Improve Your Still Hunting 101: Essential Tips
I will be the last person to argue against the effectiveness of patiently hunting whitetails from a carefully positioned treestand. More big bucks are annually taken by this tactic than all others put together.
However, many times, a hunter will have to take action against the deer to get on the ground and seek them out. It’s then time to practice the art known as still hunting.
Hunting deer on foot is more than strolling through the woods hoping to see deer. To successfully hunt deer while on the move requires that the hunter develop a discipline that conditions them to be continually on the alert.
Especially to see the deer before the deer ever knows the hunter is nearby or get a shot at a good buck that may have already detected that a human has invaded its domain and is in the process of departing the area.
How to Do Still Hunting Better?
- 1 How to Do Still Hunting Better?
- 2 How to Pursue a Deer
- 3 What to Wear When Still Hunting
With being such famous, one needs to have the proper knowledge and gradually learned experiences to master the still hunt methods for deer. Here in this article, we will try to cover the knowledge part.
How to Pursue a Deer
When pursuing deer at their level, you must always keep your purpose in mind and remain 100 percent focused, or all you’re apt to see will be white tails flagging the exodus of deer that pegged your presence before you ever knew they were there.
According to Jim Shockey, the professional deer hunter, to still hunt effectively, a hunter must move without appearing to move, and the only way to do this is to move very slow. Even when the trees are swaying, or it’s raining, masking to some extent the hunter’s movement, slowness is the key. And that applies to every movement.
Many hunters move their legs slowly but flip their heads this way and that looking for deer. Not only will a deer pick up on the motion, but it won’t be sticking around to find out what was making that motion.
Using Optics-Don’t Be Too Quick
Binocular is pretty important. Still, a hunter who heads out without them pretty well kisses away 50 percent of his chances at being successful. So, you should watch the deer from a distance using a good pair of binoculars to study forms back in the brush or to check out small pockets of cover. This way, you can see without having to enter the area.
This also can be applied to using scopes. The only difference is that you are ready to aim and fire when you are looking on a scope.
The natural tendency for hunters to grab binoculars or scope and ram them to their eyes when spotting every flicker of movement. The stand hunter may get away with such motions, but many times the still hunter who is trying to sneak up on deer won’t.
So, if you slipped up on the deer properly by moving slowly and the deer shouldn’t know you are there. Bring your glasses up to your eyes as slowly as you can. It may go against everything your instincts tell you to do. But you do have the time without scaring the deer.
So, take it. If you have to hurry to lift your binoculars up, you must have already scared the deer. And if that is the case, no matter how quick you are, it’s too late!
Still Hunting = Slow Hunting: Right Pace for Still-hunting
When it comes to the right pace for still-hunting, it is difficult to put into miles per hour. Every situation calls for different actions. If you believe an animal is close by – within several yards, take two slow steps every minute or so and standstill the rest of the time. In a day, that speed translates to a traveled distance of several hundred yards, no more.
If the wind favors you, several hundred yards are enough. It will mean I have penetrated directly to where the buck to be. If the deer was there, you should have had a crack at it – and if it wasn’t there, no big deal.
Awareness & Self Discipline
The hunter who doesn’t maintain this level of care and awareness will find still-hunting a very tedious, frustrating, and unsuccessful way to hunt for whitetails. For those with the wrong frame of mind for still-hunting or stalking.
Actually, sitting in your comfortable treestand for 2 weeks will seem like a holiday compared with still-hunting 500 acres in a whole day, through woods that may or may not hold a buck. Rather still-hunting is like making a day-long stalk with heavy bb rifles on an animal that he not only hasn’t seen but also might not even be there.
Still, Hunting is an excellent test of the hunter’s self-discipline. Most of the experienced hunters actually may have blown more opportunities than he cares to remember.
Sometimes you will feel there is a buck ahead. But moving there a little fast will scare them away. Sometimes moving slowly maintaining the awareness will lead to an empty hope. And after a tiring day, when you will think that that’s enough, you may immediately see the best opportunity.
The deer are where they are – not where you think they should be!
Some big buck hunters feel that the entire idea of still hunting is not radically different from hunting from a stand located on the ground. He says the difference in these hunting styles is that the still hunter actively penetrates where the deer may be bedded.
Use Wind & Rain into Your Own Advantages
The biggest drawback is that the still hunter must move to get within range, and when he does move, he risks detection. He attributes the high success of stand hunting, whether it’s from the ground or from a treestand, to the fact that the hunter doesn’t have to move.
Wind can cause whitetails/deer to hole up and prevent them from moving. From this theory, windy conditions mean you will find more likely to find the deer where you expect them to be, in their beds. You can slip slowly and quietly through deer cover and find them in a perfect area.
Another benefit of wind and rain is they can neutralize your smell. Wind and rain are two major weather factors that can present the perfect window for making a still hunt into the cover that could hold a trophy buck. When it’s exceptionally windy or when periods of rain drench the woods, the whitetails’ senses of smell, hearing and even sight become somewhat neutralized.
Strong gusts of wind scatter scent molecules in every direction, and a buck that picks up human odor may not have the slightest idea of the direction from which it came.
Likewise, a slow, steady rain can keep scent cleansed from the air and close to the hunter. And when the wind has the treetops and lower branches constantly moving, the motion and natural sounds can effectively mask an approaching hunter’s soft noises and movement.
Choosing the Right Day & Season for Deer Hunting is Vital
If the hunter uses common sense, he can decide which days are best suited for still hunting and which days he would be better off waiting in a tree for the deer to come to him.
By relying on both of these hunting techniques, a hunter significantly increases his efficiency and will increase the number of deer he sees throughout the season.
Still, there are times when the hunter looking to take a perfect buck will do better still hunting even though the conditions are only marginal.
The season period can largely dictate whether a hunter should be pursuing his buck on foot or waiting in ambush. In the early season, bucks may not move much at all. They’re still not out actively pursuing does, and food may be plentiful right where they’re bedding.
A hunter could spend a great deal of time in a treestand and never see these bucks, even though a buck may be spending all of his time on just a few acres of cover less than a half-mile away. This is a prime example of when the hunter may have to hunt to a sedentary buck.
A hunter must consider that if he penetrates any distance into a buck’s private domain, the buck will know it. Either the hunter will kill the buck or, far more likely, the buck will escape. Just as surely, no matter what happens, the chances of the buck being in the vicinity the next day are slim.
What to Wear When Still Hunting
In the following section of this article, we will take a good look at the clothing, footwear, and other equipment that can add to the success of a properly conducted still hunt.
Successful Still-hunting Begins with Proper Wear The reward of getting a shot at a nice buck during a long morning, afternoon, or an entire day of slowly easing through the deer woods can hinge on the still hunter’s choice of clothing. It is truly a case of the clothing making the man, or in this case, making the hunter!
Hard Surface for Outer Layer
Clothing If your plans for the day include still hunting, avoid wearing outerwear with a hard or slick surface. Every branch that slides across materials such as nylon or many other outer-shell materials with a high synthetic content can send a warning signal the deer may pick up on long before you’re within sighting distance.
With some of the worst material choices, just human movement can result in a very audible “swishing” sound. Wool outerwear has always been a favorite with successful still hunters of the past and remains popular with many of today’s hunters on the go.
Choosing Quiet Material
However, the naturally quiet material does have a few drawbacks. For one thing, heavy wool clothing in extreme cold can really weigh a hunter down. Also, a thick wool jacket doesn’t tend to have the give or flex of most modern materials, making it more difficult for a hunter to move effortlessly through a thick cover.
However, some of the newer wool/synthetic blends prove to be softer and more pliable, providing both the warmth for hunting in colder weather and silence when a hunter in stealth mode accidentally rubs up against a tree branch or sapling trunk.
Another popular material among hunters looking for exceptional quietness in the clothing they wear has been Saddlecloth.
This multi-layer material incorporates a delicate membrane of Teflon that helps keep the bite of cold wind out. It can even keep a hunter from getting drenched when an unexpected shower dampens the deer woods.
The material features a brushed surface that’s exceptionally quiet, making Saddlecloth’s clothing extremely popular with both bowhunters and still hunters.
Wearing Rainwear for Rainy Still Hunting Condition
While light rain can offer the still hunter some of the quietest conditions to hunt, most of the rainwear available to hunters can be best described as being on the noisy side.
Vinyl-surfaced and slick nylon raingear can be far too noisy to wear while sneaking through the woods, and some of the rainwear that features an internal waterproof plastic lining often isn’t much better.
Selecting Footwear for deer Hunting
When selecting footwear specifically for still Hunting, choose carefully. Avoid boots with a stiff outer sole that can snap branches before you ever know they are underfoot. In warm weather, go with the lightest boot possible.
Light boots allow more precise placement of the foot, and thin, flexible soles permit some feel of what’s beneath your step before applying enough pressure to snap a branch. In colder weather, you may have to revert to insulated pac boots or heavily insulated rubber boots.
While soles with aggressive tread designs may offer more excellent traction on slick surfaces, these soles also tend to be stiffer and less forgiving when you walk across things that can snap and give away your presence. Soles with rounded edges also tend to be more forgiving than soles with a sharp edge.