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View Full Version : Laugh at the noob! Spot and stalk questions...



Never in Doubt
12-07-2012, 08:31 AM
I'm a relative bowhunting noob, and I want to get some input from the experts here! :)

Question: How do you go about your spot and stalk?

Mainly talking about mule deer, but other animals could apply. When you locate an animal you want to shoot, what do you do next? Take off your shoes and stalk in your socks? Stash your pack and go back for it later? What goes with you and what stays behind?

How do you hold your bow if you are on your hands and knees crawling? What do you do if mid-stalk you sense the wind shifting in a direction you don't like?

ivorytip
12-07-2012, 08:42 AM
alot of guys/ gals:) take thier shoes off but to me thats crazy. the wind will change direction on you without a doubt it will. thats part of the game. when i get within 100 yards ill drop my pack and mark it with my gps. and you will be surprised in the ways you can carry your bow while on your knees, something you just gotta do to know. knee pads are a life savor too!!!!

jenbickel
12-07-2012, 02:03 PM
I agree.. I think I've only taken my shoes off once and it wasn't much different from wearing my shoes.. Except stepping in cactus hurt a lot more. It depends on if I am hunting mule deer in the high country or if I'm just on a typical ranch. If I'm in the high country, I usually take everything with me when I'm trying to stalk up on anything... Just for the main reason that I usually try to take it slow when I'm stalking and if the animal decides to walk a little ways or change direction or anything, I don't want to be left going, " crap I have to get my pack first!" It's happened a few times to me that I have left my pack and then just got into the stalking mode and forgot that I didn't have my pack with my anymore and ended up miles from it. But if I am just on a normal ranch, I will take my pack off to stalk in. I always make sure to keep my rangefinder in my pocket and my binos on.. Other than that I take my bow and that's all. You will actually find a few different ways to hold your bow when you're crawling in.. I usually hold it with my hand on the grip and my strings pointing up and then mainly just use my other hand to help myself crawl along.

slim jim
12-07-2012, 09:36 PM
I slip on moccasins, leave my pack but make a way point on my gps and tie a ribbon on a bush to locate after the stalk.

When crawling it depends on the ground I'm crawling on. I usually set bow in front of me on ground then creep a step, pick it up and set it farther ahead of me and so on.

If I feel the wind isn't right and they haven't caught wind ill back out and rethink a different approach

ando_31
12-08-2012, 08:14 AM
I walk in my socks when there is little cover from noise from the wind and the prairie grass is dry and crunchy. It makes a huge difference where I hunt. I also have walked in crunchy snow a few times with only socks and it makes a difference there too. I usually only walk in socks when I'm stalking a big buck though. I almost never crawl, I step on enough cactus with two points of contact on the ground, I don't need it in my hands too. I also am always worried about breaking the sights of the bow on foliage or getting a cut in the string from crawling.

Use topographical advantages as much as possible. I'm probably not in the majority when I say this, but here it is anyways...the wind is important too, but I would rather stalk over the top of a buck with the wind blowing towards him than stalk out in the open below him with the wind in my face. If you're concerned about him scenting you just grab as much sagebrush or other highly scented plants and rub them all over your clothes and fill your pockets with them. Sometimes if the buck is below a steep cliff, he wont scent you as your scent mostly blows over him. I have stalked up on deer with the wind blowing towards them but never have stalked up on a deer that was watching me walk towards him.

Of course the smartest deer in the area usually bed where it is nearly impossible for anything or anyone to get within 50 yards, but its always fun to try. In those instances you should be ready for a stalk that takes several hours. Step or crawl only when a wind gust is blowing, move only when the deer is looking away or has his head down. The slower you go the better your chances are of getting close.

And never forget your binoculars if you are going to be out of sight from the deer for any distance. It can be very difficult to find the deer again when you are stalking from a different angle or the deer may have moved a bit and bedded down in a different spot. I use my binoculars even when I know I'm within bow distance but still not in sight of the deer. The most important part of your stalk is finding the deer before he finds you when you are within bow range. Use your binos and look THROUGH grass or foliage to find the deer before the deer can find you. Antlers can easily look like branches, weeds, or the background of what you're looking at. If you find those antler tips when you are walking over the top of a deer you can usually get your shot off. If the first thing you find is a white face, its usually the end of the stalk....but still exhilarating none the less.

T.S. Allen
12-08-2012, 09:15 PM
As for me, I never leave any gear. It's cumbersome most times and I blow more stalks than not but I don't have to back track for half my day. I killed my first big muley on a spot and stalk at 11,000 feet and while within 80 yards the buck spotted me and started moving out. Once he was out of sight I started to move and move quickly. After a half mile sprint I stalked another half mile and shot the buck at 42 yards. Not the best hit the buck went what seemed like miles before finally going down but he eventually did. My point is I wanna stay mobile and moving in the direction of what I am chasing not going back to look for my $150 pack loaded with the best of what I can afford. Keep it all with you and move slower, with more calculation. Good luck noob!!! Nothing beats chasing big critters with a bow in hand.

Maxhunter
12-09-2012, 07:32 AM
I usually get within 100yds leave my additional gear and boots and slip on a extra heavy pair of wool socks. I do this mainly for deer. Elk are easier to sneak up on than deer IMO. I've never found anything that works better and is quieter than socks.

I've heard some people can't find there stuff after the stalk is over. You can always take the extra time and GPS it.

squirrelduster
12-09-2012, 08:51 AM
I don't drop anything anymore.
I tried no shoes last year sneaking up on a blacktail, not my best idea. Probably works pretty well in flat country but if you keep the wind right and camo up good. Especially your face, and move slow when in view you will be fine.
Biggest help for me was to practice. Sneak up on stuff you don't want to kill and when the time comes to go after a monster you will have the experiences of all your practice stalks to draw from.
Good luck

jenbickel
12-09-2012, 10:24 AM
I don't drop anything anymore.
I tried no shoes last year sneaking up on a blacktail, not my best idea. Probably works pretty well in flat country but if you keep the wind right and camo up good. Especially your face, and move slow when in view you will be fine.
Biggest help for me was to practice. Sneak up on stuff you don't want to kill and when the time comes to go after a monster you will have the experiences of all your practice stalks to draw from.
Good luck

I try to stalk up on stuff I don't want to kill also. It does help! Except I tried stalking up on someone in the dark once and almost got punched in the face. So be wary ;)

squirrelduster
12-09-2012, 10:59 AM
I try to stalk up on stuff I don't want to kill also. It does help! Except I tried stalking up on someone in the dark once and almost got punched in the face. So be wary ;)

Be veeewery veeewery quiet. ;)

Kevin Root
12-09-2012, 11:11 AM
I try to stalk up on stuff I don't want to kill also. It does help! Except I tried stalking up on someone in the dark once and almost got punched in the face. So be wary ;)

I like to do the sneak up on critters, even when I'm not trying to kill them. It's fun and I think it just makes for good practice. I took this picture a couple days ago sneaking up on some blacktail bedding up on a rocky ridge.

http://i1057.photobucket.com/albums/t387/Kevin_Root/IMG_5974.jpg

I saw an article resently written by Remi Warren. He shaved down some lightweight foam sandles and wore them in-between two pairs socks. Keeps feet quiet, it's pretty quick and easy to do and it also saves your feet from some of those pesky cactus, shale, and stickers.

That made me smile jenbickel about stalking and amost getting punched in the face. :) Surly some good advice to be wary on what you sneak up on.

AKaviator
12-09-2012, 06:32 PM
I try to stalk up on stuff I don't want to kill also. It does help! Except I tried stalking up on someone in the dark once and almost got punched in the face. So be wary ;)

Gads, Jenbickel you crack me up!! If you came sneaking up with a weapon from out of the dark, I'd probably still be running!!!

Eberle
12-10-2012, 09:46 PM
I usually anticipate which direction the animal is going to move after he is spooked & send my buddy in for the stalk. Once his cover is blown, I take a shot. It has worked in my favor a few times! LOL

Never in Doubt
12-15-2012, 11:45 AM
Thanks guys, some good information here! I may go up in the summer and just practice stalking deer with a camera. I know gas is expensive, but it would be some valuable experience.

nvarcher
12-16-2012, 09:12 PM
Check the wind. Figure out a stalking route. Then get in to about 100 yards and drop off the the boots and everything else I don't need.
Once you get to where you get into comfortable range stop and wait. Don't force anything by pushing in as close as you can. I learned this the hard way when I snuck into 15 yards of a 170+ buck this year and ended up not having a shot! Also try to keep some water on you during your wait. It sucks to be stuck in the heat for hours while being seperated from your water!

squirrelduster
12-23-2012, 09:33 PM
Check the wind. Figure out a stalking route. Then get in to about 100 yards and drop off the the boots and everything else I don't need.
Once you get to where you get into comfortable range stop and wait. Don't force anything by pushing in as close as you can. I learned this the hard way when I snuck into 15 yards of a 170+ buck this year and ended up not having a shot! Also try to keep some water on you during your wait. It sucks to be stuck in the heat for hours while being seperated from your water!

Getting close is good, getting too close too soon is disaster. If the big guy doesn't get up one of his buddies will and there you are with no shot and a deer looking at you from close range. Same thing happened to me. A spike I didn't see at came around the bush I was sitting behind. Everybody spooked and I never saw the big buck again.

nvarcher
12-24-2012, 12:21 AM
Yep happened to me in a worse situation in 2011 also! I got busted by a small 4 point while closing the distance on a 200 inch typical!

Never in Doubt
01-31-2013, 11:37 AM
So what if you are 50% sure you can get into bow range on a buck, do you go for it or do you back off and try again some other day? haha

I knew where a buck liked to bed down during the day this past season. On top of a open ridge, in some pine bushes, on the west side of a huge rock. The footing was loose rock, I wouldn't be able to see him until I was within 10-15 yards, but the wind was consistant. I thought I could make it work. I crept around the large boulder, trying to keep quiet on the loose rocks. I took it really slow. But he knew I was there somehow and I heard him take off just before I could peer around the corner. Smart guy. In hindsight, there was no possible way to get at that buck while he was bedded down there. He could either see you and smell you, or hear you.

arrowslinger21
02-02-2013, 11:47 AM
It all depends on the specific situation, but I would say I would usually drop my pack at some point before the shot on a deer. I have never taken my boots off and probably wont, and to be honest I dont think that part matters that much. Above the treeline a lot of things make noise in the rocks, including the deer. Noise alone has never spooked a buck for me, just made him look my direction. If you stay still and in cover, the noise will eventually leave their mind and you can go back to business.

Calbuck
03-02-2013, 10:35 AM
So what if you are 50% sure you can get into bow range on a buck, do you go for it or do you back off and try again some other day? haha

I knew where a buck liked to bed down during the day this past season. On top of a open ridge, in some pine bushes, on the west side of a huge rock. The footing was loose rock, I wouldn't be able to see him until I was within 10-15 yards, but the wind was consistant. I thought I could make it work. I crept around the large boulder, trying to keep quiet on the loose rocks. I took it really slow. But he knew I was there somehow and I heard him take off just before I could peer around the corner. Smart guy. In hindsight, there was no possible way to get at that buck while he was bedded down there. He could either see you and smell you, or hear you.

In this situation it might be good to try and catch the buck on his way back there to bed. He's gotta get up and feed, and if he always beds in that spot, you could try to be there waiting on him..