Whitetail Habits

Discussion in 'Traditional Muzzleloader Hunting' started by Ames, Dec 8, 2019.

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  1. Dec 8, 2019 #1

    Ames

    Ames

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    The horned toad says we should go to Mexico.
    An observation from the field. This one is for the hunters primarily North.
    Hunting black powder, you need every advantage you can get for a one shot only kill.
    Many times afield I find deer tracks in the snow in one area, but no place to hide. Also, the reverse. Great ambush point, but no deer tracks in the snow.
    Going to and coming from these spots, bushwhacking a mile, I have the chance to wander any old way looking for new sign. That's common up here in Maine. But the last couple of seasons I noticed something.
    After a new snowfall of lets say 4"-6", and no luck tracking a buck to his bed, I'm worn out from my years and want to take a beeline home. Often, this will run through the hardwoods and across a field or two.
    The next morning I go out, and wanting to get back into the game quickly, I return to follow my beeline path only to find the deer are now using it!
    I thought it was a one time thing the first time I noticed it years ago but now realize its quite common. They are not put off by the human scent as manufactures freak you out over. They seem to be over ridden by their herding and trail following instincts rather than put off by the human activity.
    Now, I have yet to put it to the test, but I bet if I set up a tree stand (I don't use one, just an example), or a brush hidden ambush point, I could go back to the area where the deer are, walk a trail back and forth 2-3 hundred yards to beyond my ambush. And wait for them to follow my "game trail" right to my hiding spot.
    Anyone else notice how the deer are following you? Ever use it to your advantage?
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2019
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  2. Dec 8, 2019 #2

    fleener

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    Deer will take the path of least resistance just like us. I mow paths on my farm and the deer use them all the time. Not always, but quite often.

    I do mow paths in front of my deer stands.

    Fleener
     
  3. Dec 8, 2019 #3

    poker

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    More than likely those deer are following your trail after dark. I first noticed the same thing about 40 years ago, hunting in 18” of fresh snow. We hunted from daylight till dark, and seen deer, but not on our human trails. Yet when walking our trails out to the stands in the early mornings, there would be deer tracks over our footprints left from coming in the night before.
     
  4. Dec 8, 2019 #4

    Britsmoothy

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    I get deer prints in my footsteps too but I never see them so they must do it at night.
     
  5. Dec 8, 2019 #5

    Ames

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    The horned toad says we should go to Mexico.
    I got to watch a buck do it 3 years ago. I was left at the crossroads of the trails as the point man as my hunting partner went down the low trail and into the thick. An hour latter I watched a 6 pointer come out, sniff the trail, and follow his footsteps.
    Too dangerous to fire in the direction my friend took to an hour earlier, but cool to watch.
     
  6. Dec 8, 2019 #6

    Spikebuck

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    Build it and they will come. :thumb:
     
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  7. Dec 8, 2019 #7

    Sidney Smith

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    I hunt a place that has walking trails on the property. While I do not hunt the trails, I do walk on one to get to my stand. Many times I've seen deer walking these same trails, sometimes not long after other people have gone through.
     
  8. Dec 9, 2019 #8

    Brokennock

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    I've found deer tracks crossing my path into the woods in the snow on my way back to the truck.
    But, I've also watched a deer sniff a rock that I knew I had stepped on going in to my stand, that deer near turned inside out she turned around so fast, and she was gone. Almost exactly 30 years has gone by since that experience and I can close my eyes and see it like it was an hour ago. I remember stepping on that rock trying to make less noise in the dry leaves. I remember my heart pounding as she only needed to come down that trail another 10 or 15 yards, and she would have been my 1st deer. And of course I can still feel that crestfallen feeling as time stood still for a moment after she rocketed out of the area. Since then I'm a little o.c.d. about scent control going in and out of stands I intend to use again.
     
  9. Dec 9, 2019 #9

    Spikebuck

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    I agree with Ame's statement that the scent control manufacturers try to "freak you out" because, after all, they are trying to convince you that their product will make you scentless. Yeah...right. But clearly it's still in our best interest to try to control our human and/or "civilization" scent of which I'm convinced a good portion of it comes right out of our mouths.

    We cannot begin to imagine the extent to which a deer can decipher odors and what sets them off one time while another time they seemingly ignore human scent. Years ago a friend asked me to go with him to do some rattling while he bowhunted. Well, we no more than got to the tree stands and yep...I had to empty the bladder. I walked about 50 yards away, dug a shallow hole with my boot, did the deed, then covered it back up with some dirt and leaves. About an hour later, a decent 3 1/2 year old 10 point came along from the direction I had buried the pee. When he got downwind of that pee, he veered 90 degrees off the trail he was on, walked over to the spot and stuck his nose right down in it. He then walked straight back to the trail and continued on to within 10 yards of us, crossing the path where I had walked over to pee without so much as a glance at the ground, and ended up with an arrow in his lungs. Other times, as Brokennock describes, they turn inside out over something as minor as scent brushed off a sleeve onto a branch or weed alongside the trail you came in on.

    I guess that's the real fun about hunting...you just never really know what is going to happen and by hunting the way we do, with primitive weapons, it just adds to that uncertainty and excitement.
     
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  10. Dec 9, 2019 #10

    Walkingeagle

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    Or, perhaps its not our scent that is freaking them out. Perhaps a major predator just pee’d on that rock, or tree and just because we walked there we believe it was us??
    I think deer are always wary but they live with us daily. People walking trails all the time, year around in a lot of areas. I agree that our mouth and body odour is key, but our boots? Not sold on that. Fyi, about 30 yrs ago, Fred Trost (sp??) at least I think thats who it was, from The Practical Sportsman, did a major 4 part article on the big scent scam. End result, he lost his career over proving it was a scam!
    Walk
     
  11. Dec 9, 2019 #11

    Ames

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    The horned toad says we should go to Mexico.
    I remember somebody wrote that he set a trail camera over a scrape and peed on it. He got shots of the buck trying to cover HIS scent. After reading that I stopped worrying about it.

    5 years ago, sitting under a tree with no doe permit, I had a doe come right up to check me out. And I mean 24"! I could have touched her with the end of the barrel. I think she was curious, but not scared.
    I never moved an inch afraid she would cut my face if I startled her.
     
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  12. Dec 9, 2019 #12

    Brokennock

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    I too have had deer intrested in places where I couldn't hold my bladder any longer. I think that is a biological odor they are curious about. I think it is the man made non organic odors we carry around that freak deer out.
    Like maybe something we stepped in that is on our boots.
    I agree with them being somewhat used to some of our odors, in places they are used to us being. That property I was on saw very little to no human activity once beyond the bordering property lines.
     
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  13. Dec 9, 2019 #13

    Walkingeagle

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    My grandfather trapped in Northern Saskatchewan throughout the late 20’s and 30’s. He taught me to mix Ammonia and water in a spray bottle (50/50) as a simple urine scent. If I use cover scents, or any sort of attractor scent that is all I do.
    Fred ran a test where he and buddies ate steak, drank beer for a night and pee’d in a pail. He then dumped the pail in one location, dumped cologne in another and a major doe in heat brand in a third. The urine pail site got hit the hardest with the brand site the least.
    Walk
     
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  14. Dec 9, 2019 #14

    Walkingeagle

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    A simple google search returned that Fred is back! My mistake. It also brings up a discussion in the Michigan outdoors about exactly what I am referring should you want to check it out.
    Walk
     
  15. Dec 9, 2019 #15

    30coupe

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    Don't you wonder how any deer got killed before the scent control products came into being? My son is fanatical in his scent control, showers before every hunt, keeps his clothes in special containers, sprays them down every time, etc.

    I check the wind direction and pick a spot that way. I don't use flowery smelling soap, but I might not shower every day. I have my wife wash my hunting clothes in unscented All because even I hate the smell of the Era she uses on everything else. My clothes hang in my "gun room" for most of the season. I think I did spray the when I took them out of the plastic storage tubs because they smelled like plastic. Anyway, you get the idea that I am far from obsessed about "scent control."

    I've had many deer walk right in on the trail I used, including the buck in my avatar. Two nights ago a little forky buck came in, walked directly in front of my tree stand, nibbled at some weeds where I'd walked, then walked directly under me, almost brushing the tree sticks I'd climbed up maybe 20 minutes earlier, and wandered on down the trail. Not only could I have killed him had I chose to, I could have spit on him from the stand.

    Deer, like people, like to take the easiest path, so if you mow trails or break a trail through new snow, they will surely take advantage of that. I'm very skeptical of the hype about scent control and worrying about them smelling where you've walked or caring if they do. Some might, but not enough to worry about. Can they wind you and freak out? Oh, yeah! And it won't matter what gadget you have or what you sprayed on yourself. Learn to hunt without all the artificial crap. Our ancestors did fine without it, and they HAD to hunt to live.

    Keep your nose to the wind and your eyes on the skyline and you'll do well, pilgrim.
     
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  16. Dec 9, 2019 #16

    Spikebuck

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    Seems logical...who doesn't like a good party with steak and beer!!! :):thumb: The deer probably smelled that from a distance and figured they join the fun! ;)

    Net is...ALL urine immediately starts to turn to ammonia once out of the body. This is why some of the very high-priced scents are kept refrigerated until someone buys it. Still, I wonder why someone wants to pay big dollars to put purchased doe pee in a scrape that is already probably full of naturally deposited doe pee??? I suppose the mock scrape fad is part of that or the drag rag. I'm not saying it can't work from time to time, but when I did use it years ago I can't say that deer came running in like crazy to bury their noses in it. It's now illegal to use in SE Minnesota due to CWD spread and the fact that these products, if from infected deer, will contain the prions and further the spread. I haven't heard of a reduced kill even though the ban is in place. I think a person is much further ahead to learn some deer vocalizations (doe talk, especially) or, as discussed here, make a "funnel" or path of least resistance or find the natural ones.
     
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  17. Dec 9, 2019 #17

    30coupe

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    I just read an article sent to my email from Grandview Outdoors. Some of their articles are interesting and boarderline useful, but this one about staying in the stand all day long cracked me up. Naturally, the guy sprayed whatever product they were hawking all over himself, his bow, his boots, his lunch...well maybe not his lunch, but you get the idea. Eventually the article turned to the unmentionable...how do you handle peeing...even worse, what if you have to...you know...poop? (Of course he referred to it as #2, bringing back childhood memories of having to let the entire class know you didn't just have to go to the restroom, but what you were trying to accomplish in there). The guy couldn't just let fly from the stand, no, he had to whiz in a bottle then take it home with him...to be washed and recycled of course.

    But what about...#2...:eek:. Well, he offered a couple of solutions short of installing a colostomy bag. His least preferred was sneaking 200 yards downwind of your stand, digging a hole, and doing the deed. Of course he feared that might spook some deer, so his go to (oops, no pun intended) method was to carry a zip-lock bag, crap in that, and take it home with you to deposit in the garbage can. No mention was made as to whether he accomplished this feat while still in the tree stand, but even the mental image of the gymnastics involved in crapping in a plastic bag (hopefully a biodegradable one) leads to some head scratching and some further questions. What do you do with it if the urge struck at say 10:00 a.m.? Do you put it in your backpack with your lunch, bury it and retrieve it later? If you put it in the backpack, then kill a dandy buck at say 1:37 p.m., then kinda forget it's in there and as you are recounting the hunting story to your wife as you are unloading the contents of the pack and plop a bag of poo onto the table, what do you say to your dear wife who asks,"What's that?" Holy crap! (Pun intended!)

    I just let fly with the pee from the stand. If I have to do the dreaded #2, I climb down and go far enough downwind to make sure I don't have to smell the results. If I went 200 yards from most of my stands, I'd be crapping on my neighbors' ground...hardly conducive to neighborly relations. And every year, I kill deer at close range with either bow or ML.

    If all of this seems like silliness to you, it is! The next time you see an ad for the latest, greatest, absolutely guaranteedest, no smellingest scent control product on the face of the earth, ask yourself, "What would Daniel Boone use?"
     
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  18. Dec 9, 2019 #18

    hanshi

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    I've had the pleasure of hunting for years where a nice, clear path lead to my stand. On quite a few occasions I've watched as a deer (both bucks and does) followed my footsteps and stopped at where I turned into the woods. I got many nice deer that way.
     
  19. Dec 22, 2019 #19

    ADK Bigfoot

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    A friend and I left a farmhouse and walked to some local fields with apple trees two hours before dark. No recent sign/tracks seen. At dark, we walked back out to the truck, only to find fresh tracks over our boot prints where we had walked in. Didn't see the deer, only their tracks where they had followed us.

    ADK Bigfoot
     
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  20. Dec 22, 2019 #20

    smo

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    Great conversation Guys , it’s interesting too hear everyone’s take on the various topics ... human scent control, scent lures, cover scents(Fox/skunk pee) .

    Deer using the path of least resistance, deer using human made trails, deer being directed by your stand by use of human made trails .....

    I plead Guilty of all the above...

    For what it’s worth here’s my observations over my deer hunting career.

    What I have learned is deer are curious critters, they will show up where least expect and then not show up where they are expected.

    I quite watching hunting shows several years ago, they got way too commercialized for me.

    I’m a firm believer in if something works, don’t mess with it.

    One of the best tips I ever received on deer hunting was from a childhood friend.

    I met him on his property too scout the area for bow hunting.

    When I got there he had two leave rakes, he tossed me one and off we went.

    When I picked the spot I wanted too hunt,
    we raked our way out to the woods edge in the fresh fallen leaves....

    I killed a deer opening day, then went back the next week end and as I slipped in before day light I noticed a rub on a tree right next too the trail.

    Now the trail had gotten a scattering of leaves back in it , but you could tell it was being heavily used by deer .

    Just in one weeks time...

    Where I live & hunt now in Tn. It has taught me a lot about deer, I see them daily and they see me.

    Whereas if your hunting land away from where you live , in reality your hunting a completely different type of deer.

    You are invading their space! Of course there gonna’ freak out..

    Not only do they see you as being an invader, but that smell ...

    I’ve been Guilty as Charged before myself, stop at the 7/11 and grab a cup of coffee , some snacks, a cold drink , fuel the truck, turn on the heat and drive it like you stole it too get to the deer woods before daylight.

    That’ll get you busted right off.


    Clean hunting gear , rubber boots and good hygiene is all that’s really needed.

    Keep your clothes away from chemical odors , cooking odors , fuel odors.

    Shower with unscented soap , no after shaves and don’t smoke .

    At least the deer won’t recognize you as Joe Hunter.


    IMHO , movement is what get a deers attention quicker than anything I can think of.

    Where I hunt the winds constantly change directions, so hunting purely on wind direction is out.

    Staying as odorless as possible is your best bet.
    Don’t move much, then mostly your eyes and head... slowly.

    Then the use of the groomed trails as already mentioned to your advantage.

    Some of mine my stands are within yards of where I park my four wheeler.

    CF54FBDB-7C1D-4E99-A08F-60EA50A7610F.png

    Commercial Scents , I’ve had good luck with in the past.
    I killed several bucks with their noses right next too a scent bomb.

    Is it a guarantee, nope .. but it doesn’t hurt.
    At least I’ve never seen one run away from it.

    Doesn’t hurt as far as killing deer goes, CWD is a different ball of wax.


    Peeing in the ground... if I don’t it .
    Like Spikebuck, I dig a hole with my heel , then cover it up.

    The other, I just go home too take care of, it’s nice living on your hunting ground!
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2019

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