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How To/Pro-Tips

Take Your Best Shot

Whether you hunt with gun or bow, there is usually a time when the animal presents the optimum shooting opportunity. This "best chance shot" is a combination of range and animal position. While making our hunting videos, I have learned a lot about waiting for the best time to shoot. We want to get as much tape as possible of the deer coming in, so we try not to shoot too quickly. While waiting for the best shot, both literally and on tape, I watch the deer carefully for signs of nervousness. Flicking the tail, upright ears and a suddenly rigid body posture all tell me that the deer suspects something is wrong and is probably about to flee. Does often hang around and become highly agitated. Bucks, particularly big ones, are much more subtle and usually sidle away at the first hint of suspicion. Watching hunting videos can help you learn to pick up on this same deer body language and know when to take your best shot. -- Bill Jordan

Last Minute Scouting

Last minute scouting should be more like last minute looking. You really should have done your serious scouting well before the season and then vacated the area to let it and the game settle down. However, it is comforting to verify that your hunches of a month ago are actually correct now. If any of your hunting sites are near open land, spend a late afternoon or two glassing the fields or pastures. Seeing deer near your hunting area is a great morale booster and doesn't do any harm. If your stand is in the deep woods, taking a last look is more risky. If you do this, it should be a short look. Go in clean and wear rubber boots to minimize leaving scent. Don't touch or brush against brush and stay off the deer trails. I wouldn't go very near my stand but loop around the area and look for fresh sign. Leave quickly and quietly so as to disturb the area as little as possible.

The Importance Of Tree Stand Safety

I am a part-time volunteer paramedic and I know firsthand the severity of injuries incurred by falls. Every season, many hunters fall out of tree stands and sustain serious injuries -- sometimes permanent and sometimes fatal. The first and foremost rule is to always wear a safety belt both for climbing and also for sitting in the stand. The stander is at greatest risk during the transition from climbing to sitting down. Tie off immediately upon reaching the stand and make final adjusments once seated. Climbing stands require some strength and practice to use well and safely. Practice attaching your stand correctly and climbing with it before pre-dawn of opening day. Never alter a manufactured stand beyond the manufacturer's instructions. Never climb into an old permanent stand you find in the woods. If you are tired, drowsy or taking medication that makes you so, don't climb. Make sure someone else knows your stand locations. Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back. -- Suzy Smith

It's A Bore

If someone asks me why his rifle's accuracy has fallen off, I first question if he regularly cleans it. A lot of rifles have been restocked, bedded and even re-barreled when all they needed was a good cleaning to restore their accuracy. You need a cleaning rod, patches and a nylon or brass (never steel) bore brush, all of the proper size. You also need solvents to cut the crud, which includes powder residue and copper fouling from the bullet jackets. Wet a patch with solvent and push it through the bore, preferably from the breech. Get the bore soaked with solvent and wait a few minutes. Now push a clean, solvent-soaked patch through and you will be amazed at what comes out. Using the bore brush, also soaked in solvent, speeds up the cleaning. Eventually the patches will come out clean. For a badly fouled bore, use one of the special copper-removing solvents. These are powerful chemicals so follow the directions.

Bleat For Early Action

In the early part of bow season, deer society is segregated by sex and age. Adult bucks of all ages hang out together in loose bachelor groups feeding and loafing. The adult does are attending to the serious business of rearing the fawns and often hang out in groups. Older, dominant does frequently drive bucks away from prime food sources at this time These doe and fawn groups often include does that have lost their fawns. All these does have strong maternal instincts and the fawn bleat call arouses the does' protective mode. All does will respond to a fawn bleat, but the most dramatic response usually comes from a fawn-less doe or the group

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