Deer Hunting Checklist, Making It & Checking It Twice

Hunting Checklist
Deer Hunting Checklist, Making It & Checking It Twice
Glen Wunderlich
Glen Wunderlich

Lansing, Michigan – -(  Deer hunting season is upon us and it’s time to prepare by thinking ahead.

Let’s get to it with these 10 suggestions.

1) Make a list: However you choose to do it, make a list of things that need to be done before you spend time afield. Be prepared to develop the list as thoughts come to mind, by keeping your list handy. By getting stuff out of your head, worry is replaced with action.

2) Be totally familiar with your gun’s operational features: In a hunting situation, you don’t want to be fumbling around with your safety, scope, or anything else. Shoulder it, operate the action and dry-fire it with snap caps.

3) Have enough ammo: When shopping for ammunition, locate the lot numbers printed somewhere on the boxes and make sure they all match, because different lot numbers could produce different results. The idea is to have enough matching ammo for practice, sighting in and hunting. Also, chamber each round in advance of hunting to ensure compatibility to avoid malfunctions afield.

4) Sight in properly: Sighting in ahead of time makes sense, because if something goes wrong, you’ll have time to correct it. Understand that this time of year is particularly hectic for gunsmiths and you’ll have little chance for repairs as each day passes.

Diamond shaped targets are best for scopes with typical crosshair reticles, while black circles work well with iron sights and red dots. For whitetail deer you must be able to put 9 out of 10 shots into an intentionally conservative 6-inch circle from any distance, with any firearm, from any chosen position. If you are honest with yourself and have respect for your quarry, you’ll get close enough to pass this test.

5) Know your limitations: Making a perfect, ethical shot is always the goal. If you’ve never shot at a moving deer, it’s no time to break the 9 out of 10 rule. Use some type of rest afield whether a tree, shooting sticks, or even sand bags from box blinds. And, if you hunt from a box blind, try shooting sticks on the rear of the stock just ahead of the swivel stud. You will be amazed at how steady such a rest is.

6) Keep your distance: If you find another hunter legally hunting near your favorite public-land spot, move on. Stepping on each other benefits nobody.

7) Be prepared for tracking: In Michigan, it is legal to use dogs to track mortally wounded deer. Be familiar with the laws in advance. If you don’t have access to a tracking dog, there are professionals available to help at

8) Don’t be a showoff: While it’s fun to share photos and to have others view your trophy, not everyone will appreciate your kill. Since hunters make up only about 7 percent of the general population, it’s wise to show discretion.

9) Tell others of your plans. For those traveling to remote locations, let other people know where you’ll be and when to expect your return. Long-range two-way radios are quite affordable and can save lives when cell phone signals are not available. Pack extra batteries.

10) Reporting Hunter Harassment: Hunters and anglers in Michigan have the right to enjoy their sport free from deliberate interference. Individuals whose hunting is being obstructed should promptly report the violation to a local conservation officer, by calling the Report All Poaching (RAP) Hotline, 24-hours a day, 7-days a week, at: 800-292-7800.

By practicing some common-sense rules, may we all be better sportsmen and women for having done so. Happy hunting!

About Glen WunderlichCharter Member Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA). Outdoor writer and columnist for The Argus-Press ( and blog site at  Member National Rifle Association (NRA), Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC), member U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA), Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA), Commemorative Bucks of Michigan (CBM).