Modern gun deer hunting is quickly approaching. This is the big event for something like 300,000 Arkansans, and a preliminary is the five-day antlerless hunt in most, but not all, of the state.
This hunt is Oct. 12 to 16, on private land. One or two does or button bucks can be taken, depending on the zone.
OK, the hunter has a valid license, a gun and an orange vest. These are the essentials, the required basics, but much more is needed. More than Vy-ennies and cheese crackers.
Start with one or more twist ties in a pocket. Some hunters choose cable ties. These are longer and stronger. Rubber bands will work too.
What for? For putting tags on deer that are killed.
The regulations of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission require a deer to be tagged before it is moved from the spot where it is dropped. Tag it before you load it on a four-wheeler or into the back of a pickup. Don’t wait, just tag it.
Tags are on the basic hunting licenses and on the Sportsman License. Take a tag off, cut a slit in the deer’s ear and push the tag through then fasten its ends with the twist tie or cable tie or rubber band. The tag can be tied around a leg of the deer also.
Hunters under 16 don’t have licenses with tags, and lifetime license holders don’t have tags. They use the tags inside the back cover of the 2013-2014 Hunting Guidebook, available free at AGFC offices, at license dealers and many other places.
Clip out two or three of these tags, put them in a billfold or other secure place, and the youth hunter or the lifetime hunter is ready. Someone else in the field may need one of these guidebook tags too, but annual license holders cannot use them.
Early deer hunting probably will bring out mosquitoes, and the walk to and from a stand will put the hunter up close with chiggers and ticks. Use some sort of insect repellent.
“Deer can smell bug spray.” Maybe.
Mask that smell and your scent with some odor-fighting product off a store shelf, or put one or two ripe apples in your pockets. The latter is an ages-old deer hunting tactic. Other fruit may work too.
Keep your glasses and your scopes clear.
Chilly mornings can fog up glass. So can a hunter’s breath from excitement when he or she gets the rifle with the scope up into shooting position. Anti-fog products are available, and one do-it-yourself trick is to rub onion on the glass at home or in camp. Its effect should last most of the day.
It is debatable among hunters as to how well a deer can see a human in the woods or on the edges of woods. A deer can smell and hear better than it can see.
Many hunters like to counter white faces that stand out noticeably. Borrow some turkey hunting and duck hunting strategies. A face mask, partial veil or a few dabs of grease paint will suffice.
(Joe Mosby is the retired news editor of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and Arkansas’ best known outdoor writer. His work is distributed by the Arkansas News Bureau in Little Rock. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.)