Deer stalking, or stalking game as a whole is not a skill that can be learned overnight. It takes plenty of time and self determination in the field and out in the woods.
Deer stalking has become somewhat of a lost art in recent days, with many hunters preferring to stay in their high seats and wait for game to come to them, but even then, you still need to remain, quiet and still. Below are a few tips for beginners who want to become a proficient deer stalker!
Know Your Terrain
If possible walk the property where you plan to hunt before deer season opens. As you become familiar with the area, watch for old deer scrapes because deer will re-visit them. Make this one of your primary sites to hunt. It helps to make a map to remind you later of all the places you spotted during the pre-deer hunting season.
Deer can often be spotted along edges of fields where they border forested land. When acorns and other fruit are plentiful, deer move from forest to field and back again to feed. If the terrain includes natural topography that compels deer to walk through a narrowing or confined area, this works like a funnel and can be a superb site to hunt.
In hilly terrain, deer travel along ridges at about the same elevation. If you spot one deer there's a good chance you will see more. As deer wander the hills they seek out the easiest slope to make it up a hill (unless spooked) so give yourself a break and do the same.
Walk Slowly Heel to Toe
Walk heel to toe, slowly, to avoid snapping twigs or crunching dried leaves or other vegetation. The goal is to make as little noise as possible with precise steps. As you cover terrain, stay focused and keep your eyes open for: antlers, tracks, bedding and any movement or signs of life. These can be as small as the blink of an eye once your eyes are trained.
Understand Deer Behaviour
Deer tend to bed down about 30 minutes following sunrise and usually stay in the area until about half an hour before sunset. They feed in the fields during the fall hunting season and only go a short distance to urinate or change beds. Deer move about more when temperatures are cool, after a storm, or when the barometric pressure is changing and typically roam a little later in the morning.
Cover Your Scent
Due to their sensitive noses, deer tend to stay put more when winds are high, because it interferes with their ability to hear threats and it diminishes their ability to smell. Hunters need to eliminate or cover their scent or risk detection. Don't use aftershave, scented deodorants, shampoos, etc. Don't wash clothing with scented laundry detergents or fabric softener. Special products designed for hunters are available to eliminate and/or mask scent.
Build Endurance in the Off Season
If you are out of shape, it can cost you your prize. If you know the terrain where you'll be hunting includes steep inclines, it helps to include them in your exercise regime. A deer has no problem bounding up a sharp incline if they're running from you. If you plan ahead, you'll be better prepared to keep up.