I take things seriously when it comes to deer hunting. I like things the way I like them. I’m stubborn. I’m rarely open to suggestions. I meticulously map out plans in my head and put them into play on the deer I’m after.
But I’m a jokester at heart. And a good prank never goes unexecuted.
Deer hunting is a serious endeavor. But it’s about more than killing a deer. Here are 15 fun pranks to try on your buddies at deer camp this season. I will warn you, though. Some of these have the potential to make a feller fightin’ mad. Use them at your own risk.
1. Trick Your Buddy with a Decoy
This is the classic one we’ve all heard of. But we’ve all heard of it for a reason: It’s hilarious...as long as it doesn’t happen to you. For those who are unfamiliar with this tactic, put a deer decoy somewhere within gun range (but not too close or they’ll see it’s fake). Put it in some tall grass to conceal the deer a little.
2. Hang a Shoulder Mount
Similar to the first prank, this one will rile a hunter up for sure. There’s one difference, though. Use this one on bowhunters. Hang a shoulder mount up somewhere so only the neck and head can be seen from the stand. Hang it in a manner so that it appears that the rest of its body is concealed. Hang it low enough that it appears to be bedded. You’ll have your buddy on the edge of his stand for hours.
3. Film Yourself Playing Dress Up
No, I’m not encouraging crossdressing. I’m talking about using trail cameras and costumes. I’ve always wanted to put on a Bigfoot suit and visit my buddies trail cameras. Something about sitting down to a corn pile with a spoon or “freshening” up a mock scrape just sounds like fun to me.
4. Plant a Big One on Camera
All I’m going to say is: Photoshop works wonders. I’ll admit, the longer you let this one go, the crueler it gets. I advise those who try this one to let the cat out of the bag the same day you pull the prank. No sense in letting a buddy think he’s hunting a 200-inch deer all season long, I guess.
5. Post a Predator Pic
There are a lot of places around the country that have predators showing up. But there are also a lot of other places that still don’t have them yet. You can change that by pulling cards before your buddies do and slipping in a photo of a bear, cougar, or wolf. Maybe even sneak in a leopard or two.
6. Hang Another Stand Closeby
It happens a lot on public land but not so much on private. Figure out where your buddy is hunting the next day, and hang another stand a few yards from it. You’ll have him red-hot and ready to fight until, wel l... until you decide the prank is over.
7. A Whoopie Cushion Stand Seat
We all had fun with these as kids. Why should we stop as adults? Grab a pack of these and put them under the cushions of your buddy’s favorite stands.
8. Put a Mannaquin in a Stand
Find out what stand your pal is going to and get there before he does. Put camo on a mannequin, and settle it into the treestand before he gets there. Now, I am going to throw a disclaimer out there and advise against doing this before a morning hunt or in treestands that are well camouflaged. You don’t want to scare someone climbing up a tree. Treestand accidents are very real. Pranks are fun but not worth getting someone hurt over. Do this before an afternoon hunt, and it could be one of the best pranks ever, though. They’ll see the “intruder” long before they ever start climbing.
9. Flour in Face
This one is for new hunters. Have an old powder horn lying around camp (one of those that does almost a full U shape). Put flour in the end of it, and have the new guy try the “grunt call” you made. He’ll appreciate it.
10. The Droppings Disguise
Here is another one to pull on rookie hunters. Find some deer scat in the woods. Have some chocolate-covered raisins ready and discretely put them on the ground while your buddy isn’t looking. Put them close to the real deer droppings. Then bend down to show it to the new hunter. Pick up one of your chocolate raisins and bite into it, telling your pal how fresh the scat is. See if your friend “bites.”
11. Find Their Deer Before They Do
As is No. 10 above, this is downright cruel. If they hunted from a ground blind, you can blood trail and find the deer they shot before they do. Then stash it away in their ground blind before everyone goes back to find the deer. After all hope is lost, send your buddy back to the ground blind to get something you “forgot.” Then run for the truck. He’s coming after you with clenched fists and arms swinging.
12. Use a Coyote Call At Night
We all have that friend—no matter how old he or she is—who is terrified of the dark. If legal to call coyotes at night in your state, slip a little ways from camp and cut loose on a coyote howler. Keeping doing it as you circle camp, getting closer and closer. Use multiple howlers so it sounds like a pack of them. If you want to go all out, set up electronic coyote calls (again, where legal) and really cut loose. You’ll have them shaking in their boots.
13. Put a Rubber Snake in a Sleeping Bag
I have an uncle who is absolutely terrified, no, petrified, of snakes. I think he’d literally have a heart attack if one touched him. I say that to advise you not to pull this prank on that type of person. The fear of snakes is very real. But for your friends who just don’t like snakes, this is a good one. Put a couple of rubber snakes in their sleeping bag or bed...and wait to see what happens.
14. Doe Pee By the Bed
Soak a sock in deer urine and stick it somewhere in the folds of the sheets. Just make sure you have extra ones to replace them, or your buddy might fight you over yours after this prank is over.
15. Reset the Alarm Clock
We all know the feeling: There’s no panic like the panic you feel when you think you’ve overslept on opening morning. Now, I’m not telling you to actually let everyone oversleep. Instead, set the clock forward two hours. Set up a light outside the tent or window that makes it seem like it's daylight. The next morning, you’ll hear people running around and crashing into stuff, trying to get out the door.
Whitetails make the hunting world go round. Josh Honeycutt, deer hunting editor and "Brow Tines and Backstrap" blogger, knows a fair bit about killing mature deer. He was raised up hunting the river bottoms of Kentucky. And he still hunts there—among other places—to this day.
Follow along as he shares his adventures, experiences and knowledge of the white-tailed deer.