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The Ten Commandments of Deer Hunting [PICS]

Jake Hofer

Let these commandments of deer hunting influence your hunting season for the better.

The 2015 deer season is amongst us or fast approaching. I hereby bestow upon you the Ten Commandments of deer hunting.

Let these commandments guide you to a more enriching deer season and help you become a better hunter.

I. Thou shalt practice safety first, under all circumstances.

fallen from the stand
South Carolina DNR

This cannot be stressed enough. We all can get caught in the heat of the moment, but it is essential to always remember firearm safety. That includes, but definitely isn’t limited to, treating every weapon as if it is loaded and knowing your target.

Also, when hunting in a treestand ALWAYS wear a safety harness. Even the most seasoned hunters can slip out of the stand or some other unaccounted occurrence can happen. Be prepared and practice safe hunting.

II. Thou  shalt make only ethical shots.

shot placement deer

Knowing which shot to take on a whitetail deer and when to take it separates the successful hunter from the guy who slings lead in every direction only hoping to connect with a deer.

It takes a truly ethical hunter to pass on a risky opportunity on a mature whitetial. Aim small, miss small, and keep a steady hand.

III. Thou shalt know and obey hunting regulations.

illinois dnr
Illinois DNR

Ignorance of the law is no excuse, folks, especially in today’s world with information at our fingertips 24/7. Hunting regulations are implemented to maintain a healthy deer herd, and folks who think they’re above the law hinder opportunities for everyone else.

Individuals who cheat or poach are essentially stealing the experience from honest hunters.

IV. Thou shalt be cautious of scent control.

A deer’s number one defense is its nose. If you’d like success in the field, eliminating odor is essential. Going to the extreme isn’t a necessity, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt.

Two generally easy suggestions are to take a scent-free shower before the hunt and eliminate scents from your hunting garments.

V. Thou shalt “Let em’ go and let em’ grow.”

age deer
MSU Deer

Let’s face it. This is much easier said than done, but if you’re in a position to manage your deer effectively, you’ll thank yourself down the road.

Allowing young bucks to reach their full potential growth truly makes a difference for the simple reason that they grow into even large bucks. Although, we understand that most hunters’ knees get weak just seeing a 3-year-old buck, making this commandment more easily said than done.

VI. Thou shalt utilize the deer fully.

Use the deer fully
Morning Moss


Venison is delicious, enjoy it! One of the most rewarding parts of deer hunting is providing fresh venison for friends and family.

If you prepare your own venison, be sure to trim the fat; deer fat does not taste good. Every bit should be trimmed and free of anything that’s not rich, red meat.

VII. Thou shalt always learn from mistakes, both others’ and own.

Sweet Pee

In order to become a better hunter, we must always be willing to learn and there is something to be learned from everyone.

Be sure to learn from your own mistakes, listen to others, or read up on various tactics.

VIII. Thou shalt understand that deer hunting and buck hunting are two completely different things.

deer vs buck
Mcleod Outfitters

Hunting to fill the freezer and hunting to chase down an elusive big buck calls for many different tactics and levels of effort. Yes, there will always be an opportunity to come across one while hunting to fill the freezer, but a big buck is essentially a different animal compared to a young buck or doe.

Their behaviors and patterns vary immensely depending on the stage of the season.

IX. Thou shalt create a safety zone, if possible.

Creating a safety zone on your hunting property can pay dividends year after year. A safety zone is an area that isn’t hunted or entered for the purpose of creating a sense of safety and sanctuary for the deer.

When hunting pressure increases throughout the season, deer pile into the safety zone.

X. Thou shalt carefully recover deer effectively.

recover the deer effectively

You’ve taken the shot, now what? If you find pink or red blood with bubbles in it, most likely you have a heart or lung shot on your hands. However, if you’re unsure of your shot placement, wait it out. The deer is not going to go anywhere and if it beds up, that’s where it would likely expire.

If you jump the deer in an attempt to recover it too soon, the likelihood of finding the deer decreases dramatically.

Bottom line: when in doubt, wait it out.

Do you follow these Ten Commandments of Deer Hunting? Are there any others you’d add to the list?

NEXT: 7 Fred Bear Quotes Every Hunter Should Know

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The Ten Commandments of Deer Hunting [PICS]