Deer hunting with a crossbow is totally and completely different than using a gun.
With a gun, you do not have to be as careful due to the distance you can shoot, but using a crossbow changes everything.
It is way more challenging to bring home a deer when you are using a crossbow.
Here are a few basics you need to keep in mind that will increase your chances of bringing home your trophy buck.
Trail cams are great. Hang them at least a month ahead of time, preferably even sooner.
This will give you a good idea as to what is hanging around your area, and you may be able to pattern their movements.
Do not wait until a day or two before opening season to put up a stand, or blind! It is always amazing to me the amount of people that do this.
Decide where you are going to hunt at least a couple of weeks in advance and set up your stand or blind then.
Blinds should be blended into the natural surroundings. Use weeds, brush, and branches to help blend it in.
When placing stands or blinds, always wear gloves to help eliminate human scent left behind.
Place a peg in the tree to be able to hang your quiver on, or if using a blind, put your chair in it and leave it there.
That's one less thing to have to haul into the woods with you.
When deer hunting with a crossbow, you want everything completely ready, so all you have to do on opening day is arrive!
Do not go back to your hunting area until the day of your hunt.
You want Whitetail deer to become accustomed to the changes in their environment. This gives them time to adjust to the new object in their habitat and decide that it is safe for them to return to.
If you are going to use corn or some other type of bait, either use it year round as an attractant to keep them in the area, or at least use it for a month before opening day, so they know where to find it, and have made it a habit to go there to feed.
Check the game laws in your area to make sure that baiting is legal, as some states do not allow this.
Wind direction is extremely important when using a crossbow and it would serve you well to have a few different stands already set up that you can choose to hunt from, depending on which way the wind is blowing that particular day.
If you are going to be crossbow hunting from a tree stand, take some time before season starts, to practice actually shooting out of a stand.
It doesn't have to be that specific location or even that exact height, but the angle of a straight shot compared to a shot made from many feet up in the air, does change the flight of the arrow and where you should place your shot.
If you are not a good judge of distance, or are still learning how to accurately judge distance, then take a tape measure and some old, small rags and measure off 20-25-30-& 35 yard increments, placing them around your hunting area.
When your buck comes in, you don't have to try and guess the distance, as you will have a more accurate guide to help you.
I love and use my range finder all the time, but there are some times that you may not be able to get it out without being seen, so having markers in place can be a great help.
If you do have a rangefinder, it is best to play "Rangefinder Games" while you are waiting. Range different objects near where the deer will travel. Study the distances ahead of time so at the moment of truth, you already know your distance.
Deer hunting with a crossbow is exciting, but very challenging.
You need to remember that everything is in the deer's favor. You are in their home, their playground, and they know when something is different, or not quite right.
If something looks or smells out of the ordinary to them, they will know it immediately. Whitetail deer are no dummies!