What You Need To Know About Using a Bow to Spot-and-Stalk Whitetail Bucks
There are a few times when stalking deer is ideal, but this is something that is extremely difficult to pull off successfully. It is important to remain vigilant at all times and watch for these conditions when:
You are watching deer bedding from the stand
You are able see deer bedding down at lower elevations
There are not any other animals in your way
The terrain offers a good approach
The wind is to your advantage
It is imperative that the wind is in your favor and that you are able to remain out of the deer’s line of sight for as long as possible. With that being said, you also need to be able to stop and get set up while you can still see the animal. If you lose track of the deer, things get difficult.
Once you are familiar with when you should spot-and-stalk whitetails, you must become familiar with how to do it.
Wear Quiet Gear
When stalking deer, you can’t have your clothes making swish-swish sounds. It is imperative that the material of your clothing is quiet so that you are able to sneak up on whitetails. When it comes to the most affordable yet effective gear, go with fleece. It is quiet, comfortable, and low-priced.
Lose the Shoes
Depending on where you are hunting, you should consider ditching your shoes so that you can reduce the amount of noise that you make as you are stalking the whitetails. As you are approaching the deer and get within about 100 yards of your target, take the shoes off. Make sure that you are wearing some extra-thick socks so your feet have additional cushion. Oh, and make sure you remember where you leave your shoes!
Take the Necessities
When you are hauling a lot of gear, you can make a lot of noise. When you are stalking, make sure that you only take the necessities with you and leave everything else behind. Ultimately, you should only need your bow, a quiver full of arrows, a rangefinder, and a pair of binoculars. To ensure that the last two don’t clank against one another, put the rangefinder in one of your chest pockets and the binoculars beneath your outer layer.
If you do not know that a deer is there, then you can’t sneak up on him, right? So, you should begin in an area where you have a solid vantage point as well as glass for any bedded whitetails. As soon as a buck has been located, observe him—but do more than that. You should also look for any other whitetails that may be bedded nearby, and then map your stalking route accordingly.
Utilize the Terrain
Utilize the landscape to your advantage. If you work your way down, then you should always have line-of-sight advantage. However, terrain features can be used as tools. Don’t skylight yourself on a ridge or hill. Make sure that you constantly seek cover in barren areas, vegetation, ravines, or hills. You can even keep a low profile in a rut or ditch as you are approaching a buck.
Monitor the Wind
Throughout the entire time that you are stalking, it is imperative that you keep a close eye on the wind. If the terrain that you are hunting in allows, keep the wind in your face. Crosswinds are good as well.
Continue to Assess
It is important to remain mindful while stalking. The outcome can be affected by multiple variables, including the target deer, other animals, your movement, and wind direction. Most of these variables are completely beyond your control, so it is important that you remain focused on what you are able to control: your movements and noise level. By knowing when you are able to move slower or faster or when you need to simply stop is crucial. Read each situation, react, and repeat.
Stalking whitetails is a very slow process. In some cases, especially if you lack significant cover or the whitetails are not bedded in a favorable location, it can take a while to advance several yards. However, the slower that you move, the lower the chances are that you will alert the bucks of your presence. As you get within 100 yards of your target, you should begin to move slower.
If you are able to see the deer, then it can likely see you as well. Therefore, it is a good idea to get as close as you can to the deer before you exposure yourself. However, once you are within visible range, keep monitoring its behavior. Body language is imperative. Recognizing whether a buck is on high alert, calm, or somewhere in between can help you calculate your next move.
Watch for Other Wildlife
Keep looking around for other wildlife, including deer, as you reduce the gap between you and the target deer. A lot of stalks have been ruined due to an unseen doe that scares and flees, taking that target buck with her.
Utilize Your Rangefinder
It can be hard to estimate how many yards you are away when you are as close to the ground as possible. As soon as you are in position, get out your rangefinder and use it to confirm your shot distance. Take multiple ranges, if time permits. In some cases, you can get false readings due to leaves, blades of grass, or branches getting in the way.
Draw at the Right Time
Pay attention to your target deer’s body language. Read it. Understand the situation. Know when you should pull the bow back. It is important that you don’t draw too early or too late, as both are equally damaging. As soon as you see the opportunity to shoot, take a deep breath, exhale, and release.
For more information about spot-and-stalking whitetails, get in touch with us today at Full Draw Archery.