John's Journal...

Tree Standing Versus Stalk Hunting for a Buck

Day 4: The Whys and Wheres of Stalking Deer

Click for Larger ViewStalk hunting allows the sportsman to cover more ground, check different areas and move closer to the deer than tree-stand hunting does. The tree-stand hunter, once he climbs into his tree, can’t move from place to place. The stalk hunter has complete mobility, can cover ground and go as far and as fast as he wishes. But that’s one of the biggest problems with stalk hunting. Most stalk hunters don’t travel slowly enough to keep from spooking deer as they pass. Probably most stalk hunters have the same mentality I once had. I thought that if I moved quickly and covered enough ground that I would see a deer and get a shot. However, the slower you go, the more you see, and the better your opportunities for bagging a buck. A good stalk hunter won’t cover more than 1/2-mile in an hour. Click for Larger ViewA productive stalk hunter will cover less than 1/4-mile in an hour. The very-best stalk hunters may travel only a few hundred yards in that same time period. Therefore, the very-best stalk hunters must have the personality traits of self-discipline and patience and the ability to take time to study everything they see, at least two or three times, before they continue with their stalking.

The Wheres of Stalk Hunting:
An effective stalk hunter must move quietly through the woods. Dry days make stalk hunting difficult as do walking through hunting areas with leaves, thick, high brush or freshly fallen limbs lying on the ground from a storm. I like to stalk hunt on slightly-drizzling days, while slipping down a woods road or a logging road that runs parallel to a creek with a productive acorn flat between the creek and the road. In this type of area, I can see well, move quietly and expect to encounter deer as they feed on the acorns.

Click for Larger ViewOne of my friends, Don Taylor, of Birmingham, Alabama, has developed a most- unusual stalk-hunting tactic that pays dividends when hunting thick cover and/or cutovers. “Often no matter how thick the foliage, there will be some type of break in the cover,” Taylor explains. “There may be a drainage ditch, a creek or a narrow game trail that runs through the heavy cover. And these are the areas I stalk-down. Although my visibility is cut tremendously, I can still move through the heavy cover quietly and often see deer at 15-30 yards. The trick to this type of hunting is to move slowly enough so as not to spook the deer out of the cover.”

Click for Larger ViewSpot stalking demands that the hunter do some advance scouting and pick several places in the woods where the deer may appear at certain times of the day. For instance, the hunter may have a feeding area, a bedding region, a trail, a scrape line and/or maybe a creek crossing where he feels sure deer will show up at some time each day. The spot hunter’s game plan may include investigating each one of these areas at some time during the day. This stalk hunter may hurry to a feeding region before daylight. Then just at daylight, he may slip quietly into the site and look for a deer. If he’s unsuccessful in this spot, he may travel quietly out of that region until he arrives at a firebreak or a road and then very quickly head to the deer’s bedding area. After cautiously stalking into that spot, he may wait for 45 minutes to an hour, stalk out and then at the quick pace, head for his next area to hunt. By checking five or six places in a day like this, many times the hunter can encounter feeding, bedding and/or traveling bucks.

Tomorrow: How to Know Whether to Stalk Hunt or Hunt from Tree Stands

Check back each day this week for more about "Tree Standing Versus Stalk Hunting for a Buck "

Day 1: Neither Stalking or Tree-Stand Hunting Deer Works Sometimes
Day 2: The Whys and Wheres of Tree Stand Hunting
Day 3: What Kinds of Tree Stands and How Many Do You Need
Day 4: The Whys and Wheres of Stalking Deer
Day 5: How to Know Whether to Stalk Hunt of Hunt from Tree Stands


Entry 589, Day 4