hunters carrying dead turkeys on their backs

Big Green Blog

Deer Hunting How To

11.14.2023 | By Remington Contributor

hunter standing in front of a dead deer while holding a rifle

Are you new to deer hunting and ready for your first season? Or maybe you’re an old pro gearing up to take down your biggest buck yet. Here’s a refresher on hunting America’s most popular big game animal, whitetail deer.

Read on to learn deer hunting basics, plus buck hunting tips and tricks for before, during and after the harvest.


You can’t make that 160”+ buck appear in front of your tree stand, but you can prep pre-season to help make your hunt as successful as possible.

  • SCOUTING: Public or private ground, know your hunting habitat. Find the deer by finding their water, food, and shelter, not forgetting to map their travel corridors in-between.
    Look for bedding areas, well-worn game trails, scrapes on trees at antler level or scrapes on the ground marking territory. Spend boots-on-the-ground time to learn where the best spots are to put a blind or tree stand up or start your stalk to pay dividends in season. Use scouting and mapping apps like OnX or HuntStand to study geography and give yourself a head start.
  • STAND/BLIND PLACEMENT: Once you know where the deer hang out, set up multiple tree stands or blinds to hunt from. Know the best way to get to your hunting spot quietly and quickly, making sure you’re moving through cover and avoiding wind, to stop deer from winding or hearing you early.
    Hunting on the go in public land? Have your spots picked out, then choose the best option for your conditions before you begin your hunt. Don’t forget to pick out your access and exit points to be the first one there opening morning.
  • THE BASICS: Spend time on your state fish and game department’s website or pick up a DNR guidebook to make sure you’ve bought the right hunting license and tags/permits. Be sure to print out and have your license and tag handy. Also confirm blaze orange apparel requirements, legal shooting hours and any other details before you’re in the truck.

hunter sitting on a four-wheeler and looking through binoculars


You might not need that matching high-dollar camo outfit with the latest technology to stay warm deer hunting, but getting cold or being unprepared with the wrong gear can cost you.

A Maine late season hunt requires a much different equipment check list than a Mississippi muzzleloader opener, just like a South Dakota spot and stalk means you’ll be humping around a different set of gear than a Wisconsin sit in a tree stand. Know your hunting grounds. If you’re hunting a new state or deer unit, phone a friend who’s hunted the area.

Below is a list of deer hunting gear basics:

  • Hunting license, permit/tag
  • Wallet, plastic bag, or carrying case
  • Layered clothing, appropriate for the temp you’re hunting
    • Know how active your hunt will be. A 5-mile spot and stalk up a mountain means less clothing is needed as you’re staying warm on the move, but a day long sit in a tree stand gets cold fast when the wind blows. Bring extra layers.
  • Binoculars + range finder
  • Spotting scope (if needed)
  • Headlamp or flashlight, spare batteries
  • Backup beanie, pair of gloves
  • Knives: Utility or your EDC
  • A way to check the wind
  • Scent removal spray
  • Rain/snow gear
  • Emergency gear: Firestarter, paracord, zip ties, a small tarp, GPS, etc.
  • First aid basics
  • Handwarmers
  • Snacks
  • Water bottle
  • Smart phone
  • Game bags + field dressing supplies (disposable gloves, cleaning kit, zip lock bags rope, saw, etc.)
  • Tree stand or blind? Bring a book. Pro tip, an e-reader or kindle doesn’t make any sound turning a page
  • Shooting sticks/rest
  • Rifle
  • Extra ammo


Which cartridge is best for deer hunting? Save the debate for the campfire (or this article if you’ve got time). The newest, fastest and flattest precision shooting cartridge can’t do much if you’re not sighted in, if you haven’t built your DOPE (Data On Previous Engagements), if you haven’t practiced and if you don’t trust your rifle and ammo.

Spend time pre-season zeroing your rifle or reconfirming your zero. Practice shooting with the ammo you plan on using in-season and at the distances you’ll be taking your shot.

Shot placement is king! That said, bring the right cartridge for your hunting style and habitat. A Minnesota buck shot at 50 yards in a timber clearing means you should bring a brush-buster cartridge like 360 Buckhammer or 35 Remington. A western Kansas 500-yard prairie poke means cartridges like 7mm Rem Mag or 6.5 Creedmoor with high BC bullets such as Core-Lokt Tipped will better set you up to knock bucks down.

Check out this post for How to Zero your Rifle Scope.

three hunters kneeling behind a dead deer and laughing


Congratulations! Take those pictures, then let’s get to work. Don’t forget to notch your tag, or electronically record your win before you do anything else.

Once you’ve downed your deer, have a plan for field dressing or quartering your harvest. You might start cutting where he fell to pack him out, or you might call your buddy to bring in the sled, ATV, or pickup. If you don’t have your field dressing gear, knives, gloves, etc. with you, keep them on your ATV or in the truck for easy access.

The faster you can get your deer cooled down and keep him cold, the better that backstrap is going to taste. For a deep dive on venison cooking tips and a few easy recipes, check out Remington’s how-to deer cooking videos.

Check out this article for How to Field Dress a Deer.

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