Spotting Game

By Plan B Writer’s Alliance –

(This is an excerpt from the book ‘Locusts on the Horizon‘ from the chapter titled ‘Hunting’.)

Most game in the USA, which is shot with a firearm, is killed within 200 yards or less of the hunter, generally much less. The reason for this is that terrain, trees, and other things simply block your line of sight. Game is also very good at hiding and not being seen, which for them is instinctive, something which humans have to practice at doing. Spotting game is something of a lost art in this country which only a few still do well. Most hunters, even avid ones, tend to generally spot only a fraction of the wild game in their area, even the larger game such as deer.

In order to be good at spotting game, you need to be quiet and learn to use the terrain and natural lighting (which changes as the day goes on) to your advantage. Be patient, don’t be in a hurry. Game most often spots you by your movements, and often you spot game by its movement, so don’t be in too much of a hurry.

Modern people often don’t realize just how loud they really are. They talk, they loudly sneeze, and they walk through the bush like a herd of elephants. If you want to spot game, you are going to have to learn not to do that.

Be quiet, stop, close your eyes for a minute and listen to the world around you. Now you have a guideline to go by as you do not want to interrupt that natural background noise you just tuned in to.

You will learn to always keep on the lookout for signs of game animals, no matter what you are doing. It’s very good practice. In areas you plan to hunt, take some time out, be patient, and just be quiet, be still, and just watch. You will be amazed at what you can see.

Be aware of where you are stepping, take your time. One old trick of the Native tribes on walking quietly is to step with your heel down, roll your feet along the outside edge, then apply pressure to the front of your foot as you take the next step. Practice this and you might be surprised at just how quiet you can walk when you get accustomed to it.

Unless it’s really cold and there is snow on the ground or it’s really wet and muddy, a pair of moccasins, or a pair of Sperry ‘Top Sider’ boat shoes (basically, moccasins again), or something similar helps you feel the ground and things beneath your feet before you loudly stomp on them. Due to customer demand, LL Bean just changed the formula in the soles of their Maine Hunting Boot to give the hunter greater feel of the ground, the way they used to. Many hard core hunters, especially some hard core rural bow hunters, will often bow hunt barefoot if the weather permits.

Women are dynamite for spotting game. Often if the man is the primary hunter of the family, he and his wife or significant other, or a daughter that is old enough, should learn to hunt as a team, especially when hunting larger game like deer. If you have only one pair of binoculars, or only one pair of large binoculars, have her use them. He’s the shooter; she’s the spotter, like a sniper team.

The reason for this is that men and women literally see the world differently. The way a woman sees and how her brain interprets the images her eyes send is a bit different than how it works in a man. This is a scientific fact. Women are normally much more tuned to colors and to patterns than men are. Women tend to see shades of colors and patterns more acutely than a man does. Camouflage does not fool a woman’s eye as readily as a man’s. Game doesn’t fade into the background as readily in the eyes of women as they do with men’s eyes.

One thing we suggest but we also mention in the Trapping chapter is how to do a quick game census of the area. Leave every firearm you have at home in case fish and game officers pull you over when doing this, so you won’t be considered ‘poachers’.

Take a powerful spotlight or a really powerful flashlight, and shine it in an area at night, catching the game by surprise. You might be stunned at how much is out there, especially pigs and deer. Another way to do this is to just sit still and quiet at night in a hide, or a tree stand, or even your car with the windows down. Then with a pair of 50mm binoculars just start watching for animals and movement.

© Plan B Writer’s Alliance – Permission to copy and reprint this article is given so long as reference to the original author and the website are mentioned.

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