Well it’s that time of year again.  Here’s some basic information that might make the difference between a pleasant fall outing and putting meat in the freezer.

General

White tailed deer are the most abundant of all North American big game animals.  These phantoms of the woodlands can be found from Canada’s extreme north to the southernmost regions of Texas. Deriving their name from the white underside of their tail, a white tail deer will “flash” its tail as a warning signal to other deer in the vicinity.  A signal that no hunter wants to see, because it means you’ve been busted.

The female (doe) usually weighs between 90 and 130 pounds (50 to 60 kg), but some weigh in excess of 130 pounds (60 kg). The deer’s coat is a reddish-brown in the spring and summer, and turns to a grey-brown throughout the fall and winter. The bucks shed their antlers around February, and begin growing them back in the early spring.

Habitat

White tailed deer can be found in a wide variety of habitat ranging from forest to open fields.  One sure place to watch is riparian habitat, or the fringes of wetlands, lakes, and rivers.

In the north, look for stands of conifers with easy access to water.  White tails often travel the same trails so if you find a well used trail look for fresh sign and scout out a location that affords good visibility of the trail while allowing you to remain hidden.

Of the 16 sub species of white tailed deer found in North America, only three are found in Canada.  The northern white tail ranges from Western Ontario to Nova Scotia while the Dakota white tail ranges from the Ontario / Manitoba border westward to the foothills of the Rockies.  Then there is the small pocket of Tawny deer located in Southeastern British Columbia.

Feeding

During the spring and summer the white-tailed deer’s diet consists of leafy material from a variety of woody plants, grasses, herbs, and broad leafed plants. It also includes such delicacies as fiddleheads, mushrooms, and blueberries.

When summer’s bounty disappears, the deer must depend largely on the twigs and buds that are within their reach. Acorns are a favorite autumn food for white-tailed deer living in eastern Canada, and in Western Canada grain piles left in fields attract white-tailed deer throughout the autumn and winter.  Apples and other fall fruits are also a favorite autumn food of whitetails so don’t overlook that abandoned fruit orchard.  But after the snow flies they start to browse on twigs, branches, or even cedar boughs.  If you have ever eaten venison from a deer that was browsing on cedar you’re sure to remember the distinctive flavor.

Breeding

The peak of the rut occurs sometime around the last two weeks of November in most of Canada, although it can occur a bit earlier or later in various regions of the country.

Does usually give birth to one or two fawns sometime around the end of may to the first part of June, but it is not uncommon to see birthing take place well into the summer months.

Hunting Considerations

White tailed deer tend to be crepuscular, meaning that they are most active in the hours around dusk and dawn.  However, they can be found on the move throughout the day, so don’t limit your hunting activities to dawn and dusk.  Many deer are taken at times when most hunters are lounging in camp.

Deer have keen senses of hearing, smell, and sight.  Whether you are bow hunting from a tree stand or hunting the perimeter of marshlands with a rifle, understanding the art of stealth is a real asset.


Check out this article to learn 5 things you can do now to prepare for next deer season.

While deer season is over for most of the United States, it’s never too early to start preparing for next deer season. Regardless of how successful you were (or weren’t) this year, work put in now can really pay off once next deer season rolls around. Continue reading to find out the 5 things you should be doing now to prepare for next deer season.

Get In Shape

This is an area where almost all of us could stand to improve. Hunting deer is not always thought of as a particularly physically demanding activity. However, being in good shape makes everything easier. This includes everything from setting up tree stands, to building a food plot, to shooting a bow, and even dragging a dead deer out of the woods. Physical fitness is even more important on a back country hunt, but being in good shape also makes sitting in a freezing deer stand for hours upon end easier as well.

Fortunately, you don’t have to do anything crazy to really see a difference with physical fitness. Most hunts do not require marathon level training and a little bit goes a long way for most people. If you merely increase your physical fitness routine to include a few miles of walking each day (and maintain that level of fitness throughout the year) you’ll likely see a significant benefit by the time deer season rolls around.

Go Shed Hunting

Going shed hunting is a great way to get some information regarding the bucks in your hunting area. Finding their sheds not only lets you know how big they are and where they hang out at that time of year, but it also lets you know that they survived the hunting season. Armed with this information, you can then start to formulate a plan of attack for next deer season.

Scout

You can never do too much scouting and this is an activity that goes hand in hand with going shed hunting. Simply put, spend some time in the woods and find out where the deer eat and sleep and how they travel between the two. Vegetation is normally much thinner during the winter when compared to the summer, so it will probably be much easier to see trails and scrapes. Additionally, it is also possible that the deer in your area have different summer and winter diets and habits, so time spent scouting now will give you some information impossible to obtain in the summer.

Inspect Your Gear

Make sure you clean and properly store all of your hunting equipment at the end of deer season. Before you store it, be sure to inspect all of your gear to see if anything needs to be repaired or replaced. If so, now is the time to do it. This gives you plenty of time to get things fixed up before next deer season. Additionally, many merchants have sales that the end of winter in order to switch over to spring and summer products, so you can probably save a few bucks by doing that shopping now as opposed to later.

Practice Shooting

Hitting the range early will enable you to hone your skills without having to deal with a crowded shooting range the week before deer season starts. This also give you a lot more time to test out how a new load or arrow/broadhead combination works with plenty of time to work out any kinks before deer season comes around.

If you’re serious about bagging a monster buck next year, then you should be putting in the work now and start laying the ground work for next year. Whatever you do, don’t procrastinate: that might be the difference between tagging the deer of your dreams next year and eating tag soup.

Enjoy this article about 5 things you can do now to prepare for next deer season? Please share it with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.


Check out these essential deer hunting tips where I share some helpful hints for being successful this deer season.

Deer season is here in some parts of the country, and is just around the corner in other places. Here are a few helpful deer hunting tips that will hopefully help you close the deal and fill your tags this hunting season.

Hunt Using the Right Wind

I can’t emphasize this one enough. Hunting with the wind in your favor is probably the single most important factor that goes into a successful deer hunt. As the saying goes: “you might fool a deer’s eyes or ears, but you won’t fool his nose.” This is especially true when hunting mature deer who have lived through a few hunting seasons.

Unfortunately, no amount of scent eliminating spray or clothing is 100% effective at completely removing all odors from you and your gear. Though they can certainly be useful and can help you during a hunt (as I discuss later), using scent eliminating products is no substitute for hunting with the wind in your favor.

Instead of relying upon scent eliminating products, use some sort of tool that indicates the wind direction. Several companies make “Windicators” that are pretty useful, yet inexpensive. However, a small bag or bottle of ash will accomplish the same thing and is even less expensive. Once you determine the wind direction, do your best to hunt into the wind and stay downwind of where you expect to see deer.

Wear a Face Mask & Gloves

This deer hunting tip is often overlooked by many hunters. However, wearing a camouflage face mask and gloves can be critical to success when hunting deer. Generally speaking, the face and hands are the two body parts that you move around the most when sitting on a stand.

Therefore, you should ensure that your hands and face blend into the background as much as possible. This is even more important for those of us that have light colored skin. Remember: a moving white object is used to communicate danger among whitetails. The last thing you want to do is go to scratch your face in the woods and a deer (that you didn’t know was there) busts you.

Dress in Muted Colors

It’s not necessary to wear the newest and most advanced camouflage patterns to be successful on a deer hunt. Our fathers and grandfathers successfully killed thousands of deer without dressing like they just stepped out of a Cabela’s catalog.

Deer do not see colors quite like we do. Generally speaking, their eyes see colors at the blue end of the color spectrum much better than colors on the red end of the spectrum. They also see light in the ultra-violet (UV) spectrum pretty well.

What does this mean? For one, it means that deer can’t see your orange vest. It also means you should avoid wearing blue colored clothing (such as jeans) when hunting.

Finally, it also means that you should avoid washing your hunting clothes with detergents that contain UV brighteners. This will prevent your clothes from appearing to “glow” from the perspective of a deer. Do an internet search for UV brightener free laundry detergents and be sure to wash your hunting clothes with them. Most of the scent eliminating detergents (like Scent-Lok’s laundry detergent) are UV brightener free, but you can also wash your clothes with just about any hypo-allergenic, scent free detergent that works almost as well.

Don’t Slam Your Car Door

This is another often overlooked tip. Especially when things are quiet, sound can carry a very long distance in the woods. A slamming car door is a very unnatural noise that deer hundreds of yards away can potentially hear. Deer that have survived a couple of hunting seasons aren’t stupid: they know what that sound means and they will behave more cautiously if they hear it.

Hunt During the Middle of the Day

In terms of sheer number of deer killed, it is true that the morning and evening are the most productive times of day to hunt. However, mature deer do not usually behave like most other deer and will quickly “pattern” the hunters pursuing them. If you’re consistently hunting from 6am to 9am each day, it probably won’t take long for the deer to figure this out and avoid the area during those times.

Additionally, the big bucks will often move the most at night during hunting season and will bed down for a couple of hours in the morning. By the time 11am rolls around, some of them will be back on their feet to stretch their legs and grab a quick bite to eat before bedding down again for a bit.

So what does this mean for you? Pack a lunch, and attempt to sit in your stand all day long, if necessary. If you can’t do that, then at least ensure that you’re in the stand during that critical 10am-1pm period of the day.

Enjoy these essential deer hunting tips? Please share them with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.