Archery hunting big game, which requires close proximity to the animal is, by its very nature, quite different from hunting the animals using a rifle. Archery hunting requires superb stalking skills and the ability to conceal your movement while closing in. But getting close often isn’t enough – it’s simply a good start. In close proximity, most big game animals can see and hear as well as they can smell. Therefore, the ability to hide your presence when you are within bow range is crucial. Whether you’re stalking on foot or sitting on a tree stand concealing your movement and blending in are key. If you’re stalking in the vast open fields of the Great Plains or sitting in a relatively bare cedar or pine tree you need to conceal your movements and break up the outline. Blind Magnet shields are designed to address these problems. They not only give you cover for open field stalking but they mask your movement in the crucial moments of drawing back. Using the shield also means you don’t have to stay drawn for a long period of time waiting for a clear, ethical shot. Draw only when the time is right.
No need to walk around with the shield attached to your bow. Lightweight and compact you can carry the Warrior Shield in your vest or backpack. It takes less than a minute to pop the shield open and attach it to your bow when you need cover.
Stalking Techniques. Here is the art and science of open field stalking. Birds and animals are super alert, almost 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 and turkeys 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.
Once you have located the game in a field, plan your route carefully. Use natural covers as much as you can to close distance. You can deploy the shield quickly just before you get to a spot where there is no cover. Slowly and quietly open the shield and attach it to your bow – it takes less than a minute to attache it to you bow. Walk into the open field very slowly and hold still for a couple of minutes and let the game get used to it.
Try to approach in straight lines and minimize moving sideways or up and down. 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.
Patience and keeping your excitement in check are very important in stalking. Observe the game carefully. If it stops doing what it’s doing and is looking at you or looks jumpy hold still until it calms down. Crouch behind the shield, walk very slowly and deliberately, pausing frequently to check the animal’s behavior as you close in.
Stalking is an acquired skill. It takes patience, practice and experience. 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. “The ability to stalk or move without making any sudden quick movements or loud noise is essential to avoiding detection. Always pick your route carefully to keep you concealed… Take steps about half your normal stride when stalking in the upright position. Such strides help you to maintain your balance. You should be able to stop at any point in that movement and hold that position as long as necessary..” (Army Field Manuals)
If you master the art of stalking and combine that with ambush hunting you’ll be a very successful hunter.