Bowhunting Video: Timing Is Everything When Stopping a Moving Whitetail

This bowhunting video demonstrates outstanding timing when it comes to stopping a moving whitetail and then shooting it.

Bowhunting Video: Timing Is Everything When Stopping a Moving Whitetail

You’ve bleated and caused this walking buck to stop, but you’d better shoot quickly. Wait too long and he could pinpoint you, greatly increasing the chance of jumping the string.

Bernie Barringer is an experienced whitetail bowhunter, and his skills are on full display in this 6-minute YouTube video.

Barringer is bowhunting during the whitetail rut in Kansas. I’m highlighting his video here because I think it illustrates perfectly the tempo of stopping a moving deer with a bleat sound — maaaaaaap! — and then releasing the bowstring.

In the video you won’t see Barringer draw his bow because he’s filming with only one forward-facing camera. He draws the moment after lifting his bow from a bow hanger, but because his archery setup is so quiet, you can’t hear it. And his clothes are whisper-silent, too. These are good lessons for any beginning bowhunter. A quiet bow — to draw and shoot — is more important than speed, and top-notch clothing that makes zero sound while drawing is equally important.

Pay particular attention to the shot sequence. Hit the rewind button a few times and listen and watch. Barringer emits the bleat sound with his voice, and he’s quick to place the sight pin on the stopped buck and then release the bowstring. It all happens fast.

Whitetails are more prone to jump the string after they recognize that something isn’t right with their surroundings, but Barringer doesn’t give the buck any time to do so. As soon as the buck stops and turns his head looking for the doe or fawn that made the bleat, the arrow is flying. In baseball, they call it a “bang-bang play.”

Bowhunters who wait too long after bleating a deer to a stop risk having that buck or doe pinpoint them in the treestand or ground blind. How long is too long? In my opinion, from the moment a deer stops, your arrow should impact the animal within 2 seconds. Of course, you shouldn’t shoot until your bowsight pin is hovering over the correct spot. But if it takes you 3 seconds or more to settle your pin and then release the string, the chances skyrocket that the deer begins moving again, or jumps the string. FYI: I base my opinion on 45 years of bowhunting experience — it’s okay if you believe differently.

Note: Rather than stop moving deer at close range with a bleat, I often shoot them walking. It all depends on their speed and the width of a shooting lane. The chance of them jumping the string is reduced greatly if you simply let them slowly walk naturally. By “close range” I mean 15 yards and less. Trying to shoot a walking deer at more than 15 yards is a recipe for a paunch shot.

Don’t make the mistake of trying to stop a moving deer with a grunt sound. Sure, it might work, but more often than not it’ll make an antlerless deer move faster. I’ve tried making the grunt sound to stop close-range bucks, too, and they often will bolt. It makes sense: They think a bigger buck is hiding nearby and they don’t want to get their butt kicked, so they flee. A bleat sound is much better because it’s not threatening. And it’s easy to make with your voice; simply say “maaaaaaap ” loudly. You don’t have time to hold and use a commercial bleat call. Not only should you be at full-draw when you bleat, but you should have your bowsight pin tracking the deer’s chest and be ready to fire the moment the deer stops moving.

One more lesson to be learned from this video is where Barringer’s broadhead strikes the broadside buck. He doesn’t aim 2-4 inches behind the buck’s near front leg, he aims directly over it. Aiming behind the front leg increases the chance of a liver or paunch hit. Aiming over the front leg is money, provided your arrow doesn’t hit so high as to strike the shoulder blade.


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