Spot and stalk hunting methods - are glassing large tracts of land, usually from a vantage point. Spotting your quarry from a distance, then coming up with a game plan (stalking) to close the distance without spooking the animal.
You will be combining other hunting methods while using this skill. Still hunting and maybe even blind hunting methods at times. You don't want to alarm any other animals in the area. Sometimes spot and stalk can vary from crawling ever so slowly to running at full tilt. Be ready for every situation.
There is an exception to the rule of "spooking the animal". Antelope are curious as well as skittish animals. If you flag a tee-shirt they may check this out. We had a hunter leave us an antelope hunting tip- take a thumb tack and pin a white cloth to your boot while crawling. You can still have your hands on the gun and draw their attention at the same time.
Spot and stalk is a necessity for western hunters or any part of the country with vast, wide open spaces. Out here in the southwest there is a lot of ground to cover, its big country. Getting a vantage point on a ridge and glassing the surroundings to find game. Taking into consideration the wind and topography. Stalking to a point where you either get close to the animal, close enough to use your calls or cut him off if you can figure out where he's headed.
Plenty of times you will have to negotiate canyons, ditches, washes, arroyos, mountainous terrain and other obstacles. It's quite grueling at times but also very rewarding. Be in shape if you plan to a western mule deer, elk or bighorn sheep hunt.
There is also the altitude to consider. If your from a lower altitude and you plan to hunt in higher altitudes you will wear out faster. You'll need to get your heart, lungs and legs in shape. Check with your doctor for your recommended heart rate.
It is always highly recommended that you have a hunting partner if you are hunting under these conditions. If your partner didn't get his permit maybe you can have him man the camera. Get your wife or child involved, this would be a great experience for them.
My wife is looking forward to manning the camera the next time I get a draw by myself. She doesn't like me to hunt alone. Be sure they're in shape also.
Don't forget your first aid pack and you know what to do and how to use it. We have a section on wilderness survival that includes first aid recommendations. (coming soon)
Hunting public land is a lot more challenging than a guided ranch hunt or private land hunt. The pressure on the animals is ten fold.
To be successful year after year it takes an incredible amount of skill using still hunting and spot and stalk hunting methods.
Stand hunters rely on other hunters to push the game to them, call them in or waiting at water holes or baited areas. When the hunting pressure hits the animals - their habits will change.
Spot and stalk can be spotting an animal from as much as a mile away, especially in the southwest. Once spotted the stalk could take hours, so patience is imperative.
Most of the time the best way - is not the easiest way. Plan your stalk with the wind in your face as much as you can and take the route that provides cover. Keep in mind that you may be jumping other animals on the way and this could spook your game.
Second guessing an animal as to where he may be headed is difficult at best, especially if it has already been spooked. They will likely be checking their back trail or even circling to catch you off guard.
Hunting this way on high pressure lands is very difficult because you will have other hunters setting up tree stands on funnels and escape routes. This is why it is imperative that you become skilled at still hunting and spot and stalk hunting methods. You don't want all of your hard work to result in putting meat in another hunters freezer.
At times you'll spot your trophy - moving into where you think he will be - only to find he is on the next hill or ridge, and you may have to start over.
When you finally get close, you have a couple of options. You may be able to draw him in with calls or you will have to still hunt to get close enough for the right shot.
Another option is if you have gotten ahead of him. You may have to set up in a spot he may be headed, then wait there for him to come through. Make sure you have the wind right and he doesn't catch your scent .
I have been on spot and stalks that take 30 min. and other times it would take a whole day. A few times the next day if your sure he will be in that area. It's a game of wits and patience so take your time and plan well. Know your terrain and species, his habitat and habits and your hunting methods will reward you.
Please bare with us, we are still new (9/2011) More to come everyday .. stay tuned
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