Hunting Deer Season’s Second Season

It should come as no surprise to you to hear that most deer hunters today use high-powered rifles with variable power scopes to hunt deer. However, many states have a “primitive weapons only” season that either precedes or postcedes their established rifle and handgun seasons.

During these special seasons, the only legal weapon for harvesting deer is either a bow or a muzzle loading rifle and many sates differentiate between these two “primitive weapons” by designating a separate season for each. Thus, hunting deer with either of these “primitive” weapons can add both additional time to your deer hunting season and an additional challenge to the sport.

Although I believe that it is safe to say that there is nothing “primitive” about modern archery equipment and muzzle loaders, hunting deer with these modern “primitive” weapons does pose some additional challenges for the today’s deer hunters.

The main reason for this the limited range these weapons have versus that of a modern high-powered rifle. While most modern high-powered rifles, be they bolt action, pump action, or semi-automatics, have an extended range that is often far beyond the skill level of the person shooting them, the fact of the matter is that due to that extended range, they often negate the necessity for concealment and stealthy movement because a hunter using a high-powered rifle can easily place his stand in an area that allows him to harvest a deer at several hundred yards; thus, effectively negating the deer’s superior sense of smell and hearing.

However, hunting deer with either a bow or a muzzle loading rifle requires the hunter to get much closer to his intended prey because these weapons lack the extended range of modern, high-powered, rifles. Consequently, hunting deer with either of these “primitive” weapons requires the hunter to choose his stand much more carefully.

The hunter is required to get much closer to the deer in order to make the shot, proper camouflage and concealment become much more important.

Deer hunters using “primitive weapons” must be much more aware of the direction of the prevailing wind as well as their human scent and any inadvertent movements they may make. Therefore, rather than choosing a stand site that offers long range vistas, bow and muzzle loading rifle hunters are better off locating, and hunting adjacent to, bedding areas and prominent food sources. In addition, it is important for hunters using these “primitive” weapons to be aware that deer generally approach such areas from downwind whenever possible so that they can scent any predators (either four legged for two legged) laying in wait for them.

Thus, hunters using these weapons should place their stand in such a way that they are facing perpendicular to the prevailing wind direction and yet adjacent to the trail they expect the deer to use for its approach. In addition, hunters using these so called “primitive” weapons should choose stand sites that offer superior concealment such as thick brush at ground level or broadleaf deciduous trees or evergreens that surround the hunter with foliage so that as the deer approaches the stand, the act of raising the rifle to your shoulder or drawing your bow is not immediately obvious to the deer even if you are several feet above the ground.

Last, when hunting with either of these “primitive” weapons, it is a good idea to give the deer something to focus his attention on other than the hunter. Therefore, creating mock scrapes by using dominate buck urine or hanging a tarsal gland or a rag or wick soaked in doe-in-estrus urine from a tree limb slightly above ground level is also a good idea so that the deer will be focused on locating the source of the scent and thus, he will be less likely to spook at any movement or sound made by the hunter.

Modern muzzle loading rifles as well as modern long bows, recurve bows, and compound bows are considered to be “primitive” weapons by most state Wildlife Resources Commissions and they are often afforded their own separate hunting seasons.

Hunting deer with these so called “primitive” weapons can offer the avid deer hunter a greatly extended hunting season. However, due to their limited range when compared to modern high-powered rifles, they do require the hunter to adjust his strategy and tactics accordingly.

Written by guest blogger

Bill Bernhardt

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