The creeping darkness draws me back to the task at hand.  While I had been daydreaming, several deer approached my treestand location.  They were all looking toward the base of my tree.  A fat 6-point buck sniffed the tree. 

It was then that I realized the nylon cord; I use to pull up my bow and pack, was dangling down and moving slightly in the evening breeze.  The deer were investigating it.  Looking at the buck and the cord, I realized that he presented a clear target.  Seconds later, the woods echoed with the smack of an arrow striking home.

 On that day I realized an often neglected aspect of deer hunting is the appeal to the animal’s curiosity.  The bowhunter who is alert to this vulnerability can score on some otherwise missed opportunities.

 At times deer seem smart.  On other occasions they exhibit dumb behaviors.

 Like humans, deer have the same basic senses of sight, hearing, smell and ability to communicate.  In a deer the senses of sight and smell seem to attract the interest of hunters.  But, all the senses can be vulnerable.  Maybe there should be another sense, a sense of curiosity.  It is the sense of curiosity that has been the undoing of many.

 A woodland habitat is the deer’s living room.  Just as you know where all the furniture is in your living room, the deer knows where everything is in his woods.  When something new appears, he is both spooked and curious at the same time.  His first response, like all prey species, is to run.  Once satisfied that the new addition to the area is not a threat, he becomes curious.

 When spooked, deer frequently return to satisfy their curiosity. But, they will circle the “problem” to get downwind.  They try to confirm whether danger exists or not.  Usually it is the dominant buck or dominant doe that will most often explore the new object.

 Does are more curious early in the season and button bucks more so later in the season.

 During the rut, bucks are very territorial and regard everything as a threat to their dominance.  The use of decoys is popular with deer hunters.  Much is made of the sex angle to this type of hunting.  Often it is curiosity that draws the deer to a decoy.

 Bucks are drawn to it because it appears to be a stranger in the area.  Does check it out because it is there.

 The same applies to the use of scents.  Cover scents just conceal the hunter’s scent much like the camo conceals his appearance.  Lure scents inspire the buck’s interest in what appears to be a new doe on the block.  Does are attracted by anything that is new in the environment.

 Consider that deer are prey animals.  They live in a dangerous world, where being unaware of your surroundings can mean death.  Man is one of the dangers for the deer.

 The hunter’s challenge is to keep them unaware of his presence, present an environment that appears natural and safe, and keep them comfortable in their habitat.  One can learn something valuable every time he enters the environment of the deer.  One of those things is that deer are curious animals.  Their curiosity helps them to locate danger in their surroundings.  Used by the hunter, it can also mean a clear shot and quick humane kill.


Posted 09/10/2011 by Donald Gasaway in Hunting Big Game

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  2. I really like this blog and I got a lot of information out of it. thanks

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