HUNTINGsmart! USA Knowledge Base
Module 11 - IN THE FIELD
Stalking a game animal isn’t creepy and illegal. It’s actually a really effective way to bag a buck. So how does it work? Stalkers slowly and quietly walk through the bush until they spot the game and then they try to inch close enough to get a clean shot opportunity. This is a standard hunting tactic and a favorite of deer hunters. It may sound like a leisurely stroll through the woods, but sneaking up on game will demand skill. Remember, the hearing and vision of game animals is much better than yours and will be tough to best.
So, how do you find em’? The most important thing is to travel against the wind to leave your scent behind you as you move forward. Then find a trail to follow—look for fresh tracks, fresh scrapes and scat piles—they’ll help lead you to your prize.
Check This Out: Irregular Stepping
Getting close enough to place a clean, accurate shot without causing the game to spook and run is the most difficult part. Here’s a trick: Moving quietly, try to walk in odd numbered steps. For example, take three steps, then stop, then take one more step, then stop, etc. Game animals walk in hesitant, uneven patterns so switching up the pattern of your footsteps will help disguise your stepping sounds.
The grouse hunters stalking technique is to creep up on the birds quietly to flush them out of their shelter. With grouse, you’ll need to be within shotgun range when they explosively fly out from their cover.
The stalking technique used by duck hunters is to quietly drift, paddle or wade along marsh edges and creeks so you can sneak up and flush the ducks into the air while they’re within shooting range. Careful though, these areas can be slippery. If you wipe out on a slimy rock in the creek, every duck within two miles will be outta’ there.
Wise Words: Trail Grooming
If you own the property where you’ll be hunting, trim back a stalking trail. There’s no need to plow out a road. Just make a path that’s wide enough so that you won’t snag branches and make a racket while you’re creeping through the woods.