John's Journal...

Silent Stalking Deer

Day 4: Stalk Hunting Fields and Slipping Down Roads to Take Deer

Editor’s Note: When you know how to move through the woods like a ghost, you’re bad news for sly whitetails – in every type of terrain. The silent stalker is a part of all that’s around him. He moves with the ease of a warm summer’s breeze that’s never seen and barely felt. He is a predator who moves in for a clean kill. He is a silent stalker of deer. The stalk is one of the most-effective methods of taking game. Man was not the originator of stalking techniques but merely the imitator. He observed cats as they stalked and killed their prey. He watched the foxes move in close for their attacks. And, he saw other predators as they closed distance and then came in for the kill. Because of his primitive weapons – his spear, knife and bow and arrow – early man had to learn to stalk in close if he was to harvest game and survive.

Stalk Hunting Fields:

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger View“When there’s a drizzling rain with a slight wind, hunters can stalk a green field with a bow or a gun effectively,” Avery Johnson, an avid, longtime deer hunter, says. “If a deer is on a green field during a rain, all the woods around him are moving. By that I mean the wind is causing movement in the trees and the brush, and the rain is also causing movement. If you can circle a buck by staying in the woods and downwind of him, many times you can move to within 20 – 30 yards of the animal that’s feeding in the field. You never will have been able to get this close to the deer without the wind and the rain to cover your movement. But on those rainy days, you can take deer if they come on the fields.

“If the rain is really pouring down, the chances are extremely good that the deer won’t be on the fields. However, you still have an excellent chance of taking a deer by stalking. For one thing, the rain lets you know wind direction. You can watch the rain falling to know which way the wind is blowing. If you hunt into the rain, then your scent won’t go to your hunting area, and the falling water will mask your footsteps. During a driving rain, I’ve found deer most often holding in thick cover like briar patches or fallen-down trees – anywhere they can get out of the storm. Realizing that that is where the deer will be and also knowing that because the buck can’t smell or hear me that I can get extremely close before he jumps, I’ve been able to take several nice bucks with a shotgun while stalking. I know the deer will be in thick cover, and I realize that my shot will have to be close and quick. Hunting deer during these kinds of conditions is much like hunting quail. When the dog finds the birds and points out which cover they are in, then all you have to do is flush them and shoot quickly to be successful. When stalking in the rain with my shotgun, I try to move in as quietly as possible to a thicket. Then once I am within easy gun range of that thicket, I walk straight through the middle of it, expecting a deer to break from cover at any time. I believe this is the most-effective form of stalk hunting, because you eliminate so many areas from your hunt plan. I don’t look for deer in open woods, around fields or in feeding areas. I go straight to bedding spots in thick cover. That’s where I generally will find my buck.”

Slipping Down Roads:

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewOne of the disadvantages I’ve found to stalk hunting is that the hunter often makes too much noise as he moves through the woods. For this reason, I prefer to stalk down logging roads, hiking trails, firebreaks or any man-made path through the woods. Usually there will be less leaves and sticks on these paths, and a hunter can move more quietly than if he goes through the woods. The exception to this rule is when the road or the path goes through open cover where the hunter will be silhouetted against a skyline on a ridge top or where the road may meander through a clear-cut and a deer can see you coming for a half mile away. Most of the time a hunter who can walk slowly, extremely slowly, no more than one mile for every 2-1/2-hours spent in the woods, can see and take deer from the road. The only technique that I think is more productive for taking deer for me than road slipping is water stalking.

For more deer-hunting tips, get John E. Phillips’ Kindle eBooks “How to Hunt Deer Like a Pro,” “How to Hunt Deer Up Close: With Bows, Rifles, Muzzleloaders and Crossbows,” and “PhD Whitetails: How to Hunt and Take the Smartest Deer on Any Property,” go to, type in the name of the book, and download it to your Kindle, and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.

About the Author

John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors. Click here for more information and a list of all the books available from John E. Phillips.

Tomorrow: Stalking Deer in Water and Ingredients for Successful Stalking of Deer

Check back each day this week for more about "Silent Stalking Deer"

Day 1: Stalk Hunting Deer in the Woods
Day 2: Stalk Hunting Trails and Stalking with a Bow to Take Deer
Day 3: Stalk Hunting the Hills for Deer
Day 4: Stalk Hunting Fields and Slipping Down Roads to Take Deer
Day 5: Stalking Deer in Water and Ingredients for Successful Stalking of Deer

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Entry 740, Day 4