Author Topic: Do deer "learn"?  (Read 3920 times)

Offline bigmacc

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Re: Do deer "learn"?
« Reply #30 on: June 05, 2023, 08:02:57 PM »
Another cool old story that prove that deer learn.

Grandma and grandpa went on an afternoon hunt(for those on here that remember this story, I’m shortening it😆), grandma had got back to camp to make some lunch, grandpa was to meet her. They went out basically for a stroll, I remember grandma telling this story many times, it was a summer type day. They went into a bowl only about a mile or so out of camp when they started hearing motor noises. A couple kids from another camp were riding Hondas in a figure 8 type course. Grandma and grandpa sat down and watched the boys for awhile. Grandpa noticed antlers within the figure 8. He motioned for the boys to come over, asked if either had a hunting license, “ no” was the answer. One buck stood up, second buck stood up. , twin 4 points. Both had been laying in that tall sage for at least a half an hour or so while these two boys were there, both with their head’s sucked to the ground until the noise stopped. The picture is in one of our albums. The whole story is a dandy. Deer do learn, every once in awhile they make mistakes. My dad used to say they “are a lot smarter than you, because your in their world”. 
« Last Edit: June 06, 2023, 07:15:17 AM by bigmacc »

Offline OutHouse

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Re: Do deer "learn"?
« Reply #31 on: June 07, 2023, 03:04:30 PM »
This thread reminded me of a small three point who I ran into many times a few years ago. There were a few larger bucks in the area and I was dead set on them, and ended up with tag soup at the end of the season. The thing about the wee three point was that I had been busted by him several times when trying to get where I thought the bigger guys were. He ended up learning to tolerate me!

I would see him and I could walk right past him as long as it was not too close and he would just watch me. He even followed me a few times, peaking his head around trees to observe me. One time I sat with him, literally. I posted up in some cover where I thought the big guys were going to come. He shows up shortly thereafter, sees where I am, probably winded me too, flanked me so he could see me for sure, then walked about 30 yards away and sat down. We sat there for a probably a couple hours, and I thought he would be bate in the sense that other bucks might smell him and come on over.

This, of course, was with whitetails who are really curious sometimes.

Offline idaho guy

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Re: Do deer "learn"?
« Reply #32 on: July 15, 2023, 08:30:28 PM »
All good stories. I agree deer and elk learn. Especially elk with calls. Some is genetic for sure. For a long time I thought big whitetail “learned” to be nocturnal. After years of trail cam pics I learned some just started out nocturnal. One small buck in particular came in almost exclusively in the dark since he was a 2 point. He became a pretty big buck as a result. The rut got the best of him and he moved daytime to his demise lol. Made me start doing a chicken and egg thing in my head. Do the big bucks become nocturnal or do the nocturnal bucks become big 😂 they definitely learn a lot as they mature but a lot that become mature were just born with better instincts.

Offline snit

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Re: Do deer "learn"?
« Reply #33 on: July 23, 2023, 05:07:27 PM »
Quote from: Pathfinder101 on May 25, 2023, 01:14:57 PM
I have seen (and killed) older mule deer bucks in the area that I hunt that were laying with their chins on the ground to get their antlers below the brush line.  Does don't do it.  Young bucks don't do it.
You can't tell me that they don't learn. :twocents:  Probably by seeing their older buddies do it.   :dunno:
These bucks were both killed that way.  I've seen it so much that I expect it now.

Same here as I too hunt the open country of Central Wa. 15 years ago or so, during opening weekend I was tucked in the shadow of a large erratic glassing during the noon hour. I was overlooking a large coulee that had some great habitat on my side (steep talus slopes, finger ridges, pockets of sage, small cheatgrass flats, with CRP on top), along with a gravel road way down in the bottom. Below me, and off to the South about 5-600 yards away there was a very small "bench" with a pocket of sage that just looked "deery". I kept looking at this 20-30' dia sagebrush patch, and I just felt that something wasn't right. To gain a little more elevation, I ended up crawling up on the erratic that I was posted up under. Once I was prone, I could make out antler tips sticking above the sagebrush, if I didn't touch my binocs after I had them focused on the sage patch. Honestly, I was pretty proud of my spotting ability, but then they'd disappear? But then re-appear in a slightly different location in that patch?! This went on for about an hour until I ascertained there were actually 4 different bucks in this little pocket.

The wind appeared to be good for a stock, plus I've been hunting the area for a long time. With 4 of them in there, I'd have to go low and slow. It took a while, but as I got closer I was really having fun glassing that patch of sage. Once I got close to the rim of the coulee, I could hear the opening weekend traffic rolling through on the washboard gravel road. What really surprised me, was every time a rig got close, all 4 of those bucks would lay their heads right down on the dirt! That would then allow me to move alot faster, and I'd really cut off some distance. I was having a really good time, and I knew I'd kill a buck either way...I just wanted to see how close I could get (I figured I'd bounce another deer, and blow the the stalk). I finally stopped when I was probably 40-ish yards away? (it really doesn't matter)..but the subject of my story is all 4 bucks were 3-1/2 and 4-1/2 years old,  3-4pt mule deer that were hiding in this little perch. They had the wind in their favor, they could see the valley floor below them, and they hid every time a rig drove by. They just didn't account for the 2-legged guy that wanted to take one of them home. Obviously they "learned" to hide from cars as they drove by, (they'd really get their antlers into the sage was neat to watch) but they neglected to keep one deer "on-point" looking in the direction I approached, even though it was up-wind. I finally had to bark a couple of times to get them to stand up so I knew I had a clean shot, then I tipped the best one over. Unfortunately, the sage burned a few years ago and the deer don't lay on that flat anymore.


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