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Art Eatman
April 9, 2009, 10:19 PM
A lot of deer hunters look for a complete deer when sneaky-snaking. Big mistake. You look for pieces of a deer: Sun glint off an antler tine. A nose or an eye, since little in nature is actually black. Or maybe just a deer's rump in some brush. If he moves, it's amazing how you'll think, "Why didn't I see him before?" as you now see the whole deer--and often too late for a shot.

Some people have a knack for it; others never develop the ability.

So, a story: Decades ago, my father was hunting in west Texas mule deer country, walking along with a wetback ranch hand with whom he'd worked before. Suddenly: "Missa Willie! Missa Willie! Hay vena'o!" (There's a deer!)

They go through the whole routine of the white rock, the big cactus, the clump of greasewood. Suddenly the buck flicked an ear, and he was quite obvious at some 350 yards up a mountainside next to a clump of greasewood. So, in Willie's usual fashion, bang, whop, flop.

My father then looked at the ranch hand and asked, "Now, just how in the hell did you spot that deer?"

"Oh, I see his eye."

A hunter's life is a learning curve that never peaks.

Nnobby45
April 9, 2009, 10:34 PM
Nevada tends to be open country for deer, but not always. I've looked for white rumps on hill sides (mule deer have a cream colored rump), or got down on my knees and looked for legs in the Pinyons, or dark objects in the snow, or brush shaking when they're browsing. Lot's of tricks and things to look for. Definately a learning curve.

When you're in the out doors, you develop a knack for observing everything. Deer are just one critter you learn to spot, so that when deer season comes along the skills you've learned pay off.

You don't learn that from the annual deer trip while staying home the rest of the time.

bswiv
April 10, 2009, 05:23 AM
This one I learned from my fathers friend Jose who had a bit more patience with me than dad sometimes did and would let me follow along and ruin his deer hunts when I was a kid. ( This was 40+ years ago. ) Of course as I stumbled along scaring everything away he was continually suggesting things I should do differently to be a better hunter.

So here is Jose on seeing deer, actually game in general:

Watch for movement parallel to the ground. A simple concept but something that we may not think of. Over the years I've noted the truth of that simple advice. Fact is that unless it's blowing a gale the movement you are most interested in is movement across the gound, key on that, especially when there is a breeze of any sort.

Just one more small piece of the puzzle....................

And that said I still have those days when I look down from my stand and there out in front, a good 15 or 20 feet from any sort of cover, will be standing deer.............all to often looking at me. How in the heck they do that I'll never know.

Kreyzhorse
April 10, 2009, 06:53 AM
Good post Art. I learn something every hunting season and I'm thankful for that.

Art Eatman
April 10, 2009, 08:53 AM
I used to hunt on a ranch where there were finger ridges sticking out from a main ridge. Top to bottom, commonly 150 to 200 feet of elevation change.

I'd sit on a hillside in the evening, watching out over a flat. Patches of brush, little clearings of grassy areas. Deer would bed in the brush during the day, and come out to browse around sundown.

What I never could figure out was how a danged deer could not be out in the open, but suddenly an old doe would be twenty or thirty feet from the brush. In several years of working the area, I don't think I ever saw a deer begin to leave the brush. Same thing at the edge of a woods at the old home place near Austin. I started to wonder if they were like Samantha in "Bewitched", wiggling a nose to teleport from the brush to well out in the open.

I never did figure out that deal. My joke about sitting and looking is, "I was looking so hard I was burning the leaves off the brush." So how do dey do dat?

hardluk1
April 10, 2009, 09:27 AM
Other than a deer that just walks out in the open to say, here i am, I always just looked for something out of place, anything that just was not right. We use to have 1000's of acers to just ride that was a old development that did not make it with roads ever 1/4 mile and you could just ride down the main roads and look down each one as you went by at 30 mph and you could learn to spot deer, bear, panthers, bobcats, coons, Just about anything in the south with just a flash going by. May not know how good or even what it was for sure but something in the road so you back up to look. Each road was up to a mile long so you could only spot part way down but a good way to learn to spot wildlife. My wife got very good at deer spoting too.

ZeroJunk
April 10, 2009, 09:46 AM
I sat on a ridge this season with about a dozen deer about 200 yards below me in a cut over with very little in it over waste high. Was fun to watch the deer disappear and then on some urge to play chase they would all bounce around a bit only to disappear again when they stopped.
It's like one of those HighLights magazine drawing we looked at when we were kids trying to find the hidden object.

simonkenton
April 10, 2009, 10:07 AM
I hunt in the thick brush in the southeast.
I have killed around 90 deer, average range 40 yards. Longest shot, 193 yards.
I look for a horizontal line, especially one that is 3 feet off the ground.
I also look for something white.
Third I look for something brown.

I am really good at spotting deer.
When I am driving downt the interstate with my girlfriend, I will amaze her by saying, "Look ahead on the right, a deer!"
There will be a deer 300 yards away, half concealed by the brush.

cornbush
April 10, 2009, 11:37 AM
When I'm out I don't look for deer or elk, I look for something that just dosn't fit in. It is usually a critter, rarely do I ever see a whole animal right at first, I like to get in the thick stuff and root 'em out. We have huge open areas where you can see 'em from a long way off, but I just like to get in the brush and creep my way through. I have also learned to really like snow, the contrast helps alot in spotting. The best guy for spotting I have ever known was color blind. He said all the trees, grass and brush were all the same color to him but deer and elk stuck out like a sore thumb.

impact
April 10, 2009, 11:13 PM
Art I have the same problem with coons. There can be two people with spot lights on a coon and I can't see it. They say shoot it shoot it. I just hand one of the guys my gun and say shoot! After they shoot the coon then I see it. If I can see it's face then no problem. Most of the time a coon will hide it's face.

impact
April 11, 2009, 10:32 PM
:D:D:D You should hear what the wetbacks call us:D

bufordtjustice
April 11, 2009, 11:20 PM
Well, hopefully to get this back on track, here are my thoughts. My brother has a excellent eye for seeing game. He does the "something out of place approach". I guess that doesn't seem to work for me but to each his own. I am partially color blind but have excellent eyesight. My last test (a few days ago) came out at 20/13. I was really surprised by that one.

I prefer to pick a point in the distance and try to take in as much ground as I can see in my overall field of view. Then, as someone else state, I watch for movement, usually along ground level. The motion is what I key in on. Of course I pick out lots of squirrels and stuff but they are fun to watch also.

FrankenMauser
April 12, 2009, 01:10 AM
Last year, my brother and I chased three (mule) deer for 2 miles.

One was a doe.
One was a fawn.
One was.... bigger.

I knew I saw a bigger body, and we continued to see glimpses of him through the trees; always in a place where the antlers were blocked from view. However... when I finally got the upper hand, only the doe and fawn were there. (25 yards, watched them walking until I made some sound to get their attention.)


"something out of place approach"

I know it sounds wierd, but that's about how I do it. I'll walk for hundreds of yards, not even looking for game. Then, I'll hit a spot that doesn't feel right. (Or feels perfect, depending on how you look at it.) I go into stalking mode, and very quickly come across some kind of decent game.

The problem is.... It's usually Elk on the Deer hunt, and Deer on the Elk hunt.

Art Eatman
April 12, 2009, 12:13 PM
Impact, tengo amigos qui estan moja'os. Pero, no tengo trabajo, ahora.

Para Bellum
April 12, 2009, 01:21 PM
está alguien qui me podria excplicar eso de moja'os o wetbacks?

jammin1237
April 12, 2009, 08:09 PM
impact ni-hi gi-li

jammin1237
April 12, 2009, 08:29 PM
from a broader point of view , if you cant see it - dont hunt for it...its unsafe and irresponsible...

elkman06
April 12, 2009, 10:31 PM
from a broader point of view , if you cant see it - dont hunt for it...its unsafe and irresponsible...

from a pragmatic point of view,,this is why it's called hunting..Not shooting or killing.
You would never find a true sportsman type suggesting that you shoot at something w/o a sure target. This is what we teach our children for very good reason. That being said, deer and elk are very adept at avoiding you and other predators, their life depends on it. Hunt away my friends.
elkman06

Art Eatman
April 13, 2009, 10:57 AM
Okay, big digression, then let's drop it:

"Wetback" in Texas is an identifier, not a pejorative. It's used by citizen Mexicans as much as it is used by Gringos. All it means is that the guy "walked" over here to find work. Granted, not all of them are good guys, so a rancher who's had some burglary might grumble, "Damned wetbacks..." but that's from relatively infrequent behavior.

The Acosta family lives just over Cigar Mountain to the south of me. One day Gabriel and I were visiting, and the subject of some home-building by a mutual friend came up. Gabe said something along the lines of, "Yeah, he's got some wetback guys helping him. It's coming along okay."

I've asked itinerants if they had a Green Card. Some have responded with a grin, "No; soy moja'o." If it doesn't offend them, why would anybody else give a hoot? (Moja'o, or mojado, means "wet". You've seen the signs in stores about "piso mojado"? That means the floor just got mopped, and it's wet.)

It's just no big deal, here in Texas. I can't speak for other places, other sensitivities. Some folks just seem to make careers of picking fly-poop out of pepper.

Enough...

davlandrum
April 13, 2009, 11:34 AM
For mule deer, ears seem to be what I pick up first. Just something about the shape that catches my eye.

Hirlau
April 13, 2009, 12:48 PM
Quote:""Wetback" in Texas is an identifier, not a pejorative"

YEAH, :D:rolleyes:

bwheasler
April 13, 2009, 01:12 PM
This picture that I took of a red deer a couple years ago illustrates just that.

Art Eatman
April 13, 2009, 05:20 PM
I measured the spread distance on a mulie buck's ears, one time. Twenty inches, tip to tip! One thing for sure, when they twitch a fly off, it's about like waving a flag. :)

rantingredneck
April 13, 2009, 05:50 PM
I hunt mostly thicket borders on the property I spend most of my season on. For this reason I look and listen for movement. Look for brush moving. If the brush movement tracks across the thicket I look for whatever it is to break cover and move into a clearing.

I also listen for sounds of deer walking. 9 times out of 10 I hear a deer moving toward me before I see it. Watch that direction and wait for it to pop out of cover.

Most of my shots have been under 100 yds, many under 50. Considering that about a third of my deer have been killed by bow, many have been under 20-30 yds even.

There are a couple of big fields on the property that allow some distance shooting. My personal best was 347 yds. In that case I had just got out of my truck on the field edge and was shimmying into my coveralls (it was cold!) when a buck popped it's head up across the field. I marked the distance between (in feet and converted) with my GPS.

ZeroJunk
April 13, 2009, 08:26 PM
I also listen for sounds of deer walking. 9 times out of 10 I hear a deer moving toward me before I see it.


I'm the same way. I seldom hunt open fields. Big buck didn't get big by poking his head out in a bean field before dark. A lot of times I will sit in a thicket stand with my eyes closed day dreaming and just listening.

FrankenMauser
April 13, 2009, 10:19 PM
I also listen for sounds of deer walking. 9 times out of 10 I hear a deer moving toward me before I see it. Watch that direction and wait for it to pop out of cover.

It doesn't work when they're sleeping.....

Last year, I spooked a deer at less than 10 feet. I was watching for movement, and listening for walking noises. (The conditions were perfect for me to be absolutely silent while stalking.)

Popping around some scrub oak was as frightening for me, as it was for the poor doe. It must have taken 10 minutes for my heart rate to come down, and for her to stop blazing across the mountain side.

She had been sleeping next to an old, over-grown logging road, by the scrub oak.
It's too bad, again, that I was hunting Elk.

.......

I do agree. A mule deer flicking its ear is like a giant 'shoot me' flag.

Para Bellum
April 14, 2009, 01:58 PM
"Wetback" in Texas is an identifier, not a pejorative....
Thanks for the info. As an Austrian, I couldn't possible understand, what you Texans were talking about. Now I got the point...

Jack O'Conner
April 14, 2009, 04:05 PM
http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c146/rushmoreman/wtbuckbrush.jpg

I know what you mean!

Jack

rantingredneck
April 14, 2009, 04:16 PM
It doesn't work when they're sleeping.....

Last year, I spooked a deer at less than 10 feet. I was watching for movement, and listening for walking noises. (The conditions were perfect for me to be absolutely silent while stalking.)

Popping around some scrub oak was as frightening for me, as it was for the poor doe. It must have taken 10 minutes for my heart rate to come down, and for her to stop blazing across the mountain side.

She was just waiting for you to break cover :D.