Q & A: When is the best time to draw my bow to avoid spooking deer?

by Nigel Read | July 24, 2013

spooking dear - Bow hunter in field pulling back arrow on compund bow.

Answer: Getting to full draw undetected can be a really tricky aspect of bowhunting.Draw too soon and you’re shaking like a leaf before your quarry is in shooting position. Draw too late and you’ve missed your chance. These tips will help.

  1. Make sure you’re not drawing too much weight. You must be able to draw straight back, smoothly and slowly, without any unnecessary movement.
  2. Choose pines and cedars as stand trees for the cover they provide. Cut the bare minimum of branches until your stand is hung, then trim only what you must in order to shoot unimpeded. You don’t have access to evergreens big enough? Pick a hardwood with cover around and especially behind it.
  3. When planning shooting lanes, note bushes or tree trunks that will obscure a deer’s vision long enough for you to draw.
  4. Before season opener, arrange a small screen of branches, if necessary.
  5. Anticipate where your opportunity will be and be fully ready to shoot there as early as possible.

Setting stands high gets you above a deer’s line of sight and lessens the chance of being winded. I have many stands over 30 feet high. Remember, deer you’ve called in are more alert.