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Check Your Back Trail!

Check Your Back Trail!

By Ralph VanKoughnet

Still hunting (stalking from the ground) is a very traditional and popular method of deer hunting, especially in areas from Maine and northward. It's something we do a lot in my native Ontario, Canada.

Canadian hunters can teach you a thing or two about stalking to our friends in the states, even if you are a treestand hunter who is only walking to and from your treestand site.

When still hunting, a couple of the most important things to remember is to stop often and don't forget to check your back trail.

Big bucks don't get that way by spooking easily and revealing themselves too early. They get big by lying low until danger passes.

Mature bucks will sometimes have to literally be stepped on to make them move. This ability to remain frozen until predators pass by is part of their natural instinct. When the danger is gone, they will often try to slip out the back door as soon as possible. That's why you keep tabs on what is going on behind you when still hunting and not focus only on what's ahead.

I have taken two nice bucks by constantly checking my back trail while taking a leisurely stroll through whitetail habitat.

Editor's Note: I know for a fact that bucks do as Ralph described. Many years ago in Alabama, while walking with two other hunters to our ground stands in a very mountainous area, I split off the trail to sit in my blind as the other guys continued on their way. Two minutes after they left, a huge 10-pointer, who was obviously following our trail, appeared with his nose to the ground. I believe this big boy watched us pass by, then followed our trail on purpose. It even figured out that I'd split off from the others. The wise old buck checked us out, turned tail and disappeared before I realized what was happening. Always check your back trail! - Tim H. Martin/Buckmasters Online Editor

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