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I've always wondered if Deer remember from one Hunting season till the next one next year ? It seems like the woods I hunt (my property) the Deer just show up as if they did not witness any action from last year ! I know for a fact I've taken Bucks and Doe in front of other Deer in that area , but they are there in the same area eating / browsing and using the same trails I've shot  their sisters/ brothers / Ma and Pa the year before .

I know they generally have a fear of humans but do they remember enough from the year before ?


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I've always wondered if Deer remember from one Hunting season till the next one next year ? It seems like the woods I hunt (my property) the Deer just show up as if they did not witness any action from last year ! I know for a fact I've taken Bucks and Doe in front of other Deer in that area , but they are there in the same area eating / browsing and using the same trails I've shot  their sisters/ brothers / Ma and Pa the year before .
I know they generally have a fear of humans but do they remember enough from the year before ?
I sure as shit hope not. That said many moons ago when I first started hunting I shot the same deer twice in the same exact spot weeks apart. Had a little hitch in his step. Dumb bastard came back for seconds. Either that or he was mocking me knowing I'd probably fail again

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I don't believe they can cognitively put it all together like we humans do. But I have observed deer, especially mature bucks, skirting areas where they either were spooked. Or had sensed danger in the recent past. 

But I don't know if that individual deer would carry that year to year? Perhaps some may? Most not, would be my guess.

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It was the friday before gun season. I was bow hunting and a huge buck comes following some does. He is about 40 yards out just standing there. It was just about 4:00 the time when the jerk offs get to camp and site in. My neighbor starts doing this round after round not more than 300 yards away. That buck stood stood in one spot not moving. He flicked his tail at some point and walked in the direction of the gun fire. I don't think they are as cagy as we think.


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IDK the science or biology regarding a deer's brain function, but have to agree with Grampy about them having short term memory that changes their habits &/or travel routes. Could possibly be simply a learned response and not so much a cognitive (word?) reaction to dangerous situations. As far as longer term memory, sure the deer around where I hunt know when apples are ripening and annually travel 1/2-3/4mi to enter the orchards like they know what's going on. Having any other long term memory retention about human intrusions or interactions, think we might be giving them too much credit. If their long term memory were this great, every tree stand a hunter s/u would be a "one n done" scenario.

Edited by nyslowhand

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I personally feel that those old mature does know from year to year.   They are the ones that teach the fawns where the food is and when to get it.   I used to have one that you could watch her from a distance checking out stands.  She had to be 5-6 years old because I saw her for 4 years and she was already a big doe.  she had a very distinct black stripe down her back.  She lived on 40 acres and she never really left it. 

For the most part most deer don't remember.  

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i would say its more of a learned behavior. Do dogs remember, do cats remember, pet birds, trained bears, - of course they do.  If you bust a deer out of the same spot repeatedly or they smell you repeatedly are they learning that the area isnt good for them ? Of course.  Do they remember that old guy walking down the road is the same one that comes up here and shoots my friends - probably not - but they might remember that humans are a threat.  Deer are like any animals with conditioning they learn.  Just like if people are feeding deer in an area they remember to go back there.  

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But is it remembered or is it their senses improved and they smell/sense the dangers that lie ahead (that also lied behind -but we only know that).

I imagine that they comeback for the apples not as a result of memory but as a result of smell.


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Deer remember as in instinctually.  This past weekend was a war zone here,  every camp shooting guns ,slamming car doors , wood stoves lit, checking and hanging stands.  Deer learn that human scent is danger and this sudden influx sends them into a flight response.  Same as if they have an experience in a certain area they escape from, they will look for a hunter there again and again. 


I've hunted almost everyday of my life.. the rest have been wasted!

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3 minutes ago, G-Man said:

Deer remember as in instinctually.  This past weekend was a war zone here,  every camp shooting guns ,slamming car doors , wood stoves lit, checking and hanging stands.  Deer learn that human scent is danger and this sudden influx sends them into a flight response.  Same as if they have an experience in a certain area they escape from, they will look for a hunter there again and again. 

I tend to believe this as well . Let me pick your brain a little, my spot in cuba sees regular traffic from my buddy and his dog doing firewood, probably 4 times a week. He says he sees deer all the time while cutting firewood ,when I'm walking up the hill the deer are gone as soon as they you . It seems odd that the saw running being the only difference is the deal breaker but it seems that way.

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1 minute ago, Jeremy K said:

I tend to believe this as well . Let me pick your brain a little, my spot in cuba sees regular traffic from my buddy and his dog doing firewood, probably 4 times a week. He says he sees deer all the time while cutting firewood ,when I'm walking up the hill the deer are gone as soon as they you . It seems odd that the saw running being the only difference is the deal breaker but it seems that way.

Try this ?  LOL

zombie-gun.jpg

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I tend to believe this as well . Let me pick your brain a little, my spot in cuba sees regular traffic from my buddy and his dog doing firewood, probably 4 times a week. He says he sees deer all the time while cutting firewood ,when I'm walking up the hill the deer are gone as soon as they you . It seems odd that the saw running being the only difference is the deal breaker but it seems that way.

Seems silly but the saw is not dangerous to them. They “just know” - like stranger danger...good touch bad touch!!!


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I think they may have a small recollection of where danger was/is. I think it's pretty fleeting though. If they remembered everything it sure would be hard to fill a tag.

 

For the most part deer are creatures of habit. If they weren't you wouldn't see game trails from them. I have said, as skittish as deer can be, they also seem to have a curious nature as well.

I have read on here and heard many tales of a hunter shooting a deer while field dressing the one they shot 10 minutes ago. If deer remember, I can't see that happening as often as it seems to.

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1 hour ago, crappyice said:


Seems silly but the saw is not dangerous to them. They “just know” - like stranger danger...good touch bad touch!!!


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 I agree; I think they are able, somehow , to differentiate noises associated with common human activities and classify as either “dangerous” or “not dangerous” in their brains. So, running a chain saw or plowing a field is a “ not dangerous “ activity because humans never try to interfere w them while engaging in them. A  fellow hunter / friend of mine told me years ago that it was actually better to crash through the woods sort of wantonly and with abandon rather than creep quietly because the quiet creeping spooks the deer more . According to him, the sneaking form of motion is associated w danger as opposed to people just walking through the woods , say, on a hike and don’t care if they’re being quiet . I don’t know if this is true but I believe there may be something to it . 

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I tend to believe this as well . Let me pick your brain a little, my spot in cuba sees regular traffic from my buddy and his dog doing firewood, probably 4 times a week. He says he sees deer all the time while cutting firewood ,when I'm walking up the hill the deer are gone as soon as they you . It seems odd that the saw running being the only difference is the deal breaker but it seems that way.
They get used to the harmless people. My bet would be they learn the saw guy isn't going to bother them but the bow man may? Maybe the associate the sound with just harmless noise since it never once made a move on them. But I tend to agree with your observations. Same deal at the property I hunt. The owner has people working there all the time and they see all the deer. That's actually where I get my best scouting info. Then I hop in a tree and then it's a matter of just being lucky. Maybe they associate the smells and sounds of the workers with harmless creatures then a camoflaged man as dangerous? Who knows

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4 hours ago, Jeremy K said:

I tend to believe this as well . Let me pick your brain a little, my spot in cuba sees regular traffic from my buddy and his dog doing firewood, probably 4 times a week. He says he sees deer all the time while cutting firewood ,when I'm walking up the hill the deer are gone as soon as they you . It seems odd that the saw running being the only difference is the deal breaker but it seems that way.

The deer tend to ignore me and my cats as we are outside and thru the woods a lot especially the cats. My friend tj believes same as you they are just use to my smell, where when he is out they blow and run in a heartbeat.  They use to be paranoid about getting cat scent on their hunting clothes ,but they realize now is probably the best cover scent around as they are outside and everywhere for 12 to 26 hours at a pop.  Deer simply think oh its that cat..   you may want to experiment using your buddies clothes and see if that works. Or give him some of yours to wear a bit ... 

Edited by G-Man

I've hunted almost everyday of my life.. the rest have been wasted!

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4 hours ago, Jeremy K said:

I tend to believe this as well . Let me pick your brain a little, my spot in cuba sees regular traffic from my buddy and his dog doing firewood, probably 4 times a week. He says he sees deer all the time while cutting firewood ,when I'm walking up the hill the deer are gone as soon as they you . It seems odd that the saw running being the only difference is the deal breaker but it seems that way.

I think they are curious creatures as well. We have noticed that when running chainsaws and tractors we will get deer coming into the area we are working almost just to check it out. Perhaps they don't associate loud noises as a threat. We have a logger working on our property right now and he says not a day goes by where he doesn't see a deer. 

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7 minutes ago, Moho81 said:

I think they are curious creatures as well. We have noticed that when running chainsaws and tractors we will get deer coming into the area we are working almost just to check it out. Perhaps they don't associate loud noises as a threat. We have a logger working on our property right now and he says not a day goes by where he doesn't see a deer. 

They are use to a lot of logging putting tops on ground ,which is free food..  so if it's done in the area a lot they tend to come with the association, like shaking bird seed in a scoop animal seem to know the feeders full


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I know deer remember at least through the season. I am damn particular about my tree stands. If I get "made" in a tree stand, I wont use it for the rest of the year. The deer know to look for you. I am real particular about letting others hunt my stands for that reason

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I love watching the deer staring at stands 15 feet in the air, before moving through or going around. A lot of hunters are horrible at sitting still and their stands get pegged early by the old does, and it spreads to any deer around her.

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On 9/8/2020 at 2:11 PM, Daveboone said:

I know deer remember at least through the season. I am damn particular about my tree stands. If I get "made" in a tree stand, I wont use it for the rest of the year. The deer know to look for you. I am real particular about letting others hunt my stands for that reason

 

This one made eye contact with me from 75 yards away when I was in the upper box on the stand in the bottom photo on November 2 last year.   He may have seen me there when he was a year younger and knew where to look.  I stayed perfectly still and he eventually moved in range of my crossbow.   I waited for him to move to a point where the crosshairs aligned with his chest, before moving my trigger finger.   

1941223022_8pointcb2109asfound.jpg.d6d993fada1652e288acca6e0df5f333.jpg

 

wcapstand.jpg.216c5b860b76a53343b36f09288a6873.jpg

Edited by wolc123
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On 9/11/2020 at 6:33 PM, coonhunter said:

I love watching the deer staring at stands 15 feet in the air, before moving through or going around. A lot of hunters are horrible at sitting still and their stands get pegged early by the old does, and it spreads to any deer around her.

Another little quirk with the above scenario is that hunters in stands on adjacent properties can influence your hunts! If they are fidgeting or constantly standing/sitting while up in the stands & deer regularly notice them, this may cause the same deer to be nervous about the stands in your hunting area. I noticed this phenomenon a couple years ago when a new group of hunters bought an adjacent property to where I hunt. I'd hunted the same area for ~11yrs with very few situations where deer looked at the stands while I was in one. Even seemed to have been some routine travel routes slightly modified to skirt a stand area.

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2 hours ago, nyslowhand said:

Another little quirk with the above scenario is that hunters in stands on adjacent properties can influence your hunts! If they are fidgeting or constantly standing/sitting while up in the stands & deer regularly notice them, this may cause the same deer to be nervous about the stands in your hunting area. I noticed this phenomenon a couple years ago when a new group of hunters bought an adjacent property to where I hunt. I'd hunted the same area for ~11yrs with very few situations where deer looked at the stands while I was in one. Even seemed to have been some routine travel routes slightly modified to skirt a stand area.

I set my two man ladder stand along a routine travel route. I also set a hang on stand on the other side of the thick. If Little Squirrel is too fidgety, they may all pass in front of my other stand. The trick then will be to get into the woods without lil squirrel, which may prove rather difficult until its gets cold. 


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