Georgia Hunting Land For Sale South Carolina Hunting Land For Sale North Carolina Hunting Land For Sale Hunting Land and Recreational Property For Sale

Still Hunting Bucks


Drizzle had been the norm for several days. Late fall weather patterns vary with wide degrees of certainty. Finally, after weeks of dry weather and temperatures above normal, some much needed rain was occurring and it was occurring in ways that we needed. Slow soaking drizzle that would last for days.

Perfect conditions for still hunting. As a young hunter reading the stories of some of my literary hero’s I was often confused with the term. Still hunting means sitting still doesn’t it? To confuse things they added the phrase stand hunting which really is done sitting. Still hunting does not mean being still but moving. My young mind was exploding with the constant irony. So for clarity, in a vague way let’s set the record straight. There are basically four common hunting techniques. Stand hunting which is usually done sitting in a tree stand. Still hunting which is done while not being still but moving slowly through the woods. Stalking the manner of following tracks usually done in snow to catch up to your quarry and last spot and stalk which is done in open country of the Midwest and west. Basically, finding your game at a large distance and stalking within effective shooting ranges.

Of these the first and last are the most commonly used. Stand hunting and spot and stalk. But there was a time when still hunting was the norm. Slipping through the forest undetected and maneuvering into shooting range of a buck is a lost art. As we have changed our deer management so too have we changed our styles of hunting them.

Of the hundreds of deer that I have been fortunate enough to kill, the ones I still hunted carry the best memories. The deer I shot at seven feet after a ninety minute stalk that covered twenty yards. The buck I shot at twelve yards after three hours of slipping through the woods and covering only seventy five yards. The doe I shot at ten feet while she was looking right at me and had no idea what I was. These are the hunts that race to my mind when talking hunting. Sure I have killed bigger deer from tree stands, but none were as exciting a the buck feeding through a hardwood draw I slipped into without him knowing I was there and shooting him at fifteen yards as he fed peacefully.

One hunter defined still hunting as drifting through the woods. I like that definition. It speaks of what it entails. Moving slowly, silently and methodically. Senses on high alert, in tune with everything around you. But conditions have to be right. Let’s look at some of the techniques and tips of still hunting effectively.

  1. Use the weather to your advantage.  –  There are two types of days I look for in still hunting, and if I can get them together all the better. First is light rain that is either falling or has just stopped falling. For obvious reasons, the rain quietens the woods. The forest floor is wet and much quieter to walk in disguising my sounds. Granted it also disguises the sounds of the deer also, but they are quiet anyway. I need the forest floor to be as soft and quiet as possible.
  2. Wind – wind – and more wind. Those blustery autumn days when the wind seems to be relentless. Blowing at fifteen miles per hour or stronger is best. The sounds of the wind, the movement of everything makes it more difficult for deer to hear and see me. If I can get a windy day right after a rain, it is magic time for the stillhunter.

Now some techniques for successful still hunting. One of the things you need are thin, soft soled shoes. In dry conditions I will walk in two pairs of wool socks. But if I need to stay dry, I like some of the thin soled tennis shoes or worn out hiking boots. Something with a soft sole so you can feel the twigs and rocks beneath your feet. This helps to prevent accidently breaking sticks and twigs while walking. Another great piece of equipment is a safari sling for your gun. A safari slings enables you to carry your gun at waist level. It enables your arms to rest while the gun is supported by the sling.

Lastly is excellent camouflage. I like to wear either a leafy suit that has a 3-D look or a full ghillie suit. Both of these break up my outline and enable me to hide better. As someone who wears glasses, I don’t like face mask so I opt for camo make-up to completely conceal my face. Gloves are a must. The last thing you need is a big dose of patience. Still hunting is not about covering a lot of ground. It is about covering the ground well. Very well. Which makes for a good hunt. Before deciding where you will still hunt, look at your property. Find areas you would expect deer to be, I prefer to still hunt right along the edge of the sanctuary. Very near bedding areas. This helps me to get close to either where the deer are, or where they want to be. I hope to intercept them as they stretch their legs or are moving about close to home.

Another technique that helps to keep quiet is walking in creeks. Wearing knee boots or even hip boots or waders you can walk in the creek, moving slowly and below normal threating locations. I have used creeks to slip through very thick areas deer love to hide and walked right up on them in their beds. In fact, of all the deer I have taken in their beds, most of them were still hunting through creeks.

Still hunting requires a lot of patience as mentioned. Moving slowly. I often tell myself, move as slow as I can and then slow down more. If I am alarming squirrels, I am moving too fast. In a good still hunt you should be able to move to within feet of squirrels. The difficulty is transitioning from one foot to another. One tip that may help, is never step further than the distance of one foot. In other words, my right foot doesn’t move past my left foot. Baby steps, slow baby steps. I will often look ahead and plan a route that avoids noisy limbs, fall down debris, or thick areas. I like to look ten to fifteen yards ahead. Moving very slowly. When I arrive at a designated location. I lean against a tree and look. I look long, slowly and again. Searching for movement, ears flickering, tails wagging, anything that would give a deer away.  Most often I spot the legs moving first. Binoculars are a big help at penetrating the limbs, vines and overall jungle. I have spotted many a deer with my binoculars at forty yards I couldn’t see without them. Often I will lean against the tree for ten minutes or longer before beginning to move again. Move to another tree and repeat the process. Again, it is not about how far you cover, it is about how well you cover the area.

Still hunting is one of the most difficult manners to hunt. But it is also one of the most rewarding. If hunting public land, make sure you wear plenty of orange and find areas other hunters do not frequent. It is a great challenge and one worth trying. Once you kill your first deer in this manner you will be hooked and need to try it more and more.