When it comes to whitetail and other types of deer, there are two time periods during the year that are particularly fascinating.
For hunters, the “rut” is certainly an important time, as males seek out females for breeding. During this time, the woods and hunting grounds are alive with activity and often provide a hunter the best opportunity at the buck of a lifetime.
And, while the conclusion of the rut often signals the end of hunting season for many, a different stage will soon begin. In the Spring and Summer months, does will begin birthing fawns that were conceived during the rut and a new part of the life cycle will begin.
If you frequent the woods during this time, you just might catch a peek at a small, spotted whitetail fawn. And, if you utilize trail cameras during the Summer months to keep tabs on your herd, a picture of a fawn is always a welcome surprise.
But, how long are deer pregnant, and how can you figure out when the fawns will start dropping in your area?
The spotted coat of a whitetail fawn is a beautiful thing to see. You have the best chance to see these young deer in May or June.
Gestation period of Whitetail Deer
To determine the approximate conception date of a whitetail fawn or the estimated birth date, you have to first know the gestation period (how long the baby deer is in the womb between conception and birth.)
According to Mark K. Johnson, Professor at the School of Renewable Natural Resources at Louisiana State University, the gestation period for whitetail deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in the northern U.S. are similar to that of whitetail in the southern states, ranging from 193 to 205 days (Spring 2002 issue of Louisiana Agriculture).
Based on those statistics, whitetail does bred in early November would likely be born in mid-May to early June. So, female whitetail deer are pregnant for about 6 and a half months.
If you happen to have trail cameras out during the Summer months, you may catch a photo or video of a fawn with its mother. The unmistakable spots on young fawns is beautiful to see until they begin to fade 3 to 4 months after birth.
While the number of days that whitetail deer and mule deer are pregnant is very similar, the elk (Cervus canadensishas) a longer pregnancy.
According the Minnesota Elk Breeders Association, the average gestation period for elk is approximately 246 days. The “rut” time period for elk ranges from late August to late October with calves typically being born in May or June.
Bull elk have a gestation time of approximately 246 days.
Some people are good shots naturally, but others have to work to get the good aim they want to have.
If you feel as if your aim needs more improvement, it’s a must that you practice more.
Go to the shooting range to practice your aim regularly. Start with static (stationary) targets and then move on to moving targets later.
If you want to simulate the feel of hunting, go outdoors and set up targets yourself. Just make sure that you are practicing in a secluded area and only point the gun in a safe direction.
Practice shooting static targets before progressing to moving targets.
Abide By MOA
A lot of people think that good aim is about steady hands and a good eye.
In reality, it’s a lot about science and mathematics.
You may have heard about MOA but what is MOA and why isn’t it so popular among the best hunters? Is it really necessary to learn more about it?
MOA stands for “minutes of angles,” and is equal to 1/60th degrees.
In regards to shooting, MOA means minutes of angles. For a marksman’s vocabulary, 1 minute equals 1/60th degrees in an angle.
Measuring your range by minutes may seem counterintuitive as 1/60th of degrees seems too small. However, with bullets going as fast as they can, calculating minutes can make a huge difference.
To put it simply, MOA helps you measure the bullet drop.
Thanks to gravity, everything that comes out of your gun drops eventually. If the target is further, you can expect bullet drop to play a huge factor in your successful shot.
The formula to calculate for bullet drop is:
Target distance (yards) / (divide by) 100 = inches per 1 MOA at that distance.
If you master this simple math above, you’ll be able to measure your shots better, thus allowing you to significantly improve your aim.
Check Your Equipment
Sometimes, it’s not just your skills that are a problem, it’s your equipment too.
Any hunter will tell you that investing in the right rifle and scopeis a must if you want to get good shots while out hunting. It’s not always about buying the most expensive tools too.
Before you buy a rifle, read a lot of reviews about it. Check for important factors such as its weight, grip, and overall feel.Don’t be afraid to ask your local gun store about which guns are the best for hunting as they’ll most likely suggest the best models for you.
As for the scope, make sure to get one that’s versatile. This refers to a scope that can provide a good view from various ranges. Keep in mind that some scopes are best partnered with certain guns so again, complete your due research about guns and scopes before you make a purchase.
Be sure to do your homework and choose a rifle scope that is versatile and will be a good fit for your specific type of hunting.
It may not seem like much but your breathing does affect your aim to a degree. As you aim, your body moves– your arms and shoulders included. While minimal, the movement is enough to affect your accuracy while taking aim. As such, it’s important that you practice controlling your breathing.
Ideally, you should hold your breath while aiming and while you are taking a shot. When you are still aiming down, relax and stay calm. Take slow and deep breaths so that your heart rate doesn’t get too affected.
Controlling your breathing before pulling the trigger is a critical component of shooting accuracy.
Hold Your Gun Properly
Rifles release a lot of backward force when they are fired.Those new to firing a gun are often caught off guard by exactly how powerful the firearm recoils after being fired.
It’s nearly impossible to avoid this recoil,but you can control it effectively with proper gun handling.
For starters, make sure to rest the stock of the rifle on your shoulders firmly. This somewhat controls the forceas the bullet is fired. As for the trigger, make sure to squeeze it tightly and use the force on your wrist and fingers as well.
When it comes to your bowhunting setup, knowing the “Kinetic Energy” of your arrow allows you to know how much energy that arrow possesses due to motion, from being shot by your bow.The “Momentum” tells youhow much force it will take to stop your arrow when it reaches its intended target.
Kinetic Energy and Momentum Arrow Calculator
Kinetic Energy and Momentum Calculator
Arrow weight Value must be between 250 and 1000 grains.
move slider or enter value
Arrow speed Value must be between 100 and 500 Feet Per Second.
move slider or enter value
If you know your arrow’s weight (in grains) and your arrow’s speed (Feet Per Second), then you can use our Kinetic Energy and Momentum calculator above to find out each! Simply move the sliders or enter the values in the blanks. And, if you really want to take a deep dive into the Kinetic Energy of arrows, check out what the Ranch Fairy is up to below…
Kinetic Energy And Bowhunting (How I Got Here)
As you may already know, the ‘ole Ranch Fairy (that’s me) is quite out of the norm in his measuring of arrow systems. (If you aren’t aware, I am definitely one of the strange ones in the bowhunting world.)
Anyway, just to set the record straight, the biggest overlap between Dr. Ed, the Ashby Bowhunting Foundation, and the Ranch Fairy is simple: We want to know the highest performing projectile for all impact points to pass through the animal you are hunting.
The first time Rocketman said, “well, Troy, a bow is just a spring with fixed Kinetic Energy,” I thought… BLASPHEMY!
But, from what I understand, he is right.
The bow can’t “make” more KE. It is what it is.
BUT, you can change the arrow and gain some…..so hang on. Let me set the table here…
A bow is just a spring with a fixed Kinetic Energy. It can’t make more kinetic energy than what it already possesses.
KE Arrow Testing
On a basic level, radar measures a projectile’s speed over distance.
The testing unit that we used measures 5 total distances. So, if you want to shoot 60 yards, the computer divides that distance into 5 increments.
[NOTE TO SELF – you need to put the target further than 60 yards to capture the flight speed. To address this, we placed the target at 70 yards. Because, if impact is at 60 yards, the data would be flawed for velocity testing because the target stops the arrow at a yardage that it should be being measured.]
The top line is the launch velocity. The change in velocity is super boring… Until you look at the 60 yard impact KE.
The gap in the data sets shows the significant reduction in KE over distance. However, you see that gap narrow as arrow mass increases.
As you can see, in all the above graphs, the launch KE is relatively constant, but alas, further away, at 60 yards, with higher mass projectiles, we see something worth pondering. (Well, only if you think math is correct!)
What are the results telling us? (Please pardon the steam coming out of my ears)
So, despite my heavy arrow bias, (I’m not much of a hair splitter), increasing launch KE 3-6 ft/pounds is really boring.
But the lower line, at 60 yards, is worth chewing on.
If you search around, many of the wide mechanical broadheads suggest KE’s of 45-60 ft-lb’s. Now, they don’t go out on a limb and say, “that will create a pass through, or break bones.” It’s just a recommended impact KE.
Formula for Kinetic Energy: K.E. = 1/2mv2 (where m=mass of object and v=velocity)
And be clear, just like the firearms world, this is launch KE, maximum velocity. This is because a projectile can’t go faster once it leaves the muzzle or the string… It’s always slowing down.
Silly aerodynamic drag.
Now in a vacuum… oh wow, throw in some zero gravity and guess what?
It still doesn’t go faster….. it would maintain launch velocity and you wouldn’t be able to breathe to test it.
Some adult field points and some, ahem, “super weenie points.”
There have been multiple companies and YouTube personalities showing fixed blade vs. mechanical pressure testing on deer thoraxes and other items simulating a critter. They use very complicated mechanical devices down to something as simple as a bathroom scale.
Let’s just say, the HUGE differences are eye popping.
It’s not half a pound or 3, it’s exponential. The “precision” of the device doesn’t matter when the difference is 40 pounds. Please search those tests up, because I know you’ll go do it anyway.
When it comes to arrow penetration, harder things push back harder… you can just blame Sir Isaac Newton for that and keep my hate mail down!