John's Journal...

Outthink the Buck Deer and the Hunters

Day 5: What Hunters Know About Deer

Editor’s Note: To bag more and bigger bucks this season, you have to understand the minds of the other hunters as well as know what deer think. If deer always do what we expect them to do, hunters may have the ability to wipe-out all the deer in one season. However, deer don't read the same magazines, newspapers and books that we do, watch outdoor TV shows, rent videos and/or go to deer-hunting seminars. But deer do have very-keen instincts that cause them to react to hunting pressure in ways that allow them to survive.

Click for Larger ViewDominant bucks communicate to other bucks within their home ranges with a technique known as sign posting. Deer leave scents from their mouths, their noses, their eyes, their foreheads and urine at scrapes, licking branches and rub sites. The dominant buck will go back to these areas as soon as he can after a rain has washed-away all the messages from his signposts. If you're hunting near one of these types of signposts, you may see an older-age-class buck as soon as the rain stops. You're in the deer's living room when you're hunting him. Click for Larger ViewThe less noise you make, the greater your odds that you'll see a buck. Seldom does anyone hunt 100 yards from the road to the woods. Instead hunters walk past this area to reach their stand sites. Older-age-class bucks know if they stay still in a small parcel of cover until after the hunter passes by, more than likely the hunter won't spot them. Bucks don't always go where we expect them to go. If you spot a buck under your tree stand before you arrive, you'll spook him on the way to hunt him. Expert hunters believe you have a 20- to 30-percent chance of bagging a buck on the way to and from your stand site. Too, the more you move in your stand, the more likely that a deer will see you. Sit still, whether you're hunting from a tree stand or in a ground blind. Always wear a safety harness, which will make you more comfortable in a tree stand and prevent you from falling-out.

Click for Larger ViewYou need to decide from which direction you expect the buck to come and always hunt into the wind. However, sometimes the deer downwind from your stand site will smell you and then snort or blow to warn another deer of your presence. Stay as scent-free as possible. Bathe with scent-free soaps, wash your clothes in scent-free detergent, and take your clothes to the hunting site in a scent-free container. Wear high-tech underwear with odor neutralizers in it, too. I personally like Hunter’s Specialties’ Scent-A-Way system. Deer, naturally curious animals, will come to deer scents and lures. Click for Larger ViewHowever, an older deer that has smelled deer lure often probably won't come to these attractants. Don’t forget that you must spray your hands and clothing with an odor neutralizer if you get gas for your vehicle on the way to your hunt site, because deer will smell the gasoline. Eating candy, chewing tobacco or smoking cigarettes or cigars also notifies the deer downwind of your presence. Any time you move in the woods, you can assume a deer has watched you. Move as slowly and as quietly as possible to spot more deer.

Check back each day this week for more about "Outthink the Buck Deer and the Hunters "

Day 1: The Most-Overlooked Aspect of Deer Hunting
Day 2: What Buck Deer Know About Hunters
Day 3: How Hunters Can Use What Bucks Know to Take Whitetails
Day 4: Other Tips for Taking Big Buck Deer
Day 5: What Hunters Know About Deer


Entry 595, Day 5