As a hunter, it’s always nice to see deer tracks. At least you know you have deer in the area. But deer hooves do much more than just leave a “deer was here” signature in the dirt.
Hooves make just about everything a deer does possible and easier. Much like human finger nails, deer hooves are composed of keratin. They consist of two divided, or cloven, elongated toes. Each hoof has two dew claws that are located above and behind it. Other mammals with cloven hooves include antelopes and gazelles as well as sheep, goats, hogs and cattle.
A deer’s dew claws typically will not show as part of its track, unless the deer is travelling through mud or snow. In these conditions, the dew claws give the deer’s foot a larger and wider platform with which to move about.
Hooves are one of the most important parts of deer’s body and are useful for many purposes. So, let’s take a look at 5 ways in which deer use their hooves.
Running And Jumping
Deer obviously run and jump using their legs. But, while powerful hind leg muscles account for much of a deer’s ability to run and jump, hooves play a vital role as well. A deer’s front cloven hoof helps it to turn sharply and push off when jumping. So, whether deer are running up to 40 miles per hour to evade predators, chasing during the rut, or jumping in excess of eight feet in the air, they couldn’t do it without their hooves.
The keratin in deer hooves is sheeted and runs in all directions. This results in hooves that are stronger, harder and more crack resistant than bone, making them durable enough to support the animal’s weight, even when it is running or jumping with force.
When deer run, the toenails on the front of the hooves allow it to reduce the area of the foot that touches the ground, resulting in a longer stride that allows it to cover more ground.
Hoof Stamping (Stomping)
If you’re a hunter, you have probably experienced the ‘ole “foot stomp.” It usually goes something like this… You’re watching from a tree stand or blind when a deer sees your shape or movement, or gets wind of your scent. It senses the danger and stops abruptly, curls up a front leg and starts stamping its hoof.
Deer do this to either confirm the apparent danger or become comfortable that there is actually no threat. Sometimes the deer will flee, but hopefully for the hunter, the animal will eventually settle down and continue browsing or travelling in a manner that allows an ethical shot.
It’s not uncommon for people to mistake deer for defenseless animals. But don’t let their majestic appearance and graceful movements fool you. In addition to hunters, deer have other natural predators. These can include coyotes, wolves, bobcats, and sometimes even bears and alligators.
When a predator threatens or attacks, a deer can either run or fight. Bucks often use their antlers to defend themselves, but just like does, can rise up on their hind legs, using their hooves to strike predators. They can also kick from behind, using the hind legs and hooves, if necessary.
For hunters, the rut is a magical time of year. It’s that time when many hunters dream about that deer of a lifetime walking into view. Bucks are rubbing trees, using licking branches, and making “scrapes.”
In addition to hooves giving a buck the ability to chase does back and forth at high speeds, they also play a key part in the deer scraping activities. Bucks and does alike will visit and use scrapes, but during the rut, bucks scrape more aggressively and will use the scrapes to announce their presence in the area as well as to tell other bucks to stay out of it.
Bucks will make “scrape lines” along travel routes and as they move through their territory. These can show up along field edges, fence lines and between feeding and bedding areas.
Bucks will paw and clear (scrape) an area to be free of leaves and debris. They will urinate in the scrape to leave their scent, effectively marking their territory. In addition, they will lick and chew overhanging branches, leaving forehead scent as well. Does will also visit and use these scrapes, allowing bucks, upon a revisiting of the scrape, to know if a doe is ready to be bred.
Deer have interdigital scent glands in between the two hooves on each leg and one of the most important glands the animals have. Deer use the scent dispersed from these glands to track one another.
The interdigital glands are small, sparsely-haired sac located between the hooves on each foot. The sacs contain a yellowish material called sebum. The scent is left in a deer’s track every time it takes a step.
Whitetail Deer Hooves Vs. Mule Deer Hooves
Whitetail deer and mule deer have many discernable differences in appearance and movement. Both have different antler structure. Mule deer utilize a bouncing gait, known as a pronk or stot, whereas the whitetail do not.
While whitetails and muleys may have their differences, hoof structure and tracks are nearly impossible to differentiate. Both whitetail and mule deer have two hooves that form and upside-down heart-shape on the ground with the rounded bottom. The side of the hooves are convex, while the tips of its hooves are located towards the inside of the track. The outside of the toe is usually slightly larger than the inside toe while the hind feet are smaller than the front feet. Without other non-hoof signs, distinguishing between whitetail deer and mule deer is nearly impossible.
Hunt The Deer Tracks?
Hopefully, we’ve been able to provide you with a useful overview of how deer use their hooves. Here’s one final thought… those deer tracks you find will only tell you where the deer have been. Here’s to hoping you find out where they end! Happy hunting!
Have you ever watched those movies where they shoot arrows with a bow and feel like shooting the arrows too? The history of archery is fascinating and archery itself remains one of the oldest arts still practiced today. In fact, archery is now one of the famous Olympic sports and is even a sport in the Summer Paralympic games.
History Of Archery
The evolution of archery dates back to the beginning of mankind’s history as studies have found evidence of ancient archers around the world. Ancient Egyptians are known to have regularly used bows and arrows for hunting and warfare around 3000 BC.
Also, in China, archery has been traced back to the time of the Shang Dynasty in 1766-1027 BC, when a war chariot carried an archer, a lancer, a driver and a three-man team.
Archery was mainly used for hunting and warfare in the past, but is mainly a recreational activity now. If you have been longing to know more about archery, keep reading! We will cover the history of archery, archery equipment, famous historical archers and even how you can get started in the sport of archery.
What Is Archery?
According to Oxford Living Dictionaries, archery is the sport of shooting with a bow and arrows. Merriam Webster defines it as the art, practice, or skill of shooting with a bow and arrow. Someone who participates in archery is called an archer or a bowman. Anyone fond of archery or who is an expert at it is called a toxophilite.
Today, some still use archery for hunting wild game (known as bow hunting) and bow fishing has also grown in popularity. Archery is now rarely used for defense, except in leisure pursuits such as archery tag.
Who Invented The Bow And Arrow?
You might be wondering… who invented the bow and arrow and when were the bow and arrow invented? We don’t know for sure who invented archery, but it’s believed that Egyptians may have used bows and arrows as early as 5000 BC.
When a skilled archer takes charge of a bow and arrow, the result can be effective and deadly. Thus, ancient bows and arrows out-classed other weapons, such as swords, that were available in the olden day. The ability to shoot an arrow from a distance gave archers an advantage in battle over those bearing swords.
History Of The Ancient Bow And Arrow
You can’t really talk about the history of archery without examining the history of the bow and arrow. In the ancient times, the major weapons were:
• The axe, sword and mace for short range • The spear and javelin for medium range • The bow and sling for long range
A Bow had two basic parts, including the string and the body, made of pliable and tough wood. The archer would the wooden part of the bow (grip) at the center when ready to shoot. When the simple bow was made, it had only one convex arc so it didn’t exploit the maximum pliability of the wood. So, the double-convex bow was invented to provide a greater range and tension.
The composite bow was later invented for warfare purposes, as it was made of four materials including wood, glue, animal sinews & tendons and sections of animal horn. The wooden part of the bow was made from different trees with different pliability and the back of the bow was covered with sinews bands. The belly of the bow was also reinforced with two sections of animal horn. The composite bow had a range of 300 to 400 yards.
Today there are many types of bows, including flatbows, longbows, cable-backed bows and compound bows.
Arrows were also made of three parts, including the tail, body and the arrowhead. The tail was designed to ensure the arrow stayed on course in a straight and smooth flight, which was why it was made of feathers of sea-fowl, kite, vulture or eagles.
The body of the arrow was also hard, light, straight, long and thin to ensure maximum speed. The arrowhead was the hardest part, made of metal, flint or bone.
Arrowheads could be either triangular or leaf-shaped, flat or with central rib or spine. In ancient times, the form of an arrowhead was based on the nature of the armour of the enemy that needed to be penetrated. Today, arrows are made of fiberglass, composite materials, aluminum, wood and bamboo.
The Oldest Bow Ever Found
The oldest bows were found in Holmegard swamp in Denmark. Some date the series of bows found in the bog between 20,000-9,500 BC. The municipality called Holmegard is no longer in existence as of 2007, because it has been merged with other municipalities to form the Naestved municipality.
The first bows ever used were made of wood and stone or wooden arrowheads. In 3300 BC, the arrowhead was changed to bronze which could be shaped and sharpened with ease.
Development And Evolution Of Archery
Chinese introduced archery to Japan in the 6th century and it had a great influence on later techniques and etiquette. One of the Japanese martial arts was originally known as kyujutsu, meaning the “art of the bow.” But, now it’s called kyudo, which means ‘the way of the bow.”
Presently, modern kyudo is mainly practiced as the method of moral, physical and spiritual development. With kyudo, the archer has to perform a certain ritual movement before moving to the shooting line and shoots from a distance of 28 meters. During Greco-Roman times, the bow was mainly used for hunting or personal exploits, rather than for warfare.
The superiority of Middle East technique and equipment continued for centuries. In 1200 BC, the iron age paved way for arrowheads to be made from iron, which allows for a deadlier shot and better armour penetration. Archery was used for hunting, but Koreans, Indians, Parthians, Persians, Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, Japanese and Chinese used it in their armies.
The English longbow was made from yew wood in 1337 and used during the Hundred Years War because of its ability to outreach the enemy bows. Although the English longbows were effective, the Turkish and Asian bows were more efficient and far better than an English yew bow.
Later, firearms were developed and rendered bows obsolete, causing the use of bow to decline until the 18th century, when archery was revived as a sport. Since that time, there have been several big tournaments. In the 1900 Paris Olympics, archery was included. Professional engineers started developing new types of bows in the 1920’s, including the modern compound bow and recurve, which are currently the most popular forms of the bow in the Western hemisphere.
History Of Archery In North America
Although bows and arrows were already in existence when Central Asian peoples crossed over to North America, the people didn’t seem to know about them. It’s believed that Native Americans did not begin the practice of archery until about 500 AD.
It’s believed that once they discovered the bow and arrow, that it became the preferred weapon of choice, because it took less raw materials to make than spears.
Indian tribes, such as the Cherokee Indians, used the bow and arrow to hunt for animals. They would bowhunt for fox , turkey, rabbits, elk, bear and deer. Deer were especially useful, as they provided materials for clothing and tents, as well as for food.
Inidans used deer antlers to make weapons like spears, arrow heads, fish hooks, needles and other useful tools.
Archery In Mythology
If you’ve watched Chinese, Korean and Japanese movies, you will understand how popular archery is. Robin Hood is another modern movie where archery was made popular. And if you’ve read Odysseus in Book 21 of the Odyssey, where Odysseus was mentioned as being skilled in archery, you will see that the history of archery is a rich one.
Due to the use of the bow and arrow for warfare and survival, many heroes and gods are still depicted as using bows and arrows. Some of these mythological figures and folk heroes include:
• Abhimanyu • Kama (son of Radha) • Cupid • Artemis and Apollo • Hayk and Marduk • Heracles • Shiva • Rama • Arjune • Robin Hood • Wilhelm Tell (William Tell)
How was archery developed into a sport?
During the time of King Henry VIII, archery was developed into a sport in England. At that time, men younger than sixty were asked to practice shooting with arrow and bow. From that time, people started competing with one another during festivals.
In 1900, archery was included in the Olympic Games and was among the first sports in which women were allowed to participate. During the 1920 Olympics, archery was included, but afterward dropped because of lack of consistent international rules and lack of interest.
When people again started showing interest in archery in 1931, an international governing body called the Federation of International Target Archery (FITA) was formed to establish rules accepted around the world. But that did not convince Olympic organizers to include archery again in the Olympic program until the 1972 Olympic Games in Germany.
When the archery was added again to the Olympic Games, each archer was asked to use bows made of wood and covered in graphite. Their arrowheads were made of aluminum, with strings made of Kevlar or hydrocarbon.
Athletes were asked to use protective equipment like shooting gloves and arm guards to protect their forearms and hands.
Modern Day Archery
Unlike in the olden days when archery was mainly used for defense and war, modern day archery is practiced in different forms with different types of bows.
We now have disciplined martial artists, recreational archers, world championships, record-breaking distance attempts and Olympic level competitions. Although people still use archery for hunting game and for bow fishing, it is rarely used for war and defense. Everything about archery in the modern setting is leisure pursuit and anybody can learn archery and become an archer.
Most archers wear an arm-guard, called a bracer, to protect the inside of the arm that holds the bow. It’s not that the bracer braces the arm; the word was formed from “brassard”, which means an armoured badge or sleeve. Some archers (females especially) wear plastrons or chest guards on their chest for protection.
Fascinating Facts About Archery
Archery has come a long way and since it is now mainly used for the recreational purpose, here are some interesting facts about archery:
1. Archery is one of the safest sports
Archery is considered to be one of the oldest sports in the world. With just one injury out of 2,000 participants, the National Safety Council has deemed archery as three times safer than golf. In fact, USA Archery claims the sport is safer than bowling. This means archery is fun and safe for everyone and you can try it too!
2. Archery is the national sport of the Kingdom of Bhutan
The Kingdom of Bhutan has made archery their national sport. Almost every village has an archery range. That is how popular archery is in the Kingdom of Bhutan.
3. An archer is also called toxophilite
Although the word sounds funny, it is legitimate. The word “Toxophilite” originates from Greek “toxon” meaning bow and arrow and Greek “philos” meaning loving. So you are also a toxophilite if you are an archer!
4. King Henry V was a toxophilite
In 1421, King Henry V of England ordered 500,000 arrows for his army and the arrows were kept in the Tower of London where the king’s arrow keeper watched over it.
5. Archery was the first Olympic game that allowed women to compete
In the past, women are not allowed to participate in the Olympic Games but archery changed that. Archery allowed female competitors in the Olympic Games in 1904. Now, you can’t talk about the Olympic Games without mentioning female archers like Khatuna Lorig and Mackenzie Brown.
6. Monarchs in Britain have banned golf, bowls and football for archery
In Britain, various monarchs have banned golf, bowls and football because men refused to practice archery because of these sports. In fact, during King Henry VIII’s reign, he ordered every man in the country to practice archery after church on Sundays! So, England was the first country to organize archery competitions in the 1500s.
7. Archery has been featured in many movies
If you have watched movies like The Lord of the Rings, Robin Hood, Rambo, The Hunger Games, Brave and some of the Korean and Japanese movies, you would understand why a many people around the world want to become archers.
How archery can benefit you
You may be asking; is archery really that important? Does it offer any benefit? Well, archery offers both physical and mental benefits. It doesn’t offer these benefits to only adults; children can learn al lot from archery as well.
The act of drawing a bow is an exercise and can help you burn calories, as well as build up certain muscle groups. So, if you are looking to stay fit, archery can be a good form of exercise.
2. Upper body strength
When you draw the bowstring, your shoulder, arms, hands, back and chest are involved. So drawing a bow can help you stabilize your leg muscles and core muscles for balance.
When you are successful in a competitive archery, you can gain self-esteem and confidence. Winning a competition and boosting your confidence can help you in other aspects of your life.
Merely seeing your arrow fly and hit the target can give you a relaxing and satisfying experience.
5. Hand-eye coordination
With archery, you can gain hand-eye coordination. When you practice standing correctly, nocking an arrow, drawing your bow, setting up your shot and releasing the arrow, you are sure to gain hand-eye coordination. If you are consistent in practicing archery, you will increase your coordination.
To achieve a good shot, you need to be precise, account for variables including power, distance and wind. Because you are required to be focused when shooting an arrow, it can also help your focus in other aspects of your life.
7. It is a cool sport
Archers are usually portrayed by Hollywood as heroes because that is how people view old and modern legends like Robin Hood and Katniss Everdeen. Archery is also considered one of the safest, if not the safest sport in the world.
Archery is a great pastime to take part in with friends. Whether you are target shooting or hunting with a bow, archery gives you a chance to connect to like-minded individuals.
Being successful at archery requires patience and dedication. So, if you are looking for a lesson in patience, this is the right sport for you!
10. It is open to all
Whether you are able-bodied or disabled, this sport can be taken part in by anyone. Even the blind can use special equipment to enjoy this sport. Archery is for everyone, whether young, old, male or female.
How to get started in archery
Maybe you’ve seen others shooting a bow and arrow, or you’ve watched movies that feature archery and now you’re wondering how you too can get started. It is easy. Whether you want to shoot arrows for fun, or learn to become an archery competitor, there is a place for you in the sport of archery.
Archery at its core is fun, addictive and challenging. And, with the many benefits it offers, you are sure to love it. The most important disciplines you need in archery are field, target and 3D. You can easily find an organization that offers classes in each of the disciplines. And who knows, with practice and dedication, you might even be offered a chance to compete in competitions including national and international competitions!
After figuring out the aspect of archery you like, you need to consider the type of bow you would like to use.
The best bows for beginners
As a beginner, choosing the right bow can be a difficult task but don’t worry, here are what define a beginner bow:
• Low maintenance • Smooth drawing • Affordable • Easily adjustable • Available in a ready to shoot package
You can start today
If you’d really love to become an archer or bowhunter, you can start today! N1 Outdoors was founded by three friends that love the sport of bowhunting, so archery is near and dear to our hearts! We love providing archery tips as well as apparel that reflects our love of archery.
The view from the top of a mountain is often worth the climb. But can the same be said about deer hunting tree stands? If you love hunting whitetail deer, it’s worth the time to find out before you spend your hard-earned money on a new one. So, we’ve compiled a list of the different types of deer hunting tree stands and the pros and cons of each. We hope this will help you make the right decision on which tree stand to use on your next whitetail hunt.
Many whitetail hunters prefer ladder stands when they want entry into their hunting location to be as quiet as possible. When set up ahead of time, ladder stands allow a hunter to walk quietly to their location without running the risk of metal clanging or of a sweaty setup that could leave unwanted scent on the ground and in the air.
Some hunters believe that when compared to climbing tree stands, ladder stands allow for not only a quiet entry into the woods, but a quieter climb.
Because the stand is already set up prior to the hunt, access can be made without worrying about about assembly. (No loud scraping or searching for pieces and parts of multi-part climbing or lock-on stands.)
Steady And Roomy
Some deer hunters also prefer ladder stands because they don’t feel as safe in climbing stands or fixed position stands like lock-ons. Or, they may simply be physically unable to use climbers or lock-ons.
Ladder stands tend to have large seats and side rails. If set up properly, they are typically secured well to a tree and very sturdy. Many come with the option of a shooting rail, which is a plus for rifle hunters. Ladder stands can also be used for bow hunting if shooting rail is removed.
There are also “buddy” type ladder stands which allow for more than one person to sit in the stand. This feature can be very useful for when you are teaching a child to hunt or hunting with a significant other.
Ladder Stands… Is The Setup Worth It?
Some hunters don’t like to use ladder stands for deer hunting because they can be cumbersome to set up and can be easy to spot if not concealed well. If you have any problems on your hunting land with theft, you might not want to go with a ladder stand. While they can require some sweat to take down and haul out of the woods, a hard-working thief might be up for the challenge.
Ladder stands can also require a “cleaner” tree for setup, as opposed to lock-on tree stands, which can set up without having to cut as many limbs. Some hunters prefer lock-on or hang-on tree stands, as opposed to ladder stands, because ladder stands are typically 20 ft or shorter.
Fixed position tree stands include lock-on tree stands, sometimes referred to as hang-on tree stands. Lock-on tree stands are very useful when you know the exact location of where you want to have a stand. For example, you may be hunting the edge of a food plot or attractant location that you know is traditionally well-traveled. Or you may want to have multiple stand locations set up, so you can hunt a particular stand based on current wind direction or deer movement.
Quiet, Light And Incognito
Lock on tree stands (or hang-on stands) are typically able to be set up quickly. With the use of screw-in steps or stick ladders, they also are not as visibly disruptive to the hunting location as ladder stands can be.
While it’s not necessarily recommended to leave lock-on tree stands up year-round, they can be left up for the full season, allowing for quiet entry without disruptive noises that some climbing stands can produce. They also allow for a higher platform height than most ladder stands.
Lock-on stands tend to be much lighter weight than ladder stands, allowing for portability, easier pack and travel, and quick setup. Because screw-in steps and stick ladders can be used with hang-on stands, they also do not usually require as much limb trimming for that portion of the stand to be set up.
While lock-on stands tend to be conducive to bow hunters, without the use of a shooting rail, these types of tree stands can be difficult for a rifle hunter. And, while most don’t have side rails and other movement restrictions, that can leave some hunters feeling unsafe in the tree. (It is important to always use a safety harness when climbing up and down any treestand.)
Unless the hang-on stand you choose specifically has a large platform, limited foot space can be a concern for some hunters. So, if you like to have a lot of room to move around when standing, you should choose a stand with a larger foot platform.
Like ladder stands, lock-on stands can be the target of thieves. There are locking mechanisms available to serve as a deterrent, but a thief who is bent on stealing could still walk off with your lock-on stand due to its portability.
Lock-On / Hang-On Stand Manufacturers
Some notable lock-on tree stand manufacturers include, Lone Wolf, Millenium Treestands, Muddy Outdoors, and X-stand Treestands.
Lock-On Stand Pros:
• No setup during hunt
• No setup during hunt
• Compact and portable for packing and travel
• Quiet entry and climb
• Allows for better concealment
• Great for bowhunters
Lock-On Stand Cons:
• Can feel less safe
• Theft possible
• Some have smaller foot platforms
• Some not conducive to rifle hunting
Some hunters consider climbing tree stands (climbers) to be the most difficult to use. However, with proper practice and safety precautions, climbing stands provide hunters with some advantages in certain hunting scenarios.
Climbing stands can be very useful when you are hunting land that you may not be very familiar with. Climbers give a hunter the ability to search for a hunting location that is has favorable wind and also provides the ability to climb to a higher point without the height limitations of ladder stands, for example.
Climbing stands typically allow for easy setup and removal, meaning that you can enter the woods with your stand and leave with it at the end of the hunt. This prevents theft and also allows a hunter to be truly mobile and not be limited to predetermined deer stand locations.
Climbing stands can also pose some challenges in certain hunting situations. Unlike lock-on stands, climbers need trees with either no protruding limbs, or few enough so that they can be trimmed on the way up the tree.
Climbers also work best when the tree being climbed does not have a large discrepancy in diameter from the bottom of the tree to the height at which the stand will be secured for hunting. If the diameter changes drastically from bottom to top, the hunter may have to begin the climb with the foot platform at an uneven, and even steep angle. This can make climbing not only difficult, but dangerous as well. A properly fastened safety harness should always be used during climbing and at all times when in the deer stand.
To Cover Or Not To Cover…
When it comes to cover, climbers provide both an advantage and a disadvantage, depending on the hunting location.
For example, you might have plenty of trees on a piece of property that allow for easy climbing. However, if there are no other trees near the tree you want to climb to provide some cover for you while in the tree stand, you could find yourself sticking out like a sore thumb. And, contrary to what some believe, deer can and do look up at times, especially if they hear or smell something suspicious. It’s a good idea to climb near cover, so if that buck of a lifetime comes, you are not left wishing you had stayed hidden.
Up, Up And Away…
Climbing stands can also be much more physically taxing than ladder stands or lock-on stands. And, the effort exerted can produce one of the most unwanted by-products during a whitetail hunt… sweat. A sweaty hunter is a smelly hunter. For this reason, some hunter choose other types of tree stands instead of a climber.
Because climbing stands have to be unpacked and attached to a tree, some hunters feel that the risk of metal clanging, and other unwanted noises, isn’t worth the mobility advantages they can provide. Once attached to the tree, climbing stands also will generate noise during a hunter’s climb up the tree.
Climbing Stand Manufacturers
Some notable manufacturers of climbing stands include, Summit Treestands, Lone Wolf, Muddy Outdoors, API and Ol’Man.
Climbing Stand Pros:
• Easily removable to prevent theft
• Allow for adjustable hunting height
Climbing Stand Cons:
• Climbable trees needed
• Potential for noise / sweat
• Limited cover
• Physically taxing
If you are trying to determine which of these types of deer stands might be right for you, we hope you have found this post useful. Best of luck on your next hunt and please practice safe hunting and climbing!