Stillhunting, sometimes known as mobile deer hunting, is frequently misunderstood in terms of its purpose and methods. It involves hunting deer rather than sitting on a stump or in a blind and hoping one to approach you. It might be the most satisfying deer hunting activity you undertake. Being a skill that demands you to slow down your sight, your breathing, and even your walking gait, it can also be the most frustrating. However, the benefits extend beyond the hunt to your improved love of nature.
This article will discuss some things I’ve discovered when deer hunting in Wisconsin’s oak mast ridges and Vermont’s forests. Whether you want to stillhunt or not, you can apply these few basic tactics on your next hunt because the concepts are the same. These methods will also enhance the quality of your deer hunt. Whether you’re hunting or not, the important thing is to enjoy being outside.
When we hunt, deer are typically the first thing that comes to mind since we are deer hunters. not that deer, but deer in general. Our brains and eyes support us in this compulsion. Let’s start by discussing eyes.
Hunt Deer with Soft Focus – See Them as They See You
We see forward and with great focus, just like all predators do. Watch your typical housecat stalk anything as you observe it. It pursues its prey while keeping all of its muscles calm and its eyes narrowed, but it is ready to pounce at any moment. We all have eyes at the front of our heads that are made to focus on a single object, even cats and other predators.
Deer and all other prey animals, however, have eyes that are made to detect motion. Deer and all other prey animals have eyes on the sides of their heads, which helps them detect motion before they can determine whether it is a threat or just random movement in the woods. We must adapt to the way deer see when still hunting them. We need to see movement first, out-of-phase patterns second, and the deer last. We must loosen our focus and enlarge our field of vision in order to do this.
Here’s a practice guide. At a distance of six to eight feet, face the wall. Stare intently at a certain area of the wall. Raise your arms over your head with your index fingers fully extended (and slightly behind). Bring your arms gently up in front of your face while maintaining them straight and your index fingers extended. Keep an eye out for the instant when your fingers appear; this is your field of vision (FOV).
Now turn back to the wall. This time, lessen your concentration so that your eyes do not lock on any one location when focusing on items or spots on the wall. Repetition of the index-finger exercise Your fingers should appear much earlier in your field of view (FOV) than before. This kind of sight, which must be developed through practice because it no longer comes naturally to humans, enables us to spot deer in the distance before they notice us and to notice changes in the patterns of the forests.
Walk Toe-Heel, not Heel-Toe
You frequently witness hunters moving through the woods as if they were on rice paper in search of prey.
It is unsuccessful. You’re going to make noise as a hunter. However, deer and other game also do. Likewise, everything that is alive and breathing in the forests. The rhythmic pace a hunter takes when running—typically in pursuit of a deer—or making every effort to remain silent—when he hasn’t yet spotted one—are the things you want to avoid.
Because deer’s hooves make relatively little touch with the forest floor, walking toe-toe allows you to respond to the softwood twigs and deadfall underfoot with more flexibility in your foot’s palm. A human step is heavy and rigid when walking heel to toe. Walk heel to toe, halt after a few paces, and then, utilizing the soft focus already mentioned, take in the surroundings completely. Above all, break up your gait if you notice yourself starting to move in a constant, monotonous manner. Obviously human sounds and sounds created by anything man-made, such metal or harsh plastic, should also be avoided. Bottom line – brushing past an oak stump is o.k. Marching in cadence is not, nor is that canteen banging against your hunting rifle strap buckle.
Know the Wind
Lastly, move toward the wind. This is Rule 1 after all. But a lot of hunters forget this fundamental guideline, particularly those who are accustomed to spending their time in a relatively warm hunting blind. I’ve stood 10 yards away from a deer with my bow drawn, and the buck was plainly trying to figure out what the hell this would-be rambo was up to. However, after the wind changed, the buck suddenly erupted, and that year’s Thanksgiving was a little bit leaner.
On windy days when there are no prevailing winds, there is little point in continuing to hunt.
The most important thing to remember while using this method of deer hunting is to get acclimated to slowing down for hours at a time and focusing more on motion than actual deer.