STILLHUNTING......GETTING YOUR GAME FACE ON.....

Share your tips and techniques on these great, but often times lost methods of hunting.
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Woods Walker
 
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STILLHUNTING......GETTING YOUR GAME FACE ON.....

Postby Woods Walker » Mon Oct 05, 2009 3:57 pm

 
 
 
Comparatively speaking, equipping yourself for a stillhunt is a relatively uncomplicated endeavor.
 
There's no heavy gear to lug around...treestands, climbing sticks, pop-up blinds....and the amount of clothing you need is greatly reduced, as you are more physically active, and for the most part out of the chilling winds like you are when you're 20' in the air. Basically you have your bow, quiver, binoculars, and maybe a fanny pack. As long as you don't shine or make noise, you're pretty much in business.
 
But now the hard part begins.
 
Once you set foot in that woods, you have to do what I call "putting on your mental camouflage"......getting your HEAD into the right mind set. This for me, can occur after only ten minutes or so of just standing stock still, but sometimes I have to sit for an hour or so. Someday's it doesn't come at all.
 
Stillhunting, more than any other form of deer hunting, is probably 80% mental. Sure, there are specific techniques for quiet walking that involve balance and strong leg, stomach, and back muscles (quiet walking demands that you shift all your body weight to your BACK foot, in slow motion, until your front foot is already on the ground, and sometimes you have to freeze with one foot in the air if you see or hear some thing...or THINK you've seen or heard something), but none of these are worth a hill of beans if you're moving too fast. "Too fast" for someone who's never stillhunted may seem like not moving at all, but if you're seen first by your quarry, then you may as well be running through the woods.
 
The only way for me to move slow enough, is to mentally convince myself that there is a always a deer just beyond where I cannot see. I use binoculars constantly when I stillhunt, not to see far away, but to dissect the cover ahead by changing the focus so that I can look "into" the cover. This may take 5 minutes to a half hour, depending on the cover and terrain. After I've made myself as sure as I can be that nothing's there, then I slowly take a few steps more and then do the same thing all over again, as those few steps can change the entire view of what I've just observed.
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[color=#000000 size=2][font=arial]Having an intimate knowledge of your hunting area helps a lot with this mental preparation, as you already have a pretty good idea of where the deer might be. When you know your ground, then you also know where to go when the wind is blowing hard in a given direction, and you can then go right to the areas that are wind protected. The deer will be in those areas too, and knowing this reduces the potential area where you may find deer under those conditions. Hunting on snow also helps, as the deer...which are dark...stand out better against the white background. You still have to LOOK, for sure, but any movement they make is a bit more obvious. [/font][/color]
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[color=#000000 size=2][font=arial]The other advantage of knowing your area well that contributes to your mental attitude while stillhunting is knowing how the thermals react, and maybe even some of their quirks. I spend a lot of off-season time on my ground with colored smoke bombs, learning how the air currents will react under various conditions, and if there are any air "sinks"......small hollows or depressions that pool thermals and hold your scent in the area longer than you'd expect. [/font][/color]
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[color=#000000 size=2][font=arial]Stillhunting is a challenging, different way to deer hunt that offers a variation from the treestand. Mental discipline and patience are of primary importance, as the object is NOT to cover ground. You must become part of the woods, and let the flow of nature come to YOU. Success in the form of a kill is not easy, but when it does come, it is extremely satisfying, as you've gone toe to toe with a deer on it's own turf. Getting your head in the right place is the first step towards earning this achievement.[/font][/color]
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MoDeer
 
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RE: STILLHUNTING......GETTING YOUR GAME FACE ON.....

Postby MoDeer » Mon Oct 05, 2009 5:28 pm

  Nice post Woods Walker I like the way you think . Mental camouflage I have always refered to it as Becoming one with nature . Sometimes you have it and sometimes you dont. I have always let the deer be the judge. If I have problems with the first deer or two I back out and try again another day . Not only does it ruin your confidence you are doing harm to your hunting area .
  It seems like these posts always draw some coments by someone wanting to try this and to those people I would like to add . The best way to acheive sucsess at this is through practice . Practice in the spring or practice a month or so before deer season . Not only does practicing pre season let you hone your skills in still hunting you also get to see exactly where your deer are coming from and going to .
  I set goals for myself while practicing . Like see how close I can get to those does or see how far I can fallow that buck .
  You will quickly learn that their is nothing better than being at ground level with a deer .
Johnny

If I cant make a good shot please let me have a clean miss

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Woods Walker
 
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RE: STILLHUNTING......GETTING YOUR GAME FACE ON.....

Postby Woods Walker » Mon Oct 05, 2009 5:45 pm

Thanks, John. I appreciate it.
 
You know, on days when I'm really "ON", it's almost like my mind is in a different state of consciousness, unlike anything else I experience in my everyday life. It doesn't happen all that often, in fact I've only had it happen a handful of times, but when it does, you feel like you're invisible, and have actually blended with the woods.
 
One of the hallmarks of this, is that time becomes irrelevant, and I mean REALLY irrelevant. I may stand motionless for what I would guess to be 5 minutes or so, when in reality a half hour or more has gone by.
 
Another result of this level of concentration, is that although I may have only gone a few hundred yards in a morning's hunt, I'm totally exhausted.
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Goose
 
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RE: STILLHUNTING......GETTING YOUR GAME FACE ON.....

Postby Goose » Mon Oct 05, 2009 6:17 pm

Good stuff WW.
You obviously do a lot of stalking/still hunting-my question is, how much land is ideal for doing this type of hunting?
I understand you can do it on a 40,  but how much land do you think would be ideal?
Jake

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RE: STILLHUNTING......GETTING YOUR GAME FACE ON.....

Postby MoDeer » Mon Oct 05, 2009 6:27 pm

I know what you mean Woods Walker invisable doesnt happen very often but when it does I feel like I have just had one of my most sucsessful hunts . One of my fondest memories is of a hunt that ended with no shots . I had been within 10 yards of several deer at diferent times in the hunt . At the end of the hunt I leaned up against a tree and had a snack . I was about to head for the truck when I seen a doe and her two fawns coming . they were going to pass within a foot or two of my tree . When she got to my tree I knew she would smell me but what happened next shocked me . She started sniffing around the tree and I kept her tail in sight . We made a lap and half around the tree before she caught me . the two fawns stood their five foot away just watching . Life doesnt get much better tha that .
Johnny

If I cant make a good shot please let me have a clean miss

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Woods Walker
 
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RE: STILLHUNTING......GETTING YOUR GAME FACE ON.....

Postby Woods Walker » Tue Oct 06, 2009 3:16 am

One of my fondest memories is of a hunt that ended with no shots

 
You got that right! I've had a few of those myself.
 
Goose: While there is no "ideal" sized area, I will say that the actual area that one would be in during the course of a morning's stillhunt is probably anywhere from 40 to 50 yards wide, and several hundred yards long. Cover and terrain has a LOT to do with it.
 
What you must realize, is that if you are doing it right by moving slow enough that you aren't pushing everything out ahead of you, then the area that you went through an hour or so ago is still just a viable a potential game area as the groung in front of you. This is why I like to hunt into a cross wind when I can.
 
The one place I bowhunt is 500 acres of mixed cover and hayfields. What makes that place nice is that if I start out in a certain area and the wind changes, I can back out and move to another part of the farm where the conditions are more condusive.
 
 
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nhdeerchaser
 
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RE: STILLHUNTING......GETTING YOUR GAME FACE ON.....

Postby nhdeerchaser » Wed Oct 07, 2009 12:56 pm

Woods Walker,

Your definition reminds me of the book by Carlos Hathcock Marine Sniper. In one exerpt(sp) it appears Mr. Hathcock's movements are so slow it appears he does'nt even move, that's how slow and deliberate his movements are.
Now I'm not corolating being a sniper with still hunting. Mr Hathcock was doing a job he did very well, and undoubtedly saved countless servicemen's lives by being the best at what he did.
I just mean that Woodsy's description is right on. It is a very mental game, which is why only a very few hunters can excell at it. I myself, am not very good at it. I just get to fidgity. However, I have the greatest respect for those hunters that can do it.

Mike
You can't kill'em sittin' on the couch!

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RE: STILLHUNTING......GETTING YOUR GAME FACE ON.....

Postby mightyfofaad » Wed Oct 14, 2009 7:55 pm

ORIGINAL: Woods Walker

 

Comparatively speaking, equipping yourself for a stillhunt is a relatively uncomplicated endeavor.

There's no heavy gear to lug around...treestands, climbing sticks, pop-up blinds....and the amount of clothing you need is greatly reduced, as you are more physically active, and for the most part out of the chilling winds like you are when you're 20' in the air. Basically you have your bow, quiver, binoculars, and maybe a fanny pack. As long as you don't shine or make noise, you're pretty much in business.

The only way for me to move slow enough, is to mentally convince myself that there is a always a deer just beyond where I cannot see. I use binoculars constantly when I stillhunt, not to see far away, but to dissect the cover ahead by changing the focus so that I can look "into" the cover. This may take 5 minutes to a half hour, depending on the cover and terrain.


I've used this method on several occasions, particularly when moving into a new area. The binoculars are key to this method & have allowed me to spot bedded bucks in brush twice by using a slow methodical sweep of the area ... sightings that could never have been made without the glasses.

The 1st time I got as close as I thought possible, but he didn't budge. Was it really a buck? I tossed a stick in his direction to get him to move. Nothing! The 4th stick did the trick ... he jumped up & ran perpendicular to me at about 25 yards away ... even running I couldn't miss & didn't. That 220 grain "35" from my Marlin dropped him like a bad habit.[:)]

The next year, in the same area, the same thing. Spotted a bedded buck, and s l o w l y approached to within 20 yards before he bolted. Only this time he ran directly away from me headed towards the ridge. I was tempted to take the shot because he was so damn close ... but in that terrain, if he ran for as little as 1000 yards, I would never have been able to get him out of there, since I was alone. [:(]

But the method does work, & the glasses are key.

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Woods Walker
 
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RE: STILLHUNTING......GETTING YOUR GAME FACE ON.....

Postby Woods Walker » Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:49 am

Many will find it unbelievable that you go that close and still had to roust that deer out, but it DOES happen!
 
I think it may be because they are just SO secure in that bedding cover, that they automatically assume that any noise they hear is just another deer/squirrel.
 
Last gun season I got within 35 yards of a bedded doe that I'd seen walking towards cover about 15 minutes before. I don't like to shoot at bedded deer, so I made a slight move to get her on her feet. She got up, but just stared at me, like she didn't quite know what I was.
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mightyfofaad
 
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RE: STILLHUNTING......GETTING YOUR GAME FACE ON.....

Postby mightyfofaad » Tue Oct 27, 2009 5:50 pm

Woods Walker:
Many will find it unbelievable that you go that close and still had to roust that deer out, but it DOES happen!

 

Absolutely! I'm willing to bet the ranch that 1/2 the hunters out there have walked right by a bedded deer, within 10-20 yards ... and never knew it. As long as you're moving and the deer can see you, they will stay put & watch you pass right on by. If you stop & stay put, it's usually just a matter of time until they lose their nerve & bolt.[/align] [/align]Classic Example:  My best hunting buddy & I were on our way to the top ridge of a small mountain using an old logging road. We stopped 1/2 way there to have that last cigarette & coffee ... those odors travel.[/align] [/align]We sat down, leaning our guns against a tree behind us. Maybe 90 seconds went by when there was a crashing sound & a deer as big as an army mule jumped right over our heads & was gone in 5 seconds.  That deer could not have been more that 10 to 20 feet behind us based on the 1st sound & then seeing it fly over our heads.[/align] [/align]So many hunters think deer are fleeing in terror at the sound of hunters approaching ... that's horse-feathers![/align]

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