|The author with a nice buck
photo courtesy Dave Richey Outdoors ©2012
You know what a myth is? It’s something that is commonly accepted as fact, but it really isn’t. You know what I mean: pick up a toad, and you’ll get warts and other stuff like that.
There are many myths about bow hunting. Some have been steeped in public acceptance for so long it’s difficult to dislodge the thought. Here are a few that bow hunters seem to accept as fact.
*Rutting bucks are stupid. This one has been around so long that it should have long gray whiskers. It’s simply not true.
Some myths are repeated so often that many consider them true
Bucks do run during the day and chase does, and occasionally they will do something that humans might think stupid, but they probably make perfect sense to the deer. Don’t look for them to run up to a human, and stand idly by while someone shoots at them.
If bucks make any mistake it is chasing does during the mid-day hours. A bow hunter can turn that knowledge to good use by hunting from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
*Deer always travel into the wind. That too has been proven wrong so many times each year one would think it would fall out of fashion. Gran’pappy tells his son that two or three dozen times when the kid is young and impressionable, and he believes it. So he tells it to his son, and these old wives’ tales get passed down from one generation to the next.
The truth is deer often travel downwind, cross-wind, and quartering into or away from the wind. Deer have always headed west in the morning and east in the evening, and it makes no difference which way the wind is blowing. They will travel upwind, downwind, or quartering into or with the wind.
One thing is certain. Move or make a faint noise, and a curious deer may turn around and come upwind to determine what and where you are. The trick is to give deer no reason to circle into the wind.
*The deer jumped the string. This means a bow hunter comes to full draw, releases an arrow and the deer jumps up or goes down to “duck” the arrow. What nonsense is this? That gives deer human-like intelligence that tells them an arrow is coming.
This can be a problem if deer have been alerted to human presence
Deer will move up, down or sideways if they have been alerted. Deer that travel head-up are alert, cautious and a walking bundle of raw nerve endings. Give them a reason to be alert by being caught moving, making some small noise or being winded, and an alert deer may move to avoid danger.
However, if an arrow is traveling 180 feet per second, and a deer is within 20 yards of the hunter, the arrow will impact the animal before the buck or doe can react to the bowstring launching an arrow. Most arrows are traveling from 220 to 280 feet per second, and sometimes more than 300 fps. This precludes a relaxed deer from “jumping the string.” Some muscle-bound people who can pull 100 pounds and shoot an arrow in excess of 300 feet per second will have little trouble hitting a relaxed deer.
*The higher the treestand the less chance there is a deer winding you. OK, I’ve hunted a few times at 30 to 35 feet and dislike it intensely. I know of people who hunt 40 feet in the air, and a friend swears he saw some fool stand on what looked like a tree stand the size of a postage stamp at 50 feet in the air.
What being that high does, if the wind is blowing down toward the ground, is transfer your scent farther from your hunting area. If a deer gets downwind of you at 200 yards, he may still smell you. Knowing which way the wind is blowing, and using milkweed seeds to see where the scent travels, makes far more sense.
I prefer more tree cover than being too high in the air
My tree stand preference is 15-16 feet. I depend on my being downwind of the deer, being able to sit still, not make any noise, and being able to shoot accurately from an elevated position. It works exceptionally well for me.
The higher a tree stand the more acute the angle when shooting down at a deer. That angle becomes even more acute the closer the deer is to the stand. Lose your anchor point while aiming, or be a fraction of an inch off at higher elevations, the greater the chance is of missing or wounding a deer.
There are many other bow hunting myths kicking around, and one day soon, we look at some other ones.