Tips on How to Identify the Target in Deer Hunting

By: rhusain
Sometimes a hunter is difficult to identify the target under particular circumstances, such as fog.

One of the most difficult times to identify objects is during a fog. Fog not only distorts things but it changes coloration. Under this condition, a deer which is standing head-on will resemble a man, a tall stump or some similar object. Even a deer which is walking towards a hunter will sometimes be mistaken for a man. This happened to me on one occasion and I was so surprised when the deer turned broadside and revealed its true identity that I failed to react fast enough to get a shot.

On another occasion I was walking along a country road when I saw what I supposed was a deer. It was walking down the road towards me. Since the animal was getting nearer all of the time, I decided to wait until it turned broadside before I would shoot. It edged over to the side of the road, stopped by a clump of bushes and lifted a hind leg in a manner which was not at all characteristic of the deer species. It was a dog that did not stand over two feet from the ground and the fog had magnified it so that it looked large enough to be a fair-sized deer. One thing about the danger of fog is that its very obviousness is a warning to all sensible hunters to be doubly careful in identifying their targets before shooting.

One of the most common objects which the hunter mistakes for deer is a formation of dry twigs and roots of an uprooted tree for it appears to be the antlers of a hidden buck. When we consider that probably three-fourths of all of the deer in the woods do not have antlers that can be plainly seen, there is very little chance that the antlers would be the first part of a deer that could be seen. Each of these objects should be investigated, for they often appear to be more realistic than real. In my own hunting, the antlers have been something which I seldom see until the deer has been killed. This would place me at a decided disadvantage if I were to hunt in a state where there was a buck law.

When I have seen a deer, all of my attention is concentrated on the spot where I want to place my bullet. I nearly always have a good idea of the size of the animal and I often know whether it is a buck or a doe without actually seeing the antlers. While this root and twig formation is deceiving, there is no excuse for shooting at it until the body can be seen. I have never known of a case where a buck has been killed by a shot in the antlers.

There is an old, partly decayed stump located in a small clearing in the woods which has caused me to pause and check on several occasions. This stump has no resemblance to a deer except for its brown color, and though this color contains more red than any deer hide I have ever seen, this blotch of color viewed through intervening tree branches is easily mistaken for the body of a deer.

One thing about the danger of fog is that its very obviousness is a warning to all sensible hunters to be doubly careful in identifying their targets before shooting. It is good, if a hunter can take time before making a shoot, to avoid any possibility in shooting a wrong target.
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