Talk the Talk, Walk the Walk, & Stalk!

As I mentioned in my blog “Finding Fred” about “The Archer’s Bible” I will be coming back to the sound advice of Fred Bear that has stood the test of time. With the deer season in Texas nearing the end, many hunters are getting anxious to fill their tags and get that trophy buck or meat kill for the year to fill their freezer. Some are getting anxious and are looking to try anything; others just enjoy the thrill of the stalk and getting out of their comfort zone. Either way the challenge of walking and stalking an animal, especially with a bow, is extreme, but the rewards are astounding. Whether your stalking deer, night-stalking hogs (my favorite), or creeping up on any other animal in the wild there are some great tips to make your hunt a success.

Here are Fred Bear’s tips for stalking animals with my commentary in parentheses:

1. Never step on anything you can step over.
(This can be tricky, especially in South Texas brush or any extremely thick area. Try not to shuffle your feet but rather attempt a marching like walk instead)

2. Do not move continuously. Take a few steps, stop, look and listen. See your quarry before it sees you. Take short steps.
(This is not only beneficial for the stalk but a great way to ensure you take in everything around you, enjoy the closeness of nature and the animals you might be near)

3. Train your eyes to see details. Seldom will you see the whole animal at first, only part of it.
(This is probably my most difficult task; I don’t have the best vision and it does take hard work to spot a leg, a nose, a tail, or piece of an antler when surrounded by brush. Glassing with binoculars is an great tool to use before moving forward)

4. Hunt into or across the wind.
(Wind in your face, you’re in the right place – that’s my motto when hunting or stalking. You always have to use the wind to your advantage and it is crucial to getting close to an animal)

5. Avoid all unnecessary movements.
(This is self-explanatory; limit your movement when stalking. Have everything you need ready and accessible – keep your binoculars on a harness, your rangefinder in your pocket, your arrows or ammo in an accessible spot so your movement is minimal and you stay as stealth as possible)

6. Whenever possible, time your shots to coincide with natural noises or when the animal’s head is down. This will help prevent him from seeing your movements and jumping at the sound of your bow-string.
(This is a great tip for all types of hunting, not just stalking. Watch the animal and move with them)

7. When working up on a feeding deer, move when it moves and watch its tail.

8. Keep cool and don’t be in a hurry.
(Patience is important and a constant struggle, especially if you have an animal in sight. Don’t lose all your techniques and tactics and rush in and ruin what you have worked so hard for)

9. Scan the area close to you – a second deer may be watching you pass.
(Although many animals will run or scatter when you get close, some may be curious and freeze in their tracks to watch you pass. These close encounters can become a success if you time it right.)

10. Check the wind direction carefully before beginning a stalk.
(Again, wind is your friend and MUST be used in your hunts)

11. Avoid carrying a nocked arrow while on unsafe footing.
(Great safety tip; if you reach unstable terrain put your arrow back in your quiver until you get onto safer ground. If you spot an animal while on treacherous ground, stop and find the best spot to stabilize before reaching for an arrow)

12. Know your capabilities. Stalk to within a good shooting distance.
(This is moral hunting in my book; don’t take a shot at an animal you know is out of your range or your weapon’s range. For example, my bow is only sighted in to 40 yards because I know I have a low draw weight [44 lbs]; therefore my arrow is not traveling as fast. An animal outside of that will jump my string or arrow and duck causing a complete miss, or worse, a wounded animal. I ultimately prefer to shoot within 30 yards to ensure a clean shot but determine your range and your comfort zone and stick to it. I would rather pass on an animal out of range than injure or wound an animal and never find it)

13. In contrast to instructions to hunt slowly and deliberately, there are times to throw caution to the winds and run just as fast as possible to get to a place where a traveling animal may pass within bowshot.
(Sometimes you just have to go for it! This will only work if the animal is facing away from you and you have the wind in your face. As mentioned before, watch the animal’s movements; run when they are looking away, stop when they change direction).

It seems Fred Bear has covered all the basics of stalking an animal and he wrote those in 1968. It’s amazing how some things never change and the basics and fundamentals remain solid.

The only extra tips I can add is to be in good physical shape if you will be on a long stalk and always be sure of your target. Never shoot at anything that you aren’t sure of or know what is on the other side and make sure if there are other hunters in the area everyone is aware of each other. If you are stalking dangerous game follow my safety tip and use the buddy system with a back up weapon. Safety first!


Source: Bear, Fred. (1968). The Archers Bible. Garden City, NY: DoubleDay & Company, Inc.

Dec 03, 2012 | Category: Blog | Comments: 1


One comment on “Talk the Talk, Walk the Walk, & Stalk!

  1. Brian Heffner

    Be prepared to field dress a Whitetail deer if you follow the advice above. If you want to experience the beauty of hunting through music, you might want to listen to Ted Nugent, Spirit Of The Wild, Fred Bear song.

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