John's Journal...

The Lost Art of Stalking and Still-Hunting for Black-Powder Bucks

What’s the Secret to Seeing More Deer When You Stalk?

Captain of the "Miss Celeste",  Maurice "Fitz" FitzsimmonsEditor’s Note: Deer hunting doesn’t begin or end at your stand site. Instead, begin your hunt once you leave your vehicle, and end it when you return to your vehicle. The way to do this is to stalk hunt. When done right, stalk hunting enables hunters to move quietly through the woods without spooking their target bucks or any other wildlife in the area, and also allows hunters to look more closely at the surrounding woods and spot targets they otherwise may miss. By following some strategies I’ve learned and practiced during many years of stalk-hunting for deer, you can learn to stalk-hunt the right way to bag more bucks. Captain of the "Miss Celeste",  Maurice "Fitz" Fitzsimmons

Whether you stalk or stand hunt, to bag big bucks you must be able to see them in the woods. Writers have written thousands of articles on deer-hunting techniques, stand placement, shooting accurately and the many other aspects of successful deer hunting. But you will rarely read an article about how to see deer better. I know sportsmen who will spend hours on bench rests, making sure their rifles will drive tacks from 0 to 200 yards. They’ll use different powder charges, wadding systems and bullets to make their black-powder rifles shoot more accurately, hoping they’ll take more deer each season. However, thoseCaptain of the "Miss Celeste",  Maurice "Fitz" Fitzsimmons same sportsmen won’t spend a fraction of that time improving their spotting skills. Remember, if you can’t see the deer, you can’t shoot them. To spot a deer in the woods, you need to search for parts of a deer. If you can’t make out the difference between …
*a fallen tree and a deer’s back,
* a branch lying beside a tree trunk and a deer’s leg protruding from behind a tree trunk,
* the white feathers under a bird’s wing and the inside white of a deer’s ear,
* a bird fluttering in a bush and a deer’s tail swishing,
* a shadow on a small tree or the black circle of a deer’s eye,
* a coon moving on the side of a tree or a deer moving behind the tree,
* a turkey walking through the woods or a deer walking in the woods,Captain of the "Miss Celeste",  Maurice "Fitz" Fitzsimmons
* antlers or branches, then you won’t spot the deer you hope to take.

Before your next black-powder deer hunt, take these steps toward improving your spotting abilities:
* Have your eyes examined
* Wear glasses if you need them. Why buy eyeglasses to help you see better and then refuse to wear them? You’ll be glad you’ve worn them when you take that long-awaited big buck, or you’ll be eternally sorry you haven’t seen that big buck because you’ve forgotten your glasses.
* Choose a pair of lightweight binoculars that have a good field of view with ample magnification. Make sure the scope has sufficient eye relief for a full field of view once you mount it.
* Set your scope at its lowest power while you hunt. Many hunters miss bucks at close range because they have their scopes’ power set too high.


Check back each day this week for more about "The Lost Art of Stalking and Still-Hunting for Black-Powder Bucks"

Day 1: Why Stalk
Day 2: How to Stalk
Day 3: Why Watch Your Back Trail
Day 4: Why Watch Your Back Trail and Why Stalk to Your Stand
Day 5: What’s the Secret to Seeing More Deer When You Stalk?


Entry 379, Day 4