Deer hunting

Deer hunting
Theodore Roosevelt in 1885 with his highly-decorated deer-skin hunting suit, and Tiffany-carved hunting knife and rifle.

Deer hunting is survival hunting or sport hunting, harvesting deer, dating back to tens of thousands of years ago. Which occurred though out Europe Asia and North America[citation needed] There are numerous types of deer throughout the world that are hunted.


International practices

New Zealand

New Zealand has had a number of deer species introduced and in the absence of predators became to be considered an animal pest due to its effect on native vegetation. From the 1950s the government employed hunters to cull the deer population. Deer hunting is now a recreational activity.[citation needed]

The deer most sought after in North America, east of the Rocky Mountains, is the white-tailed deer. West of the Rockies, the mule deer is the dominant deer species. Blacktail deer are dominant along the west coast (west of the Cascade Range) from Northern California to British Columbia. The most notable differences between these deer, other than distribution, are the differences in ears, tail, antler shape (the way they each fork), and body size.[citation needed]

Male Whitetail Deer at night in Central Texas

The mule deer's ears are proportionally longer than the ears of a white-tailed deer, they also have different color skin and brighter faces and resemble that of a mule. Mule deer have a black-tipped tail which is proportionally smaller than that of the white-tailed deer. Buck deer of both species sprout antlers; the antlers of the mule deer branch and rebranch forming a series of Y shapes, while white-tailed bucks typically have one main beam with several tines sprouting from it. White-tailed bucks are slightly smaller than mule deer bucks. Both of the species lose their antlers in January, and regrow the antlers during the following summer beginning in June. Velvet from the antlers are shed in August and September. Each buck normally gets larger each year as long as good food sources are present. Antler growth depends on food sources. If food is not good one year, antlers will be smaller. Many deer do not reach their full potential due to getting hit by automobiles, also known as road kills.

Moose and elk are also popular game animals that are technically species of deer. However, hunting them is not usually referred to as deer hunting, it is called big game hunting. They are considerably larger than mule deer or white-tailed deer, and hunting techniques are rather different.

In Canada and Alaska, reindeer (caribou) are hunted extensively.

United Kingdom

There are six species of deer in the UK : red deer, roe deer, fallow deer, Sika deer, muntjac deer, and Chinese water deer, as well as hybrids of these deer. All are hunted to a degree reflecting their relative population either as sport or for the purposes of culling. Closed seasons for deer vary by species.[1] The practice of declaring a closed season in England dates back to medieval times, when it was called fence month and commonly lasted from June 9 to July 9, though the actual dates varied.[2] It is illegal to use bows to hunt any wild animal in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Victorian era dramatist W. S. Gilbert remarked, "Deer-stalking would be a very fine sport if only the deer had guns."[3]

UK deer stalkers, if supplying venison for public consumption, are required to hold a DSC1 (Deer Stalking Certificate 1) which incorporates meat handling and hygiene together with disease identification. Mainly a theory based course it does also test the stalkers deer identification and shooting ability. The more difficult DSC2 is the practical to the DSC1 requiring three kills, a post-mortem "gralloch" including examination of the animal's lymphatic system and a check for notifiable diseases. The stalker must put together a comprehensive portfolio of each stalk signed off by an "Approved Witness".[4]

While "deer stalking" is widely used among British and Irish sportsmen to signify almost all forms of sporting deer shooting, the term is replaced in North American sporting usage by "deer hunting" - an expression that in Britain and Ireland has historically been reserved exclusively for the sporting pursuit of deer with scent-seeking hounds, with unarmed followers typically on horseback.


In Australia, there are six species of deer that are available to hunt. These are Fallow deer, Sambar, Red deer, Rusa, Chital, and Hog deer.[5]

Deer were first introduced to Australia between 1800 and 1803.[6] All states and territories have populations of deer including many coastal islands. Deer hunting in Australia is mostly practiced on the eastern side of the country. Hunting access varies from state-to-state with varying classifications from pest to game animal with some species afforded the protection of hunting seasons and a requirement for a Game Hunting permit or license. In NSW, the licensing system is regulated by the statutory authority Game Council NSW.

The sport is aided by the Australian Deer Association, which handles hunter education, lobbying on behalf of the industry, and maintains the Australian Antlered Trophy Register.

Preparation for Hunting

Hunter will scout areas they plan to hunt several months before the season opens. They will look over areas or place video cameras in areas where they suspect game to be. They will check cameras and decide where to hunt. They will also plant food plots to bring deer to the area or bait the area with corn or oats. They will build tree stands or make ground blinds. They will sight in rifles to make sure the guns shoot straight. They will make sure they have lures , food, water, and all equipment necessary for hunting. Hunting cabins will be stocked with food and water.

Hunting Methods

North America

A New Hampshire Deer Hunt

There are five common methods of hunting deer. The first method is known as stalking, this includes following signs and trails of deer. Hunters slowly walk along trails looking for the deer.

The second technique is stand hunting. This is done by waiting where deer are likely to travel. Stand hunting is commonly done in an elevated tree stand. Tree stands are usually built 2.5 meters to 5 meters above the ground. Stands are place at the edge of fields of grain such as corn, wheat, oats barley, or beans. Ground blinds are small camo tents shaped like an igloo made of soft plastic or or a hard plastic material.

The third technique is commonly known as still hunting, alternately walking quietly and waiting concealed in the pursuit of game.

The fourth is line drives, which consists of flushing deer toward a line of hunters. Hunters form a line and walk through fields or forest toward another line, hoping for a shot or driving the deer toward the other line. Hunters in the second line may be in tree stands or on the ground.

The fifth is spot and stalk hunting, which consists of spotting and then stalking the deer. Spot and stalk hunting is generally a method of hunting used in places where there are large visible areas, such as mountainous terrain where a person can see across canyons.[7] All but tree stands are used in places where a hunter can see over trees or bushes to spot and watch the deer

Some states allow bait to be placed near these stands. Hunters place corn, apples, oats, carrots, sugar beets or wheat near the stands. There are other types of baits and scents sold commercially as well.

United Kingdom and Ireland

Depiction of deer hunting with hounds from a 15th century version of The Hunting Book of Gaston Phebus, MS. f. fr. 616

The vast majority of deer hunted in the UK are stalked. The phrase deer hunting, however, has also been used to refer (in England and Wales) to the traditional practice of chasing deer with packs of hounds, now illegal under the Hunting Act 2004.

In the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, there were several packs of staghounds hunting "carted deer" in England and Ireland. Carted deer were red deer kept in captivity for the sole purpose of being hunted and recaptured alive. More recently, there were three packs of staghounds hunting wild red deer of both sexes on or around Exmoor and the New Forest Buckhounds hunting fallow deer bucks in the New Forest, the latter disbanding in 1997. [8][9]

There is one pack of stag hounds in Ireland and one in Northern Ireland,[10] the former operating under a licence to hunt carted deer.[11]


Most of the deer hunting in Scandinavia is by hunters driving the game towards other hunters posted in strategic locations in the terrain, though there is also a fair bit of stalking.[citation needed]


The majority of hunting methods in Australia are similar to North America, except for Sambar Deer which are commonly hunted with hounds.


A pop-up pack-in style blind


Many different weapons are permitted in various states during certain times of deer season. These include bows, crossbows, rifles, shotguns, handguns, and muzzleloaders.

Archery season usually opens before the gun season and may continue for after the gun season has ended. Modern compound bows and recurve bows are used, as well as some recurve and longbows. Bows usually have a draw of 35 pounds or more. Most hunters use fifty pound draw bows with aluminum or carbon fiber arrows although wooden arrows are still used. Crossbows are often reserved for disabled hunters who are unable to draw a bow in some states. Other states allow cross bows.

Rifles, shotguns, and pistols are all commonly used for hunting deer. Most regions place limits on the minimum caliber or gauge to be used. Most states require centerfire rifles which is of .243 caliber or larger. States that allow shotguns, the minimum gauge is twenty gauge or larger, which includes 16 gauge, 12 gauge and 10 gauge. Pistols are centerfire which include .357 or .44 magnum. Rimfire rifles of .22 caliber are often prohibited due to the inability of the caliber to kill a deer effectively which brings about ethical concerns.

Muzzleloader hunting is also practiced in most states. Hunters use round lead balls and traditional black powder charges in rifles. Calibers are usually .44 or larger.[citation needed]

Hunting deer with edged weapons, such as the lance or sword, is still practiced in continental Europe. In such hunts, the hunters are mounted on horseback, and use packs of deerhound or greyhound dogs to track and drive deer.


Use of a Hitch-Haul platform to transport harvested game

Hunters employ many tools including camouflage clothing, tree stands or blinds of wood or metal, axes, knives, vehicles, chainsaws, deer calls, lures, walkie talkies, cell phones, and handheld GPS units.

See also


  1. ^ Naturenet: Shooting, Hunting and Angling Seasons. Naturenet - Countryside Management & Nature Conservation.
  2. ^ Forests and Chases of England and Wales: A Glossary. St John's College, Oxford.
  3. ^ Grossmith, George in The Daily Telegraph, 7 June 1911
  4. ^ DMQ Setting the standard for wild deer management
  5. ^ Game Council NSW
  6. ^ Bentley, A (1967), An Introduction to the Deer of Australia.
  7. ^ Gegelman, Andrew, ‘‘Spot and Stalk Hunting - The Lost Art’’. Nodak Outdoors.
  8. ^ . 
  9. ^ "Hunting duo appeal is turned down". BBC News. 2007-10-19. Retrieved 2010-05-01. 
  10. ^ Cassidy, Martin (2005-02-08). "Frustrations of hunter and hunted". BBC News. Retrieved 2010-05-01. 
  11. ^ [1][dead link]

[2] [3]

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