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Old 12-30-2017, 04:09 PM
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3blade 3blade is offline
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Default How to improve at spot and stalk bowhunting?

Ok, I know, PRACTICE and EXPERIENCE. But that's kinda the problem. The opportunities to actually go after critters on the ground with a bow are few and far between thanks to draw wait times and no-hunting private lands. It's not been effective on crown land, due to the omnipresent dense vegetation.

I've established the fact that Im missing one or most likely several pieces of the puzzle, and need to get more better at actually stalking and arrowing big game before committing to any further high priority draws or outfitted hunts. What's the best way to go about this? My current thoughts are:

-Spend a month in New Zealand, living like a feral cat and stalking everything that moves. Financially it would delay the other bucket list hunts, but would be pretty dang cool anyway.

-head to Texas or some other southern state to hunt a pile of hogs, for as long as I can afford to stay.

-say F it, only hunt whitetails with a bow, and use a rifle for draw tags and adventure hunts when going after new animals in unfamiliar terrain. Probably the most effective, but seems rather unfulfilling...or perhaps my "I wanna get it with my bow" thing is a whole lotta mental masturbation, wasted effort, and completely unrealistic?

-or I'm completely missing something and someone is going to turn the lightbulb on over top of my dunce hat.
DEER!!! No...nope. Hay bale.
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Old 12-30-2017, 04:40 PM
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Lefty-Canuck Lefty-Canuck is offline
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Play the wind and the lay of the land, you have to know when to run and know when to freeze. If you think you are going slow, go slower.

Commit to it, it all takes time. If you want to get it done with the bow. Put down the rifle and never bring it with you. Accept failure and not using tags. Every blown stalk is a learning experience....use it as such.

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Old 12-30-2017, 05:20 PM
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fallen1817 fallen1817 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Posts: 851

Now, take this with a grain of salt... I've never stalked any animal, so I am probably the least qualified person to speak to this, but I've watched a whack of Mulie and elk hunts, and here is what I've compiled:

Remove your pack and shoes well in advance
Play the wind
Wait for them to bed
Only move when their head is down or their eyesight is obstructed
Mule deer have giant ears... If they're facing you, you'll likely be heard
Practice at extended ranges and in different shooting positions
Formulate a game plan prior to executing the stock

Again, I'm not the least bit qualified to offer advice, but If I were to begin stalking game, these would be my starting points. And as you said, practice practice practice.
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Old 12-30-2017, 06:40 PM
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3blade 3blade is offline
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Originally Posted by Lefty-Canuck View Post
Play the wind and the lay of the land, you have to know when to run and know when to freeze. If you think you are going slow, go slower.

Commit to it, it all takes time. If you want to get it done with the bow. Put down the rifle and never bring it with you. Accept failure and not using tags. Every blown stalk is a learning experience....use it as such.

That's what I'm after, more of those learning experiences. I get that it's probably 1/50 when learning, but at the current rate I'll be long into the happy hunting grounds in the sky before I get to 50 stalks. We can't hunt moose anymore, general season mulies are next to impossible to get access to, and elk are run to the ends of the earth by every jackazz with a bugle. I've killed a grand total of three animals (moose, mulie, whitetail) from the ground and all were dumb luck.

Workout like a madman. Read everything I can. Shoot my bow at 3D targets, at extended range, multiple times a week. Scout out a good spot. Hunt my brains out for weeks, see one or two animals at 150-200 yards. Sneak in, get to about 90, and then the wind swirls, or a cow barks, or a deer blows out, or they just walk away. repeat next season. With one or two actual chances a year, I'm not getting to the "aha" moment, so I thought I should go somewhere that offers a target rich environment and get that experience level up...?
DEER!!! No...nope. Hay bale.
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Old 12-30-2017, 08:55 PM
raw outdoors raw outdoors is offline
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: calgary
Posts: 346

Number one rule slow slow slow
Keep your head low and on a 360 degree swivel always be watching out of the corner of your eyes.
Study the land a 8 inch low spot can hide a man crawling belly down face down.
Hide your face and hands,watches,wedding rings, glasses can spook animals.
I have never painted my face but I try to keep it shaded with a hat. Or neck gator. Ps be sure to practice shooting with your hat and other accessories.
Scan with your eyes as much as you can before turning your head and face.
Heading straight in at an animal if cover is not a avalible you will have a better success percentage than trying to approach parallel. Animals have a much harder time seeing movement directly towards them than they do across there line of sight. Put something between you and your target anything that can break up movement.
Be patient the last 100 yards can take hours to cover , 7 being my longest in +36 weather.
Take an exsesive amount of range readings study land layout and animal location take picture on your phone through scope/ take notes and metal pictures of landmarks rocks/ grass / fences could fenceposts. So you can reference back once you get closer you will loose orientation quite regularly when you start staking and zigzagging around while trying to approach.

Wind is your friend take notes I have my area to a science calam till 11 wind starts at 11-12 guy gets excited starts stalking in wind dies at 12-30 till 2 your stuck out there mid stalk with your ass in the burning sun till about 3-4 when wind starts blowing steady with less lulls and gusts around three animals usual stand around 3 for a stretch and a pee may feed a bit then lay facing different direction depending on how wind changed from the first time they bedded around 9:30 am.

On a windy day a guy can get a stalk done In 15 minutes but then try shoot in that gale force wind. On a calm day it can take hours and maybe not even worth it if you spook your target.

The amount of animals around can be a problem if you spot a deer and start stalking a km away you could run into many deer that can blow out and then spook your target always walk as if there is going to be something between you and the target sometimes this works out and you accidentally discover a better deer. Most times it just lets you spot other deer mostly does before they spot you. Use you binos slowly peek over unseen terrain looking for deer/ coyotes / rabbits / sharptail grouse / ears /antler tips. If you get a unwanted roadblock crouch down back out slow and try a new approach. Early season buck will really be alone the big boys always have a few your stranglers fallowing then around action as bodygaurds beefing down facing all direction. The younger bucks can be out witted but itís rare to go in undetected with several deer watching. If a deer stands and gives you the stairdown and you stay low and absolulty still they can very well bed back down or just move off slowly. Try not to let them see you are a human figure.

Practice drawing and shooting these three ways in your yard will help you drastically
First lay flat on ground starfish bow in hand try knock an arrow then clip on your realease while still laying down then slowly get up to your knees and draw at the same time. Get on target and shoot as quick as you can.

Next practice the exact same scenario but when you draw back slowly get on target and hold draw for as long as you can then take a practice shot say 1.5min than as you get stronger hold for 2 min and shoot so on until you can hold and shoot accurately with a 3 min draw time.

Next practice drawing sitting on your butt I rarely parictice shooting from a standing position as I know I can already shoot that way and knowing I have only killed 10% of my archery animals standing 80% kneeling shots and 10% sitting is how I figure it.

Always shoot your bow at a draw weight you can comfortable pull in extreme environment. You may look like a hero shooting 80 lb draw at the range but you will feel like a zero when a 200Ē deer bounces away beaches you couldnít pull your bow after a grewling stalk.

Every single time is a learning experience everything come into play there is so many moving parts itís hurts thinking about it. I have made thousands of mistakes some you get lucky and get away with others and in hours or crawling with raw elbows and knees with nothing to show but a broken pride. Always try to remember all your screwups and learn from them for future stalks. Donít be afraid to stalk other animals just for fun and to learn. On slow days with no deer to be found I will stalk coyotes/ grouse / gophers even the odd beef cow to see how close I can get.

Couple last things I have learned chug a bunch of Gatorade and eat a bunch before you start stalking itís easyer to pee wile laying down then try pulling out water and snacks 5 hours into a stalk. Leave all your crap 200 yards back but be carful deer/coyotes will spook if they pass downwind of your packs and can blow a stalk

Long winded but lean from my mistakes and go out and make some of your own
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Old 12-31-2017, 05:18 AM
Krokitt Krokitt is offline
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 18

Every blown stalk is moving you one closer to one that is successful go slow and keep the wind in your face and if you can the sun behind you
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Old 12-31-2017, 06:40 AM
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brendan's dad brendan's dad is offline
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Location: Edmonton Area
Posts: 2,184

Pre Scouting and knowing the terrain is very helpful. Not every stalk will put you within shooting range. Sometimes the animal is bedded in a location that is unapproachable. In these instances your stalk should be to a location that the animal will most likely walk by when exiting the bedding area. It is much more desirable for the animal to close the last 100 yards to you as opposed to you closing that distance. It will take a lot of patience and discipline to sit and wait for the animal to walk by as opposed to trying to make an impossible stalk.
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Old 12-31-2017, 08:13 AM
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58thecat 58thecat is offline
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Location: At the end of the Thirsty Beaver Trail, Pinsky lake, Alberta.
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When you crest the hill, call for archers...fill the sky....then charge....

All kidding aside many great points here, perseverance because you will get busted more than success but when it all comes together it is awesome.

Be careful when you follow the masses, sometimes the "M" is silent...
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Old 12-31-2017, 09:29 AM
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bessiedog bessiedog is offline
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You probably need to get to know an area better than you currently do.

Know the predominant wind movements, know how the land affects the wind and critter movements. Squirrels, rabbits, gophers and other game can teach you tonnes. I try to put the sneak on deer, elk, moose when Iím out running in the off season.... very cool experiences.

Go arrow gophers, but only take 15 foot shots. Youíll learn tonnes about critters and movement... and when to move.

Get out of the gym, get into the bush and sneak up on as many different critters as you can.
If your dedicated to training your body so much... go outside and train your mind to how the bush operates.

And thereís lots and lots of elk that can be had within bow range. Lots that are surprisingly close to Edmonton and other towns. You need to get out.

Lie others said, reset you priorities.... doewned critters does not make for a realistic benchmark when your learning-scouting.

Iíve had probably a dozen very legit chances with elk and deer with my bow... 90% of that was stalking-calling.

Only cashed in on a few.
"How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.Ē
"A vote is like a rifle; its usefulness depends on the character of the user." T. Roosevelt
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Old 12-31-2017, 11:11 AM
338Bluff 338Bluff is offline
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,383

Wind. Quiet. Luck. Resist urge to over think or unnecessarily complicate.

Sent from my SM-G903W using Tapatalk
You can't spend your way out of target panic......trust me.
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Old 01-01-2018, 03:57 PM
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SageValleyOutdoors SageValleyOutdoors is offline
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 119

Lots of great points on here... the one i have to stress more than any other is quiet.
Iím an outfitter that does about 90% spot and stalk bowhunts for mule deer. Iím asked all the time by new clients about gear, camo, optics, etc.
The biggest and absolutely most important thing is silence. Camo pattern doesnít matter NEARLY as much as people believe. The wind is the most important thing to consider - if you have a consistent wind from a constant direction, you go in from downwind, and they canít smell you. But they can still hear you. Silence is the absolute most important spot and stalk goal.
Check all the clothes youíll be wearing. Scratch them with a fingernail. If itís loud, itíll be loud when they brush up on bushes/grass/branches. When youíre walking, place each foot slowly, rolling your foot from the heel to toe, or vice versa. Even though it may seem to the contrary of everything, stay upright and WALK slowly as far as you can. The less your body touches the ground and vegetation, the less noise you make. When youíre close enough that you CANT walk and keep out of their sight, crawl - if possible, get a sling for your bow so you can sorta strap it to your back as you go. Move with gusts of wind. Remember - if you can see the eye of the deer (or elk, moose, whatever) he can see you..
As you watch the deer bed, ALSO watch all the other deer between you and him (or her). My biggest annoyance is bumping into unknown animals - doing everything correctly, but then being busted by the doe or small buck that i didnít even know was there.
Have confidence in your shooting - but do NOT push your own limits. If youíre comfortable to 50, DONT stop your stalk at 55 yards, and think ďIíll just hold a little highĒ.
DONT be lazy... donít take the easy way... an example: this past season, a nice buck bedded 145 yards from us in the truck, but with no cover between him and us, my buddy and i crawled out the rear, passenger door, walked almost half a mile AWAY from the deer with the truck as cover, before we were able to get into a coulee to use as cover to move in around on him from the other side. That resulted in my buddy Greg getting his first archery deer, and best buck to date.
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Old 01-01-2018, 05:12 PM
jbrow397 jbrow397 is offline
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Calgary
Posts: 139

Rabbits. 365 days a year. It takes some gas and boot leather to find a good rabbit spot but once you do, you will have lots of opportunity in a day. If you can stalk a wild rabbit to bow range (especially trad bow range) you can stalk deer and elk.
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Old 01-02-2018, 10:14 AM
Pasc43 Pasc43 is offline
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Calgary
Posts: 254

Try Axis Deer hunting in Hawaii, this will get you lots of stalking opportunists. Or your New Zealand idea is good as well.
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Old 01-04-2018, 01:42 PM
daltonw daltonw is offline
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 14

lots of good points
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Old 01-08-2018, 07:41 AM
wildalberta wildalberta is offline
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 141

I try to somewhat base my stalk type hunts around wind. gotta have some kind of a wind. last year I wanted in what I imagine a hurricane would be like. stalks went great. couple shots not so much. hard to get the happy medium. also hunting after a rain is nice too the ground is much quieter. mule deer I find to be much more predictable where they will bed when there is a good wind. if its calm and sunny they will lay wherever they please.
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Old 01-12-2018, 01:07 AM
kman35ca kman35ca is offline
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 175

I'll put in my 2 cents as a new Bowhunter who just had his first season hunting Mulies with a bow and what I learned. Take it or leave it.
Ya quiet is key, and I kept remembering everything about going slow said by experienced guys. I actually had a lil mantra, "If you think you're going to slow, slow down a lil more." It was taking me hours just to crawl 2-300 yards sometimes.
I got lucky, while out scouting I found a shallow coulee with from what me and my uncle counted was at least 12 mulie bucks. Some nice ones too.
As a new guy I took to heart all the things I heard. I probably played it more safe than anything by taking off my boots about 350 yards away from where the deer where bedded. (Almost couldn't find them once lol) I also used Ihunter and when I spotted a bedded buck, I would mark exactly where it was on the map. So when I got closer, I could take a second and make sure I was headed in the right direction.
90% of these stalks where on Mulies in a really shallow narrow long coulee. So staying out of there sight wasn't that hard. And the wind was at about 10 mph with real a shallow coulee so thermals weren't that bad there.
So I got within 30-40 yards of a lot of bucks. Probably 5 different stalks. Even one, I crawled on my belly for 3 hours right in the bottom of that coulee. The buck was bedded right behind some bushes, and I was actually able to get right to the edge of the bushes standing up, without boots. But the grass was so high I stood there for 10 minutes and couldn't see any antlers, then took a step thinking the buck moved off to the other side of another bush. He jumped up and pranced away, almost giving me a flippin heart attack... Need more patience. Also stalked into a group of 5 bucks, and was right at the edge of the coulee, and they were all within 40 yards, one feeding.
This is where I learned my biggest problem. Not practicing drawing from a laying down, to knees position. I tried, but my bow felt like a 100lb draw from that position. So I crawled slowly back 10 yards. Got up slowly, drew, and tried coming in to take a shot just over the edge. But I was shaking all over having held my bow drawn for about a minute and a half. So I just backed off and let down. Tried again but not drawing till I got closer, and they heard me and bolted.
So for me I learned I really need a lot more practise with my bow. Especially from different positions. And to strengthen up my shoulders, back till I can hold alot longer without shaking like a leaf while aiming.
I did get a doe, which honestly wasn't that hard. Probably due to the numbers here, and I already had a lot of knowledge on their routes, and when and where they go. It was also an ambush, instead of a stalk.
But it was fun as hell. Well frustrating as hell at times too. But It's given me some more knowledge, and I learnt a lot. Being a first year bowhunter, especially spot and stalk, I didn't have any expectations on getting a Big Buck first year. But it was still a great experience.
For me, I think the key to even being able to make decent stalks, if you can call them that. Was I knew this land very well. And the wind patterns that blew the same way 80% of the time. I hunt coyotes there every winter.
Things I learned, practise a lot more with my bow and not just shooting for accuracy from standing up. Get in better shape, not only for using my bow. But it's weird how much crawling at that slow pace can take out of ya, and just to stay alert to everything around ya, takes its toll.
Knee pads help a lot too I found. and good silent clothing. Knowing when you can move fast, and when to really get to the extreme slow seems like an experience thing. I just went extremely, painfully slow most of the time. But afterwards realized I probably could have moved a lil quicker at points.
And if you take your boots of at 350 yards away from your target. Put some bright red tape on them. I seriously almost lost my boots.lol Rookie.

I don't know if that helps you in any way, but just thought I'd put it down. Oh ya, and don't use RAGE BH's when stalking. The blades keep popping out. So I went with Grim Reapers. Which shot just as well as the rages. And didn't pop out even after hitting a branch with them.
Have a good one, hope you figure it all out. Cheers.
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Old 01-13-2018, 04:39 PM
happy honker happy honker is offline
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Edmonton
Posts: 1,489

To your point about draw wait time etc, why don't you try spot and stalk with a camera in the off season.

Even in a different area, if you don't want to spook up your honey hole. (then again, they could grow accustomed to the scent of the harmless photographer).

It will get your wind reading and approach techniques sharpened up, give you the opportunity to make some mistakes and learn a few things about the animal you're pursuing, and at the very least, keep you in hunting shape!
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Old 01-15-2018, 05:32 PM
kman35ca kman35ca is offline
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 175

Originally Posted by happy honker View Post
To your point about draw wait time etc, why don't you try spot and stalk with a camera in the off season.

Even in a different area, if you don't want to spook up your honey hole. (then again, they could grow accustomed to the scent of the harmless photographer).

It will get your wind reading and approach techniques sharpened up, give you the opportunity to make some mistakes and learn a few things about the animal you're pursuing, and at the very least, keep you in hunting shape!
Hmmm, that sounds like a great idea. It's family land, and their are deer everywhere. And it would be a great way to keep in shape and would be pretty fun as well.
I'll probably weight till it's not -30 though.lol jk. Thanks for the idea. Have a good one.
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Old 01-17-2018, 06:05 PM
snareman snareman is offline
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 41

Spook em all out

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Old 01-27-2018, 07:03 AM
Ridger Ridger is offline
Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 22

Wind and landscape are the 2 biggest factors... In the right conditions you can practically step on them in long grass or corn.

It is much more exciting than in a stand or blind
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Old 01-29-2018, 06:50 PM
robson3954 robson3954 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 514

get a resident mulie tag this year and go stalk does until your heart is content. Tons of zones where that's possible.
I was surprised how long a stock might take when I started. Expect to blow at least half your day on one stalk.
I think the fastest I've moved was about 300 yards in 1.5hrs while in sight of the buck (under great conditions/situation).
Expect twice that slow, like your body hurts slow.
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