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Best whitetail deer call 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]

Last Updated November 1, 2020

Kyle DunnMy name is Kyle Dunn. I have been a freelance writer for 20 years, focusing mainly on technology related topics. After more than 32 hours of research, including interviewing two experts and spending 10 hours testing 15 popular whitetail deer call, I found the best whitetail deer call of 2018.

Eventually, I found something that would suit my needs but it occurred to me that I wasn’t the only one who might be having the same problems I did. So, you will find reviews on some models of whitetail deer call that impressed me (and a good many other people), and you will find a few informational pages as well.

Best whitetail deer call of 2018

Before you spend your money on whitetail deer call, start by familiarizing yourself with the various types. Customers need to be careful on how they spend their money on these products.

Here, I will review 3 of the best whitetail deer call of 2018, and we will also discuss the things to consider when looking to purchase one. I hope you will make an informed decision after going through each of them. Come with me.

Test Results and Ratings

Rank №1 №2 №3
Total 4.8 4.5 4.3
Ease of use
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Awards 1
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How to save up to 86%? Here is little trick.

You must visit the page of sales. Here is the link. If you don’t care about which brand is better, then you can choose the whitetail deer call by the price and buy from the one who will offer the greatest discount.



№1 – Primos “The Original CAN” Deer Call with Grip Rings


Primos has been trusted by individuals for decades. Products that are made of quality material and designed to withstand the toughest environments. Trust the Brand that others in the field use and don’t settle for less.
Quality materials used for all primos products
We’ve been using it for 4 months and didn’t notice any flaws.

Why did this whitetail deer call win the first place?

I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing! The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack. I don’t know anything about other models from this brand, but I am fully satisfied with this product. I was completely satisfied with the price. Its counterparts in this price range are way worse.


Ease of use














№2 – Extinguisher Deer Call

Extinguisher Deer Call

Adjust to Fawn Doe and Buck in an instant
Free instructional DVD
Freeze free design
Lack of sufficient storage space.
Don’t fit everyone.

Why did this whitetail deer call come in second place?

This is a pretty decent product that perfectly fitted the interior of our office. I recommend you to consider buying this model, it definitely worth its money. The material is pretty strong and easy to wash if needed. Managers explained me all the details about the product range, price, and delivery.


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№3 – Extinguisher Deer Call

Extinguisher Deer Call

One deer call does it all
FreezeFree design
Buck, doe and fawn call
Not as good as some others we reviewed.
Longevity is in question.

Why did this whitetail deer call take third place?

I liked the design. We’ve been using it for 2 months and it still looks like brand new. This price is appropriate since the product is very well built. The material is incredibly nice to the touch. It has a great color, which will suit any wallpapers. It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time.


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whitetail deer call Buyer’s Guide

If you keep the before points in mind, you can easily go out to the market and buy whitetail deer call, right? No!

Primos Hunting “The Original CAN” Deer Call

Primos Hunting is one of the most reputable companies to trust when it comes to their hunting equipment, and The Original Can is no exception! I love the fact that it’s made of quality materials and has the durability to withstand the toughest of conditions and weather conditions! It has a raised thumb hole locator to make it easier to use, as well as the estrus bleat to attract many bucks. It’s proven effective and bucks constantly run to the area when I use this call.

Easy to Use

Compared to using deer decoys, hunting blinds, or even spraying scents and planting turnips for deer, deer calls are effortless to use. All you need to do is to sit in a strategic (and hidden) spot, rattle or blow, and wait for deer to come in.


TenPoint’s integrated ACUdraw cocking mechanism uses a crank to reduce the amount of effort needed to cock the crossbow to approximately six pounds, while their ACUdraw 50 is an integrated rope-cocking mechanism that reduces the effort to cock the crossbow by 50 percent. In addition, there are plenty of rope-cocker options in the market that also reduce the crossbow’s draw weight by 50 percent.

Physical Stature

Hunters come in all shapes and sizes, so there is no one-size fits all crossbow. However, some crossbow stocks give the hunter flexibility when it comes to eye relief and length-of-pull. Such is the case with TenPoint’s ABX (Adjustable Bullpup Crossbow) stock, as both the rubber cheek piece and butt plate adjust to create perfect eye-level adjustment, eye-relief, and length-of-pull.

Wicked Ridge Ranger line of crossbows are ideal for youth, women and seniors because of their lighter mass weight, shorter length-of-pull and lower draw weight.

Research the Manufacturers

Check the track record of the crossbows/crossbow manufacturers you are considering. Not all crossbows or crossbow manufacturers are the same, so it is vital that you do plenty of research on each manufacturer prior to arriving at the shop.

Once you begin handling the crossbows, you can tell some things about the quality of the crossbow by examining how well it is made. If certain parts look flimsy, cheaply made, or do not fit together well, you can expect them to fail under higher than average use. An experienced salesman should be able to tell you what kind of a failure rate to expect with certain models. Also, your salesman should have a good idea about the quality of each manufacturer’ products, customer service department, and warranty claims department.

Weight and noise are factors hunters consider when shopping for crossbows for deer hunting.

Recoil and Weight

Speed. On average, today’s crossbows shoot between 300 and 380 feet per second (fps).  Shooting at 300 fps is plenty fast enough to do the job efficiently, but a 380 fps crossbow will hit harder and have a flatter trajectory, making distance judging less of an issue. Most companies achieve additional speed by adding cams, increasing the power stroke, and using heavier limbs. The trade-offs for increased speed, however, are usually a louder shot, more recoil, and greater difficulty cocking the crossbow.

Noise Level. For many archers, noise level is a primary concern. While manufacturers continue to focus on improving the noise level, there are a handful of accessories that help as well, such as the Bowjax Noise Dampening Kit.

Recoil. Excessive recoil can affect shooting accuracy. Top manufacturers are constantly improving their crossbow’s design to limit the amount of recoil, so be sure you test a variety of models.

Weight. A crossbow can also be too light or too heavy for a particular shooter. A light crossbow with severe recoil can be hard to control. A crossbow that is too heavy can also be difficult to control. It is very hard to shoot accurately with a crossbow that wants to move around while you are aiming and shooting it.

For Your Specific Situation

When shooting at a range or off of a bench, the length and width of the crossbow is not as critical as shooting out of a blind or out of a treestand. Generally, most range shooting takes place when the weather is warmer vs. colder and our clothing is usually light-weight and less bulky.  Comfort at the range, especially the crossbows length, may equate to discomfort when hunting.  Keep your hunting clothing in mind when “trying on” your prospective crossbow.

Ground Blinds

Make sure you have enough room for your seat and any other items you may be using to support the crossbow. If you are not using a support or rest, you may get a case of the nervous jitters or the crossbow may become too heavy to hold up for an extended period of time. Plan ahead.


If you are treestand hunting with a crossbow, the length of the crossbow is extremely important.  Your crossbow will usually feel longer the higher you go up the tree. This longer-feeling crossbow may now be extremely uncomfortable and heavy to hold, especially if you have a stand without a shooting rail.

Crossbow manufacturers continue to push the envelope with compact designs, most noticeably the RDX and XLT crossbows from TenPoint, because a compact width crossbow is a major advantage if you have very narrow shooting lanes or tight quarters in the stand.

To Trigger Pull

Trigger poundage and creep affect shooting accuracy as well. A trigger with no creep (one that releases without any travel or warning) is dangerous and one with too much creep will be difficult to squeeze steadily. Similarly, a trigger that is too light (a hair trigger) is dangerous and one that is too heavy also will be difficult to squeeze steadily. Crossbows with premium triggers shoot more accurately because they are more likely to have optimum travel and poundage.

Youngsters know that shooting is fun, but they will need guidance with crossbow safety issues.

Synthetic Deer Scents

Synthetic deer scents are man-made blends of natural deer scents and they combine two or more different types of scents into a single scent that is designed for a specific purpose such as creating a mock scrape. Therefore, in this case, you would want to combine an interdigital gland scent with a tarsal gland scent and dominate buck urine to create a cocktail that imitates an intruding buck staking a claim by putting out a sign.

Cover Scents

Cover scents are natural scents that are specifically designed to mimic scents that exist naturally in different environments such as hardwood forests, pine forests, sage brush, ect. and are used to mask our human odor so that the deer to not catch our scent and spook. Also, they are commonly available in both liquid form and solid form and, as a general rule, liquid scents have a stronger smell than solid scents but, they also evaporate faster than solid scents and thus, they must be replenished more often.

Manual Deer Calls

Although manually operated deer calls are generally significantly cheaper than electronic deer calls are, they are also commonly limited to only one type of vocalization. Also, although you will see a wide variety of deer calls on the market, most manually operated deer calls can be classified as either a tube type deer call, a can type deer call, or as either rattling antlers or a device that simulates the sound of rattling antlers.

Food Attractants & Mineral Licks

All animals absolutely require appropriate food sources that their bodies can convert to energy in combination with certain minerals in order for their bodies to function properly. Therefore, in addition, to glandular and estrous deer scents, synthetic deer scents, and curiosity deer scents, Whitetail Deer can also be attracted to a specific location by offering them either a source of food or a source of essential minerals or, both at the same location. However it should be noted that both food attractants and mineral attractants come in one or more of five different forms such as incense sticks, liquids, sprays, powders, and solids.

Also, it should be noted that attractants that produce a strong smell are better for temporary use such as when hunting for day or two in any one location while more permanent attractants are best used for long-term stands and blinds and should be deployed well before the hunting season in order to provide the deer time to find, and become accustomed to, them being there.

Roasted Corn Freaks Mix

Solids: Last but not least, we have solid deer attractants which can mimic either food sources or essential minerals and thus, they are best deployed just prior to hunting season to give the deer time to find them and get used to returning to them before hunting season starts. Also, most solid deer food attractants take the form of a square or rectangular block that combines some sort of sweet deer attractant such as molasses with some sort of grain product. But, Evolved Habitats makes a product called Dirt Block that is made entirely from dried molasses that is very high in carbohydrates which are highly prized by animals but are very difficult to come by in Nature. In addition, Evolved Habitats also makes three more solid food attractant products called Sweet Acorn Buck Licker, Wild Persimmon Buck Licker, and Roasted Corn Freaks Block that are very effective.Then, there are also solid mineral attractants which can take the form of very simple plain or mineral salt blocks purchased at your local livestock feed store or farm supply store to more elaborate mineral attractant blocks such as Evolved habitats Black Magic Rack Rock which is an all natural mineral rock deer supplement containing Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, and Sodium combined with other trace minerals that are vital to bone and antler growth, muscle development, digestion, and reproduction and Evolved Habitats Apple Mineral Buck Licker which is an apple flavored mineral block with extra calcium and phosphorus for bone and antler growth.

How to Use Food Attractants & Mineral Licks

Incense Sticks: To use deer attractant incense sticks, you will need to decide on a location to place the stick or sticks. For instance, they can be inserted into the ground or placed in crevices in tree bark and then, once they are in place, you light the end of the incense stick until it has a flame of its own and then, once the tip is glowing cherry red, you blow the flame out and allow the stick to burn on its own. However, you will need to make certain to position your tree stand or ground blind upwind of the incense stick because the scent will stick to anything that it comes into contact with.

Sprays: To use spray deer attractants, you can either spray the mist onto a food source such as feed corn or spray it onto the surrounding foliage or, if the container produces a fine enough mist, then you can spray the scent in to the air and let the breeze disperse it.

Code Blue Drop Time Scent Dispenser

Powders: Powder deer scents are specifically designed to be either mixed with a food source such as feed corn or to be mixed directly into loose soil to create lick by digging a hole in the ground approximately two feet deep and then mixing the powder attractant with the loose soil removed from the hole before placing the dirt back into the hole which, once discovered, will cause the deer to paw and dig at the ground where the attractant is buried and to return again and again to get at the essential minerals buried there.

Solids: Solid deer attractants generally come in block form and, as such, they are much easier for deer to access than powder deer scents which have been buried in the ground. Thus, some hunters like them better than powder deer attractants since all you have to do is transport them to the location where you intend to leave them, remove them from the packaging, and lay them on the ground.

Wrapping Up!

So, that concludes our article on understanding deer scents, deer attractants, deer calls, and deer decoys and we hope that you found the information presented herein both interesting and useful since the world of deer scents alone can be mind boggling at best and downright confusing at worst with all of the numerous different manufacturers and products on the market to choose from. However, as stated above, when a deer follows a scent trail they do so expecting to see another deer at the source of that scent and thus, combining deer scent lures with deer decoys is an excellent way to increase your odds of getting a shot at a big buck.

But, while not as complicated as deer scents, choosing and using a deer decoy also requires both knowledge and forethought on the part of the hunter to choose the best decoy for their intended purpose as well as the best location to place the decoy in order to position any incoming deer for a perfect shot. Therefore, the information contained in this guide is intended to provide you with all of the basic knowledge that you need to drastically increase your odds of bagging a trophy buck this deer season by incorporating deer scents, calls, and deer decoys into your hunting strategy.

Durable Construction

Another thing to consider when buying a deer decoy is the material its body is made of. As a rule of thumb, always go for decoys that are made from durable and reliable materials. It is important as it ensures that the decoy will last for many years without getting punctures.

Other than this, a durable material does not get dents, meaning that it will result in a full-bodied appearance when fully inflated.

Collapsible Design

It’s possible to disassemble all the parts of this deer decoy from the body cavity (i.e. head, legs antennas, ears, and antennas). It makes the decoy contract into a compact size that you can carry to the woods easily.

Given that the body is made from soft materials, it does not produce undesired noises when you’re carrying it (a good one for hunters). Best of all, you can easily slip all these parts into the body cavity for convenience carry.

Easy to Transport

This is made possible by the fact that you can dissemble all the decoy parts and carry them inside the body cavity. These parts include the limbs, ears break, and head.

A screw plug is also provided to cover the head hole to ensure that the parts don’t fall off during transport.

Two Sets of Ears

The decoy comes with two sets of ears to help you switch the attitude of the decoy between submissive ad alert. This makes it easy to accomplish your hunting needs with the decoy.

Tink’s Mr. October buck decoy is another popular deer decoy among hunters owing to its improved level of realism. The handful of realistic features it carries is attributed to the high definition printing technology involved in its creation. The outer HD printed skin is as soft and real as that of a real buck.

This skin is then professionally mounted on a heavy gauge rubber material which completes the look of a full-bodied deer ready to help you hunt successfully.

An unwanted noise that occurs when assembling or dissembling the decoy has been completely cut out by the soft body material. The realism is further improved by an ultra light tail that shows lifelike motions at the slightest breeze.

Supports TWO Poses

These are standing and bedding positions and are designed to help meet your specific hunting needs on the hunting situation.

As if that is not enough, you can also adjust the head to make your decoy appear like its challenging an incoming dominant buck.

Professional Design

But this time it gives us a completely different offer: a grazing doe decoy. The reason behind it is amazing. Animals don’t feed when frightened. They run instead.

But when an approaching buck sees a grazing doe decoy like this one, it will relax and believe that all is well. Once spotted by any buck passing by, this decoy will do its job with an ease that leaves even an expert hunter in awe.

Easy to Set Up

The decoys come with steel band that pops the decoys open for a quick easy setup. A simple twist of the band folds the decoys for transportation. Fiber glass, tent-style, poles supports the decoys firmly on any ground.

Montana Antelope Buck & Doe Combo Decoy Pack Review

For any antelope hunt, Montana Decoy Antelope Buck And Doe Combo Decoy Pack is the perfect tool kit to use.

The two 2D decoys are highly portable and are the surest way to bring an antelope to a closer range. No matter the weather or season, this is the decoy combo that will make you realize success in your hunting efforts.

This has been proven by the many hunters who have used the decoys time and again. What makes this combination a perfect choice for everyone is the fact that you can use it in all hunting situations.

Rugged Construction

All the body parts of these decoys are constructed from durable, long-lasting material which enables the decoy to give you incredible services for ages. The durable material includes cotton, polyester used for the body casing, and steel springs used to popup and fold down the decoys faster and easily.

Additional features: lightweight, poles for staking into the ground included, easy to set up.

Take Note

Always remember this rule when hunting the deer with a decoy: Safety First! We would not advise you to hunt with the decoy during the rifle season. The most life-threatening period is when you’re transporting your setup in and out of the field. Most decoys accompany huge, blaze orange duffel bags. Always remember to dismantle your decoy and place it in this pack for transportation.

Something more important- if the hunting area is a crowded open area, you might as well not setup your decoy there. There are hundreds of brands that manufacture decoys of varied features, sizes, colors, models, etc. There are also homemade decoys that have proved to work like their commercial counterparts.

Set Up Location Matters

How you set up your deer decoy determines its visibility to the potential antelopes. When placed in the right position, a deer decoy can be real dynamite. Otherwise, it will hurt your chances of bagging a buck.

The general idea behind the location is setting your decoys in open areas where deer yards away will clearly see it and eventually approach and explore it. Field edges, natural meadows, and clear-cuts are some of the most strategic places to set your decoy.

Some Noise is Necessary

You might have made the best deer decoy set up and observed all the above tips. But if you wait for the deer to come along and see your decoy, you might get only a few of them.

You can, however, turn this situation and encourage as many deer as possible to seek you by making some noises such as rattling, grunting, and bleating. The more you continue with these calling sounds, the more the deer will grow curious to come and seek you out. And this way, they’ll bump into your decoy.

Ground tactics

Having selected your calling site, stalk into it upwind, perhaps creeping quietly around the edge of the wood in order to get into position. Find a suitable backdrop. You will need a large tree or a clump of dense bushes to conceal your outline.

Holly trees or other evergreens are particularly useful in the winter months, but I also use large oaks — anything that will prevent my silhouette being visible to an approaching muntjac.

So try to locate a potential target with your eyes and then bring the rifle to bear with extreme caution and pick it up in the scope. If using a variable scope, then turn the power ring to a fairly low setting to ensure a good field of vision – six is about right.

Having got into position, wait for a few minutes to allow the wood to settle down, then try a calling sequence. I make six or seven bleats, then wait for a couple of minutes before making the next sequence, perhaps varying the volume and the note. If nothing happens, do not give up.

Wait a while and try once more: though occasionally a muntjac will charge straight in, there are other times when the approach will be very slow, and you will suddenly realise after half an hour or more that there is an animal standing there watching you.

High seats

Calling can sometimes work well from a high seat. Clearly, the issues with wind are not so important when you are calling from a high seat, but it is just as vital to keep still, or you will quickly be spotted, for while high seats may prevent a stalker from being winded by his quarry, they do not make him invisible. Perhaps a light scrim or camouflage net around your seat can be of some assistance here.

Finding It

The first step is just finding a public parcel to hunt. Fortunately, that’s one of the easier tasks in the process. Most state game agencies offer a section on their website dedicated to helping hunters find publicly accessible lands. Some are traditional publicly-owned parcels, while others may be privately-owned but open to public hunting through special programs or agreements with state game agencies.

Don’t overlook lands owned by local units of government – counties, cities and, in some states, school districts. Many of these lands offer public hunting and are less pressured simply because they’re not as well-known.

When it comes to public hunting lands, there are generally three types of ownership: federal, state and local.

Federal. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manage millions of acres of land owned by the people of the United States, and much of it is open to public hunting.

State. Most states own some amount of public land, usually in the form of state forests or Wildlife Management Areas. Again, the majority of these lands are open to, and even managed for, public hunting.

Local. Don’t overlook lands owned by local units of government – counties, cities and, in some states, school districts. Many of these lands offer public hunting and are less pressured simply because they’re not as well-known.

Hunting it

The key to successfully hunting public lands is to determine from the outset what you’re after. Of course, whitetails have to live in the area. That’s a prerequisite regardless. But if you’re specifically looking to tag a big, old buck, you are usually going to seek out areas that are more remote and difficult to access. But if you simply want to spend a few days in the woods and have a reasonable expectation of killing a deer, you usually have more options. Here’s how to narrow things down.

Secret Spots. Many locally-owned lands and private lands with public hunting arrangements will not be featured on maps or GPS units. In a way, that’s part of their appeal. To find them, you must find them. And that will eliminate a lot of the pressure usually associated with public land hunting. Start by contacting local units of government, and they should be able to get you started.

Here are some tips to consider

Trim the Weight. Foot access is usually the only means of transportation on public lands. And that means you’re going to need to haul stands, climbing sticks and assorted gear into your location. Plan – and pack – accordingly. Inventory every piece of gear that you intend to take with you. If it’s not absolutely essential, consider leaving it back in the truck. Save weight where you can and your back will thank you for it later.

What About Your Deer? Getting your gear into an area is one thing. Toting a 200-pound whitetail out is quite another. A wheeled game cart can be a life-saver here. Literally. A study conducted by a team of heart specialists in Michigan has shown that hunting can cause heart rates to skyrocket to dangerous levels – with the act of dragging a deer causing spikes in cardiac activity of lethal rates. Your best option for hauling a deer out of the woods? A team of buddies. Take plenty of breaks, take your time and enjoy the haul.

Identifying Existing Food Sources

Regardless of the time of year – early season, late season, even the rut – a whitetail’s daily movements are dominated by food. While a deer’s dietary requirements and preferences change throughout the season (and sometimes, even by the week), some food sources are standout favorites every fall.

Food sources on a new hunting spot can be basically broken into one of two types: existing and introduced. If you’re scoping out a new farm to buy or lease, or maybe even a public spot you’d like to hunt, identifying the existing food sources will tell you a lot about the current deer-holding potential, and what could potentially be done with food source enhancements.

Natural Browse: You’d think any block of trees would be full of the small bushes, twigs, seeds, berries and leaves that make up the bulk of a whitetail’s daily diet, but you’d be mistaken. Old-growth hardwood forest and dense evergreen canopies shade out the forest floor, preventing that thick understory – and the browse it produces – from growing. Though open ridges with big timber are productive hunting spots at certain times of the year, thick, early successional stuff like clear-cuts and even selectively logged woods provides tons more browse and much better cover.

Mast: Nuts, acorns in particular, are hugely important to a whitetail’s fall diet. And that’s where those big, open stands of hardwood timber can come into play. There are some 60 species of oak in the United States, and deer preferences for their acorns vary too widely by region to cover here. But in general, white oaks are preferred to other oak species because the acorns they produce have lower levels of tannic acid, which give acorns a bitter flavor.

Crops: If you’re scouting an area that has browse, cover and water, you have the basic elements required for whitetail habitat. In the East, most of these areas have at least a few mast-producing trees as well, and this natural, woodland style habitat comprises the bulk of available public hunting areas. But a food source on a potential hunting spot doesn’t have to be “natural” to be pre-existing. And it’s no secret that more whitetails live in farm country. Row crops, namely corn and soybeans, are a huge reason why Midwestern states like Iowa, Illinois, Missouri and Wisconsin have so many deer. The way the in which deer use these crops changes during deer season, since fall is also harvest season, but there’s no question that the presence of row crop agriculture typically makes a huge positive impact on area deer numbers.

Introducing Food Sources

For many of today’s deer hunters, the first thought upon acquiring a new lease or buying a new farm is enhancing the available food supply. Although adding more food sources isn’t universally the answer to getting more deer to use your hunting property (in some situations, creating additional cover can be more effective), it does help in many situations. And there are two basic strategies for doing this: planting food plots or baiting.

Baiting: Where legal, baiting can be a great strategy for getting a shot. First, some ground rules on this polarizing topic. We’re not here to advocate for or against baiting. In many places, hunting deer over bait is illegal. In others, there are laws regarding how close you can set up to bait. And in a few, you can pour out a corn pile, climb a tree 20 yards away and shoot the first deer that walks in, if you so desire. It’s up to you to learn and adhere to the regulations in the area you hunt.

Although apples, feed blends and myriad other goodies are sometimes used for bait, whole shelled corn is the overwhelming favorite. It’s easy to obtain, not overly expensive and whitetails love it. It also works pretty well when used in conjunction with a timed feeder. Such feeders have the advantage of holding substantial amounts of corn secure from the weather for an extended period of time, and limiting how much the deer (and raccoons) are able to eat in a given day. The drawback to them is that it can take months, even a full year, for area deer to become conditioned to them. And even at that, my success at drawing mature bucks in to timed feeders has been limited at best.

Corn poured straight onto the ground, or into a feed-on-demand “gravity feeder” – learn how to make one– is the better bet to start drawing in deer fast, especially older bucks. Deer will often find a corn pile overnight if it’s established in a high-traffic area, and will continue to visit it even a day or two after the last kernels are consumed. A corn pile on the ground is one of the quickest, deadliest ways to get your deer on a small tract of ground that otherwise lacks top food sources. It’s especially effective early and late in the season.

The Pre-rut and Tactics

September turns to October, and things, they are a-changing fast in the whitetail woods. The bachelor groups of bucks that were so predictable just a few weeks ago are now breaking up, and individual bucks are establishing territories for the fall. They mark these territories with rubs and scrapes. Encounters with other bucks now lead to aggressive posturing, and, as the month goes on, violent fighting. Bucks show an increasing interest in does, as they know it’s only a matter of days before the first females are ready to breed.

In addition to deer behavior, food sources are changing. Chilly nights and shorter days are killing off the abundant green browse that was in the woods on opening day. Soybean fields are yellowing and losing their attraction. Acorns are falling. This time of year is considered by many to be the toughest of all to hunt – but it does have its upsides.

How to Hunt: During the pre-rut, deer are in flux. They’ve seen some hunting pressure by this point, so they’re a bit leerier about moving in the open during daylight hours. Bucks know the breeding hasn’t begun yet, and mature animals, especially, are extremely cautious right now. Food sources have changed, with acorns being option No. where they’re available. So hunting the pre-rut often means backing into the timber. Play it safe around the bedding areas, but don’t be shy about setting up in funnels and pinch points between those beds and food sources. And be prepared for some slow days. The best thing about the pre-rut is that the rut is on the way.

Define It

The first step in hunting the rut is determining exactly what phase of the rut you’re dealing with. Not all does will be ready to breed at the same time. And this will definitely impact how the bucks you’re hunting behave.

The “seeking and chasing phase” is the phase most hunters closely associate with the rut. Generally speaking, rutting activity will begin trickling in mid-October and gain steam toward the end of the month, hitting a peak somewhere around the second week of November. Much of this activity is actually pre-breeding. Very few does are actually ready to be bred, but there are a few. And that puts bucks into a frenzy. This is when daylight rut activity is most intense and bucks are moving most often.

At some point, usually around mid-November, most does will be available to breed. And the action will decline dramatically as bucks and does disappear into the thickets to breed. This is known as the “lockdown” phase. Bucks will stay with a doe they’re breeding for about 4hours, and will move only when the doe moves.

How to Hunt: Hunting the rut can be incredibly exciting. And incredibly frustrating.

The seeking and chasing phase offers an excellent time to hunt areas with maximum deer movement. Funnels, pinch points and primary food sources are all worthy of attention. All-day sits are very effective this time of year, but that doesn’t mean you have to sit in the same stand all day long.

All-day sits are very effective this time of year, but that doesn’t mean you have to sit in the same stand all day long. Try targeting a prime funnel that deer use to travel from feeding areas to bedding areas in the morning before moving to a stand near a known doe bedding area during the midday hours.

Try targeting a prime funnel that deer use to travel from feeding areas to bedding areas in the morning before moving to a stand near a known doe bedding area during the midday hours. Then, in the afternoon, change locations to a primary food source.

The seeking and chasing phase is the ideal time to employ calling tactics, particularly during the early stages of the phase. With competition for available does high, bucks are far more willing to respond to calling and rattling. Grunt calls mixed with doe bleats can be dynamite. Antler rattling simulates a fight between bucks over a hot doe, and can draw in bucks from long distances. —For more in-depth rut tactics, check out this article.

The Post Rut and Tactics

With the frantic, action-packed days of the rut behind us, we enter the post-rut phase. Often, this period of the deer season is also referred to as the “late” season. In many ways, the tactics and experiences are the same. Deer are finished breeding and winter is impending. They have two things on their minds: Food and safety.

In most areas, the rut will be all but over by the first week of December. And in areas of the upper Midwest, snow will begin falling in late November, and the cold temperatures won’t recede until spring. In those situations, the post-rut period occurs hand-in-hand with true late-season hunting tactics.

In other areas, however, there may be a small window of time in which the deer have put the rut behind them but aren’t yet enduring cold winter temperatures. These post-rut deer can be some of the toughest to hunt.

Following the rut, doe families will begin to reassemble. Does, fawns and button bucks will start to hang out together again, bedding and feeding in the same locations. These deer will also have endured a full season of hunting pressure and will be reluctant to move much in daylight. Bucks will also start to reform into bachelor groups, sometimes hanging out with does and fawns as well.

How to Hunt: The best tactics for hunting these post-rut deer are of the low-impact variety. Scout food sources from afar before making a plan to hunt them. As in the early season, your best chance of taking a deer off a food source in the post-rut period is the first time you hunt the location. So make it count.

Deer Scouting

Scouting is the foundation to consistent deer hunting success. Whether you’re hunting a small 10-acre patch of urban timber or larger expanses of farmland, the effort you assert in understanding your property and how the deer use it will largely determine the outcome of your season.

The First Steps

Ideally, scouting should begin well before the season opener, but for the traveling hunter, this may not be possible. Regardless, the best starting point to understanding your hunting property is with the use of topographical maps and aerial photos. Using these tools allows you to visually see what the property offers, and also provide detailed topography.

Rivers and creeks. These are prime locations for traveling deer. It’s not uncommon to find trails running along their banks, as well as water crossing locations at gradually sloping and shallow water areas.

Travel corridors. A saddle, which is just a low point between two hills, is an easy spot for deer to travel. East-west ridges allow rutting bucks to use prevailing north-south winds to efficiently scent check an area for estrus does. Draws or gullies leading from open fields to bedding areas can be potential travel routes as well.

Fields. Although you may not be able to tell what a field contains from an aerial map, they are often prime feeding areas, and are always worth investigation.

Cold Weather Gear

There’s nothing worse than being cold on stand, but with today’s insulated hunting gear Mother Nature’s worst doesn’t have to keep you home. To battle the elements, think layers. Not only does layering do a better job of keeping body heat in and cold out, but when it gets warm, you can always peel some away.

Hot Weather Gear

During early season hunts you’re going to get hot and sweaty. No way around it. With that in mind, consider wearing lightweight clothing that offers scent control qualities. Although this is not foolproof, anything you can do to reduce human scent is always a good option. Clothing that is breathable, stretchable and cool on the body will do an amazing job keeping you cool.

When picking the right pair of boots, comfort, climate and environment are essential elements to consider. Hunting whitetails sometimes requires long days in the field, so having a pair of boots that are comfortable in any situation will keep you on stand longer and increase your odds of killing deer. Because elements can change drastically during the whitetail season, having a couple pairs of boots for the varying conditions might be necessary if you intend to bear the brunt of an entire season. For stationary hunting from a stand or ground blind a quality pair of calf-high rubber boots—insulated or not, weather depending—is an excellent, and popular, option.

When still-hunting, participating in deer drives or hiking long distances in more rugged terrain is involved, choosing a comfortable leather or Cordura boot might be a better option. They offer better all-around support. Non or lightly insulated boots are more breathable on warm hunts, but many styles of lace-up boots have Thinsulate insulation for colder days, as well as Gore-Tex or other water-proofing materials for wet conditions.

Optics for Deer Hunting

Quality optics are essential for deer hunting, and there are three primary types to consider: Binoculars, spotting scopes and rangefinders. Although not all of them are necessary in every hunting situation, each is useful enough to justify owning them all. In the past, deer hunters were forced to choose between cheap optics that were often junk, or high-quality glass that cost a small fortune. Today, there are numerous middle-of-the-road binoculars, rangefinders and spotting scopes that will do the job effectively, but at reasonable prices.


Binoculars are among the most important all-around tools for deer hunting. When shopping for the right binocular, there are many factors to consider and understand. The most important and most basic is the magnification and brightness. Magnification is the optical power the binoculars provide, and the brightness is largely determined by the size of the aperture or objective lens, but lens coatings also play a role. The number on the binoculars describes these configurations.

For example, an 8X4configuration means that the binoculars offer 8-power magnification, or that the object you are looking at appears eight times closer than what you can see with the naked eye. The 4is how many millimeters in diameter the aperture or objective lens is, which largely determines its light-gathering capabilities. This is an important consideration since most hunting situations occur in low-light conditions.

At first thought, many feel having higher magnification is better, but higher magnification decreases the field of view, and they are typically not as bright. For the average whitetail deer hunter, 8X4is an ideal choice in both magnification and brightness.

Look for models that offer “fully multi-coated” lenses. This means that all air-to-glass surfaces have received multiple layers of anti-reflection coatings, which reduce light loss and glare due to reflection. Extra Low Dispersion Glass, or commonly referred to as ED Glass, is typically found on higher end models, and it is well-worth the extra dollars if you spend much time in the woods. This type of glass provides exceptional color correction and sharp images in low light conditions.

Spotting Scopes

Although a spotting scope is not necessary for most whitetail hunting situations, it is an excellent tool for glassing large fields from a distance while scouting, and they’re very handy when hunting for whitetails in open country out west. Most spotting scopes have 50mm to 80mm objective lenses, which gather plenty of light, and magnifications from 15X to 60X optical power. For magnification performance, anything in the 15X to 30X is perfect for whitetails. This will give you plenty of power, as well as a wide field of view. A fully multi-coated lens is a must, and it should be equipped with ED Glass and offer high definition qualities. Quality is key when picking a good spotting scope, so expect to shell out some money to get one that is worthwhile.


Whether you’re slinging arrows from 20 yards or bullets from 200, a laser rangefinder is a game-changing tool for deer hunting. In a nutshell, these devices use an invisible infrared laser beam to reflect off a target, and a computer chip in the unit calculates the time it took for the laser to reflect back to the unit to calculate the distance. This pinpoint accuracy has done worlds to minimize misses and wounding shots on game. And, modern rangefinders are surprisingly affordable and rugged.

One of the newest advancements in rangefinders that’s a must-have for bowhunters is angle-compensating technology. These units have a built-in inclinometer that gives you true horizontal yardage for sharply angled shots.

Some modern rangefinders offer scanning modes, which allow you to pan across the landscape while the button is held and acquire different distance readings. Other read-out modes allow you to filter out brush and clutter than can spoil the reading to your target, and even built-in ballistic modes that help rifle shooters determine holdover amounts for their particular firearm.

So let’s make some sense of the options.

For starters, you’ll need to decide whether you want a camera that uses a traditional flash or some version of LED lighting. For most applications, you’ll want a flash that simply illuminates the deer at night to provide good, clear images after dark. LED units excel here. Most LED units will feature multiple LED bulbs that produce light that’s hard for game or humans to see. The Bushnell TrophyCam HD is an excellent example. However, some units such as the Bushnell Trophy Cam HD MAX also employ red or “black” infrared lights. These allow the camera to provide illumination for the photo without giving off a highly-visible light that may be seen by deer and is definitely visible to other humans who might want to make off with your camera.

That said, standard “white light” flashes have their place. They excel at stopping motion and preventing image blur. So if you intend to set your camera up over a scrape, a white light flash is a good choice. Bucks at scrapes are usually fairly active and moving. A standard LED camera will produce blurry images. A white flash unit will not. Moultrie offers very good flash units in its Game Spy lineup.

Each unit will also have an advertised range for the flash. This tells you how far away a deer can be from the unit and still be illuminated by the flash. The longer the range, the better.

If anything has had more of an impact on the way we hunt over the past decade than the trail camera, I’d love to see it.

Once you’ve selected the type of flash you’d like to use, the next choice to make involves the features you’d like the camera to have. Most units will be capable of taking both photos and video. Some units include audio with the video, others do not.

Many units will also allow you to choose the resolution of the photos. I generally opt for the highest resolution possible. The Bushnell TrophyCam, for example, allows you to choose from 3, or megapixel images. By choosing the highest resolution, you’ll be able to zoom in on photos to look at subtle details (such as antler characteristics) that will be lost with lower-resolution settings. The tradeoff? You’ll fit fewer images on an SD card than with lower-resolution settings.

Trigger speeds are also advertised for each camera. This refers to the amount of time it takes for the camera to take a photo after it’s detected motion. Again, faster is better.

Want to know more about trail cameras? Check out our reviews from last fall.

Putting it to Good Use

Today’s cameras are easy to set up and deploy. Most will feature an LCD panel on the inside of the camera where you can set up variables such as the date, time, number of photos to be snapped with each activation and whether you want the camera to operate in photo or video mode.

The more difficult aspect of trail camera use is deciding exactly where to put it and how many to use. There are no set rules for either. The best place to put a camera is the place where you think it will provide you with the information you’re looking for.

If your goal is to simply take an inventory of the number and quality of deer in the area, using a camera over a mineral station or feeder is an excellent choice.

If you really want to get a look at the bucks in your area as the rut is closing in, it’s hard to beat putting a camera over an active scrap. In fact, I’ve had moderate success creating my own mock scrapes using nothing more than a sharp stick, an overhanging branch and a little pee (deer or human, seems not to matter).

For checking out food plot use, a trail camera can be ideal. But cameras that can be set to “field scan” mode are even better. The Bushnell TrophyCam HD, for example, can be set to take one photo at a specified interval (from 1-60 minutes). You then use included software to compress those images into a time-lapse sequence that will show how many deer are using the plot and where they came from. This is especially useful on plots or fields where passing deer may be too far away from the camera to trigger a photo.


No matter which bow you choose, you’ll need to add some accessories. A rest and sight are essential, and there is no shortage of options.

Arrow selection has gotten infinitely simpler in recent years. There was a time when you had to choose between carbon or aluminum, and it was a bit of a toss-up because carbon shaft technology was still in its infancy. Not anymore. Now, your best choice in virtually all situations is carbon. And there is no shortage of excellent shafts to choose from: Easton, Carbon Express, BloodSport, Beman, etc.

Deer Rifles

For the past century, at least, gun writers have made substantial portions of their income by talking about “deer rifles.” They’ve argued the merits of calibers. Of actions. Of optics. Of bullets. Of brush guns versus bean field guns. It’s all fun stuff to read if you’re a gun guy. If you’re just a deer hunter searching for a rifle, it can be confusing. Here’s what you really need to know.

Action. There are great deer rifles available in every action style. Lever action. Pump-action. Bolt-action. Semi-automatic. Single shot. The bolt action is overwhelmingly the most popular choice for today’s deer hunter. And there’s a reason why bench-rest competitors and other long-range target shooters favor bolt-action rifles. They’re solid, simple and reliable.

If you hunt in inclement weather or just aren’t one to baby your guns, buy yourself a bolt-action with a synthetic stock and stainless steel barrel and action. Of course, if you’re buying synthetic, we recommend picking a rifle decked out in your favorite Realtree camouflage pattern. If you’re more the nostalgic type, go for a hardwood stock and shiny blued steel barrel. Try to buy a rifle with a good factory trigger (many of today’s guns are adjustable), but if you can’t, consider having a gunsmith install an aftermarket trigger. It will do worlds to improve your shooting.

Need a place to shoot? Check out this feature on building your own shooting range.

Caliber. Brace yourself: Caliber doesn’t matter. Much. Buy and hunt with the caliber you want, so long as it’s legal in your area. Most whitetails are killed inside of 100 yards. And at that distance, any modern centerfire rifle firing a.2diameter or larger bullet and topped with even a cheap Wal-Mart scope will kill a buck with amazing efficiency.

If you don’t consider yourself a “gun person” and just need a good rifle to serve your hunting needs for years to come, then it’s best to stick with tested, established calibers. Finding ammunition – and a variety of it at that – on store shelves is easiest when you go that route. Common calibers tend to be less expensive, too.

Which caliber should you pick? Well, the.30-30 Winchester, famously chambered in the Winchester 9and Marlin 33lever actions, ushered in the era of smokeless powder and modern deer cartridges. I’ve seen it written time and again that this caliber has killed more deer than the others combined. I’m not sure I believe that.

While it’s certainly done its share (and continues to be a perfectly acceptable round), the.30-30 was surpassed by the.30-0Springfield more than a century ago. That round, and its necked-down sister, the.270 Winchester, are unquestionably two of the most common and effective deer rounds in existence. In a good rifle, they provide deer killing power at ranges farther than you’re probably capable of shooting.

Caliber doesn’t matter. Much. Buy and hunt with the caliber you want, so long as it’s legal in your area. Most whitetails are killed inside of 100 yards. And at that distance, any modern centerfire rifle firing a.2diameter or larger bullet and topped with even a cheap Wal-Mart scope will kill a buck with amazing efficiency.

Other calibers work just as well. But in the essence of space and simplicity, if you’re shopping for a one-and-done deer rifle, get a.30-0or a.270.

Scope. A budget deer rifle can still provide a lifetime of outstanding performance. But your scope is very much a get-what-you-pay-for piece of equipment. The advice outlined by Brian Strickland about binoculars in the optics section above goes doubly true for scopes. You don’t have to take out a second mortgage, but understand that it’s common for a good rifle scope to cost as much as the rifle you’re pairing it with.

Better scopes stand up better to recoil and abuse, which means they’ll still be “dead on” at the moment of truth. And they have better glass, which means you can actually see that buck well enough at the cusp of legal shooting light. Fixed-power scopes work fine, but most deer hunters prefer a variable-power scope. The 3x9x4is a great all-around choice.

Rifled is Good

But if you live or hunt in a shotgun-only area and hope to fill a tag or two, you’re going to need an accurate shotgun. An accurate shotgun is one that will stabilize the slug during flight. This is done with rifling. And with shotguns, you have two options: a rifled choke tube or a replacement, fully rifled barrel.

Although a rifled choke tube will improve accuracy over a straight smoothbore barrel, a fully-rifled barrel will provide far better performance and is really worth the investment if you’re serious about using your shotgun as a deer gun.

Gun Design Matters

The Remington 870 and Mossberg 500 are two of the most cherished of all shotguns in deer country, and for good reason. They are both workhorse pump guns. You can get all manner of choke tubes for each—including rifled tubes—and you can swap out for a fully-rifled barrel without breaking the bank. Many a whitetail has fallen to the 870 and 500.

But the 870 and 500—and virtually every other pump or semi-auto shotgun available do have their limitations. And that’s where guns designed specifically for slugs really shine. The H&R Ultra-Slugger, for example, is a single-shot gun made for slinging slugs. It has an obnoxiously heavy barrel that’s fully rifled. But you can top it with a quality scope, load it with saboted slugs and legitimately use it to kill whitetails from 200 yards.

Gear to Own

Cleaning a muzzleloader is absolutely mandatory, too, as the various propellants are typically highly corrosive. You might get by with shooting your gun on a Saturday and cleaning it on Sunday. Wait much longer than that, though, and you’re inviting rust. And rust ruins guns. Detailed cleaning instructions should be included with your gun, but if not, consult with the manufacturer.

Where to Shoot a Deer

So you’ve figured out where to hunt, how to scout that location, chosen your bow and/or gun and are ready to roll. Soon you’ll likely need to make the most critical decision in deer hunting: Where to place your shot.

Shot placement can mean the difference between a filled tag and a very bad experience. Fortunately, there is no magic or mystery involved. The anatomy of a deer is fairly straight forward and placing your bullet or broadhead in the chest cavity will get the job done. To learn exactly where to shoot a deer with a bow—and what to do after you make the hit—check out this interactive guide.

Above all else, it’s important to understand where a deer’s vital organs sit in its chest cavity. Ask yourself, can your weapon and your shooting abilities deliver a projectile to those vitals from the angle you’re looking with absolute certainty? If the answer is, “I’m not sure,” you need to wait for a better shot. If the answer is, “Yes, and I’m rock-solid,” then you know what to do. Pull the trigger and fill your tag.

Set Up and Inspect Your Treestand

A treestand is a useful tool for harvesting deer. There is a variety of treestands for your selection: hang-ons, climbers, ladder stands and tripods. We do NOT recommend building your own treestand and we very sternly advise that you NOT use a treestand that someone else set up, especially a homemade stand.

Make certain that your treestand is current and has the approval of TMA (Treestand Manufacturers Association). Never use a treestand that belongs to another hunter.

Always wear a full body harness when using a treestand, use a haul line to bring up your unloaded firearm, and maintain three points of contact whenever climbing up and down. Follow the instructions from the treestand manufacturer for correct use. Treestand falls may result in serious injury and death.

Practice using your treestand at home on a tree in the backyard and begin with it mounted at two to three feet.

Sight In Rifle

The rifle is your chosen tool for hunting deer. Know your rifle. Just because it was right on target last year does not mean that when you take it out of storage for this season it is properly sighted in.

Take time to go to a shooting range to practice well ahead of opening day. Whether you’re using open or telescopic sights: start out the day at the range as though you had a brand new rifle.

It is suggested that the new deer hunter refer back to their hunter safety course for details on how to sight in their deer-hunting rifle.


Season opens at 1noon Central Time on the opening date. See Special Herd Reduction Deer Bow Seasons. During the regular gun season orange clothing is required of all bowhunters and anyone accompanying apprentice license holders. Nonresidents are restricted to species of deer described on license. For residents, any deer is legal except antlerless mule deer within deer hunting unit 4A.

Hunting Hours

HUNTING HOURS are 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset except opening day. Hunters must cease any hunting activity, leave any stand or blind, and must be in the process of leaving the field at the close of shooting hours.


General – Licenses must be signed in ink and are nontransferable. No person may give away, barter or sell an issued license.

Deer bow – All resident licenses, and nonresident licenses for white-tailed deer only, are issued by the Department’s Bismarck office, website or by calling 800-406-6409, or at participating license vendors. Nonresident any-deer licenses are issued only from the Department’s Bismarck office. It is illegal to buy more than one regular deer bow license per season.

Antlerless white-tailed deer – Ages (who qualify), 11, 1and 1Licenses are issued only through the Department’s Bismarck office. The deadline for submitting applications is September 1, 2017.

Youth deer – Ages 1(who qualify), 1and 1Licenses are issued only through the Department’s Bismarck office. The deadline for submitting a restricted youth antlered mule deer lottery application was June 7, 201The deadline for submitting a regular youth season application is September 1, 2017.

Deer gun – Licenses are issued by a weighted lottery. The deadline for submitting lottery applications was June 7, 201Any remaining licenses are also issued by lottery, or on a first-come, first-served basis. Check with the Game and Fish Department for details.

Muzzleloader – Licenses are issued by a weighted lottery. The deadline for submitting applications was June 7, 2017.

Resident Gratis and Nonresident Landowner – Licenses are available to residents and nonresidents who own, or residents who lease for agricultural purposes and actively farm or ranch, at least 150 acres of land located in an open hunting area. These licenses are valid only upon land described on the license. The license consists of the tag and the copy of the application returned to the landowner/lessee (both need to be in possession while hunting). The resident gratis or nonresident landowner license may be used during the deer bow, deer gun or muzzleloader seasons until the license is filled. Resident gratis and nonresident landowner licenses are issued only through the Department’s Bismarck office and are subtracted from the maximum number of deer gun licenses available (nonresident landowner from the percent allocation), for each unit. A resident who holds a valid lottery license to hunt deer may hunt the same species and sex of deer, for which that person’s license is valid, on land in an adjoining unit for which that person would be eligible for a resident gratis deer license. A person, that person’s spouse, and their children who have a gratis deer license may hunt together on any qualifying land described on any of their licenses provided they hunt within the same unit in which their described land is located. No other licenses are required for resident gratis licensees. Applications received by the June 7, 201deadline will be issued an any-legal-deer license. Applications received after the deadline will be issued licenses based on availability after the initial lottery.

Orange Clothing Requirements

All big game hunters, including bowhunters, are required to wear orange clothing while the regular deer gun season is in progress. All youth deer season and muzzleloader season hunters are required to wear orange clothing. Legal orange clothing is a head covering and outer garment above the waistline of solid daylight fluorescent orange color, totaling at least 400 square inches.

Hunting Big Game Over Bait

It is unlawful for an individual to hunt big game over bait in deer hunting units 3C west of the Missouri River, 3E1, 3E2, 3Fand 3FHunting big game over bait on all Department wildlife management areas is prohibited. Hunting over bait is defined as the placement and/or use of bait(s) for attracting big game and other wildlife to a specific location for the purpose of hunting. Baits include but are not limited to grains, minerals, salts, fruits, vegetables, hay, or any other natural or manufactured foods. The designation does not apply to the use of scents and lures, water, food plots, standing crops or livestock feeds used in standard practices.

Hunting over bait is also not allowed on all U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service national wildlife refuges and waterfowl production areas; U.S. Forest Service national grasslands; and all North Dakota state school, state park and state forest service lands.

Tagging Requirements

IMMEDIATELY after an animal has been killed, the hunter must indicate the date of kill by cutting out the appropriate month and day from the tag provided with the license, and attach it to the base of the antler on antlered deer, or in a slit in the ear on antlerless deer as illustrated on the tag backing. The tag, when properly placed, shall remain with the antlers or head until March 31, 201After the antlers, head or hide have been removed from the carcass, the carcass tag shall remain with the carcass or processed meat until consumed or until March 31, 201No person may reuse or attempt to reuse any tag issued. When any part of an animal is mounted, if the tag is removed from the antlers or ear, the tag must be securely fastened to the back or bottom of the mount and remain there. Tags are not transferable.

Areas Closed To Hunting With Centerfire Rifles

Road Rights of Way

Do not hunt on road rights of way unless you are certain that they are open to public use. Most road rights of way are under the control of the adjacent landowner and are closed to hunting when the adjacent land is posted closed to hunting.

Use of Animals and Tree Stands

Animals – It is unlawful to use any animal except horses or mules as an aid in the hunting or taking of big game.

Tree Stands – No person may construct or use a permanent tree stand or permanent steps to a tree stand on any state wildlife management area, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service national wildlife refuge or waterfowl production area. Portable tree stands and portable steps, and natural tree stands may be used. Portable tree stands and portable steps are defined as those which are held to the tree with ropes, straps, cables, chains or bars. The use of nails, wire, screws or bolts to attach steps or a stand to a tree is prohibited on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service national wildlife refuges and waterfowl production areas. Screw-in steps (allowed on state wildlife management areas) are those that are screwed into the tree by hand without the aid of any tools. Ladder type stands which lean against the tree are portable stands. A notched board placed in a tree crotch is a portable stand. Natural stands are those crotches, trunks, down trees, etc., where no platform is used. Tree stands do not preempt hunting rights in the vicinity of the tree stand. Tree stands and steps may not be put up on state wildlife management areas or federal waterfowl production areas before August 20, 2017, and they shall be taken down by January 31, 201Stands and steps not removed by January 31, 2018, are considered abandoned property and are subject to removal and confiscation by the Game and Fish Department and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Tree stands left unattended on state wildlife management areas and federal waterfowl production areas require an identification tag displaying the owner’s name, address and telephone number; or hunter education number. Tree stands must be removed daily on national wildlife refuges. Portable tree stands on waterfowl production areas and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers managed lands may be used in accordance with state regulations.

National Wildlife Refuges

National wildlife refuges open to deer hunting during the youth deer season include: Arrowwood, Chase Lake, Des Lacs, J. Clark Salyer, Long Lake, Lostwood, Lake Alice, Lake Nettie, Sibley Lake, Slade, Tewaukon, Upper Souris and Zahl. Youth hunters are required to contact refuge headquarters for permission and details.

Certain national wildlife refuges may be open to deer hunting during the bow and muzzleloader seasons. Contact refuge headquarters for details. Some national wildlife refuges will be open during the deer gun season (see table below), including some requiring a special refuge permit which controls the amount of access during the season. Special refuge permits are determined by lottery and must be applied for through the initial lottery drawing process. To receive a special refuge permit, an individual must first be successful in drawing a unit permit.

Fire Danger Index

Fire danger indexes provide an indication of wildland fire potential.

Fire danger indexes are calculated considering temperature, humidity, wind speed, cloud cover and vegetative condition, and are classified as Low, Medium, High, Very High or Extreme.

Fires are more likely to occur on higher index days. Certain outdoor activities may be prohibited when a fire danger index is considered Very High or Extreme.


Let’s start by looking at the most common camo patterns used in the U.S.

A popular choice for a number of hunters, this camo is designed to disappear into wooded areas. The tighter patterns allow hunters to blend seamlessly into their forested surroundings. You’ll find patterns with greens and leaves for the early season, while you’ll want browns and bare branches in late fall/early spring. Also take into consideration what style of hunting you prefer. If you’re in a tree stand, you might be able to get away with more contrast like limbs against the sky. If spot-and-stalk is your game, you want softer breakups to mesh your profile and surroundings.

Where woodland camo thrives on the breakup and includes a number of elements, brush camo should be more open, because the environment is more open. Western terrain often calls for such a pattern, which can help with blending into your surroundings when there is no object to add contrast. This print will help you blend in with dirt and dead grasses, as well as other minimal colors seen in this terrain.

Waterfowl/marsh camo patterns feature a mix of tall grasses, reeds, corn stalks and more elements you’re likely to find in a swamp area, making this an ideal print for wetland hunters and swamp-stalking sportsmen. The long lines resembling wetland plant life allow you to drop right into the swampy environment, leaving you near invisible to approaching game or flyover waterfowl. Marsh camo is fantastic at what it does, but due to its specificity, is limited to the swamp. Waterfowl camouflage is not recommended for all-purpose uses.

When snow blankets the terrain on a deep winter hunt, you need more than white clothing. Snow camo will mix in darker colors that will confuse game as you blend seamlessly into the snowy landscape. Designed to limit the amount of contrast your profile showcases against the white, powdery environment, snow camo can be a great tool when the elements change on you. Also, don’t be afraid to mix your snow camo with other prints. If you are nestled against a tree in late-season, snow print pants and a woodland top might bare better coverage than an all-winter getup.

OnXMaps Hunt

This app turns your Android or iPhone device into a land identification system. Check owner names and public and private boundaries. For offline use, it will cache aerial imagery and topo maps.

You can use photos you take to make waypoints for scrapes, rubs, wallows and sightings. A premium membership is also available.

Deer Calls and Tactics

This app has one of the most complete libraries of deer calls and sounds available to help you make the most of each hunting trip.

Tactics provides tips and tactics for the 1most effective deer sounds, including contact call, doe grunt, doe bleat, doe estrus bleat, breeding bellow, buck grunt, buck bawl, tending grunt, tending click-grunt, snort-wheeze, sparring and rattling.

It provides descriptions and dates of rut phases, tactics and tips for each of the phases, ratings for solunar days and a lunar calendar.

Act In Nature Hunting

ActInNature offers three essentials for the serious hunter. It has mapping, tracking and navigating capability. Before you start out, it helps you prepare hunting zones and places of interest like feeding spots or fox holes.

It provides detailed moon and sun phase info and weather forecasts, all of which you can share with other hunters. It allows you to navigate by POIs, compass or distance circle as well as observe positions, speed and directions of other hunters. You can record your experience in a private journal, or put images and video in the gallery for others to view.


AccuWeather is one of the best weather forecasting apps for Android and iTunes.

The hourly forecasts, seven day forecasts, and especially the radar, are extremely useful for planning your hunts, as well as monitoring the current conditions.

In addition, the severe weather alerts are useful for hunters who are out in the field, and advanced notice of needing to pack up and head in is always a good thing.

Google Earth

Google Earth is a hugely popular app that allows you to explore any place on the entire globe, with just your fingers.

For hunters, this is exciting because you can get close up details of the terrain and features of your hunting property.

There are other apps that use topographical maps and satellite imagery, but Google Earth is the standard for 3D terrain visualization of hunting land. Use it to identify natural funnels, creeks, marshes, ridges, and more.


The HuntStand app is a hunting land management tool that works whether or not you have a mobile signal. The patent pending “HuntZone” tools can calculate your scent zone based on wind direction, speed, distance, and time.

You can completely map out your hunting property and use any of the 40+ icons to highlight places of interest, like trail cameras, tree stands, feeder, and whatever else is important to you. In addition to that, you can measure area and distance to gain accurate data on you land.

Where to Shoot

The Where to Shoot app uses your location services or GPS to search for nearby gun ranges.

The app is maintained by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), and uses their extensive database of shooting ranges across the United States and Canada.

This app is useful for those times when you are out of town and would like to get some range time in. Also included in the app are videos of shooting tips and resources, making it ideal for new hunters and shooters.

ScoutLook Hunting Weather

This app shows you the weather at your exact hunting location using geocoding.

It effectively integrates details like radar and wind with solunar times and phases and hourly changes in the barometer, all information that a hunter will need when deciding when and where to hunt.

The app shows you 72-hour wind forecasts visually with ScentCone and SetZone. When you know the full range of wind data that affects hunting, it makes it much easier to select the right tree stands and duck blinds.


PocketRanger is a series of apps that provide you in depth information about your state and national parks.

These apps give hunters easy access to park information, such as hours, telephone numbers, trails, campgrounds, and GPS terrain maps.

Certain PocketRanger apps can also assist you in locating places to hunt, the rules and regulations, as well as specific license and permitting information for each park.

Where to Hunt

You can also enable a private group option to keep track of everyone in your hunting party, while hiding your location from the general public. This is great for keeping track of your friends and family, and help everyone enjoy a successful hunt. Another benefit of this feature is your loved ones back home can see your position in the map just in case you may need help.

Hunt Predictor

This app has a highly advanced prediction formula to let you plan your hunting times for deer, turkey and waterfowl. You can ensure the best results by making use of its algorithm that uses seven variables to interpret weather patterns scientifically, which in turn helps you predict the movement of wildlife. Using GPS technology, it provides you with five-day hunting predictions for your next trip.

Make the most of your time by getting up-to-date information about when your game is on the move. Check the Go Hunt or Stay Home graph to be efficient with your hunting schedule. Plot your locations and manage all your data for each hunt. View hourly weather forecasts and check sun and moon times for your best hunting outcome.

Shooting Hours

Shooting Hours is a sunrise and sunset calculation app that uses your GPS location to determine the times of morning and evening where animal activity will be highest. This app replaces the need for sunset and sunrise tables, and eliminates the guesswork wondering if the tables are accurate.

Use the custom shooting hours settings to adjust for your local hunting regulations, so you are always sure of the legal hunting hours in your specific state. The app will vibrate your phone to notify you of the start and finish of the “shooting hours” for that day.

Shot Simulator

Shot Simulator is an interactive 3D app that teaches you perfect shot placement for whitetail deer hunting. The DDH Shot Simulator uses a 3D model of a deer, skeleton, organ, and all, to understand the effect of shot placement and angles on the animal.

This app offers everything you need to plan and research a hunting trip, and then record your memories. You can add photos and video quickly and easily. Among its essential features are a diary, trophy gallery, statistics log, planning info and weather forecasts and the ability to manage your hunt locations. You can record the type of game, the time it was shot, amount and weight.

With GPS devices, you can get an exact position, find out weather conditions like temperature and wind and check the phases of the moon. It is simple to log shooting and escape distance, hunting areas and stands. You can visually lay out your hunting area using symbols. This helps both for planning and on the day of the hunt to navigate to precise areas.

Hunting Light and Blood Tracker

This app provides you with two very useful lights. The first is a powerful flashlight with filters for the best visibility possible whatever the light condition.

The colored filters include: red for stealth, green to help preserve your night vision, blue to make green items stand out and white for standard lighting. There is also an SOS light.

The Blood Tracker helps you trail a wounded animal. The Game Track ID shows you images of tracks from common game animals as well as important features so you can identify tracks correctly.

Lift is not actually a hunting app, but it can be applied to build you into a better hunter. Lift is a daily coaching app that helps you set and achieve goals.

With Lift you can train yourself to be more consistent with taking target practice, getting into the best shape of your life to be able to hunt longer, and with more effectiveness.

Lift is a habit building app that hunters can use to improve on almost any aspect of their hunting skills and abilities.

Phone Skope Camera

Phone Skope is an image capture app designed specifically to capture pictures through your hunting optics, such as binoculars, spotting scopes, and rifle scope.

This practice is most commonly called digiscoping. The Phone Skope app has built in image stabilization to help you get clear camera shots of animals through your optics.

You will need to purchase an additional phone adaptor for you particular binoculars or scope, so that your camera lens properly aligns with the optical lens.

Gun Safe

It is critical that owners handle data management for personal firearms effectively, and this app does just that. It provides total security for your info, including firearms, ammunition, permits, memberships and range sessions. Using 256-bit AES encryption, your personal information stays completely secure.

You can safely record sales info for each of your guns and even view or print a PDF of the bill of sale. You can store photos of each gun, as well as photos and scores of targets. In case a gun is stolen, all your details are readily available for reporting. You can check firearms and CCW laws state-by-state.

Gun Vault Pro

This app keeps track of every firearm you own, including two photos, serial numbers, and other details about each gun. It makes it easy to handle paperwork and research for insurance purposes and when buying and selling.

It has a handy Gun Law/Concealed Carry Reference Guide for the entire U.S., a transfer form for private sales of firearms, an Ammo Tracker, and the ability to search all shooting supply stores and ranges in your locale. It is password lockable, so security is ensured. Gun Vault Notes lets you write secure notes. It even provides you with a news feed to the NRA.

RealTree Weather Base Station

This RealTree app for Android is one of the most comprehensive weather apps available for hunters, fishermen, or others who regularly enjoy the outdoors, using radar, weather and moon phases. It has a Game Activity index, data about lightning strikes and forecasts for barometer pressure.

The Game Activity index uses a combination of solunar information and several weather factors to give you the most accurate and up-to-date predictor of game movement in your hunting area.

The lightning feature points out all areas of the country where it is currently striking. The barometer trending feature provides a helpful four-day forecast of pressure to help you anticipate game activity and location.

Hunting Season Countdown

This iPhone countdown app lets you set a specific date for the start of your hunting season. You can add a photo from your last trip or a new trophy goal.

For photos, use the camera that is built in or pick one from the camera roll. Easily let friends and hunters in on the countdown via email, text message, Facebook or Twitter.

Predator Hunting Calls

Designed for hunters by seasoned hunters, it provides the sounds you need, available on your mobile device. Enhance the sounds by plugging in external loudspeakers, letting sounds be heard over wide areas.

Some of the other predator calls on the app are jack rabbit scream, woodpecker distress, cottontail scream, coyote pack howl, hurt fawn and hurt pup.

Primos Hunting Calls

This iPhone app includes over 20 interactive calls to improve your hunting experience with turkeys, elk, deer, ducks and hogs.

The app uses sounds that have proven themselves, like The Gobbler, “The Original Can,” Hoochie Mama, and the Heart Breaker.

Primos Wind

This iPhone app tells you the wind direction and speed using your mobile.

Experienced hunters know how critical this type of information is because deer and other game can easily run off when they get a whiff of your scent.

Using the compass built into the iPhone, this app tells you at your current location the direction the wind is coming from and how fast it is going, with just a glance.

In fact, it will tell you the wind direction at any location, whether you are present or not. The app also lets your store locations to your Favorites.

RealTree Turkey Tips

At the iTunes store, this app has a complete list of tips, tools and even games for beginning to advanced hunters. Distilling decades of experience from RealTree, it is a reference guide that is easy to use and full of practical information.

Simply swipe through each card to find the exact reference you need. For example, you can check “Locator Calls” for turkeys while out in the field, right from your iPhone.

With illustrations by noted artists Chris Armstrong, it uses an intuitive card stack interface. In landscape mode, you can easily skim the cards.





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Final Word

First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.

Most important, have fun and choose your whitetail deer call wisely! Good luck!

So, TOP3 of whitetail deer call



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