1) GO EXTRA SLOW
When still-hunting, most of us don't move slowly enough, or stay put long enough. Try using your watch as a guide. Decide on a period of time to stand still, such as five minutes. This way you'll be forced to remain quiet and silent for a minimum amount of time, longer if necessary.
2) STOP AT THE NOISE
Here's a saying I came up with to remind me of an animal's terrific senses. "The sound of a snapped twig is quickly forgotten by the hunter, but long remembered by the quarry." If you make an unusually loud noise, stop and stand there as long as you can if you suspect animals are close by. A deer might stand a long time and stare in your direction. If it doesn't see or smell you, it might go back to feeding or whatever else it was doing before it was disturbed.
3) QUICK-STEPPING FOR DEER
A deer is easily alerted to human cadence as we walk through noisy leaves. This might sound like a dumb idea, but try taking quick steps in a short sprint for 10 to 20 yards or so. Stop, and do it again. Keep your footfalls as light as possible; you'll be surprised at how much you sound like a squirrel scrambling through the leaves.
4) DESIGN A BETTER DRIVE
When putting a drive together, we tend to place standers in front of and alongside the area being driven. If you have enough people in your party, position a stander in the rear where the drive originated. Deer will often wait for hunters to pass and then sneak back and run off in the opposite direction.
5) DRIVE SOLO
Try a one-man drive if you're hunting alone. Purposely walk into an area with the wind at your back. The idea is to stir deer up and get them moving. Once you've passed through, make a circle and do it again. You might see confused deer creeping about, unsure of your location. If this doesn't work, take a position on the flank of the area you walked through and wait an hour or two. You might see deer sneaking back in, believing the danger has passed. This works in dense thickets that deer use for security cover.
6) PICK YOUR LANDMARKS
When you plan to stalk an animal by making a big circle and coming up behind it, it's easy to become confused as you change your location. Pick a distinctive object on the skyline that you can recognize from the back, such as a large tree, a fence line or a rock, to help guide you to the correct spot.
7) JUDGE THE QUARRY'S PACE
Also try to anticipate where the animal will be once you complete your stalk. Before starting, watch the quarry long enough to determine its direction and rate of travel if it's actively feeding or walking. Pick your destination accordingly.
8) FOLLOW WITH CARE
If you're tracking an animal, remember that the quarry will be alert to its back trail. A really fresh track requires you practically to still-hunt rather than merely follow, especially if the animal isn't "lined out" but is taking bites of browse as it goes.
9) CLEAR SHOOTING LANES
When you first get into your tree stand, practice taking up shooting positions for all the directions from which an animal might appear. After doing that, try to remove branches in the line of fire if you can reach them, and take up the position that requires the least amount of movement for you to turn in any direction. Be sure your safety strap is secure and allows free movement.
10) SWEEP AWAY BLIND CLUTTER
If you're sitting in a ground blind or standing next to a tree, sweep away leaves and brush with your boot so the area you're in is clean of forest debris. This will eliminate unnecessary noise if you must make a move when an animal approaches.
11) GLASS AND RE-GLASS
When glassing with a binocular early in the morning, move to your vantage point in the dark. Glass likely spots, but don't take just a single cursory look. From time to time, refocus your attention on places you've already checked out. The changing light might reveal animals you hadn't seen before or animals that have moved out of deep brush or timber.
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