Contributors to this thread:
Of course they catch movement.....
and of course there is a big difference between mature deer and the younguns.
Do you think they can distinguish a ladder or sticks? What about the aider tails [strapping] blowing in the wind from some of those stick mods? Or Summit climbing ropes?
I've seen one case where a big buck definitely noticed some brush I trimmed [no other explanation]...just how much of their environment can they discern as "Wrong"?
Gotta be some good examples from guys here.....
Stationary things not really unless it has scent on it. Straps ABSOLUTELY! We flagged a stand that was tough to find in the dark. Every deer that came through that area pegged the stand where they never use to even see it.
Same things with blinds - if you can get them to be tight and not flap around in wind you will have more success.
climbing sticks give away a lot of hunters. they don't see the stand but notice the sticks and look up and then see the stand. best trick is to use two sets of sticks, one on a tree the deer will notice and they will focus on that while you are in a nearby more hidden tree that they are unaware of due to the distracting ruse you have employed. give it a try you will be surprised by how much more effective you will be on wiley old whitetails in heavily hunted states.
Have you ever just stood / sit still, had a deer see you, you did not move and the deer just flick it's tail and walk off when it did not wind you ?
If there is no sent no movement then you, sticks, stands, or ladders aren't / should not be a problem.
Minimize your intrusion into their area regarding the cutting of saplings pruning out shooting lanes etc. and you should be fine .
A lesson learned the sad way.
Bou is right. I set decoy stands all over to funnel deer to where I’m sitting 35’ up in my climber. ;)
Overall I agree with what's been said here. However.............
Once in a VERY great while I'll encounter a doe, usually a BIG one, that can detect a leaf out of place or a bent blade of grass at 200 yards. If you encounter one of them it'll make a big old buck look like an imbecile. It's only happened to me twice, but it was VERY eye opening.
There is an interesting article entitled "Bucks By The Book" in the Jan/Feb 2018 issue of Bowhunter magazine. According to the P&Y statistics, 85% of record book bucks are taken from a tree stand. Also 76% of record book bucks are taken from 30 yds or less.
With this collected data, and the overwhelming percentages, I wonder about the correlation between deer vision, tree stands and the number of buck that are taken from using tree stands.
I have erected a tree stand and a short while later (within hours) killed deer out of the stand. Obviously, the deer paid no attention to the stand.
I personally believe what pricks a deer's attention are hunter movement (especially head and hands movement), presence of unfamiliar human scent and unfamiliar sound(s) of their environment.
I used to worry about sticks,ladders etc til my neighbors started shooting bookers out of permanent,ugly,glaringly obvious ‘stands’ on stilts in woods or open fields or.... Now not so much.
link to make it even easier just paint the trees with fake stick / steps on your decoy trees. It is so much cheaper and it last for years.
They will most definitely notice your pull rope swirling in the breeze. Learned that the real hard way. Relearned it again this year as I thought I had it wrapped around the cables of my climber. Instead it had come loose and was twirling around in the breeze. Doe picked it off at 21 yards. I shot here face on. As I was standing there after I shot her, watching her kick, I wandered what she had seen because she wasn't looking up at me. But, she had locked in and was head bobbing on something I could tell that was above the ground but, not me. When I finally hung the bow to set down, I saw the rope twirling around in the wind. Amazing what you do in the dark that ain't quite right. :^)
When I was a kid, I hunted out of homemade ladder stands made with 2x4s and a piece of plywood. Once I had a doe count the rungs on the ladder.......twice ! Now I know she wasn't actually counting, but she looked at each one starting at the bottom and stared me down in the stand, as .i said, twice. I remained still and she nervously trotted off.
On the other hand, I hunt from tripods and homemade blinds now and deer rarely give them a second look after they've been up a little while. The exception is if you're ever busted, they will be suspicious of that blind for a short, (or long), time. Depends on the deer. Some of them are definitely more paranoid than others.
We leave our stands(all ladder stands) out year round.The deer rarely notice when anyone is in them. I have had small bucks literally at the bottom rung of my stand.
For the record, I'm not talking about 2 year old deer.
I think the difference with some of those old does/bucks is they not only notice...but some can reason. Of course they aren't rocket scientists....but some of the things I've seen in the few encounters with really smart deer makes me think there is a little more to a deers understanding than just Smell/React.
saw it a couple weeks back with the big Muleys in AZ......small bucks all day but the big ones avoided the well brushed in blind.
The insinuation that some sloppy hunter is shooting multiple Booners out of crummy setups....is hard for me to believe its not just a lightning strike.
I remembered something else when reading wildan's post. Two years ago I put up a ladder stand in a maple just off a trail, and hung a camera on the trail before the season opened. The ladder was placed in the summer, 2/3 months before bow opener. I had one old doe on camera that was looking up into that stand in every pic of her. I finally just pulled the stand knowing she was gonna bust me every time.
Put a camera up when you install a new stand and point it toward the stand. I have tried this a couple of times to see how the deer react to it. Bucks don't seem to notice it so much, does will investigate everything.
I remain convinced they only see movement and most of the "random spookings" can be attributed to swirling scent streams and/or residual scent on objects.
Movement is a bit perplexing though. On windy days, take notice, everything, and I mean just about everything in the woods moves. Therefore I think its baloney when some guy says a rope or a strap spooked a deer. My rope is no different than a grapevine swaying in the wind. But haven't we all been busted on a windy day? That to me, how they discern that "unnatural" movement, holds one of the keys to understanding their vision. Similarly I used to believe in the mantra not to be skylined. I think that is hooey now too, I have had enough deer look right through me when I am skylined I no longer believe that either.
Then again, I hunt mountain deer mostly, and it's a proven fact they don't have the daily pattern that farmland deer do. If an old granny doe walks the same tram road to the cornfield every day, is she more apt to notice the slightest out-of-place treestand or whatever? Possibly?
The ‘big uns’ likely know most of our set ups and avoid them. Except for food and sex. For either of those,during specific times of the year,they can’t help themselves. Whether in a truck on the freeway or a box blind on heavily hunted land U may get one. IMO it matters not whether a suburban or wilderness deer. Rut on,Seen big uns in the burbs in daylight and wilderness bucks chasing in downtown Kenora in the daylight. Remove sex (sometimes food)from the equation and the record books shrivel up.
An older mature doe especially with a fawn has almost supernatural detection powers but I think in general we give deer too much credit for what they might notice or avoid other than scent.
Another tip, I sometimes line the edge of my hunting property with stands every 20-30 yards. This acts like a high fence and keeps my big booners from leaving. Careful though you want to put them on trees facing your property so that deer on the neighbors can’t see your stands until they are on your property. ;) For those old mature does I just hang a blade of grass on the fence.
LINK "Another tip, I sometimes line the edge of my hunting property with stands every 20-30 yards. This acts like a high fence and keeps my big booners from leaving" Thats helpful...grin
Hoping to get observations from guys that have seen these big bucks in the wild.
I haven’t seen any net booners in bow range but have seen more than enough p&y qualifiers to know deer aren’t spooked by my stand. A swinging pull rope, sure, a tree steps or ladder, never. These are brain dead midwestern deer though. ;)
I have one ladder stand on an old irrigation pivot and nearly every sit get mature deer within 20 yards and they never spook, unless they catch me draw. No booners but 160”ers.
Another stand my daughter and I hunted all year. Platform is only 9 ft off the ground both me and my 8 year old arrowed mature does at 10 yards. Had I not been trying to get her a deer I likely woulda killed a mature upper 150”er. It’s all about movement.
My daughter not being still.
My daughter not being still.
Bowsite boot pic in blue jeans.
Bowsite boot pic in blue jeans.
No face mask, half the time no camo. It’s all about movement. I’ll also add, those jeans I’m wearing I wore all day at work and they probably have a faint odor off salt water and condensate and I’m sure there is some oil on my boots. Deer see YOU and smell YOU’re odor, they don’t smell you’re tree stand or spook from the sight of it.
Link: Awesome pics! They tugged a heart string. I remember hunting with my daughter like that when she was that age. Cherish every nano-second of it my friend because you will blink..........and it'll be just a memory.....
Have a stand permanently chained to a Tamarack (larch) in northern MN. This was the first year in a while where we had snow the whole season.
I access the stand with an aluminum extension ladder. The deer walked by the ladder within 3 feet. Never payed it any attention.
Deer have 20 degree field around their entire vision field that is always in focus. It's why they pick up movement so well. We have a relatively small circle that's in focus.
I hunt Mountain deer too mostly. They take notice of twirling things more than any farmland deer do. I tell you what, throw your rope out of your climbing stand the next time you get a deer close, and let it twirl around at eye level. See how long it takes it to relocate. The only Baloney you'll be chewing then is on your sandwich.
Good thoughts here. My own is that controlling movement is the key. Hang a stand just about every hunt keeps the deer from patterning me.
Depends on how much the deer get pressured where you hunt. Used to be we could dance in our stands. Now even some of the fawns pick us off.
To each their own Mountaineer. I've been letting my bow rope dangle from my stand for 20 years and not once has it spooked a deer. I've spit on a quite a few in that time, so my observations simply don't jive with what some guys are saying. I do understand the importance of having a mental edge while sitting up there in the treestand, heck, I have a lucky pair of pants and am superstitious about my morning dump (terrible luck not to get one out before hitting the treestand). Some guys buy into the scent fairy stuff, whatever floats your boat and makes you feel confident up there. Not sure that the danglers vs. the non-danglers needs to be another thing that divides us, but until I feel my dangling ropes and aiders spook a deer, I'll keep dangling.
I think that we all leave a trace of scent in the woods. Some big traces and some small. The thermals and swirls work for us and against us. I think when a mature deer gets a slight whiff of our scent and then sees a dangling strap or a loose rope that's when they put 2 and 2 together. For the small effort it takes to pull up your rope or secure your straps the pay off can be big.
They are deer not Nobel Prize winners.... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2uHjQCDKBx8
Yinzer, no one is suggesting division. It has nothing to do with that. You said it was silly when your fellow hunters had negative experiences with what you suggest is "BALONEY". It isn't the same as a superstition for a favorite pair of pants, having confidence in your setup, spitting on them, believing in scent control, etc.... Not even close. Then you claim to each their own?
There’s the obvious ones like pull ropes especially if it’s windy, or backpack straps. They just don’t move like things in the bush do in the wind. The out of place blobs obviously common sense tells you to look at it from the ground and you’ll know for sure how out of place it actually appears. For me I have noticed a huge difference when big trees are around. I’m not talking about background cover. But if I’m in a big maple say, and I’ve got two more around I can get away with almost anything. But in the poplar bush that we normally have up here I can’t even have a pack in the tree (yes even with straps tied up). Absolutely motionless they will still pick you off, in camo, in the best tree within 100 yards. I think it has to do with the single direction of all the poplars vs multi direction of the large trees. Blobs will stick out even in their peripheral a lot more when there is a simple pattern
Never mind movement, pull up ropes, straps, or even decoy stands. What I want to know is, how come deer immediately go on full alert if I so much as cut a SBD fart downwind, or shift my feet and make a practically inaudible sound, but they won’t even look up if 2 squirrels sound like they’re dragging a log chain up and down a shagbark hickory, while they’re playing grab ass 10 yards from me!
lol t-roy. I have had them spook at walnuts falling out of nearby trees!Go figure...