The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Hide > The Hunt

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old December 6, 1999, 11:57 AM   #1
Matt VDW
Senior Member
Join Date: July 27, 1999
Posts: 1,315
I finally saw some deer last week. The problem was, they were all moving through the woods where the darned trees kept me from getting a good shot.

Will a moving deer "freeze" at a sudden noise? I thought about whistling as a group of four was moving across a small break in the trees. I didn't, but one did pause long enough for me to get off a shot. I missed. Although I expected the deer to run off at the sound of the shot, they simply walked away out of sight. I waited a few minutes, walked over to check for signs of a hit, didn't see any, then checked nearby areas where I thought the deer might have been hiding. They weren't there. About an hour later, as I was still hunting, a couple of deer ran out of the brush and across the trail about twenty yards behind me. They moved away too quickly for a shot.

Next year I'll do a better job of positioning myself. Still, I wonder if there are any ways to get the deer to stop, or at least slow down.
Matt VDW is offline  
Old December 6, 1999, 02:00 PM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: April 19, 1999
Posts: 567
Matt, it depends on a lot of different things. If the deer are just walking around not spooked, then often a a noise will stop them as they try to figure out what it is and where it is. A grunt call works great in a situation like this, I have heard that whistling will but haven't tried it. If deer are spooked, I don't think that they would stop, unless something besides you moved them, and they then stopped to try and figure out what else is around. However, you never know how an animal will react. One time while pheasant hunting, I almost walked on a nice buck that was bedded down in a grain sorghum field, he took off fast, but I made a kind of grunt noise, a low guttural burrrrrr, and he stooped dead in his tracks about 30 yds away, swung his head around and stared at me for about 3 seconds before hauling ass out of there.
bergie is offline  
Old December 6, 1999, 02:29 PM   #3
Robert the41MagFan
Senior Member
Join Date: November 18, 1999
Posts: 1,233
Matt, it is very noble of you to look around and see if there were signs of your animal. Don't know how many times I have seen hunters shoot animals thinking that they missed and just walk away, leaving a dead or dying animal behind. Your actions are that of a true sportsmen.

Animals running after being fired at, not always. I have shot deer, missed three times and they're still sitting in the same spot feeding. I think that it is going to depend on the situation. If the deer are veterans to gun fire, they will run for sure. At least the smarter one's, that how they grow them big horns year after year.

Robert the41MagFan is offline  
Old December 6, 1999, 04:10 PM   #4
Senior Member
Join Date: May 31, 1999
Location: Exiled, Fetid Swamp, DC
Posts: 7,548
One year i was on my deer stand and i saw a black bear running. He was about 75 yards out and obviously had getting somewhere else on his mind. He moved from left to right, kinda in a wide arc of my stand.
As he reached a clear spot, i gave him a few dying rabbit squeaks.
No reaction, he just kept trucking.
Oh well, i went back to watch & listen mode.
About 15 minutes later i heard a twig snap behind me.
I turned my head around and peering out of the laurel abot 10 feet behind me is the bear!

I looked down at my rifle and brought it around.

The bear was gone

i did find a perfect paw print in the snow.

Deer will stop for a whistle, snort or a squeak if they are not in flight mode.
Especially the young ones.
A couple of years before, i was sitting on a log at the top of the mountain we hunt. A one horned spike buck came up the hillside about 20 yards from me. His tongue was hanging out and he was looking like he just ran a few miles up hill. As he walked across my field of view, i squeeked at him. He stopped. and looked, and looked, then he snorted, and stamped. I should of dropped him, but it seemed like he was having a bad day. He flicked his tail and trotted off. I have not seen a shootable deer, in season on that mountain since!

As far as Camo goes, i was wearing a blaze orange jacket. Quite the bump on a log!

dZ is offline  
Old December 7, 1999, 09:58 AM   #5
Jack Straw
Senior Member
Join Date: July 26, 1999
Location: Georgia
Posts: 362

Whistling definitely stops a deer that is moving quickly. I don't know that it will work on a badly spooked deer, but my dad has gotten a deer to stop many times (to the deer's detriment) with a sharp, loud whistle (which I can't do). On some of the Mossy Oak hunting videos, I recall seeing those guys grunt or even abruptly (not yelling) saying "hey" or "stop" to get big bucks to stop just long enough to get off a shot. Hey, if the deer is on its way out, what do you have to lose?

I hate to hear that you missed, but you absolutely did the right thing by investigating to make sure. Nothing makes my blood boil worse than hearing someone say "Well I shot, but I just know I missed". "Did you find any hair or blood or anything?" "I didn't even bother looking, I just know I missed". Just how much of a bother is it to walk even a couple hundred yards to find out?!? For Pete's sake, we take the only thing these animals have: their life. At the very least they deserve the respect of making sure that they aren't merely wounded or that their life wasn't taken in vain.

Okay, I'm through venting; sorry about the rant.

Matt, the world needs more hunters like you.

Jack Straw is offline  
Old December 7, 1999, 11:01 AM   #6
Paul Revere
Senior Member
Join Date: June 2, 1999
Posts: 624
Sudden startling noises work to stop deer, but they depend on the alertness level of the animal.

If a deer is extremely nervous and jittery, chances are that any noise, whether it be natural or unnatural, will scare it into the next county.

The problem with using noises that deer associate with humans, is that once you make the noise, you will be busted if the deer doesn't stop as you've planned, and your arrow or bullet is one its way. These noises include whistling, screaming, shouting, yelling, or barking like a dog. Also, using a grunt, bleat, snort, or any other deer produced sound will work only if, a) the deer cannot see you, and b) if the deer can actually hear your produced sound.

I'd never, ever make any sound if you have deer facing you, or running toward you. Sounds usually work best to stop deer, when they are running after being spooked at another nearby location. Just let them get even or just past your position before making your intended noise.

The problem with making a loud sudden noise in the deer woods, is that it is unnatural. It will usually change your readiness to aim and shoot, just as it might get the deer to stop on a dime. You need to be ready for the shot BEFORE you make the sound! And as soon as the animal has reacted, you need to react. Because you typically will not get a second opportunity at an animal that you just yelled or barked at. You will be BUSTED!

Remember, most noises that you'll make from a treestand while deer hunting are not natural for deer to identify with off of ground level. You will educate any deer that you stop and miss to your elevated location. So if you do it, take that animal home with you.

And lastly, if you shoot at a deer and it doesn't react to the shot by falling down, limping off, or any other typical hit indication, DO NOT ASSUME that you missed! A deer that has been shot through the lungs (with a bullet) without hitting any leg muscle or backbone, will often times run off with other deer, just as if it had never been hit. Many times this sort of hit will also not produce an immediate blood trail. You'll need to thoroughly inspect the target animal's exit trail for at least 100 yards. Many hunters make the mistake of being so surprised that their shot didn't drop the deer in its tracks that they neglect to even look for the animal. Venison tastes much better on your table than on a coyote's table. Mortally wounded animals left to run off without a thorough search by a hunter, become coyote food.

[This message has been edited by Paul Revere (edited December 07, 1999).]
Paul Revere is offline  
Old December 7, 1999, 12:51 PM   #7
Staff Alumnus
Join Date: July 28, 1999
Location: Denver
Posts: 2,454
Good for checking your target zone after you fired Matt. Not everyone does that.

Its been my experience that deer WILL stop when whistled at. Just a sharp single tone whistle. (now the problem is you are dry mouthed as a desert snake and pumped up on adrenaline after taking the shot hard to make those chapped lips pucker up and go tweet) keep a deer whistle handy, or try a grunt call or bark.

Deer will stop because they think one of the group is injured (and making the noise). And you may indeed get a second shot.

Good hunting,

Dr.Rob is offline  
Old December 7, 1999, 01:30 PM   #8
Matt VDW
Senior Member
Join Date: July 27, 1999
Posts: 1,315

Thanks for all of the advice and encouragement.

I'm still feeling some regrets about the shot I took. Since the season is over, I'm trying to analyze what I did wrong so I'll do better next year. My mistakes:

1) I didn't take enough time to develop a load, sight in with it, and become confident shooting with it. I wound up sighting in at 25 yards the day before the season started. Next year, I'll have my gun and ammo combination set at least a month in advance and I'll practice shooting out to 100 yards. I wouldn't actually shoot a deer at that range (using a .44 Magnum Redhawk with an UltraDot sight), but I want to have a good feel for the bullet's trajectory.

2) I didn't practice estimating ranges in the woods. I think that my shot was about 60 yards, but it could have been anywhere from 45 to 75 yards.

3) I didn't scout the land where I was going to hunt. Actually, I didn't get a chance, since I went on a last minute invitation, but it would have been a big help. I didn't realize that the woods would be as open as they were, nor did I know where the property lines were. Part of the reason I didn't search more aggressively after my shot was that I was afraid I'd wander onto another farmer's land.

4) I didn't set up next to a tree for support. As a bullseye shooter, I'm used to taking one-handed, unsupported shots at 50 yards, but "real world" shots are more challenging, even with two hands.

And this was also the first time I've ever shot a real round at a living target. I don't think I was gripped by "buck fever", but I definitely didn't have the same steely confidence I've felt when a match is going well. Just before firing, I thought about where to hold, whether or not the deer was close enough, and even what it was going to be like to shoot a .44 Magnum without hearing protection. (My ears did ring for a few seconds after the shot.) Perhaps anticipation of the report made me flinch.

I was shooting a 240 grain XTP at a small doe, so I thought there'd definitely be full penetration and some sort of blood trail if I hit. Maybe it was a lung hit that didn't bleed at first; I sure hope not.

Anyway, I feel like I gained some valuable experience, even if I didn't get any venison. Coming close this year should make a successful hunt next year that much sweeter.

Matt VDW is offline  
Old December 7, 1999, 02:17 PM   #9
Robert the41MagFan
Senior Member
Join Date: November 18, 1999
Posts: 1,233
As a rule of thumb when handgun hunting, the following rules should be applied in order to increase the chances of a successful hunt.

Only shoot a broad side silhouette target.

Be patient, wait until you have the ability to break a shoulder on entry or exit.

Since you are shooting a firearm that is measured in the hundreds of pound feet of energy rather than thousands. A 4" pie size target should be the standard in which you measure your shooting distance.

After establishing your shooting distance, cut it by one-third to account for any errors.

I have seen excellent results using this method when handgun hunting, it most always insures a clean and fast kill.


[This message has been edited by Robert the41MagFan (edited December 07, 1999).]
Robert the41MagFan is offline  
Old December 8, 1999, 04:58 AM   #10
Senior Member
Join Date: May 31, 1999
Location: Exiled, Fetid Swamp, DC
Posts: 7,548
just an FYI:
i read somewhere that the majority of deer lost in hunting are shot at with handguns

dZ is offline  
Old December 8, 1999, 04:53 PM   #11
Robert the41MagFan
Senior Member
Join Date: November 18, 1999
Posts: 1,233
That is do to these factors.

Underestimating the sport. Next to bow hunting, nothing harder than a handgun.

Overestimating the gun being used. Handgun just don't have the energies of a rifle.

Overestimating one's abilities. Again, less energy than a rifle, shot placement is everything. Caliber don't matter! Many novice think that just because it is gun X with X caliber, animals go down, especially since they can shoot 100 yards and hit a pie plates. Reality does not work that way. I think that the most someone can hope for is about 50 yards and even then that is pushing the limits many times.

Robert the41MagFan is offline  
Old December 9, 1999, 01:00 AM   #12
Senior Member
Join Date: October 29, 1999
Location: rural Illinois
Posts: 589
I have stopped deer many times with a fawn bleat, but deer don't usually stop for long- be ready.
This does seem to be more effective on does.
Kingcreek is offline  
Old December 17, 1999, 12:19 AM   #13
Art Eatman
Staff Lead
Join Date: November 13, 1998
Location: Terlingua, TX; Thomasville, GA
Posts: 24,158
Shine a light in his eyes...

, Art
Art Eatman is offline  

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:11 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2017 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent:
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.07652 seconds with 9 queries