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Stop That Deer!

Stop That Deer!

Grunts work on deer and elk, but not bobcats

By Tim H. Martin

How many times have you watched a hunting show and have seen this scenario?

A deer approaches a hunter, usually a bowhunter, and the shot is made as soon as the deer is in range, yet it is still walking.

Nearly always, the hit will just clip the back edge of the vital area, or it will result purely as a gut shot.

Invariably, the hunter turns to the camera and says, "Good shot, but I hit it a little further back than I wanted to."

That's a statement we hear too often, not only on TV, but also with everyday hunters.

This happens because archers practice on stationary targets, and a bowhunter's arm is conditioned to become as motionless as possible before release. If the deer is walking, that reflex is a bad thing.

Just as with target practice, the hunter pulls the trigger when the pin (or scope) settles on the vitals, only a foam target isn't moving, therefore the vitals on a moving deer are often missed even though the finger reacted when the mind told it to. Even in this age of super-fast bows and arrows, a moving deer's vitals will travel farther than you think in the split-second the arm stops and the finger touches off the shot.

A simple tip I call the grunt stop will make most any deer stop in its tracks.

Simply wait until the deer has arrived in the clear, then utter a concise, yet audible, "Meh!" or "Baaaah!"

You can use a grunt tube, although your own voice will suffice nicely. I like to make it sound more like a bleat or blat than a grunt. That sound is close to a deer's vocalization, so it's natural enough to make them stop to investigate, yet not spook.

On a side note, the grunt stop also works well on elk. I discovered this on a bowhunt many years ago. I hid behind an aspen while a big bull walked up a trail that would bring it 22 yards from where I was squatted down. I waited until it passed, drew my bow, stood and said, "Meh!"

The 6x6 stopped in its tracks and turned to look and see what the noise was. I sent an Easton ACC through both lungs, and the bull only went 8 yards after the shot!

Interestingly enough, a grunt works the complete opposite on bobcats.

I learned this while attempting to stop them in a Texas sendero (a path cleared from the brush, often used as a shooting lane).

After I grunted at a few bobcats, I noticed they took off like someone poured hot grease on them. The ranch owner told me to try whistling at bobcats, so I did the next time one crossed in front of me. It worked! The whistle stopped the bobcat smack in the middle of the sendero, and there was one less turkey killer on the ranch owner's property.

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