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Thread: Deer are smarter than hares

  1. #1

    Deer are smarter than hares

    Last night I was stalking along a woodland track. There was very, very little wind and so noise was a problem. It was necessary to move ever so carefully and quietly. After a little while I noticed that out front of me on the other side of the track was a hare. He appeared unaware of me and the last thing I wanted was for him to go running down the track in a panic alerting any deer who were still lurking inside the treeline that something was up. So, I watched him for a while and carefully worked to within about 20 yards of him. I was amazed that he didn't hear me but I was being careful.

    After watching for a while longer, in the hope that he might go on his way, a sika popped her head up from the undregrowth about 10 yards behind my little hare friend. She looked around and I caught a brief glimpse of what appeared to be a calf with her before both deer disappeared, though they didn't look alarmed. A stag calf would do my job just fine so I got into what I considered good cover and got the rifle ready just in case and then sat and watched. Nothing moved, apart from the hare, and all was quiet.

    I probably stayed in position for 10 minutes, maybe twice that, with not a sign of movement and I concluded that the sika had gone back into the trees behind where I had spotted them. It was time to move forwards as dusk was approaching and I hadn't yet reached the spot where I'd hoped to intercept a sika stag I had my eye on. I stood up and carefully moved out of the cover, taking care to exhibit maximum stealth at all times, and heard a noise on the other side of the track. There were the sika heading into the trees having spotted me move. All this time the hare sat feeding and looking around himself. I can only conclude that the sika got down behind the undergrowth and moved into a vantage point to better observe me and, of course, when I moved the game was up with them and off they went.

    It was interesting to observe just how much more cunning the deer were than the hare in the sense that I'm pretty sure they spotted something was not right when they popped their heads up and they then stalked me to see just exactly what was going on. Throughout all of this the hare neither saw, heard or smelled me. A most entertaining evening even if there were no deer in the freezer to show for it.

  2. #2
    I was out on Saturday afternoon / evening for a look around a new piece of land , and saw plenty of pigeon a few ducks and in general a nice evening out , stalking back out of the land I was coming to the corner of a forest block thinking I might see a roe out and spooked a rabbit in to the ditch cover , The other rabbits didnt take notice but there on the ditch side feeding was a roe , the deer didnt take any warning from the startled rabbit a few moments watching and the rabbit came out again ,watching through the binos to confirm it was a buck and the result confirmed .

  3. #3
    Sika are very smart and masters of hide and seek. I reckon they must be able to tunnel given their ability to disappear from view at short notice!

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by caorach View Post
    Last night I was stalking along a woodland track. There was very, very little wind and so noise was a problem. It was necessary to move ever so carefully and quietly. After a little while I noticed that out front of me on the other side of the track was a hare. He appeared unaware of me and the last thing I wanted was for him to go running down the track in a panic alerting any deer who were still lurking inside the treeline that something was up. So, I watched him for a while and carefully worked to within about 20 yards of him. I was amazed that he didn't hear me but I was being careful.

    After watching for a while longer, in the hope that he might go on his way, a sika popped her head up from the undregrowth about 10 yards behind my little hare friend. She looked around and I caught a brief glimpse of what appeared to be a calf with her before both deer disappeared, though they didn't look alarmed. A stag calf would do my job just fine so I got into what I considered good cover and got the rifle ready just in case and then sat and watched. Nothing moved, apart from the hare, and all was quiet.

    I probably stayed in position for 10 minutes, maybe twice that, with not a sign of movement and I concluded that the sika had gone back into the trees behind where I had spotted them. It was time to move forwards as dusk was approaching and I hadn't yet reached the spot where I'd hoped to intercept a sika stag I had my eye on. I stood up and carefully moved out of the cover, taking care to exhibit maximum stealth at all times, and heard a noise on the other side of the track. There were the sika heading into the trees having spotted me move. All this time the hare sat feeding and looking around himself. I can only conclude that the sika got down behind the undergrowth and moved into a vantage point to better observe me and, of course, when I moved the game was up with them and off they went.

    It was interesting to observe just how much more cunning the deer were than the hare in the sense that I'm pretty sure they spotted something was not right when they popped their heads up and they then stalked me to see just exactly what was going on. Throughout all of this the hare neither saw, heard or smelled me. A most entertaining evening even if there were no deer in the freezer to show for it.
    Caorach, interesting post. I too was wondering just how smart deer really are!!

    I was out before light last week, up a high seat ,on good fallow territory in the Beds/Herts area.

    Made sure to avoid disturbing other wildlife before getting to the high seat. Even glassed ahead in poor light (as best I could) to see if any deer about.

    Up the seat at 5-30 before visibility at 6am. Sat till 8-00am but not a sign of deer. Lots of cock pheasants about... making a hell of a bl**dy noise and fighting amongst themselves. Also a few hares who were totally oblivious to my prescence.

    Lead me to wonder if the pheasants might actually warn off the deer? I'm sure their eyesight is such that they would spot me and I wondered if deer would be wise to other animals spotting trouble and staying away?

    Have any of you more experienced stalkers had the same experience with noisy pheasants?

  5. #5
    Hi 50/50,
    I think you are spot on. I try to get into a seat well before light so I don't move deer off the ground when the inevitable pheasant erupts noisily from a tree roost. Once settled I try to stay put until all the pheasants have got down to feeding, as there seems no point in trying to stalk when they will still be sat up in trees and making a racket when the flee in panic. Once the pheasants are feeding and doing their pheasanty things they tend to scuttle away quietly if you approach, not disturbing the deer. I'm sure most animals, like us have a sense of when something is wrong with their surroundings.

  6. #6
    I think that all the wildlife relies on the eyes and ears of others , I have used this also when hidden up to warn me of animals moving , Slight movement , exposed skin , and the wind betray us , Hence the buck not taking heed to the rabbits warning ,

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