This method represents the highest development of the art of deer hunting. It calls for greater skill in hunting, a more profound knowledge of the woods and their inhabitants, and a broader experience than any other form of deer hunting, and it offers the greatest return in personal satisfaction.
Too many hunters, especially beginners, depend more on luck than skill when practicing this method, which is quite simple—in theory.
Still Hunting by Stalking
You merely move through the cover slowly and quietly in order to approach a deer closely enough to see it, check its sex, and try a shot. How close this approach depends upon cover and terrain. The flatter the land and the thicker the cover, the closer the hunter must approach to ensure a successful shot.
Depends upon the weapon
Much, of course, depends upon the weapon. The rifle with iron sights in skillful hands is normally effective up to two hundred yards. In the hands of an experienced rifleman, the scope-sighted rifle should be effective at twice that range ---depending upon the caliber and load.
The hunter with a shotgun must get within seventy-five yards of his quarry, whether he happens to be using a solid slug or buckshot. The average good archer is not at all certain of accuracy at ranges greater than forty yards.
A mixture of watching and stalking methods
A judicious mixture of the watching and staling methods proves to be the most effective. Since the watch and wait system is most efficient during the early morning and late afternoon, it is advisable for the hunter to plan a watch from dawn until about 9:00 A.M.
This is about all the average individual can stand of immobility, regardless of the prospects it offers. At this point, stalking is in order until late afternoon, and by this time most hunters are ready for a period of relaxation.
After several hours on watch, the hunter may be so numb from cold and cramped muscles that he finds it difficult to move quietly through the covers. Sticks crack beneath his feet, and he is prone to stumble over logs and boulders.
Balancing the time in still hunting by stalking method
He loses his balance frequently and has to regain it with quick, heedless steps. It is hardly a condition for successful still hunting. Every deer in a quarter-mile radius is warned of his approach, and he might as well be back at camp, sitting before a warm fire, for all the chance he has of getting a shot.
Under these conditions, the best bet is to forget serious hunting for about ten minutes. Decide on a good hunting area about ten minutes' walking distance removed, and stride off in that direction. By the time the blood is circulating freely, you are ready to begin hunting again.
Following fresh track
“Some hunters like to follow a fresh deer track in an effort to move up on the animal and take it unawares.” Said Jack Mikeson of Safariors.
This sounds quite simple but is a practice that should be followed only by the hunter with many years' experience and a really broad knowledge of deer habits as well as a familiarity with the area.
This method is practical only following a fresh snowfall. It is not at all difficult to follow the track of a deer in the fresh snow. Anyone can do that. But to follow that track in a manner that will bring you within reasonable rifle shot of a buck is another matter.
Last few words
Never get the idea a deer pay no attention to his back trail. As a moving deer normally move into the wind, or at an angle to it, his nose is not too valuable for checking the back trail, but he will make a number of loops, and occasionally even circle his trail, to ensure that he is not being stalked.