If you’re a bow hunter or using a shotgun for hunting, getting within range is essential. The choices are obvious–either you lie in wait and hope the game will come to you or you approach the game, which means stalking it. There are two schools of thought on stalking. One says that stalking can work if you hide behind natural objects like bushes, trees, rises, shallow valleys, cuts, dry creeks and low hills. The other school of thought advises against it and says it’s fruitless at best and dangerous at worst, as the hunter could risk getting shot. What we’re saying is entirely different. We believe stalking can be both fruitful and safe if it’s done in open fields. Sounds counterintuitive, doesn’t it?
Consider this: birds and animals are a lot more alert or paranoid in the woods where their field of vision is limited. The slightest movement or noise could be a predator approaching and would make them take flight. But in open fields they tend to be more relaxed and comfortable as they have a 360-degree view of their surroundings. For example, geese tend to feed in the middle of large fields away from edges where there are predators and hunters. Hunters can use this animal psychology to their advantage. If you learn the art of stalking in open fields you can be a very successful hunter. Stalking is an acquired skill. It takes practice, experience and patience. The key factors are blending in to hide your profile and cat-like movements–stealth, quietness, slow movement in straight lines, and in the case of approaching animals, also masking your smell. Moving in straight lines and minimizing vertical and lateral movements are essential because birds and animals that have their eyes located on the side of their head have monocular vision and poor depth perception but are very sensitive to lateral and vertical moves. Just watch how big cats in Africa stalk their prey or watch a house cat zeroing in on a mouse, rabbit or even a moving toy. Nature has a lot to teach us, indeed.
Which type of hunter are you? Do you still hunt by sitting in ground blinds or tree stands, or do you prefer stalking? As Daniel Cole says, if you play a passive game you are probably not doing everything you could to bag the game, and your chance of success is about 20%. But if you combine that with proactive stalking, your chance of success will drastically improve. In my experience, the most successful hunters are the ones who are tactically flexible and do what the situation calls for. Go for the traditional setup when and where the time and place are right, or pick up and go where the action is when the opportunity presents itself. Covering more ground will statistically improve your chances, which sounds kind of obvious; the more places you search, the better your chances of finding action. It was with these facts in mind that we designed the Hybrid Shields.
Video: Open Field Stalking