This great trick was taught to me well over 50 years ago, but it’s just as effective today.
It all started when I was a lad of twelve. I was squirrel hunting with Andrew Ewart, a Pennsylvania Deputy Game Warden.
Officer Ewart and I walked through the woods until we came upon a stump in a squirrelly-looking area. He had me sit on the stump and told me to remain completely still and quiet as he continued walking out of sight.
Moments after the noise from Officer Ewart’s footsteps faded, several big fox squirrels appeared and began feeding, digging and playing — their normal routines.
In short order, I harvested my first batch of squirrels and Officer Ewart reappeared.
As we were walking home he said, “I will tell you a secret: Squirrels can’t count. They thought two people walked by, but unfortunately for them, it was only one.
“They heard danger coming, so they hid. Then they heard danger leaving, and they went right back to their usual business. When one of us dropped off and stayed quiet, they never noticed.
“And guess what? This trick works on other animals, like deer and bears,” he said.
Over the years, I’ve tested the warden’s trick many times with great success.
Like a crafty old 450-pound black bear that seemed impossible to get a shot at with my bow. That old boar always seemed to know when I was in my treestand, and it avoided my area.
One day, I decided to borrow some help and use the warden’s Two-in, One-out trick.
My wife walked with me to my treestand, allow me to settle in, then I signaled for her to leave. She made enough noise in the crusty snow to let anything nearby know I was leaving.
The sound of her boots hadn’t even faded in the icy leaves before I heard the bear coming!
I was amazed at how the warden’s trick worked on this old bear just like it did for squirrels.
For deer hunting, I have a friend with a 4-wheeler drop me off right at my treestand. Once I settled in, they drive away and the deer will sense the danger has gone and resume their routines, just like squirrels.
I must emphasize the importance of remaining ABSOLUTELY quiet and motionless as the decoy person, or vanishing hunter, leaves.
Animals can’t count, but you must convince them the danger has come and gone.
Thank you, Deputy Game Warden Andrew Ewart, for sharing your knowledge with a kid back in 1964. Passing down your knowledge to another generation was a gift I’m pleased to give my fellow hunters.
– Editor’s Note by Tim H. Martin
I know firsthand the warden’s old trick works incredibly well.
In an upcoming Buckmasters Tip of the Week, I will give examples of the Vanishing Hunter trick from my own experiences.
– Photo Courtesy Mark Skiles
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