Dr. Karl Miller and other researchers at the University of Georgia did a study on the whitetail’s vision and confirmed 2 things: 1) a deer’s eyes are well adapted to detect even the slightest movement; and 2) to get a good 3-D look at a strange and stationary object that might present danger (like you standing in the woods or looking like a blob in a tree stand) a deer has to shift its head from side to side and bob it up and down and stare at it from several different angles.
What it means as you’re hunting: When a doe or buck looks your way, picks you out as a potential predator, and then starts the head ducking and bobbing, freeze. When the animal stops and appears to have calmed down, keep still! He or she generally will try to fake you out a few times…head bobbing and stopping…bobbing and stopping… Sometimes a crafty old doe will do some head bobbing and then turn her head and look off to the side or away from you—still don’t move a muscle because she will spin her head back fast and try to catch you moving.
Only when the head bobbing stops for good and the deer relaxes and seems satisfied that you are not dangerous should you shift in your stand, get ready to draw your bow, etc. This might take 20 seconds or several minutes, so don’t move too soon and get busted.
Best thing you can do if that old doe calms down is to turn her into steaks. Otherwise she is going to look in that tree every single time she passes by for the rest of her life. And alert every deer within hearing distance of your presence. I had an old doe bust me twice in the same stand. The following week I moved about 30 yards away and that same old doe came by and did the “bob” for 10 minutes looking at the vacated tree. She never knew what hit her.
How many times have we all been through that scenario before! Lost some of them and won some of them too. If you want to try something that really freaks deer out, when 1 sees you in a field, bob your head up and down, stomp your foot and advance slowly. Stop once in a while and snort, bib your heqad up and down and advance. I have actually walked up to several deer including bucks that way and have actually gotten drawn and beaded in on them at 30 yards. Never let fly because they weren’t big but, it may help you sometime. Either way, it is hilarious to see their confused reaction to you. They want to run but can’t convince themselves that you aren’t a deer.
Ah nothing like getting a neck cramp from being stuck in that awkward “freeze” position. This past season I learned my lesson about placing my tree stand to close to a major deer trail intersection. It seemed like every deer that came out that day stopped and did the “bob and weave”, one young buck wouldn’t let it go and had me frozen in the most uncomfortable position for about ten minutes(felt like an hour). What are some good pointers to break up your silhouette that aren’t obvious like a net, or fake leaves?
I always like to have at least 1 tree between my stand and a deer trail. It gives you a chance to draw down on one when it is behind a tree as well as gets you out of a deeer’s main sightpath. Try backing off to 20 yards and see how it works for you. I’m not the smartest deer hunter in the woods as the big bucks tell me, but it has put plenty of whitetails on the back of my Jeep over the years.
Dr. Bones I usually like a tree or two in front of me as well, but the tree I climbed was the only suitable tree near the trail intersection. I was hunting a new area and only there for a 5 day hunt. I Should’ve brought a saw with me and gotten up higher because I think only being up 18ft (due to a big limb) left me in their sight line.
Yep. Sometimes the deer have the best of a situation. I would suggest a different option that I tried for the first time last year. Try a Gilly suit on the ground! You can pick up a cheap one for 100 bucks and I’m not kidding…They cannot see you sitting there! It is a very hairy way to hunt but oooooHHHH what a rush!