White-tailed deer find all their life needs closely associated with
the forest. As with many animals, they are known as creatures of
the “edge” with a love for green plants, waste grain, and tender
shoots that they often find in the edge of cultivated fields. Therefore,
in early season, the knowing hunter looks for heavily used
trails within 50 yards or so of the edge. Late in the season,, however,
it is the forested land that provides their hiding cover, much of
their food, and space for movement. Now you may want to move
your stand to more secluded areas.
If you choose to hunt on the side of a ridgeline within the forest,
look for trails that lead to the lowest point on the ridge. Deer moving
over a ridge will typically look for that path that costs them the
least amount of energy to get from one side to the other.
Deer also prefer a forest that is undergoing secondary succession
to a forest that is mature. Shrubs, bushes and plants such as
poison ivy provide both food sources and hiding cover. This regenerating
forest is usually very thick, making it difficult for other animals
to find the deer; however the deer travel through it with ease. If hunting in such an area, a tree stand near a small clearing or on
power line right-of-way might be productive.
Waterways offer another place to ambush deer. One person
relates that deer use streams and valley floors like humans use interstates…
to get somewhere fast. The biological need for water can
be satisfied in many ways. Early in the season, daily trips to ponds
or streams may be expected but late in the season a small hidden
spring will give a big buck all the water he will need.
Deer normally stay within a home range of approximately 1
square mile or 640 acres. However, during the rut, all bets are off.
During this breeding season, bucks travel great distances to find
does that are ready to breed, and may be found several miles from
where they were seen yesterday. It is the time of year when they
simply don’t care if hunters or cars are in the vicinity, they are only
intent on breeding.
Prepare and Scout
Hunters should plan several days of scouting before season
starts. This is the time to discover numbers and quality of the deer
in your hunting area. Heavily used trails will indicate deer numbers
while the rubs show where big bucks are active. While small bucks
will rub on shrubs and small trees, big bucks use larger woody material.
The rub of a big buck will also be higher in the tree.
Several Stands, Early as Possible
While you are in the woods scouting, it is a good time to set
up several stands or repair those from last year. You need plenty as
daily conditions change and a simple wind change may make one
stand unproductive. If boards need to be replaced, doing it early
will not disturb the deer as much as a day or two before season.
One hunter related that he attracted a nice buck to his stand during
season by sawing branches to improve his field of shooting. Unfortunately,
he couldn’t get an arrow loaded onto his saw.
Sight-in and Practice
Every year and several times a year, hunters will first adjust
the sights on their bow or fi rearm then continue to practice. Sights
sometimes get bumped during transport. If you miss what you thought was an easy shot, a trip back to the target range is preferable
to more misses.
Target Area of Shot Placement
When shooting at deer, the hunter should plan for a quick
and effective kill. He or she should look for openings through the
vegetation where they can place a shot into heart-lung area. The
heart-lung area of a deer is reasonably large (10 inch circle). A shot
here will cause massive bleeding, and the shock of the bullet will
normally drop the animal within a few feet. There are other vital areas
on deer, but patience will normally give you a shot at the larger
area. If a killing shot is not available, enjoy watching the deer escape
Scent Control, Wind, Entrance Path
Deer have a very sensitive sense of smell and deer hunters
practice three methods of scent control in the woods. First, bathing
and laundry soap is available that does not have a scent identified
with humans. Many hunters are careful about deodorant and some
brands may repel deer. Finally, there are bottles of scent from animals
that will mask the human smells, and in some cases attract
Plan all day Hunt,
Bring Food and Water
Deer hunters report
seeing deer throughout
the day. Especially in peak
hunting periods, other
hunters may move the
deer anytime. Therefore,
bring plenty of water and
enough food to be comfortable.
the senses of deer as
you plan for your food,
as smells or the sound of
tearing a container may
alert the deer.
Know Tagging and Reporting Procedures.
As in all hunting, the hunter is responsible for knowing the appropriate
rules and regulations. All information is available on-line
or in a hunting guide that will be sent to you for asking. Reporting
all kills provides the most accurate information for the Department.
With this information, biologists can continue to provide a quality
deer hunting experience for all hunters.
There are many books, videos and websites on how to field
dress a deer. One example is the Missouri website is at this link http:
Rather than repeating those procedures, a few additional hints are
- Relax, calm down, and take your time. Do not start field dressing
until the animal is still.
- Come prepared with a sharp knife and rubber gloves.
- Many hunters cut themselves during the field dressing process;
wait until you are calm, and be careful.
- Be careful not to penetrate the intestines as you remove organs.
- If you think you would like to have the head mounted, make sure
you do not cut the skin forward of the ribs.
- In early seasons, either have ice available or purchase ice quickly
to place in the body cavity and cool the animal from the inside.
- In warmer weather, you will want to skin and quarter your deer quickly so it can be cooled in a cooler.
- In colder weather, skinning the animal will be much easier if done
quickly rather than after the animal is cold.
When cutting up the meat, three hints are offered.
First, remove all hair, fat, muscle sheath, and bruised meat that
you can. Hair clings to the meat and can be removed with a damp
cloth followed my careful search. Much of the taste that people
associate with deer is held in the fat. Fat and sinew can be sliced
away from the muscles with the aid of a sharp fillet knife. That meat
around a wound will be bruised from impact. Bloodshot tissue may
have a strong taste or not be visually appealing when served.
Next, rather than cut into individual steaks or chops, cut chunks
that will provide enough meat for your intended meal. For instance,
if you normally feed four people, cut the steaks in 4 inch pieces. By
leaving it in larger chunks, there will be less freezer burn.
When you are ready to wrap and freeze, plan to double wrap to
reduce freezer burn. First wrap in clear plastic wrap that is sealed
as you wrap. Next, cut pieces of freezer wrap and place the meat
at one corner. Roll the meat and freezer wrap together from one
corner to the other, folding in the edges. The package can now be
sealed with one small piece of tape.
(Lonnie Nelson on the suggestion from a friend in Tennessee)
This recipe works best with meat from the back strap of a deer,
but my wife will not let me cook any deer steak any other way.
- 4 Venison Steaks
- 4 Slices of
- Worchetershire steak sauce
Cut steaks 3⁄4 to 1 inch thick. Wrap in bacon (just like a filet
mignon) and douse with 6 shakes of Worchestershire steak sauce.
Place all steaks on a plate, cover with aluminum foil and marinate for
4-6 hours. When ready for dinner, grill them on the barbecue just
like you would cook any other steak. I prefer medium rare, and cook
them no more than 5 - 6 minutes over the coals per side.
Venison Pot Roast
Art Boebinger, retired employee, Kentucky Department of Fish and
- 1 Venison roast (up to 5 lbs.)
- Vegetable oil
- 1 Celery Stalk, chopped
- 2 Carrots, diced
- 1 Medium onion, chopped
- Garlic clove
- Flour Salt
- 1 12-Ounce can beef stock Pepper
- 4 to 5 Potatoes (optional)
Rub the roast with cut garlic clove and lightly salt and pepper
the meat. Dredge in salted and peppered flour. Put two tablespoons
of oil in a cast-iron dutch oven and heat over a medium high
burner. Brown meat on all sides but do not allow it to scorch.
When meat is half- browned, add celery, onion and carrots. Add
beef stock and an equal amount of water and bring to a boil. Add
salt and pepper to taste. When the boiling point is reached, tightly
cover. The roast can simmer at a low temperature on top of the
stove, or it may be transferred to a 300 degree oven. In either case,
plan to cook it slowly for two to three hours. Turn meat occasionally
and add stock or water if needed. During the last hour, potatoes
may be added to the pot to cook in the roasting juices. Serve with
potatoes and red cabbage.