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When stalking deer...

1hornwilly

*Supporting Member III*
#1
I haven't done much stalking. But, everything I hear about it says you should move as slow as you possibly can and if you think you are moving slow enough, slow down. I don't know what that translates into in real life. How much ground can you reasonably cover on a still hunt? How many yards in a minute? If I move as slow as I have been told to move, I would be about 3 steps an hour...clearly, that is too slow. How do you cover ground to look for deer and stay still enough that you won't spook them? Any suggestions? I may try it late in the week on my Georgia hunt this year...
 

Jackalope

Dignitary Member
Staff member
31,740
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#2
I haven't done much stalking. But, everything I hear about it says you should move as slow as you possibly can and if you think you are moving slow enough, slow down. I don't know what that translates into in real life. How much ground can you reasonably cover on a still hunt? How many yards in a minute? If I move as slow as I have been told to move, I would be about 3 steps an hour...clearly, that is too slow. How do you cover ground to look for deer and stay still enough that you won't spook them? Any suggestions? I may try it late in the week on my Georgia hunt this year...
Depends on cover and shot distance, If you are on a trail through the thick stuff take it very slow. One of those look at ever place you put your foot. Set your foot down like its a crystal bowl on a concrete driveway.

Here is a good example. The distance through these pines along that trail from dot to dot is about 1,200 feet. It takes me about 2-2.5 hours to cover this distance. So I cover about 10 feet in a minute. That sounds fast but it's only a foot every 6 seconds. Then hunker down and hold tight for a min. Move to the next cover and hunker down. Wen I move i move slow. Obviously i don't time it. It's all feel. The shot distance in the pines is 25 yards max. So 75 feet.. Yes it will take me 7 minutes to cover 25 yards. The next time you're target practicing at 25 yards. Try taking 7 min to walk to your target.. It's slower than it sounds.

Pines.JPG

In the hardwoods I stalk from tree to tree, or cover to cover, But i stay still longer in one spot. I may not move for 10 min, then move forward 20-30 yards. If I see deer I watch them and see which way they are going. Then try to head them off.
 

CJD3

Dignitary Member
Supporting Member
12,446
4,942
136
NE Ohio
#3
Nothing is more rewarding and frustrating than "still hunting"
Not much to add to Jack's input but I do have a story...

I usually still hunt ( into the wind. sometimes across if its blowing out into a open field)when the its raining or the woods are wet so I can move more quietly. Its taken me a couple of hours to cover a 150-200 yards in the hard woods. I may take a step or two... wait... step... every step offers new lanes to look down that you didn't have a couple of steps ago.

The story: I was still hunting and had covered a bout 100 yards and herd noise just beyond a 12-15 foot saddle. It took another 20 min. of now moving r e a l l y slow to get up to a point where I could see it was in fact a lone deer looking for acorns. I waited until she would turn, look away or move behind a tree to take another carefully placed step. This slow motion chase lasted another 30 min with the doe eventually winning and browsing away offering me no chance to get caught up or circle w/ out getting busted.

Realizing I had lost and collecting my thoughts I realized I had a death grip on my re curve and my hand was white and really tired. Figuring I had had enough excitement for one day but pleased I had gotten "almost close enough" thanks to the wet woods floor I turned to walk home the way I had just come. There from 20-30 yards behind me were 5 deer.. They were almost as surprised at my sudden movement as I was to see them. I still remember seeing 5 heads snap in my direction as I tried to count just how many there were! They blew and busted out in a big way! I just stood there dumb founded the I had just had 5 deer walk right up on me and I never herd em coming in...

Blew my mind.
Full camo, head-to-toe makes me feel invisable... Sets my mind to the game afoot.
 

formerbowhunter1023

Now Posts as Jesse..
0
2
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SE Ohio
#4
Here's a little on how I approach still hunting with a bow...

Like CJD said, still hunting can be rewarding and it can frustrate the ever living hell out of you too. I limited my still hunting to late mornings and late evenings from roughly October 20-November 20 and only when the leaves are wet. (A great time is after a hard frost and it melts come late morning. Scouting/still hunting to break up a long sit is a great way to make it happen…) I like to follow four-wheeler trails and edges. Still hunting is crunchy leaves is pointless in my opinion as it poses a whole different problem by generating more noise, which then effects your ability to hear as well. I’d rather remove that variable. Since I only stalk when the leaves are damp, I can move a little fast than I can in dry leaves. As Joe said, I stalk from tree to tree, or cover to cover. Do your best to move with the wind in your face, or at least crossing your face. I typically go to an area I want to hunt and begin the hunt 100 yards or so from the point I am considering to be the most likely place to encounter deer. From there, I will either circle back to my start or back track depending on my real time evaluation of what’s going on. I can cover 100 yards in 20-30 minutes with ease in open terrain. This is when binoculars come in so handy; let them do a lot of work while you are stalking. If I see deer up ahead, I’ll make a decision about the best way to get 100 yards in front of where they are headed. If they are headed to a field, I’ll beat them there and set up 25-35 yards upwind of their most likely entrance to the field. This has been a pretty effective tactic for me over the years resulting in a couple of kills and some great encounters.

My favorite thing to do when the conditions are present is to still hunt to the edge of an open field on a nasty/rainy/sleeting type of evening. Back in 2003, we had such a night. I started the hunt in a ground blind with Tracie, but we were shortly called to the house by the dinner bell. Turns out my grandmother had passed away, so my parents had to leave and my sister needed babysat. After it all sank in, I decided the best place to be was in the woods on a rainy, nasty mid-November evening. I decided to stalk to the downwind edge of the same field where I had killed my first deer three seasons earlier. In the process, I encounter 14 deer, watched does get bred, bucks fight, and had respectable 6-point walk attempt to walk in to the woods on the trail I was using to get positioned for a shot. He stopped 3 steps from me. It was unbelievable. To this day, one of the best hunts I have ever had. Using the conditions, it was perfect for covering some ground and making something happen. To me, that is the biggest factor of success in still hunting, the conditions.
 

brock ratcliff

Dignitary Member
Supporting Member
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#5
I just try to sneak along. I think I can "feel" when Im close to critters. Maybe it's my imagination, maybe it's just from subconciously knowing where animals bed, but for whatever reason it seems to hold true. I just sneak along, slow and quiet til I get the feeling, then I look for 'em...hard. Usually I see an eye, nose or ear. Sometimes its the straight line of their back. I like to find 'em in their bed before they find me. Always feels good knowing you have shot, or could have shot a deer in it's bed with a bow. They sometimes lay with their eyes wide open, looking right at you, but if you move slow enough, you won't alert them. Its like they are zoned out, as my kids sometimes do.:)
 

Bowhunter57

Senior Member
3,194
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Allen County
#7
I don't stalk or still hunt unless there has been a recent rain and the ground is wet enough to be quiet. Even then, I'll walk very slowly.

My 2 favorite methods of still hunting are:
* Hunting in a 25+ m.p.h. wind. Plenty of cover noise and it will allow you to get close...very close. Keep your eyes open to finding deer parts...like a leg, an ear, a shiny black nose, etc.

* Hunting in a creek/stream. Wearing leafy camo and chest wadders will allow you to walk in total silence and appear to be a piece of drift wood with sticks & leaves around it. Animals are very unsuspecting of danger from the water. DO NOT wade in water over your hips! Knee deep water is plenty.

Good hunting, Bowhunter57