When it comes to hunting, silence is of the utmost importance. To remain silent in the field is
one of the many challenges we as hunters face every trip into the woods. White-tailed deer are intelligent creatures to say the least. In fact, this is an understatement as deer are recognized as one of the toughest big game animals to hunt. This is due in part to their exceptional vision, keen since of smell and their unbelievable attention to detail within their habitat. I’m sure you’ve read many articles on “how to outsmart the elusive bucks” or “tricks to outsmart a trophy” and the list goes on…. Well, I’ve found these article to be very informative, however, they are missing some key elements that I’d like to talk about. For instance, we all know that bucks are smart. In fact, they are so smart that you have to trick them into believing you’re dumb!
How many times do you head out to your favorite hunting spot and go through your same routine at the truck, making the same noises at the same time every hunt? I’m guessing most of you are nodding your head now as you read this and for good reason, or so you thought. See, routines are great for us as hunters. It helps us remember to use our scent control properly, double check that we have all of our equipment and so forth, although, when we become creatures of habit, it becomes easier for deer to pattern our movements. What? Deer pattern our movements? Yes, you heard correctly, deer do indeed pattern hunters. Allow me to share this story. I have a hunting buddy that was never the best fieldsman and rarely killed big bucks. The guy just never had the patients for sitting and this was his biggest downfall. I’ve learned some valuable information due to his lack of patients that has helped me outsmart many deer over the past few years. First, he always had a routine like most of us do and it went something like this; get out of the truck, open his plastic tote before gearing up followed by snapping the tote shut, then opening the tailgate to synch up his boots before shutting it quietly, spraying himself with scent control and then finally locking the truck with a subtle honk of the horn to indicate the truck is locked.
Sounds pretty familiar huh? Now, imagine if you’re a deer bedded 150 yards from where he
parks. Do you think the deer recognizes these distinctive sounds? Absolutely! He couldn’t
understand why every time he wasn’t in the stand the deer would show up on trail camera? What he hadn’t realized is that the deer had him patterned! Here’s the proof. On a cold October night his routine changed. His daughter dropped him off on this hunt and his nightly routine was changed. He was dressed and ready to go, when he was dropped off. In fact, his daughter hated backing up in the woods so she dropped him off at the roads edge instead.
There was no clicking of the tote shut, tailgate closing, and horn honking on this hunt. Instead he quietly walked past his normal parking spot where his routine normally took place and made his way into his stand. Within 30 minutes and only 100 yards from where he usually parked a shooter buck stood up from his bed and grazed towards his stand. A 20 yard perfect shot and a blood trail later and he’d shot a nice Michigan 8 point. Lesson learned? You bet! Following this experience he and I learned that sometimes noise is good in the woods.
You have to out think these animals. Start by creating a routine when checking cams and then switch it when you’re heading out to hunt. Take a different path, walk a different direction. I’ve gone as far as creating a routine, sticking to it, knowing I was rolling the dice on even seeing deer on these hunts. Then I’d have my wife drop me off and allow me to go through my routine, have her walk out with me and then sit with me for 20 minutes. Then ask her to nosily exit the stand back to the truck, start it and drive away.
It works, I promise. It wasn’t 15 minutes after she left, several deer stood from their beds nearby and made their way into shooting range. See, the deer believed that I was like my hunting buddy, and I was impatient. The deer probably thought, this guy’s gone, we heard him leave, and it’s safe. Think this is farfetched? Try it. The point of this article is to create a new way of thinking when we head afield. Sometimes it pays to think outside the box and to “make a little noise” so to speak. Good luck and happy hunting!
SUBMITTED BY: JASON DUMAS