2 Things that Will Make or Break Your Stalk

Field Tactics: Stalking a Whitetail

Casey Keefer

In my opinion, stalking a mature whitetail with a bow in my hands is hands down one of the most exhilarating ways to chase a whitetail. More often than not, it ends in complete failure…but man is it fun. When it works, it brings a whole new level of excitement and it’s a challenge that’s well worth trying sometime – but before you do, there’s a few things to consider.

1. Wind

this should go without saying, but wind is everything. Getting the wind in your favor is the most crucial aspect, because you have to beat a deers nose, but there’s more to it than that. Wind also helps you beat a deers ears by creating extremely helpful “wind-noise”. What’s wind noise? Well it’s many things…it’s the rustling of the leaves on the ground, the swoosh of the treetops and the grasses blowing back and forth and it’s the howl in the air – or the squeak of the windmill off in the distance. Overall, wind noise is an effective distraction, or cover sound, against the sounds that you’re going to make while you’re stalking…and you will make sounds, so just know that! I find that a 10-15 mph wind provides plenty of wind noise to make it possible to stalk up on a whitetail – any less and it can be extremely difficult…any more and you might have to compensate your point of aim.

2. Other Eyeballs

without a doubt you should always be on the lookout for other deer…not just other deer…but other wildlife in general. Animals in nature have an uncanny ability to alert other animals to danger and that can wreck your stalk in a matter of seconds. If you’re sure there’s only one deer look out for other things – the dreaded turkey putt at the wrong time can send deer flying! Other critters I’ve had ruin my stalks include ducks and geese lifting off of a pond, as well as some friendly little trash panda’s when they went scurrying up a tree. You just never know what kind of animals you’re going to run into so try to stalk them all and you should have a great approach.

Stalking a mature buck is by no means easy, but it can be done. From the field terraces of Iowa to the river bottoms of NE Kansas I’ve been able to successfully tag old mature bucks while on foot – but everything has to be just right. If you’ve never done and the situation is right, give it a go…you won’t regret it!