John's Journal...

How to Hunt Spooked Deer

Day 4: How Deer React to Hunting Pressure

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 View“Hunting pressure makes deer be more secretive, and many times a great deal of hunting pressure will cause animals to become nocturnal,” Dr. Keith Causey, retired professor of wildlife science at Auburn University and a longtime avid deer hunter, explains. “What you have to remember if you are hunting in an area with high hunter pressure is that the deer will use the best escape cover possible to get away from the hunter. Now this escape cover may not always be dense undergrowth. As a matter of fact in certain parts of Louisiana, we’ve had reports where just the opposite appears to be true.

“In Louisiana when hunting pressure is high, deer have been observed moving out into the middles of cotton fields. Throughout the year, the bigger, smarter bucks are bedded-down in the cotton fields as far as 1/2-mile away from the nearest woodline. Once the deer realized the hunters were in the woods, and no hunters were out in the cotton field, they had a safe haven in very-sparse cover. The hunters never did figure out where the deer were. The deer were spotted by pilots in light aircraft flying over the cotton fields and remarking about how many big bucks they had seen in the fields. So, an outdoorsman must remember that deer will give up heavy cover for sparse cover if they can avoid hunters.”

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewAnd to take trophy deer, a wise hunter will study how other hunters hunt as much if not more than he studies the deer’s movement patterns. Before you can determine where the deer should be when he is frightened, you have to first know where the hunter who causes this fear response will show up. Causey mentions, “To properly pattern deer and their response to fear, you have to determine what types of cover draws the most hunters. Hunters tend to hunt in traditional places. Oftentimes this may be the deepest part of the woods or an area of the woods where hunters historically have seen deer. So, to take trophy deer, you have to determine where the least numbers of hunters are likely to show up, which should be some of the best areas to take an older, smarter buck. You may luck up on a trophy animal that’s bedded-down in an unlikely place.”

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: Where Deer Will Hide During Intense Pressure

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 4