This is the second part of the three part series covering the three S’s of deer hunting. For those of you just tuning in those three S’s are sight, sound, and scent. The first S covered was sight and this week we’re going to review sound.
Whoever first said that nature was peaceful and tranquil was nuts. Have you ever sat in the woods? It’s not even close to quiet out there. There’s always a flock of crows crowing and partying like a bunch of drunken frat boys, squirrel barking at some phantom shadow, birds digging around in leaves, or hog rooting around. The point is that everything in the woods makes a noise, including you. Because of this, staying undetected doesn’t mean remaining absolutely silent; it just means sounding like something already out there.
Most seasoned hunters can determine what is walking around their deer stand simply by the sound their feet make as they walk. Coyotes make quick sharp steps. Squirrels make a few hops, stop and dig around, make a few more, jump on a tree, jump down and make a few more hops…you get the picture. Deer have a steady pace with crisp clear steps. Humans walk slowly, with a prolonged sound made because we land on our heel and roll down onto the balls of our feet. Even a deer can recognize this sound moving through the woods.
To get around sounding like you while walking, practice walking on your tip toes (yes you’ll look like a dork) while taking a few steps then pausing, taking a few more steps then pausing again. Use this to make your way from tree to tree while walking to your stand. This sounds a lot like a squirrel walking through the woods and will not alert the deer in your area to your presence.
Another way to mask your sound is to carry multiple animal calls with you and use them whenever you inadvertently make a sound. Keep a squirrel or turkey call in your pocket and use it at those times when you accidentally step on a stick. The deer will assume a clumsy squirrel made the noise, not a clumsy hunter. Don’t do this in areas where there are other hunters since they will potentially think you are a huntable animal.
The key to making sure a deer doesn’t detect you via its hearing isn’t to be absolutely silent; it’s just to sound like something that is always in the woods.