So you’re a new hunter looking to conquer the great outdoors. That’s great but you can’t just tromp into the woods unprepared and uninformed and expect to be successful. You need knowledge, insight, and just a touch of luck.
With this series we’ll present you with the best information to get you started in the world of hunting. And for those of you with a few seasons already under your belt, maybe we can give you a refresher on The Basics.
Now that you have your most basic survival gear in hand, it’s time to fill those packs with some fun stuff that will (hopefully) help you track down a big buck or bring him running to you. We’ll stick to suggestions for now and leave the product reviews and comparisons for a later date.
1) Lashing Material
Having a strong length of lashing material can save you a world of frustration when dragging a deer. Rope is a good option but can be cumbersome to pack and haul. Twine is too week. The best option is paracord. First used in World War Two for parachutes, paracord is a lightweight, versatile lashing can be used for nearly any task. It’s also extremely easy to carry. Many websites offer tutorials on braiding paracord into bracelets, lanyards, and even rifle slings.
You’ll need to carry a couple different kinds of gloves with you. First, you’ll want good warm gloves to keep your hands toasty, the best style of which being mitten shooting gloves. These mittens either have a single shooting finger or have a flap that can be held back to free your fingers to perform vital tasks. Secondly, you’ll want latex gloves for field dressing. Any animal can carry diseases and while dressing a deer you’ll be covered in blood and bits that could easily find any open wounds you might have on your hands.
3) Scent Covers
You stink. So does every other human. And deer have very good noses. With a good application of scent covers you can decrease the chance of a deer catching wind of you and running for the hills. That being said, remember that all the spray, bodywash, shampoo, soap, and deodorant in the world isn’t going to help if you smell like last night’s campfire and this morning’s coffee and cigarettes.
A quick trip to the sporting goods store (if there is such a thing as a quick trip) can barrage you with grunt calls, rattle antlers, bleat cans and all other kinds of mimicking noise makers. Chose wisely and use sparingly when it comes to these gadgets. Look for a grunt call with multiple functions to save space in your pack. Some calls can recreate every age group of whitetail from fawn all the way to bruiser buck. As for rattling antlers or rattle bags, remember that not every buck in the woods is a dominant twenty-point brute. Bang those sticks together too hard and you’ll send perfectly good deer running in the other direction.
5) Drips, Wicks, and Estrus
While it’s deer don’t want to smell you, they do want to smell other deer. During the rut, bucks will seek out does ready to breed and will look to chase off lesser bucks in their territory. With bottled estrus you can set off those instincts in bucks and apeal to the curiousity of does. Either synthetic, natural, or blended there are plenty of potent options and configurations. And just as there are several liquids and gel (even aerosols) there are nearly as many was to disperse the smelly stuff. Drag lines are a good and simple option. Simply cover in liquid and tie it to your boot. As you walk it will leave a trail right to you. You can also tie the line in a tree in a shooting lane for an ambush. Wicks can also be soaked and hung from trees in a line for and ambush trail. Drips require a bit more work. They work best when place over real or mock scrapes to bring in those territorial bucks. Whatever you chose, remember to pack a ziplock to prevent spillage and scent leaking. You don’t want to be the guy covered in stink with nothing to show for it.
You’ve got a bag full of goodies. You’re dressed and outfitted correctly. You’ve got the right permits. You’re almost ready to bag your first deer. It’s time to spark up one of the oldest and best debates in hunting. Next on The Basics: This is My Rifle.