Contributors to this thread:
Have you ever wondered....?
Over the years, I can't begin to count the number of times that I will be watching a deer in a foodplot or open woods, and they will suddenly jerk their head upright and stare in a given direction for several minutes. Several minutes later, very frequently, a deer will appear from that very direction. I have seen it happen upwind, downwind, and cross wind.....so I am confident that they aren't smelling the animal. Sometimes it occurs in very dense, very brushy areas, other times it is wide open woods with great visibility. I have often wondered if they have the ability to emit a high pitched sound that humans can't hear, but other deer can..... because if not, there are times that I swear they have ESP. Just wondering if this is a common observation amongst other Bowsiters....?
I do a lot of field hunting in the late season & the above mentioned behavior is a dead given that there's more deer in the woods.
They’ve got pretty much wraparound vision and they’re extremely sensitive to movement. And most of us are pretty near deaf by comparison, so who knows (really) what they can hear?
And of course wind currents are always swirling, so a deer which we believe to be straight across wind may have us pinpointed by our own scent and the scents of everything immediately around us. I have to wonder if they don’t know the scent profile of virtually every nook and cranny of their home ranges….
Deer: [Sniff, sniff] “OK, yeah, he’s back… that guy with the Ram 3/4 ton that leaks oil. He’s in that cottonwood over by the crabapples and the moron’s using Tink’s in September again….. “
So don't use Tinks in September ? Always learning something new here. How's one to become a master bowhunter ?
I've often wondered the same thing. Saw it the other evening.
They're using a "deerview mirror".
Prey animals fear every second of every day. It’s beyond our understanding as a mere predator. I love it when I see it because good things are happening.
It is amazing what they can do. I am always amazed at how they are so aware of their surroundings. It seems to me that even on rock solid setups, deer realize something is wrong. We feel like we have moved into their area and swapped the location of two books on a shelf but in reality we move the commode into the living room and expect them not to notice. They often know we are there and somehow, some way they know when other deer are around too. I have seen it numerous times when I know they are aware of other deer being around. Sometimes you see them and sometimes I never see them, but based on the deer I am watching, I believe they sense another deer. They truly are amazing animals.
Maybe sometimes they let out a sound or light bleat that we just cannot hear as the OP said. Their hearing is incredible.
seems like every year, I'll be 20+ feet up in a tree with the wind perfect, my path to the stand downwind and I'm not even moving. A deer will walk by, upwind, and I'm thinking "ha, fooled that one. Then they walk 10 more steps, stop and look over their shoulder right up at me. Most times they look away and continue on, but not always. What makes them do that I don't know. I often wonder if they can just sense something sometimes.
How many times have you just had the feeling something was there while hunting and turn around slowly and see an animal right there?
Well they have much better hearing than we do but I don't think that's it entirely. They're plugged in. They're part of nature's communication network. You could be too.
Becoming part of the network isn't easy for us modern humans, but it can be done... in short spurts initially, and for increasingly longer periods with greater detail with more experience and practice. We too can feel the presence of and even begin to identify birds and animals, at least in a general sense, minutes before they come into view. Listen to them. All of them.. Really listen. Feel it. Like ripples on a calm pond, or vibrations in a spider's web. Try not to be one who makes them. Instead be one who hears and feels them. Whether calm, alert, or alarmed, there's a network there that crosses species barriers. They relay-communicate with each other and it can cover some distance. They can inform us too.
I've noticed this with bears. Lots of times they don't pay attention to us when we walk into a bait until we are very close. Then when another bear shows up they know he's coming from a long ways off and take notice. It's weird how they can differentiate between us and a bear from a very long distance off. I'm guessing deer are the same.
Sometimes I think they have a sixth sense... Maybe it was one of the Wensel's wrote about it,,, like if you ever stare at a person from behind and they turn to look at you feeling your stare... Could it be brain waves? I don't know, but sure seems that way sometimes... With deer in a distance, they know there are deer behind them, but at close range I'm not ruling out that brain wave sixth sense...
You would pay attention to your surroundings if 24/7 something was trying to kill you. I’ve seen what the op described many times. Deer will almost always alert you to other deer approaching.
Highlife I am no Master bowhunter but I play one on TV. Corax I used to say the same thing about raccoon, fox skunk urine "cover scent". Do the deer think "there's a 'coon up that tree and he's pissed all over himself" ?
Jake, I've definitely noticed the same thing. It's impressive! But the emission of a high pitched sound... I'm skeptical on that one. As others have said- they live their lives being hyper aware of their surroundings. It's how they survive. So to take very early notice of an approaching critter shouldn't surprise us. JMO
It’s an interesting thing, though; even more complex than Jeff was describing. Maybe they hear the quiet spot on that hillside where the squirrels and songbirds have gone silent; they certainly do hear the Jays cussing out the coyote passing through…
But some years ago I saw or heard a report by a westerner who lived among some “primitive” people for an extended period and realized that these people knew where their people were, even across very long distances, without any recognizable form of communication. And after a while the westerners began to be able to do this strange thing too. It kind of freaked them out, because they couldn’t begin to explain it. They just Knew. They also knew that their colleagues would never believe them!
So there are mysteries out there yet to be solved. I think that’s a great thing. But as Jeff said, we can participate if we can quiet ourselves and open ourselves to it. I have a terrible time getting there because it takes so much immersion. I’m just not spending nearly enough time in the woods to do it these days…
As Charlie mentioned, while we may not have the same sense of awareness, it sure is nice to have deer in our immediate proximity when hunting. They not only serve as a decoy (especially does this time of year), they also serve as a early warning system for other approaching animals.
I just don’t believe they can hear all that great. I believe they just know what to listen for.
I think they can see legs moving. Lots of time a deers legs moving is the first thing I see. They have 4. They generally move quicker than ours. It’s a quick motion. That’s my theory anyways. And then the cadence of a deer walking is very different. So they notice that cadence.
I think there is something to a 6th sense. I think it’s a perception based on all senses that maybe one sense alone can’t detect. I think people can notice it too. I know I can sure sense it when every good looking woman in the room watches me constantly ;)
Ever sense I began hunting seriously, I’ve had a thing about looking directly at an animal. ESPECIALLY if they are alert. I’ll freeze, and I will look away. I do it unconsciously now. I don’t know if that’s instinct or just years of doing it. I especially will never make eye contact. That’s a huge no-no.
It’s 100% ESP which is nothing more than sensory perception at an extraordinary level. Not a new sense just better use of the original senses. Not magic. Biology.
Deer are so much more attuned to their surroundings that we can hardly imagine. Walking a field edge one day, spotted a doe and fawn ahead. Ducked down out of sight before they saw me. A bird in a tree nearby started making a ruckus, and those deer cut through a strip of cover into the next field. I got in that strip myself and watched as they circled me, caught my wind, and retreated back int the woods. They never looked directly at me, didn't need to. A bird, a hint of scent, gone.
Hearing is incredible on a deer. Imagine having an ear you could turn let alone two of them independent of one another. I would think that if they were emitting a sound other than walking ect by now someone would have found it through research and study. I also believe in a sixth sense of whatever you would like to call it especially in prey animals. What boggles me though is why some deer seem to have it others do not or just are not tuned into it. Amazing animals either way
Yeah, funny how they can walk right under your stand oblivious sometimes, and other times they pick you off from a hundred yards. Good thing they ain't all psychic ;-)
They have a highly developed sixth-sense that they hone every minute of every day. Even humans, who have become desensitized to everything, can sense when someone is staring at us.
It's true that sometimes they let their guard down. Those may be the ones that more often get dead. Still, think of how many times you are watching an animal and it suddenly turns its head and stares straight at you. That's why I never look directly at an animal until I'm ready to shoot, and then, never look them in the eyes.
This season I called in a really good elk bull, after passing on some dinks. He was coming on a string across a clear cut, bugling all the way just like in the Hill Ranch YouTube videos, except this was heavily hunted public land. I expected him to pass behind a couple small spruces where I could draw. I was so mesmerized by this that I made the mistake of staring at him. Suddenly he looked right at me, turned left, and marched straight up to me, stopped, and started screaming at me at 8 yards. Like, angry screaming and slobbering. I was tucked back in between two spruces and had a face mask on so unless I moved imperceptibly (possible), I believe he felt my eyes on him.
Then he turned and walked straight away. I stopped him twice in range but he never gave me an ethical shot.
I've called in hundreds of bulls and know not to look directly at them if I'm the shooter. This time I let excitement get the best of me and forgot.
"I think they can see legs moving. Lots of time a deers legs moving is the first thing I see"
Yeah Blake, me too...
I think its just the fact Whitetails are so incredibly in tune with their surroundings. They pattern footsteps. They simply see and hear things we cannot.
I've got no proof that they can sense things I can't, but I don't look a deer in the eyes and certainly don't stare at a deer I want to shoot.
One property I used to hunt had crows that followed bucks. They didn't follow does but bucks got hounded. I could tell when one was approaching from a half mile away just from the racket the crows made. It took me a few times to figure out this pattern... and it was an obvious and loud pattern. I can't imagine what I'm not in tune with that they are.
I have seen that behavior many times, and where I hunt, if the deer stands there any length of time, it’s probably another deer or deer family that will walk out of cover. If the deer stops, looks, and then takes off, get ready for a damn hog to walk out of the cover. A deer hastily leaving my food plot is always the signal for me to get ready to shoot a hog.
I've been amazed sometimes when I've gotten busted by deer. I've thought, "no way in hell could that deer see me?" But they did! They have very incredible ability to see movement.
This is why using the HECS suit system is so important!!! Not for me....but for others of course. I prefer to give the deer a chance.
Their hearing is better than ours and the have spent every hour of every day of their lives figuring out how best to use it.
Those long ears rotate around like an antenna hearing stuff... I think their hearing is acute...
I agree with Bou'bound.
The brain is an amazing computer. It shouldn't take much data for the brain to recognize. The average human bowhunter has ok vision, bad hearing, and a horrible sense of smell.
I've heard deer "talk" to each other with very subtle sounds you can really only hear if they are a few yards away. They watch each other and I've noticed they warn each other with body language.
Idyllwild I resemble that description sans the "sense of " ;)
Yeah, body language means a lot to them, for sure...