Deer hunting is a sport that many people take pride in. The thrill of hunting for deer, especially when you can use your skills to track and take a rated buck, is something special. To many, Michigan deer hunting season highlights the sporting year. Many hunters are found in the US, irrespective of their gender. According to Zippia, 44.3% of hunters are women, and 55.7% are men.
However, there are some things that all hunters should know before they head out into the woods on opening day. These tips will help you scout the land and ensure you are ready for any situation when you go out hunting.
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Scout the Area
Now that you got your gear and are prepared to head out into the woods, you need to know what type of environment you will be hunting in. The easiest way to do this is by scouting the area before hunting season begins.
Here are some things that can help:
- Look for deer trails and rubs: Deers will always follow the same paths when they move through an area, so look around where they might be likely to travel. Set up your stand there or along one of those paths. You can also see if there are any large trees near water or other food sources for deer; this could be another great spot for a stand.
- Look for areas with a high deer population: Look out for places with more deer. One of the significant reasons for the Michigan deer hunting season is to control their overpopulation. The excessive number of deer all over remains an issue throughout the country. They also give rise to car accidents due to their overpopulation. According to A-Z animals, Texas has the highest number of deer, approximately 5.5 million.
- Look for scat: If there are lots of droppings around, it indicates a lot of activity from animals in that area. It may even mean there has been some recent sign of other animals nearby, such as coyotes or bears. On the other hand, if it’s just deer tracks everywhere instead, then no big deal.
Choose Your Gun and the Gun Sight Wisely
Selecting a gun that is the right size for you is an important consideration. It will make holding it easier, and your aim will be more accurate. A gun that suits your body shape is also key. You want to feel comfortable when handling the weapon, so choose a weight that suits you and has an ergonomic design.
When choosing the right gun, an important consideration is choosing the proper gun sight. When you want to choose between a red dot vs. holographic gun sight, the choice depends on your needs and situation.
The main difference between red dot and holographic sights is that the red dot sight only projects a red dot onto your target, whereas the holographic sight projects a full image of the article.
A holographic sight will give you a more accurate view of your target than a red dot, but it’s better for close-range and fast-moving targets. Red dots are more precise and have more battery life than holo sights. A red dot is probably the way to go if you want something simple. However, consider a holographic sight if you need something that can handle long distances.
Start Shooting Early
If you can get out there and practice with your bow or rifle in the winter months, it will make a huge difference come springtime. According to the latest Deer Report released by the National Deer Association, nearly 6.3 million white-tailed deer were harvested in the year 2020-21 by deer hunters. It all depends on their practice.
It is also critical that you practice tightening up your shot groups because it ultimately determines whether or not you’ll hit what you’re aiming for.
Know Your Shot Distance
Understanding your shot distance is one of the most important things you can do to be successful in deer hunting. Most shots are taken at less than 100 yards and up to 250 yards.
For example, a bullet traveling at 1,000 feet per second (fps) will slow down by half after traveling 200 yards. The same bullet would travel 500 yards and slow down by 2/3. If you are shooting a .308 caliber rifle that typically has a muzzle velocity of 2,800 fps, then your bullet will slow down even faster.
You will also want to know how much drop your ammunition has at various distances so you don’t miss an easy shot because of an inaccurate understanding.
Plan for Possible New Hunting Spots
Remember that seasonal changes influence deer behavior when looking for new hunting spots. For example, deer will be more challenging to hunt in winter when they are hunkered down in dens and hollows. Likewise, they can be hard to track down during hot summer when they prefer high ground or open fields.
We took a look at the top 40 public and private hunting areas in Michigan. Viable State Hunting Areas are one reason why Michigan is one of the best hunting states in the United States.
Study the Previous Season’s Deer Trail Cameras
Whether new to hunting or a seasoned hunter, it is important to study the previous season’s trail camera footage. You will be able to see what time of day and what day of the week deer are moving through your hunting area. If there is a problem with the footage, such as poor lighting or a lack of photos, take steps to correct the issue before hunting season begins.
Live Trail Cam
Put Together an Emergency Kit
A well-stocked emergency kit is a must for any hunter. The kit should contain at least the following:
- Survival blanket
- Firestarter and matches
- Flashlights with extra batteries or extra light sources
- Compass, hatchet, axe, and knife, if you are going on a solo hunt
Requirements for a Michigan Deer Hunting License tag
To obtain a Michigan Deer Hunting License, there are several requirements and options based on your residency, age, and other factors. Here’s a summary:
Requirements for Different Groups
- Michigan Resident: Must have the Base License, which allows for small game hunting. Additional licenses are required for other game species.
- Non-Resident: Also must have the Base License for small game hunting, with additional licenses for other game species.
- Youth Hunting License: Michigan residents and non-residents ages 10 to 16 must purchase the reduced-fee Junior Base License. Those up to age 9 may hunt with the Mentored Youth License and must be accompanied by a mentor who is at least 21 years old.
- Senior Hunting License: Residents age 65 or older may purchase the reduced-fee Senior Base License.
- Military and Veteran License: Active-duty military members stationed in Michigan may purchase a resident hunting license. Resident veterans with a 100% service-connected disability may obtain any hunting license for free.
- Hunter Education Certificate: Depending on your age, you may be required to have this certificate to legally buy a license or permit to hunt.
- Migratory Waterfowl Requirements: All hunters age 16 or older must purchase the Michigan Waterfowl Hunting License and the Federal Duck Stamp when hunting migratory waterfowl.
Where to Buy
- Licenses can be purchased through the Michigan Department of Natural Resources website or an approved vendor in Michigan.
- The Base License expires on March 31 of each year.
For more details, you can visit the Michigan Department of Natural Resources website.
Final Thoughts on Michigan Deer Hunting Season
The most important thing to remember is that hunting is a great way to spend time with friends and family. You might even learn something new about yourself along the way.
Planning is key to a successful hunting season. Preparation is just as important, if not more so, than planning. Preparing for the unexpected will help you stay calm when things don’t go exactly according to plan, which is often the case when hunting deer.
So don’t get too caught up in all the details; just have fun and enjoy yourself.