In old times, Deer (especially Bucks, Stags, and Does) were hunted for many reasons, mostly for food and for their antlers.
This went for all the species at the time and up till now. However, in most parts of the world, there are rules and regulations against poaching. These rules prevent illegal killing or capture of animals, including Deer in most cases.
Deer’s are very clever animals and as such, require preparedness and strategy to hunt, especially with a bow. All species of deer are so clever that they could jump, smell humans from a distance and can also swim away to evade predators and humans.
Hunting with a bow and arrow requires precision and close range to the animals being killed. But bows and arrows are not the only tools required to hunt a Deer. Since you're not shooting with a gun and a scope, then you will need twice the actual tools required on a good day to hunt these babies down.
How to make a Bow
Whether you're an experienced deer hunter or a newbie in the hunting game, a few tools and tips are required to hunt bucks successfully. In this case, you will be hunting with a bow. A lot of hunters are quite great with bows. A bad bow will break at the first bend, and a good one will make a great companion.
Here's how to make your bow:
- Pick a hardwood: Find a tree that is hard and avoid the weaker ones. Weak woods such as oak and pine will not make a good bow. Make sure the wood does not have a huge diameter. Bows are shaved and carved from vertical parts of woods.
Woods with high diameter takes the time to shave into a bow. Pick a tree with at least 8 inches in diameter. If you're wondering what type of wood to use - Bamboo and Willow trees will suit just fine. Another important tool that will be required while picking wood is a knife or a cutlass
- Divide and dry wood: Cut the wood into staves. This 8-inch tree should provide 6 to 7 bow staves. Then dry the wood. Drying wood could take a while, up to a month.
One way to gauge a wood's dryness is to bend it or test the moisture content of the wood with a moisture meter) If the wood is really dry, it'll be lighter and flexible.
- Carve the wood: Carving the wood into shape is something you have to do carefully. First, you need to follow the natural curve of the wood and carve from there. You don't have to carve a perfect bow, but the center should be narrower than the limbs.
You can carve as required with a knife. In the beginning, you might use a machete to speed up the process and conveniently chop off the parts that are not needed for the bow.
After that, you can work on the string for the arrows by making a string grove around the bow.
Bow Hunting Deer tips and tools
- You'd need a good knife and books: Knives, at least one is required throughout the process of making a bow and for hunting. If you happen to go deer hunting from the comfort of your home, then you should take a knife with you. A knife is required to cut barks of woods and lay markers on trees if you feel you’re getting lost.
- A good instruction manual will also help on the hunt: Some manuals tell you the color of a deer’s blood and what to do when you see that particular blood color. White hair with blood for example tells you missed the shot and possibly scratched the deer. The next thing to do after this is to track the deer on its blood trail. Great hunting books also show you the difference between a National Park and a National Forest. You can hunt in the latter.
- A climbing stick for hilly areas and high slopes: You may be too young to need a walking stick but there are other things you could use the stick for. If you miss a shot or strike the deer in the wrong spot, you will need the stick to beat your way through thick bushes as you’re tracking the deer.
- A tree stand to hide behind: This does not suggest you take a tree with you while hunting a deer. A good spot is required before taking a shot. I strongly recommend this because you will be holding a bow and an arrow and lying on the ground to aim might not be convenient for you – Kneeling or lying.
- A scent reduction spray or detergent for your body: Deer’s are very smart. Especially bucks. They can smell you around even while you’re not moving or in hiding. A lot of newbie hunters never make a kill on their first fill hunts because of a deer scare. Whether you go alone or in a group, you need to make your scents odorless with sprays or use an odorless soap before going on a hunt.
- A camouflage jacket or vest blazer and hat/cap made of ground hiding material: Remember how a green snake lies within green plants without being spotted? That is what your camouflage should look like. If you happen to have a firsthand knowledge of the area and what the environment’s color looks like, then you should wear a camouflage that would make you blend in. For example, you can wear a brown jacket while hunting in sun-burnt grass areas.
- Along trouser or pants to prevent itchy, dry plants from ruining the hunt: This is simple. If you don’t wear something long enough to cover your legs then you might have to battle with lice, itchy plants and insects while lying on the ground to aim. Most dry lands have black or sometimes soldier ants working on the same hunting environment.
- A rules and regulations manual: This depends on the location the hunt is taking place. In most countries like the United States, you are advised to hunt on state lands. Hunting on federal grounds could put you in a huge trouble. There are also environmental laws that guide hunters and hunting as regards the season and location to hunt.
- A rope: Every hunter needs to have his/her own rope. You would always find need for a rope, if you happen to go hunting from camp. You will need a rope for a few things: To tie up your kill, tie up bait for the deer or tie up more than one kill.
- And yes, if you know how to make a grunt or snort call then it's an advantage for you. A buck could go thinking another deer is calling him while you grunt. He will move closer to the direction of the call, and this gives you a better chance of striking with your bow and arrow. A buck could resist walking to that direction at first, but if you’re well-hidden and your scent has been masked, then he will get closer, even with the doubt that it was a fellow deer in the first place.
We might not cover everything there is to know about hunting a deer with a bow, but the points above will help. You can always go with a friend or someone experienced as well.
There are regulations to hunting and environmental conservation. You should look out for them before going on a hunt. One of the things that could ruin a good hunt is your stance.
This is usually the less talked about. You need to maintain a good stance while aiming or else, your arrow could go in the wrong direction, thereby scaring the deer. I’d recommend a sitting position or kneeling to aim and shoot your arrow.
Another way to keep your arrow in line is to attach a feather to the other end of the arrow.
You cannot hunt just any deer you find out there. If a deer comes after you (especially the large males with huge antlers), run! If you successfully hit a deer and it’s still moving, cut its throat with a knife or shoot it the second time.
While spraying an odor eliminator, make sure to spray your hair, hat or cap and the cloth you’re putting. It’s best to use the spray while hiding behind a tree for effectiveness.
Carry as many arrows as possible. Going to pick up an arrow after shooting could be very stressful and will cost you a kill because you’d either go after an injured deer and then coming back for your arrows or picking your arrows before going after the deer. The stress and time spent on such kinds of the hunt could drain you.
If you are tracking an injured deer on a blood trail and it’s getting dark, you can note the location of the shot and return the next day to continue tracking your kill.
Do not hunt on private properties.