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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

An experiment to answer a couple of bow hunting questions

What causes a deer to "jump the string"? It happens within standard hunting ranges (20 to 30 yards),  but I often wonder, why?  Is it the sound of the string snapping upon release? Perhaps the deer sees the arrow in flight or better yet hears the arrow approaching. This weekend I conducted a simulation, an experiment of sorts. From a distance of 33 yards, I shot six arrows at a 5 inch target approximately 6 inches above my iPhone.  Of the six arrows, five were in the 5 inch circle and the outlier was about three quarters of an inch high and to the left.

The recording may not capture the audio as well as being there in person, but from this distance you can clearly hear my feet on the deck and the bow on the table.  You cannot hear the string snap or the arrow's release, but you can definitely hear a whisper just before impact.

This video makes me wonder: is the deer responding to the sound of the shot? This video raises another question: perhaps they're not responding to the sound at all, but instead they are catching movement associated with the process of shooting a bow and the arrows release.  Deer are acutely attuned to any movement. This may explain why shorter shots tend to have more"string  jumping" then longer shots.

Based upon the video what is your opinion?


  1. Very nice, I liked the video very much, Ive often thought about doing an experiment like this, now I dont have to, thanks to you. It is amazing how quick the arrow is to target after the thump of the bowstring, I cannot imagine a deer reacting that fast, but I guess it depends on the particular deer, great video and experiment, thanks for sharing.

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