All You Need to Know About Deer Tags

February 14, 2022 4 min read

an elevated archery blind set up in the woods

Going on a deer hunt is an exhilarating experience that connects people to nature and brings families and friends together. However, before you can enjoy a deer hunt, you must obtain a deer tag. A deer tag gives a hunter the legal right to kill a single deer in a specific location during a limited time frame. Tags also limit what type of hunting is allowed. Each state has its own process for awardingdeer tags, such as over-the-counter purchases and raffles. 

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Getting Your Deer Tag

In most states, getting a deer tag means you have to enter into a lottery pool that awards hunters with a specific number of tags. While some states use first-come, first-serve over-the-counter tag sales, this is not the norm. Learn your state’s deer tag protocol and stay up to date on all hunting rules and regulations.

Since tags are awarded before the hunting season, you need to plan to get a deer tag. The more years you go without winning a deer tag, the more likely your name will come up in the lottery. Ensure you apply as soon as possible to give yourself the best chance of winning a tag. Every state has a different cut-off date for applications, but you can use an online tool to be reminded of application and lottery deadlines. 

Many people enter into buck lotteries that award the right to kill a male with antlers. This is more popular because males are larger, and tagging a ten-point buck makes a good trophy. If you are just getting into hunting or only want to hunt for meat, you can increase your chances of getting a deer tag by applying for antlerless tags. Antlerless deer tags give you the right to kill females and younglings that do not yet have antlers. This increases your chances of getting a tag and improves your chances of a successful hunt. While the deer are smaller, sometimes by 20% or more, there are more antlerless deer than bucks. 

Tagging a Deer

The purpose of deer tags is primarily to control the deer population in a specific area. Your state’s fish and wildlife management department monitors deer populations to determine how many deer tags to award for a season. The deer tag you are awarded is a physical document that helps determine next year’s population estimates. 

When you have a successful deer hunt, you must fill out your deer tag and attach it to the carcass before removing it from the field. Most tags require information about the time, date and location of the kill. This is where the expression “punching a tag” originates because many tags require you to punch out sections to indicate the required information. 

After tagging and transporting your kill home, you must report your kill to the appropriate state agency. This gives the state the information to determine how many tags to award next year. Correctly filling out tags and reporting kills is legally required, and it is proper hunting etiquette because it helps future hunters.

Tactics to Punch Your Tag

Whether you were just awarded your first deer tag or purchased one over the counter, you need to prepare ahead for the hunt. Valid deer tags have a time limit. To avoid eating your tag (failing to kill a deer in the allotted time), outfit yourself with premium hunting gear. Give yourself the best chance at punching your tag with elevated hunting blinds or ground blinds. Hunting blinds conceal a hunter’s movement, smell and sounds while providing clear sightlines for taking a clean shot.

an elevated hunting blind in a small clearing

Elevated hunting blinds from Shadow Hunter Blinds are manufactured to provide stealth and comfort to hunters. With dimensions ranging from 4' x 6' to 6' x 8', these hunting blinds give hunters room to maneuver without spooking nearby deer. The multi-layered paneling keeps noises and scents in and inclement weather out. They come with 6 to 8 windows accommodating archery, crossbow and gun hunting.

a close up of a ghostblind ground blind in use

GhostBlind ground blinds use mirror panels to conceal hunters while giving them excellent sightlines into the surrounding area for hunters who prefer to stay grounded. The mirror panels of the GhostBlind Predator Ground Blind rise 46" to conceal a seated hunter without the need for brushing in. Deer run away at any sight of movement, so the tall panels are angled to prevent reflecting the animal back at itself. 

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Enjoy Your Next Deer Hunt with Shadow Hunter Blinds

The process of acquiring a deer tag can be long and complicated. Starting the application process early gives you a higher probability of winning a tag in your state’s big game lottery. 

If you are getting ready for the hunting season and want to use blinds to assist your hunt, check out Shadow Hunter Blinds. We have ground blinds, elevated blinds and accessories to help make your next deer hunt successful. Contact us for more information on our blinds and accessories.