An ‘expert’s’ hunting tips

Feels like deer season, doesn’t it?

Well, it is. For some reason, the Game and Fish Commission opened bow season two weeks earlier than normal. Guess someone wants to study more West Nile cases. Anyway, if it’s deer season, I’m in the woods. Expert, I am.

A bit before my time and more than a bit to the slapstick side of what I consider funny (at least after the first dozen episodes), “The Three Stooges” had to have made a hunting sketch.

I can only imagine that the three numbskulls portrayed a fairly normal day for me in the deer woods. I try and try and try, but I find china closets in every thicket and oak flat. I couldn’t make more noise trying to sneak through the woods than if I wore a cow bell around my neck.

I haven’t gotten my muzzleloader out of the closet in two years. The last time I did, I missed one huge buck and one nick buck in successive days because I had sighted in with one weight bullet, shot at the first deer with another weight bullet and shot at the third with the original weight bullet. Don’t see that on The Outdoor Channel too often, do you?

Occasionally, a depressed deer will hear me banging around through the woods and commit suicide by hunter, but even then, the deer has to work pretty hard at it. Broadside. No more than 50-60 yards out. Pointing toward its vitals.


And to think, I can’t wait to get back to the woods.

Many outdoors articles will expound upon ways to scout, stalk and kill deer. I’ll stick with the basics — how to avoid a spot on “America’s Funniest Videos” should anyone have a camera around.

1. When searching for a spot to locate a stand, consider one factor — where is the easiest place for you to get to? Deer, being the benevolent type, will swarm to your location despite their instincts to hold to deep cover. Trust me.

2. Try to not be born into a family of color-blind uncles. They can’t trail a deer, and so you become the designated tracker through briers and thickets.

3. Soundproof stands as much as possible. I believe that’s the way to go, though I choose the flip side of the coin. I have nothing but hard surfaces in my stands. That way, when I beat and bang around, any animal within earshot will figure that no threat would be making that much noise.

4. Never go to your stand before daylight and always leave before dark. That way, you’ll never have to carry a flashlight that you’ll drop either out of the stand completely or that will hit the side of the stand, your chair and the floor with a decibel level approaching that of a Cessna.

5. Before applying scent to the side of your stand or anywhere around, check the wind direction. Of course, if you like the taste of doe urine, disregard.

6. Between arriving at your stand and drawing down on the biggest buck on the continent, check to make sure there’s a round in the chamber.

7. Remember that you’re not in an ATV commercial. While worth their weight in gold, or at least silver, these four-wheeled monsters can coax you into going places that will require diving gear and an excavator to escape.

8. If nap time arrives while you’re on your stand, sleep with your head down. It’s less likely that the snoring from your head tilted way back will scare off any Boone and Crockett bucks.

9. If your bullets have mud-brown jackets and green tips, invest in a new box. You should be good for the next decade.

10. The best tip, though, is to carry one knife, a dull one. That way, the show-offs with the sharp knives will skin your deer while you admire their skills.

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Rick Fahr is a longtime journalist in Arkansas, who most recently was editor and publisher of the Log Cabin Democrat in Conway. His e-mail is