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6 Things You Should Know About Urban Deer Hunting

Posted by on 6/2/2017 to Food Procurement

1. A Different Kind of Hunt

Urban deer hunting is not for everyone. You should give it a go at least once just to see if you like it, but bear in mind that it will be different than the hunting experience you are used to. First off, there are usually different laws and regulations in urban areas that you will need to familiarize yourself with. Secondly, some hunters enjoy just being outside of civilization as much or more than they enjoy the hunt itself. If you appreciate the fresh mountain air or the murmur of the wind through the trees, then the roar of traffic rushing by or the scents of a nearby food court might ruin the experience for you. Finally, some urban deer are so used to human activity that they make no move to flee at your approach, which causes some to feel that urban hunting is less sporting than hunting in the wild.

2. Get Used to a Climbing Stand

climbing stands

Since you want to be as mobile and discreet as possible when hunting in an urban environment, you should definitely use a climbing tree stand rather than a ladder stand. If you have never used one you should practice with it to get comfortable, but getting used to this kind of stand involves more than just knowing how to use it. In the suburbs, you will spend a lot less time following trails and tracking deer and a lot more time sitting quietly in a tree, waiting. Practice being patient.

3. Preparation is Key

deer hunt

You want to begin scouting in an urban environment earlier than you would in the wild, well before the start of the season. As a veteran hunter, you know what sort of signs to look for in the woods, and it probably doesn’t take you to long to pick up a trail. In the suburbs, however, you have no idea what to look for and most likely need to drive around until you actually find a deer itself. When you spot one, try to keep track of its movements until you find its entry and exit point. Even urban deer tend to sleep outside of town and use the same trail every day to move between the wild and the city. Once the season begins, wait until early in the afternoon when the buck will be napping outside of town. Set your stand up beside the entry trail and wait quietly until it returns to feed in the late afternoon.

4. Practice Fluid Motion

In the wild, you usually get the best results by still hunting; creeping slowly toward a deer to get within range without alerting it to your presence. Urban deer have a lower alert distance and will not be startled by your approach, but they will be startled if you make a sudden stop. Most people an urban deer encounters will walk right by it without even noticing it grazing in the bushes.If you stop and focus your attention on it, the deer will notice that something is off and flee. It may go against all your natural instincts as a hunter, but if you spot a deer while walking, keep walking and try to keep it in your peripheral vision without looking right at it. When you get to a safe distance, circle back and take your shot.

5. Have Faith in the Pattern

The patterns of urban deer are more likely to be thrown off by human interaction, but they are still very much creatures of habit. You may find that an area once replete with deer signs has suddenly gone cold. Maybe a big field trip full of noisy kids came through recently, or perhaps someones dog got loose and scared the deer off. In any case, do not abandon a habitat too quickly. A large enough disturbance will scare a deer away for a little while, but in the end, they will always return to their favorite grazing and sleeping territory. 

6. Be Mindful of Private Property

deer hunting in city

It happens in the wilderness too, but in an urban environment, you are more likely to encounter this frustration. The most promising habitat might be on private property, or maybe a deer you’ve been tracking jumps a fence and is suddenly out of your reach. In no case should you trespass, especially with a weapon, but do not be afraid to ask permission. Owners of wilderness property get harassed by hunters all the time and usually refuse, but there are far less urban hunters to bother landowners in the suburbs and they tend to be more open to the idea. It’s worth a shot, at any rate.

Final Thoughts

Urban deer hunting carries some unique advantages that you may appreciate. The main draw is you can probably find deer ten or twenty minutes away from where you live. Traditional hunting trips are full-day or even multi-day affairs, but an urban hunting excursion can take place over the course of a couple hours between lunch and dinner. A trip to the wild is such a commitment that you usually have to stick it out even if you do not see a single sign of game, but if the suburbs are empty you can just check again the next day on your way home from work. Also, some hunters feel that urban hunting is less sporting, but this is a personal decision and there is nothing unethical about it. In fact, urban deer hunting is important for controlling local deer populations as they expand out of their natural territory and into the city. Never feel as if your are doing anything wrong by hunting deer in the suburbs.

Jennifer Wells - Buck With BowAuthor Bio: Jennifer is the founder of BuckWithBow, a great blog that focuses on helping you learn how to hunt deer with a bow. As an experienced bow hunter, she will guide you through the Do’s and Don’ts of the bowhunting world and transform you into a better hunter. Whether you are an experienced bow hunter or an absolute beginner, you will find BuckWithBow a gem!
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