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I have bowhunted for over 40 years and during that time I have encountered a situation that has plagued me on enough occasions to indicate that there must be a reason for it. My problem however, is that I have been unable to determine the reason. M

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  • I have bowhunted for over 40 years and during that time I have encountered a situation that has plagued me on enough occasions to indicate that there must be a reason for it. My problem however, is that I have been unable to determine the reason. M

    I have bowhunted for over 40 years and during that time I have encountered a situation that has plagued me on enough occasions to indicate that there must be a reason for it. My problem however, is that I have been unable to determine the reason. Maybe someone else can give me some help. The situation is that when a mature buck gets inside of my shooting range (twenty yards) and for no apparent reason he goes stiff legged and backs out. How many of you have experienced this to happen and what are your thoughts on the whys of this ??? I am a traditional shooter and have enough hunting experience to know wind, noise and movement factors, so that is not the problem. There appears to be some other reason for this and it seems to occour only with mature bucks. I would very much like to hear your thoughts on this if you have encountered the same thing. Many thanks !!

  • #2
    My first thought would be that he's either smelling you, or smelling your entry trail. You usually can tell easily if a deer's seen you, so it probably isn't that. If you are certain that it hasn't seen or smelled you, then the only possible explanation in my book is that the mature buck's "sixth sense" warned him something was wrong when he got that close. Whether deer have a sixth sense is hotly debated among some hunters, but I believe they do. It helps to not stare directly at the deer when they're approaching, and of course never look them in the eyes.

    Comment


    • #3
      Hey Rich you are not alone. I have had this same type of situation happen to me twice and on both occasions it was something behind me that the mature buck did not like. Once it was a Fischer cat and once it was a neighbors dog. Both times I never heard what was behind me because they weren't super close and if I didn't look I would have never known what was behind me or why it happened. With that said if it happens again I would suggest looking around to see if there is anything out of the norm behind you. Good luck, Paul.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by huntfishtrap View Post
        My first thought would be that he's either smelling you, or smelling your entry trail. You usually can tell easily if a deer's seen you, so it probably isn't that. If you are certain that it hasn't seen or smelled you, then the only possible explanation in my book is that the mature buck's "sixth sense" warned him something was wrong when he got that close. Whether deer have a sixth sense is hotly debated among some hunters, but I believe they do. It helps to not stare directly at the deer when they're approaching, and of course never look them in the eyes.
        I agree about the sixth sense and the eye contact.

        Comment


        • #5
          I'm with huntfishtrap on this one. Deer spend their lives in the woods and I think they can sometimes just sense something is different. We blame it on something we do but when you think about it they do this type of thing all the time. The only difference is, when they do it in front of us, we are there to see it.

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          • #6
            huntfishtrap is spot on for the reason of the deer going into alert mode. How many times have you felt like some one was watching you in a crowd and you find out that you are right? Wild things have that same ability but it is honed to a much finer state than with us. We all pick up subconscious clues all around us every day. Sometimes we are fortunate enough to figure out what the clues are trying to tell us. Call it what you will, it has allowed humans to survive for a very long time.

            Comment


            • #7
              I recently read that a deer can see you when they are not what it appears to be looking at you. Just because he wasn't staring at you and his head was going down the trail he may have seen your human outline up in the tree way off to the left or right and paused. If your not already doing so and have the option pick a large tree that covers your whole frame so they don't see a huge abnormality up in the tree limbs. I say it's either that or he's picking up your sent. They have extremely powerful noses and who knows what that wind is really doing to your scent with thermals and valleys etc. Any shooting lanes being cut do them months in advance so deer get use to them and try to thin out your lanes as little as possible.

              Comment


              • #8
                In regards to my inquiry as to why a mature buck will sometimes go
                stiff legged and back out of a area, I wish to thank all the good responses !
                I have read a book by Fred Asbell, a well known author on deer and a
                long time traditional shooter, that his theory on this situation is that the
                buck is picking up brain waves sent out by the hunter as he is thinking
                about what he is going to do !!! I guess that might be possible, it is
                another possibility. What are your thoughts on such a happening ?
                Again, thanks for your feedback.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by bowhunter75richard View Post
                  In regards to my inquiry as to why a mature buck will sometimes go
                  stiff legged and back out of a area, I wish to thank all the good responses !
                  I have read a book by Fred Asbell, a well known author on deer and a
                  long time traditional shooter, that his theory on this situation is that the
                  buck is picking up brain waves sent out by the hunter as he is thinking
                  about what he is going to do !!! I guess that might be possible, it is
                  another possibility. What are your thoughts on such a happening ?
                  Again, thanks for your feedback.
                  Oh, good Lord. With all due respect to Mr. Asbell, I'm going to go ahead and strongly disagree with him without even attempting to muffle my chortling.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by bowhunter75richard View Post
                    In regards to my inquiry as to why a mature buck will sometimes go
                    stiff legged and back out of a area, I wish to thank all the good responses !
                    I have read a book by Fred Asbell, a well known author on deer and a
                    long time traditional shooter, that his theory on this situation is that the
                    buck is picking up brain waves sent out by the hunter as he is thinking
                    about what he is going to do !!! I guess that might be possible, it is
                    another possibility. What are your thoughts on such a happening ?
                    Again, thanks for your feedback.
                    Well, you can never say never, but I have a hard time believing that. I wouldn't think Asbell would have to worry about it - the tinfoil hat would stop them. Lol

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Once I believed they had a 6th sense, that somehow they could read my thoughts and it's more fun to believe this. After 50 years of deer hunting with stick, string and wood arrows; having numerous mature bucks in close my thoughts on this subject have changed.
                      A deer's eyes see about 280 degrees all around. Much of their sight picks up shading and light reflection. This is why I have always worn clothing made of natural fiber; 1st choice wool it absorbs light, reflecting less light back to the deer's eyes. Today's synthetics are like light reflectors to the game's eyes.
                      I think this is especially critical when in close. A simple slow movement can cause a flash of light to his eye causing an experienced deer to immediately stiffen or bolt.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by bowhunter75richard View Post
                        In regards to my inquiry as to why a mature buck will sometimes go
                        stiff legged and back out of a area, I wish to thank all the good responses !
                        I have read a book by Fred Asbell, a well known author on deer and a
                        long time traditional shooter, that his theory on this situation is that the
                        buck is picking up brain waves sent out by the hunter as he is thinking
                        about what he is going to do !!! I guess that might be possible, it is
                        another possibility. What are your thoughts on such a happening ?
                        Again, thanks for your feedback.
                        I know we should keep an open mind on things, however, I am glad to read that my thoughts on
                        this pretty much go along with the above comments. Sometimes it is good not to feel alone in
                        one's thinking !!!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by charlie elk View Post
                          Once I believed they had a 6th sense, that somehow they could read my thoughts and it's more fun to believe this. After 50 years of deer hunting with stick, string and wood arrows; having numerous mature bucks in close my thoughts on this subject have changed.
                          A deer's eyes see about 280 degrees all around. Much of their sight picks up shading and light reflection. This is why I have always worn clothing made of natural fiber; 1st choice wool it absorbs light, reflecting less light back to the deer's eyes. Today's synthetics are like light reflectors to the game's eyes.
                          I think this is especially critical when in close. A simple slow movement can cause a flash of light to his eye causing an experienced deer to immediately stiffen or bolt.
                          On the clothing issue Charlie Elk, I agree with you totally. Much of the commercial hunting clothes
                          today are too noisy in the first place. Many people think that a deer inside of twenty yards is an easy
                          target to hit. However, it is not hitting the target that is the problem, the problem with traditional
                          bows is even getting the shot off. We do not have the luxury of drawing when the animal is behind
                          a tree or bush and waiting for it to present a shot, it must be done while fully in the open ! But you know
                          that is why we hunt traditionally, it is a challenge and well worth the effort. Things that come too easily
                          hold very little interest and present not much of an accomplishment !!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by charlie elk View Post
                            Once I believed they had a 6th sense, that somehow they could read my thoughts and it's more fun to believe this. After 50 years of deer hunting with stick, string and wood arrows; having numerous mature bucks in close my thoughts on this subject have changed.
                            A deer's eyes see about 280 degrees all around. Much of their sight picks up shading and light reflection. This is why I have always worn clothing made of natural fiber; 1st choice wool it absorbs light, reflecting less light back to the deer's eyes. Today's synthetics are like light reflectors to the game's eyes.
                            I think this is especially critical when in close. A simple slow movement can cause a flash of light to his eye causing an experienced deer to immediately stiffen or bolt.
                            You've entered the deer's space, your mind must acclimate to the new environment of stillness. All other sounds have drifted to the background. 2 hearts beat, each hears the other and a connection is made; deer, hunter, string and limb it's all fluid as the sound of sharp steel tears hair and hide. Those other sounds return as the headlong crashing subsides and the recovery starts. You are right by comparison mechanical archery is clunky.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by charlie elk View Post
                              Once I believed they had a 6th sense, that somehow they could read my thoughts and it's more fun to believe this. After 50 years of deer hunting with stick, string and wood arrows; having numerous mature bucks in close my thoughts on this subject have changed.
                              A deer's eyes see about 280 degrees all around. Much of their sight picks up shading and light reflection. This is why I have always worn clothing made of natural fiber; 1st choice wool it absorbs light, reflecting less light back to the deer's eyes. Today's synthetics are like light reflectors to the game's eyes.
                              I think this is especially critical when in close. A simple slow movement can cause a flash of light to his eye causing an experienced deer to immediately stiffen or bolt.
                              To get that shot all of my hunting bows have a patch of white on the riser. All predators have a white patch on their lower neck or chest. The eye of the prey focuses on the white and does not immediately focus on all the other movement of the charge. Over the years it seems this white on my bow focuses the deer's eye there giving me a small window of time to complete my draw and release.

                              Comment

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