Hunting Tips - Outdoor Skills
Hunting Tips - Outdoor Skills
It may be expected that a pocket volume on woodcraft should contain a liberal chapter of instruction on hunting. It would be quite useless. Hunters, like poets, are born, not made. The art cannot be taught on paper. A few simple hints, however, may not be misplaced. To start aright, have your clothes fitted for hunting. Buy no advertised hunting coats or suits. Select good cassimere of a sort of dull, no-colored, neutral tint, like a decayed stump, and have coat, pants, and cap made of it. For foot-gear, two pairs of heavy yarn socks, with rubber shoes or buckskin moccasins. In hunting, "silence is gold." Go quietly, slowly, and silently. Remember that the bright-eyed, sharp-eared wood-folk can see, hear and smell, with a keenness that throws your dull faculties quite in the shade. As you go lumbering and stick breaking through the woods, you will never know how many of these quietly leave your path to right and left, allowing you to pass, while they glide away, unseen, unknown. It is easily seen that a sharp-sensed, light-bodied denizen of the woods can detect the approach of a heavy, bifurcated, booted animal, a long way ahead, and avoid him accordingly.
But there is an art, little known and practiced, that invariably succeeds in outfianking most wild animals; an art, simple in conception and execution, but requiring patience; a species, so to speak, of high art in forestry—the art of "sitting on a log." I could enlarge on this. I might say that the only writer of any note who has mentioned this phase of woodcraft is Mr. Charles D. Warner; and he only speaks of it in painting the character of that lazy old guide, "Old Phelps."
Sitting on a log includes a deal of patience, with oftentimes cold feet and chattering teeth; but, attended to faithfully and patiently, is quite as successful as chasing a deer all day on tracking snow, while it can be practiced when the leaves are dry, and no other mode of still-hunting offers the ghost of a chance. When a man is moving through the woods, wary, watchful animals are pretty certain to catch sight of him. But let him keep perfectly quiet and the conditions are reversed. I have had my best luck, and killed my best deer, by patiently waiting hour after hour on runways. But the time when a hunter could get four or five fair shots in a day by watching a runway has passed away forever. Never any more will buffalo be seen in solid masses covering square miles in one pack. The immense bands of elk and droves of deer are things of the past, and "The game must go."
Sears, George Washington. Woodcraft. New York: Forest and Stream Publishing, 1884.
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