View Full Version : Proximity!

April 7, 2009, 12:31 AM
Hey hun'ers:

What is the (no BS) CLOSEST you have ever been to live game that was unaware of your presence?

For me:

. . . and the story goes:

I couldn't fall asleep opening days' eve one deer season, and as it got later and later, I grew to fear that I may oversleep, if indeed I did get to sleep.

So I got up. Early. Got dressed and headed into the woods well before sunrise.

I was not extremely familiar with the woods I was hunting and had to pass through a growth of pine trees to get to where my tree stand was.

Upon entering the pines in total darkness, I got disoriented and decided to sit down and wait for a little "lightening up."

There I sat on a fallen log when two does came in off the field into the pines.

I did not hear them for the pine needles on the woods floor, and before I knew it there they were about 7 or 8 feet away from me, meandering along totally oblivious to my presence.

What an awesome experience.

They walked past so slow, I could see the breath escaping their nostrils in the filtered moonlight through the pines.

I felt so humbly endowed with this priceless experience. To be that close, I mean I could have spit and hit them!

Eventually they meandered off into the inky darkness and I in amazement sat there not believing what had just happened. This whole thing took about 5 minutes.

So, what's your story?

April 7, 2009, 01:11 AM
good story!! I have great woods in my backyard that I hunt archery, compound or crossbow which ever im in the mood with for the day. I was goin back their just to show my friend this stand I built and it was in the middle of the rut. It was approx an hr till sun set so we decided to leave my tools of the trade at home. We walk down their got with in 4 meters of this beast



so we got within 4 meters of it and it stared at us. grunted, sniffed the ground for a while..It was verry intensily attempting to find a doh scent and didnt really care we were within punching his face distance. So as I said only an hr left till sunset so I left my compoundbow/crossbow at my house. My friend quietly said "run to your house get your bow!" so the deer just casually walks away while my friend followed it. I ended up finding him back there and I took a 40yrd shot and out of the 8 deer I have taken with archery none of them have ran futher than 20 meters after it was shot. that was my friends first "hunt" glad we took that walk! As for the zap straps on that buck ( I have those in my hunting bags all the time, you would never realize how HANDY they are until you have them! we just stuck a big stick through the zap straps and carried him out old fashion style.

April 7, 2009, 01:35 AM
i had a chipmunk sit on the toe of my boot once chewin on a nut. so i sat nice and still untill he finished his snack and went on his way. some nice entertainment during deer season.

April 7, 2009, 04:42 AM
i've had deer walk past me in my stand during bow season at 10 yards. squirels climb the tree withing 10 ft of me and bark,of course that was bow season too. and it was deer only then and for the next few weeks,:mad:.

had a momma bear and her cubs wander by me at around 30 yards luckily for me i had a rifle,not a bow. but could not shoot her unless i was defending myself. oh the playing around those cubs did,like kids but with sharp claws and sharper teeth:eek:.

April 7, 2009, 06:00 AM
Been within 10-15 yards of both elk and deer. Had a group of deer walk right next to some round bales I was using for a blind on a hay field. Drew a bead on the large doe, and let the hammer fall on my ML and pop goes the precussion cap and that was it. They all took off like a rocket, plugged nipple lost me that deer.

Was elk hunting sitting next to a tree when a spike bull came out no more than 30 feet from me. Had a cow tag, so let him go. When he went by where my buddy was sitting he started to draw a bead on him so I shouted he was a spike, that got him moving a little faster. Took a 4 point bull to be legal where we were hunting.

April 7, 2009, 06:49 AM
The closest I've been to live game that didn't know I was there?

It might have been that coyote I shot many years ago. I'd just started calling with a mouth blown call, when this coyote came out of a bunch of cactus ahead of me. It was looking towards my buddy when I shot it...at about 6" from the muzzle of my rifle.

Or it might have been that javalina I kicked in the head...

I'm not sure if it knew I was there or not, though. They aren't the sharpest critters.

Or it might have been those two elk calves I called in during archery season here in Arizona one year. They were standing under my tree stand, calling out to find the elk they just knew was there (me), and I was dropping sticks and pine cones on them.

I've been pretty close to a lot of game over the years; many times more because of luck than skill, but they both help. ;)


April 7, 2009, 08:36 AM
I was standing in an open field with grass up to my waist (no camo, no hat), blowing a predator call (dying rabbit). I was checking to see if a fox den I had found a few weeks earlier at the edge of the woods was active.

Two young does bounced out of the woods ~50 yards away and stopped at 10 before they took off. I was motionless, but was looking at them the whole time.

The call must have sounded like a fawn bleat.

April 7, 2009, 08:56 AM
Or it might have been those two elk calves I called in during archery season here in Arizona one year.

Daryl good point and it reminded me of something. Back in high school I was working cattle for my cousin. Riding my horse across a pasture I had a couple of pronghorn fawns all wobbly legged think my horse was their mother. Needless to say my gelding wasn't too pleased with these strange, stinky, creatures running up to it bleating and trying to nurse his legs.

More times than not I'm sure I've been close to game without knowing it was there, not the other way arround.

April 7, 2009, 10:04 AM
I think, in the context of the post, mine would have to be while bowhunting for whitetail deer this past season. I was hunkered down against the base of a birch tree, watching the woods to my left since there was a fairly active little trail. Suddenly I heard something rustling through the leaves on my right. It didn't sound like a deer, but I couldn't place it.

After a few seconds things went silent again, and I attributed the noise to a squirrel looking for acorns. Then I heard something completely different from above me. Before I knew it, a couple hen turkeys came flapping down in front of me. I hadn't realized how much noise they made until then! When they landed, they were probably within 5 yards of me. They looked around briefly, scratched at the ground, and then flew away as 3 does came running through the woods on the trail I was supposed to be watching. :rolleyes:

I didn't see anything else that day, but dang if those turkeys didn't get my heart pumping.

April 7, 2009, 10:10 AM
Ive had a few deer walk directly under the stand a few times. The most memorable close encounter was with a coyote while i was mowing grass on a tractor. It just walked out into the orchard i was mowing and started sniffing and peeing on trees. At first it thought it was a dog becuase it was totally unafraid. On a few of the passes I got within 15 feet of him and he would just stair at me. Finally i decided to stop the tractor and see what he would do. he just sat there until I stepped down to the ground then he hightailed it outta there. For some reason i do not think he associated the tractor with human beings until he watch me seperate myself from it.

Brian Pfleuger
April 7, 2009, 10:19 AM
1) I was bow hunting in an apple orchard from a homemade wooden ladder stand that was only about 7 feet tall. Normally I stood up in the stand but I'd been there awhile and my legs and feet hurt so I sat down. I'd guess a half hour later a doe came walking down the hill under the tree I was in and literally rubbed across the ladder as she went by. I don't think my feet could have been more than 18 inches from her head. She never knew I was there.

2) I was sitting in a patch of goldenrod on a bucket at the edge of a field because there were always deer in the field right at sunset and there were no trees big enough for a stand (all scrubs). I had put some Tinks69 on the golden rod around me and just broken away a couple of shooting lanes. About 10 minutes before dark I hear a noise behind me, coming closer. I started thinking "Man, this thing is going to walk right up to me" I wasn't wrong. I saw a bit of movement in my peripheral vision to my left. It was a large doe. I'm not sure exactly how close she was but she was a bit suspicious and just stood there for a minute or two.... every time she exhaled the steam from her breathe would float past my face. It was absolutely awesome. She could not have been more than 2 or 3 feet from me, tops.

3) I have had several deer walk directly beneath my climbing stand. Such that I was looking at them through the mesh I was standing on.

April 7, 2009, 10:30 AM
The first deer I killed was at a 20 feet. I had sat down on a rock and busted open a bottle of buck lure in my back pocket. As I sat there with my eyes watering from the overpowering smell a small frorkhorn was sniffing with his nose in the air and walking straight towards me. As I touched off my smokepole, the deer was enveloped in smoke. When the smoke cleared the deer was gone, but not very far. 100 yards straight downhill After an heafty drag to the truck it was time to drive home, with the windows down. That truck never did smell the same.

April 7, 2009, 10:36 AM
During deer season, I was sitting with my back against a tree and watched two does work up the creek bed I was watching. When they got even with me, they turned and walked directly towards me. The lead doe actually walked up to within 3 feet of me, stared at me for a few seconds and walked on around me. The second didn't even glance at me. Had I been quick, I could have reached out and touched the doe. The funny thing is that I had popped a piece of peppermint in my mouth before the deer showed up and I swear that the peppermint is what brought them on a b-line directly to me.

I've had two close encounters with hens. A buddy and I were walking single file up a cow trail to get an open field on the other end of the property we hunt. The hill was pretty steep so we stopped to get our breath and stood there for a minute without saying a word. As soon as I said "This hill sucks." Two hens flew out of the brush at our feet. I think the damn things thought we were a cow until one of us spoke and then they were gone. Scared the holy crap out of both of us.

The second was one was last spring turkey season. I was blind hunting and had a hen walk right up to my blind and stare at me. She was maybe 5' away from me and hung around there for 20 minutes or so. My buddy was hunting the high side of the field and I'll be damned if she didn't walk up to his blind and stare at him too. She must have know hens were off limits during spring season.

April 7, 2009, 10:44 AM
I had found a large scrape and set up on it, I had to make a very small groud blind about 20 yards up from it on a small hill. I covered it with estrus sent and sat on a bucket. A small spike came in to the scrape (we have a four point rule in Mo), and checked it. Then he followed my exact path up to my blind that only blocked view from the scrape. at 2 feet he leaned out and sniffed my hat! and then busted. I just about had heart failure, never been so scared in the woods in my life when I felt him touch my hat! My nephew saw the whole thing from his stand 60 yards away through his binocs. I won't hunt on the ground again. I know this sounds like a load of bull, but it's true and scared the crap out of me!

Art Eatman
April 7, 2009, 10:58 AM
The weather changed from fine mist to light drizzle, so I started clambering down from my tree stand. I figured no self-respecting buck would be out wandering around. All spraddled out about halfway down, oops, there's a fat little eight-pointer. I just hung on, watching him. Okay, pretty little guy, but not really big enough to shoot. He moved on.

With wet grass and leaves, sneaky-snaking along his trail was easy. I finally saw his rump sticking out from some brush. I eased up to maybe ten feet, trying to figure out, "What next?" "Next" was a pebble onto his rump. Serious pandemonium time, as he did the usual high-speed exit along his back trail. My roaring laughter didn't help his nervous system one bit.

I was leaned back against a tree, one hunt, and I saw motion maybe thirty feet away. A fox! So, I lip-squeaked and here he came. Closer and closer and closer--until I boinked his nose with my boot toe. HAIR! He instantly transmuted into a bottle-brush as he practiced being elsewhere.

I never realized, in each case above, how a critter can reverse course through his own anus. :D:D:D

Javelina are fun to meddle around with. Work the wind and you can get really close. I grabbed a baby one time. The pack ran off except for Momma, who ran in circles popping her jaws. Baby was not pleased, and said so quite loudly. I turned him loose; he ran to Momma, and they headed out to catch up with the rest of the bunch.

April 7, 2009, 11:06 AM
Daryl good point and it reminded me of something. Back in high school I was working cattle for my cousin. Riding my horse across a pasture I had a couple of pronghorn fawns all wobbly legged think my horse was their mother. Needless to say my gelding wasn't too pleased with these strange, stinky, creatures running up to it bleating and trying to nurse his legs.


A buddy of mine once had the same problem with an elk calf. It got disoriented with his cow dogs stirring things up a bit, and it ran under his mule; obviously thinking it was it's mother.

That gelding mule was a little broncy, too; moreso with a calf elk under it trying to hide, and Troy unable to convince it to leave.

Sometimes a fella just can't help but laugh, no matter how "NOT funny" it may seem to the guy on the recieving end.



April 7, 2009, 11:37 AM
I got sniffed by a mule deer fawn. I ended up between it and mom, mom was calling it, so it took the direct route right past me. I was all scented up and camo'd and just standing still. Fawn knew something wasn't right and started sniffing me - almost putting its nose on me. When it circled around so it was on mom's side, I just very quietly said "boo" and it took off.

I have been touching close to cow elk twice. Problem is that is too close to get a bow drawn...

I thrashed a big Rhodedendron bush on one side with a stick, bugling like mad, while a bull thrashed the other side. Greatest hunt I ever had. Again, too dang close to get a shot.

April 7, 2009, 12:30 PM
Speaking of too close, this one was too close...

A cousin and I were bear hunting, and wanted to do some calling in a particularly thick canyon that had lots of bear tracks, scat, and so forth.

But when we got to the canyon, someone had set up residence at the end of the trail, right next to the only water, which was illegal at best.

So, we went back down into the open country to call coyotes (or whatever else might come in), since the mountains were pretty crowded.

We set up in an open canyon on the east side of the Chiricahua Mtns. I'd been calling off and on for a few minutes with a mouth blown call when my cousin shot at a grey fox that was running by him at about 5 feet.

And he missed.

The fox continues running towards me, growling and snarling, and was between my cousin and I so that neither of us could shoot for fear of hitting the other one.

The fox ran up and jumped at my face (never wanted a face mask more than then), and I instictively ducked and rolled away from the critter. It went right over my head/chest, and beat a trail out of there with a few pieces of lead chasing it.

Then I noticed my cheek felt cool and wet, so I wiped it off. After I wiped my face, my hand was covered with blood. That fox had clawed my face when it jumped over my head.


I ended up having to do a rabies series of vaccines, and I still haven't made it back over there for a re-match with that danged fox. Maybe next bear season in October...

With a shotgun and a face mask.


April 7, 2009, 12:42 PM
You were wearing fur :eek: dont you know fur is not the done thing these days :D

I tripped over a crocodile near Cooktown in Queensland once :eek: does that count? Lucky it was at sun upand was quite cold, he couldn't move yet (lucky for me) But I sure did (really, REALLY fast) :o I couldn't even shoot him, coz when I tripped, I stuck the barrel of my rifle 6" into the dirt/sand/mud. When I stopped running and rinsed all the gunk out of my barrel, checked it was clear, fired a shot to be sure, then went back to get him, he was gone:(

April 7, 2009, 12:46 PM
someone had set up residence at the end of the trail, right next to the only water, which was illegal at best.

Not clear on why this was illegal.

April 7, 2009, 01:03 PM
I thought that was called "Hunting"?

Glad I havent been busted :eek:

April 7, 2009, 01:16 PM
Not clear on why this was illegal.

Water is a pretty valuable item in the Arizona desert. Animals need to get water, and can die if they can't.

Therefore, it's illegal to camp within 1/4 mile of a water hole in Arizona. You can hunt it, or use it, but you can't legally camp on it. Had they been hunting the water hole, it'd be good and fine, but I'm pretty sure the smoke, noise, and disturbance of their camp pretty much ran any bears out of that little canyon.

I thought that was called "Hunting"?

I don't generally hunt from camp. How's that work out for ya?


April 7, 2009, 01:29 PM
Just listen for any noise, unzip & poke your rifle out the flap of the tent (make sure the entrance is facing towards said waterhole) and shoot whatever is there :D unless its the ranger :eek:

Then, go back to sleep.... works really well :D

Seriously, sorry, missread/understood you meant as in pitching your tent at a waterhole..... yea, thats a bit suss..... If not illegal, it is a bit stoopid :confused:

Ok, I'll shut up now :o:D

April 7, 2009, 02:44 PM

Thanks for the info. Learn something new everyday. I can see how camping near the water would be an all-around bad thing.

April 7, 2009, 03:47 PM
Just listen for any noise, unzip & poke your rifle out the flap of the tent (make sure the entrance is facing towards said waterhole) and shoot whatever is there unless its the ranger

I took my wife up into northern Arizona about a month after we got married. I'd drawn a buck antelope tag, so we went together.

The first evening, I called a BIG bull elk almost into camp. He was getting pretty ticked, and was tearing up a tree about 50 yards from camp when she gave me "the look", and whispered "an order" to me to stop calling.

I just wanted to show her an elk, but I guess she'd seen enough. At that, we saw a bunch of them over the next few days. We slept good at night, listening to several bulls bugling at each other out in the meadows.

We'll probably make a trip up there about the end of next Sept; tags or no tags. It's a good place to be at that time of year, no doubt.



April 7, 2009, 04:01 PM
Last year on opening day for whitetail a good sized doe walked right up to my blind. She was close when I saw her, closer by the time I got my muzzleloader out the window. I shoulder the gun, and slowly start to stand up as the deer gets even closer (my blind is basically a shed ten feet off the ground on a small hill mind you). I am about to take a shot when all of a sudden THUNK! My head hits the ceiling, startles me, deer looks, gun fires, bullet makes a crater in front of deer, and deer gets out of dodge while I reload and mutter obscenities to myself because I left my shotgun at home.:mad:
I used my Mossberg for the rest of the season after that nonsense.

April 7, 2009, 10:21 PM
12in from a doe deer. She looked a little surprised when I said Boo.

April 7, 2009, 11:05 PM
I was cammoed up and sitting on a log when a chipmunk walked across both of my thighs. It stopped about 2 feet on the other side of me, sniffed the air and then went back across me again and departed the way it came.

I was stalking up a deer trail and I heard noise behind me. A doe came up the trail and stepped around me to go by. She was about 20 inches from me and wasn't alarmed.

I stalked up behind a swimming king salmon in a river and caught him with my hands. A real bear to hold on to when not worn out from fight.

I had a doe and fawn stop on a trail about 3 feet in front of me. I was squatting low and they stopped and starred at me for about 30 seconds before snorting and running away.

I stalked to within 10 feet of a doe in a thicket in the middle of a thunderstorm. A tornado spun by within a half mile. Neither one of us was too worried about the other at the time. We stood and watched each other for about a minute. Neither of us was too keen about the storm.

I've stuck deer with arrows from 10 feet in a natural ground blind.

April 8, 2009, 02:25 PM
I was with my brothers.. I was young... Must have been 1974 or so, that would make me 10 and them 15 and 16. We were crossing a tree line in Western Oregon. One of my brothers put his hand up and we all stopped. Looking through the brush there was a black bear no more than 50 feet away digging for grubs.

Flash forward to 1981.. Western Oregon. I'm working on a ranch on Deer Island in the Columbia River. I'm building fences and gates. While I'm prepping barbwire for a new gate a 4 point buck meanders over and walks between me and the other end of the gate opening. I'm talking 15 feet. I kept working and he never did spook. Around the same time I shot a coyote that did the same thing.

Flash forward to 2005... Wyoming... Yellowstone. The wife has to go to the bathroom. I stop at the facilities in my Ranger and let her out. me and the youngest boy get out to stretch. We walk to the north maybe 20 yards just talking and enjoying the sun. Suddenly I realize we're maybe 60 feet from a Buffalo that's laying under a big pine. I had the camera and somewhere i've got a picture of my boys face as he realizes whats up. Eyes as big as grapefruits!

We stayed in a cabin near West Yellowstone on that trip. A griz got into the campground one night... We could hear him. The wife wanted me to open the drapes and take a peek. I declined. The next morning the neighbors tackle box was found in pieces and they were ticketed for leaving it out. All the eggs were gone. There was a dumpster lid that was peeled back (it had been locked shut with chains) like a sardine can. The following night the host patrolled all night on an ATV.

April 8, 2009, 03:02 PM
I was out doing wildlife photography one time and it was just one of those "zen" mornings where I felt in tune with everything. I sat down at the base of a tree with my camera in my lap and just relaxed to "see what I could see".

After a while (I have no idea how long) I heard a "whuff" and felt something tug at my jacket. Turned my head just a fraction to see a deer STANDING on the edge of my coat as it browsed grass. I stayed frozen for a while as it wandered away from me but the instant I tried to bring my camera up it bolted.

I've also had a bird or two land on me before and one other time actually hunting I was braced up against a tree and a squirrel ran down the tree and out onto my gun barrel and sat there like it was a branch.

I also used to love sneaking up on Beavers as a kid. I could usually get within 8ft or so before they'd notice, slap the tail in the water, and vanish. :D

April 8, 2009, 07:50 PM
From Rmocarsky, OP:

I forget to mention that at one point as the two doe were about 6 ft. away, a dog barked way off in the distance, behind me where about 200 yards was a paved road and then across that another several hundred acre farm. I guess the dog was from that farm, anyway it was really far away and behind me.

Both does' heads came full up, ears on super alert and they stared towards the direction of the bark . . . peering RIGHT THROUGH ME!!!!! 6 Ft.!!

God, I was pumped!

BTW: Had on Predator Fall Grey camo.

Can that be considered an endorsement?


Seriously though, everything was right, camo, wind and stillness.


April 8, 2009, 07:57 PM
Does that count? I was lucky it was just at sun up, a cold morning so it couldn't move fast yet :eek: But I sure did :D

I couldnt even shoot it, coz when I tripped over it I stuck the barrel fo my rifle about 6" into the sandy mud. I stopped at a little creek and washed the barrel and cleared it out, checked it was clear, fired a shot to be sure it worked, then went back to shoot it :D But it was gone :eek::barf:


April 8, 2009, 08:46 PM
WOW! I think that's a winner! :D

April 9, 2009, 01:25 AM
I've had chickadees hop onto my boots, and a red tailed hawk brush its wing feathers on the bark of the tree next to my ear.

I've had deer under my stand, and a black duck walk through grass towards me.

I've had geese swim right up to our boat, and chipmunks sniff the muzzle of my rifle.

God Bless Hunting!

April 9, 2009, 07:34 AM
I took a deer at well under 10 yards with a .410 as a kid. It just stood there as I spoke to it. "You ain't too bright are ya..." I opened the action and took out the #6 shot I had chambered and said "If you stand there long enuff for me to chamber a slug, I am gonna be forced to kill ya'..." It still stood there and I put the bead on it's forehead and dropped the hammer.
My dad was thankful for the meat but he wore my butt out for taking the legal risk of killin' a summer deer. My only defense was I was forced to remove the stupid deer from the gene pool. I ain't kidding... it stood statue still for a full minute and it wasn't a 3D target!

April 9, 2009, 08:21 AM
I ain't kidding... it stood statue still for a full minute

I've seen a bunch of deer do just that and it never ceases to be funny. They just look at you like they know you're there, but don't know exactly what you are. I love it when squirrels do that and start cussing at you. :D

April 9, 2009, 08:41 AM
Yeah any squirrel that cusses an armed human deserves the lead aspirin it receives!:D

April 9, 2009, 11:38 AM
was cussin' out of the other side of its head (literally) after the armed human takes aim, says "blow it out yer RRR's,:cool::D and fires :eek:

April 9, 2009, 11:39 AM
The under tree thing remined me of a 4 point buck I took in GA; it was rubbing against the trunk of the tree I was in. My toes were about 4 feet above its back. I chose to wait for it to move away a bit before shooting it. I was afraid it would hear me position for the shot, that and I didn't want to shoot my toes off.

The more time you spend in the field, the more of these memorable experiences you'll accumulate.

I stalked up on a family of stone monkeys in the Philippines once. I got about 20 feet away and then .... they saw me and the chase began. I've never sprinted so far in my life. They chased me for about 1/4 mile. They are called stone monkeys for a reason; they throw stones and are very good at it. Serpentine, serpentine.....

Brian Pfleuger
April 9, 2009, 12:19 PM
See, I thought we were only talking about proximity to the animal we were actually hunting.

If it's ANY animal, well, I've had many birds perched on my hat and bow/arrow, I've had a red-tail hawk on a tree branch maybe 4 or 5 feet from me. I've had a couple raccoons on the tree directly above my head. I've had squirrels and chipmunks climb my legs.

I also had a hawk that was pretty peeved at me for being in his tree. He would sit maybe 30 yards or so away and scream at me and then fly right at me, turning at the last second (within 5 feet or so). SERIOUSLY freaked me out the first time. The next 4 or 5 times were just fun to watch, got a little annoying by the 8th time or so. He finally went away.

April 9, 2009, 12:42 PM
Was elk hunting in the WeimenucheWilderness area with my Hawkin and a buddy with a bow.

Hunkered up to a blowdown Ponderosa.Had set out some skunk cottonballs for scent mask,and had a poncho liner over me.Lets me move my hands,etc a bit under it.
A cow elk approached downwind from me to about 10 feet,calmly munching.

I did not have a cow tag.

I was vibrating!

She soon alerted,and left.Not long after,my bow hunting buddy emerged from the woods,to link back up with me.He was quiet,but she knew he was coming