How close a deer will allow you approach before fleeing is called flight distance. What is the flight distance of whitetail deer?
A deer’s flight distance has a lot to do with the terrain. An undetected deer will often let a hunter pass within a few yards if it. If a deer feels he has been seen he’ll never let you get close. For this reason, a hunter should avoid making eye contact with deer whenever possible.
A whitetail’s flight response to a man on foot in open terrain is about 150 yards. The flight response to a motorized vehicle is about 70 yards. This is because the car or pickup moves at a steady pace without arms swinging. Flight reactions are both learned and a genetic response developed over millions of years in the deer. Motorized vehicles have only been around a little over a hundred years, not nearly enough time for the deer to develop an instinctive response to.
Some hunters prefer comfort and laziness over common sense. The use of ATVs in hunting is a classic example. ATVs have probably saved more big bucks life’s than any other technological improvement to date. They are noisy, smelly, and jerk around a lot. All of which are flight triggers to the deer.
I see way too many people road hunting from ATVs. They’re hoping to get a shot at the buck from the ATV and thus avoid the necessity of either walking around are getting into a stand. While ATVs are a great way to get into a hunting area, they should never be used within a half a mile of were we hope catch a deer.
I feel very fortunate to have been raised in a rural community nestled in the rugged mountains of Idaho. In my youth, the locals paid little attention to game laws and seasons. Back then everyone hunted for meat. There was a certain amount of red meat that was needed be brought in to get everyone through the winter and we hunted until that supply was met. Hunting wasn’t for sport. It was for survival. We killed a lot deer. Those were the run, gun, and grin days of hunting here in Idaho. I loved every minute of it.
Times have changed. Those days are gone. But I would like to thank all the old-timers who so freely shared their hunting lore and secret spots with me. The lessons have not been forgotten. Thank you all.