Photo: Still-hunting (stalking) presents a different set of challenges than hunting from a blind or stand. Still, it can be both fun and effective. – Photo Courtesy Luke Noffsinger
Still-hunting (stalking) presents a different set of challenges than hunting from a blind or treestand. Still, this age-old method can be both fun and effective, and it’s part of our American heritage.
While growing up in southeastern Ohio, my father taught me many tricks for still-hunting white-tailed deer.
Since it’s quite hilly here, he showed me an effective method for assaulting the hills, using a deer’s curiosity against them.
This tactic works best when deer are in their beds.
To begin, he instructed me to stalk just as I would on level ground, avoiding sticks, brush or anything that could alarm deer, making sure the wind was in my face.
He’d always have me stop about 30 yards from the crest, then wait 5 to 6 minutes before proceeding.
I’d advance another 15 yards, as quietly and slowly as possible, then I’d wait another 5 to 6 minutes.
He taught me to keep my weapon — in my case, a shotgun — ready at all times, and be prepared in case a deer slips past.
If deer are on the other side of the hill, there’s a good chance they’ll know something is coming, however, they won’t know exactly what. Here’s where you use their curiosity and bedtime to your advantage.
Whitetails don’t like to get out of their beds unless they have to, so they’ll wait until they see or smell you before rising.
I’ve witnessed countless deer rise from their beds, or stand just on the other side of the hill as I crested, waiting to see what was coming. That’s when they are vulnerable.
Of course, you won’t always get a shot, but you’ll learn the herd’s bedding areas and escape routes.
While I've taken my share of deer using this method, I get more pleasure by passing down my father’s knowledge to my son, and making it part of our family heritage.
I began to teach my son these tricks when he was only 9 years old. He took his first buck, an 8-pointer, with a .410 after he stalked to within 35 yards.
Since taking his first buck, he has also taken a doe, a nice 10-pointer and a 12-pointer. I’m happy my son is learning to enjoy the sport of still-hunting, as well as how to put food on the table. He’s learning to do as my dad taught: to think like a deer.
I believe learning still-hunting skills has made him a better, more well-rounded hunter.
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