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Tips - Deer

Florida has an incredible number of opportunities to harvest whitetail deer and is among the nation’s leaders in the amount of public land managed for wildlife. Over 5.6 million acres are open to public hunting with the vast majority of the acreage being open to deer hunting.

Deer hunting in Florida is one of the nation's best kept secrets.  Sections of Florida open as early as July and don't end until the end of February giving us a longer season than anywhere else in the country. With great numbers and lots of open hunting lands, you could find yourself eating fresh venison this season.

Before hunting anywhere please make sure you read and know all applicable laws, rules and regulations for the game you are attempting to harvest.  Also, you need to have completed a hunter safety program and possess a valid Florida hunting license.

REGULATIONS:  http://www.eregulations.com/florida/hunting/

Weapon and Equipment Check List
Before hunting anywhere please make sure you read and know all applicable laws, rules and regulations for the game you are attempting to harvest.  Also, you need to have completed a hunter safety program.



Weapon

Shotgun – 20 gauge or larger
Rifle – Center fire cartridge (A minimum caliber of .243 is suggested)
Bow – Draw weight of 35 pounds minimum
Muzzleloading Firearms - 40 caliber or greater for single bullets and 20 gauge or larger firing a minimum of two balls.
Following is a list of possible equipment you may need or want to have on hand.  Make sure all of your equipment is in good working order and replace any worn or broken parts.  If needed make sure you have items repaired by an authorized professional.



Equipment

· Ammunition (Matched to weapon type)   · Binoculars   · Spotting Scope
· Optics Cleaners   · Tree Stands   · Ground Blinds
· Safety Vest (Required)   · Screw In Tree Steps   · Stackable Ladders
· Flashlight/Headlamp   · Gun Hoist   · Gun Rest
· Bow Hanger   · Decoy   · Scents (Cover and Attractant)
· Scent Wicks/Drag or Scrape Dripper   · Scent Free Containers for Clothing   · Scent Reduction Clothing Wash
· Disposable Chemical Heaters   · Pack   · Folding Saw
· Knife   · GPS   · Compass
· Map of Hunting Area   · Water Bottle   · First Aid Kit
· Trail Tape        

 



Clothing (Scent Reduction)

· Camo Baseball and Stocking Hat   · Blaze Baseball and Stocking Hat   · Hand Muff
· Insulated Camo Jacket   · Insulated Blaze Jacket or Vest   · Insulated Pants/ Coverallls
· Camo Fleece   · Camo/Blaze Balaclava   · Insulate Socks
· Flashlight/Headlamp   · Liner Sock   · Insulated Boots
· Uninsulated Boots   · Insulated/Wicking Long Underwear   · Insulated and Uninsulated Gloves
· Camo T Shirts   · Camoflage Cargo Pants   · Camoflage Belt

 



Before the Hunt

Deer hunting is not just about harvesting an animal.  Enjoy the process of learning how to hunt, the camaraderie of a hunt camp and special time with family and friends.  You will be amazed at how many deer hunting tips you can pick up just by being around seasoned deer hunters.  Also, most of them will be happy to teach you how to hunt.  Make sure you learn from the ones that actually harvest deer and don’t just talk about it!

To have a successful deer hunt, learn as much as you can.  Read books and magazine articles; hang out at a local sporting goods store that sells deer hunting equipment and ask questions; sign up for a hunting seminar; talk to neighbors and friends who hunt and ask them questions.

One of the best opportunities for you is to visit one of the local Youth Conservation Centers around the state (www. fyccn.org) to learn how you can take part in youth and family hunts offered all over the state.

The following are some things you will want to do to ensure you have a successful hunt. 

· Complete Hunter Safety Program   · Sight Firearm/Bow   · Practice, Practice, Practice
· Sharpen Knife/Broadheads   · Buy License   · Watch Instructional DVDs (Calling/Game Prep)
· Read Instructional Books   · Scout Land   · Secure Landowner Permission
· Landowner Gift   · Clean Binoculars   · Organize pack
· Practice Calling   · Wash Clothing   · Hang Treestand

 



After The Shot

OK, so you have harvested that big buck. Now what do you do? Well, there are really two choices. First, if you have never cleaned and processed a deer you may want to take it to a local game processor and let them take care of it for you. Second, if you want to do it yourself (cheaper) you will need to study up about how to process a deer.

If you decide to process it yourself you will need some of the following equipment:

· Gutting Gloves (Wrist and Shoulder Length)   · Pelvic Saw   · 2 Plastic Bags (for Tarsals/ Liver and Heart)
· String for License   · Grinder   · Knife Set
· Freezer Paper and Tape   · Marker   · Gambrel
· Knife Sharpener        


There are a number of good videos online that show you how to gut and butcher a deer.  Here are just a couple of examples.  You can search You Tube and find many others.

http://youtu.be/EEYw6qtiJZY

http://youtu.be/uzYGBNDc_xU
http://youtu.be/9cUvY9Ingwg



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Beau Turner Youth Conservation CenterFlorida Youth Conservation Centers NetworkWildlife Foundation of FloridaOutdoor Youth Reports
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