Deer Fever – Hunting info for newbies

No, it’s not a new epidemic you’ll need to get vaccinated to prevent. It’s more of a pain in the butt, huge frustration and can lead to a heart full of disappointment. I’m still waiting for my first harvest…EVER! I’ve logged many, many hours in my stand and blind. I’ve taken an embarrassing amount of shots and am near perfect when target shooting. Even when shooting clays, I have a high level of accuracy (clay discs which are launched into the air, which imitate the flight of birds). I just can’t seemed to put the accuracy into play when trying to provide for my family.

Some lessons I’ve learned along the way and tips I’ve received are as follows:

  • First and foremost, sight-in your firearm.

    Yes, the glasses should be over your eyes when shooting, not on your head.

  • Practice shooting at a variety of yardage. This will help train your eye to adjust accordingly based on the distance of the deer.
  • Consider investing in a range finder. Once you have one, always use it to measure the distance between you and the deer. Before shooting, adjust based on how your gun . For example, this is my target. Do you see how I’ve hit the target a bit higher than the bullseye? That means my firearm is shooting high and I need to lower it just a bit to compensate. Keep in mind you’ve probably sighted your firearm in at 25 yards and as the distance of your target has most likely changed so does where you aim. Since I’ve not harvested my first deer you’ll probably want to refer to an expert for a good ‘how-to.’ I’m not a huge fan of About.com however, they do have a pretty good tutorial on the subject.

    We re-use our targets by covering holes with electrical tape.

  • When in your stand or blind, remain quiet. Although, I’ve found than when using blinds made from bales of corn stalks, the noise that you do make is muffled.
  • Remember to pee BEFORE heading out!
  • Before shooting, steady yourself by leaning up against the tree or something sturdy. This will reduce the nervous movements you may have either due to excitement or fear of the kick-back.
  • Speaking of kick-back. If you’ve never shot while hunting, you may be a bit hesitant due to the ‘kick-back’ of the firearm. First, when you are hunting and have your eye on your harvest, you’ll be so excited that the ‘kick-back’ won’t even cross your mind. If you find that it does, you may consider the fact that you are either not ready to hunt or it might not be your thing. Take a break from going solo and hitch a ride with another hunter for an observation trip…or two.

Tips for a case of Deer Fever:

  • As I said above, be sure to steady yourself against an object. Similar to shooting photos, this will prevent your body from moving which increases your chance of shooting your target.
  • Prior to heading out to hunt, try a small amount of red wine to calm your nerves. One-half shot is plenty for me since I’m not a drinker. I’ve only tried this once and it happened to be a time when I didn’t see any deer. Several people swear by this technique. I do not encourage recreational drinking, drugs or smoking, at all and definitely not while hunting or operating a firearm.
  • Take a deep breath before you shoot & exhale a bit, then hold your breath as you shoot. I was told that this helps to minimize your body movement and increase your accuracy. (also applies as a great photography tip)
  • Use your quiet time in the timber, tree or field to pray and meditate. There’s nothing more relaxing than becoming spiritually centered with nature and giving thanks to the Lord above.
I have a fun post written specifically for my hunting gals out there…check it out over at the previous version of TMFH!! No boys allowed!! I had forgotten how much fun I had writing that post…and hunting last year.
What other tips have you tried? Have you ever come down with a case of ‘deer fever’?  Good luck out there!

Here's to a filling the freezer for my family!

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