During PA archery season, a hunter offers advice on calling deer

Archery hunting is all about having close encounters with wildlife.

The hunters do everything possible to ensure that the deer wander a short distance from their stalls. While there are many techniques and appeals that have piqued the interest of visiting deer, there are some proven steps to keep in mind when pursuing white-tailed deer in Pennsylvania.

Jim Devine, of Johnstown, Cambria County, has been an archery hunter for 51 years and shares some of his experience and proven techniques with other hunters.

Jim Devine of Johnstown, Cambria County, has been an archery hunter for 51 years in Pennsylvania and offers advice on how to call deer.

It doesn’t matter whether you use a classic crossbow, compound, or crossbow – “Whatever works for you,” he said – archery hunting is all about getting close to your game. be competent and know your limits, ”he said of being ready to hunt.

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Much of the deer hunting comes down to controlling your noise at all times and avoiding making extraneous sounds to the animals.

When you get into the woods, you have to be careful when closing your car door. “Deer have big ears for a reason,” he said.

As you enter the woods, walk from heel to toe and mix up your step pattern. He said deer can detect a sound pattern or cadence at a noisy walk that is different from what other animals produce in the woods.

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If you are hunting from a tree he said the most important thing is safety, and that involves having a safety harness to catch you in the event of a fall. He has heard of too many stories of hunters failing to return home after a tragic accident in a tree stand. “It is not worth not taking the extra precautions for safety in the tree stand.”

When picking up your booth he said read the habitat and sign. You want to be in a tree where the wind will blow from the deer towards you. If the wind moves from your direction towards the animals, they will pick up your scent and likely leave the area. “A deer’s sense of smell is wonderful.”

How to call a deer

Stag Call is a tool to get a deer’s attention and hopefully bring it closer to you. “I always have a growl call with me,” he said of the archery hunt.

Jim Devine's growl tube used to summon deer in the wild is pictured in the photo on the left.  To the right is the adjustable o-ring inside the call that can slide along the reed to change the sound.

Devine recommends getting a growl call that has an adjustable o-ring to customize the sounds of a deer.

If he sees any deer moving away from him, he uses his growl tube to call them out. He said a soft growl will be heard by a deer at a considerable distance. A deer will flip its tail to let you know it has heard the sound or may stop to look at you. If the deer does not immediately change direction towards you, give it time before calling again because it may come towards you. The deer heard you but may not be ready to come.

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Devine said to keep the call to a minimum as the deer are able to pick up the direction of sound in a small area and will wonder why a deer is not there. If the deer starts to walk in your direction, stop calling because the deer will detect you.

If the deer is not walking towards you, a common hunters mistake is to blow harder on the call. Loud, aggressive calls might work in other states where there are different buck-to-doe ratios and fewer hunters, but he believes it may scare deer more than it attracts.

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With archery hunting he said to be careful if you keep your appeal on a thong around your neck. It’s easy for the call to grab onto your bowstring during a shooting opportunity.

When archery hunting, you can use a hook to hold your growl tube.  If you have the take-off cord around your neck instead of a hook, be careful that it doesn't interfere with your bow while shooting.

In late October and early November, hunters can successfully shake off a pair of deer antlers. You can use real or synthetic antlers or a commercial ratchet bag to intimidate the deer. Devine said to think about two dollars jostling each other, not a real fight streak. He said the light tickle of the antlers would make the males curious as to which deer were in their backyards. “Less is better,” he said so as not to be too aggressive. “You are trying to play on the curiosity of the deer.”

Jim Devine shakes the deer antlers lightly to attract males during archery season.

When a deer reacts to the clicking sound, it says to prepare your bow as they usually come quickly and look to see what’s going on.

There are many resources online to learn more about calling the deer with can calls, growl tubes, and clicks. The key is to consider the information about the Pennsylvania deer, not the deer that are found in the western states with less hunting pressure.

Don’t be afraid to try calling and see what works for you. “When it does, it’s magic,” he said of a deer rush responding to his calls. “You actually made this wild animal come to you. “

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Devine and his wife, Carol, raised three children, Jimmy, Matthew and Sarah, who have all become ethical archers.

He said that hunting translates into many aspects of life. You must be prepared for what is to follow and you must be persistent. To be persistent, you must have a goal. He said his children learned these skills as well as how to be patient through bow hunting. “They learned to be patient by hunting. It takes a lot of time and hours to hunt. “You have to be prepared to keep trying. “

Carol, who doesn’t hunt but helps transform the deer and helps everyone get ready to go to the woods, said success is measured by the stories her family tell about being in the woods. “They tell stories of being together… These are memories they will always have,” she said of spending time with her family and friends.

“It’s brought so much to our family that you can’t even measure it,” he said of the hunt.

Brian Whipkey is the outside columnist for the USA Today Network sites in Pennsylvania. Contact him at [email protected] and sign up for our weekly Outdoors Newsletter on your website homepage under your login name.

Explore PA with you as an outside janitor!

My goal is to help others better understand what is available in Pennsylvania and to explain what is going on with state agencies regarding fishing, hunting, and the outdoors. I’ll answer common questions you might have regarding hunting, fishing, camping, visiting state parks and trails, and just about anything you can do outdoors. Twitter: @whipkeyoutdoors / Instagram: whipkeyoutdoors


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