Every big game species comes with its own set of challenges. But when it comes to putting a stalk on any mature animal, there are a few universal rules. Whether you’re stalking elk and deer in Montana, or dall sheep in Alaska, here are five rules you should never break.
1. Limit Unnatural Noises
When hunting many big game species, you can often get away with natural noises. Breaking a stick or rolling a rock may not get you busted. But the sound of a zipper or the scratch of Velcro and it’s game over!
As much as possible, minimize unnatural noises. Noisy fabrics, zippers and Velcro are the most common problems. They will immediately make your presence known to anything within earshot. And if you’re hunting in the high country, you may be shocked at how far sound carries across those western landscapes. It’s sometimes possible to hear a conversation on the next ridge over.
2. Stay off the Skyline
When you pick the route for your stalk, do everything you can to avoid topping out on a ridge or hill. Stay off the skyline. Travel below ridgelines and conceal your movements with rocks, ravines or vegetation as much as possible. Even animals that aren’t known for sharp vision will pick out your silhouette on a skyline in a heartbeat.
3. Always Watch the Wind
Remember that concealment includes wind. Never forget it. Always keep your attention on the wind and execute your stalk accordingly. Even when there’s no prevailing wind, thermals will still move your scent up or downhill as the air travels. As a general rule, thermals will be coming downhill before sunrise, and then begin to rise when the sun hits the ground.
4. If Conditions Aren’t Right, Stay Patient
After you locate game, keep your cool and don’t rush in if conditions aren’t right. If the wind or lack of cover makes for a bad approach, stay patient. If you avoid blowing the animals out, you may give yourself a better opportunity. If you blow them out, you risk not seeing them again. But stay patient, and there’s a good chance you’ll end up with a shot opportunity
5. Watch out for the Boss
When a stalk is blown, it’s often the lead cow or doe that can make you curse. Don’t forget that she’s the one to contend with. When you’re after a big buck or a bull, it’s easy to get tunnel vision and forget the other eyes around him. When planning the perfect stalk, remember that staying concealed from those extra sets of eyes is usually more important. That matriarch cow or the lead doe can be the greatest obstacle to a successful stalk.
Here at Lazy J Bar O Outfitters, we offer high-adventure wilderness hunts in Montana and Alaska. For more information, check out the rest of our website at LazyJBarO.com. You can give us a call at 406-932-5687 or send us a message.