Sneak 15 yards…lean against a tree…look for movement…listen…glass ahead and to the sides with your binoculars…then slip another 20 yards…look and listen. I’ve killed quite a few rutting bucks that way with a gun, but only when conditions are right. This is NOT something you do on public land. And I “slip hunt” only on a private property with very light hunting pressure. You want to still-hunt without worry of bumping into a stranger, or driving an 8-pointer into his sights.
Stalking has advantages. You cover a lot of ground, which increases your odds of encountering more bucks trolling for does if you do it right. The more you move around, the more rubs, scrapes and big tracks you’ll find in out-of-the-way spots. You might come back tomorrow, hang a stand in a hot spot that nobody else knows about and shoot the big boy that is putting down that sign. Some more sneaky tips:
- Stalking deer is almost impossible in dry woods when you sound like an elephant walking in dry leaves. Still-hunt after a rain or light snow, when it’s quiet in the woods. You might have a 10 to 20 mph wind as the front passes—good because it helps to cover your moves and noise.
- Stay high on ridges and hillsides, but don’t skyline on top. Move slowly, pause beside trees and watch for deer in funnels and bottoms below.
- Use a wind-checker and keep the breeze quartering on or across your face. Hunt into the wind.
- Use your nose. Rutting bucks reek of tarsal and you can sometimes smell one.
- Slow down. This technique will never work if you move too fast. Take a few steps, stop, listen, look and repeat…