Whether hunting deer (even clever old bucks) or black bears (even wise 300-600 pound boars), here’s a trick that works too often to not include in your hunt plans. It’s a reason beginning youngsters sometime take trophy-class bucks.
A feeding 10-pointer hears a far-off dad leading his son or daughter (or a hunting partner) to a tree stand that happens to be near the downwind or crosswind edge of the buck’s current favorite feeding area (Dad’s a lucky or knowledgeable preseason scouter). Since they are moving steadily, not sneaking and halting often as if hunting (not making sounds characteristic of hunting humans) and because they are noisy enough to be kept track of by hearing alone, the buck feels no great alarm, knowing it can easily sneak way from the area with no great haste and avoid being detected by the approaching hunters if and when needed. Always cautious, however, it steps into nearby cover to watch and wait to see what happens—hoping those hunters will soon simply pass, after which it can resume feeding.
Oh-oh, they stopped. They’re right over there by that big pine tree ten yards back in those thick spruces fifty yards away. The buck is becoming nervous, its tail slowly rising and spreading. The hunters then suddenly begin moving again. Sounds (soft footsteps and sticks breaking softly underfoot) indicate they’re now moving away, back in the direction from which they came. The buck’s tail relaxes, dropping back to its usual position. The sky is beginning to brighten in the east.
It’s full light. Having heard, seen or smelled nothing that indicates a hunter is near during the past half hour (big bucks commonly wait 15-30 minutes to be sure), the buck flicks it tail once from side to side, indicating it has finally decided what to do next. It steps out into the opening and resumes feeding.
Five minutes later, Dad hears a shot in the direction from which he had earlier led his son or daughter to a tree stand. He can’t wait to return to see what happened.
Note: This works best in dense forest cover. If a big buck (or bear) actually sees two hunters approach and only one depart, it won’t be fooled.