Tips & Tactics

Nature’s Deer Alarms

Nature’s Deer Alarms

By Cecil Adkins

Here’s a tip for Buckmasters fans I use when hunting in thick places such as overgrown fields, dense cutovers, heavy woods and sapling tickets.

In places like this it’s often difficult, if not impossible, to monitor all directions for approaching whitetails. You simply cannot see far enough into the thick stuff.

But Mother Nature has an elaborate alarm system, if you know what to listen and watch for.

I’ve learned to use our little feathered friends, such as chickadees, titmice and crows. These birds will alert you to the presence and approach of other large animals, including the white-tailed deer.

Learn to recognize their “something’s coming!” call, and learn to differentiate these sounds from the birds’ normal feeding and social chatter.

Also, when you see a flock arise and fly, take notice of the direction they came from. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for the approach of an animal from that direction. It might take a while, and it might be a bobcat, coyote or possum, but deer will spook them as well.

I cannot count the times birds have tipped me off to the direction that a whitetail was approaching from.

Nature’s Deer Alarms– Editor’s Note by Tim H. Martin

Famous U.S. Marine Corps sniper Carlos Hathcock described an escape tactic used by a cunning Vietnamese sniper as they hunted each other in the dense jungle.

The enemy sniper used birdseed to draw birds near the places he was hiding. When Hathcock approached, the birds alerted the NVA sniper, allowing him to escape on several occasions. I’ve often wondered if that trick would help whitetail hunters.

As a side note to Cecil Adkins’ tip, I’ve witnessed the behavior of other animal species change when whitetails and other game are about to show up. This usually happens long before I see the animal, and it occurs in other parts of the world.

In Canada, I’ve noted how red squirrels emit a sharp alarm chirp when bears are nearby but just out of sight. If you hear that sound, you’d better get your gun up.

In Africa, guinea fowl, small birds and rodents gave away the presence of antelope approaching my bow blind from a distance.

Conversely, the grey lourie, also known as the-go-away bird, will alert everything within a 500-yard radius that hunters are coming. Its call sounds like someone with a nasal voice saying, “Go-a-way … GO-A-WAYYY!” Hence, the nickname.

In most any state in the U.S., birds, chipmunks and squirrels will alert whitetail hunters when something is up. I’ve found crows have a distinctive staccato call when they spot a deer, predator or human coming.

Learn to understand Mother Nature’s language and you’ll be one step ahead of that old buck on your hit list.

– Photo Courtesy Cecil Adkins

If you have a unique or special tip you’d like to share with Buckmasters fans, please email it to and, if chosen, we will send you a cap signed by Jackie Bushman, along with a knife!

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Copyright 2018 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2017 by Buckmasters, Ltd