Writer: D'Lyn Ford
LAS CRUCES - Deer hunters can improve their odds during rifle season with preparation before heading to the field. Deer season will last from Oct. 28-Nov.14 throughout the state depending on the region, said a wildlife specialist with New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service.
"Hunters should focus on four main areas to increase their odds for a quality deer hunt: safety, gathering information, scouting and firearm preparation," said Jon Boren, Extension wildlife specialist.
Safety is the most important aspect of hunting. Statistics have shown that hunters are less likely to be injured while hunting than while driving to their favorite hunting spot, Boren said. "Nevertheless, every deer hunter must remember that firearms and bows can become lethal if handled carelessly," he said.
Boren suggests gathering general advice on where to hunt from wildlife managers and conservation officers. Hunters also should become very familiar with the game regulations for deer. For more information about hunt dates or about regulations, refer to the Big Game Proclamation or contact the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish at (505) 827-7911.
"You also should map the area you want to hunt on a U.S. Geographical Survey topographic map," he said. "The map will help you find good hunting spots and plan your strategy afield."
A third way that hunters can increase their hunting outcome is by scouting in advance. Boren says that hunters should become familiar with the cover and terrain in a specific hunting area, especially spots where the most deer sign is found.
"This will help you predict deer movements and determine which hunting techniques–such as stand-hunting, still-hunting or stalking–will work best," he said.
Hunters also should take time to make sure their firearm is still accurate. Sighting in the firearm and target shooting afterwards assures that the hunter has covered all pre-hunt areas, Boren said. Shooting targets in the field under realistic conditions can give the hunter an edge during the hunt.
"Just because your gun shot perfectly last season, it is not necessarily true that it will do the same this year, and you may just miss that deer of a lifetime," Boren said.
© 2013 New Mexico State University Board of Regents
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