Hunting whitetails is pretty simple. Deer are everywhere, what seems to be the problem?
You’re a good whitetail hunter, right? You know what they eat and you know what time of the year they breed. These are the two guiding principles behind every instinct these simple animals follow throughout their life. You, as a more evolved species, should have no problem harvesting a whitetail. Just like Geico, everybody knows this, right?
It stings a bit to see deer hunting reduced down to the rawest, most elemental description of what this sport entails, but it is true.
So, what complicates this simple equation? These are simple beasts that leave tracks and make sign in the forests for hunters to follow. Let us examine a few things that deer have going for them, and maybe we’ll be able to figure it out.
Only second to a shark swimming in the ocean, the whitetail is totally suited to the environment in which it exists and thrives. A deer has acute hearing, extraordinary olfactory senses, and eyesight that equals most birds of prey. It can disappear in the wide open and evade danger with a few quick hops.
A whitetail lives by the traditional Marine mindset to overcome, adapt and improvise. I’m not comparing whitetails to “MacGyver,” but these animals have certainly proved their ability to adapt to most any environment and overcome man’s encroachment into their customary range.
More from Wide Open Spaces
It’s in the nose
We have the Internet, satellite television, and heck, we survived Y2K! I ask again, why is it that we have difficulty killing an animal with a brain the size of your fist? Oh yeah, they can smell better than us, that must be it.
Deer are said to have a nose 30% stronger than a dog’s, and it goes without saying that wind direction and the odors it brings with it have ruined many a hunt over the last 100 years.
It’s a humbling experience when you spend much time and effort pursuing these wily whitetails and come home empty-handed. I cannot help but think back to a time when people relied on deer and creatures that roamed the forests in order to feed their families. Usually I think about it when I am headed home from hunting trips in the drive-thru lane at the local burger joint.
Needless to say, I, as well as my family, would be leaner if it were solely my responsibility to “bring home the bacon.” I do understand that hunting whitetails is an ever-evolving and learning affair that I will never completely master, and that is part of what makes me pursue it.
So why bother?
I consider myself a relatively average human, being thin-skinned and poorly suited for the outdoors. I religiously bundle up and head outdoors to the forests and fields in an attempt to match wits with these simple animals. Wily whitetails make humble hunters. Humility is a valuable lesson for anyone.
I do it because I love it. I respect these “simple beasts” to the point that I read and write articles; search the internet for tips to get closer to them. I’ve gone so far as to read whole books about deer. My father taught me the respect he gained for whitetails by learning from his father. I have passed on what little knowledge I possess, but most importantly I know I have shown my children the passion I have for this way of life.
Maybe they will learn to love hunting and the outdoors the way I do, maybe not. I know what great memories I have of times with family and friends that didn’t involve success in the field. Just as long as my kids don’t play golf.
Who couldn’t hit a little ball into a hole? It is such a simple, silly game.