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How to Hunt — 9 Basic Tips

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a hunting rifle on a tripod

Whether hunting for meat or trophy hunting, some essential tips and tricks are needed when you head out to your stand. The best part is that these tips come in handy regardless of your experience in the sport.

If you’re a beginner, you can learn from these tips and tricks to get a productive start and avoid too much trial and error. As a veteran, you can use these tips to look at your hunting strategy from a new perspective.

Even if it isn’t hunting season, it’s never the wrong time to hone your skills and ensure success in the upcoming deer season. Here are nine essential tips and tricks for hunting efficiently.

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How to Hunt – The 9 Basic Tips

1. Focus On Scent Control

While hunting, you can never be too obsessed with scent control. Whitetail Deer, in particular, have very sensitive noses that keep them alert at all times, which is why you must cover up your human scent as much as possible.

To be invisible to the deer or other animals, masking your scent is critical. However, you could take a few precautionary measures, including using a scent-free soap right before hunting.

You must pay attention to the scent of your clothes, towels, and anything else that touches you or that you take on your hunting trip. Washing your hunting clothes with baking powder can help make them odorless.

In addition, you must ensure you’re not sweating while you hunt, as your body odor will keep you on the animal’s radar. Lastly, you can use scent eliminator spray before walking to your hunting location.


2. Pay Attention to the Wind Direction

Father and son hunting with binoculars

Image credit: LightField Studios, Shutterstock

Your scent control strategy will only be wasted if you ignore the wind direction. Unfortunately, this trick goes hand in hand with scent control and skipping it is one of the worst mistakes as a hunter.

You mustn’t forget this tip even in suburban areas where the wildlife is used to human presence. Assessing the wind direction helps you ensure that your scent isn’t being blown over them, alerting them of your location.

This is why it’s essential to analyze the bedding and feeding areas of the land. Once you figure out where the deer will be, you’ll know which places you must prevent the wind from carrying your scent.

Try to stay downwind from the animal’s location.


3. Stay Quiet

This one may seem like an obvious tip, but it’s pretty hard to master. Becoming a good hunter will be impossible if you constantly announce your presence. You may think you’re quiet, but animals are rarely accustomed to human sounds, making it easier to sense your presence.

Try to walk on the heels of your boots and make sure your equipment isn’t hitting you or one another while you make your way.

You could also apply foam padding to load items or wrap metal gear in duct tape to cushion the sounds.


4. Prepare for the Worst

man hunting in the wild

Image Credit: jackmac34, Pixabay

While prepping for a hunting trip, you must imagine every worst-case scenario and prepare yourself. Of course, it’s impossible to think like an animal and predict all its mannerisms, but your imagination will allow you to practice.

For example, it’s best to practice shooting your weapon from varying stances since you can’t control specific hunting scenarios which force you to alter your stance. The same goes for varying heights, angles, and weather conditions.


5. Hide Your Shadow

One of the most important things to consider while setting up your lock-on stand or climbing stand is the time of day. In addition, you must think about how the stand’s placement will look based on the sun’s position.

It can take something as minor as your shadow or silhouette for the animal to sense danger and run away.

Look for trees with wider bases to hide your silhouette during sunny hours.


6. Know the Land

hunter using flashlight

Image Credit: Edgar G Biehle, Shutterstock

You may think you only need to be informed about the animal and your hunting strategy, but that couldn’t be less true. It’s critical to be familiar with the land you’ll be hunting on for multiple reasons.

If you have full access to the property you’ll be hunting on, you should take some time to familiarize yourself with the minute details before hunting. For example, use deer signs and tracks to know their current location and find out where they are.

Also, look for the bedding and feeding areas and the water sources on the land. Once you know the animal’s travel routes, it’ll be easier to set up in their bedding area before getting busted.


7. Don’t Be Predictable

After you’ve done your research and reviewed the trail cam pictures, you’ve done enough land scouting. Now, you’ll be able to predict the animal’s movement, but you must ensure it is unable to predict yours.

If your hunting strategy becomes lazy, repetitive, and predictable, the animals will avoid those areas when you hunt. That’s why it’s important to mix things up! Make sure to have multiple hunting locations and varying ways to access them while still paying attention to the wind direction.


8. Stay Alert and Off Your Phone

Yes, it’s important to stay in communication while you hunt, but that doesn’t mean you should let technology blind you. Hunters are much more likely to get busted due to being on their phones instead of paying attention to their prey.

It’s best to miss out on a few minutes of social media rather than miss out on the hunt of your dreams. Of course, you don’t want to return empty-handed, right? So, the rule is simple—keep an eye on the prey, not your phone.


9. Take Ethical Shots

Lastly, but most importantly, you must take an ethical shot, regardless of the type of animal you’re hunting or the weapon you’re using. Whether you’re using a gun or a bow, taking an ethical shot maintains your responsibility as a hunter to ensure a quick and painless kill.

Although this requires patience, skill, and practice, the time and effort you put in will be worth it. Take your time to familiarize yourself with the animal’s anatomy and analyze how the angle of your shot will impact the entry and exit wounds.

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Besides these tips, you must also remember to be prepared for anything while in nature.

If you don’t have a heated tent, a cot will keep you warm. You should also bring some water with you and dress in layers.

Whether a beginner or a veteran, these tips will help you revise your hunting strategy and maintain unpredictability to catch the animal off guard.

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Featured Image Credit: ddefillipo, Pixabay

About the Author Jeff Weishaupt

Jeff is a tech professional by day, writer, and amateur photographer by night. He's had the privilege of leading software teams for startups to the Fortune 100 over the past two decades. He currently works in the data privacy space. Jeff's amateur photography interests started in 2008 when he got his first DSLR camera, the Canon Rebel. Since then, he's taken tens of thousands of photos. His favorite handheld camera these days is his Google Pixel 6 XL. He loves taking photos of nature and his kids. In 2016, he bought his first drone, the Mavic Pro. Taking photos from the air is an amazing perspective, and he loves to take his drone while traveling.

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