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Stalk Hunting on Leafy Ground

Old 08-19-2016, 02:29 PM
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Default Stalk Hunting on Leafy Ground

Hello all,

I have not been on this forum in 8 years, but here it goes:

I hunt in Giles Co., VA on a relative's land right next to the Jefferson national forest; the forest floor is covered with leaves, making each step noisy. While that didn't prevent me from successfully killing a button buck (thought it was a doe when I shot), last year, I want to do whatever I can to lessen my likelihood of spooking anything as I work my way through the woods.

In two books, I came across some interesting suggestions on how to keep deer from being as alarmed by the sound of one's steps: either A) take 3-5 rapid steps at a time before stopping for a good while to glass with binoculars, so that your steps sound like a squirrel or B) walk steadily between pauses, but use a turkey call to occasionally make a clucking noise. There are turkeys on this property, and they do walk through the hardwoods where I go.

Has anyone ever heard of or done either?
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Old 08-19-2016, 02:38 PM
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When I still hunt,I like to walk by putting my toes down first, then allowing the rest of my foot to come down slowly. Take a few slow steps and stop and look all around, then take a few more. The key is to do everything slow. Quite frankly I would forget about the turkey calling, sounds like it came from someone who never hunted. Slow motion is the key to still hunting. there should be no goal to reach, just move slow, look around and move a little more.
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Old 08-19-2016, 06:00 PM
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Thanks. I am concerned that that because most of the property I hunt is an upward slope to the top of a ridge (on the other side of which is the Natl. Forest), even the most minute sound travels pretty fast.
My sense was there is no way to eliminate the chance a deer hears me and that "disguising" the sound in some way is the best way to go; it seems what you're saying is that going veeerrrryy slowly, toe-first, does eliminate the sound, for all intents and purposes.
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Old 08-20-2016, 02:56 AM
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Take some time and to sit and listen to deer traveling thru a woods after the leaves have fallen and dried.
They move several feet then stop to listen and smell and possible eat some brose they may like. Believe me they are not moving silently thu the wood as some writers would like you to think. Even when they would like to sneak they still disturb those darn dry leaves just like you.
Trying to be silent only alerts them that some thing different than another deer is moving thru the area.

I love a cold frosty morning to hunt, the leaves are frozen crispy and as just a couple deer are moving thru the wood it sounds like a army on the move with many stops.


Last edited by alleyyooper; 08-20-2016 at 03:00 AM.
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Old 08-20-2016, 06:35 AM
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Deer hear footsteps all the time. Squirrels, other deer, etc... Just try not to have that plodding cadence that humans do. Take a few steps and stop.

Last edited by BarnesX.308; 08-20-2016 at 06:36 AM. Reason: I spelled something wrong and it looked stupid
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Old 08-22-2016, 01:12 PM
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The way you walk is as important as what you have on your feet. If you want to be quiet you can't wear thick waffle stomping lugged rubber soles. I have sets of homemade vellies and deer hide (hair on) over shoes to dampen the crisp crinkle of leaves and twigs. Animals feet are quiet because they move with the ground and tend to have hair around the edges. They also have small footprints so they affect less area - stepping between more than they step on. I'll wear my vellies while walking in, then strap on the insulated lug boots when I get into the stand too. When you're walking, you're warmer than sitting static, so you really don't need as much boot anyway. A good pair of running shoes will be quieter than a big insulated rubber sole boot.

My preseason prep also involves cutting a highway system with the brush hog, raked clear, to let me move quickly and quietly. I cut it late enough each year to give some grass regrowth, but not so late the deer aren't used to it. It doesn't get me everywhere I want to go, but it gets me a long ways. Plus, a side effect is the deer will use the trails too, so it gives me a bit of control over their movements and where to expect them. Not always an option, but always a good one when it is.
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Old 08-22-2016, 02:18 PM
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I hunt in an area that receives moderate hunting pressure so deer are pretty much on red alert all the time in hunting season. But still hunting can be successful and rewarding. I like to still hunt after a rain or wet snow or early in the morning if there is no frost or right after the frost melts. This make the leaves much less noisy.
IMO whoever said to take 3-5 quick steps and stop is a moron. A deer will pick up any large fast movement in a heartbeat. I agree with Oldtimr about walking toe to heel and Topgun's use of a soft boot cover, while I've never done that, sounds good.
How I still hunt is move only one or two slow steps, stop look all around (even behind you as deer may have move in from that direction). It may take me 30 mins to go 100 yards. But if I'm still hunting all day I can cover a lot of ground.
Here's a hint - if a squirrel catches you moving and scampers off, you're going too fast.
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Old 08-22-2016, 07:38 PM
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I see stalking in leaves to be a low percentage undertaking. Like mentioned, I have swept lanes through the leaves a day or two prior. I use the lanes to get to a likely spot and then squat. A lot more likely they are going to wander up on you, than you are going to creep up on them IMO.
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Old 08-23-2016, 07:56 AM
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will not mentions a name, but I once went to a seminar held by a so called expert on deer hunting, His expert advice stated to rake trails through the woods that you wish to :sneak hunt " before the season---well I lost all respect for him at that point, if I raked hundreds of yards of trails before season how long do you think it would take to be covered in leaves etc---he was talking about a number of trails he would sneak in various wooded areas, must have been a full time job--I learned a long time ago, there are "experts" that only speak ideas, not from experience just thoughts !!!!!
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Old 08-23-2016, 10:22 AM
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Hatfield, i second you on that one and i am no expert !
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