The problem that too many hunters have is that they think like HUMANS. In that same vein they also SEE THE WORLD as humans, with a human's perspective of it based on our logic, past exeriences, and what is relevant to US.
That's where we get into trouble. Deer see and relate to the world as deer. Sometimes what would seem obvious to us deer don't make a connection with, such as that gunshot. WE know what that gunshot means, but unless a deer was harmed or harassed by something to do with a gunshot in the past it will NOT necessarily make that connection. Hence your comment about "Did the deer know that I couldn't kill it? Of course it didn't. It also doesn't know what a gun is either or what it does.
I'm in the middle of a book now called "Animals In Translation", by Temple Grandin. She's a functional (a VERY functional I might add...) autistic person who changed the livestock industry's methods of animal handling based on how she see the world as a person with autism. She has a PHD in animal science, and is currently (I believe) the head of animal science research at Colorado State University. There was a movie made about her called "Temple Grandin", which I HIGHLY recommend.
Anyway, in her book, she discusses how animals see the world as opposed to us humans. Most of the animals she talks about are livestock and dogs, but much of what she says applies to deer as well. Fascinating, to say the least. I am just skimming the surface of her theories, but already I am changing my perspective. I was leaning this way anyway over the past few years and this just confirms it.
A deer's life revolves around 3 basic things......food, security, and sex. The priority of these things changes with the current situation and season, but that's about all there is to them. Us humans tend to over think them, and that's where we get into trouble.
Bottom line, think like a DEER in relation to those 3 things, and not a human, especially a "modern" human who lives his/her life completely out of sync with the rhythms of the natural world. There's times when I find it amazing that we are able to hunt them at all with all the mental garbage we handicap ourselves with.
Offer No Apologies.....
NRA Endowment Life Member