Our biologist sums up the keys to deer hunting in just two short paragraphs.
QUESTION: I’m just getting into bowhunting, along with my 10-year-old daughter. What are the most important things to know about the patterns of deer? We live in Oregon, and we don’t get the luxury of whitetail patterns. — Hans F.
ANSWER: I’ll start by pointing out most of us don’t enjoy the luxury of so-called whitetail patterns espoused by some experts. The fact of the matter is deer, like people, have individual personalities, and what they do at any particular time may depend simply on their mood. Furthermore, they don’t wear watches or have jobs, so they don’t need to be in any particular place at a specific time.
The best you can do with any deer species is look for general trends. Deer — whitetails, blacktails and mulies — are crepuscular, meaning they’re most active around dawn and dusk. That’s when you should concentrate your efforts. Outside of the breeding season, about the only reason they’re on their feet is to feed and avoid predators.
Find out what they eat and where it occurs in greatest concentration and hunt there when deer are feeding. And unless frightened, they’ll typically travel along the path of least resistance, where they expend the least amount of energy and have the least exposure to danger. Find these funnels and hunt them when you think deer will be moving between feeding and bedding areas. The rest is fine tuning, which will come with experience. — Recent Ask the Biologist Question:
Looking for a Cure: Even your friendly deer biologist is susceptible to buck fever.
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