Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Natural Noises Are Great When Bow Hunting

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The big buck moved two or three feet at a time, stopped, studied the terrain on both sides and in front of him, sniffed the air, and then moved forward again.

He was going nowhere fast. In fact, he was barely moving. It was obvious he had been spooked by another hunter sometime in the past, and he was cautious. There were no other deer nearby—just him—and he was taking his time. almost one step at a time.

Another few steps, and a slight turn, and he would be within my bow range. I looked at my watch, and knew this buck was mine. Every day at about the same time the school bus would come rattling down the back road, making noise with every bump, stop in front of a nearby house, and the buck would raise his head and look toward the road to listen to the noisy kids saying goodbye to their friends on the bus.

He had just finished taking those steps when the noisy bus came to a gear-grinding stop. The big 8-point raised his head, looked out toward the road, and the sounds of the kids getting off the bus caused him to raise his ears. It was a natural sound he had heard many times before.

What he didn’t hear was my bow coming back to full draw as he stood quartering away. The arrow sliced in and that buck ran 60 yards before falling, his ears still hearing the children chattering out at the road.

Deer are accustomed to hearing all types of sounds. Some are heard so often they become second nature to a deer. A buck or doe hears the sound, recognizes it for what it is, and doesn’t become alarmed.

These natural sounds can work to a bow hunter’s advantage. I’ve deliberately placed elevated coops where the slightest wind will cause the tips of branches to rub against the roof of the wooden stand. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out when to draw on a deer standing out in front of that blind. That deer is accustomed to that sound, and hunters should wait until the branches start rubbing against the stand, and then draw, aim and shoot.

Years ago I had a stand placed on the ground near two trees growing out of a single trunk. Any breeze at all, no matter how soft, caused those two trees to creak. I used the “creaking tree” trick to shoot a number of fine bucks over the years.

I had a stand once that seemed to be directly under the flight path of the Detroit-Traverse City late-afternoon or early evening flight. Perhaps this buck couldn’t understand what the noise was, but every day he would stop, lift his head up, point his nose toward that passing jet, and it always provided me with an easy shot.

I passed on shots at that buck for two years, waiting for him to grow a decent rack, and when he did and came by and was in front of me when the jet flew over, it was an easy shot.

Squirrels running through dry autumn leaves always seem to attract the attention of deer. They may see that squirrel running through the woods a dozen times each day, but whenever they scampered from one tree to another, deer often wpi;d turn to look at them. This often provides enough noise to cover the smooth draw of your bow, and the scampering squirrel is actually working on your behalf.

Birds flit overhead, land in nearby trees, and are common sights for deer but they always turn to look at flying birds. The movement catches their attention.

Crows fly overhead, cawing like crazy, making enough racket so 10 people could draw their bows. Deer seem to pay more attention to a crow when it is nearby rather than when 300 or 400 yards away.

Bluejays serve the same purpose as crows except they don’t tend to range as far. Jays often flit from bush to tree limb, to the ground, and up to a tree again. Each time the bird moves it attracts the attention of a deer, and when the deer turns to look at the jay, that is the time to make your draw providing the animal is positioned properly.

Hunters must learn to take every possible advantage offered by natural every-day sounds. Wait for the deer to get perfectly positioned, and wait for a noise of movement nearby to attract their attention.

Use that time to come to full draw. Don’t hurry it because hunters usually have more time to aim and shoot than they think. Acquire the proper sight picture, hold steady, and make a smooth release.

Hunters who learn this trick seldom go without venison during the winter months.

Posted by Dave Richey on 04/07 at 04:22 PM
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