Still hunting is one of the purest forms of all hunting. It requires more discipline, both physically and mentally, than any other method. The goal of still hunting is to move through known deer habitat, to see the buck before he sees you, and to harvest that buck.
Sounds easy enough, but it’s extremely difficult. Still hunting is not wandering around aimlessly hoping to get a snapshot at a white flag. It requires an acute sense of awareness. If your mind is elsewhere, you won’t be able to see what’s going on. Awareness is to experience moments of just being without letting our minds get in the way. We must maintain a razors edge of alertness the entire time if we are to have any hope of being successful. I have found the most difficult part of still hunting is to clear my mind and get into the rhythm of the forest.
On top of that, we must move slow enough to prevent the deer from easily picking up our movement. The best way to think of still hunting is to think of it as a moving stand. The slower you move the better your odds of success will be. I like to take one step and then scour the entire area with my eyes. Take one or two more steps and continue the scouring process. And so on and so on. Extreme caution must be taken not to disturb the deer. It’s very difficult to maintain this snail’s pace for an extended period of time. A good still hunter can only cover a couple hundred yards in an hour. This is why it is so physically and mentally exhausting. Of course, all of this must be done facing the wind or we are just wasting time.
Being familiar with the terrain you are hunting is a great advantage while still hunting. If we are continually searching the ground for sign, we will break the concentration necessary to succeed.
Still hunting is a solo sport and few hunters can become proficient at it. Still hunting can only be learned after many hours and seasons of practice. Still hunting can be a rewarding experience for those who are willing to put in the time, patience, and persistence necessary.