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August 19, 2008

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Intersting post, I was just discussing this with a guy at work last week. How much longer till Deer season??

Ive always tried to avoid the out of place sounds in the woods like the bow hitting the frame of my climber on my way in or the tinkle of belt buckles. I changed the clip on the rope I raise my bow into the tree with to a plastic one instead of metal. Not a big fan of velcro-noisy.

Science or not, don't buy all of it. Were those pen-raised deer? How many generations have they been in an enclosure, tagged, hand fed, poked, prodded, needled, and handled? Does any one think that makes a difference? I wonder. I can't count how many times an old roman-nosed doe or mature buck had tipped his ears and froze after the slightest "thhhtt" or "tink" that one can barely hear himself being the one that made the noise, the deer dozens of yards off. Is there such a thing as just more "sensitive" to those frequencies, or how does that work? Anyone who has bowhunted for long knows what I am talking about. Or maybe it is just the fact in most cases that any of those noises "don't belong in that environment" and they distinquish that...could be. Like the velco noise or tink on the stand or rope like the fella above posted. hmmmm.....

It doesn't surprise me that our hearing is in the same range as a deer. They just know how to use it to their advantage, and those big old ears don't swivel for show, it's for sound triangulation. They KNOW where the sound is coming from. People must turn their head for a similar effect.

Think about siting in a treestand very quietly, what CAN YOU hear?
I can't recall the number of times I've seen a squirrel jump a hundred yards away, then caught the sound. On a calm day a person with good ears can hear a leaf drop from many, many, yards away. Even somebody like me, who can't hear thunder, if in tune with the surroundings can pick up and pick out even tiny noises. Unatural and metallic sounds stand out like a sore thumb.

I agree with what was said above, if it sounds unnatural deer will home in on it. However even natural sounds, like rustling leaves or soft footfalls or cracking sticks will tip them off. They'll stare a hole into the woods trying to find the source of the noise. If it happens to be you, you may never know the deer was there.

I am with you Luke. Any out of place sound gets their attention quickly. Like turkeys, they seem to be able to pinpoint sound locations well. Wish I had time to go check. I live 3 miles from the enclosures. They have deer from all over GA. Some new are added every year, from "abandoned" fawns to wounded ones from auto collisions. The six legged fawn is there as well. I did my share of practice darting when I was in school. They have done a lot of genetics stuff as well. And lots of vocalization studies- in fact some of the first studies on deer vocals were done at UGA.

Ok, so why do deer sometimes run toward the gun shot? Is it because you caught them off guard, or because it is so load that it is disorienting?

I suffer from tinnitus. So, what I am saying is that I can't hear a damn thing...

I believe the science behind the research, but also agree with Luke that there are many variables to different situations. Some deer are hunted hard (by man, or other predators) and might have a bit more of a focus on, or with their hearing.

The deer I'm hunting aren't easy to walk up onto...regardless of snow, rain, etc.

Man, some great comments here. Mack, you must have some awesome experience doing all that stuff to understand whitetail.

In my experience, deer run toward the gunshot usually because the "bang" has echoed off of the timber or hill behind them after it has passed them and it was the last direction they heard it from.

I think the takeaway here is that focusing your hunting to defeat 1) buck's nose and 2) his eyes and ability to pick up movement is more important than trying to defeat a deer's ears, though naturally you ought to be as quiet as you can and not bang a tree stand,etc. And I agree with that approach.

Great comments. I read this study and it answered a lot of questions for me. Like, why doesn't a buck stop immediately when I grunt. I took from it that while a deer may not hear that much better than we do, or in a wider frequency range, he does have the ability to pinpoint sound with the type of ear he has. Think about how much you turn your head from side to side when you hear a sound you are trying to locate.

I think the biggest factor with sound is that a deer wakes up wondering what is trying to kill him, and he goes through his day from that perspective. Any sound that he hears needs to be identified, and if he can't identify it as safe, he treats it like it will kill him.

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