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Old December 2, 2017, 12:56 PM   #1
GarandTd
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Sitting still in the woods

How do you hunters sit still in the woods?

I'm not a well established hunter. I started hunting when I was 12 years old. I continued to hunt for 4 years. At age 16, I had a great season. I shot a fall hen turkey in flight with 2 shots from a 12 gauge Mossberg semi-auto. A few weeks later I bagged an 11 point atypical buck on State game lands 5 miles from home with my grandfather's .35 Remington 141. Then, for reasons unknown, I lost interest and did not continue to hunt.

Fast forward 21 years to last year. My oldest son, aged 13 wanted to try hunting. He was gifted a .35 Marlin 336 by a family member. I accompanied him to his hunters safety course and we both got our licenses. Due to his busy schedule (and mine), we only made it out for a few hours of the final day of antlered deer season and, not surprisingly, didn't have any luck. This year we've put considerably more time in and still have a week to go, but no luck yet. I know part of our problem is a lack of patience and a severe inability to sit still. He has an excuse in his youth. Me, not so much. I'm an active, energetic person and have a very difficult time staying in one place for long periods of time.

How do you guys and gals deal with sitting in one place for such long periods of time? How do you keep your young ones from getting restless in the field?

He's 14 now. He's starting to embrace the natural presence around us. He's taking notice of the sunrise/sunset, the squirrels, and the various birds, but when we're not seeing deer, it's tough.

Im less concerned with bagging a deer myself. Been there done that. I want him to have the experience for many reasons. He can then decide if he wishes to make it a lifelong endeavor or not.
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Old December 2, 2017, 01:18 PM   #2
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I hunted from ground blinds (made of palmetto fronds) and ladder stands for decades. If you have to move, move slowly. A very helpful approach to remaining still is to have a comfortable sitting position and being in a spot where you can look just forward. If you have to look left and right, just do it really slow. Have a face covering that’s dark or camo, and dark or camo gloves. And hunt where the wind direction is favorable to you.

Hunting from the ground, on a folding stool, dressed to be as invisible as possible and with brush placed to hide as much of me as possible, i’ve had deer feeding 10 feet from me. And once when I was young, I hunted the wood edge under a pile of leaves, and had deer almost step on me. Was not using a scent blocker at any time.

First rule though, is get comfortable.
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Old December 2, 2017, 01:39 PM   #3
Sure Shot Mc Gee
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I rely on my eyes as I wear FM muff style head phones while I sit._ And too._ I'm up off the ground>10-ft in the air. "More often than not. I see them long before they see me."
Although listening to music or the news during the week days pass's the time for me. Sundays the Vikings game keeps my interest.
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Old December 2, 2017, 02:19 PM   #4
GarandTd
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I agree being off of the ground helps. The more I can see, the less I feel like I'm missing and the deer are a little less inclined to look up. I couldn't imagine wearing headphones while hunting. I rely heavily on sound, but often times it means I get excited when in reality I'm hearing squirrels. In Pa, where I live and hunt, ground blinds must be man made or natural existing, not arranged from natural materials in the field.
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Old December 2, 2017, 02:48 PM   #5
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For many years I was a still hunter, trying to move slowly thru the woods and catch a deer unawares, I did ok but not half as good as when I learned to sit, either up in the air "tree stands" or in a man made ground blind. Just bought a new one at dicks this season, sets up in minutes and was large enough to hold my 11 yr old granddaughter and me this youth hunt weekend. Try to stay as still as possible and maybe not this year but next season try some preseason scouting and get a idea of deer movements. Position yourself a ways off the game trails and wait...Good Luck!!!
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Old December 2, 2017, 04:19 PM   #6
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Read a book.

When I was first learning to hunt I had the same problem you're having; I literally couldn't sit still. It drove my dad nuts sometimes, as I probably spooked hundreds of deer at first. Well I was always a bit of a reader, so one time he told me to bring my book, "The Old Man and the Sea," by Hemingway.

Well, it worked. We sat down under a couple trees and I read. And I didn't move. No shifting or twitching or anything. Every page or so I'd slowly look up and scan the woods around me. About two hours later, out comes a nice little buck. I put the book down on the ground next to me and picked up my rifle out of my lap, and a few seconds later I had my first deer.

I still use this trick sometimes when I get antsy, though I'm a lot better at keeping still these days. Nowadays I just download a book into my phone, of course.
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Old December 2, 2017, 06:04 PM   #7
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I probably need to try the headphones and music. About 6 years ago I lost 90% of the hearing in my right ear. Doc's can't say why exactly. Went to bed with perfect hearing and woke up deaf in one ear. I still have near perfect hearing in my left ear, but it makes it all but impossible rely on hunting by sound. I can hear SOUND, but cannot tell which direction it comes from anymore. I have to rely on my vision anyway.

I hunt mostly still hunt on public land in steep terrain. Climbing a tree won't get me any higher than just walking a few feet up the hill.

When I do sit still I've found a good set of binoculars is an asset. Not just for finding game, but simply to observe squirrels or other critters while waiting. About a month ago I observed a spider weaving his web about 6-8' away. Watching the process through a pair of binoculars was amazing. He looked to be just inches away. He completely filled the view through the glass.
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Old December 2, 2017, 07:48 PM   #8
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Being at home

Quote:
He's 14 now. He's starting to embrace the natural presence around us. He's taking notice of the sunrise/sunset, the squirrels, and the various birds, but when we're not seeing deer, it's tough
Throughout my hunting years, I've found that there are folks who are not very comfortable in the woods. Then there are guys like me who feel right at home. I've gone in when it's pitch black and come out the same. On one evening hunt, there was a full moon and I just sat in my tree, all night. Just like in the daytime, I took little cat-naps and it was quite an experience as there were plenty of night critters moving around, below me. .....
I once had a hunting buddy that worked shifts. When he was off, I asked him if he went out? Said no as he was busy doing work around the house. I finally asked him if he was afraid of the dark and he shyly admitted that he was and felt better when we hunted together. Not a problem as we all have our ways. .....

I enjoy sitting and stalking. Just sitting and enjoying the woods, is very relaxing and when I finally start back home, I feel great. ....

Be Safe !!!
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Old December 2, 2017, 07:58 PM   #9
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If you're fiddling with earphones and music, a book, or binoculars, YOU'RE NOT SITTING STILL.
I learned the hard way to SIT STILL, moving only my eyes until I ran out of eye movement and then slowly moving my head to get another view. Constant fidgeting, head turning, or hand movement will show your position to game almost as readily as jumping up and down or waving your arms.
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Old December 2, 2017, 08:11 PM   #10
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I rely on my eyes as I wear FM muff style head phones while I sit._ And too._ I'm up off the ground>10-ft in the air. "More often than not. I see them long before they see me."
Although listening to music or the news during the week days pass's the time for me. Sundays the Vikings game keeps my interest.
How do you know the deer can't hear you?
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Old December 2, 2017, 08:31 PM   #11
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I can't really do it for more than 20-30 minutes at a time unless I'm trying to take a nap (very effective! ).

Usually... When I am looking for a spot to sit down (always improvised on public land - no stands, blinds, etc.), I'll grab a couple sticks, maybe some grass, perhaps a pine cone, or something else to mess with.

I'll peel the bark off of twigs, pull the seed husks out of pine cones, see how many times I can fold a blade of grass before it tears, etc...

As long as I can mess with that stuff and keep my hands busy, I can sit longer without getting restless and moving more of my body.
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Old December 2, 2017, 08:46 PM   #12
jmr40
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Quote:
If you're fiddling with earphones and music, a book, or binoculars, YOU'RE NOT SITTING STILL.
I learned the hard way to SIT STILL, moving only my eyes until I ran out of eye movement and then slowly moving my head to get another view. Constant fidgeting, head turning, or hand movement will show your position to game almost as readily as jumping up and down or waving your arms.
If archery hunting, or in a spot where visibility is very limited I'd agree. But I've seen and killed too many while doing this. Including several that I spotted that did not see me while I was walking. Movement done SLOWLY is the key.
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Old December 2, 2017, 10:48 PM   #13
GarandTd
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I have a big pair of Minolta binoculars I take with me. They're not compact or convenient, but they sure are clear and I like to look around with them. I can see a deer moving around when they're moving around, but when they're still, they're damn near invisible.

The smart phone is a help. I do read on it and surf the web as does he.

NHSHOOTER, you're right about scouting. He and I have talked about what we're going to do better to improve our chances for next year. Including scouting, getting our doe tags, and maybe a 2 seater ladder stand.

It's tough keeping him comfortable. I'm a restless person, but I am much more tolerant of the cold than he is. I work outside. I can take it much longer than he can. I do eventually feel it in my toes.
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Old December 2, 2017, 10:52 PM   #14
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So far, I'm just talking rifle season. Archery would mean a whole different set of tools that I don't have. I dabbled in archery with a recurve bow in my youth hunting days, but I didn't stick with it.
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Old December 3, 2017, 12:15 PM   #15
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A blind works very well for getting young hunters started. This is for both deer and turkey. It allows for a little more movement and for having "comfort" items like heat and food available if needed. I found that a Mr. Heater in a Gun Stand blind does not significantly affect the amount of deer seen, but does significantly increase the amount of time one can comfortably sit, thus adding to total deer seen. A blind also can hide the slight movements one makes when playing video games on their phone/tablet or reading a book/tablet. At 63 years of age, I read a book/tablet in both gun blinds and archery tree stands to help pass the time and to keep from getting bored. Another thing that may work if it is legal and safe where you hunt, is to still hunt, make sweeps and even do small "drives" to each other. It's a good way for a young hunter to learn the woods along with the possibility of seeing deer than are not actively moving. Running and Gunning for turkeys, if one has enough area to effectively do it, also keeps the interest of young hunters up and makes for less time getting a sore butt.
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Old December 3, 2017, 01:05 PM   #16
GarandTd
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I've always liked squirrel hunting and I think it's because you can walk through the woods and affectively hunt. I can't separate from his side yet while out hunting. When he hits 16, I can legally do that. Honestly, he doesn't have enough firearms experience or time out in the woods yet for me to be comfortable leaving his side anyway. I do realize we are works in progress and that all we can do is build upon our experiences season after season. It's not just him learning the ropes, I am as well. I just had a little bit of a head start and I've got some life and firearm experience under my belt.

I appreciate the insights. Keep em' coming.
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Old December 3, 2017, 02:42 PM   #17
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I have ADD and often have a time sitting still, though I decided I was going to focus and not being so antsy, which did help (I've never taken meds for it). But put me in a blind and I am contented to watch the wildlife as I've always been fascinated.

I make a terrible stalker. I start off doing fine but eventually end up moving too fast. But I do enjoy it but only do so when there's no hunters in the area I choose and it's around noon when everyone else calls it quits for lunch. Don't want to ruin someone else's hunt or find myself in range of someone's hunting area.
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Old December 3, 2017, 06:20 PM   #18
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Quote:
If you're fiddling with earphones and music, a book, or binoculars, YOU'RE NOT SITTING STILL.
I learned the hard way to SIT STILL, moving only my eyes until I ran out of eye movement and then slowly moving my head to get another view. Constant fidgeting, head turning, or hand movement will show your position to game almost as readily as jumping up and down or waving your arms.
This seems to be a much greater issue for bowhunters with extremely limited range. I am not so much worried about being seen as I am about being seen as a threat. The animals still see you if you are still. Animals see you if you move. Spastic, fast, jerky movements will often disturb them considerably. Personally, I worry more about sound drawing attention to me than movement.

Quote:
I rely on my eyes as I wear FM muff style head phones while I sit._ And too._ I'm up off the ground>10-ft in the air. "More often than not. I see them long before they see me."
Although listening to music or the news during the week days pass's the time for me. Sundays the Vikings game keeps my interest.
Quote:
How do you know the deer can't hear you?
I don't know if they can or not. What I do know is that they don't show any reaction to whether I am listening to something or not. So functionally, it does not seem to matter. I usually have one ear plug in and one out (to listen to sounds around me).
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Old December 3, 2017, 09:37 PM   #19
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If you end up hunting things that shoot back, you learn quickly.
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Old December 4, 2017, 09:08 AM   #20
Double Naught Spy
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Not the same thing and not really relevant.
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Old December 4, 2017, 10:41 AM   #21
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Short sits, like 2 to 3 hours, and a good box blind or tree stand that will be forgiving with a little movement would be the rout I would go. A good pop up blind conceals you pretty well. You want to put it out a week or two early though. Good luck and be safe.
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Old December 4, 2017, 11:51 AM   #22
GarandTd
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Deer that shoot back? Sounds like something from "The Far Side".
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Old December 4, 2017, 12:15 PM   #23
Sure Shot Mc Gee
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Quote:
How do you know the deer can't hear you?
Probably because I'm seated in a enclosed glass windowed 6X6 deer stand.

Just a Tip or three:
When I started hunting at 11 years old my Father hoped I didn't get a shot my first year of hunting. As he said: its best to learn & observe the first year than be spoiled thinking "I got mine. Deer hunting is easy peasy." ___NOT!

Tip #1. If your a fidget-er its best to lay off sweets a week or so prior to hunting as well as garlic if your a old school>Still Hunter.

Tip: Only candy to have in ones coat pocket {if necessary?} when hunting is anisette hard candy. Frankly: A smoker has a better chance of seeing a deer than some other sucking on a peppermint or spearmint LifeSaver.
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Old December 4, 2017, 12:20 PM   #24
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The more comfortable the seat,the better. A Lazy Boy recliner does not pack well,but a small butt pad of ensolite helps.

I have used a poncho liner or similar to advantage. I still minimize movement and move slowly,but fidgeting under a blanket is far less visible.

Movement is visible regardless of camo,but I like the camo fingerless gloves ,the wool ones with rubber dots. Or even camo makeup on my hands.
Movement is still a waving flag,but my skin color flag is brighter than a mud colored flag.
Put sound and scent on the list. Unwrapping a cello cheese and cracker snack sounds like a garbage truck in the silent woods.

I've had good results putting out a little skunk scent as a mask.
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Old December 4, 2017, 12:44 PM   #25
T. O'Heir
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"...here the wind direction is favorable..." And that's directly in your face. As mentioned, being comfortable helps at lot. One of the foam filled cushions works really well. Start at $10 in Cabela's. Had the best nap I ever had sitting under a tree on one. snicker.
However, it's more about the mind set of not moving or fidgeting. Noticing movement is right after scent in a deer's self defence repertoire. Mind you, a 14 year old's attention span may need some adjusting. That's more about teaching him patience. Hunting does that.
"...the deer can't hear you?..." They can, but don't care if the sound isn't something they associate with danger. They don't get frightened by the snoring coming from a guy asleep in a well oiled office chair that's in an insulated, carpeted & heated, 6X6, deer stand. Or on a foam filled cushion. Bambi might even slip by for a look see at what's making that odd noise. I recall seeing some pictures of Bambi looking at a guy snoozing in a deer stand. snicker.
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