Field Dressing a Deer
That's a broad topic headline, to be sure. Here are some of the "newbie" things I'm seeing that weren't covered in Boy Scouts 101:
-Where do you leave the innards (some States require to dig a hole and
bury them of course)? Why NOT leave them out for the wild animals to
have something to feed on?
-Only one video I saw, about "Field Dressing a Deer" spoke of cutting the
Scent Glands (a.k.a.= Hocks) off first, or at all. Do Bucks have these,
or only Does; do YOU think they should be removed? (yes, I'll study up
on the anatomy of a deer.....lol).
-How do you "drag" a deer out of the woods over a fallen tree or through
rivers on those mats they sell for carting your deer out of the woods?
(sounds stupid at first, but I got thinking about those dragging mats,
and realized that the woods can be a very unfriendly place).
-Is it more practical for these 55 year old bones of mine, to hunt alongside
a trail near feeding or nesting spots (or by their favorite water hoel),
than to walk for miles and hope I see one?
-Is it better to go "hunting" for deer, armed with only the appropriate
gear and a good pair of binoculars; or to use all that AND the various
"stuff" you can buy (scents, calls, etc.) How much is overkill?
-I've had a "respectable" fish mounted and put on my wall, but my desire
to hunt deer is for the meat. In the event I can't resist shooting that
"12 point Buck," one day, BECAUSE of the "12 points," what's type of
Rack mount is more logical. (Can be a very expensive thing!!).
-How many rounds should I have on hand, when I go out? (I'm tempted
to only bring 3 or 4. Can't see blasting away endlessly, and I'd rather
be a good shot with one round for a clean kill).
-How many days in a row is about the maximum for most of you. Is it
fair to say that a 3-day trip in the woods is about the limit?
I've got a lot more questions, (I know, I know), but these are good for starters!!
I'll try to help Soupy (btw, I like the name!)
In Missouri there are not regulations that I'm aware of. I typically take the deer back to my house and then field dress it on the back of my pick-up's tailgate. Yes, I know many of you think this is hard to do with the deer laying horizontally, but it works for me and I can completely dress a deer in about 15 minutes (or less). I usually leave the innards lay where I dressed it and coyotes or dogs come and eat it. They are usually gone in about a day or two- once again, I'm sure many of you would never do this, but I do, and it works.
I have never cut off the scent glands, BUT I always have my deer processed by a meat store and they DO remove the legs. I would suggest just cutting off the legs and disposing of them b/c trying to remove the scent gland can be challenging and smelly. To each his own, but I do not. I have heard that it can taint the taste of your meat. If you are processing yourself, I would cut them off as soon as you could.
As far as the dragging part--- this is where friends or relatives come in handy! haha I always call my dad or father-in-law to help me. I do have a neat system for loading them myself though... if I'm able to drive up to the deer or relatively close to it, I have a couple of 2x12's ramps that I place on the back end of my tailgate - they are about 7' long and I just drag the deer up the ramp into the back of my truck. Works great- and you can by ramp grips that will sort of sit on your tailgate better than the edge of a 2x12- they just screw on to the 2x12
I would suggest hunting by water anytime of the year but especially early bow season when it's still warm. Trails and bedding areas I typically concentrate on closer to the per-rut and rut times.
The scent question is really anyone's opinion. I believe you can do TOO much and pay TOO much at the same time. Honestly, I rarely use scents, but I do use them occasionally- NOT every time I hunt. Also, I have a good grunt call and nothing else. I don't use estrous bleats or fawn bleats and definately NO buck scents. I'm a HUGE opponent of buck scents because they can completely screw up your deer herd if you don't have mature bucks on your property. You can scare off younger bucks or that buck you are after by using piss collected from a farm somewhere of a buck that is 8 years old. Get my drift? They know by the smell. If any scents at all, I use estrous and that's it. Code Blue makes a good one b/c they use ONLY one doe per bottle. many companies combine the piss into one product and then put it into bottles. Code Blue does not do that... they only give you the piss from ONE doe therefore making it more "REAL" to the buck smelling it.
As far as the mounts go, that's up to you. If the buck was something you really worked for and it's a "trophy" to you, go for it. I know guys who won't mount anything less than 150inches. That to me is dumb. My first mount ever was a 9point and probably scored around 120. It's special to me because it's my first. I don't care what anyone else thinks or says, it has special meaning and that's it. As far as your thinking about the mounts, that's your opinion. If it's worthy for you to do it, do it. If not, don't. Mounts can cost anywhere from $300-$600 typically.
The number of rounds is something you have to consider. If you only bring 3 or 4 and somehow miss a deer 3 times but he gives you one more shot and you are out of bullets, then you're screwed! haha I typically take around 12-15 with me... JUST in case. Now, have I EVER used that many on one hunt, HECK no. Once again, to each his own but that's how many I take.
There is NO maximum for me! If you are talking about the same woods over and over, then yes, there is a limit, but are you talking about hunting in general? If you're talking about hunting the same woods over and over, yes, I would probably hunt another spot for awhile after 2 unsuccessful hunts in that spot. Then come back at a later time. Also, just because you don't see deer in one spot, don't give up on it. I do this alot. I've hung stands that I never end up even hunting there because I "don't think there will be deer showing up there". Yes, it's dumb and I do it, but give each stand it's due. Hunt it and you may turn up that big 12 pointer you're talking about.
You and I sound alot alike. Even though you're 23 years older than I am! I give Hunting Man on here alot of grief about being "OLD" so if I do the same to you, I'm only joking. We sound alike for one reason- you hunt for the meat, BUT you're not opposed to taking a big buck. I'm not a "trophy hunter" but I'd be lying if I didn't say I wanted to kill the biggest BUCK EVER! Now, that said, I want to provide for my family so if taking a younger buck that is smaller is necessary, I'll do it. Or even a doe. I'm a trophy-meat hunter, I guess! haha
welcome to the club
Tator: Thanks for your detailed thoughts. Here in the East (Connecticut) I'm thinking of Eastern Pennsylvania and VERY Northern Maine (where I hail from, above Caribou). The laws concerning hunting apparently vary from State to State, but I suppose some are common among all, as far as what you must do with your deer's gutts, etc..
What I was referring to, was knowing how to plan the trip time. Not how many times I go back to the same locations year after year.
I don't know if most experienced hunters would spend a day, two days, or three days, going out to the woods on any given trip.
Example: If I go (and I intend to) to Northern Maine for my first hunt, it's a day up there, and a day back (so there's two already). I will be accompanied by a long-time hunter and personal friend who knows the wilderness up there even better than I do, so my schedule will be somewhat determined by his availability. I'd think I'd want to set aside at least two days (one outing per day) for hunting deer. He'll know the migratory paths, the watering holes, the bedding areas, the feeding areas, and will most likely be able to show me deer to shoot as a result. That being the case, I'd imagine that I could get the deer meat I want, on the first day, but there are no guarantees I suppose.
Days of hunting
I'm 69 years old.When I was younger I would hunt three days in a row take a break and then hunt one day at a time with breaks.Now I hunt two days in a row with lunch breaks back at the truck or diner,take a day to rest and go back at it one day at a time.I drive 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours one way to hunt,so it is a long day.Over the years,it has taken an average of 4 days of hunting to take one deer, buck or doe in central PA.
3212: Is it better to have a trail to follow and park yourself (trail made by the deer) along a particular spot on that trail (like the bedding area, or feeding area), than to walk in the woods for miles and hope you see one?
As I get older (55 now) I find I'd rather have a known spot (from folks who live there and know the deer routes and routines) where they are likely to be, and wait for them to show up. Does that make logical sense? I dunno. I'm a "rookie."
I typically only walk the woods after it has rained or while it is slowly raining.
Inards: leave where I field dress it & hunt over it for Yotes
Hocks: I leave on till we butcher & we butcher our own
Dragging: I agree with Tator (Family & friends) I always carry my treestand safety harness with me (came with a drag strap) attach star to back of vest & pull works great & fairly easy + your hands are free
we will take turns as we all use the same style harness just unclip & clip to the next person
sitting: I am 41 & I love to stalk hunt I am mostly on the move but I never feel like I fully understand the deer so I am always trying to figure them out & I feel moving around helps me understand what they are doing that year
& I just am a guy always on the go so I have a hard time sitting for long periods of time
Gear is a tough one depends on where I am hunting if I am in one of my small land tracks I only go in with what I have to
Lagre parcels I am prepared to spend the night if something happens
Scents: not a big scents hunter Just use scent killer products
Mounts: Like You & Tator I am a meat hunter & will not pass up on a nice buck. I have my first one on my wall & this year freezer is now pretty full so I am antler hunting
Rounds: I always carry double what my gun can hold
Days: I hunt all year long deer, Turkey, Sheds & scouting for me it is a year round deal
we also do a week hunt in NY as like you it is a day trip just to drive there so we will hunt that area every year trouble with hunts like this is we do not do guided hunts so it takes a few years to know the property. only spending a week a year there
I sit near a known deer travel route as long as I can stand it.On opening day in PA thats usually from 6am to 1pm because of hunter movement.Later in the season I sit till 10am then slowly walk and sit till about 3pm and sit till dark.The deer are in their day beds by 10 when they are not disturbed and on their feet again about 4.Sometimes I just take a nap over lunch time.
"A bad day in the woods, is better than a good day at work" Applies here, doesn't it!! I am a "nature" buff by upbringing and have a lot of "time" in the woods, regardless of whether or not I "hunted" big game during that time.
I've talked about "hunting" Pennsylvania. I have a few folks I know who have hunted there in the past, and I know that, for a while at least, Pennsylvania was inundated with deer along Route 80, and all around. So much so that you could just shoot your gun in any given direction and you were likely to hit one. Almost like killing fish in a barrel, really. No "sport" involved.
I'm seriously looking into the Pennsylvania laws regarding licensing for out-of-state hunters like me. If you (3212) or any other Pennsylvanianite has a suggestion for where to hunt, (eastern half of the State, preferably), or would be willing to bring this rookie along, I'm interested in your idea!
Hunting Man would know a few things about Pa land and regulations.
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