Oh, there are plenty of ways to spook a mature buck! From scent to site to sound there is a never ending supply of potential buck spooking blunders a deer hunter can make. Trust me, I have managed to unfortunately accomplish most of them! However, there is one that sticks out much more than the rest and it may be a lot less obvious than you think.
Spook Proofing A Buck's Ears
The 5 year old buck that we highlighted and passed on in the video below, was a great example of how easy it is for hunters to spook a mature buck. During the rut a buck sometimes cruise on by without a care in the world. However, the rut makes up a very small % of the hunting season. So what about the rest of the time? I have experienced that most mature bucks act like "Diego" did in the video: They are incredibly patient, slow and careful. And when a mature buck slows down his movements and uses all of his senses, his ears are quite possibly his best defense against hunters.
It's Easy To Spook A Buck
Diego reinforced what I have experienced the few dozen times I have had the privilege of being within bow range of a mature buck - he was extremely patient! For nearly a 1/2 hour, Diego was within 30 yards. While my scent had been taken care of months earlier when the particular stand location had been created with a specific wind direction in mind, the amount of sound I made in that 1/2 hour -or the minutes before- would determine my immediate fate. Diego stopped, listened, made a scrape, listened, walked a few steps, stopped, listened; well, you get the picture. One scuffle of the fabric, ting of my bow or creak of my stand and he would have been spooked for good!
How many deer have we spooked s hunters, that we never even knew were there? So much focus is on scent control, when really controlling your scent is the easy part. However, how quiet are you when the moment of truth arrives? And most likely even more important, how quiet are you before a mature buck even arrives? The #1 way to spook a mature buck could possibly be, when he gets you before ever revealing he was there in the first place.
Obviously if you have taken a stand for a mature buck you have most likely taken care of your scent. In fact, you can often smell pretty bad and still find consistent mature buck success, simply by making sure you hunt the right stand location for the correct wind direction. That portion of the scent control game can be taken care of months in advance. However the sound you make shuffling in your stand, drawing your bow or even climbing your tree, can each be incredible ways to spook a giant, before you even see him. Do you worry more about your scent that can easily be controlled in the Spring with proper treestand use, while neglecting the sounds you make in the moment? Then from personal experience, you may find yourself spooking a lot of mature bucks -whether you know that you did or not.