Frustrating.


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Trent
December 13, 2012, 07:35 PM
I saw deer in my back yard daily, up through December 2nd. Get my archery permit, December 3rd rolls around, and I set up out back.

Haven't seen a single deer since; been out 5 days of the last 10.

I'm just sitting up on the side of my hill perfectly still, just like I used to do before I started taking the bow out. Even the squirrels are used to me now, they don't chatter or hide, they'll actually walk right up to me curious about what I am (and to see if my boot laces are edible).

Song birds will practically land on my shoulders!

But it's like the deer have a 6th sense about me.

Just bad luck or am I doing something wrong?

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hq
December 13, 2012, 07:47 PM
The only thing that comes to mind is scent. Deer are sometimes pretty sensitive to it. Always check the wind direction, ditch all fragrances on hunting days (I even keep my "hunting" underwear separated from the rest) which includes deodorant and shampoo, mask your scent if you like and get off the ground level so your scent doesn't spread along the ground. I keep a collapsible 14' ladder-type tree stand on the roof rack for when there are no elevated, permanent blinds where I hunt.

Then again, it could just be weather, time of the year etc. or plain bad luck. Be patient and keep trying, it'll all be worth it the day the monster trophy buck shows up right in front of you. ;)

buck460XVR
December 13, 2012, 08:57 PM
That's why they call it hunting. Without knowing where you are at, could be the timing of the rut, a change of food sources or the deer you were seeing may be bedding nearby and watch you come in. Is there still fresh sign?

matrem
December 13, 2012, 08:59 PM
Their sense of smell is way beyond what most folks realize. Not sure they deserve credit for "reasoning" skills, but they absolutely have a short term memory of where you've been.

Trent
December 14, 2012, 12:21 PM
There's fresh sign. There were 4-5 of them bedding down on the hill behind my garage. First day I went out I didn't realize they were RIGHT THERE and they got spooked hard. They haven't been back during the day, but I've found fresh tracks in the mud and scat piles.

They're still coming through after dark but haven't seen any during daylight.

Also, for a couple weeks every morning at dawn my neighbor was going out back with his dogs, 12 gauge, thrower, and rubber birds to train his dogs. The geese have since declared a 1/2 mile no fly zone around him (which includes my house/land). It's funny in a way, you can see them flying in large formations to the lake behind my house, directly at me, then they abruptly change course and circle around to the far side the "long way."

One other factor might be playing in, a LOT of coyotes just moved in to the area. They woke me up the other night from a dead sleep with their yapping - sounded like 30 of them just down the hill, maybe 50 yards from my house. I've never heard that many coyotes together in one spot. They're usually loners around here.

Trent
December 14, 2012, 12:24 PM
What about cigarette smoke on my clothes? I just realized I haven't been changing jeans or shirt for fresh ones before going out. Which is more noticeable to them? The smell of smoke or fresh laundry?

Maybe I should hang a set of clothes outside for a few days. (Or.. how long would it take to get clothes "natural" smelling, for that matter?)

Dr. Sandman
December 14, 2012, 12:44 PM
Quit smoking. I have read in several sources and found in my own experience that "reasonable" scent control is needed when bow hunting for whitetail. I shower with a silver product, put on scent free deodorant, don clothes that have been washed with UV free detergent, then spray my clothes and gear with silver based anti odor product. I don't smoke before the hunt, or gas up the truck, or go into restaurants with food and smoke odors, or cook breakfast after I start my scent control regimen. Yes, the deer can smell your cigs. Yes, quitting smoking is the best thing that you can do for your health. I have been bowhunting for 3 years, and I have got one every year with these techniques.

Edited to add: Bowhunting in blue jeans is also not good. The deer can see them really well. Get Camo! Also, read "The Beginner's Guide to Hunting Deer for Food" by Landers. It's got tons of good advice for new hunters. Good Luck!

Trent
December 14, 2012, 01:17 PM
I was wondering about the blue jeans. My sole pair of camo BDU's has a ripped out crotch (they're almost 20 years old!). Need to sew them back together or get a new set.

The scent control regimen you recommend; I'll try it out tomorrow and Sunday morning.

The smoking thing, yeah it needs to go, but it's tough.

EDIT: in leui of showering with a "silver" product (whatever that means); what about showering with just water (no soap)? Should rinse most of any lingering smells off me before going out, right?

Dr. Sandman
December 15, 2012, 12:15 PM
There are a million different scent control products out there, some contain colloidal silver. All are designed to kill odor causing bacteria. IMHO water or soap and water is not good enough. Most of the scent control stuff should be going on sale soon, too.

buck460XVR
December 15, 2012, 12:31 PM
There's fresh sign. There were 4-5 of them bedding down on the hill behind my garage. First day I went out I didn't realize they were RIGHT THERE and they got spooked hard. They haven't been back during the day, but I've found fresh tracks in the mud and scat piles.


There's your problem. Deer don't take to being kicked outta their beds. Even veteran experienced hunters stay outta a deer's bedroom. One wants to find a trail the deer use from that bedding area to their food source and set up there, the farther from that bedding area the better. If deer do not come down the trail before darkness then you move a little closer, a little at a time until they do. Setting up in their bedding area is a act of desperation sometimes and many times you get only one chance. You have noticed what happens when they harassed there. Your deer may come back to that bedding area, but not until they are once again comfortable that it is a safe spot. After being kicked outta there and then experiencing fresh scent there days afterwards, this will take some time. You need to find somewhere else to set up and leave that area alone. Odds are they are still bedded not to far away and are watching/hearing/smelling you going there. This is a problem when hunting small woodlots. It's hard to get in and out without being detected. Deer in these areas also pattern hunters quickly and well, and adjust their movement accordingly. They are only alive because they are good at it.

hq
December 15, 2012, 05:45 PM
What about cigarette smoke on my clothes?

It appears that the smell of smoke doesn't bother the deer. I have a "bad" habit of smoking cigars while hunting every now and then and I've never noticed a difference. Clothes that reek of campfire are no different.

Win73
December 16, 2012, 12:44 AM
It appears that the smell of smoke doesn't bother the deer. I have a "bad" habit of smoking cigars while hunting every now and then and I've never noticed a difference. Clothes that reek of campfire are no different.

I used to work with a guy who smoked like a chimney. He was a hunter too. Another coworker asked him one day if his smoking kept him from seeing deer. He replied that he put down his cigarettes before to shoot deer. I can't vouch for the truth of that statement, but that is what he said.

Trent
December 16, 2012, 02:03 PM
There's your problem. Deer don't take to being kicked outta their beds. Even veteran experienced hunters stay outta a deer's bedroom. One wants to find a trail the deer use from that bedding area to their food source and set up there, the farther from that bedding area the better. If deer do not come down the trail before darkness then you move a little closer, a little at a time until they do. Setting up in their bedding area is a act of desperation sometimes and many times you get only one chance. You have noticed what happens when they harassed there. Your deer may come back to that bedding area, but not until they are once again comfortable that it is a safe spot. After being kicked outta there and then experiencing fresh scent there days afterwards, this will take some time. You need to find somewhere else to set up and leave that area alone. Odds are they are still bedded not to far away and are watching/hearing/smelling you going there. This is a problem when hunting small woodlots. It's hard to get in and out without being detected. Deer in these areas also pattern hunters quickly and well, and adjust their movement accordingly. They are only alive because they are good at it.

Such is the problem, I fear.

Starting a week before the late archery season opened I started sitting on that hill.

Every morning my wife saw deer walking across our back yard just before dawn. I'd occasionally run across them sleeping behind my garage all summer long. When I say behind, I mean, RIGHT behind my garage; bedded down within 20 feet.

All this week, I have refrained from going out at all. Will let it cool off another week.

Hopefully, they're back when I go out again. :)

351 WINCHESTER
December 16, 2012, 02:18 PM
You changed your habits that the deer were used to and it spooked them.

JeffDilla
December 16, 2012, 07:21 PM
If you're luck is anything like mine, they'll be back the morning after the season closes. They know . . . :scrutiny:

d2wing
December 16, 2012, 11:13 PM
You can wash your clothes with baking soda and use scent killer soap to shower.
Smoking can go either way depending on circumstances. Once you have spooked the deer they pay more attention to you and will avoid you. They may return.

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