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Have you always wanted to hunt sika deer in Maryland? Would you like to learn how to hunt sika deer? Sika is nocturnal and called “marsh ghosts” as they will disappear like a puff of smoke when it senses danger. In this article, we discuss strategies to help you succeed in hunting sika deer.
Table of Contents
Sika Deer History
Sika deer is native to southern Japan. They were introduced in Maryland in 1916 when Clement Henry put them on James Island. Today, they are found on the lower Eastern Shore continues. Sikas were once introduced either for hunting purposes or as ornamental animals in the USA, the British Isles, New Zealand, the Czech Republic, and other European countries.
How To Hunt Sika Deer In Maryland
1. Scouting Sika Deer
When scouting for sika, look around field edges, marshes, wetlands, oak flats, and thick stands of phragmites. Sika uses phragmites as cover when they move from bedding to feeding areas. Poison ivy, catbrier, marsh grass, and mast are foods sikas eat. When you scout an area for sika, if you find these in the area, that could mean sika come around to eat them.
Moreover, keep an eye out for wallows. They create wallows and urinate in them to mark their territory, especially during the rut. If you discover wallows in the area as you scout for signs of sika, that will be a good sign that sikas are active in that area.
2. Predator Calls
You can use calls to lure sikas. Sikas communicate with each other using vocalizations. If you can learn and master some sika vocalizations, you will greatly increase your chances of sikas during the rut. One trick is to learn how to bugle like a stag. If you bugle like a stag, it might bring lure an aggressive stag out looking for the rival stag that is bugling.
Additionally, you can experiment with other predator calls and see if they bring any response from sikas. If you are interested in getting predator calls, you can read a review of the best predator calls on the market today.
Bait can also be used to hunt sikas. However, you must verify that it is legal to use bait. In the state of Maryland, it is legal to use bait on your private property. Food plots, agricultural crops, and warm-season grass can be used as bait to lure sika. They also eat poison ivy, catbrier, soybeans, marsh grass, and mast that can be used to create bait piles.
Drives can be used to hunt sikas. If you are hunting sikas with other hunters, you can initiate a drive to flush them out while others are ready to take shots at the sikas. Just remember that sikas are small animals that are very quick. They grow to only about two and a half feet tall and use the grass as cover.
5. Spot & Stalk
The spot and stalk hunting method can be used to hunt sikas, but it is not practical as sikas cover a lot of ground quickly, loves swampy areas, and seek refuge in very thick cover. Nonetheless, you can spot and stalk sikas if you are up to the task as it can be physically punishing.
Another way to hunt for sikas is to find an elevated position and glass for sikas. Sikas are not big and use the cover of thick grass; therefore glassing is also very challenging. Additionally, you can spot them one minute, and the next minute, they can disappear.
7. Still Hunting
An alternative to the spot and stalk method is still hunting. You can set up a treestand and search an area for sikas using optics. When you spot one, you can take a good shot with a bow or a rifle to take it down. The still hunting methods of hunting sikas are more practical as you sit and wait for one. One of the best things you can do is to figure out where they are bedding and find their trails feeding in and out of their bedding areas.
8. Hire an Outfitter
Hiring an outfitter is another option when you want to hunt sikas. The advantage an outfitter brings to the table is his experience and knowledge of hunting sikas. An outfitter will know the movements and behaviors of the animals. Moreover, the outfitter will know the areas the sikas are located and cut the learning and searching curve dramatically for you.
Additionally, they know the outfitter will know the right weapon to use for hunting sikas as well as the laws regarding hunting the animal. Also, if situations like an injury or an animal attack occur, the outfitter will have the experience to quickly handle the situation. However, when hiring an outfitter, please do your due diligence as there are many scams out there.
Sika Deer Hunting Tips
1. Sika deer are nocturnal and are most active at dusk and dawn.
2. When it becomes pressured, sika will disappear like a ghost.
3. Baiting is legal on private property in Maryland.
4. Sika are curious animals and you can use that to your advantage when hunting sika by calling them in.
5. Sika deer prefer thick, impenetrable cover and marshes.
6. Sika are difficult to pattern.
7. Sika likes marshes, oak flats, wetlands, field edges, and thick cover.
8. Male sika, called stags, weigh about 90 pounds, while females, called hinds, weigh about 70 pounds.
9. One of the most popular methods of hunting sikas is the spot and stalk method.
10. You can run drives with your hunting partners for sikas.
11. Your best chance of getting an adult stag is during the rut which occurs in mid-October.
12. During the rut, the males become very vocal by “bugling”.
13. During the rut, the males define their territory by making wallows and urinating in it.
14. The males are very active during the rut with a lot of movements and this presents the best chances of seeing during the legal hours of hunting.
15. The males and females use vocalizations to communicate.
16. Sikas emit a “bark” when they are alarmed.
17. You can hire an outfitter to hunt sikas.
18. Drives can be used to hunt sikas.
19. By learning to bugle, you can call in an aggressive stag looking for a fight with the other stag that is bugling.
The Bottom Line
Sikas are challenging to hunt as they are small, cover a lot of ground, and use thick and impenetrable cover to protect themselves. In this article, we discuss the information and strategies you can use to successfully hunt sikas. If you are also interested in hunting fallow deer, you can read how to hunt fallow deer.