Your Guide To Whitetail Deer Hunting Safety
We know that whitetail deer are the most preyed-upon big game in the United States, but we shouldn’t take safety out of the equation. Anything that’s a normality, whether in hunting or anything else, lowers our fear of it, and hunting whitetail deer is standard. But what you may not know is the safety requirements you should be taking into consideration.
Hunting Licensing in Texas
If you don’t have a hunters license, then you’ll need to complete a hunting education course. Those between the age of nine and sixteen are subject to be accompanied by an individual who is at least seventeen-years-old, and possesses a valid hunting license.
Beware The Rut
One of the biggest—if not, the biggest hazard to all whitetail deer hunters is a buck in rut. Hunting safety cannot be brought up enough when you’re hunting during mating season. A rutting buck is extremely dangerous, and able to cause serious damage to anyone it wishes. During this phase, they battle with other bucks for dominance over a female of their choosing.
One of the biggest signs that you’re about to enter the proverbial den of a rutting buck is seen on the trees. When you see the bark rubbed clean off, it’s a sign that a buck used his antlers to mark their territory. When they do this, they remain in their territory until either another buck runs them out, or hunters do. Even if it’s you and a few buddies out there, it’s still recommended to avoid running into a rutting buck at all costs. Step out of their territory, because they will protect it with their lives. Extra adrenaline and testosterone flow through them during this time. It can taker more than a few well-placed bullets, arrows, or bolts to stop a charging buck.
Ensure That It’s A Deer
While it may sound obvious, it’s the very reason that it’s required by law to wear hazard orange apparel while you’re hunting. When you haven’t seen a whitetail deer all day, and a fellow hunter on the other side of the forest clearing is sticking up from behind cover, the split-second decision can seem obvious, but it isn’t always. Be 100% certain beyond any shadow of a doubt that you’re pulling the trigger, or releasing your arrow on an actual deer. It’s one of the biggest hunting safety mentions you’ll find, but it can’t be stressed enough.
Hunting safety comes down to the equipment as much as the game. If you’re not testing you equipment before and after every single hunt, you’re ignoring the possibility of misfiring rifles or malfunctioning binoculars/compasses. If you’re hunting whitetail deer out in the wilds of nowhere, then you can’t afford to have your equipment betraying you.
For instance, if you ever found yourself accidentally in the presence of a rutting buck, and it quickly becomes apparent that fleeing isn’t going to work, then firing may be your only option. Use your judgment, but if it seems like you’ll have no choice but to stand your ground, you don’t want an equipment malfunction to be the difference between life and death.
Let Others Know Your Whereabouts
If you’re going to hunt in the wild, one thing to keep in mind is: cell phones aren’t ultra-reliable. In any case, you may wander into an area that isn’t covered by even the largest coverage maps in America. The more remote the area, the less likely your phone is to work. That’s just one of the reasons hunters still bring equipment like thermostats and compasses on their journey. It’s wise to give your loved ones a detailed area and a tight time frame, in the unlikely, but possible event that they would need to search for you if you are non-responsive.
Tree Stand Safety
While mostly popular among bow hunters, tree stands can help a standard marksman make the most of their hunting trip. As you know, you’re immobile and completely stationary when you’re using a tree stand, but it could be the difference between a great shot, or missing your prey completely. Besides the tactical advantages or disadvantages, there’s a key factor to consider when using tree stands.
One of the biggest rules is this: hunt deer, don’t waste time hunting trees. The point is, even if you find a wonderful tree overlooking a deer’s watering hole, you won’t be able to definitively say that a deer will come across that spot while you’re up in the tree. Wait until you see a whitetail deer, then begin using your tree stand.
If you end up staying in the tree for an extended period of time, depending on your position, you could risk limbs going numb, which can make you underestimate your position. Extended use on tree stands increases the likelihood of an accident. While both bow hunters and traditional ammunition hunters alike use tree stands in their hunting trips, it’s best to understand the requirements and maximum capacities on your tree stands. They’re not OSHA regulated, and you’re controlling the entire ordeal. This is one of the most crucial times to focus on your safety. We personally recommend that you should refrain from using tree stands when hunting whitetail deer, no matter the environment.
It’s safe to assume you’ll look at the weather before you go on your trip. Especially if you’re going into the deep woods. Plan ahead for moderate to severe alternate weather conditions. Even if you’ve been waiting for this trip for weeks, or even months, never risk your safety in potentially dangerous weather just for the sake of the trip. There will be another time.
The Best Place to Hunt Whitetail Deer
The great outdoors can be enjoyed without many of the hazards of open-wild hunting. Our 2,000 acre ranch at Squaw Mountain Ranch not only cares about your hunting safety, but is the largest and best hunting range for whitetail deer in all of Texas.