The following information comes from the Introduction of How to Hunt Deer by Edward A. Freeman. How to Hunt Deer is also available to purchase in print.
There are between fifteen and twenty million people in the United States who purchase hunting licenses each year. Some of these people are so situated financially or geographically, that they may hunt for the comparatively scarce big game such as elk, moose, grizzly bears and mountain sheep or goats. Others, not so fortunate, must settle for lesser game, such as the rabbit, yet the goal of the majority of these hunters is deer, and in the deer family, the white-tail, or Virginia deer, being the most plentiful, is the most sought.
Many of these license buyers have hunted for years and are thoroughly familiar with these animals and with the range that they inhabit. Others are newcomers to the sport and must learn these things by actual hunting or from the experiences of others combined with, and checked by, their own experiences. On the following pages, some of my hunting experiences, together with my conclusions of deer hunting methods and deer habits, will be recorded and I hope that they will aid the inexperienced in his hunting pleasure and success.
I do not want the reader to consider me as a final authority on deer hunting. In spite of all study of deer by naturalists and biologists in the past, this knowledge thus gained is subject to change as continued study proves or disproves the theories that we accept as facts at the present time. I have no official standing as a naturalist, biologist, or scientist. I am merely a man who has enjoyed the sport of deer hunting for a great many years and who has always tried to find out what the deer do and why they act as they do. Some of my conclusions may not be scientifically correct, but they are not merely theories that have been arrived at by the casual observance of individual incidences.
My deer hunting experience has included nearly all of the major deer ranges of the country, but most of my hunting has been in the farming section of the State of Maine and, as a result, I am most familiar with the deer of that section of the country. I have done enough hunting in other areas to know that there is little regional difference and any method of hunting that is successful in one area will be successful in another area. I know that there is some difference. For example, the deer in the northeast portion of the country (from Maine to Minnesota) may be considered as a single herd. The Pennsylvania deer herd, which includes the deer of the Virginias and adjoining states is a separate herd and, as such, has acquired slightly different habits due to the differences in food and cover. The whitetails along the Mexican border have been isolated from the rest of the Nation’s deer for so long a time that they have become almost a distinct subspecies, due to the process of evolution and the regional differences in climate and environment. Such differences force the hunter to adapt his hunting methods to suit the local conditions. This is true between the parts of a regional herd as well as between the major herds. Here in Maine, we must use slightly different tactics when hunting the wilderness deer than when hunting farm-country deer.
As I mentioned before, I have hunted and guided others, for a good number of years. In fact, I have hunted so long that the law of averages finally caught up with me and I became a statistic in the list of hunters who have been mistaken for game. I lost a leg as the result of the accident. This has curtailed my hunting activity without reducing my enthusiasm for the sport. It has also given me the time and the opportunity to review my hunting life and to evaluate some of the things that I have learned during that time. This I pass along to others that they may profit from my experiences.
Edward A. Freeman