Escape Behavior

Your students need to understand the behavior of their prey. But as mentioned earlier, hunting pressure can cause deer to behave differently. While it is invaluable for your students to observe deer at every opportunity, you will have to supplement that observation with your years of watching deer under heavy hunting pressure.

Under pressure, deer may seek solitude, often in the thickest cover available. In situations where hunting pressure is predictable, such as opening day, weekends, and the last day, the best hunting strategy may be simply to find the thickest cover available and wait for other hunters to scare the deer to you.

Deer, when scared often run in bounding leaps with their tail erect. However, during hunting seasons this escape behavior likely only lasts briefly after the initial contact (if at all). In many situations, deer will simply walk carefully and quietly away from the source of perceived danger. Often the hunter does not even know that they have alerted the deer. It pays to pay attention to all movement, no matter how slight.

In some situations Whitetail deer will use cattail swamps that are devoid of trees as “escape cover;” in intensely farmed areas, escape cover may be a small weed patch far out in a plowed field. Deer will often travel to and from these areas only in the dark. In-season scouting and experience may be the only way to identify these out-of-the-way areas.

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