Today’s hunting is not just a killing game. It’s more of a pastime and a hobby. Some look at it as more of an adventure since it involves a lot of activities.
In the past, hunters had to carry heavy equipment and hoist it in a strategic position for video recording. They hoped that the stand doesn’t scare away animals.
However, today’s technology has provided more compact, lighter and easy to operate gadgets. They also come in different sizes just for you.
While some people hunt to survive, others hunt to make memories, to celebrate or to bond. Some are just adventurous and fun-loving. They always wish they had the best camera to capture fun moments.When you share memories with family and friends, you still want to go back to hunting.
Also, T.V.’s air hunting shows and experiences and it’s only after this that you realize the urgency of havingthe best video recording camera when you go hunting.
Choosing the best video camera for your hunting can be overwhelming because recording home movies and hunting activities are quite different. With hunt recording, you must consider filming distance, video quality, unique features and portability. Your choice of camera should also fit in your budget.
This guide provides the best video cameras with all the filming features you need for your hunts. If you loveYouTube hunting sensation and life hunting memories you’re in the right place. We have the best gadgets to capture those adrenaline-pumping moments.
This camera provides high-quality videos that will make your viewers think they are watching a live video of your hunting. It comes with 4k video capture footage with vibrant colours and crisp image quality.
The glass quality is incredible, made by the best optical glass industry in Leica. The glass produces crystal clear images even when in a zoom mode.
It also has a shotgun microphone that produces the best audio recording. You can also adjust the sound to match your recording situation.
It also features a smartphone-enabled remote shooting that allows long-distance recording. It’s a great option used to record hunts from a secondary perspective.
It also consists of a high zoom that collects light in low light settings for clear recording. It is a must-have feature because most animals become active at around dawn and dusk.
4K videos are excellent, but those cameras are expensive. To avoid all the hustle, you can capture your full H.D. videos using the Panasonic HC-V770.
This camera captures professional and quality 1080p videos. A 20X zoom feature helps capture long-distance hunting while the HDR (high dynamic range) feature reduces any bright spot that may creep into the video.
The Panasonic HC-V770 camera has the N.F.C (near field communication) and Wi-Fi capability that offers a seamless connection to your devices and pc. You can also stream your real-time videos using this Panasonic camera. A smartphone can capture videos from far. If you need to keep an eye on your hunting zone, you can set this camera upwards in a skilled, planned location.
This camera has a top-notch sound recording mic that will ensure that you don’t miss any noise during the recording process. It will also help in creating authentic hunting videos with clear audio.
Though this camera lacks the infrared feature, it has an impressive low light recording, thanks to the insider B.S.I (backside illuminated) sensor. You don’t have to worry about any noises during shooting. The silent operation feature is a plus to hunting activities. The camera registers excellent quality, compact and lightweight features.
This camera gives your hunting excursions,high definition footage courtesy of its high-grade professional camera. Although it’s a bit more expensive than the other models, it is still cheap than the other cameras that give similar qualities. The XF400 camera offers cost-effective videography using its 4k UHD quality video feature.
Other features include an electronic viewfinder, a touch panel LCD measuring 3.5 inches and X.L.R. inputs that connects the microphones.
This camera produces a high-quality video that makes your viewers think they are next to you in the hunting field. It has a 15X optical zoom lens that gives you a personal and close game in the area. Consequently, it records a 4K UHD video at a smooth 60p. The 400 feature enables it to capture the first action shots, at a full slow-motion recording of 120fps in full H.D.
This camera also features a Dual Pixel CMOS AF in having accurate and fast autofocus.
The 5-axis Optical Image Stabilizer assists in producing steady footage that leaves your viewers calm.
Although the Canon XF400 is relatively compact, it weighs almost 2.5 pounds. It would be necessary to seek assistance from your partners.
Sony produces reliable video recording cameras. The HDRCX405 has stylish and attractive features for hunting lovers.
The 60X and30X optical zoom is a plus for hunters who wants to zoom from long distance. This same zoom feature produces superior, explicit and quality videos. The high-quality sensor creates 1080p videos of good quality.
Its Exmor CMOS sensor helps this camera to produce videos of high quality even in low light conditions. You will not find any grain shot in your video shot at dusk or dawn. This camera can shoot up to 9.2- megapixel images.
This camera is compact and can fit in the palm of your hand, and Carrying it in the woods won’t be a burden. Although it does not have wireless connectivity, it has an HDMI and a USB output. This gadget has many accessories, including high capacity batteries, HDMI cable and a 32GB micro SDHC card.
The Sony HDRCX405 has high capabilities videos and has other appealing features.
The Panasonic HC-V180 will make you doubt the narrative ”you get what you pay for” because you will get surprisingly features for a relatively low price. These features include impressive image stabilization, intuitive interface, an intelligent 90x zoom and short light recording features.
This compact gadget weighs only 8oz, making it perfect for remote hunting as it will be easier to get it up a treestand.
You can customize and filter your videos using a touch screen LCD monitor.
It becomes easier to see through the woods since the monitor measures up to 3 inches.
At that price range, it also features a two-channel zoom microphone for clear and crispy audio. The high-quality microphone adjusts the recording volume automatically to match the camera’s zooming capabilities.
This product does not start recording immediately after starting. Instead, it will take up to five seconds to begin; hence giving you time to adjust your scope for the perfect shot.
The HC-WXF991Kcan handle the high-quality video format that you might need. It has a 4K video capture. It also has a capture and pause features that you can use to capture those fascinating events you would like to frame on a photograph to get high-quality images.
You will not want to be distracted by your camera when holding a gun, and therefore, this camera comes with a remote shooting feature. Through this feature, you can control the camera using your smartphone.
It has Wi-Fi connectivity allowing you to play videos directly on your TV. You do this via wireless TV playback. If you area fun of live streaming, this camera supports full H.D. and real-time streaming. It also has a night mode for coon hunting adventurers and other low light hunting trips that you may want to try.
The camera is compact and lightweight, making it the best choice to carry in the woods. It has a perfect build quality, although you should take extra care in wet conditions. Remember to carry spare batteries and memory cards if you need to shoot videos constantly.
The Alpha A7R II is a brand from a Sony company and is the best for recording gobblers that visit in the early morning. The sensitive ISO 409600 enables it to capture wide dynamic locations even in low light conditions.
The professional-level movie functions enable it to record high-quality footage, resulting from effective colour editing and slow motion.
The Alpha A7R II offers both an intelligent autofocus mechanism and a manual focus. The smart autofocus mechanism is 169 points faster than the manual guide, and it also ensures subject detection accuracy regardless of the available light.
The Alpha A7R II camera ensures stable filming that gives a five-axis optical image stabilization even when hunting a first paced deer. It keeps your footage rock steady.
However, this product does not have waterproof features and cannot function well in cold temperatures.
You don’t have to look for a different camera when you go hunting the spring turkey. You have the right gadget. However, the weather has to be perfect and not rainy.
People possess cameras for fun and attention. Choosing the best camera to purchase is a challenging task. However, this is broken for you.
How durable is this camera? Durability should be your number one question you should ask yourself before purchase.
A durable camera is water-resistant and can withstand harsh weather conditions. Bad weather should not stop you from shooting fun moments. Therefore you should go for a camera that has waterproof features. Also, a durable camera can last long without the need for replacement.
Connectivity is another crucial feature to consider. It should be easy to transfer and upload video files to the web. Also, you should download your files into your pc easily. Never purchase a camera that does not have a screen display for playback.
Be sure your camera has enough storage space to avoid running out of the room when you want to capture an important event.
You should always check the available space before you start shooting. Remember, videos take a lot of space than photos.
A camera with a short battery life will not be useful to you. A decent camera should have an average of 120-minute battery life.
Also, ensure the package has extra batteries and, if not, purchase extra batteries that will serve you for long hours.
Also, the spare batteries of the camera you purchase should be affordable and readily available.
Ensure that you have a fast memory card to make your work easier. A slow memory card can cause frustrating moments.
A slow memory card will slow the video footage process, an experience you would like to avoid.
The overall appearance of a camera may deceive you only to realize that it has a low megapixel.
A smartphone has an average of 8 megapixels. As such, a camera should record at least 12 megapixels for quality recording.
The camera’s accessories should be readily available. A cyclist would like to mount the camera on their bike.
If you cannot find the accessories, you will not record some of your fun time. Every time you want to buy a camera, visit its website to familiarise yourself with the package and accessories.
How many times do you spend your time before a night out or a date to making sure that you smell perfect? Well, yourgoal might be different when it comes to deer hunting. At this time you want to fool its nose first before it notices you. That’s when you realize the need of a scent when hunting.
A deer has a distinctive smell of about sixty times better than humans.It uses that sense of smell as a defence mechanism. You should therefore dedicate much time and care on how you smell. Do you know you can get a solution to this problem?
For you to maximize your chances of deer hunting, cover scents should be among your strategies. Just like you camouflage your body with the right clothes, you should also mask your odour. A Deer can smell you even before you see it when the wind is not favouring you.
Scent control is the most significant debate among hunters around the world. Some hunters argue that people have been hunting from time immemorial and they never used all this stuff. It is true, but why don’t you utilize the technologies available today to make your hunting easier?
I am about to give you information that will enable you to take down a deer and also be ahead of other deer hunters. You will also use this guide to choose the best scent that fit your needs.
The foggy mountain pure skunk Cover Scent is the choice for those hunters who want to musk their natural scent with that of a skunk,deer and other game animals will not suspect a thing.
This product comes in small sizes, but it will last almost the whole hunting season because you only need one drop for effective hunting.
Do you know how skunk urine smells? It is the same smell you get by using this product. It is 100 per cent natural and just like skunk urine, this smell will last for a very long time such that it will be impossible for you to forget it.
It has a unique way of application, and you don’t have to apply it on your clothes. Instead, you can apply one drop on each of hunting boots or shoes. You can also use it on a napkin and stick it to your clothes.
The hot doe estrus deer urine is the product that should come into your mind if you want a scent that attracts deer and also covers your smell. It’s proven in the field and therefore ideal for any hunter.
Its fragrance creates a barrier between the hunter and the deer.Doe in Estrus gives a scent that mostly attacks a buck and mimics the smell of a doe on heat. The results are incredible!
Hot doe estrus emitsa scent that attracts other bucks that might be fighting over territory. It gives a powerful combination, helping in attracting both deer sexes and its effectiveness in both late and early hunting.
You only need to spray the surrounding air and vegetables. It is the only product that you don’t need to spray on your clothes although by doing so it can be a bonus. Also, you may opt to spread the product downward the air.
You do not have to continually spray this product as it sticks to everything that it comes into contact with.
You can choose between locking it down to empty the whole can or spraying in short intervals. You need to buy more than one can if you need to spray everything at once.
Hunters agree that it’s pretty much easier attracting a deer on heat. The nationwide scents doe Scents comes in a package of two bottles to give effective outcomes for those hunters who mean business.
This package includes Standing Estrus, It’s a two in one product as it will not only attract the deer to your location, but it will also cover your scent.
The package is unique as it comes in small bottles that look like shots of alcohol. However, once opened, you will notice that the content is not fit for human consumption.
The urine is made from a buck or a single doe to make the attraction. The manufacturing company collect urine from a variety of deer, and they blend. Therefore, the scent will challenge the deer in your area, and they will smell a hot doe nearby.
The Nose Jammer Spray is an inexpensive product that will also cover your scent. It comes in two sizes of between 8 oz and 4 oz. Consider taking the 8 oz package since it has a wind application range and also to avoid disappointment as you may run off it unexpectedly.
The product consists of natural compounds such as the vanillin and other compounds found in areas where elk and deer graze. The hunter will also enjoy the sense of smell.
Also, you can enjoy the more expansive application feature as you can apply it almost everywhere, including the gear, boots, bow, tent, blind, clothes, vegetation and on other surfaces.
This product provides a medium to extend coverage, making it easier for you to get to your target without them noticing you.
It does not produce an unpleasant smell as the scents come from bushes and plants. You don’t have to rely on shifting winds, this product enables hunters to get closer for a perfect shot.
The Tink’s Earth Power Cover Scent is the best choice for hunters who need to cover their scent with an inexpensive and dirt like smell. It is the second most inexpensive product after the Nose Jammer.
The package comes with 3 compact size bottles, each with 50 shots per bottle. The package should be enough for your hunting for a whole weekend.
It works moderately good as it has a well-spread soil-like smell that covers your scent. It attracts deer that are in search of soil.
This product offers a comprehensive application option as you can apply on clothes, skin, boots, blind, trees stand and also around the vegetation where you want to ambush the deer.
It is the best way to go if you are after an inexpensive product that comes in small sizes.
This formulated product is for hunters who don’t like using deer urine or liquids. They come in small round wafer bottles that you can attach to your clothes. It is also very inexpensive.
It comes in a variety of fresh earth that smells like soil, Natural Pine, White Oak Acorn and Natural Cedar. You have to match your scents with the trees found in your hunting area.
The pack is long-lasting since it comes with three extra wafers in the package. Each wafer will last for more than 20 days at a time.
Another essential feature that you will like about the product is its multiple uses. You can hang the effect on the trees or attach it on your clothes because it comes with three pangs of hanger that you use to hang the wafers on tree branches and three pins that you use to attach the wafers on your clothing.
It is a very inexpensive option that yields excellent results.
The Conquest Scents is a deer scent stick that resembles those applied underarms and is also for both the buck and the doe.
The mode is similar to deodorant and therefore, it gives you a mess-free experience as opposed to the ones in liquid form.
It helps in calming and attracting the whole herd. It means you won’t only attract the buck but also the doe.
You will enjoy its simplest way of applying that involves smearing or spreading on the surrounding trees or onto your boots. As a result, the scent will hide your scent and draw the herd next to you.
However, the product cannot lure animals from long distances as effectively as the sprayed scent.
Choosing the best scent can be difficult for beginners and other hunters who do not know what the market has to offer. This guide will help you get the best choices as it will enlighten you on what to look for when buying a cover scent for deer hunting.
The Available Scents
You will find a long list of scents such as deer urine, skunk urine and natural compounds.
Any product made of deer urine will not only cover your scent but also draw deer near your location. This urine comes from the buck and a doe.
For you to achieve the best results, you need to combine them, spray your boots and the vegetation surrounding your hunting area.
Skunk urine offers the best cover to your scent. You do not need to catch a skunk or tease it for you to get urine. Instead, you can use Foggy Mountain Pure Skunk Essence
A single drop will be enough where you use a handkerchief or a sponge to apply. You can also pour the drop directly on each of your boots. Be careful not to use it on your clothes due to its unpleasant smell.
Other Natural Compounds
Vanillin is one of those compounds usually found in a specific flower. The others are oils collected from bushes or trees that are effective in hiding your scent.
How to Apply
You should consider the method of application which can either be pouring on antler, spraying on vegetation or scrapping on the ground. You can also apply some on boots or shoes.
A wafer contains scents that you are required to carry by attaching to clothes using a safety pin, or you can hang them on tree branches by use of hanger.
If you prefer scents that are less messy, you should buy fragrances that you can smear on trees, boots or shoes.
You might be concerned about the price although most of these products are less expensive. The price range favours every aspiring buyer.
For bowhunters, bow hunting has never been that easy. It requires some practicing to get that killer shot.
Bowhunters understand this better than those accustomed to hunting using a rifle or shotguns.
Apart from learning how to draw length, a bow hunter must learn to find the right range before striking.
Rangefinders compliment a hunter’s eyesight and help in scanning and determining if the target is within a good distance. As a bow hunter, you can use rangefinders while hunting on open fields or from a tree stand. The rangefinder is one of the most essential bow hunting gear that a savvy hunter carry along.Check Latest Price
True to its name, the Vortex range 1300 Rangefinder is your ideal rangefinder for bow hunting if you want a range of up to 1300 yards. The rangefinder allows you to strike your game with acute precision.
The Vortex Ranger 1300 is your ideal rangefinder if you like going for the killer shot from a long distance.
The Vortex Ranger 1300 has a horizontal component (HCD) mode display that allows you to improve range accuracy by reading the correct angle distance.
You can take a long-distance shot from a difficult angle thanks to the Vortex 1300 LOS mode capabilities.
The Vortex 1300 Ranger allows you to scan both immobile and mobile targets. The scan mode of this rangefinder ensures the display is visibly clear even in poor light conditions.
The Vortex 1300 has a multi-layered lens with capabilities of reducing light reflection and therefore, improving the clarity of the target.
The Vortex 1300 comes with a neck string and detachable clip; hence, it is an easy hunting equipment to carry along in your bow hunting escapades.
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The Bone Collector Edition 4x Laser Rangefinder Realtree Xtra Camo, 20mm is the real deal if you prefer hunting in all weather. It is a high-performance rangefinder with incredible features such as the 4x magnified monocular and in-view LCD.
The optical performance of the Bushnell 2022008 Bone Collector is exemplary. The optics are sufficient, considering the gadget comes with a 21mm objective lens.
The rangefinder has a class 1 eye-safe infrared laser and accuracy of 1 yard plus or minus. For a bow hunter, the rangefinder allows you a maximum range of 600 yards and about 200 yards to a target.
The Bushnell 2022008 Bone Collector is easy to use and handle. It has a single-button operation and in-view LCD showing range, aiming reticle, and battery power status.
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Bowhunters agree that the new TecTecTec ProWild Rangefinder has made bowhunting a lot easier and fun. TecTecTec is a new brand in the market, and the capabilities of ProWild rangefinder has revolutionized the bowhunting.
The ProWild Rangefinder comes with 6x magnification, and that means that its ranging is about 540 yards. Another interesting capability is its continuous scan mode allowing the bowhunter to have a better view of both mobile and immobile targets.
The accuracy of the ProWild rangefinder within 1 yard is unmatched.
You will find the TecTecTec ProWild rangefinder of great help if you like to calculate the speed at which your target is moving. This means that the ProWild rangefinder is both help to bow hunting as well as in rifle hunting.
The ProWild rangefinder is your ultimate gadget if your bow hunting adventure is on a rainy day.
It is both weatherproof and shock-resistant.
If you love simplicity and gadgets that are lightweight and easy to carry in your hunting adventures, then consider ProWild rangefinder.
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You can never go wrong with a Nikon Arrow ID VR 7000 Rangefinder in bowhunting. The Nikon Arrow ID VR 7000 is the most advanced rangefinder technology you will ever come across. The Vibration Reduction (VR) aspect that comes with the rangefinder is everything that sets the gadget apart from the rest. This means the VR is the real deal in image stabilization, and you do not have to worry about shaking and having a blurred image.
The anti-shake VR technology gives you image sharpness irrespective of the bowhunting conditions.
The Nikon Arrow ID VR 7000 allows hunters to have a clear view of 1,000 yards. Moreover, the gadget’s HYPER READ technology is an added advantage if you want instant readings and accuracy to -/+.5 yards.
The optics performance are out of this world as the gadget has a 6x magnification coupled with a 21mmm objective lens and not to mention the 18mm eye relief.
For bowhunters who are worried about angle compensation, Nikon Arrow ID VR 7000 gives you exactly what you want.
Indeed, Nikon Arrow ID VR 7000 is weatherproof, easy to carry and its performance in open fields is unrivalled by any other bowhunting rangefinder.
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The Sig Sauer 4X20mm KILO850 Rangefinder Monocular (SGSOK85401) is made by a renowned manufacturer of hunting weapons: Sig Sauer. Sig Sauer 4X20mm KILO850 has 4X magnification and therefore, ideal for long-distance measurements.
With the addition of 20mm objective lens of 24mm of eye relief, this gadget works superbly well within 100 yards and an accuracy of +/- 0.2.
Sig Sauer 4X20mm KILO850 has Lightwave DSP (Digital Signal Processing) technology that makes it process readings at a superfast speed of 0.25 seconds.
Did I mention how the KILO850 turns you into a pro bow hunter? Yes, this gadget allows you to lock the target from a distance. Sig Saucer KILO850 gives you an angle compensated distance and provides you with accurate measurement readings thanks to selective buttons for your preferred modes.
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The HALO XR80038-8 800 Yard Tru Bark Camo Rangefinder is popular among bowhunters who previously used the HALO XRT series.
With HALO XR80038-8 800 you can hunt from a tree stand or if you like from a mountain. The HALO XR has an angle compensation making it easy to hunt on any ground thanks to this gadget’s AI (Angle Intelligence) mode.
The fun part about this gadget is that you can get your target from 800 yards.
HALO XR80038-8 800 has a 6X magnification, and thus you have a great view of the surrounding. The HALO XR has a Scan Mode coupled with an Auto Acquisition capabilities allow the bowhunter to get the instantaneous readings and therefore, enhancing more accuracy.
You can use HALO XR80038-8 800 when it is raining; the gadget is water-resistant.
The rangefinder has LCD in addition to having a long-lasting CR2 lithium-ion battery and lanyard.
With a HALO XR80038-8 800 rangefinder, you get to have the feel of pro-hunter thanks to the gadget’s camo wrap.
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Simmons 801600 Volt 600 laser Rangefinder is your best deal if you want a cheap gadget for bow hunting. This rangefinder is not only cheap but easy to use, considering its effectiveness on short-range hunting.
The rangefinder has a 4X magnification and is best suited if you want to acquire a distance of around 600 yards. However, there still exist other advanced versions of this rangefinder.
The optical performance of this rangefinder is exemplary, and from a single button, you get to measure the distance to your target accurately.
The Simmons 801600 Volt 600 Rangefinder has accurate distance readings when used on an open field. This means that your bow hunting field should be devoid of trees, bushes and slopes.
It has a black display and therefore, making it suitable to hunt during day time.
The following factors are important to consider when buying the best rangefinders for bow hunting.
Some of the best-rated rangefinders brands on the market include and not limited to Nikon, Bushnell, Vortex, WOSPORTS, Simmons and Leupold. A renowned brand name gives you confidence that the product will be of top quality. The following best-rated rangefinder considers the brand and quality.
Unlike in hunting with a rifle, the rangefinders for bow hunting have less range.
It is important that you get a rangefinder that is lightweight and easy to carry along. Therefore, you must be considerate of the rangefinder’s shape and weight. No one wants to go hunting with heavy equipment.
Buy a rangefinder for bow hunting that has both the black and red display. The black display ensures you get the accurate range in blight light while the red display is useful in darkness.
A good rangefinder must have a great magnification to ensure that you get a clear and wider view of the target game.
Among the top-rated rangefinder brands, you will find rangefinders that are both expensive and cheap. The price of the rangefinder dictates the kind of range and functions you want.
As a good bow hunter, you should look out for additional features that you want in a rangefinder. For example, an ideal rangefinder must have a battery backup good optical capabilities as well as durable coatings. It is in your best interest to choose a rangefinder with a readable display and sizable screen. In recent years, bow hunters prefer rangefinders with angle compensation since it is not a must to hunt in open fields.
I had been sitting just below the crest of the low ridge with my back against a tree for more than 2 1/2 hours, and the close of the day’s legal shooting hours was approaching.
I was on the dark side of a mountain, there was a heavy overcast, and it was getting increasingly tough to see into the brush.
Blacktail bucks that have lived to acquire any age and wariness become almost totally nocturnal during the early part of the hunting season, and I knew that if one was going to show, it would be dark–or the closest thing to it.
The “clearing” I watched was only 20 yards across and not totally free of brush. There was a deer trail along the edge of it–not a deeply rutted or even well-defined trail but an almost imperceptible series of large tracks.
Big blacktails are usually solitary during hunting season and often travel their own trails just off the main trail. This was just such a situation, and I had high hopes.
Suddenly, a ghostly shadow revealed itself just over the crest of a rocky outcrop below me and to my right. At first I thought it was a raccoon, but as the form moved I realized it was some distance behind the rock. It was a deer screened by brush, and when he moved again I saw it was a buck.
For several minutes I saw nothing more, then–quickly and silently–the buck emerged not 10 yards away. There I sat, in full view of a good buck so close I could almost spit on him, and my rifle lay across my lap. I held my breath as the buck stopped, staring straight ahead, and then began walking again.
When he passed out of sight behind a clump of brush, I raised the rifle. The buck wasn’t stopping, and when he reappeared on the other side of the brush, I fired before he could walk out of sight for good. I found him a few yards away, shot through the heart.
Blacktail deer are found along the Pacific Coast from northern California to Alaska, and many hunters consider a good buck of this species to be the toughest of all deer to tag. Blacktails usually inhabit coastal mountains that get a lot of moisture, and the dense jungles of ferns, vine maple, salal and countless other plant species can make deer almost impossible to see. Much of this country is steep and full of moss-covered, slick-as-grease blowdowns, and a wrong step will send you tumbling head over heels down the mountain.
Blacktails in this country are virtually unhunted. Fortunately, the wary bucks also inhabit gentler, more huntable slopes–many of them fairly readily accessible. One thing you can count on is that blacktail bucks will always be in or near heavy cover, and about the only time they venture into the open during hunting season is after dark.
I live in blacktail country, and few days pass that I don’t see at least several deer on my property. At some times of the year it is not uncommon for me to see 40 or more does and small bucks just before dark, but seldom will a big buck venture out in daylight unless it is during the preseason–when bucks are usually bunched up–or later in the year during the rut.
There are three or four primary tactics that take blacktails consistently. Stand hunting is one of the best, whether it be from a tree stand or from the ground. The keys here, as with most types of hunting, are to find the right sign and pick a good spot. Tracks, droppings and rubs will give you some idea of where the deer are feeding and bedding. They may bed in a mature forest, but there is not much food there, so in the evenings deer head out to feed in spots that get more sunlight. Clearcuts are prime locations.
Blacktails generally feed downhill in the evening and then go uphill to bed in the morning. Keep in mind that any worthwhile blacktail buck is going to keep under cover, so locate your stand accordingly. You may find beds and tracks in the open, but you can bet the sign represents either does and fawns or the nighttime activity of bigger bucks.
To get a good buck in the daytime, you’ve got to somehow hunt the thick cover. There’s a fine line between a stand that’s in cover heavy enough for daytime deer action and one that’s open enough so you can see well enough to get a shot.
There are those who take blacktails by still-hunting, but unless you’re lucky, you need uncommon hunting skill to get a blacktail this way.
For the most part, blacktails do not migrate much because the majority of their coastal habitat does not get a lot of snow. Consequently, their home range is small, and they know it well. A blacktail buck knows all the escape routes and where and how to bed to get notice of approaching danger. Since the cover is heavy, it is difficult for a hunter to move through the best of it quietly.
Experienced still-hunters usually rely on the rain. Some don’t attempt still-hunting unless the forest is soggy wet from rain, which muffles the sounds of dry sticks and fallen leaves on the forest floor. Rain is usually not far off in the coastal areas where blacktails are found, particularly later in the season.
If you hunt with a partner, it is often possible to benefit from working together. One person can position himself along a travel route from a known bedding area while the other person circles around and approaches the bedding cover from the opposite side. As with all types of blacktail hunting, you’ve got to keep the wind right, and the person on stand has to approach the area without being seen, scented or heard.
This type of hunting is often hit and miss, but it can be productive. Several seasons ago, my hunting partner and I found a heavily timbered bedding area that surrounded a relatively small peak somewhat open on three sides. We came back several days later and drove my truck to the east side, where I dropped off my hunting partner. I then made a wide circle around to the south, far from the peak, and parked. Then I sneaked into position at the west side of the peak along the edge of the timber–about half a mile from where I’d left my partner.
At the appointed time, my buddy entered the east side of the timber and began still-hunting toward me while I waited. After about 15 minutes, a good buck broke out of the timber at a dead run, passing within 50 yards of my position and heading for a large timbered area down the hill. I swung on him with a .240 Wby. Mag., and just as he disappeared again into the timber I let go a round. We found the buck, piled up 30 yards inside the cover.
Unlike with mule deer in open country, it is difficult to spot and stalk blacktails. Some hunters do glass for blacktails in clearcuts in steep country, but rather than stalk in close, they shoot at long range. Glassing for blacktails is different because the dense vegetation means you’ve got to look painfully closely and carefully, often for long periods. You’ll be lucky to see even a tiny part of the deer–a flick of an ear, a glint of sun on an antler tip, an off-color “rock.”
Not just any clearcut will hold blacktails; the growth has to be just right–high enough to give the buck cover and make him feel comfortable, yet open enough to actually see deer. The good thing about clearcut country is that there are lots of logging roads for hunters to walk and landings that provide good platforms for glassing. Bucks also frequently bed below landings, so listen and watch for one at close range as you walk out to the edge.
While you don’t read much about rattling for blacktail deer, it’s a tactic that can work during pre-rut and the rut itself. Like other deer, blacktail bucks do lose much of their wariness during the rut. The western Oregon general blacktail season, for instance, usually runs from late September to early or mid-November. The latter part of the season often coincides with pre-rut, and the archery and muzzleloader hunts often fall during the peak of the rut.
Blacktail deer are not large; live weights for mature bucks normally run 120 to 140 pounds. Like with other deer, weight can vary drastically, and a very big buck might go 200 pounds or more. An ideal all-around blacktail rifle might be a flat-shooting .25-06 Rem. or .270 Win. The 6.5×55 Mauser, 7mm-08 Rem. and other cartridges of this ilk are all good choices for blacktails.
If you’re a still-hunter, a fast-handling lever-action carbine in .30-30 Win. carries well in the brush and shoulders quickly. A receiver peep sight is fast and not as susceptible to rain as a riflescope.
Blacktails are smaller not only in body size but in antler size. To give you some perspective, the minimum score for a typical blacktail to make the Boone & Crockett record book is 130: The minimum score for mule deer is 193; for a northern whitetail, 172; and for a Coues whitetail, 110.
Blacktail numbers often run high in good habitat. There are plenty of them around. Seasons can be liberal, and permits are usually readily available. In Oregon, for example, you can purchase a blacktail tag over the counter. Add to this fact that there is plenty of rugged country to get away from other hunters, and blacktail deer hunting is an often-overlooked opportunity.
Not all deer hunters have gun cabinets full of $1000 deer rifles. Some deer hunters can’t afford such rifles and some only hunt deer once a year and can’t see spending hundreds of dollars for a rifle.
For the bargain hunting deer hunter, military surplus rifles can offer a great way to get their hands on a good hunting rifle at bargain prices.
I picked these rifles because you can get them for a song. These military surplus rifles are solid and come in good deer calibers, plus the rifles in the list are budget priced. Many can be had for under $200.
Even though the M1 Garand, Springfield 1903 and M-14 Semi-Auto’s are more than adequate for deer, or any other big game for that matter, you won’t see them on the list due to their price tags. Some of these guns can set you back a grand or more!
I also do not consider the M1 Carbine an adequate deer rifle, even though I’m sure it has taken a few. Besides, it’s hard to find a “bargain” M1 Carbine!
It should go without saying, but I’ll repeat it here. You should have any Military Surplus rifle thoroughly cleaned and checked out by a competent gunsmith before shooting it.
I’m going to start with the most popular military surplus rifle on the market today. Probably even more popular than the AK-47 semi-auto knock offs.
A budget minded deer hunter can get a SKS for under $200 (much less in many cases). The nice thing is, many manufacturers now stock a huge variety of accessories for the SKS, including Sporting stocks and Scope mounts.
The SKS rifle is a semi-auto that shoots a 7.62×39 round. It’s 30 caliber round that has less power than a 30-30. I’d consider the 7.62×39 cartridge a 100 yard round at best. Soft nose expanding type ammo is easy to find.
Click here to browse SKS Rifles online for sale.
NOTE: UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD YOU USE FULL METAL JACKET AMMO FOR DEER HUNTING IN ANY CALIBER!
The Yugoslav M48 is a Mauser rifle that is chambered in the 8mm round. This round is more than suitable for and Deer that walks.
Of the Mauser M48 rifles that I’ve shot, accuracy tends to be hit or miss. Some that I’ve shot are very accurate (2 inches or better at 100 yards with iron sights) and some are questionable (worse one was about 4 inches at 100 yards). Overall though, these rifles are known to be accurate shooters. Many were put into service as Sniper rifles in several countries.
I’d certainly check the bore and crown before I bought one of these rifles, then have it checked out by a Gunsmith. A good Gunsmith can probably accurize one of these rifles if you have one that wants to shoot crazy.
Expect to pay between $100 to $200 for a Yugoslav M48 Mauser rifle. I have seen some in Pawn Shops for less than $100, but not often.
Click here to buy Mauser Surplus Rifles and Accessories.
I hesitated to put this gun into this list because good quality Krags are getting harder and harder to find and when you do find them, they can be pricey. But, I’m still seeing a few Krags for under $400 at Gun Shows and every once in a while I’ll see one in the Classified section of the local paper for peanuts.
The 30-40 Krag rifle is pretty darn accurate, at least in the rifles that I’ve shot it in.
The Krag comes with a side magazine, something I’m not crazy about but most people do get used to it after using the rifle for a while. The box magazine will hold 5 rounds. Most ammo manufacturers offer at least one flavor for the 30-40 Krag.
My first contact with a 7.65 Argentine was at a deer camp many moons ago. I had just gotten married the Month before and my new brother-in-law invited me to a deer camp to hunt. The deer camp turned out to be an old school bus in the middle of the woods, with no heat other than a single burner propane stove! It got down to 19 degrees that night. Needless to say, I couldn’t wait for the sun to come up the next morning!
My brother-in-law came out carrying this carbine military rifle and explained to me that it was a 7.65 Argentine. It had a shortened barrel and an attempt had been made to “sporterize” it. He swore to me that he’d taken several deer with it already, but I didn’t believe him 100%. I about laughed when he handed me some of his “hunting” rounds. The were mil surplus FMJ’s!
I said “Bub, you’re using FMJ. I think you need to get some sporting ammo” and after a little bit more discussion, he agreed. The next surprise I was in for was finding ammo for the 7.65 in the middle of nowhere. We finally found a box of Norma’s at a Pawn Shop a few towns away and boy were they pricey!
That gun shot like a dream though. It shot a helluva lot better than my brother-in-law could shoot it. Anyhow, I tried to buy it off of him several times and he refused. I tried to trade it to him and he refused (I suspect it was because he didn’t like me…go figure).
The 7.65 is close to the .308 in size. Performance wise, it can handle any deer you want to take on. It has more than enough “power” for deer sized game.
Expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $200 for a good quality 7.65 Argentine Mauser. I’ve seen a short version of the 7.65 Argentine and I’d try to find one of those, the standard model has a 29 inch barrel!
The Enfield No. 4 can be found in quite a few variety’s and most can be had for under $200. The 2A Enfields made in India in the later years are chambered for the 7.62 NATO round (.308).
There is also a “Jungle Carbine” version of the Enfield 303, but from what I’ve read, they’re notorious for being inaccurate.
The .303 Britishround is more than enough round for any deer that might walk by your stand. Most of the standard model Enfield No. 4’s are more than accurate for deer hunting. Ammo is reasonably easy to find for the .303 unless you’re in the middle of nowhere!
Click here to see some British Enfiled Military Rifles for sale.
Many of these military surplus rifles can be sporterized. Just remember it comes at an additional cost!
I’ve seen many sporterized version of military surplus rifles and many need to be in the local junk yard. I’ve owned a few of these also!
Some of the most beautiful rifles I’ve even seen have been sportorized mil surplus rifles. Make sure the Gunsmith that sportorized your rifle is competent. Ask to see some of his other work.
If you’re buying one already sportorized, look it over real good. On some of the military surplus rifles, the bolt will hit the scope bell when thrown up. This means you’ll have to either use see thru mounts or have the bolt turned down and possibly even ground down a bit.
Make sure any rifle you buy is looked over by a competent Gunsmith.
These military surplus rifles will give you years of service with little maintenance. Because that’s the way they were designed!
In some parts of the country, the bow season for Deer has already opened. By October 1st, most will open or have been opened.
Hunting deer in the early season is a lot different than hunting them later in the fall. A month can make a lot of difference as to where you’ll find deer and how they are living.
The early season generally includes hot weather. Deer dislike extreme temperatures just as much as you and me, possibly even more since they’re wearing a fur coat.
To be successful in the early deer season, here are some tips that will help you bring home the venison
In farm country, this can be as easy as finding which planted field they’re feeding in. In non-agriculture areas, this can be anything from honeysuckle, muscadines or young vegetation in a cleared area.
Even in agriculture areas, deer may stop before reaching the primary feeding fields to browse some new plant growth or honeysuckle bushes. Find these areas and intercept the deer before they get there!
It’s hard to sit still while every biting insect in the woods is having a buffet on your body.
I don’t care how tough you are, if some biting bug reaches certain parts of our anatomy, you’re going to move to scratch it! In the early season, I use bug proof suits such as
Shannon Big Leaf Bug Tamer Plus 3-D Parka. These suits keep the Skeeters and other nasty insects at bay plus they’re not bulky and allow your body to be ventilated.
If you’re hunting lowland swamps or other waterways, then this tip will obviously not be as effective as if you’re hunting the drylands. Deer need water. If you’re hunting an area where water is a precious commodity, then find the water source to see if deer are using it.
Not only can remote ponds and sloughs be a great place to find a watering hole, but many times the cleared area around these watering holes have lush vegetation that the deer love and use as a food source.
Deer Hunting Tip: Don’t forget to take your own source of water when hunting the early season!
I ‘sweeten’ many areas in my hunting area such as honeysuckle bushes or muscadine patches early in the year with some commercial fertilizer like Evolved Harvest Plus Food Plot Accelerator. (yeah, I know it says “food plot” but trust me, it’ll work on other types of plants!)
This will help berry and nut bushes produce more abundant crops of sweet fruit and it helps bushes such as honeysuckle to grow more tender branches!
You can also use the commercial fertilizer stakes intended for nut trees to fertilize Oak and other nut-bearing trees in the early spring prior to blooming for a greater crop of sweeter nuts come fall.
If you don’t think deer will beat a path by an unfertilized acorn bearing White Oak tree to get to one that’s been fertilized, just try it! Make sure you follow the directions so the trees will be fertilized properly, otherwise you’ll be wasting your time.
I’ve never been a fan of hunting over large food plots or agriculture fields. I believe, and my experience has shown me this, that your larger bucks won’t venture into open areas such as food plots and agriculture fields on regular occasions during shooting hours.
Sure, every year a few people get lucky, mostly during the rut, and kill a big buck in an open field. More are killed just inside the edge of those place. Anywhere from 20 yards to 100 yards inside a field is a great place to set up.
Look at inside corners first and then look at pennisula’s jutting out into the fields. These allow bucks to stay under cover long while being close to the food and later in the Fall, the Does!!
If your hunting area doesn’t have a lot of browse, say in old growth National Forest, make “mini” food plots in your area. Just make sure it’s legal in your area first.
Don’t get carried away with these “mini” plots.
The key to their success is to keep them small. I especially like to find an opening 10 to 50 yards outside an overgrown clearcut or another type of thicket.
Make sure the spot you choose get’s enough sunlight and clear away the forest carpet and use a no-till seed mixture like Evolved Harvest Easy Plot No-Till Forage Seed to seed the opening.
It doesn’t have to be a huge spot, in fact, like I said earlier, the smaller the better. A “mini” size of 10′ x 12′ is all you need. I’ve even had success with smaller plots than that.
Once you’ve planted them, don’t forget to fertilize your “mini” plot. If a water source is near, I strongly urge you to consider watering the plot after it has been “planted”.
You can do this with any old watering can. I used to use a 5-gallon bucket to carry the water back to the plot and then use a 1/2 gallon water can with a sprinkler head to water my “mini” plot. What this “mini” food plot does is give the deer a place to come out in the early evenings and stop to browse a little before heading off to the main food source.
It also gives the deer a place to stop by and grab a few quick bites on their way back to the thicket in the mornings.
I can’t tell you how many times I see guys out there about to drop dead from heat exposure because they’re wearing their Fall and Winter hunting clothes in 80-degree weather! My early season hunting clothes usually consist of a long sleeve T-shirt, sometimes even a short sleeve T-shirt with a Bug Tamer suit over that.
I like the Natural Gear type shirts and pants from Bass Pro.
A simple OD Green Army Surplus T-Shirt, loose-fitting, is also a great early season clothing option. You’re not going to be alert and in the ‘zone’ if you’re sweating a gallon a minute!
A lightweight cap is also essential. Most everyone knows that the majority of your heat loss is through your head. In early season, you want to get rid of body heat. Don’t trap body heat in with a heavy Fall or Winter style hunting hat!
I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve heard of deer hunters getting to a stand or ground blind early in the year and learning that a nest of Wasp has set up shop with them or walking upon a snake while on the way to their stands.
Pay attention to what’s going on around you. If you’ll be hunting out of a stand or blind that has been in place for more than a week, be careful when approaching it.
Blinds should be checked for Wasp, snakes and other bad critters before climbing in!
If you’re one of the successful hunters in the early season, don’t forget about proper meat preparation. The deer should be field dressed as soon as possible.
I also carry game bags made out of cheesecloth to slip over the deer to keep flies and dirt out of the carcass. Nothing ruins a hunt more than finding maggots inside your deer carcass the next morning!
These early season deer hunting tips should give you ample opportunity to score in the early season. Early season deer hunting can be one of the most successful periods of hunting because bucks are generally less wary at the beginning of the season.
They’re also more likely to run in Bachelor groups and are easily patterned in the Summer months. They’ll remain in their Summer pattern up until the first hint of Fall or the Rut, whichever comes first in your neck of the Woods! Good luck and I hope you’ve enjoyed these early season deer hunting tips.
For the last decade or so, it seems there’s been a race between gun manufacturers to see who can whip out the fanciest rifle in the most bizarre calibers with ultra magnum velocities with matching price tags.
If you listened to all the hype, you’d think that older guns and standard calibers were no longer adequate to kill a deer or any other game animal.
Yet, millions of older guns sit on gun racks of local Gun and Pawn Shops just hoping someone will come along and put them back into action in the deer woods.
I believe many of these old firearms are some of the most durable and accurate guns ever made.
A hunter looking for a deer rifle can’t go wrong when selecting one of the rifles from the 7 listed below. Not on the list are the Remington Model 700, Winchester Model 70 and Savage Model 110.
Any deer hunter, beginning or veteran, probably knows these rifles are top notch in any of the standard deer getting calibers.
But the list below consist of some rifles you may not have heard of. I want to tell you about 7 of my favorite ones in case you find one tucked back into the corner of a gun or pawn shop somewhere. Then you’ll recognize it for the deer getter it is.
I’ve owned most all the guns and caliber combinations mentioned below and can personally vouch that these old guns will still bring home the venison.
They’re not flashy mega magnums or some new whiz-bang gun of the day, they’re just well-made deer guns that will do their part if you do yours. These are the ‘deer rifles’ you can past down to your kids and theirs for generations.
Note: To see some great vintage gun ads of the guns in this list, click on the thumbnails.
If memory serves me correct, this model was introduced in 1942, or somewhere around there. You can pick up a good used Marlin 336 for a song in most shops these days.
The most popular rounds it was chambered for were the 30/30 and .35 Remington. The 30/30 has killed more deer than most all other calibers combined. And every year it ups it’s total as millions of hunters take to the wood.
The 30/30 is a good caliber out to 200 hundred yards if you know what you’re doing. Beginning shooters and those who only dust their rifles off once a year the day before season opens, should limit their range to around 125 yards or less.
I still shoot the Glenfield Model 30A (a subsidiary of Marlin) that my Dad gave me many years ago. He purchased that rifle used in New Mexico the year I was born. That was his “Deer Gun” and it didn’t matter whether or not it was Mule Deer or Whitetails.
I love looking back through old photo’s of him and my uncle with Mule Deer hanging from meat poles and my Dad with me on one side and that old Glenfield Model 30A on his other knee.
It was the rifle I took my first deer with and one I’ve since killed more deer with over the years.
I’ve seen Marlin 336‘s in Gun and Pawn shops fetching anywhere from $125 to $300. I’d expect to pay roughly $200 for a quality 336 in good condition and hopefully, it would have a decent scope on it.
The Ruger 44 Carbine is a great first time gun for a young hunter or for a hunter who’ll never be shooting out past 100 yards. This little carbine tames the 44 mag round and makes it manageable for those shooters who are slight of build.
The 240 grain 44 Magnum is plenty for any buck who ventures into your stand area. The rifle is compact and quick handling and comes with a rotary clip magazine. You can find clips for these old deer getters on eBay and some gun shops still carry a few.
I’ve heard of a few reports that this gun would not cycle reliably with factory bullets heavier than 240 grains, but I can not personally attest to that. I never found the need for anything heavier than the good old 240 grainers, but it’s something you should be aware of if you’ll be trying bullets of different weights.
As I said above, the Ruger 44 Carbines are getting harder and harder to find. Expect to pay in the neighborhood of $300 to $500, and possibly even more, for a Carbine in Excellent shape.
The Savage Model 99 is an old favorite of many deer hunters across the country. Whether you’re after a Whitetail Buck in the expansive forest of the Northeast or a Mule Deer buck in the Rockies, you can do far worse than carry a Model 99.
The Savage 99 is a lever action rifle that is most known for the two Savage cartridges it was chambered for early on in its production, the 250 Savage and the 300 Savage. Both are good deer rounds, although ammo may be hard to find on the shelf for both in most parts of the country. Later 99’s were chambered for the popular .243 and .308.
Early models of the Savage 99 were not tapped and drilled for scope mounts, although any good gunsmith can do this relatively cheaply. The rifles had a rotary magazine until 1984 when Savage introduced the ’99 with a clip magazine.
The Savage 99 came in both a solid frame gun and a take-down model.
The ’99 was made for nearly 100 years and was chambered in a range of calibers all the way from the 22 Hi-Power to a version that was chambered for the .410.
Savage introduced the 250-3000 Savage in 1915 and it was the first commercial cartridge to break the 3000 fps barrier. Later the name was shortened to .250 Savage.
These rifles have smooth actions and are plenty accurate for hunting needs. Expect to pay anywhere from $300 for a well worn ’99 all the up to a $1000 or more for a rare caliber Model 99 in excellent condition.
Most of the .300 Savages and the new production run of clip-fed Savage 99’s in .243 and .308 in good shape can be had for around $400 to $600.
I bought a used 788 in .308 in the early 90’s. That rifle was the 2nd most accurate rifle I ever owned (the first was a Ruger 77V in 6mm). This rifle would easily hold 1 inch groups at 100 yards with most factory ammo and sub MOA groups with my handloads with Speer 165 grain Hot-Cor’s.
The Remington 788 is a rugged “meat and potato’s” type gun. It’s far more accurate than most people can shoot. The clips can be easily found on eBay should you need more than 1.
The 788 was chambered for most standard short chamber cartridges including the 22-250, .243, 7mm-08, .308 and 30/30.
If you happen to see a Remington 788 on the gun rack at your local gun shop, be sure to grab it. You won’t be disappointed!
The Remington 760 is as fine a deer gun as you can find. It’s a solid pump rifle that many Eastern deer hunters have relied on for years. The Benoits of New England have probably done more for the popularity of pump rifles as anyone.
The Remington 760 and 7600 come in standard calibers such as the .243, .270, 30-06 and .308. You can also find some of these older guns in deer getting calibers such as 35 Whelen, 300 Savage, and the 7mm-08.
These pump rifles are amazingly accurate as well. In fact, although one thinks of Eastern hunters when they think of the Remington pump rifle, they’re used by many a Western big game hunters as well.
Remington pump rifles come in a standard 22 inch barreled version as well as a ‘Carbine’ version with an 18-inch barrel. If memory serves me correctly, the Carbine comes in 30-06 and 308 only…just don’t quote me on that!
The Carbine is a quick handling gun in thick timber. One reason it’s a favorite among Guides who go after a dangerous game like Bears in thick cover.
Expect to pay in the $300 to $600 range for a good Remington 760 or 7600. Extra clips are easily found on GunBroker.com and eBay.
The Winchester Model 88 has been around since 1955 when it was introduced for the then new .308 Winchester. The Winchester 88 is a lever action rifle that is chambered for short action rounds such as the .358, .308, .284 and .243.
The Winchester 88 uses a detachable clip magazine which allows the use of spire pointed bullets for greater velocity.
In the late 60’s Winchester introduced a Carbine version of the 88 that was chambered for the .243, .284 and .308. It had a plain stock rather than the checkered stock of the standard version.
The Winchester 88 is very accurate due to its rotating bolt lugs. Rotating bolt lugs very similar to a bolt action rifle. This is one solid gun.
I believe the Model 88 failed to ‘catch on’ because it was ahead of its time. It really didn’t look like any of the traditional deer guns of its time. The .284 and .358 weren’t the most popular calibers, although they enjoyed far more favor back then than they do today.
Expect to find a good used Winchester 88 for $400 to $700.
I know that it’s said the Model 70 is the ‘Rifleman’s Rifle’ but I don’t agree. I think the Ruger #1 is the ‘Rifleman’s Rifle’. Like it or not, there’s just something positive to be said for someone who has the confidence to use a single shot rifle.
Although the Ruger #3 is also a fine single shot rifle, it was only made in a few calibers including the 30-40 Krag and 45-70. Both of which are more than enough for any deer walking, but the rifles their self are scarce.
The Ruger #1, on the other hand, are still being made. These are accurate single shot rifles. One reason I preferred the No. 3 to he No. 1 is because of the No. 3 was a ‘Basic’ rifle with little to no frills and was accurate. The No. 1, on the other hand, is a high class big game rifle and the price reflect that.
The No. 1’s come in a wide range of calibers depending on the Model. You can get them in anything from a .204 right up to the .458 Magnum.
Another advantage of the Ruger #1 is that the standard length barrel is 26″. Even so, since there is no action, the Ruger #1 is shorter than many standard bolt action rifles with 22 ” barrels.
My ‘Perfect’ deer rifle would be a #1 or #3 with a 22 or 24″ barrel chambered for the 7mm-08. Since that combination is not available (or wasn’t the last time I looked), I’ve been thinking about a No. 1 in the .257 Roberts. (another favorite round of mine)
Ruger No. 1’s aren’t cheap. Expect to pay $500 to $800 for a No. 1 in Good condition.
There are many good rifles that didn’t make my list. Guns like the Browning BAR and BLR’s, any number of Sears and Western Auto contract rifles, Remington Automatics, etc. Some rifles I just don’t like. Others, I have never used or have been around.
One that didn’t make my list and that I’m very familiar with is the Winchester Model 94. I know it’s a popular deer rifle, but I just don’t like the 94.
I don’t like the early versions because it takes a good gunsmith to mount a scope with them and the newer side ejection models still benefit from using see through scope rings. I hate see-through rings!
I also didn’t list any Magnums. I have never felt the need to use a Magnum caliber on a deer. They’re just not needed. Few hunters can actually shoot one well and if a deer is so far off that you feel you need a Magnum, you need to learn to get closer to the deer.
Case in point. I used to work with a guy who talked his wife into buying him a .340 Weatherby Magnum one year for Christmas. At the time I lived in Arkansas and he hunted the same general area I did. The Ozark Mountains. His excuse was that he needed the rifle to “reach across the clearcuts to touch ‘dem big boys”.
He only shot this rifle a day or so prior to the Gun opener and only in camp. Which meant the target was never more than 100 yards away (I visited their camp several times).
After the first few times of shooting the gun, he became afraid of it and would try and have other people site it in for him. I shot the rifle on several occasions.
Needless to say, of all the years I knew him, he only shot two deer with that rifle and both were under a 100 yards. Both were badly mangled due to one bullet hitting the front shoulder first and one hitting the rear leg bone on the other.
Another guy I worked with bragged to everyone in earshot that he used a 7 Mag and a .338 Win. Magnum for deer hunting. The other guys at work who hunted out of his camp said he would find a spot where he could see the furthest, usually a clear cut, and open up on anything that walked into few.
The running joke in camp was “When is Bud starting the Revolution?” Surprisingly, for all the firepower this guy had, he never killed a buck large enough to enter into the company’s big buck contest. Go figure.
If you run into any of the ‘Old School’ guns listed above on a gun rack, know that they’ll do a good job for you. Don’t hesitate to put the gun back into the field. Hey, chances are they’re experienced deer killers anyway!
I’m going to assume that you haven’t lived under a rock your entire deer hunting life. However, even if you have, I’ll briefly describe what a deer funnel is.
A deer funnel is basically anything that causes deer to pass through a narrow or restricted area. Think of the tiny midsection of an hourglass and you’ll get the picture.
Deer funnels are great places to take your Buck or any other Game animal for that matter.
Deer funnels can be nothing more than how the land lays. Game animals normally follow the lay of the land so anything change in the lay of the land that causes them to pass through a restricted area can be considered a funnel.
Beaver dams can create great deer funnels if the terrain permits. A Beaver dam may be the best crossing over a creek that there is for hundreds of yards. Deer will naturally walk across a Beaver dam before they will swim. So will Hunters!
Man can also create funnels. Fence lines, Ponds, cleared fields, etc. can all create deer funnels.
Below are a few of the popular funnel areas. I’m going to attempt to help you identify deer funnels in your area.
A saddle in a ridgeline creates the classic funnel. Here is a snapshot of an area I bow hunted quite a bit in the late season. As you can see, it is a perfect funnel. There are two red X’s, each is next to the saddle. When you see deep saddles in ridges like these two, sharpen your hunting knife!
Both of these spots were a long walk unless you wanted to walk straight up from the road below. I prefer a long fairly straight walk as opposed to a straight up walk!
These saddles produced deer year after year. As you can see, these saddles are on a State PHA. I’ve only seen hunters twice in those saddles in all the years I’ve hunted there. I’m not sure why more people don’t hunt them, but they don’t.
The best bet to hunt funnels like these are in the mornings as the air heats up, the mountain thermals will cause your scent to rise. Deer will normally be coming from the valleys to bed near the top or cross over to the other side.
This next funnel has also been a great funnel area for myself and others.
One funnel is created by a Wet Weather slough pinched up against a river. The red “X” indicates the funnel. This funnel is about 50 yards wide and is great for Bowhunting (as well as Muzzleloader and Gun). There are big open Red Oak flats on each end. During dry times, the slough has thick growth in it. When it rains, it holds water. That’s an old Beaver dam that dissects the slough just above the “X” (our treestand is actually at the end of the Beaver dam you can see in the photo).
The Yellow “X” also represents another funnel. Not quite as effective as the Red “X”, the Yellow “X” has big woods on either end. This about as far away from the Public parking area as you can get. We get into our stand well ahead of daylight and let Hunters push deer to us when we hunt the Yellow “X” funnel.
Ahh fencelines. Not many hunters realize what a great funnel fencelines can make.
The aerial photo below shows one area I’ve hunted for over a decade.
We hunt the 80 acres in the center. To the West, there is open pasture with a scattering of Pecan and Oak trees. To the North, there is a National Wildlife Refuge with overgrown pastures. To the East and North East, private property and a Agriculture field to the South East.
Deer go back and forth between the West field and the woods on the East side. They also come out of the heavy underbrush on the grown up NWR to the North.
The Red “X” represents one of our stands. We’ve taken 3 – 8 pointers scoring over 130 points out of that stand as the deer follow the fence line.
The Yellow “X” is where an Oak tree fell on the fence about 2 years ago, creating yet another funnel. The NWR fence is a stout fence and it didn’t offer the deer many areas to get across at. When the tree fell, I assume it didn’t take them long to find it as they now have a path beat down across the fence…15 yards from another Red Oak with my stand in it! (on the private land side obviously)
The green line represents another fence running North and South. While not a strong deer magnet, every once in a while a buck will be following it, either going to, or coming from, the Ag field.
You’d think the fence line on the West side, (yellow line, left side) would be a great funnel. But it isn’t. It never has panned out. One reason is that I believe that the fence line is so thick you can not see through it. There are a couple place where coyotes and other critters crawl under the fence, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find any deer sign there. I believe it’s because they can’t see over or through it.
Subtle Deer funnels are areas that you’d normally overlook because you don’t notice the slight change of the terrain. A topo map helps out with this.
This funnel here is a low spot on top of a very wide ridge. So slight we at first overlooked it when we started hunting the property over 20 years ago. If it hadn’t been all the deer tracks in the old road, we’d never set up a stand there.
Luckily we did because this was a “Guaranteed” stand if there ever was one. I can’t remember how many deer we killed out of that stand, but it was many. About 8 years ago the landowner sold the land and that ended our hunting on the property.
Notice how there is a slight rise on each side of the X? Basically this is a saddle, but you’d probably not recognize it if you drove down the road.
Deer would come from the right, cross through the saddle and down the point of the ridge and into the fields below.
In the Mornings, they be coming back from the fields.
During the rut, or when a front approached, it was an all day stand because you never knew when deer would show up!
So break out your topo maps and aerial photo’s and find those Funnels! Just remember not all funnels are created equal, some good looking funnels are never used by deer for one reason or another. While subtle funnels like the one above can produce deer year after year.
Check with your state’s game dept. Many states are now putting up aerial photo’s and topo grids for popular WMA’s.
A great resource for Aerial photo’s is the Microsft’s TerraServer. It’s free and covers many areas of the U.S. On many of these maps, you can switch from Aerial Photo to Topo Grid. This makes it sweet!
I’m told that Google Earth has some fine Aerial Photo’s and not of people on the Beach! I’ve never tried it though. Here’s the link if you’d like to try Google Earth.
Take the time to search out funnels in your hunting area. I’ve never seen a hunting area that didn’t have them!
Okay, I know I’ll probably get flamed for this, but I think it’s something that needs to be discussed. I know it’s discussed every hunting season by at least one Outdoor magazine and in every Gun Shop and in every Deer Camp.
The topic of these discussions/heated arguments in deer hunting circles is…
The simple answer is Yes…and…No.
First of all, the 243 is a necked down 308 that uses a .24 caliber bullet (6mm). As everyone knows, the 308 is a great round for Deer and other Big Game. That doesn’t make all of its offspring great Deer rounds though!
I’ve owned a .243 and a 6mm. The 6mm was a Ruger 77V and was without a doubt the most accurate rifle I ever owned. But I only used it for Varmints and never once tried it on Deer sized game.
I did use a 243 with 100-grain bullets one year to take a small buck at about 60 yards. He was feeding along, calm and perfectly broadside.
The shot was perfect double lung and he leaped forward at the shot and piled up 50 yards later. Not everyone has had the same experience with this round.
In the past, the 243 suffered from poor bullet construction. Sometimes the bullets blew up on impact, sometimes they didn’t expand at all while other times they did exactly what they were supposed to do.
Bullet construction has come a long way over the years, but I still do not consider the 243 an ideal Deer cartridge, especially for beginners. Deer hunters can improve the performance of the 243 by reloading the round with premium bullets.
Sadly, the 243 Winchester is what beginners are handed a lot of the time as their first Deer rifle.
One of the problems I see now is beginners headed out to the field with the light 55 to 85 grain loads for the 243. Most of these loads have fragile bullets as they are intended for thin skinned varmints, not a tough old ridge running White-tailed Buck Deer.
Part of the problem is that so-called ‘experts’ behind the ammo desk and Gun writers are pushing these rounds on unsuspecting Deer hunters because they think lighter and faster is the way to go.
Another problem is that if you’re not practicing regularly, you may not be as familiar with the rifle as you should be. Many beginners (okay, most) will get a terrible case of “the shakes” when it comes down to the moment of truth when that buck deer comes into view. Heck, even most of us old-timers do! The difference is, those of us who have hunted for years and are experienced, have learned how to control “the shakes” and focus on the shot.
A poor hit on a Deer is made even worse when using a small bullet in a round like the 243. The extra damage caused by a .26 or 7mm caliber can mean the difference between finding a marginally hit animal or not.
In my opinion, the minimum caliber that should be allowed for Deer hunting is the 243 with a 95-grain bullet. I can’t believe the States that allow 22 calibers to be used for Deer.
Yeah, I know they’ll kill a Deer but so will the 22 Rimfire and even the little 17’s. Why not allow them to be legal rounds to hunt Deer with? Having said this, it doesn’t mean I think the 243 should be used by beginners.
To me, the 243 is to Deer rifles what the 410 shotgun is to wingshooting. Sure, it will get the job done, but it’s not for beginners!
How many of you that consider the 243 the ideal rifle for beginners would consider the 410 ideal for beginners to use Goose or Turkey hunting? Even though the 410 is used every year to take both, I don’t know anyone who would put 410 in the hands of a new hunter when going after those two birds.
The fact of the truth is that the margin for error is nil when using a small caliber like the 243. Everything has to be just right and everything, including the bullet, has to do its job. There are other low recoil rifle rounds that give you extra “knock down” than the 243 Winchester round. (FYI: this is no measurement of “knock down” power, just of .ft .lbs of energy)
Speaking of bullets again, if I were going to be hunting Deer with the 243 Winchester, I’d choose either the 95 and 100-grain bullets in a strong design like the Nosler Partition.
Forget about using fragile bullets like the Ballistic Tip, even in the heavier bullets, for Deer sized game. A hit on a shoulder blade or other bone could cause the bullet to explode on impact.
In the hands of an experienced and seasoned Rifleman, the 243 is more than adequate for Deer sized Game.
I once read an article by an Outdoor writer, I think it may have been Jack O’Connor or Jim Carmichel, that told a story about a man who used the .243 for Elk. He killed Elk every year with his rifle, everyone being a neck shot. He saw no need to buy a “real Elk gun”.
Does this make the 243 an ideal Elk Rifle? Methinks not!
However, in the hands of that Gentleman, it certainly was.
And so it is for Deer Hunting. I know a guy who kills 2 deer a year for his freezer. It doesn’t matter what they are as long as they’re legal. He has used a 243 Winchester for over 20 years and it’s the only “Big Game” Caliber rifle he owns.
Every deer that I’ve seen him kill has been a neck or head shot. He’s hunted out of the same two stands year after year for the last 20 years. His shots range from 30 to 300 yards. In his hands, the 243 is the perfect caliber for Deer.
A seasoned hunter knows how to control his/her excitement when they see their buck. The seasoned hunter has the patience to wait for the “perfect” shot placement opportunity. The seasoned hunter knows which bullets perform best in his/her rifle and they can put those bullets where they need to go at the moment-of-truth.
Many new hunters cannot do these things due to a lack of experience. They don’t have the experience to wait and to recognize when a Buck is nervous and about to bolt. They haven’t learned how to control their breathing when putting the crosshairs on a Buck.
It’s for this reason and mainly this reason alone, that I do not consider the .243 Winchester an adequate rifle for Deer hunting in the hands of a Beginning Deer Hunter.
As I stated above, there are other great choices of low-recoiling rounds for deer hunting that pack a bigger punch than the .243. Check ’em out before buying your potential new hunter a .243.
Nothing’s worse for a new hunter than to shoot a deer and not be able to recover it because of a marginal, or a poor, hit. Put the odds in their favor by using a larger round! If you must give a beginner a 243, then, by all means, make sure you use premium ammo like Fusion 243 ammo. It’s a reliable bullet and one that will work well as long as the shooter does his or her part!
When I talk about baiting all of you hunters know what I’m referring to. For those of you who don’t, baiting would mean using the distribution of some sort of food attractant (corn, apples, carrots, etc.) to bring deer to a certain location in order to be able to have a clean shot and ultimately kill the animal.
I know baiting is a controversial subject and also a subject that gets plenty of time on numerous hunting forums and other hunting-related websites.
I just basically wanted to touch on the already widely debated issues of baiting and also get into another area that maybe hasn’t been hit upon yet.
First, I have to say that I don’t have a problem with baiting at all. I can’t honestly look at anyone and tell them that I’ve never hunted over some sort of bait pile before. I have and I will admit to it.
In recent years though I haven’t used baiting as a means for bringing animals into my setup. It is just a personal choice for me.
I would rather outsmart a deer by figuring out its route to and from food sources and bedding areas, sitting up on that area, and outsmarting them at their own game.
Now I have hunted a couple of setups this year that did have bait at them, but not bait that I put there.
My brother is a baiting fool and the bait was already there before my arrival. I have to be honest though and say that it didn’t keep me from hunting there, but I would not have put in the effort to bait that location. Again, my personal choice.
There were a few reasons while talking to a friend, that baiting was brought up as a topic. One was that it was a hot topic on a local outdoor forum that we frequent. This, in turn, got his mind wandering to a different area of the baiting controversy that hadn’t been really touched upon yet.
I’m not talking about an anti-hunter. I am speaking of the person who supports hunting but does not participate in the sport.
With the amount of discrepancy between hunters about the ramifications of baiting, how does one that doesn’t hunt perceive baiting? I would think not positively.
Most would deem it as an unfair advantage and point to the fact that it is taking “the fairness” out of the chase. They would point to the simple fact of using a necessity that all animals have to fill their bellies, to legally kill game.
Do I agree with that viewpoint?
To a degree I do. Do I think that baiting should be banned? Heck no. I think baiting increases your chances for scoring, but by no means is a guarantee for a kill. Trust me on this one. I can say that from first-hand experience. I have never shot a deer over a bait pile before. It hasn’t happened yet.
I know what is coming next. “I haven’t shot a deer over a bait pile before?” you say. What about a cornfield or a bean field? This brings up the next baiting argument. To that argument, I say this.
Agricultural fields such as corn fields and bean fields can be acres in size and are not in such a concentrated area like a bait pile is. The two can’t be compared as the same thing. They are much different, with a lot more odds against you, if you’re hunting an open bean field then if you’re sitting in a woodlot over a bucket full of sugar beets.
See what I mean?
So I think baiting definitely has a place in the hunting world, but not one that I normally choose to participate in. So my question to all of you is this. What do you think of baiting and do you think it is ammunition for the anti’s, and more specifically, do you think the general population that supports hunting views it in a negative light? Let the comments and the discussion begin. I can’t wait to see all the different viewpoints.