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Old November 23, 2006, 06:43 AM   #1
Troponin
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Need some help in deer behavior

I have read several articles, but would like some input.

While bear hunting, I went to my deer stand to prep for the season and then moved to a location about 100 yards away to sit for a while. I sat on the ground, in the open, so I ma sure I just looked like a stump.

The same buck I had seen the day before was making his up the mountain at an alarming rate. The day before he took te same route and seemed calm. He was headed straight for me too, tail up. I tensed for a moment because he was almost charging me and then suddenly stopped about 20ft in front of me. He just stood there, tail down, ears up, in more of an alert position.

What confused me next was that he began wagging his tail and started just walking passed me, getting almost within 10-15ft. Then continued prancing up the mountain, tail down.

I am assuming that tail wagging, which I had never seen so close, is a sign of being relaxed. But can someone verify that. I was told by another hunter that the tail wagging was a sign of being alert, but I dunno why this would be the case, as I see tail wagging when the deer are grazing. The wagging was quick though, more of a flicker, not really a swaying.
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Old November 23, 2006, 09:13 AM   #2
mete
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That's the sign ,a quick flicking of the tail indicates nervousness.
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Old November 23, 2006, 05:22 PM   #3
Troponin
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Thanks.

So a slow, swaying tail is ok, but a flickering tail indicates nervousness.

I know that understanding a deer's body language is important in hunting, so I am trying to better understand it. I found a few good articles that talk alot about glands and rubs, even about the tail "flash", but none that talk about wagging.
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Old November 23, 2006, 07:10 PM   #4
rem33
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I have learned that just about the time you think you have animals all figured out, they will do something completely different,
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Old November 23, 2006, 07:54 PM   #5
deerslayer79
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if he was in a ruttin phase he was probably fixin on openin a can of whoop ass on you, .
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Old November 23, 2006, 08:51 PM   #6
juliet charley
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Quote:
he was almost charging me and then suddenly stopped about 20ft in front of me.
I would never let any animal acting agressively get that close to me. Do you have any idea what a white tail buck can do to you?
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Old November 23, 2006, 09:46 PM   #7
Troponin
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Yes, I do know what a buck can do. I had my rifle in front of me and I was preparing. I think the problem was that he was in distress from being spooked and didn't know I was there. I sort of froze too.

I'll ask you this...have you ever shot an animal when it was not in season to shoot it? The BS you have to go through for it, so I was doing everything I could to not bring up the rifle.

It's also easy to play Monday night quarterback. No offense, but it's true.
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Old November 24, 2006, 06:23 AM   #8
juliet charley
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Nope, I've never shot an animal out of season, BUT I'd never let an animal acting as agressively as you described get with in twenty feet of me--that's way too close. At twenty feet, a white tail buck could be all over you before you have time to react.

There was no Monday morning quarterbacking involved (and I wasn't "critiquing" the way you handled the situation).
Quote:
I sort of froze too.
Since you brought it up, it sounds like you let yourself get in situation for which you weren't prepared. Be prepared, have plan, think about it. (BTW, you wouldn't necessarily have to shoot the deer to change its course, but that is always an option you should be prepared to take. The aftermath of an out of season shooting would be preferable to the aftermath of an animal attack.)
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Old November 24, 2006, 08:56 AM   #9
Art Eatman
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Sounds to me like the buck was not reacting to troponin at all. Some other stimulus; troponin just happened to be where he was.

If a deer's head is down and his tail wags, it's sort of an "All's okay." sign. If the deer has been flagging, and the tail drops but wags, that's a sign that the alarm is over.

If the deer's head is up and the tail wags, it's quite possible that the next thing is a raising of the tail to the flag position as the deer practices being elsewhere.

It seems common for there to be a tail wag before moving, whether or not there is any alarm.

Art
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Old November 24, 2006, 09:06 AM   #10
Troponin
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My buddy had been about a 300 yards to my left and said he too saw the buck. I think it was him that spooked the deer.

I will agree though, wild animals may normally do one thing, but there is always a chance they may act differently, especially when scared or nervous. Heck, it's like when a domesticated dog suddenly bites when he has no history of being aggressive.

I'll just be careful next time. I will be in a better spot for hunting during the season and have built up a deer blind with fallen trees on all four sides.
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Old December 2, 2006, 01:54 AM   #11
CamoCop
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another reason to hunt out of a tree
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Old December 3, 2006, 10:05 PM   #12
Wilyote
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Didn't have any of that foo foo water on did you? You probably looked like the ugliest doe he had ever seen. He was being polite when he walked by.
There are deer diseases that make them act strange.. rabies for one.
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