Deer hunting season starts roughly at the end of September and closes the first few days of February. For the million-strong permit holders in Texas, this means the rest of the year is dedicated to prepping for the season. Those who are new to the scene will quickly find out that while deer hunting is rewarding, it’s also physically and mentally taxing. It can also be a pricey hobby, which means it's important to choose the right gear from the start. If it's your first time going deer hunting, you might consider hiring a deer hunting guide.
Before you head out to the ranch or lodge, it’s important to have a few basics in place. For starters, be sure to sign up for a first aid course specifically designed for hunters. It’s also a good idea to get as much target practice in as possible and to secure the relevant permit for your weapon of choice. Basic outdoor survival courses will also go a long way in case you get lost in the woods or there’s a sudden change of weather.
Whether you choose to stay in a hunting lodge or not, you’re still going to have to do a lot of physical work. For starters, once you hit the trails, you will have to carry your gear. It’s not unusual to go off the beaten track into thickets or to scramble up and down hills and muddy banks. The heavier your gear, the more weight on the trails. You may also need to climb in and out of hides in precarious places. If you happen to be alone when you land your prey, you may have to carry it some distance, or at the very least drag it to a trailer.
Hunting season for bow hunters starts just over a month ahead of the rest of the hunters, which means they will need to get their crossbows and arrows sorted well before everyone else does. Muzzle loaders only have a one-week season to enjoy primitive rifles, and for those who want to try the more modern versions, be sure to stock up on powder pellets and check out rifle scopes that make the whole hunt simpler. Modern rifles are the weapon of choice for most hunters. It’s important to learn how to shoot, clean and load the weapon before attempting a hunting expedition. There are plenty of outfitters who provide access to shooting ranges. This allows the hunter to hone their skills and choose gear best-suited for their hunt. Hunting gear can also be pretty pricey, so it’s important to test out all the gear before making a purchase. Compare the options when it comes to choosing either a short or long range shooting scope, hunting knives, binoculars, and tracking devices.
While newbies might consider the lead up to the kill and the kill itself as the most strenuous part of the hunt, processing the kill after takedown can be far more taxing. Hunters only have a small window in which to drain the blood, remove the innards, and skin the animal before the meat is spoiled. It’s important to follow the rules of processing for your particular state and if you’re planning on mounting the antlers, make sure that the right skinning technique is followed. Many hunting lodges and ranches offer this service as part of the package. Luckily, the Texas hunting season is open during the winter months, which keeps the meat fresher for longer.
Hunting season is a short period of time and for those hoping to make the most of it, preparation is very important. While many would imagine that gear is the most important consideration, it’s also vital to take care of paperwork and physical health.