The Beginner’s Guide to Choosing a Deer Hunt Away from Home
Bernie Barringer 01.14.16
Eventually, most deer hunters tire of hunting locally and something within them spurs them to go on a hunt away from home—a deer hunting “road trip” if you will. If you fall into that category, there are some questions you should ask yourself before making a decision on where to go and when. It’s important to first understand your motivations, because that will be a big part of deciding which deer hunt to choose.
Your interest in a deer hunting trip will probably fall into one of three categories. Let’s take a look at them and explore the options, which will in turn help you make your decision.
Are you interested in shooting a trophy deer, one that you are unlikely to encounter at home?
This is probably the most common reason deer hunters venture across North America in search of better hunting each year. Many states do not manage their deer herds for quality bucks, and yours may be one of them.
Maybe you watch outdoor TV and see deer hunting celebrities shooting mature bucks week after week, when you might never see a buck like that in your lifetime. The growth in the popularity of outdoor TV has created quite a large movement of hunters who are seeking the opportunity to put a big buck on the wall.
The Midwest during the November rut is a great place to increase your odds. Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, and Illinois are all great destination choices. Some sleepers are North Dakota, Ohio, and Nebraska. Maybe a hunt in Texas during December and early January would appeal to you. Bomber bucks can step out of the brush at any time. If you are not put off by cold temperatures, and you like the idea of huge-bodied deer in addition to big racks, the central Canadian provinces—Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario—can provide opportunities for nabbing real giants.
There are pockets where big bucks are found throughout North America, and Cabela’s Outdoor Adventures can help you find them. Be aware that tag application processes can be complicated and some states may require several years of applying to get the best tags.
Are you interested in seeing some new country; hunting in surroundings very different from what you are accustomed to?
If your thoughts on deer hunting go more along the lines of “I would like to just try a change of scenery and hunt in a totally different environment,” there are some great opportunities for those types of hunts. If you are from the Eastern United States, then a hunt in the Montana river bottoms with their ancient cottonwoods and huge herds of deer feeding in irrigated alfalfa fields may appeal to you. A large Texas ranch is another example of a unique brand of hunt. Maybe a hunt on a Southern plantation would draw you in. Browse the opportunities and choose one that appeals to your sense of adventure.
Are you interested in experiencing a different type of hunt than what you have in the past, meeting new people and learning to hunt a new way?
If you been sitting in a treestand for most of your hunting days, imagine what fun a spot-and-stalk hunt on the plains of eastern Colorado might be. You’ll be looking at big bucks through a spotting scope then planning a strategic stalk—far different than sitting in a treestand in the big woods.
A hunt in Saskatchewan may involve long hours of sitting in a blind, but the chance to shoot a thick-chested, dark-racked bruiser. Then head back to camp for a hot meal and an evening sitting around comparing stories with people from vastly different backgrounds.
A deer drive during Iowa’s shotgun season is an experience unlike anything most deer hunters are accustomed to. The southern part of the state turns out giant bucks every year, and drives are one of the ways the hunters have adapted to take advantage of the terrain, which features cropland broken up by creeks, ditches and small woodlots. Your heart will race knowing there is a realistic chance the buck of a lifetime could run by you at any moment.
If the spark for a new experience lies within you, the counselors at Cabela’s Outdoor Adventures can help. Give them a call and start planning your adventure today.
This article was produced in cooperation with Cabela’s.