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Big Buck Central

Big Buck 411 Blog

14

By Mike Handley

The scrape of metal against bark might not be the turnoff most hunters imagine it is.
The scrape of metal against bark might not be the turnoff most hunters imagine it is.

Doomed since I froze midway along 30-foot-high scaffolding at age 17, I might never shoot a monster buck. My fear of heights isn’t as paralyzing as it was 32 years ago, but even being called a wimp cannot force me to step onto a climbing stand.

Ladders and some fixed-position models accessible by tree steps are okay, but that took some doing. Most still give me the heebie-jeebies.

Why then, you might wonder, given that dozens of jaw-dropping bucks are shot from the ground (and ladders, and lock-on-type stands) every year, do I say my chances at a huge whitetail are slim or slimmer?

Because unless I begin taking steel or aluminum rods in the woods with me, I’m fairly certain I cannot imitate the noise that has piqued more than one dominant buck’s curiosity. I’m talking about the metal-against-bark sound of a climber going up a tree. It makes most hunters wince, but the racket apparently drives some bucks crazy. Seems they can’t resist coming in for a peek at who or what is destroying the furniture in their houses.

I’ve been told this too many times not to believe it.

If you have doubts, just ask Bill Collins, a senior analyst for the U.S. Army, whose going-away present for his recent Kansas-to-Massachusetts move wore a bow with 21 points.

Bill had quit for the day, though plenty of daylight remained. He was jacking himself down the tree when an I’m-being-watched feeling overtook him. As soon as his boots touched the ground, he looked over and saw the biggest buck he’d ever beheld, staring at him from a mere 50 yards.

The deer, which had to have heard the ruckus, wasn’t overly concerned; it didn’t blow or turn on the afterburners. It just walked away, seemingly disappointed that it wasn’t another buck destroying one of its trees.

“There’s something about that noise – of coming down a tree – that seems to draw bucks,” Bill said. “Because I hunt only public lands and must carry a climber, that wasn’t the first time that’s happened to me … or to my brother.”

Bill didn’t shoot the buck that day, but he could’ve if he’d had a firearm or been confident of a 50-yard bow shot. He did take the time to wander over and check out the area into which it disappeared, though, and he was bowled over by the sign.

He returned on Oct. 22, 2009, with a favorable wind amidst a cold front. He left with a double-drop-tined whitetail.

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Comments

jonnyo
# jonnyo
Tuesday, September 14, 2010 9:57 AM
Very good articale - I personnelly have never had a monster buck watch me, but have had serveral does and small bucks come and watch as I put up or movie a tree stand or lander stand. I still haven't figured out why this ocures, but do know deer are more curious than cats and will investigate any noise or unsually smell.
Terry B.
# Terry B.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010 11:17 AM
Last year I was hunting with my 44 mag pistol and had seen a big doe pass by on my left into some pretty thick cover and bent down to see where if at all there could be a shot. As my father used to say "couldn't see hide nor hair of her" so I just turned back to face in front of me and saw a doe broadside at 15 yards and made the choice to take her. This is the first shot at any deer since sighting in a week before so when I saw her reaction after the shot I was puzzled but would find out why she acted the way she did later. After the shot and while I watched her go into different cover I noticed something out of the corner of my eye to my left and turned to see a big buck at about 30 yards away with what looked to be a bush on his head just staring at me. This is after I shot at the doe mind you and he was so curious that he just stood there for a minute or two. So with my state bag limits he was fair game and I took the shot. But he just stood there, so I took a second shot and just wandered away without regard. My pistol had been bumped and the aim point was out of alignment and this I know because when I found my doe she had a hole in her 8 inches to the left and 4 inches higher than where I had aimed. But it just goes to show the curiosity of the animal is amazing and it will cause him to do some pretty weird things.
Rusty Land
# Rusty Land
Tuesday, September 14, 2010 11:17 AM
thanks for the good story and info. This will be my forth year hunting and i dred making any noise in the field. I probably wont hunt ths year till early dec. because of shoulder surg. yesterday but gives me some insight.
thanks
Paul Mendolia
# Paul Mendolia
Wednesday, September 15, 2010 8:49 AM
If I did not see the logic in the deer being attracted to the sound in the woods I would say it was a pot of beans...but I can imagine that the sound of the aluminum on the tree could sound like a buck antler rattle and bring them in. I have not experienced this myself but it is one more thing that i am going toput into my memory file for this year's hunting.
Deborah Shealy Nye
# Deborah Shealy Nye
Wednesday, September 15, 2010 9:45 AM
Reminds me of the first wall-hanger I killed in 1998. I dropped my C-cell Mag flashlight and it banged down an aluminum ladder to the ground, I was packing up thinking my hunt was certainly over when an 8 pt, 200# buck came running in to check out the noise I suppose. Anyway, he's been on my wall ever since.
Gus Habowski
Wednesday, September 15, 2010 12:15 PM
Bow hunting in Lodi Ohio 2 years ago, and had similar thing happen. Took a shot at big Doe at sunrise, after a bunch ran out of woods with big Buck on there heels. He must have winded me, put brakes on and right back in the woods he went. Big Doe froze, and I missed. My friend and I decided to get out of our climbers and eat. He eased in field about 60 yards out, and I climbed down, walked out and started looking for arrow. He quietly told me to turn around and look at my tree. There was that damn Buck sniffing my climber and bow. I believe the sound of me getting down brought him out.
major payne
# major payne
Saturday, January 15, 2011 7:09 AM
had this happen to me one in a huge 36000 acre public land in ct i had just climbed ito the tree and while pullin my bow up it got caught on so limbs and made a racket now that i think back it sounded like antlers against tree limbs. brought in a huge deer just befor legal shooting hours .

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