Take a Deer Hunt Hike
Dr. John Woods 12.24.19
Still hunting is almost a lost art among deer hunting strategies. Fifty years ago you could hardly pick up a leading outdoor deer hunting magazine without still hunting being listed as one of the top tactics. These days it is hardly ever mentioned anymore.
That is too bad, because still hunting can be a very effective way to slip around your hunting property with the goal of virtually walking up on a deer. The idea behind still hunting is a bit confusing to some hunters because of the “still” part. In reality you are not still at all, but the movement is calculated, planned, and executed in a very slow and deliberate manner. You are trying to move through the woods noiseless to catch a deer off guard.
Some effective still-hunters pick out a section of deep woods where deer are known to frequent. After getting a reading on the wind, the hunter walks into the wind and always keeps the breeze blowing in the face. This way as little human scent is blown into the woods as possible. The movement is more like creeping than walking.
To say these still hunters walk slowly is a complete understatement. Some may not cover 20 yards in an hour. That is the concept. Take a step, quietly pressing your foot into the forest floor. Slowly you scan all around you while remaining nearly motionless. The hunting rifle is kept at port arms, ready for a quick shot.
As you scan, you are primarily watching for deer movement. Maybe a deer just stands up and remains there, or it could dash off in a second. Look for parts of deer standing or lying in the woods. Watch the movement of antler or the twitch of an ear. Learn to look for the body profile standing in brush or high grass. If a shot presents itself, you have to be prepared to make a fast, snap shot.
Still hunting is best with a short, light, easy-to-handle rifle such as a lever action carbine. The shorter the barrel the better so you can maneuver around tree limbs and high brush. Open sights usually get the job done, but a low-power scope can work, too. Just move and watch, move and watch. At times you may want to sit at the base of a big tree watching for what moves in the woods.
Still hunting can not only be effective, but very satisfying as well.