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Deer Brains


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With all the hype over killing a mature buck with a big rack, I've often pondered....
Are the mature bucks "smarter" due to having been hunted? I know we would like to think so, but maybe alot of hunters are poor shots!
People who have been around dogs realize some are obviously smarter than others. Even ones from the same litter! So, why is it we never see anything written by the "experts" addressing this in the deer herd? It seems to me we would rather feel the deer we kill is,for what ever reason,smarter than other deer.
Sure alot of factors come into play. I just wonder why I've never EVER! even heard another person mention this. I'm not so sure the dumb ones are killed off at a young age.
I can't accept that all deer are created equal, doe, buck, young or old.

Another little thought, Ever notice how the smartest people you ever met are in some ways the bumbest? So maybe the smartest deer to ever walk the earth never made it to age three and the dumbest is escaping every year by being so unpredictably odd! I guess I've seen to many big deer go down to the most unlikely hunters. So, to make me feel better, I'll assume those deer are the stupid ones!

[This message has been edited by scout (edited 08-31-2000).]

[This message has been edited by scout (edited 08-31-2000).]
Fortunately for you. I've done a little research on animal intelligence (and their ability to feel pain) as a trapper battling animal rights legislation.

There are two primary kinds of intelligence: Cognitive and reasoning. Cognitive is the ability to learn, reasoning is the ability to make deductions based on a set of facts for example "if a. then b." Only humans have the ability to reason. Even the top primates have never showed any ability to reason despite the fact that a couple have been trained to do small amounts of communication through sign language. That's all cognitive ability. Some animal "experts" would have you belive that an animal using tools is reasoning, but there's no concrete evidence that this is anything other than learned behavior.
So a buck cannot think to himself, "Okay, I'll run in this stream and the wolf will not be able to smell me, or the hunter will not be able to track me." Impossible. If a buck does that, it's a learned behavior, or less likely, innate behavior (he was born with it).

We make assumtions all the time that animals can reason due to our bambi complex, we all have it. We tend to make anthropomophic assumtions about animals all the time. How many of you have heard and accepted that an animal will chew off its leg to get out of a trap? It's never happened because that would take reasoning. Some of these old fables die hard. Especially when the animal rights crowd can raise so much money with them.

Most larger mammals have exceptional cognitive ability. They can, and do, learn very quickly. You can teach a 4-month-old puppy to fetch a stick, roll over and heel, but you can't get a 4-month old human to do a thing.

I have a theory that most big bucks are those who have had a close call early in their life. They learned from it and altered their habits. They are programmed by Nature to learn and change quickly, their very lives depend on it. A cagey old buck is one who survived a couple risky situations and used his remarkable cognitive ability to alter his life. I believe that some bucks become simply unkillable by legal means.

That's my opinion, backed up by a little reasearch. I could go into more detail, but it's a little much for this forum. Thought you might be interested.
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