We left my vehicle with bow in hand knowing this was going to be an adventure. Whitetails have this seemingly invincibility around them that they cannot be stalked with a bow. Well, that thinking is wrong, it can be done and it isn’’t immature bucks that I am hunting. These are mature deer that can be stalked. Oh I sit in a treestand now and then but when I want to test my skills as a hunter stalking is the ultimate challenge.
The sun allowed us to have at least three hours to walk, run, crouch, crawl and almost slither through the sunflower stalks. I have to tell you, looking across a field of combined sunflowers it looks as if there is no cover, depressions, or contours to use, but with a little glassing one can pick the route that will help with wind direction and concealment. After picking this route, though it will change as deer move and wind direction switch, you have to keep all your senses on high alert.
The deer were on the far side of the field feeding and rutting. They certainly were not focused on us. As we moved in their direction, we crouched and jogged through the sunflowers stalks picking our way, trying not to break or scuff a sunflower stalk, alerting the deer that we were entering their domain.
Closing the distance we had to adjust to the deer moving, and also to the changing topography. Keeping our heads low we glassed the deer looking for the big buck we had seen through the spotting scope, before deciding to go on this stalk.
We saw the big buck’s competitors but could not find the big buck himself so decisions needed to be made quickly, move closer or wait. The decision was made in a few short minutes we were getting closer. Crawling on my belly putting my bow ahead and picking my way through and around the sunflower stalks, my knees, elbows and back were tightening up, but to succeed you have forget the pain and move on.
Closing the gap we had now entered the deer zone undetected or ignored. Glassing through the sunflower stalks we searched for that big buck, he had to be here. As we were focused on looking for the big buck, a smaller buck that had been giving the bigger buck fits was walking our way, I ranged him at fifty yards and closing — what to do?
We sat motionless hoping he would not spook. With each step closer my blood pounded like sledge hammers on my veins, what an adrenaline rush. Fifteen yards from us he stopped, and started moving his head like those inquisitive does that always seems to ruin a great situation.
After what seemed like an eternity, with legs cramping and lower back muscles burning, the buck nervously trotted away. With all the rutting and feeding activity the other deer barely took notice. Taking a deep breath I sat and relaxed for a moment. Looking to my right I saw the big buck a hundred and twenty-five yards away crossing the sunflower rows.
Time to focus and make things happen. Nocking my Wac’em tipped arrow, I blow on my small grunt call and the buck turned and starts directly towards us. Ranging him at sixty yards away I know he will get closer, so I put my release on my string loop and raised my Elite Answer.
The bg buck is closing fast; I draw with one fluid motion and settle my pin on the buck’s vitals. He is about twenty-five yards, and he stops and stares, I put my finger on the trigger and my arrow is on its way and buries itself into this magnificent buck. He turns and runs in the direction he came but shows the effects of the razor sharp broadhead.
He lies down. I then lay in the snow and dirt, reflecting on what just happened. Waiting for a bit this surreal feeling surrounding me begins to become reality as the sun is beginning to sink into the horizon
On the way to where I shot the buck I see blood is all over the patches of snow and dirt. If I had to trail him, the trail would have been an easy one to follow. As I got near the buck all kinds of emotions run through my head, I had just shot a 150 + buck spot and stalk, not my biggest buck but an impressive accomplishment to say the least. Two hours of crawling through this harsh environment had once again culminated with a beautiful whitetail buck on the ground.
I stalked these deer in a combined sunflower field by using the contour of the land as well as the standing stalks themselves. There are a few things that will help you succeed in this endeavor if you want to elevate your hunting game.
Camouflage, binoculars, shooting ability, a deer call, and confidence: Number one on this list may surprise you, but to be a successful spot and stalk hunter in situations such as this, the most important thing is confidence in yourself. Half hearted attempts will not reap rewards. You have to know that you can do this. Beside confidence in your stalking ability you need to have confidence in your shooting ability, knowing that in a pressure situation you can make the shot count.
Distance will vary with each individual hunt but practice, and by practice I mean crawling and shooting on your knees, can only help you at that critical moment when success hinges on you and your ability.
I think number two is your gear. Use the best you can afford. I am hard on equipment, and if my clothing is comfortable it can keep me in the field longer and focused on making the shot.
Archery equipment that you are confident in makes all the difference. I know what has proven its worth, time and time again and I expect my equipment to hold to my standards through the rigors of my hunting season. I also like to have a small deer call, something that can be easily used and then put out of the way in a hurry. It makes the important sounds at the right time to attract your buck, but I don’t use the big bulky calls I have seen. The small call works great for the spot and stalk situation.
With every terrain there is opportunity for success and whitetails are not the invincible animal we have made them to be. I am a spot and stalk junkie. Think you will have the opportunity to stalk whitetails? Be ready for an adrenaline rush.
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