John's Journal... Entry 223, Day 1
THE FEAR FACTOR: HOW MUCH HUNTING PRESSURE CAN A BUCK STAND?
Fear of Dogs Moves Deer
“You boys yell and holler and jump into those thick places,” Adrian Hitt, the hunt master on the Tombigbee Hunting club, instructed the drivers. “But when you come to a downed tree or an isolated briar thicket, stop walking and hollering when you’re within gun range of the thicket. If a big buck is in that thick spot, after about a minute, he’ll come blowing out of the cover. As long as the buck can hear you and knows where you are, he’ll remain in that thicket and won’t come out until after you’ve passed by. But when you hush, and the buck isn’t positive about where you are, he’ll become nervous and scared. Then his nerves will force him to jump up and come out of the thicket where you can take a shot at him.”
About 10:00 in the morning, I found an isolated briar thicket. Off to the right, I heard my brother, Archie, singing out, “Hootie, Hootie, Hootie, Hootie.” To the left, I heard the driving sounds of, “Yodee, Yodee, Yodee,” of my nephew, Bubba. When I was within about 30 yards of the thicket, I held my Remington 12 gauge, three-inch magnum at the ready and stood dead still. I waited for what seemed an eternity. As I listened to the other drivers, I still heard Hitt’s instructions ringing in my ears, “If a buck’s in a thicket, he’s got to go – if you stop. Wait a minute or two, and he’ll come out.”
a driver, I’d gone into thick cover through the years to spook the
deer out. But I didn’t have much faith in this new tactic of waiting
silently. However, I knew Adrian Hitt was a master deer hunter who consistently
bagged more bucks than any other drivers on the Tombigbee Hunting Club.
So I waited. I felt foolish, but I waited. If no deer was in that briar
thicket, I had wasted my time. Just as I made the decision to begin to
yell and start to walk again, the briars came alive with antlers and hooves.
The buck dove straight away from me to get out of the briars. At the same
time, my shotgun with No. 1 buckshot found its comfortable resting place
in the hollow of my shoulder. As the buck came up again for his second
jump out of the thicket, the bead on the barrel found the groove between
the deer’s two shoulder blades where the neck joined the body. When
my gun reported, the buck went down. As I walked over to the fat 6 point
to admire my trophy, I wondered…
Because I realized my learning more about how and why a deer reacted to hunting pressure would help me bag bucks more effectively, I talked with master deer hunters and scientists to learn the answers.
Check back each day this week for more about THE FEAR FACTOR: HOW MUCH HUNTING PRESSURE CAN A BUCK STAND?...
Day 1 - Fear of Dogs Moves