Of all the many methods one can take to shoot a deer, none are as exciting and fun the whole way through as is the method of Spot and Stalk Deer Hunting. Though it may not be quite as relaxing as sitting in a tree stand or blind, it is definitely more of a thrill from the beginning to the point of shooting.
Spot and stalk deer hunting demands a lot of skill out book your hunt of a hunter, as well as the right habitat and the right gear. There are many different tricks and tactics that deer hunters can use to give them more of an advantage, and here we will talk about them.
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What is Spot and Stalk Deer Hunting?
Spot and stalk deer hunting is a method by which a hunter first attempts to spot a deer, and then stalk to within shooting range. Shooting range can me a lot of things to different people and weapons, but the theory is the same. You must concentrate on sneaking (stalking) into a position that you can ethically make book your hunt a good, clean kill.
How close do you need to get? A good rule of thumb for most people would be 300 yards for rifle hunters and 40 yards for archery hunters. Of course this will be 100% up to the individual hunter and whatever he or she feels comfortable with. With a lot of practice, especially for archery hunting, these ranges can be increased.
No matter where you are, spot and stalk deer hunting can be a great method for taking deer. That being said, there are some areas that are much better suited for the method of spot and stalk deer hunting than others.
The more open and the less cover, the better spot and stalk hunting will be. Spot and stalk deer hunting requires looking over a lot of country to find the deer you are looking for. If you are book your hunt after a mature buck, then you might have to put in a lot of time depending on the area. A lot of good spot and stalk deer hunting areas have a low average buck age as people shoot too many immature bucks when they are young and very dumb without a place to hide or the smarts to run away.
Most of the better spot and stalk deer hunting areas lie in the west half of North America, as it tends to be a bit more arid without as many trees, except in the mountainous areas. Even in the mountains, some great spot and stalk areas can be found as you can look across canyons and spot deer or you can go above tree line for some alpine spot and stalk deer hunting, which happens to be some of the best area to get a big mule deer buck.
Once you are in an area that you think should be good for spot and stalk hunting, the first task is to find deer. The best thing to do if you have time before the season starts is to do some preseason scouting. It is very helpful to know what size of deer to set your standards on as well an idea of where to find them. Opening book your hunt day can get pretty crazy, as there is typically other hunters that have done some scouting and will be looking for specific deer, so you will want to be in the best place possible as soon as legal shooting time arrives.
Keep Your Distance
The key to spot and stalk deer hunting is to see the deer before they see you. For this reason, it is best to find deer from a long ways off. Once you find them, then you can devise a plan on getting to within range. Once the deer are alerted to your presence, things will get much harder as the deer will be on guard making tough to close the distance without being seen.
Spotting Moving Deer
Early in the mornings is the best time to find deer moving around. Morning time usually finds the deer the furthest away from their bedding areas and focused on eating. For this reason you will want to focus on feeding areas first thing, and then work your way to checking their in between areas as they book your hunt browse about on their way to the bedding areas. If you are after older, mature bucks, they are usually the first to head for wherever they feel the safest and bed down for the day. Many are nocturnal by the time deer season starts, and you will have to find them in their beds. This can be tough as a deer can blend in to its surroundings very easily.
If you have not found a deer that meets you minimum requirement to put a stalk on before they bed down, do not be discouraged. Most deer, including bucks will get up, stretch, nibble on some nearby plants, or just get up to reposition themselves out of the sun. I have found many bucks that I have put stalks on in the heat of the day.