The Art of the Stalk: 10 Tips for Getting Closer to Game

Posted: September 10, 2015 by gamegetterII in hunting
Tags: , , , , ,

Via Outdoor Life

Photograph by Ron Spomer

The proliferation of rifles and scopes that make a 1,000-yard shot a genuine possibility in a hunting scenario suggests to me that many hunters have given up on the very thing that separates hunting from target shooting: the stalk.

The range at which you stop stalking and start shooting is determined by your confidence and your desire for a rush of adrenaline. Getting close to game produces a buzz akin to that of skydiving or your first kiss. Stalking close can be the biggest thrill of the hunt, so why deny yourself? Here are the keys to getting closer to game:

1) Work the wind 
Scent will always give you away, but that doesn’t mean you must work straight into the wind. Crosswinds are fine, and quartering winds are okay if they’resteady enough. Pay attention to landforms that block and funnel currents. Cold breezes hug the ground and drift down draws and around ridges. Hot air rises. Hills and cliffs block wind and redirect it. Pay attention to moving grasses, leaves, plant down, and spiderwebs riding the currents. Don’t start a stalk if the wind isn’t in your favor.

2) Note what your quarry is doing
Sleeping? Time is on your side. Feeding? It’s at least momentarily distracted. Walking? It could soon be out of range, so move quickly.

3) Plan your approach
Study the lay of the land. You might find that if you backtrack a mile to get behind a ridge, it might then cover you to within spitting distance. Or you might be able to to crawl behind a series of rocks and shrubs, one leading safely to the next.

Read the rest @ Outdoor Life

  1. 1000 yards shots? Yep, heard about such foolishness let alone watched the videos.
    You’re right though, if you can’t stalk your prey, take up fishing.

    We have deer in the UK, and it’s damn hard to get both a license let alone a decent weapon to hunt them too. Unless you have MONEY!

    So a few “versatile” souls go hunting on the QT the old ways, bows, shotguns loaded with sabot, and trapping.

    As for the 1000 yard kills? Well not exactly but we will set holding snares out before dusk working through the night over a couple of miles to cover what has been set and dispatch what has been caught.

    As for the bows? Always makes me laugh when people talk about stalking with a modern bow, especially a compound type. Walking stealthy at night through close planted plantations of conifers or mixed largely un-kept woodland is not easy, NV or not.
    Average range for a shot here is always less than 30 yards with more shots taken from well placed hides than stalking.
    And the shotguns? 50 yards tops.
    After all in the politically correct, tree huggers world that exists in the UK, you’ve got to be damn quick, accurate, and perform your field dressing in the time it takes the local police to finish eating their nightly donuts and answer the phone.


    • gamegetterII says:

      There’s a segment of U.S. big game hunters who focus on “long range hunting”,using calibers like .300 Win mag,.338 Win. mag,.338RUM,300 RUM,7mm mag,.308 Win,.300 Weatherby mag, .26 Nosler,8mm mag,etc.
      Some of these guys shoot animals at out to 1500 yds.

      The longest shot I ever took at an animal was 450 yds at an antelope with a .243 Win. Dropped him in his tracks.
      At the time I shot the antelope,most guys were taking them at 300-500 yds in that area.
      No way to get closer without them seeing you,now there’s more antelope,and they’ve spread out over more varied terrain,so you can get close enough to take them with a bow.
      I bowhunt more than anything else,seasons are longer,there’s far fewer hunters in the woods,and I can let deer I’m not sure if I want to take pass,and I know I’ve got months to get another deer.
      In Ohio,where we live,there’s a half million hunters in the woods during the one week long firearms deer season-some years it sounds like there’s a war taking place there’s so many shots fired.
      Even with the half million hunters in the woods-you can still find public hunting areas where there’s very few hunters.
      We get a 5 day muzzleloader only season in Jan too.
      I’ve used my muzzleloader the past few years during our firearms season,as we can only use shotguns with slugs or saboted bullets,and some pistol caliber rifles that use straight walled cartridges. My inline muzzleloader is more accurate,and has a longer range than a shotgun using slugs,and most straight walled cartridges.
      150 yds is the longest shot I’ll take with my muzzleloader, 40 yds is the longest shot I’ll take with my bow,50 yds with crossbow.


      • This never fails to get me mad.
        1000-1500 yard shots!
        That desperate to hide how bad their stalking skills are they?

        What for, a good YouTube video is it?

        At those sort of ranges everything in the book comes into play. One mis-calculation, one missed parameter, a botched wind evaluation over range, one poor cartridge, and at best you miss at worse you wound.

        That’s bad news for your prey.
        1500 yards and a wounded animal on the run, what’s these mighty God like shooters plan?

        Run the 1500 plus whatever the animal has covered, use a ATV, or call in a helicopter, or does everyone present just let loose at it?

        I used to Ghille on a Northern estate. Unfortunately they made most of their money by letting rich gits shoot deer.
        Ever chased a lower gut shot deer on foot for 10 miles? I’ve never seen so much blood even when gutting a lung heart shot. As for the deer, it took us 4 hours to find it collapsed hidden in a thicket. And we still had to finish it off.

        Pah. I lost my job over that one but it felt mighty good thumping the fat sod who botched the 200 yard set.


      • gamegetterII says:

        I’ve never had a deer I shot go more than 100 yds.Of course I don’t take shots I’m not comfortable with,and although I can hit steel targets at 1,000 ydsI would never shoot any animal at that range-too many variables,too big a chance of a bad hit,then you end up tracking a wounded animal for hours,many times in the dark. I’ve tracked deer and elk that guys made horrible shots on,usually in the dark,and it’s usually a gut shot.
        I’ve seen deer when out hunting with arrows sticking out of them,most often shoulder shots that guys took from too long of a distance.
        Had a farmer call me a few years back to come and find a deer he saw with 2 arrows sticking out of it. There was very little blood to follow,but I had hunted the farm for years,and once I saw the direction the deer was heading,I figured I knew where it was going-and I was right,as soon as I headed in to the thicket-he got up to run,and I took a shot and put him down. Cost me my buck tag for the year,we can only take one buck no matter where in the state we get it.
        Probably could have got the game warden to allow it as a mercy kill,but didn’t feel like going through all the red tape.The meat was still good other then the shoulder where two arrows had hit bone and stopped.
        The fact that the arrows didn’t go through tells me they shot from too far away.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s exactly what I mean.
        A good hunter pursues a wounded animal and finishes it.
        As for bow hunters?
        We get a few idiots here too.
        Know what a Sika deer is?
        30 inches to the shoulder tops and at one time on our turf we’d find them wandering round with field arrows sticking out of them.
        One of our “group” found the culprit. A well known archery enthusiast. Shame his bow broke, same for his arrows, and he accidentally fell over a log which gave him a black eye.

        Liked by 1 person

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