Still hunting tactics. Share yours.

Share your tips and techniques on these great, but often times lost methods of hunting.
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RE: Still hunting tactics. Share yours.

Postby Jslotter » Mon Mar 22, 2010 5:25 pm

The 220 acres I hunt, there are alot of hills and valleys, and alot of draws and spurs where deer love to take refuge when the pressure is on. I will sit tight for the first 3 days of rifle season and after that I go where no one is hunting or where no one is willing to go because the terrain will leave you beat at day's end, but those are the best places when hunting pressure is on. The most success I had still hunting in tight valleys, brushy draws, and impossible terrain is when I moved toward the wind and scanned hillsides facing south. Never ignore a hillside thick with fallen timber or briar thickets. Good chance there is a deer laying in there hidden as it watches the valley below. If you do spot a deer before it spots you, don't be quick to shoot right away. There could be other deer laying in the area you can't see. Maybe a nice buck could be laying in a thicket next to some does about to go into estrus. You never know. I learned that lesson 2 years ago while still hunting on the very last day of rifle season. I could plainly see a doe laying at the base of a ridge line. Being the last day and a little sloppy and complacent after 8 days of hard hunting, I took a shot at her and missed. That one shot spooked out not only 8 other deer I didn't know were there, but also a very nice buck. I watched him and his girlfriends haul ass over the ridge into the neighbors land and gone until the next season, if they survive.
I only hunt on days that end in ' Y '.

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RE: Still hunting tactics. Share yours.

Postby crazybull » Sat Mar 27, 2010 9:10 pm

Hey guys this is some great stuff.  I'm planning my first still hunt for this New Hampshires 2010 season and theres alot of stuff you guys are talking about that I want to practice and apply.  I'm guessing from some of the posts that I need to invest in a good set of binos. I wear eye glasses anyone have a recommendation.  It will need some eye relief or I'm going to have to switch to contacts lol.  Again great stuff if theres more like it keep it comming.
Fear the government that fears your gun!

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RE: Still hunting tactics. Share yours.

Postby stillhunter » Sun Apr 04, 2010 6:12 am

I usually hunt in mountainous terain. One of my favorite tactics is to get up high as early in the morning as possible and hunt into the wind or with it quartering into me. Cover sounds like the wind, rain or flow of a nearby mountain stream can help mask your sound. Snow or wet ground is a big advantage for quiet walking. Moving slow and avoiding quick motion is important and also not snapping twigs. I scan with my eyes first, then turn my head slowly. I wear either regular or snow camo depending on the conditions but always wear some blaze orange for safety since I am moving around and someone else may mistake me for game if I do not. The grunt tube is an great addition during the rut. If you see something or spook a deer you can put it at ease or call it in many times. I also prefer to have the sun in back of me for better vision conditions. Look for natural overlooks that you can approach hidden from sight and just peak over them very slowly. Many times you will be rewarded immediately in the view below. I hunt slower when I am seeing good fresh sign. If there is no fresh sign I may move more deliberately until I get into some. Stillhunting is one of the best ways to get to know the area and the kind of deer that are there. It really makes me feel like a predator and that I am taking an active role in the hunt. The only thing better to me is tracking a specific buck in the snow. To me that is the ultimate in hunting. I recommend classic book by T.S. Vandyke, The Stillhunter. It is a great read and reinforces many important concepts. He was quite a writer.

Can't wait till next season,

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Everyday Hunter
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RE: Still hunting tactics. Share yours.

Postby Everyday Hunter » Sun Apr 04, 2010 6:49 am

Some good tips, especially this one:
ORIGINAL: stillhunter

I wear either regular or snow camo depending on the conditions but always wear some blaze orange for safety since I am moving around and someone else may mistake me for game if I do not....

Can't wait till next season,

The value of wearing snow camo can't be overestimated. I use a Tyvek suit, and have walked up to within 15 yards of deer without being noticed. By getting the wind right, moving slowly, and using obstacles to shield yourself from view, it's amazing what you can do.

Another tip -- as much as possible, keep your movements vertical, in line with the trees. Deer will pick up horizontal movements much more quickly than vertical movements.

Good advice on the T. S. VanDyke book. It's a great one, and it's on any list of classics when it comes to deer hunting. Very little has been written about still hunting over the years, but another good one that's recent is Bill Vaznis's Stillhunting for Trophy Whitetails. Although he uses the word "trophy" in the title, his techniques will work for any deer. Stillhunting might be making a comeback -- I hope so.

When the Everyday Hunter isn't hunting, he's thinking about hunting, talking about hunting, dreaming about hunting, writing about hunting, or wishing he were hunting.

Jon H.
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RE: Still hunting tactics. Share yours.

Postby Jon H. » Sun Apr 04, 2010 11:43 am

Not to many people stillhunt here. We use the same meanings as randytew, when we talk about stillhunting. Does it seem to be more productive than standhunting?

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RE: Still hunting tactics. Share yours.

Postby stillhunter » Sun Apr 04, 2010 1:14 pm

Hi Jon,

I think stillhunting can be a more effective method than stand hunting for areas where deer densities are relatively low and there is little to no hunting pressure to get the deer moving around. I like it when I am up in the big woods of the Adirondacks because the deer numbers are very low there and it helps in locating the pockets of activity. In areas where the deer numbers are pretty good and especially on the opening weekend of the gun season it can be more productive to watch a good funnel or intersection of trails. I usually get up to stillhunt for a while even in higher density areas when things are slow or just to stretch the legs and satisfy my curiosity of what is over the next hill. Have always had a bit of explorer in me.

Hi EverydayHunter... thanks for your book comments. I picked up a copy of the Bill Vasnis book about a month ago but have not had a chance to read it yet. Looks interesting and I have enjoyed his other work so I look forward to it.


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RE: Still hunting tactics. Share yours.

Postby wnwhunting » Tue Jun 15, 2010 4:42 am

here is my 2 cents on still hunting. I have killed a lot few deer with a gun by following this rule and only one with a bow. I use my range finder and pick out a tree 100 yards away and look at my watch and say its going to take me an hour to get to that tree....its amazing how much the scenery changes every step. Rainy days are the best for this.

A short story I picked out my tree last year 100 yards away not knowing that a buck was laying in the top of a blown over tree between me and my destination. I got within 40 yards of him before I noticed him. Needless to say he never made it out of bed when the 7mm Mag went off. I had been standing in the spot where I killed him from for about 7 minutes when he made the fatal mistake of turning his head to check the wind.

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Woods Walker
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RE: Still hunting tactics. Share yours.

Postby Woods Walker » Tue Jun 15, 2010 10:07 am

Welcome wnwhunting! Your story illustrates what is for me the essence (and maybe the most difficult and challenging thing) of stillhunting......making yourself believe that there is ALWAYS a deer JUST beyond where you can't see, whether it be 100 yards away or 10 feet. You have to have that mind set, and then make yourself STALK that cover like there's a deer in there.
Hunt Hard,

Kill Swiftly,

Waste Nothing,

Offer No Apologies.....

NRA Endowment Life Member

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Marc Anthony
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RE: Still hunting tactics. Share yours.

Postby Marc Anthony » Tue Jun 15, 2010 1:18 pm

Ground and pound!

I love it when we add another "seek and find" type of deer hunter on this board! It makes me and Woods Walker not look so crazy!

If any of the newbies are interested, I did a webinar for Deer and Deer Hunting a couple of months ago you may be interested in: ... =DHART4951 I get none of the proceeds, so I have no interest other that to expose the sport from our angle. Maybe it will help?
"A fool learns from his own mistake but a wiseman learns from a fool's mistake "

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RE: Still hunting tactics. Share yours.

Postby metrx » Tue Jun 15, 2010 1:36 pm

I find this thread to be one of the most informative, for me, as I will admit I am not much of a still hunter.  I have taken a handful of deer stillhunting, so to speak, but I equate my success on those few occasions to more luck than skill.  One common denominator for me on those occasions was weather.  It was always misting/lightly raining with a light breeze.  The damp/wet leaves make for quiet walking.  For the most part, you have the woods to yourself on those days, as most people opt to stay home or leave the woods prematurely. 
My dad is more of a still hunter.  He says if you walk 100 yards in under an hour's time, your moving too quickly.  And from what most seasoned still hunters on here are saying, it seems you cant move slow enough.
For the record, I dont think many hunters here in NY still hunt.  Stand hunting and drives seem to be the most popular, and even that can be different depending on what part of the state you hunt in.
Funny story...I sporadically teach Hunter Safety here in NY, under a Master Instructor.  He's been teaching the course for well over 35 years, is knowledgeable and and has put his fair share of deer in the freezer.  He, however, is strictly a stand hunter, and not a big fan of still hunting.  He has a sort of "script" when he teaches the course, and is very funny at times.  Well, whenever he gets into the different types of hunting methods, (elevated stand, ground blinds, parapits, still hunting, etc) he would always seem to have to force himself to talk about still hunting and expalin what it is, in case there was a question on the exam on it.  He would always say, "Still hunting is the last hunting method I want to talk about.  However, I dont recommend it.  Just ask anyone who stillhunts, because they are "still" hunting."  And he'd laugh.  He'd usually have to explain still hunting to newbies, because to them stillhunting means being still, like stand hunting..  Makes sense if you think about it...kinda like why we park on a driveway and drive on a parkway.
Anyway, I guess because it is a difficult method to employ to be regularly successful, he didnt stillhunt...I thought the joke was funny and made for some class amusement. 


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