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“A System That Takes Trophy Deer” Day 3: Prepare Yourself to Shoot Deer

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Editor’s Note: Alex Rutledge of Birchtree, Missouri, a longtime hunter who’s starred in many outdoor videos and been featured on outdoor TV shows, has hunted and taken whitetails for many years. This week, he’ll tell us how to bag a big white-tailed deer successfully.

  • Prepare yourself for the shot before you hunt. If possible, I always want the sun on my back and the wind in my face when I get into a tree stand. If I can, I want to trim all my shooting lanes before I hunt. I try not to cut limbs and leave them under the tree. When I cut a limb, I don’t cut it in two. I hinge-cut it so it will simply hang straight down from the limb. I don’t want to leave any branches out on the ground. Even before I climb into my tree to hunt, I pick the spot where I’ll take the deer, and 50% of the time; the buck will be where I plan to take him in the morning or the afternoon. (Learn more about hinge-cutting trees from North American Whitetail.
  • Plan how you’ll make the shot. When you’re practicing shooting, if you’re shooting at a 3-D target with your bow, practice seeing the deer before you shoot at the target. Imagine where the deer will be when you get ready to draw. Slow down your breathing, make your draw, direct your arrow to where you’ll shoot, and then release the arrow. When I’m practicing, I practice from imagining seeing the deer to choosing where I want to shoot him, deciding where the deer may be when I draw, aiming at the spot I want to hit, and then releasing the draw. The more mentally prepared you are for the hunting environment, the straighter you’ll shoot, and the better your odds will be for taking the buck.
  • Wait for the buck to appear. All the preparations you’ve made beforehand ensure a big buck in front of your stand and drastically increase your odds of taking that buck if and when he shows up. However, remember, no matter how hard we practice or how well prepared we are, deer hunting has no guarantees, as with anything in life. At the same time, the more we practice, the more prepared we’ll be, and the greater our chances are for taking the bucks of a lifetime.

Expert Guidebooks on BowHunting Deer: Best Sellers

How to Hunt Deer Up Close with Bows, Rifles, Muzzleloaders and Crossbows
To be more successful as a deer hunter, learn all you can about the animal, the wind, the temperature and the techniques required to get in close.

In this book, you’ll hear about some of the best hunters in the nation who know how to hunt deer close, including one of the greatest archers who ever lived, Howard Hill.

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Whether you hunt private or public lands, you’ll find tips and tactics in this book from the Mossy Oak Pro Staff that will increase your odds for locating and taking the bucks of your dreams. 

If you’re serious about learning to hunt and take deer with a bow, if you’re looking for a different strategy that will help you identify and harvest big bucks, if you want to learn from your misses as well as from the shots that connect, and if you enjoy being in the great outdoors that the Good Lord has blessed us with, then this book is for you.


Tomorrow: Understand When to Take the Shot at Deer

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