View Full Version : Deer "jumping the string"

September 24, 2006, 09:01 PM
As you know, deer will sometimes hunch down when they hear your arrow release. You hear many a story of how a hunter's arrow went over the back when a deer "jumps the string" like this. I'm wondering, does anyone intentionally aim low to hedge against this possibility, and if so, HOW low do you aim? Today while shooting, I was aiming and hitting very low, shots that would have been right in the heart area - the idea being, that if deer jumps the string, it will still hit lung, rather than go over the back or through the deer just under the spine, without hitting vitals. But if, OTOH, the deer doesn't jump the string, you have a direct heart hit. Only problem is, if your shot is bad, and bad-low, then you run the risk of going UNDER the vitals entirely. My main questions would be, does anyone actually hedge against a string-jump by aiming even LOWER than this? IOW, by aiming actually just under the deer's torso, or right at the edge, to anticipate a string jump every time. Obviously, this is a miss or non-kill if the deer does NOT jump the string, but will be deady in all likelihood if is does. So other questions would be, if a deer does jump the string, bracing itself to be ready to jump to escape before being hit, how much does it actually jump (drop) for the average deer? 1"? 2"? 3"? 4" More? And, what portion of the deer drop like that when they hear a string release noise alla sudden, when everything else is quiet? IOW, how common is this? Should I keep trying what I'm doing now - aiming at the very low part of the vitals, but within the vitals, or should I aim higher ("normal" - center of vitals), or lower? C'mon and help me out, experienced bowhunters - I'm still looking for my first archery deer here. Thanks.

September 24, 2006, 09:23 PM
There are a lot of variables when shooting at deer. Is the deer nervous or calm? A deer that's already wound tight is more likely to jump the string. On a calm deer, I aim about 2/3 of the way down from the spine. On an alert deer, I aim a little lower.
Bow speed has a lot to do with it too. A slower arrow is going to take longer to get to the target allowing for more movement by the deer. Greater distance has the same effect.
When a deer jumps the string, they can drop down almost on their belly. Most cases aren't that extreme, but still a foot to 14". A center of vitals shot would have a chance of going over the deer.
I recommend a shot in the bottom 1/3 of the vitals. Should do the job.

September 24, 2006, 09:32 PM
I bet you were watchin' some bow-hunting on TV tonight :D

They discussed this on the Outdoor Channel in a some huntin' show tonight. They advised aiming at the bottom fo the vitals.

I suppose if one wanted to use this tactic, one should practice until they no longer have bad shots that go low.

September 24, 2006, 09:42 PM
No didn't see the TV show (don't have that channel), but it just stands to reason given the stories I hear about arrows over the back - 2 things cause this to happen to my acquaintainces.. jumping the string or, if it's a small deer, thinking that it's at 30 yards when it's a 20 - it seems farther away since it's small.

Good point though about taking into account the deer's general level of alertness at the moment of the shot - calm, shoot at center of vitals, or a smidgeon low. Perky/Wary, shoot at heart/very bottom of vitals. But, that leaves open the question, if the deer is a bit spooked such that you think it will jump the string, should you in fact aim as though you'll miss it if it doesn't jump - under the torso entirely? Or take your chances and stick with bottom edge of vitals?

September 24, 2006, 09:44 PM
Nope, no T.V. deer hunting for me tonight :p .
Years of experience (and several missed shots :) )

September 24, 2006, 09:51 PM
john, you make a great point that was also made by the hunters in this show:

The animal's level of alertness (i.e., nervousness) had a great deal to do with where to aim. Just as you state, a more nervous deer they would anticipate a more drastic reaction from the deer, and would try to compensate by aiming lower.

September 25, 2006, 05:15 PM
I've been bowhunting for 22 years now. (Explains why I have shoulder problems...:cool: ). I typically do not try to anticipate the jump. If you hit the deer too low, you will wound it. The quiter your bow is, the less likely the jump is to take place. The difference in speed really does not change that, as the reaction is just so quick anyway. This is one reason why I like hunting in the wind. Wind disipates the noise, and the animals are less likely to jump, especially when out around 40-50 yds. I'll put a disclaimer here that I have only taken shots that far when circumstances permited, and I had practiced profusely at those ranges. Those circumstance include wind, a calm animal, and a comfortable shooting stance. (don't pull those shots that far unless you practice on a regular basis and conditions are right) Anyway, I've had calm deer jump, and weary deer not, and of course the other way around. One thing I like to do is time my shot to where the animal is focusing on something away from me. You know, looking directly AWAY from you. i.e. you are looking at the back of it's head. This is not always possible, but I've NEVERhad a deer jump the string that was looking directly away from me. Their reaction has always been to look in the direction of the noise to see what made the noise. They usually figure it out as the arrow slices right through them.:D Of course, I probably just jinxed myself by saying neverk, but that has been my experience. I have probably killed around 35 deer with a bow an arrow over the years I've bow hunted. I've also probably missed about that many too:eek: But learned from everyone of them. Only to make similar mistakes again. Oh well, that's what make this so dang fun.

BTW...I'm going to gloat here...I'm going hunting on SATURDAY!!!:D

September 25, 2006, 06:40 PM
I try to favor the low side of the vitals,but I don't aim below them.You could routinely kill deer at 40 or 50 yards with the equipment today if the deer would be still. But,they don't.

September 26, 2006, 05:11 PM
I've only been bow hunting a few years so don't have a lot of expirence......but I worry about my ability to judge the range accurately enough to chance taking a lower shot....I mean if the range is more than what I think is 20-25 yards I'm more likely to hold a bit higher because I worry about undershooting. I've got a laser ranger finder and always shoot the ranges of prominate trees and other features...but still.

Which leads me to a question that Castnblast brings up. I watch these hunting videos where they do a little "ba-ba" to make the deer stop and look so they can take the shot....I've never done that, I've just shot...but then I've never had them going by at anything faster than a walk. What's the consensus on that?

September 26, 2006, 07:10 PM
You can just whistle a one-note whistle and they'll stop to look for a second - it does work. Or mimic a buck grunt with your mouth. Is that the kind of sound they make on the shows - what you meant by "ba-ba"?

But that's for gun hunting, when you're farther away from them. I really don't want to make any noise when bowhunting, or they'll look right at you, and probably make it more likely they will jump the string. I'm just planning to hold at draw until they stop - as I say, still looking for 1st bow deer here.

September 26, 2006, 07:26 PM
This goes back a few years to when I still bow-hunted, but I was once told by a more experienced hunter that in order for a deer to jump the string it had to have all four legs on the ground.

Just wait for it to lift one hoof off the ground while it's walking. By the time it can get it back down in order to execute its jump, it's too late, the arrow has arrived.

September 26, 2006, 07:32 PM
I had heard that years ago. Last deer I shot at (with a rifle, but the concept still holds) was walking away from me not presenting a decent shot, and I needed it to turn back to the right or there would be no shot. I whistled one note, it turned back to see the source of the sound, and I shot.

The whistle can sometimes work.

September 26, 2006, 08:25 PM
Bows are pretty flat these days out to at least 30 yards.If you are going to bow hunt you need to be in a stand or a blind.You may ease up on one occasionally ,but it's difficult.If you are in a stand or blind,have your yardage marked.Use rocks or whatever to indicate 30 yards,40 yards ,whatever suits you.A lot of game is missed beccause a hunter thinks he knows the yardage, but did not step it off.If you want to get better at estimating yardage,shoot in some tournaments,or join a club and shoot the range even if you don't compete.

September 28, 2006, 12:16 PM
I generallydon't make a noise when I shoot. I waitfor the deer to look at something if possible before I shoot. If there is more than one animal, and they are not skiddish, or on alert, they look around a lot. That is when I take my shot. It is generally a bad idea to make a noise before shooting, as they are more likely to jump the string, but key here is generally, not never. Experience will tell you when it is o.k., and when it's not. Screw this up a few times, and you'll learn too:D . It can be done, (making grunt, etc.) and I've done it, but it does tend to put the buck on edge. NEVER grunt at a deer in archery range to stop them unless you are at full draw and ready to shoot. The second he stops, you better release. Wait, and he'll peg you and jump the string. Which brings me to one more point...range... If you can afford to buy a lazer range finder, get one. It helps your confidence. If you cannot, make a bubba range finder w/ some twine and mark distances from your stand to various objects. you can either memorize them, or place small makers you can see from your spot. I do a lot of spot and stalk, so I practice (in the past) looking at objects and then ranging them to verify my guess. A lot of times you don't have the luxury to range, so this practice helps keep you sharp for those moments.

Wild Bill Bucks
September 28, 2006, 12:40 PM
I'm sure there is a logical explanation for this, but I'll ask anyway.

If sound travels at somewhere around 1100 fps, how come it is, that if I stand at a target, 30 yards away, with my son shooting his bow at 320fps, I will see the arrow in the target, before I hear the bowstring?

September 29, 2006, 01:00 AM
Hmm that is indeed weird, WBB - can't help you with an answer.

so are you holding the target in your hands for your boy or what?

Wild Bill Bucks
September 29, 2006, 09:12 AM

He's not THAT good with his bow yet.:D

I'm standing behind a large Hay bale.:D

I was just wondering, I know your hearing gets worse when you get older, but does it get SLOWER to.:D

September 29, 2006, 11:23 AM
Dangit!!!! I had a doe jump the string this morning. The arrow flew over her back and buried in the leaves. I couldn't find my arrow and the deer got away.:(

September 29, 2006, 02:51 PM
I hope that's not me tomorrow...:rolleyes:

I'm not worth a flip at work today...All I can think about is deer and hogs deer and hogs...wait...Turkey, deer, and hogs...:D I think I'm comming down with something...Dang, I feel like I got the jitters...Yup...I need to leave...I have buck fever...Whata ya say boss???:D