Along with using Deer on a String® to enhance your game tracking experience, try some of these tips to make your next hunt the best yet:
When still-hunting, most of us don't move slowly enough, or stay put long enough. Using your watch as a guide, decide on an ample period of time to stand still, such as five or six minutes. Continue to practice staying silent and motionless for maximum amounts of time. Remain quiet longer if necessary to keep your deer within range.
Stop at Noise
Here's a saying to remind you of an animal's terrific senses:
The sound of a snapped twig is quickly forgotten by the hunter, but long remembered by the quarry.
If you make a noise, stop and stay still as long as you can while the deer is close. The animal is likely to remain immobile for quite a long time, staring in your direction. When the deer no longer sees, smells or hears danger, it eventually resumes feeding or browsing again. If you move too soon, you’ll scare it away.
Quick-step to Blend in
A deer is easily alerted to human cadence as hunters walk through noisy leaves. Try taking quick steps in a short sprint for 10 to 20 yards or so. Stop, and do it again . . . and again. Keep your footfalls as light as possible, so you'll sound to a deer much like a squirrel scrambling through the leaves. Keep the animal calm by being in tune with its natural environment.
Design a Better Drive
When putting a drive together, hunters tend to place standers in front of and alongside of the area being driven. If you have enough people in your party, you can also position a stander in the rear where the drive originated. Deer will often wait for hunters to pass and then sneak back and run off in the opposite direction.
Use a One-Man Drive
Try a one-man drive if you're hunting alone. Purposely walk into an area with the wind at your back. The idea is to stir up the deer and get them moving. Once you've passed through, make a circle and do it again. Confused deer will creep about, unsure of your location. If this doesn't work, take a position on the flank of the area you walked through and wait an hour or two. You might see deer sneaking back in, once confident the threat has passed. This works well in dense thickets that deer use for security cover.
Set Your Own Landmarks
When you stalk an animal by making a big circle and coming up behind it, it's easy to become disoriented as you change locations. Pick a distinctive object on the skyline that you can recognize from the back, such as a large tree, a fence line or a rock, to help guide you to the correct spot.
Measure Your Quarry’s Pace
Anticipate where the animal will be once you complete your stalk. Before starting to track, watch the quarry long enough to determine its direction and rate of travel. Notice if it's actively feeding or walking. Pick your destination accordingly.
Follow with Care
If you're tracking a deer; remember that animals are alert to their back trails. A really fresh track requires you practically to still-hunt rather than merely following your prey. This is especially effective if the animal isn't "lined out" but is taking bites or browsing as it travels.
Clear Shooting Lanes
When you first get into your tree stand, practice taking up shooting positions for all the directions from which an animal could appear. After doing that, remove any branches in the line of fire that you can reach. Take up the position that requires the least amount of movement, allowing you to turn in any direction. Be sure your safety strap is secure and allows free movement.
Sweep Away Blind Clutter
If you're sitting in a ground blind or standing next to a tree, sweep away leaves and brush with your boot so the area you're in is clean of forest debris. This will eliminate unnecessary noise if you must make a move when an animal approaches.