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- Category Hunting
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- Prostaff Member Dan Braman
In todays hunting industry there are as many different and sometimes help products as there are species to hunt. One can choose from anything from a mount that holds a camera on your bow to clothing that all but eliminate human scent. Although, some of these products have proven to be very useful, none of them will work without solid woodsmanship.
After twenty-three years of professionally hunting I have found one common shortcoming in more clients then anything else. Woodsmanship. I think it is important that all people take common sense and use it when it comes to hunting and how they approach each and every set up they are in. I know for a fact that this common sense approach would prove beneficial to everyone that used it. This factor would make them better woodsmen/women and in turn all but guarantee much more success.
To me there are three main categories where these common sense factors should come into play. These things involve your quarries ability to see, hear and smell. The first thing I notice about people regarding an animals eyesight is that people tend to assume that if they can't see an animal, the animal can't see them. This is a vital mistake. How many times have you been in the woods with your buddy and one of you see a deer. You point the deer out and your buddy (or you) continue to say,” Where” , at which point your buddy points at a thick area and says , “ Right there, looking right at you.” “ I can't see it, what bush.” “ That one just left of the dead tree.” Your eyes are straining trying to see what your friend is so excited about but for the life of you, you can't make it out. Then the animal twitches its ear and a deer is all of sudden standing right in front of you and your trying to figure out how in the heck you couldn't see something so obvious.
It's happened to me a thousand times and most likely to anyone else that has spent any time in the woods at all. I find it to happen more turkey hunting then anything else. I will be set up and even have a bird gobbling, coming my way, and almost without fail some client will raise their heads up trying to see over something or move there foot. When I ask them to remain perfectly still some will say he can't see us yet. Just because we can't see him doesn't mean he can't see us. Just maybe, neither of us has seen him yet because we simply missed the movement of that red head bobbing by a tree. Furthermore, just maybe, he did see that foot move or your head raise and that is why he is at 75 yards and hung up.
Secondly, I feel that people never take into account moon brightness when walking in to their stand or toward a roost before daylight. Whatever animal your hunting was awake as the sun slowly faded out in the western sky, their eyes had all night to adjust, and they can most likely see better then you can anyway. Just because you have to walk slowly and only see ten feet doesn't mean that's the case for everything in the woods. Always use the terrain to your advantage whenever it is humanly possible.
Another common mistake when hunting the hilly or mountainous areas is silhouetting on top of these hills are mountains. There doesn't have to be very much light at all for someone to stick out like a huge black object walking on top of a hill with light behind you. Anything with even minimal eyesight will see this and be gone.
Once you have thought about an animal's eyesight, one needs to think about something even more important. Hearing. Even animals that have bad vision have incredible ears. People never seem to pay any attention to where they walk. Inevitably they will step on a stick that snaps, push a limb to the point of breaking, or walk across loose rock sounding like a heard of wild buffalo stampeding.
Everything that lives in the area will know something is up. It will pay dividends to be careful with your feet and body movements. The more quiet you move the more likely you will get to where you’re going undetected.
Lastly, and probably the most important aspect of them all is an animal's sense of smell. It amazes me that people will allow a natural obstacle (hill, thicket, mud, etc.) to persuade them to not perfectly play the wind to move into position. More often then not if you don't pay attention to the wind you’ll never get an opportunity to even see what your after. ON the rare instances that you do get to see them they are too far and moving way to fast for any kind of decent shot opportunity.
It doesn't take rocket science to figure this out. I would think that everyone has slipped up on a friend and scared him or her to pieces. How did you do it? You softly put your feet on the floor and made sure to not talk or breath loud. You never walked by a window or anywhere where they could remotely see you with peripheral vision. You knew just what you had to do and where you had to go in order to put yourself in the perfect position to jump out scream and scare them. More times then not it worked. It worked because you were focused on what you wanted to do, you studied the way you wanted to do it and decided on a route that gave you the best chance. All that was left was the jump and the scream.
One can do their best to go broke buying every product available to better your odds. However, more times then not if you forget to put these common sense things in place these products will do no good. They have not and most likely will not invent a machine that will render you invisible. They will never be able to 100% eliminate human odor from a deer's nose. I seriously doubt that many animals you hunt will be deaf. So, to me I say to be successful you use these three things to your advantage. By all means buy the products that work but don't use them as an “ace in the hole” simply use them to make the common sense elements a little easier. There is no doubt that everyone's hunting ability will be much more successful if they will remember three things. Whatever they are hunting has been hunted all of there life; if not by predators on four legs then by predators on two. These animals have evolved into machines in which their survival depends on their “better then human” senses. Realize this, assume nothing, move like a ghost and use common sense. You will be a more successful and happier hunter.