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My Deer Are Gun Shy


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#1 Honky Cat

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Posted 26 November 2009 - 07:52 PM

I have been having a great time this past week bow hunting. I never would have let a deer get so close gun hunting, but with a bow that I only feel comfortable out to 25-30yds, I have learned to sit still longer and quieter than ever.

I set up a blind in the edge of the woods by a creek. It is the lowest part of a valley that is wooded on one side and corn on the other. There were tons of tracks and deer sign, so I felt that I had a good spot. Turns out the deer were getting into the cornfield farther up from that path though and two days in a row I watched 5 to 7 deer walk by me within range but with tons of brush, briars and trees in the way. So, I figured I needed to be closer to the field. I know most people in this situation would use a tree stand and I agree that would probably be best but I tried something diffferent. There is a pine tree that fell into the edge of the feild which I had earlier cut branches from to conceal my blind and figured the pine would hide scent as well. The hollowed out spot that made is, as I see it, a good natural blind. I have never been so close to wild deer in my life. The first day in there was kinda rainy and the deer had no clue I was there. A doe and spike buck came crashing out of the woods about 15 yds away just after I had layed back on some braches to get comfortable. I wanted to get that doe, but trying to sit back up and get my 60" recurve up without being seen was tricky. By the time I was up she had moved away to what I thought was out of range. Later I paced the distance at about 31 yds. and kicked my self a couple times because that really is a do-able shot. But anyway, that same day about 20 min. later I heard what I thought was another deer moving up right behind me. There were tons of squirrels, birds and even mice making every type of noise possible to them, so I wasn't sure that I was really hearing a deer. I waited a minute, then decided to turn and look. Turned out, it was a deer about 15 feet away staring me straight in the eye. I hate to admit it, but I actually got a little concerned because bows are not good defensive weapons and I've heard some stories about rutting bucks. Luckily (I guess) the deer wasn't there to fight, just stare for a bit then run away. On the next evening, I thought for sure I would have success. But only one doe came out right around sunset. She came out of the woods on the opposite side of the tree I was sitting under/beside and moved straight into the field. As she passed, less than 10 feet away, I really wished I was using any kind of weapon that could shoot through the vines and braches. But, then again, it is very exciting to be that close. She never moved down the feild before it started to get dark so I had to get up and leave with her just a few yards away. She only ran a little way then stopped broadside and looked at me. I just stood there waiting for her to make the next move. Eventually, she decided to run off and put on a show jumping at least 10 feet in the air several times. Most of you already know that bow hunting is a rush. Then youth gun season started.

I can not believe how many guns are going off around these parts all day long now and my deer have taken notice of it too. The last two days I have seen nothing, not even the squirrels. This is the hunting I'm used to. And now that I know what bow hunting is like during only bow season I already can't wait for next year to get an earlier start.
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#2 Rowdy Yates

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 07:08 AM

Great story- really enjoyed it.

Yeah and you're right about the gun shooting thing, it seems like gun practice starts the week before the season starts. It puts every deer on hiding alert and they go noctunal. Then the drives start to push the deer and then it sounds a war has started. Gun season does not start till Monday 11/30/09 here in Ohio. Bow hunting after that is very difficult.
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#3 McBruce

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 09:03 AM

I'm sorry, but when I heard the deer are gun shy ...in the archery section...I had to think...your shooting PSE? LOL

great story...thanks
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#4 PA RIDGE RUNNER

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 09:12 AM

Great story. I could literally feel your excitement as I read. Something that I thought of about your blind and the lack of success from it was possibly due to not location but how long it was there before you used it. Most times when a blind is first set up in an area the deer will shy away for a week or so till they get used to it. That could have been your problem with it.
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#5 mudduck

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 10:05 AM

Never hunted Ohio deer, just the Wisconsin-Minnesota farm country ones, but I too also hunt from the ground, and have discovered a few tips that may help you. First, as you have already discovered, drawing a 60" recurve while sitting is problematic, deer dont tolerate much movement when they are close, trying to stand and draw and not be seen might be impossible. Use a taller stool to sit on, I like the rond top wooden stools, as they dont seem to cut the circulation off in my legs as bad. Instead of sitting on the edge of the field now, move farther back into the woods. While un-spooked deer may just troop along from bedding area to feeding area, spooked deer often travel inside the woodline checking out the field until they can enter it safely under the cover of darkness. I have found deer return to near normal patterns about 2 weeks after gun seasons end. When close to deer on the ground, move no faster than the deer move, and I believe, seriously avoid eye contact. When sitting next to a tree, lean on the tree. Leave no space between your upper body and tree. Deer seem to pick that up in an instant. Is easier to draw on a deer once it is slightly past you, consider that when picking out a spot to sit, also, consider using existing brush/trees available to hide your draw movements. You wrote a great story, I really enjoyed it. You have done very well so far, getting within bow range is the hard part, and you have already done that, the next step is to get the shot, I'm confident that you will figure that out also. Good luck

#6 Spirithawk

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 06:48 PM

All good advice. Jason doesn't like to but often has to hunt from the ground. Patience is the name of the game. Waiting for the deer to put it's head down to eat, put a tree between it's head and you, look away, what ever, before you draw is a must. Jason tries to use existing growth to hide his lower body too and a large tree behind you helps. One large enough to hide the outline of your body. Jeff brought up a good point. Deer, and not always spooked deer, will often browse just inside a tree line before stepping out into a field. Often smart old bucks will wait for the does to step out first too. They figure if it's safe for the does then it's safe for them. Setting up inside the tree line can often give you a good jump on getting a shot while you still have good light. Deer see movement! I've had them simply stare at me for long periods of time and then go on eating as long as they don't see me move. That brings up another point. SCENT CONTROL is a must! Here's a tip that I promise you will work. If you have pine or cedar trees in your area, store your hunting clothes in bags with a few clippings from their limbs. Then when going to hunt, also rub some fresh cedar or pine on you too. The smell stays with you and is quite strong. More importantly the deer are use to smelling it. I also use wild mint and believe it actualy attracts deer as I've had them walk right up and sniff me without spooking. Keep at it bud. You've many a great memory to make.Posted Image

#7 Honky Cat

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 08:03 PM

I appreciate the comments. I was sitting on bucket I found that had a nice concaved bottom. It was fairly comfortable and got me just high enough off the ground to shoot. I practiced on it and found that I do better sitting than standing. I guess that's because less of me is swinging in the breeze : ).


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#8 snydleyed

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Posted 01 December 2009 - 12:22 AM

Jr yeah used to be that after all the seasons the deer would calm down for January hunting but they moved a late muzzle loading in there this year looking at nocturnal deer for the rest of the season. good luck and keep at it.

#9 Rowdy Yates

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Posted 01 December 2009 - 01:31 PM

Jr yeah used to be that after all the seasons the deer would calm down for January hunting but they moved a late muzzle loading in there this year looking at nocturnal deer for the rest of the season. good luck and keep at it.


I was thinking the same thing, the deer will not be available much after this other than places where no gun hunting is allowed. I know of just a few small places like that and I'm headed there.
"Keep the sun forever at your back, the wind forever in your face, and may forever God bless you out there on the trail."




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