Why Do Deer Jump The Bow String?

early season bowhunting

Hey Mike: Wondering if you could settle a friendly argument. A buddy and I were discussing deer jumping the string. I say it is all noise related and they instinctively react; he says it could also be visual—they see the arrow coming. Wondering your thoughts? Also, do you ever see a bow being fast enough that you don’t have to worry about them jumping the string or is that impossible? Thanks–Jake in WI

Jake, you win, it’s an instinctive reaction. I heard a guy say one time, “It’s like when somebody blows a horn or sets off a firecracker close, you jump.” When a deer hears your bow go off in his natural environment, same thing.

I’ve heard people say a deer might see the arrow and react…I guess it’s possible a doe or buck might glimpse the blur of an arrow out the corner of their eye, but I doubt it happens often.

Actually, “jumping the string” is a misnomer, it should be called “ducking and rolling.” Doe or buck hears your bow go off, drops its chest down toward the ground and whirls to run in one motion. Can’t see it with the eye, but watch a slow-motion video of it, and it’s amazing.

Some deer drop at the bow sound, others don’t. Unpredictability has to do with distance to deer, quietness of bow, foliage that does/does not muffle sound, etc. You never know, so hold the correct sight pin on bottom third of the vitals. Deer drops, you pierce mid to high lungs; deer does not drop, you sear heart/low lungs. Either way, you kill deer.

I suck at physics, but I understand the speed of sound is around 1,126 fps while the fastest compound bow shoots an arrow at 360 fps or so. So no, I am reasonably sure there will never be a bow that propels an arrow that deer cannot jump (or rather duck).

Summer 2018: First Trail Cam Bucks

md dan june 2018 buckOur friend Dan says, “I’m keeping an eye on this one.” He just did his first card pull of the summer and has more than 1,300 pics from just 2 cams…”15 different bucks so far, this one is the biggest for now…3 others have potential with a lot of growing to do in the next 2 months.”

Dan says more bucks are likely to show up on their “summer range” soon in his area. Last summer, by mid-July, Dan had accumulated more than 10,000 images of deer, and 30 different bucks. It’s a unique and interesting situation, click here for details.

By Dan’s standards the buck action at my Virginia mineral/camera sites is minimal right now, though the wide rack below popped up on my Spartan Camera app last night, he’s gonna be a cool deer. Send me your trail cam images and stories to share, I’ll always keep your location secret.

va buck june

Whitetail Management: A Little Land Work Leads To A Monster Buck

Now is the time to put in food plots, work the timber, create mineral sites, and otherwise improve the private property you’ll hunt on this fall. You don’t have to go hog wild and spend thousands of dollars doing it, especially if you live in the right big-buck zip code. Here’s proof that some sweat equity mixed with smart scouting can pay off big.

A few years ago Mike from Iowa obtained a small chunk of ground with a cabin on it. He scouted and hunted a couple of seasons, but didn’t see many bucks bucks, either on camera or from a tree stand. “My confidence in the farm was low, but after doing some timber-stand improvement and putting in food plots one off season, I had hopes that things would change for the better.”

iowa bow giant 2013

Then on November 2 that year Mike recalls…

I was still trying to work things out on the property, and I bumped several deer on the way in to my stand that afternoon. Before the evening was over I had passed on a very nice buck–and I was second guessing myself. I decided to leave everything in the stand so I could just slip in quietly the next morning.

The wind was right and it worked like a charm. I was settled in the stand plenty early, and I had some serious quiet time with God. I enjoy that peaceful time before sunrise. Just after legal shooting light I heard crunching behind me, straight downwind. I turned to look and immediately grabbed my bow and hooked up my release.

The buck was already at 30 yards and in the open, but a couple of large limbs from the tree I was in blocked the shot. My first thought was to wait for him to move from behind the limbs; then it crossed my mind that anything could happen and I needed to get my shot off before he got awaay. I leaned way back and tried to clear a large limb, but couldn’t. I squatted, leaned way out, settled my pin and let her fly.

I was shooting for 30, but the deer was actually at 25. He may have jumped the string as well…either way, my shot was high. As he bolted, the arrow appeared to fall out with poor penetration. I immediately nocked another arrow and was ready for a follow-up shot if he stopped. When his tail started to cork screw I thought “dead deer,” but mind you I had seen the arrow fall away. I started looking for room to squeeze another one. The buck moved slightly and gave me a tiny opening. Before I knew it, the second arrow was away, a clean pass thru this time.

As the deer hustled off I saw what looked like two mortal wounds. I thought I heard a crash, and I started sending text messages. After a few minutes I located horns with my binos and the emotions swept over me. I knew he would be my best deer to date, and as soon as I walked up on him I knew he was a net Boone and Crockett buck.

On my way back to the cabin to get help, I walked up on 3 good bucks in another food plot. I have changed my mind about this property being a low percentage spot! A little timber improvement and quality plotting turned this place around in a hurry, and I see many years of pleasure ahead for our clan here at our cabin farm.

On yeah, the buck scored 183 2/8″ gross, and 178 6/8″ net.—Mike from Iowa

Arizona Bowhunter Shoots World Record NT Coues Deer (139 2/8)

wr coues 2018A panel of Pope & Young Club measurers recently scored a non-typical Coues deer at 139 2/8, which ties the existing P&Y record for that category. (The rack’s velvet was stripped prior to the official measurement.) The magnificent deer was shot by Wesley Ely of Wilcox, Arizona in August 2017. Here is Wesley’s story in his words:

It all began on a summer scouting trip in 2013 when I noticed a young buck with massive antlers. I continued to scout and occasionally hunt the area while the buck kept getting bigger each year.

In 2017 I decided to devote all of my time off to find the buck’s summer habits. Sixteen days before opening day, I began to pattern this elusive animal. On opening day in the middle of public land, I couldn’t help but hope that I was the only person chasing this big Coues deer.

I watched the buck through my binoculars for 4 hours that morning and waited until he bedded down for the day. After an hour hike into the canyon, I was looking at the biggest Coues buck I had ever seen. In a stalk that seemed like an eternity, I crept and crawled closer to this small-bodied giant. I took my time, carefully applying all the things I had learned for years on how to make a successful stalk.

As I released the arrow, my heart filled with hope and anticipation! Shaking with excitement, I watched through binoculars as the buck, with a complete pass through, slowly disappeared over the hill. When I discovered the Coues buck I had been hunting for 4 years lying motionless, I was in complete awe. I sat silently for a few minutes, admiring this intelligent animal and reflecting on what a humbling challenge it had been to take such an incredible buck.

Top 8 Bowhunting States

ct buck brianA ton of interesting information in the QDMA’s 2018 Whitetail Report, including this: Can you guess the top 8 states where the highest percentage of the annual deer harvest is with bow and arrow?

#1 New Jersey: Estimated 2016 total deer harvest 49,246; 58% or 28,563 with bow.

#2 Connecticut: Estimated total deer harvest 10,412; 50% or 5,206 with bow.

#3 Ohio: Estimated total deer harvest 182,169; 45% or 81,976 with bow.

#4 Massachusetts: Total deer harvest 12,249; 42% or 12,249 with bow.

#5 (three states tie): Kansas: Total harvest 84,065; 37% or 31,104 with bow.

Illinois: Total harvest 144,304; 37% or 53,392 with bow.

Michigan: Total harvest 341,287; 37% or 126,276 with bow.