Spot & Stalk Tactics by PSE’s Jared Bloomgren
By Jared Bloomgren
Like stated in an earlier blog my favorite type of hunting tactic is spot and stalk. This type of hunting pits your wits against that of your prey more than any other style of hunting in my opinion. The name of this tactic is self explanatory really. First you spot your prey and then you stalk them. Fitting name for it isn’t it?! This will be split into two blogs. First part will be spotting with the second part being the stalking portions on my next blog.
During the spotting process I like to be on a high vantage point to help me glass as much of the terrain as possible. Often times you may be glassing at distant areas over a mile away or more! This calls for quality optics and the better quality optics you have the better off you will be. Your eyes will not fatigue as fast and you may avoid a headache at the end of the day! I like to use the Vortex Optics Razor HD line. My binoculars are 10x42mm while my spotting scope is 20-60x80mm which allows me to see those very distant areas. I will also be selling Vortex Optics at competitive prices on my website at http://www.triggeraddiction.com soon as well.
Glassing animals is not always the easiest to do. Animals that are lying out in the clear wide open are generally pretty easy to find but there are times when they remain hidden fairly well. At first look it may seem that there are no animals in the immediate glassing area but usually that isn’t true. Glassing requires patience and persistence because sometimes you may not see animals right away. You will need to look for something that doesn’t belong with its surroundings. Often times I have spotted a buck or bull by catching a glimpse of an antler because of the glare caused by the sun. Looking for lines that do not blend or match; an antler tip sticking out from the brush, a leg from under a tree, the outline of an animal’s back, etc…When I get frustrated or my eyes get tired I take a quick break; stretch, grab a quick snack or drink and then get back at it. It is amazing how much this can help you re-focus.
When glassing big country I like to come up with a system of how to do it. The areas I generally look at first are those areas that are obvious bedding areas. Looking for the areas that offer the cover and the shade are very important as these areas hold a higher probability of deer bedding there. During early season the shade is very important. I like to look at ledged, cliffs, bigger rocks, anything that will offer shade throughout the day. I have seen numerous mule deer simply move around a rock throughout the day to keep in the shade. If I am having trouble located animals I like to set up a grid and move through each area of that grid as not to miss anything along the way. This will ensure that you cover all the terrain and will also yield more found animals than if you were just glassing randomly across the terrain that you can see. By doing a grid search I have found that I am much more successful at finding more animals faster!
After finding an animal of your liking you need to decide if it is in a good situation to carry out a stalk. Things to consider are wind direction and thermals, terrain, the animal’s behavior, your capability, and the time of day. Many stalks require a lot of time but just like an earlier blog of mine; they require patience!
My next blog will focus on the bread and butter of the two! The stalking portion to bring the hunt full circle and things to consider when you are stalking.
Jared “J-Rod” Bloomgren is a hardcore Do-It-Yourself bowhunter who strives to better himself each year in the outdoor community. As a professional hunter, freelance writer and photographer, he likes to relive his outdoor adventures through written expression and photography making the reader feel as if they were along on the hunt. He attributes much of his success to the vital education he has learned from the various big game animals that he hunts. He is quoted as saying, “In each and every hunt, success or defeat, I learn something from every outing and that I can put in my arsenal of knowledge to use at a later date, a later date that will again put my wits against that of my prey.”