I just read an article, well part of an article, about a hunting technique called "still hunting". According to the writer, still hunting is not a hunter sitting still and waiting for their prey to come to them but when a hunter slowly moves through the woods and marshes on the prowl for prey using the wind to their advantage and blending into the environment. They are an expert tracker that moves very slowly and quietly taking one or two steps then standing silently for several minutes waiting and watching for sign of game. The writer said that a "still hunter" can take as long as an hour to cover 100 yards.
Well I'm not sure what category me and my family fall into. We walk slowly over mountaintops and slopes and wide open deserts. I've crawled on hands and knees under thick branches of pine thickets and climbed over windfalls that look like a pile of discarded Pick-Up-Sticks. We attempt to walk silently, but in the dry desert during deer season, it is nearly an impossible task trying to avoid stepping on dry branches, brush and dry pine cones. Each step crunches and snaps as we slowly but steadily walk on usually covering a couple miles per hunt in a two hour period. If the wind is blowing our noisy steps are masked by the howling air current as it passes through the tall treetops, but the scent of human swishes around in all directions. So we adapt to the desert conditions by slowly walking while keeping a keen eye out for fleeing deer. Does usually aren't as skid-dish and often trot or bounce through openings at a pace slow enough to allow us to get our riffle sites on them to scope them, confirming they don't have any antlers. Young bucks often stay with their mothers during season while the older larger bucks hang out together in small bachelor herds. We walk along keeping a watchful eye and ready hand to raise our rifle in a moments notice as the bucks jump from their day beds often only yards away. They lay in the open, watching us approach until they catch our scent and jump up hitting the ground at a full on run. They always startle the cr#p out of me and they are extremely wise about the route they choose to flee. I have jumped bucks in the wide open only to have them place themselves behind a large tree and run straight away making it very difficult to get a bead on them before they are tiny specks in a cloud of dust.
In the description of a "still hunter", it said they are expert trackers. I'd say we fall into that category. At least, without bragging, my mother and I do. My husband is colorblind and often has difficulty seeing blood. I have done it for a life time learning from Mom who is one of the best I've ever seen using all her senses to locate. I once tracked a wounded buck for four hours and several miles into the desert before pushing him out to my mother who finished with a single shot what I attempted with six. I connected twice but not in a good spot to keep him down, plus I forgot to pack my extra ammo that morning and ran out of bullets. I call that story a miracle. I did a lot of praying during those 4 long hours and God answered. Knowing the landscape was monumental in the success of this story because I radioed Mom and told her which way the buck appeared to heading so she drove the five miles and met him there.
I'm more of a "still hunter" during elk season because I'm often plowing through one or two feet of snow. Other then the swish, swish of the snow falling away from my shins as I walk, it's pretty quiet. I take a few steps then stand and listen then begin walking again. I'm usually the one on the mountain top crawling under the trees and over the snow covered logs on the steep slopes, attempting to flush out the elk that I tracked there. Last year it took me three days to modify my actions before I out smarted and finally flushed the branched bulls. I had jumped them and caught glimpses of them for two days before I finally moved them down the correct side of the hill into the lap of my sister. She got the bull, a nice six-point, with a single shot then watched two four points pass by. While she reaped the fruits of my labor, I ticked off a huge black bear who growled at me and then I reached the kill in time to spend the next several hours packing it off the hill. Am I ungrateful? No way, I wouldn't give up my role for anything. We work as a team and after hunting together for a lifetime...we do pretty well.
Sherrie Gant is a writer, photographer, and