Recognizing how deer see key to hunters

Photo provided by KIRK RHINEHARTFirst deer celebrationParker Rhinehart, a 12-year-old seventh grader at Runnels School, is all smiles after taking this 110-pound spike during a youth hunt on the Sherburne Wildlife Management Area.
Photo provided by KIRK RHINEHARTFirst deer celebrationParker Rhinehart, a 12-year-old seventh grader at Runnels School, is all smiles after taking this 110-pound spike during a youth hunt on the Sherburne Wildlife Management Area. "I want to offer kudos to the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for holding special youth hunts to provide kids with a great outdoor experience," Parker's dad, Kirk, said. "Parker shot this buck at 75 yards with a 30-30 (rifle) which my father gave to me, and it's the same rifle I used to shoot my first deer. The LDWF staff was super helpful, extremely knowledgable and very patient answering questions from the kids and adults about all types of wildlife and hunting. The Quality Deer Management Association sponsored a lunch...everything from stands to transportation to lunch was well done."

Ever notice how a deer, even a big, old buck will stop and look long and hard at you sitting in your deer stand?

Sure, most hunters have, but for 11-year-old Randy Montgomery, it was a something he’s never seen.

“Why?” he asked. “I got nervous. I moved and he ran off, but when I saw him on my left, he was just standing there looking at me. I sure wish I could have shot at him. He was close.”

Fact is, young Randy, deer have trouble with stereoscopic vision. Their eyes are on the sides of their head and there’s a very small spot, maybe only a 2-3 degree cone, where both of their eyes can focus on the same object. Humans have eyes on the front of their heads and use stereoscopic vision to bring objects into clear focus and measure object distances.

So when a deer stops and looks directly at you, it’s likely he or she is trying to figure out what you are.

It’s likely this buck didn’t catch your scent, or you took precautions to mask your scent, because if he’d smelled you, he would have been long gone.

The reason the buck bolted was because you gave him reason. When you moved, it was likely he was able to focus one eye on your movement.

Next time, remain still until the deer decides to move off at a walk, and turn his head away from you.

Then, while trying to maintain as low a profile as you can, move as quietly as possible to a favorable shooting position.

Odds are the buck will not have moved from gun range before you get set up for the shot at your trophy.

For the ducks & hunters

The LDWF and Ducks Unlimited partnered with funding by Shell Oil and from the North American Wetlands Conservation Act to re-establish water movement and water control on 275 acres in the Bayou Pierre Wildlife Management area, 20 miles south of Shreveport.

Originally, the WMA was a bottomland hardwood forest. It was cleared in the mid 1900s for farming, but never produced crops due to flooding and poor drainage.

LDWF and DU biologists believe the project will enhance waterfowl habitat across the WMA’s 2,200 acres.