does. If the does all have fawns/yearlings with them, the odds are that there is no buck around...

"Mostly"; "generally". There ain't no "always".

Hope this helps,


December 4, 2000, 11:02 AM
Falconer, are you an actual falconer? I'm a fellow raptor fan.

December 4, 2000, 09:24 PM
thanks everyone especially art your replies did help i will have to remember all this for when i go muzzleloading and bow hunting the seasons not over yet

December 5, 2000, 02:42 PM
No, but if I ever get the time once I'm out of college I'd love to get into falconry. I've been a big fan of birds of prey ever since I read My Side of The Mountain when I was in the fifth grade.

December 5, 2000, 04:13 PM

I know where youre coming from. My first hunt was on public land with a Remington 870 12 ga, leaning up against a tree in the middle of a corn field. I eventually killed one, but it took some time. Do your homework on deer hunting. Read every magazine you can find. Try something new if what your doing doesnt work. Are you hunting a food source, bedding area, or travel corridor? What type of cover is in the area? Try to figure out what the deer are doing in the area. Did you descent before going hunting, or did you still smell like a cheeseburger and fries? What was the wind doing? Pushing your scent into the area you expected the deer to come from or away from it? What time of day was it? In the evening you can expect deer to start moving more, and toward a food source. Is the rut going on in your area? Email me if you have any questions, Id like to hear about you taking one.

December 18, 2000, 01:24 PM

Again, good stuff here.

I didn't see your location in your profile, but when I started gun deer hunting 6 years ago I went into the woods and sat down. In Wisconsin usually that works. Other places...

You say you sat 6 hours...well, Which 6 hours? 6-12? 12-6, or 9-3?

Some people can not sit. To be able to hunt without a blind or stand you literally should be able to sit still, moving only your eyes and nothing else (turning your head should be a slow, deliberate, major movement). Deer will see your movement to warm your hands, or shift your feet and be gone long before you see them. (update for Turkey, move only your eyelids and those VERY slowly).

Typically deer move around dawn, 10 am, 2 pm and dusk.
(see Arts comment about not all deer are typical, then realize Deer cannot read, or tell time...) If you walk into an area at 9 am then leave at 3 pm.... Chances are you aren't going to see deer, unless they are moving
for some reason. (this is why deer drives are so popular in Wisconsin)

Reading will let you know something new to try, and how a particular hunter got a particular deer, but nothing is surefire every time. The best statement I ever heard from the owner of the archery store I go to is...
"they don't write articles to help you get deer,
they write articles to sell stuff" (like the magazine for starters). Not that reading is bad, but remember, someone is trying to sell something in an article.

Deer leave lots of tracks, learn what fresh tracks look like, (you will see lots of old tracks) and learn where deer are when you are in the woods.

Hope this helps,


December 18, 2000, 01:40 PM
I went out 2x this season including opening day and only saw a couple of does. Sometimes its feast or famine. If you hunt a specific area year after year you get to know it pretty well and understand where the deer may be. IMHO the best time to see the deer is just as the sun is going down (dusk).

Don Gwinn
December 18, 2000, 04:27 PM
Locations do make a difference. If you were hunting with me you'd have seen deer (but then again, you'd have been in a stand with some blocking around it so you could move your hands and feet a little without being seen.) The tree you sat against makes a difference--if you didn't scout carefully, it's possible a main trail passed within 50 yards of you, but behind you on the other side of the tree. Your scent also makes a big difference, as does noise. This will sound strange, but I don't use scent. We pass through a cattle pasture on our way into the woods, so we step in cow dung. It sounds strange but it works and we never spill skunk scent or doe urine in the car. ;)