Do Deer have the ability to Reason?

Discussion in 'Bowhunting Talk' started by 130Woodman, Oct 30, 2014.

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What Do You Think

Poll closed Nov 9, 2014.
  1. 130Woodman Has Lost It.

    40.0%
  2. Justin Doesn't Have a Clue

    16.0%
  3. You're both Stupid

    44.0%
  1. 130Woodman

    130Woodman Grizzled Veteran

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    This question came up over dinner a couple nights ago, if deer can associate certain noises humans make to attract deer and associate it with humans. This came a bought while I was explain to someone how I rattle, I take the antlers, obviously, along with a branch with leaves on it (only if the tree I’m in doesn't have leaves) to mimic the sound of the deer rustling around on the forest floor.

    Justin is laughing because he say's that a deer won’t associate no leaves rustling to be a threat (Human). Deer just don’t have the ability to figure that out. I can agree to a point, I don’t think a deer would associate grunting, doe bleat or a lot of other noises to a human or could ever come to the conclusion without seeing or smelling us but if you have ever heard 2 bucks fighting in the woods you hear more of the leaves rustling around then you do antlers banging together. That’s where I believe that if a deer is hearing a fight and there’s leaves on the ground and that element is missing in your fake fight they might take a pass on coming to investigate. If you are mimicking the sound they make shouldn't it sound like what they do?
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2014
  2. Sota

    Sota Legendary Woodsman

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    Deer don't reason they use sensory input.
     
  3. fingerz42

    fingerz42 Weekend Warrior

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    What you're describing isn't really reasoning. It's more conditioning. When a real fight occurs, they hear rustling, breathing, antlers banging, movement, etc. If a deer doesn't hear all of those things, he may not think its a real fight. That doesn't mean he reasons and says "okay thats a human."
     
  4. Schultzy

    Schultzy Grizzled Veteran

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    I have never rustled leaves around while rattling. Reason is I don't have any in the tree with me. If I was on the ground you can bet I'd be pounding the ground some while rattling. The better the sell they'll come in. Whether that's reasoning or not I don't know.

    This time of year the woods is very noisy. Deer walk through the leaves and don't spook other deer that hear them but don't see them. I/we walk through the leaves and were scattering deer before they see us. I think they can reason some.
     
  5. 130Woodman

    130Woodman Grizzled Veteran

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    So if their sensory input is telling them somethings off what do they do then?
     
  6. Pitman

    Pitman Die Hard Bowhunter

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    I think deer are conditioned.. if a deer is shot at or see's someone in one spot or even just in tree's they start looking in tree's (we have all seen that). I seen a thing once where they were following gps tagged deer in towns and they soon learned (were conditioned) to know what yards had loose dogs, what yards had dogs on chains and how long those chains were ect ect. They arnt stupid.. but I dont think they reason either. I dont think they look at a dog on a chain and say "this chain looks 15' long". If they walk past that yard 5 times and the dog only comes out "this" far, then they have now stored this in their memory. If enough people call them with subtle differences than a real deer and they see a human, they may get conditioned to the differences.
     
  7. grommel

    grommel Die Hard Bowhunter

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    I think they do. They can tell the difference between humans and other animals walking through the woods, so I`m guessing yes.
     
  8. Pitman

    Pitman Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Because they have heard the pattern of our steps enough times and seen a human. Just like when they reintroduced wolves to Yellowstone. The wolves prey had never seen a wolf and did not know to be afraid... they had to be reconditioned to know that wolves will eat them. They are now aware what a wolf looks like, smells like, sounds like and they know to run or be ate.
     
  9. 130Woodman

    130Woodman Grizzled Veteran

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    It's an interesting point you bring up but let's say you are hunting Northern Canada big woods country where there is no human presence can you hunt deer with a bad wind? If they don't know what you are and are not conditioned are they still afraid?
     
  10. Schultzy

    Schultzy Grizzled Veteran

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    I'm not so sure about that but just my opinion. I can't remember where I read this but all predators have some sort of smell to them that's the same.
     
  11. fingerz42

    fingerz42 Weekend Warrior

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    Are you sure they can tell the difference or is there something else that sets them off? Walking pace? volume? They smelled you? saw you?
     
  12. Sota

    Sota Legendary Woodsman

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    All of the above
     
  13. Pitman

    Pitman Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Im not saying they wont be afraid of something they have never seen or heard or smelled. Im sure a lot will. But they have heard horns being smacked together. They know that is two deer fighting and until they go to that sound and find a human.. thats all they will know/think. Thats why young deer are so "stupid" and old deer know all of our tricks.. if they have been around humans long enough they have picked up on a lot. Thats why public land deer are are so "smart" and deer on a big enough piece of land with minimal human contact are much easier to hunt. Im not saying deer with no human contact are going to jump in your stand with you. :)
     
  14. Pitman

    Pitman Die Hard Bowhunter

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    I seen a big write up on this and all the park rangers claim they were not afraid of the wolves for sometime. I didnt see it in person! ;)
     
  15. bz_711

    bz_711 Die Hard Bowhunter

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    My lab can reason...so not a stretch to think a wild and highly adaptive creature like a whitetail could also.

    I will say I read an article years ago about this rattling scenario you mention, and have shared the tip many times in this forum. It suggested tying your rattle antlers to end of pull rope and drop them to ground, then pull rope up and down to get rattle and hit ground, brush, etc. The first couple times I did this I had bucks come immediately into 20 or less yards (I could already see the bucks, not cold calling)...and even though I don't always use this method, it clearly has higher success rate for me compared to ratting from elevated tree stand. Another plus is that you can rattle with one hand and have bow ready in other...which I have done a few times with success when buck was hung up just out of range.
     
  16. Pitman

    Pitman Die Hard Bowhunter

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    IMO deer are a far cry from a lab.. I agree the more real you can sound the better. I just dont think deer "reason" without a reason if you know what Im saying. I dont think they are good at putting 2 and 2 together without knowing something from a past experience.
     
  17. 130Woodman

    130Woodman Grizzled Veteran

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    I know what you are saying and I agree too a point. If a deer makes a decision to go or not to go he still had a reason not to or to do it, we don't what the reason is.
    You put all the deer senses in play, smell hearing and vision they have to have some ability to put 2 thoughts together even if it is just to leave the area, they still had to come to that conclusion.
     
  18. CoveyMaster

    CoveyMaster Grizzled Veteran

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    I chose you're both stupid. Why? Just because I didn't like any of the options, :lol:

    I can see how folks can argue the point either way. That said, personally...I feel deer have the ability to reason and are totally aware, even self aware. I think a good number of the doubters simply don't want to think of a prey species that way so refuse to accept it...somehow making it easier to not worry about a kill.

    In my personal experience and observation from a lifetime (though not really long, 39 years) I firmly believe they are an intelligent animal that function off more than sensory input and instinct, including the ability to reason.
     
  19. Pitman

    Pitman Die Hard Bowhunter

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    And I think most of the time they come to that conclusion because of a past experience. Why is it so easy to call in a spike or a little fork? They havnt seen, heard or smelled anything that would make them think anything about you calling has anything to do with human until they see, hear or smell human and put the two together. Now you have a deer that isnt as easy to call in the next time. Like I said, Im not saying its 100% of the time, they may from time to time just think something isnt right and not know what it is. But I think most of the time they have been there and done that and thats how they know. Also Im no expert by any stretch of the imagination! There are lots of people that are way better and have killed way bigger deer than me (prob most people)! lol But I have seen enough to make me think thats how a deer thinks.

    In other words.. I dont think there is a spike or a fork alive that says after hearing someone rattle to them for the first time "I dont hear leaves rustling with that rattle... HUMAN!"
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2014
  20. frenchbritt123

    frenchbritt123 Grizzled Veteran

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    Deer are smart animals.

    I am usually trying to rattle deer in that are at a distance where they would hear the rattling and not the leaves.
     

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