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How to Bow Hunt Whitetail Deer for Beginners

Updated on December 10, 2017

To be successful at bow hunting for Whitetail deer it's important to understand the basics of hunting and being properly prepared....

(WARNING: Includes a video with graphic scenes on Field Dressing a Deer).


Choosing your first bow can be done with an expert in the store of your choice or by reading up on your particular needs and desires first. The Browning Micro Midas is a great compound bow for women or young hunters.

Once you have chosen your bow, arrows, sites, clothing and target, it's important to make sure you practice before each new season, and every hunt, with a well made compound bow to hone your shooting skills.

Good practices of hunting start by learning how to shoot properly, making a clean kill so that you do not leave wounded deer in the woods to die. Understanding the kill point or 'boiler room' is important so that you do not have to go very far looking for your deer once it has been struck. The kill point or 'boiler room' is located just behind the shoulder and about a third of the way up on the chest. The intention is to hit the heart, which is just below the lungs of a deer. The entry point for the broad head tip will vary slightly depending on the angle of the arrow as it enters due to where the hunter is standing (which is usually on a stand up a tree - using a safety harness!). The best angle to hit a deer is broadside (directly from a side angle).

Also, before ever entering the woods it's important to keep your body and all your clothing free from contaminants. Make sure you don't introduce gasoline on your hunting boots or clothing by filling up on your way to your blind or hunting spot. Keep your entire body clean of contaminants too by washing with unscented soaps and shampoos. Also, don't enter a room or brush up against clothing or people with perfumes, etc.

Hunting Hour

Hunting is generally done in the wee hours of the morning or evening, the time when the deer are moving the most. Otherwise deer typically stay bedded down until the next wee hour of the day in order not to be seen so unless you do a 'drive' of the deer you are likely not to see many, if any at all, during the daytime hours. This mostly holds true for the Midwest area except during the rut season.

Once you have scouted the area for deer, practiced your shooting skills, and properly prepared yourself for entering the woods, you can now carefully walk to your blind or hunting spot, moving in downwind. If you are hunting in the evening hour of the day be sure to go 2 hours prior to sundown and sit quietly. If hunting in the morning hour of the day, be sure to be there 1 hour before sunrise.

Unless you are hunting on a game reserve during the daytime where the deer move a little more often, you will likely be bow hunting in the compromised light of the day, and since your arrow will lose it's power and trajectory angle once it reaches about 20 - 25 yards away, this will be the distance you will be shooting for hitting a deer.

You can 'call' a deer in by making a 'grunting' or 'rattling' sound. The grunt sound is done with the mouth or a grunt tube, and the rattle sound is done with a set of antlers. It is illegal to bait deer so using corn or feed is not allowed.

Once your deer moves in, waiting for the right moment to shoot is the final key. Since it's important to have an unobstructed path for the arrow to move through, create or have a clear pathway for shooting otherwise your arrow may deflect if it hits a branch. Also, since your best shot will be done with a still or non-moving target, you will want to wait for the deer to stop briefly as it moves through the woods. You can make a quick 'bleating' sound to stop the deer in its tracks in order to get it to stop in a strategic spot for shooting. (A bleatĀ isĀ one short, quick sound that a goat makes).

Make sure to give yourself a moment before climbing down out of your tree stand or leaving your blind after shooting your deer and watch to see where your deer heads. You may have to wait for light if it goes very far. A blood trail, broken branches and hoof prints will guide you to it's location.

Tagging and Dressing Your Deer

It is best to tag and dress your deer where it lays (the wild animals will eat the entrails) because it will be easier to drag out of the woods and there will be no question as to where or when it was shot. Know and understand how to properly dress your deer or you will contaminate the meat, making it unfit for consumption. Hang your deer in a cool place for a day or two before processing to let the meat tenderize.

When processing your own meat be sure to remove as much sinew as possible to avoid the 'wild, gamey' taste, producing good flavored venison. Otherwise, be sure to find someone who does a fine job of processing deer meat.


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    • Guckenberger profile image

      Alexander James Guckenberger 7 days ago from Maryland, United States of America

      Very nice article.

    • profile image

      freddy redd 7 years ago

      never hunted before but this is the best start, to have me well safe, and on my way thanks

    • profile image

      Luke Fitzwater 7 years ago

      Excellent article. I believe that if more people tried bow hunting, they would be surprised how much fun this can be. I invite you and your readers to visit my new site, Silent Draw Outdoors. This is a new breed of hunting and outdoor adventure. Watch bow archery hunting videos of big game in North America.

    • kaloomba profile image

      kaloomba 7 years ago

      Nice short Hub.. Right to the point! (Excuse the pun!)

    • Granny's House profile image

      Granny's House 7 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

      I too have started hunting this year. Love it. Check out my new hub page. Tell me what you think

    • kaloomba profile image

      kaloomba 8 years ago

      For public land call or google your state's conservation department and get a map of public hunting land.

      For private land go out months before the season and knock on doors where you'd like to hunt. The best way to get accepted to hunt on someone else's land is by dressing nice and asking politely, telling them who you are and what your desire is. It's also best to offer to help them with some odd jobs like chopping wood, mending fences, or bailing hay in exchange. Be sincere.

      For public or private land (once accepted) always be RESPECTFUL and gracious to your host and their land. Ask them where they'd like for you to park, don't litter, understand property boundaries, don't damage crops or trees, don't bring in other hunters with you (unless you have permission to do so), etc.

      Also, ask if there are any other hunters in the area where you desire to hunt (public or private) so that you are aware of other hunters and don't crowd them. Always show respect to other hunters, especially if they had permission to hunt there prior to you.

      Lastly, you may wish to offer some venison to your host. My husband and I often give a roast or two, or some steak or burger to the land owner.

      Happy hunting!

    • profile image

      NH Hunter 8 years ago

      Thanks for the info. Any specifics on finding a location?