Over the years I’ve hunted with some absolute savages that have given me great advice! There are some people that can just go out and get it done - they’re naturals. I’ve been very fortunate to learn from them, as well as a few that I haven’t met (yet!). Below is a list of tips that I have accumulated over the years from those I look up to. There are many things that will come across as common sense, yet people continue to ignore whether it’s from overthinking the situation or being impatient. Sometimes it’s nice to have a reminder, a quick refresher course, if you will.
Look up more than you look down. You can’t see the animal first if you’re constantly watching where you step
Memorize the next 5 or so yards in front of you so you’re not worried about tripping over something as you move forward
Try not to ever skyline yourself on a ridge. Drop down enough to have a background that you blend in to. Just like a silhouette stands out to us, it does to them too.
Walk in the shadows as much as you can, as opposed to having the sun spotlight you
Use brush/tree lines instead of walking in the open. If you’re on a stalk in the open, keep objects between you and the animal - not just grass or trees but also the slight changes in ground elevation
Move when the animal has its head down feeding, and if possible when they’re facing away from you. The only time I’ve seen someone move directly toward an animal facing them is an elk rubbing a tree because their eyes are usually closed in the process.
Play the wind always! I’ve had elk within 200 yards but it took me hours to get to them because I had to circle them for my wind to be just right.
Have a repetitive cycle in your head when trying to locate animals: tracks, poop, rubs, scrapes. It reminds me of being in driver’s education when they taught me to always rotate my eyes between driver’s side mirror, passenger’s side mirror and rear view mirror. I still do this constantly so that I’m aware of my surroundings.
Breathe through your nose as much as possible. I know when it’s tough terrain and your lungs are trying to catch up, we naturally choose to inhale through our mouth. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve hunted with others that didn’t smell what I had until I said something. We are blessed with a sense of smell for a reason!
When glassing, think “horizontal” in a vertical world. Whether they’re feeding or bedded down, this tip always helps me. When you’re hunting in fallen timber this is difficult, which is when you take color into consideration.
Skim from left to right as you move forward through rolling terrain. When the land is constantly changing, it could be the rack or ears of an animal showing that get your attention.
Use game trails. They exist because there’s traffic on them. That’s often where you’ll find fresh sign (such as those mentioned in #8)
Always be aware of water sources and check to see if they’ve been hit recently