Still-hunting is quickly becoming a lost art. Too bad, because it is one of the most exciting ways there is to hunt
Many hunters claim to be still-hunters, but most of them are
just out for a walk in the woods. These hunters will cover 100 yards in a
couple of minutes. A serious still-hunter might take a half hour to still-hunt
across the same 100 yards.
Good still-hunters are patient and never, never in a hurry. They always keep
the wind in their favor. If the wind switches during the hunt, they abandon
that area and go somewhere else.
Good still-hunters dress for success. Outer clothing is wool, brushed cotton
or fleece, all of which are warm, comfortable and most of all, super-quiet. The
boots of a still-hunter might be from any maker, but they will all have one
thing in common: soft soles. With soft soles you can feel that stick under your
foot before it breaks with a deer-spooking crack.
Every good still-hunter I have ever known carries binoculars and uses them a
Still-hunters tend to be excellent shots. Most use low power scopes or keep
their variable scope set on 1.5X to 3X. A couple of my acquaintance
prefer peep sights. They all have an uncanny ability to know just when
to shoot -- and just as important, when not too.
Most still-hunters are not trophy hunters. The hunt is the trophy for these
guys. A good, challenging hunt is more important to these guys, than the size
of the rack.
Still-hunters might creep along at a snail's pace for the entire day, or
they might spend half of the day sitting. When most still-hunters come to a
place with a bunch or big rubs or a lot of scrapes, they will find a place to
sit and stay put for an hour or so. I carry a lightweight stool so that I am up
off of the ground a couple of feet. Sitting on a stool is more comfortable and
usually gives you a little better view of the area.
Still-hunters usually carry a grunt call and a rattle bag and use both when
the situation warrants.
Still-hunters take great pride in their ability to slip up within range of a
game animal with the finely tuned senses of the whitetail deer ... and they
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Gary Clancy writes a twice-monthly column for sportsmansguide.com. Gary has hunted whitetail deer in 20 different states and provinces. He has harvested many record-book animals, and presented hunting seminars from Tennessee to Wisconsin. Gary also has authored or co-authored six hunting books, four on whitetail hunting.