Wired To Hunt

Jumping The String

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The arrow is released,  the follow through is solid and your mark is true. What could possibly go wrong at this point? Well a lot of things, but in many cases your arrow sails over the back of your buck as he crouches and then springs away. Most of you have probably experienced or heard of a scenario similar to the the one I have just described. This phenomenon is commonly referred to as “jumping the string.”  For those of you unfamiliar with this idea, here is a quick video of a buck jumping the string.

So what is actually happening here? The deer is not consciously dodging the arrow, rather it is instinctively reacting to a stimuli. The moment the deer hears an unknown surprising sound it’s “fight or flight” reaction kicks in gear and it immediately drops and loads up to bounce away. Unfortunately this often also helps them by ducking underneath many unfortunate hunters arrows.

So how drastic of an effect can this have on your chances of sticking a buck this year? Well lets consider how much a deer can move once you release your arrow. According to secondary data I’ve found, a deer can drop about 1 in in .1 seconds. So that being given and assuming you are are using a newer bow shooting about 300 fps, your arrow would take about .2 seconds to reach a deer at 20 yards. That would give the deer enough time to hypothetically drop 2 feet, but given the time it would take for the deer to initially hear the bow, you can estimate that a deer could still drop as much as a foot. This math seems to back up what many people have seen in real life or on shows. All of this being said, what is there that we hunters can do to reduce the chances of a deer ducking our arrow?

It seems that solutions to this problem are varied and much debated in hunting circles. There seems to be three general options or steps you can take.

  • Shoot a faster bow
  • Shoot a quieter bow
  • Compensate and aim low
  • Do not shoot at alerted or “jumpy” deer

1. First lets talk about shooting a faster bow. I can see the benefits of shooting a faster bow for increasing accuracy or range, but when it comes to trying to out run sound, its not going to happen. The fastest bows today travel at around 340 fps, thats fast but sound travels at nearly 1100 fps, so lets assume no matter how fast your bow is, the sound will reach the deer much faster than your arrow.

2. On the other hand the act of silencing your bow can have better results. Dampening the noise of your bow can help decrease the chances of a deer jumping the string and it can be achieved in a plethora of ways. Silencing your bow is a whole story for another time, but in short you can buy a variety of silencers and dampeners that can be attached to your bow or strings that can reduce the noise produced. The quieter you can get your bow, the better.

3. The idea of compensating for this “jump” is possibly the most debated aspect of dealing with this. Should you aim low or shouldn’t you?

In my opinion it makes sense to try to compensate for this to a certain extent. I would not want to aim outside of the kill zone, but it definitely makes sense to me that you should aim at the lower third of the vitals. If the deer doesn’t coil I hit the bottom of the lungs and heart. If the deer does coil, I hit the top of the lungs and still have a dead deer down. This compensation won’t always be enough, but it seems to be a safe way to balance the probability of either situation occuring.

4. Last you must consider whether the deer is spooked or not. Ideally you want to be shooting at a deer that is completely oblivious to your existence, but thats not always how it goes down. These “oblivious” deer still can jump your string, but it seems that it doesn’t happen as often. A deer that has tensed up and is on the alert is much more likely to quickly react to a strange noise and book it out of there. If you can try to take your shots at unspooked deer, if you aren’t so lucky it is definitely a good idea to assume the deer will coil and aim a little bit low.

Hopefully being aware of the phenomenon of “jumping the string” and being able to prepare for it will help increase your chances of bagging a buck this fall. For more info check out these resources

North American Hunter clipBowsite.com Article, DIY Hunting article

Have any other thoughts or ideas on the topic? Let us know! I know there are a lot of opinions out there, so lets hear em!



AttentionWired To Hunt has moved to WiredToHunt.com. Come check out the new site!

Now here is a cool idea. MidwestWhitetail.com is an internet only deer hunting show which is filmed and then uploaded only days after the actual footage is shot. But it gets better, this year there will be unique shows for every Midwest state! The upside of this type of show is huge because you can get from the field updates in your own hunting areas only a day or two after it actually happens. For those of us who can’t be out in the woods every single day, this kind of information can be incredibly helpful when planning your hunts. First and foremost I can see this type of semi-live coverage being really helpful when trying to figure out the progress of the rut.

There will be 10 unique shows this year covering all the “Midwest” states and they already have a  lot of great episodes from this fall’s early seasons. You can check out the home page at MidwestWhitetail.com and if you are a Michigan hunter like me, you can get to the Michigan online videos directly by following this link . This series covers the hunting season from preseason scouting all the way through the fall. I highly recommend checking out your own states videos as your season progresses. Who knows you might pick up a tip or trick that will help you out the next time you hit the woods!

Here’s a sample of a video from last season with the founder Bill Winke…

Deer & Deer Hunting Webinar: Food Plot Management May 7th

Spring can be a slow time for deer hunters, but it’s never too early to start preparing for next season. One of the best things to set yourself up for success next year is to create food plots, but this is easier said than done. Luckily there are a lot of great resources out there to help out.

This being said, a really great resource has been brought to my attention. This next Thursday, May 7, DeerandDeerhunting.com will be hosting a “Webinar” about Food Plot Management. For those of you not familiar with webinars, it is essentially an online seminar that you can follow from your home computer. Deer & Deer Hunting describes it this way…

A webinar is a seminar hosted online. From the comfort of your home PC, an expert will give a presentation about a certain topic. A Powerpoint-style presentation, complete with audio and video, plays on your computer as the expert discusses the topic. You will have many opportunities to ask questions about the topic. This structure is focused enough to explore the topic deeply, but also flexible enough to deliver the information you want to know.

The webinar is at 7 PM Est and will run for approximately one hour, with a $20 fee for access to this program. One attendee will also win three bags of forage seed from Frigid Forage worth about $135. If food plots are on your to do list, I highly recommend you take advantage of this great opportunity to learn from some of the best in the field. To register visit this link and move fast because there are only 100 spots available.

May 7, 2009
• 7 p.m. Eastern / 6 p.m. Central
• Topic: Food Plot Management: How to Pick the Right Seed for Your Soil: Advanced Tips for Working Man’s Food Plots
• Expert: Matt Harper, Deer & Deer Hunting magazine author, deer nutrition and food plot authority
• Cost: $20/one hour

First Time Turkey Huntin!
First Time Turkey Huntin

First Time Turkey Huntin

I’m heading out this weekend to go Turkey hunting for the first time and if that’s not excitement enough, I have the added pressure of going with my girlfriends Brother-in-Law and Step-dad! This is my cry for help, I know there’s plenty of you guys out there with some great gobbler knowledge. I’m obviously confident with the basics of hunting, but I’m looking for some of that insight that you can only glean from getting experience. I’d love to hear from all of you, lets hear your best Turkey hunting advice for a beginner! Thanks in advance!

PS. If I get no advice from ya’ll and I totally flop this weekend in front of the watchful eyes of the family, I’ll make sure to tell you all about that too! haha.

Five Things Not To Do If You’re Stuck In The Wild
March 1, 2009, 11:42 pm
Filed under: Strategies | Tags: , , ,

I just came across a great article on ESPN Outdoors which discusses five common mistakes that are made when people find themselves in trouble in the wilderness.

Visit the original article here to learn why it’s not a good idea to do these five things…

  1. Running from bears
  2. Drinking Urine
  3. Use hot water to cure hypothermia
  4. Remove/discard clothing to survive in the desert
  5. Obsess over food

Could You Survive In The Wild?


This past semester I’ve been taking a Wilderness Survival course at Michigan State University and it might be the best class I have taken yet. We’ve covered a lot of of interesting ideas in regards to the psychology of surviving and I’ve thought almost daily that this is such a relevant topic for hunters. Every year  hunters get lost in the wild and have to deal with these survival ordeals in one way or another. So are we, the big bad hunters, really as prepared as we may think?

Over the next couple weeks I plan on highlighting some interesting stories and tips that might help you survive if your grand hunting expedition takes a turn for the worse. As a hunter, it’s easy to believe that we can handle the wild and anything that mother nature might throw at us, but it’s usually not as easy as it sounds. The story of Ken Killip, a hunter and fireman from Denver, really illustrates this point. Ken and a buddy decided to take a weekend and hike across the continental divide in Rocky Mountain National Park. The two coworkers headed out on to the trail at dawn and headed towards a mountain lake to try for some fish. As their hike progressed Ken began to fall further and further behind his partner and he eventually lost sight of him. At the top of a rocky hill top Ken was suddenly caught up in a nasty lightning storm and became separated by several hours from his buddy.  After the storm,  Ken took off in the direction he thought the lake was but unfortunatly he was very wrong. Over the next several days Ken continued to plunge deeper and deeper into the wilderness making many more mistakes along the way. Despite his wilderness training and hunting experience Ken took wrong turns at many junctures, panicked, misused resources and did a lot of things that would make Man vs Wild’s Bear Grylls shake his head in disappointment. But how does this happen?

Check out this detailed account of how Ken’s trip out to the Rockies went terribly wrong on National Geographics website and think about what really happened on this fishing trip gone wrong. 

Laurence Gonzales describes a moment in Ken’s journey in this way –

It was a crucial moment. Killip was now teetering on the invisible dividing line between two worlds: He was in a state of only minor geographical confusion, for he could still turn back. But by the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other, he could very quickly cross over into the state of being genuinely lost. …

What do you think Ken did wrong? Maybe the more difficult question to answer is whether or not you would have made the same choices he did. What would you have done?

Next time I’ll discuss a few of the mistakes Ken made and how we hunters can learn from them, ensuring that the next time you hit the woods, you’ll come back out in one piece.

Buck Fever

Buck Fever …as defined by the Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary, is the nervous excitement of an inexperienced hunter at the sight of game.

Although this is a decent enough definition, I would be willing to argue that buck fever applies to a lot more people than just inexperienced hunters. We have all experienced that moment in the woods when our buck appears and our nerves dissolve. Something about having the pinnacle of your hard work and anticipation show up in front of you as a shining ivory rack seems to drive the human body into a nervous meltdown. Dealing with this “target panic” is one of the greatest challenges that faces a hunter every fall. Just to get to this point, with a shooter buck or doe in front of you, you must have done close to everything right. But it is these crucial few seconds at the end of your journey that will decide the ending of your great hunting story. Over the years people have came up with an uncountable number of ways to deal with this challenge, and although there is no one right answer, it is important to find something that works for you and be prepared for the climax of your hunt.

When it comes to my strategy I primarily focus on controlling my breathing. When I first see a deer that could be a buck I immediately begin to take very slow deep breaths. I breathe in, completely filling my lungs, hold it and then slowly release all the air out. Doing this during the moments leading up to a shot seems to help control my heart beat and generally calms me down. As the deer approaches I focus on the vitals on the deer, and repeat in my head to “aim small, miss small”.

Now this works for me, but it is not for everyone. To gauge the masses for some different ideas, I posed the question of dealing with Buck Fever to the Deer & Deer Hunting online forums. Here is a sample of some other great ideas to help prepare you for dealing with Buck Fever the next time “The Big One” steps into your sights.

“Don’t over think! I always do that :/ Not so much with a gun but with my bow. Just take a deep breath and try to pretend like your taking practice in your back yard” – Demoderby4

“As the deer approaches, picture the deer naked (not naked naked, but where it’s vitals are).  Start focusing on the deer and where you are going to put your pin, or sights.  Whatever you do, don’t look at the antlers again.  I keep my mouth closed, and breathe out of my nose.  To help slow my heartbeat.  As less intake of air helps me focus more on my shot.  When that deer’s head is behind a tree, or when it looks the other direction that’s when you get ready for your shot, i.e. draw back, raise your gun whatever it may be.

The biggest thing for me, is to not focus on the antlers or how good it is going to taste with a side of mashed potatoes.  Rather focusing on the shot placement.  I actually try to pick out an exact hair where I want to hit.  Like others have said, aim small, miss small.  It works, just try to control your breathing, and that can be done by different methods, for me, it’s just breathing through my nose, and not looking at the antlers on it’s head.” – Gafrage

“Immediately after 1 look you know its a shooter and I mean immediately, don’t look again, make the decision on your first look then I pick out a tuft of hair on its vitals and focus on that, NOT THE ANTLERS.  Then when it gets close to my range or shooting lane I still focus on the tuft of hair, start to sing my favorite song in my head while breathing very slowly and finally before the release or trigger pull I breathe in deep and exhale soft and slow and finally at the very end of the exhale I let it fly.  It is important to do it at the very end of the exhale as this is when you will be the most steady and calm, according to Marine Snipers anyway.”

– dmiancfa

“Run around while shooting your bow at home. That way when you pick it up you are out of breath, and it kinda resumbles the real thing.” – Deercamp


To get involved in the Deer & Deer Hunting Forums visit this link.