Coues deer, spot and stalk
SPOT AND STALK
Learning the art of spot and stalk hunting is must for coues deer. With everyone’s busy schedules it is hard to find the time to spend either learning how they move and where they will be so you can intercept them in a tree stand or ground blind.
Spot and stalk hunting, was invented for the west nothing is better suited for the terrain you will encounter. Becoming a good spot and stalk hunter takes practice, and lots of fine tuning, but it is attainable by anyone who wants to learn.
If you truly want to be effective with this method you need the following gear. I will list them in order of importance:
• A good pair of binoculars! Quality optics are a must! Here are my suggestions in order of preference: Savworski, Lieca, Ziess, Nikon, Bushnell elite, and Fujinon I suggest you carry a pair of high power binos to glass from a tripod and a small pair to use while you are stalking. I glass with 15×56 Savworski SLC on a tripod spot my game then when I make my stalk I use my 8×42 Nikon monarch
• Tripod: A good steady, articulate, but light tripod is a must I use: Monforotto 190xDB. It’s a great tripod for about $130 its medium weight and it has full articulation in the legs. Best of all it folds up small for easy storage.
• Wind checker: just a little puffer bottle with white talc powder nothing fancy. If you don’t have one, constantly pick up grass and let the wind take it to determine wind direction.
• Binocular harness: You travel great distances with this method of hunting it is important to be comfortable and to have your necessities in convenient locations. Crooked horn outfitter makes a nice one for about $19 bucks
• Range finder: when I’m stand hunting its not that important for me to have a range finder, due to the close proximity and constant location. However, when you are on the move and there are drastic changes in terrain. The landscape plays tricks on you and it is real hard to accurately judge distance. No one wants to spend 2 hours sneaking in on a monster buck just to send an arrow over his back!
Now that you are properly outfitted…
For some reason, a lot of people who try to stalk big game wait until they bed down. This is a great tactic, but it is not always the best tactic. If you can approach an animal when they are moving, it can increase your odds at filling your tag. Have you ever noticed that deer bed down in areas that provide themselves with many advantages?
First, they’re able to see any sort of danger from long distances. This will blow your stalk most of the time before it even starts. If they can’t see you, they can smell you and see you later. Always be aware of wind direction, as you should use that to your advantage by staying downwind. Than off course is a deer’s vision. Deer’s eyes are especially good at detecting motion.
If they are on their feet and moving they have a tougher time seeing other moving objects. For example, if you were to sit down on the side of a hill and just look around the country side, if something moves, chances are you will see it. But get up and start moving around and it becomes more difficult to pick out any kind of movement.
Finally, deer have hearing far superior to any human. When they are bedded they can hear leaves crunch or a twig break a mile away. When they are also moving and making noise, it makes it a little easier for us, the hunter, to approach them.
In stalking, time is your enemy. Once an animal is spotted you must close the distance as fast as possible without being detected if you want to be successful. If you spot an animal from a long distance, plan your stalk quickly, then close the distance as fast as you can until you need to make the final push towards the prize. In order to make a successful final approach, you need to rely on stealth. I like to have an oversized pair of wool socks with me to slide on over my boots, but there are also other options.
The first and least expensive is to take your shoes off, but watch out for cactus and other prickly plants, they hurt. Another option is buying some sort of stalking boot, with a felt bottom. As you get closer, calm your nerves, and be confident that all your practice has paid off. But don’t get too close, trying that usually means disaster. I like to, whenever possible, stay farther than 30 yards away.
Practice being sneaky at home by putting stalks on your family members and your dog this will help you gain confidence. Practice staying down wind from all animals and see how close you can get in your home state without getting busted. And lastly practice out at long distances from kneeling and seated positions that way you are training for what you will encounter and when the time comes you can make the shot.
For a more in depth look at hunting out west for western deer and game check out my book “The Secrets of Hunting Western Game”
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