Pro Tip: Spot and Stalk Bow Hunting with Heartland Bowhunter.
With practice, and a little know-how, you can maximize your chances of punching a tag on your next stalk.
Spot and stalk deer hunting can be very tedious and often a tough task to pull off. There are a few tips and tricks I would like to share that have helped me with success in getting into range.
Eyes on The Antlers
When moving into range of the buck I keep constant eyes on his antlers to know which direction his head is facing. I want to know if he is looking at me as if he might’ve heard me or caught movement in my direction. Also, he may have fallen asleep, which means I can get away with a little more movement.
Keeping my optics strapped tight to my chest with a bino harness allows me to periodically glass the buck’s location and gauge how alert he is. Keeping his antlers in view while making sure his eyes are still hidden from my view has helped me significantly on many stalks.
Once within shooting range of a deer I use wind gusts to my advantage. Providing there is a significant wind, I will often wait for a good gust to move closer to the buck. I will study the leaves or grass near the buck to see if the wind is gusting around him, not only around me. Wind provides plenty of cover to sneak in an extra 20-30 yards, which can often be the difference between a punched tag and a blown stalk.
When you get to your stalk’s destination, make sure you’re nocked and ready to draw.
Knowing when to draw your bow is part of the unknown on every stalk. When will that time be? Should you wait for the deer to stand (providing he is bedded) or get him to stand on your own? With conditions being different every time it makes that moment very hard to predict.
Once I have made it to my stalking destination, I tend to wait for the deer to stand on his own. I will evaluate where the sun is and if the deer is going to be in direct sunlight soon. If so, I will evaluate his body language, always have my arrow nocked, and keep my release attached to my D-Loop.
If I don’t think he is going to stand on his own within a few hours, I will either sit and wait or I will get him to stand on my own. Getting the deer to stand up and offer a shot can be very risky. It’s important to know where his vitals will be upon standing up because he won’t offer you much time to get the shot off. In this tactic I will first draw my bow, settle my pin in where I believe his vitals will be when he stands, make subtle distress calls, and wait for him to stand. Once he is up, he will only give you a couple short seconds to evaluate the source of the noise before bounding off. It is important to look through your peep and have your sights lined up prior to him standing, so when he does stand, you will only have to make a quick/short adjustment before releasing your arrow.
This tactic doesn’t always offer a shot opportunity; however, it works well for me. Overall, the best thing to take away from my spot and stalk experience is awareness. ALWAYS be aware.
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