10 Steps to Stalking Deer With a Bow

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Have You Ever Successfully Stalked a Deer?

Have you ever attempted to stalk a deer? (Brad Herndon photo)

Looking for that edge on deer this year? This strategic gem could be your ticket to a wall-hanger. That said, most bowhunters opt to do their whitetail hunting from treestands, be it during the early, mid or late portion of the season. However, you can also effectively stillhunt. The reason is quite simple -- under the right circumstances, you can effectively approach unsuspecting deer to get within bow range. The key elements of success are basically the same as a skilled gun hunter would use:

  1. Hunt into the wind or thermals;
  2. Hunt with a crosswind if it's your best option;
  3. Move very slowly, taking just a few cautious steps at a time and pause more than you move;
  4. Wear camo, head-to-toe, and the softest-soled footwear you have so you can "feel" what's underfoot before shifting your weight to that foot;
  5. If you accidentally make a modestly loud noise when moving, stop immediately and wait several minutes before moving again;
  6. Use binoculars almost constantly to scan ahead and to each side;
  7. If you spot a deer, freeze until you determine what direction it's moving;
  8. If you spot a single deer, keep looking for others that may be accompanying it;
  9. Once a lone deer approaches within your effective bow range, come to draw only when its head is hidden from view and it's about to move ahead and offer a clear shot. Also be aware of the location and posture of any other deer that may be near;
  10. And last but not least, put your watch in your pocket, since moving so slowly (not more than 100 yards an hour) is a real challenge for most hunters.

Stillhunting with the bow adds a new and exciting page to the bowhunter's arsenal of techniques, and it offers a break from the sometimes tedious and long hours we spend sitting in a treestand.

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Editor's Note: This was originally published on October 6, 2005.

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