stalking distance


June 2, 2014, 09:58 PM
What is the closest anyone has ever stalked a deer, before being detected? Is there such thing as "competitive stalking?"

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June 2, 2014, 10:05 PM
Well, the first deer I shot in Colorado got so close all I could see was blurry hair in my 6x scope.

I split the difference between daylight on top, and daylight on the bottom.
And a 165 grain 30-06 bullet broke his neck.

His nose was inches from my boot where he fell.

But, I wasn't stalking, I was setting with my back to a little aspen tree.

Competitive stalking?
No, I don't think so.


June 2, 2014, 10:21 PM
Competitive stalking? Sure - it's what wolves, pumas and coyotes do every day...:D

June 2, 2014, 10:51 PM
I'm terrible at sneaking up on deer or elk. If I can't figure out how to make them come up to me, they get away pretty regular.
I did see a doe and two fawns on the other side of a big ponderosa pine while still hunting. It was the last day of muzzleloading season and although I was really hunting elk, I had a doe deer tag too. One fawn came out and walked past me from behind the tree. I was SURE the doe was behind the 1st fawn so I shot as soon as I saw ears and fur out about 6' away. I was frozen in place by the 1st fawn right next to me so I couldn't really move around to see anything but through my sights.
Bad move as it was the other fawn. .54" conical shot chest through left thigh. Broke the shoulder, high up all the left side ribs and left femur right at the hip. A lot of messed up meat.
I harvested about a half a veal.
Now, I try to get them to stand back at least a couple of yards.

Art Eatman
June 3, 2014, 02:38 PM
I saw a pretty little buck one drizzly day and tracked along behind him. Wet grass and leaves made it easy to be quite silent. Finally saw his rump sticking out of a clump of brush as he looked out over a meadow. I kept easing along.

At about ten feet, I pitched a marble-sized rock onto his rump. Mucho entertainment. :D

June 3, 2014, 04:21 PM
When I was a kid we used to make a game out of it in Wyoming. We would each be designated a color of paint and we would get points for deer we painted in the river bottom. In the evening, they would come out into a big hay feild and we would determine the victor. we decided 50pts for hitting one with a paintbrush tied to a stick and 100pts for a hand print. I got quite good at it and eventually went for only hand prints, I got 4 in one day. The most effective way was to 'go indian,' we would strip to our underwear, take our shoes off, and smear ourselves with mud to camoflauge and mask sent. Deer can hear clothing brushing together and it was my belief that they could smell my breath so I ate what they ate before I would close the distance. My buddy got the bad end of it one day when an old doe didn't think it was funny, he got 15 stiches and we were told to leave them alone.

June 4, 2014, 10:58 AM
While hunting fall turkeys in PA,I was sitting beside a tree on a ridge.At sunrise a buck came walking up the hill.He looked like he had been "partying".As he passed on the other side of the tree I jumped out and said "Boo".He went vertical and took off.It was hilarious.

June 6, 2014, 12:07 AM
Fred Bear stalked a doe close enough to slap it on it's rump,or so the story goes. The closest I ever came was kicking at a big hog in Florida. I didn't connect,he caught movement and jumped sideways,and I wound up on my back. I laughed so hard I nearly wet my pants as the pig ran off,squealing and grunting.

June 6, 2014, 01:06 AM
I had a doe run right up to me and spew deer spittle/snot all over my face when she realized I wasn't a bush.

I've never stalked anything close enough to tell the tale, though.

June 6, 2014, 01:23 AM
I saw a pretty little buck one drizzly day and tracked along behind him. Wet grass and leaves made it easy to be quite silent. Finally saw his rump sticking out of a clump of brush as he looked out over a meadow. I kept easing along.

At about ten feet, I pitched a marble-sized rock onto his rump. Mucho entertainment. :D
sweet! It musta went airborne in a nano-second.

June 6, 2014, 01:37 AM
Stalked a doe to within 12' or so, belly crawling through tall lush July grass, starting out maybe 75 yds away. Sun in her eyes, wind toward me. No rifle.

I was fully clothed, baseball cap to hide my eyes and shade my face. Took maybe an hour.

As I got closer -say 30yds out- I noticed she'd stop feeding more often to look around. Closer yet, she'd spend more time sniffing and scanning than eating. At some point, movement was an inch at a time, then 1/4", then less. She'd probably hard a faint rustle or noticed the grass moving mysteriously. By then I'm just barely and only occasionally keeping an eye on her. Taking 30 second breaks between moves.

I chickened out at 4 yards and stood up. Foooom, she did a 1/4 turn, took three giant strides and entered thick cover.

The experience will stay with me forever.

25cschaefer: Dabbing handprints, now that's stalking.

Nice job bkb0000.

June 6, 2014, 02:15 AM
Another "game" we played was a real life version of whack-a-mole. We would lie on our bellies near a prairie dog hole with a peanut butter sandwitch and ball peen hammer. In the spring they are not very smart and come out of their holes with their noses in the air with absolute pleasure on their face, smelling their favorite food... whack! My friend and I got 20 each one day, and bad sunburns, but it was fun. Sometimes it took 30 seconds, sometimes 20minutes. They smarten up pretty quick though.

June 6, 2014, 07:06 AM
I've touched a living, wild deer, but, am afriad it was suffering from the "blue tongue" disease whitetails occasionally succumb to in these parts. Barring that experience, there have been other times I've gotten extremely close (10 ft? less?) One incident that always sticks out in my head was a hunt ofnthe family ranch. I was on an ATV, scouting out some draws, wondering if I should hunt them. I noticed some mule deer does roughly 50 yards below me, and a bit ahead of me. They were already aware of my presence obviously, from the sound of the ATV. However, the ATV was ALL they were seemingly worried about....I slipped off the opposite side of the atv, and started making a wide circle towards the deer. They were enthralled by the ATV, and never paid me any mind til I yelled "HEY" with the barrel of my 7mm all but touching them at that point! I didnt take the shot as I had no interest in a doe at that point, but enjoyed seeing how close I could get while they were distracted

1911 guy
June 6, 2014, 09:06 AM
I've gotten within feet of several deer. Some were me sneaking up on them, some were me sitting still and them walking into me.

I am teaching my son how to sneak up on animals, using the rabbits and birds in our backyard. I can get to within about 12-15 feet before they take off. My son? At fifty feet he starts to run, thinking he can catch them.

Now my favorite story. I was up in a tree, leaning in the fork of it, bowhunting deer. It was a warm October morning, early bow season here in Ohio. Sitting right on top of a trail, I wasn't going to blow it by fidgeting. That's how the squirrel got there. He was moving around in the tree, sometimes kinda close to me. Then he got on the branch of the fork I was in. Having visions of being bitten and clawed by a scared squirrel, I figured I'd give a little twitch and cough before he got within biting/clawing/chewing wrong nuts range. He came unglued. Took a flying leap out of the tree, flopped around a time or two as he landed, then sat on the ground screaming at me for a while. I had to laugh. Usually it's me on the ground and the squirrel in the tree.

Art Eatman
June 6, 2014, 12:07 PM
My little old buck spun through his own bunghole and came by me at about five feet. Nose stuck out, ears laid back, fifth gear overdrive. My raucous laughter was likely somewhat unsettling, as well. :D

As far as a critter coming close: I was sitting on the ground, leaned up against a tree and watching an open area, hoping for Bambi. I caught a flicker of motion about ten yards away. Fox. So, I lip-squeaked like unto a little mousie. He'd dart closer, stop, and listen. I'd squeak. He finally came close enough that I boinked him in the nose with my boot toe. HAIR! Stuck out all over. Tail like a bottle brush. And a rapid effort to be elsewhere at a high rate of speed. :)

June 6, 2014, 12:17 PM
If the conditions are right I can almost always sneak to within 10 or 15 yards of a wild hog. Deer are A different story but like Art I've caught a few that were day dreaming and got within spitting distance.

June 6, 2014, 12:22 PM
I got to within no more than 15 feet of a nice young bull elk on my very first hunting trip. I had a cow tag...

June 6, 2014, 01:33 PM
Bedded elk in thick cover can be plum ignorant especially during the middle of the day. I've been within a herd at very close range on multiple occasions during elk sleepy time midday. The secret to that game tends to be knowing where they are bedded and planning your stalk with everything in your favor. However I have still hunted my way into bedded elk by accident on occasion as well.

June 6, 2014, 02:39 PM
I was walking into the wind and heard him off to my left in the brush. I froze in place and he came out of the scrub oak on my left and slightly behind me. He crossed the trail behind me and I slowly turned around. He looked at me, sniffed the air and slowly walked across the path and back into the brush. Pretty awesome to be that close.

June 6, 2014, 03:15 PM
I've never actually stalked close to anything, but have had game animals stalk, or walk very close to a few times. Twice I've had whitetail doe almost close enough to touch.

Once while quail hunting 4-5 does were loping along at a fast trot towards me. I simply froze behind a small 6' pine sapling. When the lead doe came past the tree we were inches apart before she saw me. All of them scattered. I had another very similar situation a few years later.

I've had coyote, bobcat and foxes come to my turkey and duck calls and get fairly close.

The only real attempt at stalking, unsuccessful, was a roughly 250 lb black bear. I was really deer hunting with a 50# recurve when I rounded a bend on the trail I was walking and saw the bear ahead of me about 50 yards away. We were walking in the same direction, the ground was wet and the wind in my favor. I paused a second and considered just going somewhere else. But the bear was legal to take and I decided to give it a shot. I followed him for about 100 yards. Pausing when he stopped, and trying to close ground when he moved. I never got close enough for a comfortable shot. After about 100 yards he moved off the trail to my left. I did the same, walked about 30 yards and sat there the rest of the morning, but never did see him again.

June 6, 2014, 08:10 PM
It's been quite a few years ago, but I once glassed a nice mule deer buck up on top of a hill a couple miles away. When I did the stalk into the wind, I ended up almost stepping on him in his bed. I didn't know I was on top of him though, I thought I had a ways to go yet. He stood up and nearly ran into me, I looked down the barrel, practically stuck the barrel in his rib cage actually, pulled the trigger, dead and down.

Don't know if that counts or not, but ya, I've gotten pretty darn close a time or two.


June 6, 2014, 08:15 PM
3212, my wife and I had a similar experience while fall turkey hunting once. We had a doe and fawn standing right behind us, no more than 5'. She knew we were there though, she was snorting and stomping her feet. We had to get up and move away, she was really upset. We killed our birds at day light that morning too!

I've actually had numerous very close encounters, thus my screen name.


June 6, 2014, 09:00 PM
The closest ive ever been while actually stalking was a little fawn muley that i was hunting with a camera. I dont know the exact distance, but it couldnt have been more then 20 yards. I also was stalking (huffing and puffing trying to get in front of) a herd of elk. As i walked up over a rise, eyes firmly fixed on the elk, i noticed a huge black mass real close to me. I stopped and looked over to find a big black bear at not more then 15 yards, we stood there and stared at eachother for what seemed like an hour (probably 2 minutes max) and then he got up and calmly walked away. The closest ive ever been to an animal while hunting was a bobcat that i lip squeaked at while archery deer hunting, he promptly closed the distance to between 5 and 6 yards. He now graces my wall.

June 7, 2014, 09:50 PM
Pat86323, back in the 80's I was out on Willard Springs road hunting for my bull elk. I shot him within about 20 yards of the truck, actually my buddy was with me and we both dropped our bulls right there.

Another time I was walking out to the rim, Willard Spring again, and I turned around to look cause I heard something behind me, it was a little bitty doe, a couse deer. She followed me for a long time. Every time I stopped, she stopped, this went on for a good 30 minutes. Then when I got to the rim, over looking slide rock actually, I almost got run over by a bear as it came down a tree in one of the finger canyons off the rim. That was an interesting day, didn't get the bear, should have, but I panicked.


another pake
June 7, 2014, 11:25 PM
Years and years ago my son read somewhere that Native American kids were taught to stalk deer, and the proof of success was a pinch of plucked tail or ear hair. Whether that was ever the case I don't know, but I have watched him over the years since perfecting the skill of stalking. He can routinely get within 10 feet or so. The process may take hours. I'm thinking that most of us lack that kind of desire or determination.

Pre firearm, pre bow, pre at latyl, (sp?) that kind of skill was needed with a spear.

June 8, 2014, 12:29 AM
I never have stalked a deer. I have lucked out and waited one out and surprised a few others but in any case about 25 yards is the closest. stalking elk, I was able to get about 100 yards.

June 8, 2014, 12:42 AM
I stalked and shot a whitetail with my bow at about 10 or 12 yards once.

Another time I was stalking and I eased up behind a tree that had a "Y" in it that was just about chest height…this put my head right in the "Y". It was cool because the tree covered my body but I could see everything past it through the "Y".

So as I eased up to the tree a bunch of deer got spooked by something on the next ridge and they ran right into my lap. The deer walked right up to the tree I was behind. My head was in the gap of the "Y" and I watched them walk right up to me as they "fled the danger" on the last ridge. It was everything I could do to not laugh…I could've plucked hair off of them as they walked past me.

Several other time I've had them just about in my lap while sitting in the weeds on the edge of a field. I always find it difficult to not laugh when they get that close…I guess the absurdity of the whole thing amuses me…its like "how can you NOT know that I'm sitting right here?!"

June 8, 2014, 12:49 AM
So many great experiences.
Love this thread!

June 8, 2014, 05:56 PM
This definitely doesn't qualify as stalking, but one time many years ago, I had laid down beside a large fallen tree next to a water hole, early, early in the morning hoping to ambush a fall turkey. I had some what dozed off when I noticed this rumbling, it got louder and louder. Just as I was about to lift my head up to see what was coming my way, a massive heard of elk came running at full tilt and jumping straight over me, and into the water. Scared the heck out of me. I didn't dare move for fear they would freak out and stomp me to death. They played in the water for a few minutes, which seemed like an eternity, then they came running straight back over the top of me again, this time I was on their approach side so I had hooves brushing over me. Afterward, I got the heck out of there and decided to change my fall turkey tactics.


June 9, 2014, 10:26 AM
Stalking to within a few feet of a unalerted deer is easy if the conditions are right. When the conditions are wrong it is impossible.

short barrel
June 9, 2014, 08:32 PM
My personal best stalk was on a gang of turkeys in the fall. A new snow had left about 2 inches when I came upon their tracks. It was one of those late fall days when muzzleloading deer season and turkey season coincide. I had my deer rifle, a Jim Chambers flintlock longrifle, 44" swamped barrel, .50 caliber. When I found the tracks, they were extremely fresh, the air still, but I could not detect the sound of contented birds scratching for acorns. After an hour of following the tracks (I figured there were about 10 birds), I saw them before they saw me. They were just crossing a low ridge. That last few minutes are the ones I dream about still today. They were talking to each other and scratching. A perfect overcast day with light snow. Crawling on my belly, I occasionally caught a glimpse of a bobbing head and realized they had changed directions and coming toward me at an angle. I lay in the snow and waited. One big hen scratched her way into a spot where very little movement was needed to align the sights at the base of her neck. Distance was about 30 yards. At the crack of the rifle, a lot more than 10 turkeys took flight, obscured somewhat by the cloud of white smoke from my Goex load of 70 grains. I didn't see the one I'd shot at. Didn't know how I might have missed. The spark of the new flint and the report of the rifle was simultaneous. After walking to where they'd been, I saw her spread out on the snow, her neck broken. A 20lb. bird. That was the one and only turkey I have managed to take after a stalk and not using a call. A great day and a tasty meal.

June 10, 2014, 09:19 AM
After walking to where they'd been, I saw her spread out on the snow, her neck broken. A 20lb. bird.

That would have made her a world record @ twice the weight of most large adult hens.

June 10, 2014, 10:01 AM
pre gun season got within 10 yards of a bachelor group of whitetails, just kinda hunched over moved when all the heads were down, pretty sure they were all first yr deer, unmowed powerline a little over waste high, had good cover an had the wind in my face

June 10, 2014, 01:48 PM
Originally Posted by short barrel View Post
After walking to where they'd been, I saw her spread out on the snow, her neck broken. A 20lb. bird.

That would have made her a world record @ twice the weight of most large adult hens.

Are hens really that much smaller than toms? I'm new to turkey hunting and have only shot one tom. He weighed 26 lbs. I've never shot a hen so I don't have any basis (other than eye sight) to compare. Thanks for the info.

June 10, 2014, 02:00 PM
Learn something every day. According to the NWTF, hens are normally between 8 and 10 lbs. I obviously didn't know that.

Getting back on track, I'm a newbie hunter. I'm still practicing and the closest I've gotten actually stalking deer is about 60 yards. They knew something was approaching but couldn't seem to figure out it was me. It is the only time I have heard deer call to each other. They were making quite a racket calling to each other. That episode lasted about 10 minutes.

I've had some deer walk to within 20 yards of me. At that distance they seem to notice eyes and one blink sends them scurrying away.

short barrel
June 13, 2014, 01:03 PM
Maybe not 20 lbs. Just an estimate.

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