Growing numbers of Americans today are interested in becoming deer hunters but lack family members or friends who can teach them how. Whether they want to be self-sufficient in providing their own food, more fully enjoy the outdoors, or have other motivations, most of them do not come from traditional hunting backgrounds. Our e-book, QDMA’s Guide to Successful Deer Hunting, was written to help these very people, and we decided to open the book by sharing all of the rewards QDMA staff members have enjoyed as deer hunters. The following article is the complete Introduction of our e-book. We hope you’ll share this with people you know who might want to try deer hunting for themselves. Though it’s an incomplete list, here are our 15 rewards of becoming a deer hunter.
The Venison – Need we say more? Prepared with the right care, venison is delicious, not to mention good for you. High in protein and vitamins but very low in fat, venison is delicious and suited to a wide range of recipes and dishes. Did we mention delicious?
Reconnecting to Nature – As a hunter, you aren’t just touring and viewing nature. You are directly participating in the ecology of the natural world and the cycle of life in a way that no other outdoor enthusiast experiences. In the modern world, people have removed themselves from nature farther than ever before, but through hunting you will discover what it is like to reclaim the role humans once played as direct participants in the drama of life on Earth.
Exercise and Stress Relief – Successful hunters know the woods and the wildlife, and that requires exploration. But scouting woods for deer activity patterns is far more fun than turning a treadmill with the hamsters. Once you settle in for a hunt, you attempt to blend in by becoming quiet and still, tuning your senses to the sights and sounds around you and watching nature unfold as it does when you aren’t there – an incredibly relaxing and peaceful experience and the best meditation time you may ever know.
A Sense of Self-Sufficiency – As with gardening or growing your own fruit, it’s incredibly rewarding to provide yourself, your family and your friends with venison. This guide will show you how to participate in the entire field-to-table process, allowing you to cut out a few or all of the “middle men” when it comes to putting healthy, delicious food on your plate.
Eating Locally – Like growing a garden or shopping at the local farmer’s market, hunting can help you reduce your reliance on industrial foods that are produced far away and transported to your area. We’ll show you how you can find land to hunt close to your home, and in most suburban landscapes you may even find it right in your backyard.
Eating Organically – Because they eat wild foods, deer are wild foods. You can provide your family and friends with venison knowing it is completely free of unnatural ingredients and additives. Wild deer have never been given antibiotics, growth hormones, or processed feeds made of animal byproducts. They have lived cage-free lives in the wild, as they are meant to live. Venison is an original all-natural food!
Reconnecting with History – People have hunted whitetails in North America for at least 15,000 years, possibly longer. That’s just scratching the surface of our history as hunters when you consider other prey species and other parts of the world. Today, you can hunt with modern firearms to be highly efficient as a hunter, but you can also increase the challenge, the rewards and the fun by opting for less advanced equipment, including modern bows, muzzleloading rifles, and even more primitive traditional archery.
Camaraderie – “What did you see?” This question is likely to be the first to greet you upon your return to the hunting camp or other gathering point with your hunter partners. Exchanging hunting stories, sharing in successful hunts, and enjoying the camaraderie of a hunting camp are intensely fulfilling. Many hunters say they enjoy after-hunt social gatherings as much as the hunt itself. Through hunting, you join a social group where you will form life-long bonds and friendships.
The Challenge – Deer are not passive or ignorant, as they are often portrayed on television and in movies by screenwriters who do not know the reality of nature. Deer have survived as prey animals for millions of years and are adapted to be very good at avoiding you and other predators. Seeing them, not to mention killing them, will challenge your skills and abilities. When the moment of truth arrives, it is essential that you make a quick, humane kill, and that requires preparation, practice and smart decision-making.
A Sense of Accomplishment – Successful hunting is within your reach, but grasping that success is not simple or easy. The vast majority of days in the woods, even for veteran hunters, end without a kill. Practice, patience and perseverance are required, so when success comes, you will feel a satisfaction that comes with accomplishing a goal for which you have worked hard.
Spending Time With Family – Deer hunting can involve the entire family, from youngest to oldest. Parents and their young children can hunt together and enjoy sharing the fun and rewards as a team. Some older hunters say they enjoy the camp life or cooking camp meals more than the actual hunting. Also, women are one of the fastest-growing segments of deer hunters. In short, there’s a place in deer hunting for everyone in the family.
Gaining an Understanding of Wildlife and Habitat – To successfully hunt deer, you will need to learn and know deer: their food preferences, travel patterns, and seasonal behaviors. Through this education, you will also witness how deer affect their habitat and thus other wildlife species. You will learn more about the behaviors and interrelationships of wildlife species that you are not hunting.
Filling the Necessary Role of Predator – Deer are prey species. They are adapted over millions of years to thrive in spite of losses to a colorful array of large predators. In fact, whitetails have outlasted many of their predators that are now extinct. When those large predators are removed or greatly reduced, as they have been in the vast majority of North America, deer become overabundant and degrade the forest understory. This has a negative impact on the forest, other wildlife species, people, and the deer themselves. People are the most abundant and effective whitetail predator in North America, and by hunting deer you help ensure healthy deer populations and sound ecology for forests and animals.
Helping Conserve Wildlife and Their Habitat – Simply by purchasing a hunting license and equipment, you contribute to wildlife conservation. These actions drive funding for state and federal programs to secure land, improve habitat, restore wildlife, and enhance hunting opportunities. Through these funding mechanisms, hunters contribute far more to conservation than any other group.
Fun! – The entire spectrum of deer hunting – from scouting and preparation to the social aspects of hunting camp and, yes, the act of hunting – is enjoyable, rewarding and fun. Some of the most intensely exciting and fulfilling moments of a person’s life will occur while hunting, forming memories that will never fade.
The deer woods are waiting for you. We hope our guide helps you open the door and enter.