Even young bucks do the head fake. Don’t get caught moving!

Many years ago, I was annoyed with the continuous head fakes that does and yearlings used at one stand. They were suspicious because it had been hunted hard, and the deer kept looking at my ground blind.

I really didn't understand it very well at the time, but it seemed as if every deer that passed my way, gave two to four head fakes. The fawns, seeing their mother do it, picked up a new trick and it was difficult to draw my bow without one or more deer looking up.

Often they would snort and run off. It was discouraging, and now I have people me ask about these head fake. It has them as puzzled as I was 50 years ago.

The head fake is [art of a suspicious deer's repertoire. They think they see a movement, or perhaps did see a movement, and raise their head to stare. When it didn't move, they would lower their head and quickly jerk it back up in an attempt to spot some movement.

The head fake is one of the most common tactics for deer.

It's still a very common trait among whitetails. The reason it is common is because the deer have caught people moving before. The deer are spooky, but are trying to learn if there is something nearby that represents a possible danger to them.

It slowly dawned on me to sit motionless, not make a sound, and if the deer played this game, I'd let them. I've had deer give me the head fake a dozen times, and when they don't see an movement, they relax and go back to feeding. And that is when a shot can be taken, but it requires some practice and nerve control to keep from getting spotted.

So what can people do to prevent having to face this problem every time they hunt? Deer are spooked by many things other than humans, but human scent is a major cause of jumpy deer.

Believe it or not, but there still are some people who prefer wearing leather boots in the deer woods. Leather is certainly more comfortable, but rubber boots are more practical. My rubber boots are knee-high but I know a guy who hunts in hip boots, and he is nowhere near water. He wears higher boots because it gives him even more scent control.

Movement is the second key element to conquer. People think they aren't moving, but an index finger may be tapping out the beat to a song playing in their head. The finger doesn't move much, but when nothing else is moving, it can and will attract the attention of deer. The same thing applies to toe tapping.

Some people are bundles of nervous energy which goes hand-in-hand with the jangly nerves of deer. Try pinning a tiny bell to arms or legs at home, and then try to sit still for 30 minutes without jingling the bells. Most people can't do it, but for a hunter to be truly successful, they must master the art of moving nothing but their eyes.

A friend of mine is blind in one eye. You'd think he would fidget and move around while trying to see, but he can sit motionless for hours without moving. Some people think he is hibernating, but let a buck walk out in front of him, he knows how and when to draw and shoot. Deer never spot him.

Noise is another enemy of deer hunters. How often have you sat in a tree stand, leaning back against the trunk, and have a buck walk in. The hunter moves an inch away from the tree, and the fabric of their clothing makes a slight noise against the bark, and unwittingly you have put the head fake into motion.

Practice sitting quietly at home without moving while wearing a tiny bell.

Many manufactured tree stands squeak. Some are impossible to sit in without having them make faint noises. Deer hear those foreign sounds, and are on red alert. And yet, how many hunters spend time trying to remove those quirky little sounds and establish a quiet stand? Not many.

There obviously is more to deer hunting than grabbing a bow and heading into the woods. We must contend with sight, sound and smell, and weird noises that emanate from tree stands, ground blinds, etc.

I always advise hunters to take a hard look at how they hunt and what they do to prepare for a hunt. Many will later admit that they squirm a bit, make a noise, or are spotted by watchful deer. Study how you hunt, and what you do, and it's always possible to find something that needs an improvement.

Find that one little thing, solve it now, and look for another. Sooner or later, through careful study and the ability to sit motionless without noise, a revelation will come to you. It takes time and practice, but finding these little things that spook deer can make hunting more successful.

Title: Learn now about the whitetail’s head fake.

Tags: ((Dave, Richey, Michigan, outdoors, whitetail, deer, head, fake, remain, motionless, let,  deer, move, head))

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Written on June 30th, 2011 , The Daily

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