Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine   


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Deer Hunting

By Steve Hall

Nothing stirs a hunter's emotions more than the opening of deer season. Hunters all simultaneously catch a case of "buck fever," a vision of the hunt to come that creeps into dreams during the nights before the season. That anticipation grows until the moment the trigger is squeezed or the bowstring pulled.

You don’t have to harvest a big-antlered buck to get your blood flowing, either — shooting a doe can be just as stimulating. Hunter education courses help you learn about safety; be sure to buy a hunting license before you go.

Deer hunting is a rite of passage for hunters in North America: Take a hearty whitetail or “muley” (mule deer) and provide rich, lean venison for the table.

deer hunting

Quick Tips:

  • Maintain safe muzzle control, especially in and around vehicles, making sure sporting arms are unloaded, properly cased and separate from the ammo until you’re ready to take a legal shot.
  • Immediately tag the deer upon kill and make sure to complete the “white-tailed deer log” on the back of the hunting license.

Gear Up:

Big-bore rifle or other sporting arm: A .24- or .30-caliber (6mm to 7mm) centerfire rifle is perfect for taking Texas white-tailed and mule deer. No matter what you choose, find a good teacher and familiarize yourself with the action, safety and functions.

Ammunition/arrows: Rifle and handgun calibers (bullet width), grains (weights) and bullet materials/shapes all affect performance. Arrows must match the bow weight and draw length of the hunter.

Scopes/sights: “You can’t hit what you can’t see!” A quality telescopic or bow sight is the best choice for most deer hunters. Make sure it’s been “sighted in” (sights properly adjusted) and properly transported.

Binoculars: A good set of binoculars helps determine species, sex, antler dimensions and other deer characteristics.

Elevated/ground stands: Elevated box stands/tripods and ground blinds are the favorites of most Texas deer hunters. Pop-up, portable camo blinds and folding chairs also are popular to use around active deer trails, open pastures and/or downwind situations.

Clothing: Clothes should be durable and weatherproof. Public land deer hunters are required to wear hunter orange. On private lands, many deer hunters select camo clothing, but orange is still recommended. Boots should be lightweight, durable, comfortable
and waterproof.

Other accessories: Bring a good knife for field dressing, skinning and quartering the animal. Also consider bringing game packs, field dressing (meat handling) gloves, game scents/calls, coolers, range finders, shooting sticks, survival kits, insect sprays and wind direction indicators.

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