Editor’s Note: Stalk-hunting deer with a bow was the way of the early Americans. Native Americans were deadly effective at taking game using a bow. However, today, because of our hurry-up society, most hunters can’t refrain from walking too fast to stalk successfully.
Now that you know how to walk and stalk a deer, you must prepare for the hunt. This preparation also is critical to your ability to get-in close enough to take a shot at a buck with a bow. “I begin by bathing with some type of odor-eliminating hair and body soap,” Larry Norton, an expert bowman and hunting guide, says. “I wash my body and my clothes in this product to eliminate human odor and to put odor barriers in my clothing. Next, I use either fox scent deer lure on my feet and my hat to mask whatever human odor my body gives off after using an odor eliminator.” Norton wears a camo hat, gloves and a mask when he stalks a deer, besides wearing camo. “I want to be as invisible as possible,” Norton emphasizes. “In the South where I hunt, there always is some type of green in the woods year-round. Along the edge of thickets, you’ll see greenbrier, Japanese honeysuckle and water oaks that still are holding green leaves. Even out in the hardwood bottoms, many times patches of honeysuckle, briars or other green foliage that matches the leaves of a green camo will be present.
“I like a leaf-pattern camo because I’m moving when I stalk. If I’m hunting in the wind, the wind will cause the leaves of the foliage to move, like I’m moving, whereas the bark of a tree can’t move. If I wear a total bark-pattern camo, the deer will be more likely to spot me. I’m convinced when you’re stalking deer, utilizing a leaf-pattern camo will mean you’ll be less likely to spook deer than if you wear a total vertical pattern that resembles a tree trunk. If I see a deer 80 to 100 yards away, I mentally decide that 45 minutes to one hour will be required for me to get close enough to that deer to take a shot.”
As Norton slips through the woods toward the deer, he makes mental notes of the way the buck behaves – whether he’s calm, nervous, feeding and/or walking. Norton also keeps-up with the wind’s direction and only will attempt a stalk when he can move into the wind, or when he has a crosswind that keeps his scent away from the deer’s nose. “A slight wind helps to cover any sound you may make,” Norton reports. “Too, the wind causes trees and bushes to move, which also hides my movement.”
Once Norton walks, he never looks down. He uses the soles of his feet as his eyes to determine what’s on the ground where he’s placing his boot and his eyes to concentrate on the deer. According to Norton, “I’ve learned some general rules of deer behavior that are beneficial to me as I stalk. Most of the time, a deer will swish its tail back and forth before it lifts its head to look around. Generally, a deer also will swish its tail back and forth before it puts its head back down to feed again. If the deer is undisturbed and not nervous, the animal usually will keep its head down feeding for at least 5 seconds at a time. When I see a deer’s head go down, I start counting the seconds off. I attempt to take my steps within that 5-second window when the deer’s head is down. Although the deer may keep his head down longer than 5 seconds, I never assume he will. If the deer’s head is down for 3 seconds, and I see his tail swish, I’ll stop my stalk short of my 5-second limit.”
Norton uses fox urine as a cover-up scent. Then if the wind changes as he’s stalking, he believes the fox urine will help prevent deer downwind of him from smelling him and giving the alarm snort that will spook the deer he’s trying to bag. “Too, as you move through the woods, whenever possible, keep a big tree between you and the deer you’re stalking,” Norton says. “Then, when a deer looks in your direction, he only will be able to spot a portion of you, rather than seeing your entire outline.”
John E. Phillips’ latest deer book “How to Hunt Deer Like a Pro: Volume II,” just was published on Amazon in print at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0BGSP3QPB/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tpbk_p4_i4 The Audible version should be available in December. Since deer hunting and deer hunters are drastically changing each year, John has interviewed some top deer hunters like Mark Drury, Dr. Larry Marchinton, Dr. Bob Sheppard, Pat Reeve, Gene Wensel, Cody Robbins, Ernie Calandrelli, Brian Murphy and Luke Brewster, who took the world’s largest whitetail, to learn their up-to-date techniques for successfully hunting deer and having more places to hunt.
Too, check-out John’s book, “Bowhunting Deer: the Secrets of the PSE Pros,” https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0091T1NKM/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_taft_p1_i1, available now in Kindle, print and Audible versions.
You may have to copy and paste these links into your browser. When you click on these books, notice on the left where Amazon says you can read and hear 10% of the Audible books for free. On the right side of the pages and below the offer for a free Audible trial, you can click on Buy the Audible book.
Tomorrow: Stalk Hunt Deer Successfully