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Whitetail Hunting Tip: Control Buck Fever by Yawning

As Phase One of 'THIRTEEN' begins for another season deer hunting action across the nation's whitetail woods, hunters can use a unique trick – yawning – to help control panic-rattled nerves when a shooter buck comes calling

Whitetail Hunting Tip: Control Buck Fever by Yawning
What's the problem with yawning in a treestand to help deal with and control buck fever? It can lead to some snooze time in the tree; make sure you're safely buckled into a safety harness. (Photo courtesy of Drury's “THIRTEEN”)

If you've watched Outdoor Channel program THIRTEEN over the past couple of years, you might have noticed one of the show's hosts, Terry Drury, yawning on occasion.

But in Terry's mind, yawning while in a deer stand is one way to reduce buck-fever tension and help remain calm, cool and collected when a chance to take a big buck arrives.

It's one of the reasons he takes advantage of doe harvest opportunities during the September 15-24 time frame, dubbed Phase One, of the whitetail season. Such work helps him relearn the art of settling a bowhunter's nerves down when a moment of big-antlered opportunity comes calling.

That was illustrated on the Phase One episode of the first season of airing the THIRTEEN series on Outdoor Channel when Terry shot not one, but two does on the same hunt.

"That's two does in the exact same spot (on the same evening hunt)," said Terry. "To me, there's no substitution for it."

Especially when a mature buck sporting a big pile of calcified headbones on top of his noggin happens to wander by Terry's stand in October or November.

Which helps explain his commitment to early-season herd management work, and to yawning.

"When panic mode sets in and adrenaline hits you, you've got to think that (shot sequence) through," grins Terry.

"Jim Thome (a member of Team Drury and a former Major League Baseball star) always says to slow the game down."

By yawning? Thome says, yes.

"How do you do that (slow the game down in deer hunting)?" queries Thome, the five-time All Star player with 22 seasons and 612 career homeruns in the big leagues while playing for six different MLB teams.

How do you relax for a bow shot on a big buck? According to Team Drury member and former Major League Baseball star Jim Thome, yawning is one way to release the built up tension and suppress the symptoms of buck fever. (Photo courtesy of Drury’s “THIRTEEN”)


"Your anxiety is going, your heart is pumping and you know, you can breathe slowly or you can actually yawn, which creates less tension in your body," added Thome.

"I know Terry does a lot of yawning in his life, well, this should really help him going forward."

Does such advice actually work?

Well, considering the considerable baseball skills of Thome and the big-buck-slaying skills of Terry Drury, I certainly wouldn't avoid trying the yawning trick while out in the woods in the fall.

Especially as you draw your bow back on an unsuspecting big buck causing your heart rate to approach red-line status due to bad case of buck fever.

As long as you avoid the one potential problem Terry's brother, Mark, says is bound to eventually happen.

"The problem with Terry's yawning?" Mark quipped while jabbing his brother on camera and perhaps rolling his eyes just a little bit.

"It usually leads to napping," he smiled.

Which might suit Mark Drury and Jim Thome just fine, if it gives them a leg up on arrowing a big Midwestern bruiser of a buck.

While Terry is carefully strapped into the safety harness of his treestand, trying to fight off the yawns and a case of the late-afternoon nods.

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