Still Hunting Whitetail Deer-3 tips

The world of whitetail deer hunting has changed dramatically over the last fifteen years and there are more ways and techniques to hunt whitetail deer than ever before.

Still-hunting whitetail deer is extremely challenging and continues to be one of the most popular techniques.  Still hunting and matching wits with a mature whitetail buck while sneaking through the timber is one of the ultimate hunting experiences.  Success while still hunting whitetail deer brings tremendous satisfaction and that feeling of having gotten it just right.

Still-hunting and spot and stalk are often defined in the same way.  However, there are several differences between the two techniques.

Generally speaking still hunting involves hunting in timber or cover that is relatively thick and offers shots averaging 100 yards or less.  Still hunting employs slow movement through forests and cover whereby the hunter moves as quietly as possible 10-50 yards and then remains very still for a period of minutes or more.  The goal of a still hunter is to sense or ultimately to see deer before being seen by them first.  Of course this is always the case with hunting but with still hunting the super slow, move and wait cadence is a continuum throughout the day and shot opportunity can be fleeting or happen in a moment’s time.

Spot and stalk typically does not involve covering as much ground and employs a more static approach whereby glassing with binoculars or spotting scope is the order of the day.  Once game is spotted, a stalk ensues.  Shots at deer or spotted game can be planned and often a rest can be arranged for shots requiring longer distances.

Here are three tips to help you still hunt whitetail deer.

  1.  BE PATIENT.  The very essence of still-hunting means being very quiet, moving slowly, and allowing yourself to blend in with the cover you’re hunting.  Don’t be in a hurry.  Take a few steps and stop.  Repeat throughout the day.
  2. MORE IS LESS.  Covering ground while still-hunting is always subjective.  Let the cover dictate the cadence of your hunt.  In thicker cover like dense conifers, you may only travel a mile throughout the entire hunt.  In more open, varied cover like fields and brush, you may cover more ground during the hunt.  If you know you’re in good sign, take it easy.
  3. BE READY.  The element of surprise is always in play when still-hunting.  Be safe, but be ready.  At any moment you could see a deer if you’re moving well and quietly.  You can go from zero to hero in just one second so use all senses, stay alert, and be ready.

Still hunting whitetail deer can be extremely challenging and extremely rewarding at the same time.  Stay alert, stay hyper focused, and take these three tips into consideration next time you hit the woods.

LOC guest Joey R. and guide Ben Valentine knocked down this big northwest Montana whitetail while still hunting.