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.
[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]
[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]
[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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