John's Journal...

How to Hunt Spooked Deer

Day 2: What Deer Fear Most About Man

Editor’s Note: Deer do strange and unpredictable things when the hunting pressure builds-up over their range. This week we’ll look at how to modify your tactics to take these spooked deer.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewAccording to Dr. Keith Causey, retired professor of wildlife science at Auburn University and a longtime avid deer hunter, deer fear man’s odor more than any other thing. “Once deer are able to make a slight association with man’s odor and the form of a man, one of two things happens. The deer either can become adjusted to the sight of men and lose their fear of them, or if the deer are constantly harassed by humans, they will learn to panic at the sight of man, whether or not they smell him. The hunter actually trains the deer to fear him. The whitetail fawn learns to fear man from the doe, which transfers these signals to her fawn, so that it knows what to run from and what to fear. Too, human odor may release a natural fear response in the deer as well as a learned response.

“Although there is no way to monitor the intelligence or thought processes of a deer, we can assume that the more human contact that the animal has, the more adept he becomes at avoiding human encounters. This may explain why so many 1-1/2-year-old animals are taken each year in deer harvests, and why the older deer are less likely to be killed. The older deer that are able to survive past 1-1/2-years of age have to be better at escaping humans from smelling their scent and seeing them in the woods than the younger deer are.”

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewFrom this scientific information outdoorsmen must realize that there are two options to take trophy deer. A hunter either can use the fear response of human odor and human sight to drive the deer to another hunter, or he can eliminate human odor and the sight of a human from the deer’s senses. Tomorrow we’ll take a look at how to accomplish these two tasks.

To get John E. Phillips’ Kindle eBooks and print books on hunting deer, “How to Hunt and Take Big Buck Deer on Small Properties,” “How to Hunt Deer Up Close: With Bows, Rifles, Muzzleloaders and Crossbows,” “PhD Whitetails: How to Hunt and Take the Smartest Deer on Any Property,” “How to Take Monster Bucks,” “How to Hunt Deer Like a Pro,” and “Bowhunting Deer: Mossy Oak Pros Know Bucks and Bows,” or to prepare venison, “Deer & Fixings,” click here on each. Or, go to, type in the name of the book, and download it to your Kindle, and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.

For information on making jerky from your deer to provide a protein-rich snack, you can download a free book from

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About the Author

John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors. Click here for more information and a list of all the books available from John E. Phillips.

Tomorrow: How to Hunt Pressured Deer

Check back each day this week for more about How to Hunt Spooked Deer

Day 1: What’s a Deer’s Home Range
Day 2: What Deer Fear Most About Man
Day 3: How to Hunt Pressured Deer
Day 4: How Deer React to Hunting Pressure
Day 5: Where Deer Will Hide During Intense Pressure

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Entry 850, Day 2