MEAT ON THE
Deer hunting is not only a sport, but a means of providing meat for your table.
Of course, if you cost-account your deer-hunting trip you'll find that venison
is considerably more expensive than prime beef, and not nearly as toothsome.
But a trip to the supermarket doesn't satisfy the hunter's need to match his
wits and skill against wild game. Therefore some men (and women) hunt—and so
WHERE AND HOW
If your local newspaper has a rod-and-gun columnist, ask him where to hunt; or
ask advice from a nimrod neighbor. If you go to an established hunting camp,
charges (including services of a guide) will be anywhere from $10 to $100 a
day, and you should plan to stay at least four days.
You'll need a hunting license, and in some areas a special deer permit in
addition. Nonresident big-game licenses cost from $10.25 to $100, depending on
the state in which you hunt. Learn and observe the game laws where you
hunt—they're made to protect the game that belongs to the public, which is
You'll need clothes. They should be warm, comfortable and light enough to let
you walk without tiring. Wear a red cap or red jacket, preferably both, and try
to avoid looking like a deer.
Check local gun requirements before you hunt. Many states specify the use of
particular weapons and ammunition. If you plan to hunt mule deer in wide-open
country you'll want a telescope-sighted, high-power rifle using ammunition that
has a lot of muzzle velocity and a fairly flat trajectory. For whitetails or
black-tails in heavy woods where shots at over 50 yards are exceptional, you'll
want a shotgun or iron-sighted rifle using ammunition that travels more slowly
and that will plow through brush with a minimum of deflection.
Deer may be hunted in several ways. "Still hunting" means slow, careful
stalking, or sitting on a vantage point along a trail (path used by deer)
waiting for the game to come by. A solitary method, it demands more skill and
knowledge on the part of the hunter than does "driving," in which
hunters are posted at favorable stands while guides and other hunters in the
party attempt to drive deer past them within shooting range.
RULES FOR THE
Hunt into the wind, if possible. Deer have a keen sense of smell and don't like
yours, even after you've showered. And don't talk while stalking or waiting on
a trail. Your voice is an unnatural sound in the woods, and deer have sensitive
ears. Keep your eyes on the brush and cover around you—deer move quietly unless
frightened and you'll see them before you hear them.
AFTER THE SHOT
Follow up any deer you shoot at, even if you think you missed it. Sometimes
fatally wounded deer don't bleed until they've traveled several hundred yards
(and sometimes not at all). Learn the vital areas of a deer, and don't shoot
until you're on him with the sights.
AFTER THE KILL
Dress your deer as soon as possible after you've killed it (or have the guide
dress it for you). If you have to leave a deer overnight in the woods, put a
shirt or undershirt on the carcass. The human odor will keep coyotes, wolves,
foxes, and even—in some cases—bears from molesting the meat. Don't bring your
deer home tied to the hood of your car. Engine heat will spoil the meat.
Get a good book on deer hunting and study it. Among the most useful volumes are
Hunting Whitetails by Frank C. Edminster ( William Morrow & Co., 1954) or
Lawrence R. Roller's excellent Shots at Whitetails ( Little, Brown and Company,
1948). Practice gun handling, and learn to shoot without flinching. If you're
going to be a deer hunter, be a good one.