When it comes to still hunting the name can be quite deceiving. If you didn’t know then you’d think that it would involve someone sitting in something like a tree stand and waiting there for hours on end with your bow in hand waiting for the prey to cross your path.
In reality, still hunting is a highly specialized form of hunting where you are constantly on the move trying to hunt down the animal that you are trying to shoot. Those movements though aren’t exactly at walking speed as they are a series of very occasional steps with observations, so you are still for most of the time but always on the move.
What is still hunting strategy?
Still hunting is one of the most enjoyable experiences that you can have with a bow in your hand as it feels more like actual hunting than many other different types. It requires a lot of knowledge and expertise which means that the overall results feel a lot more satisfying.
There is a lot that you need to know though before you become a still hunting expert but the main aim of the game is to track down an animal without giving yourself away by making any sounds which could alert the game that you’re after.
In order to do that you need to stay out of sight first and foremost and to do this you need to use whatever is around you to keep you concealed in order to increase your still hunting strategy ratio. To do this you need to use any shadow that you can when it’s available and look for other features to conceal you as well. These include creeks, walls and pretty much anything that is going to prevent any animals from seeing where you are.
It makes sense to know exactly the land that you are traveling on as well and that involves study before your trip and also making sure that you are often making checks on your map when you’re out there hunting. One thing that you need to do is check for any ravines, ridges or any other feature which is going to be likely to attract the animals that you’re trying to hunt.
Perhaps the biggest aspect of not giving away your position is the ability to make the right kind of noise. We say the right type as noise as it’s inevitable that you’re going to make some noise but you need to make sure that it is as natural as possible so that the animal that you’re trying to track will think they are as natural as possible.
This essentially means not making a noise that is in any way rhythmical or has cadence. A pattern of walking will alert the deer that there is something unusual close by which will possibly scare them off. If you do make a sound, such as snapping a twig, then it’s a good idea to try and imitate the sound of an animal to keep your cover.
While you have the key aspects to strategy here, you should always rely on your eyes to constantly look at where you’re going but also to check what you’re feet are doing as well. You need to make sure that the path ahead of you is clear before moving forward and keeping your eyes wide before moving forward and analyzing the landscape ahead of you.
Using binoculars here is a great idea to scope out the ground ahead of you and once you have then you can move again, making sure that your steps are slow and deliberate and don’t sound like normal human footsteps. You need to take these steps while always having your eyes wide, looking for the prey you’re aiming for.
Still hunting is one of those things that you get better at over time so you shouldn’t lose heart if you don’t get it right on the first attempt. It all requires timing and patient and those are things that require experience to get right. You’ll develop your own perfect strategy over time
The art of still hunting
In many ways still hunting is an art form that you have to master. Some methods of hunting are very simple but the nuances of still hunting will ensure that any kill that you make will give you an incredible buzz. There is a talent to still hunting and while you are moving through the landscape you have to learn a whole different way of walking which might feel alien to you.
As you develop your skills you’ll have a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t so you can go out on the field with a great deal of confidence. Still hunting in many ways takes you back to those caveman times where animals had to be tracked perfectly in order to make the kill.
This process is part of what makes still hunting so popular still and the thrill that you get from it can hardly to be matched. In order to be an expert you have to learn the art form and all the different aspects of it. Once you’ve done that then you are going to have a new found love for hunting with this method.
Still hunting strategy walking vs standing
When you’re out there hunting you need to strike a fine balance between walking and standing still and finding the right time to do both. To still hunt is to develop a whole new way of walking as you’ll be taking baby steps through the woods and trying to work out a way of moving without being detected by anything. Sometimes you’ll take much wider steps and sometimes you might be placing your foot down only a few inches forward.
When you’re still hunting through the animal that you’re out there looking for won’t be standing still as it will be moving around as well, so you need to know the importance of sometimes standing still as this could be the best way of letting a deer come to you, when you are still you need to fully analyze the landscape in from of you so plot your next move.
If it’s in the morning or evening and you’re going through a dry forest in bright sunshine when you need to be more careful with your steps than if you were trying to track a deer in the afternoon when there is a covering of light snow. You need to learn when the best times are for you to make a move or stay still and appreciate that sometimes it’s harder than others.
One of the biggest keys is staying patient and realizing that often the best thing to do is to just stop and wait for a while before making your next move. Animals like deer are easily spooked and if you make a sound then it’s important to stay still for a while to ensure that you don’t give any more clues that human is in the area. When you are still you need to listen to the noise around you to see if you have any verbal clues.
While with still hunting the art form is in knowing when and how to move at the right times, you also need to know when to be still as well. This could mean staying still for 10-15 minutes at a time before making your next move.
Still hunting vs spot and stalk?
There are a few different types of hunting and they all of their merits. Spot and stalk is another great method but the key difference is here is what you want to be doing. The irony here is that stand hunting or spot and stalk are types where you are actually still, unlike still hunting.
Spot and stalk, however, doesn’t have a confusing name and is simply getting to a high vantage point, spotting an animal and then stalking until you hunt it. This is obviously difficult as when you are looking you don’t have to worry about the environment around you and then you are going to hunt for a specific animal.
Both are very enjoyable and great ways to hunt but there isn’t really a better option as it comes down to personal preference. Personally, I always like to be on the move and love the still hunt. Other though find peace if finding that high vantage points and scouring the landscape before getting to work.
How should a downed deer or other large animal be approached?
The first point here is an obvious one and that is, carefully. Injured animals are notoriously unpredictable so you need to be cautious and approach the animal from above and the head so to give you the best chance of not alerting it.
It’s best to check on it from a little distance to see if it’s dead by checking the rise and fall of its chest cavity. If it’s not then it needs to be finished as soon as possible and for a bow hunter that means shooting it into the heart and lung area of the animal to give it the quickest death.
Once dead, then you just need to follow the regulations of the state that you are in and tag the animal if required before you then begin the field dressing.
What type of equipment do I need for still hunting?
When you are out hunting the equipment that you’re wearing is a key part of how you are going to be successful, not only because you want the best still hunting deer bow that you can handle but also because you want to be comfortable in your clothing and only focusing on the task at hand.
Getting the best still hunting boots, for example, is vital as you want to be able to control your footsteps while also protecting yourself from any snow or rain that you might be traveling through. Getting the right clothing and layers up well is important, not only keeping yourself warm but also to make sure that any sound that you’re making is dampened as well.
Aside from the clothing, if you’re doing still hunting archery then you also want the best accessories as well and items such as still hunting binoculars can be very important in spotting that deer before it spots you. As well as this you need your essentials too such as a backpack, knife and map among other factors.
You don’t want to get out there on a still hunt only to find that your equipment has left you down and you have either spooked the door or have to turn back and abandon the hunt. Getting the right hunting equipment will not only give you a more enjoyable experience but it will also increase your chances of success.
Whether you are out there still hunting polar bear or just walking through a forest to track down a deer, the principles are the same. Still hunting is a wonderful challenge and it gets even more enjoyable the longer you do it as you’ll be gaining experience which will make you better and better as you carry on hunting.
If you’ve not got the ability to be patient though then it might not be for you as there are times when you have to be still and scope out the landscape before you make your next hunt. Patience though is key to all aspects of hunting and when you master it, as well as the other tips that have been given here today, then you’re going to have a very enjoyable still hunt.