Hunting on crunchy snow and leaves is extremely frustrating. Every step alerts game to your presence and gives the feeling that you may as well just be on a hike. In some cases you may simply be burned and forced into a new strategy or location. Other times a few adjustments in your approach will help dampen the sound and improve your odds.
Find the Soft Spots
Find the softest spots if any are available. Trees dripping water will dampen dry leaves and the sun will soften snow throughout the day. Avoid deciduous stands with heavy leaf fall and focus your efforts after any fresh rain or snow hits the ground and helps soften things up.
Wear soft soled shoes to minimize sound. I often wear basic sneakers, even with some snow on the ground. They might get your feet wet and end the hunt a bit early but they low impact. Busting through the woods in heavy soled boots is much louder and more obvious. If I owned a pair of moccasins, they would see plenty of use during the crunchy seasons.
Still hunting is the most effective way to minimize noise. Using a stand or blind is ideal, especially for whitetails. You can walk to the stand location early, then sit in silence. You can even rake a path to your stand right after the leaves fall and have a clear route for the remainder of the season. The option is not always possible for elk and mule deer. Walk short distances then pause to imitate a feeding animal. Throw out a grunt, cow or doe call or rattle during these pauses. Stand silent and listen for an animal making noise as you call it to your location.
Socks for Stalks
Stalking on crunchy ground requires incredible patience and slow movements. Abandon your shoes and wear a double pair of socks. Slide your feet slowly through crisp leaves rather than stepping directly on them and minimize the surface area of your feet hitting snow by rolling along the edge of your feet or staying on the balls of your feet.
Scout for Later
The only nice thing about crunchy snow is the way it preserves tracks and tells a story of how animals are using the area. When the ground is simply too loud to hunt effectively, I’ll still hike and pay close attention to tracks and sign in the area. Take some notes and draw travel routes on maps to help future hunts in the area.
To learn more about guided hunts in Montana with Lazy J Bar O Outfitters, pelase explore the rest of our website. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us or call us at 406-932-5687.