Whitetail Deer Stalking Tips

Hunter holding a rifle and aiming red deer prey in the mist, hunter photoshooting at the morning.

Stalking a deer isn’t like sitting in a ground blind or in a tree stand. It’s more active and take a little more skill. Mastering the art of stalking deer takes time and effort, but it can transform your hunting experience considerably.

If you’ve tried deer hunting in a stand and want a new challenge or want to try something different, stalking is a fantastic way to hunt. It’s about spotting the deer before it spots you. Basically, you move slowly through a hunting where you know a deer will be. You keep your eyes open for the perfect opportunity to get your kill.

This adds considerable difficulty to the hunt and makes things a lot more fun. Here are some tips you can this fall hunting season.

Scout Your Location Well

Gray haired man with binocular
Image by KiraVolkov from Getty

I don’t care how good you are at stalking, if you’re in the wrong spot, you’re not going to get a deer. This goes for hunting from a blind or tree stand, too, but it’s especially important for stalking.

You need to scout your location well in advance and make sure that you know the land well. Get out there before hunting season and take notes. Seriously, take a pen and some paper or your smartphone and make notes so you don’t have to keep all the info in your head. This will help you when the season starts.

Focus on Taking Things Slow

The biggest mistake that many hunters make is they move, too fast. You need to take things extremely slow when stalking. Deer will be alerted to your presence by your scent and any noise you make. Avoid making noise whenever possible.

This means taking things very slowly and looking for the best places to put your feet. Avoid super dry leaves, sticks, branches, or anything else that will give away your position. Going slow also helps keep you from making sudden movements that the deer might spot. If you try stalking and you struggle with it, consider taking things even slower the next time you’re out.

Take Steps to Mask Your Scent

Deer use their sense of smell to alert them to danger. If they smell you, They’ll be gone. When you’re out hunting pay attention to which way the wind is blowing. Also, avoid using aftershave, scented deodorant, or scented laundry detergent. All of these things can give you away.

Also, think about using a scent masker. There are plenty of good options out there for masking your scent. You can also get detergents and other products designed to reduce your scent and keep you from needing as much masker anyway. You don’t have to obsess over this, but make a point not to go out there smelling like you just left the cologne store.

Listen, Don’t Just Look

White-tailed deer (odocoileus virginianus) with tounge sticking out. (White-tailed deer
Image by Michael-Tatman from Getty

As I said above, deer will be listening, and you should, too. Most people think stalking is all about spotting the deer and it is, but you can also listen for them.

Keep your eyes peeled, move slowly, and listen for any movement. Sometimes you’ll hear an animal before you can see it. This is especially true if you’re in a heavily wooded area. Out on a field, you’ll have to rely more on your eyes.

If you’re ready to move on from the deer blind or tree stand I encourage you to take on the challenge of stalking your next deer.

What experiences have you had? Tell us in the comment section below. 

Whitetail deer stalking tips


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