Taking Advantage Of Deer's Senses To Improve Your Hunting Performance

Deer are prey animals that rely on their senses for their very survival, so you may not be surprised to learn that their perceptive abilities far outstrip those of humans. As a hunter, you must outwit the natural advantages of a whitetail deer like any other predator, and part of that involves both understanding and exploiting their senses of sight, smell and hearing. These are the important details of deer senses you need to know to avoid costly mistakes and stack the odds in your favor out in the brush. 

Exploiting Weaknesses in Sight 

Deer rely on vision less heavily than their other senses, preferring to be aware of potential threats long before they come into view. But their eyes are still designed to catch stalking predators, and they will easily spot you if you aren't careful. Deer eyes have poor color perception, which is why you can wear bright safety gear without compromising your position, but they have a wide field of vision and pick up on movement quickly. This allows them to detect moving predators without needing to worry about seeing through their camouflage. Always assume that a deer can see you, and move as little as possible before taking your shot to avoid triggering their flight instinct. 

Fooling a Deer's Sense of Smell

Deer have a sense of smell on par with that of a dog's, with an estimated 297 million olfactory receptors constantly feeding them information about their surroundings. Their sense of smell is so superb that it is nearly impossible to actually sneak up on them, even with the wind on your side. You can, however, confuse their senses with various scent-masking products. Some of these products are meant to disguise your smell, while others project scents meant to attract bucks, particularly during the rut. Even with these products, you will need to stay downwind of your quarry to have a chance at a shot without spooking it first. 

Tricking a Deer's Hearing 

Whitetail deer in particular have an acute sense of hearing that allows them to communicate with each other over long distances and pinpoint a snapping twig from hundreds of feet away. Although it can lead to many foiled shots, this almost supernatural sense of hearing can prove beneficial while whitetail hunting. Before and during the rut, bucks are drawn to the sound of clashing antlers and does calling for a mate. By mastering these sounds yourself with shed antlers and calls, you can bring the bucks to you without ever needing to stir from your hiding place. In most cases, it takes several seasons of trial and error to become truly familiar with sensory abilities of deer, but by starting out prepared, you will hopefully still be able to claim a few prize specimens during the learning process. 

For more information, contact a whitetail hunting specialist in your area.