14
Dec
09

Still Hunting

I’ve been reading and the technique I use for locating deer is called still hunting.  No matter the name, I learned the technique through trial and error and from listening to my father.  The guy sometimes surprises me with how smart he’s gotten as we’ve gotten older.  I had about a mile and a half hike from my car to get to an area where I suspected the deer hide.  Mostly level terrain so slugging through the nearly two feet of snow went well at first.  One small hill with an incline of less than five degrees and a rise of about fifty feet had me gasping for air by the time I reached the top.  Snowshoeing is a lot easier than going with just boots, but the added resistance of the snow made breaking a trail uphill a bit rougher than I anticipated.  When I caught my breath, I moved into the tree-line and began searching for deer while occasionally popping a shot.

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I would look around for deer while taking in the beauty of winter.  I had overdressed, so I ended up being too warm because of the added stress of that hill, so I began taking things slowly to cool down and give myself a chance to find deer.

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My dad and I had been comparing stories.  Me telling him how I had gotten a certain picture of a deer and him relating to a hunting story.  He said, “Most hunters will walk to wherever their planning to stand without stopping to look around every now and then, walking passed deer without ever seeing them.”  So I stop and look around every few feet.  It’s a disciplined approach to stalking deer, but it almost always pays off.

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At this point, it’s been about an hour since that hill, I’ve regained my breath, cooled down enough to be comfortable and have gone about a mile deeper into the woods.  I hadn’t seen any deer yet, but saw plenty of fresh tracks.  Shortly after taking this picture, I spotted a downed tree.  The snow must have been too much for it, because it was a fresh break.  I decided to take a picture of it, so I maneuvered into position to take my shot of the tree, thinking at the time, This might be the only interesting shot I’ll get today.

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I took the picture and was about to walk away, when I noticed movement behind it.  Four deer had been feeding in the area, and had I not stopped to take a picture I might have walked passed them.  Still hunting involves moving slowly through the woods, stopping often to look around and moving as quietly as possible.

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