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Hunter's ticking timepiece attracts some interesting clock-watchers

October 13, 2010 | 12:02 pm

What time is it? Apparently, deer-thirty.

Minnesota bow-hunter Doug Strenke received a surprising, and amusing, reaction after hanging up a large, white-faced clock last year near the infrared trail camera he installed on the property he hunts, wanting to keep track of when deer visit the area since the cam had no time-stamp function.

The St. Paul Park, Minn., resident was worried that the clock would scare everything away "within miles." Instead, his trailcam began photographing lots of deer and, as Strenke told the Pioneer Press, "A lot of my pictures show the deer looking at the clock."

"It just blew me away," continued Strenke. "The clock has a loud tick -- I can hear it from my stand -- and it appears the deer are interested in it."

When the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources was contacted to ask if it's illegal to use a clock to attract deer, conservation officer Brad Johnson said that was a question he'd never heard before.

"Clocks are not bait and not a food substance and they are not an electronic deer call," Johnson said with a laugh. "I don't think there is anything in statute that would prohibit 'clocking' a deer."

Deer2.2 "Maybe they're just punctual deer," he added.

Agency deer biologist Marrett Grund also shared a theory on the animal's response.

"My guess is the deer are inquisitive," Grund said. "They are just curious about something that is different. It's not causing them any alarm."

Strenke has put the clock up again this year for the bow-hunting season, which began Sept. 18, and decided against buying a new trail camera with a time-stamp function -- he's having too much fun with the clock (on a sidenote, Strenke didn't shoot any of the bucks in the images last season).

"It's really funny," he said. "My friends are getting a giggle out of it, probably because I'm so cheap. You think you've got the deer figured out, and then you think they're just trying to tell time. I'm having more fun taking pictures than hunting."

-- Kelly Burgess

Photos: Deer seem to be checking the time in these images taken by a trail camera. Credit: Doug Strenke