Hunting forms

Hunting guide for deer stalking


Several game species have been in decline over the past seventy years. The stock of farmed hens and hares is not as ample as it once was. In the 'good old days' you could easily bring back ten or fifteen hares or hens from a good day's hunting.

You can feel quite envious when you hear these stories from older hunters, of if you read them in hunting literature. But there are also success stories when it comes to the Danish and European fauna.


Hunting guide for deer stalking


Never before have we had such a great stock of deer as we do now. Roe deer, red deer, fallow deer and wild game are found in more and more places and in larger and larger rudders, so large that some farmers feel the pressure on their crops. This shouldn't bother us hunters, on the contrary, it gives many hunters good opportunities to get the unique hunting experiences that were previously reserved only for the few.

Deer stalking is therefore a hunt that will only become more widespread in the future. Whereas new hunters used to start by shooting ducks, hens or hares, they now shoot deer with a rifle as their first piece of game. There's nothing wrong with that, it's just a sign of the changes in fauna.

To be a successful deer stalker, it's important first to plan the hunt properly. Planning is a special discipline, as this is when you can enjoy the pleasure of anticipation around a good hunt. If you have a new hunting area that you haven't been to before, it's a good idea to talk to former hunters on the terrain, or to the landowner, who will be able to pass on information about the stock.

This is particularly useful for new hunters. It's also a good idea to study the terrain on a map. But nothing will be as good as being there out of season, experiencing the nature for yourself. If you are new to hunting, it is worth going out with an experienced hunter, as he or she will be able to help you get a perspective of the first hunting situation and give you tips and tricks along the way.

Before throwing yourself into the first hunt, make sure all your equipment is in order.


Equipment for deer stalking

Clothing

You should, as much as possible, choose clothing based on the biotope you will be hunting in. This is regardless of whether it's a deer stalk in the early spring, a roe buck hunt in the summer, or an autumn hunt.

Just as nature's colours change over the course of the year, there's also a big difference between a layer of brown fallen leaves in a forest and an evergreen tree plantation. There are camouflage patterns to suit all biotope types, and the clothing can make a big difference to the hunt, not just in terms of success but also in terms of a giving you a greater hunting experience because it allows you to get even closer to the animals. A deer stalk on a warm summer's evening requires light clothing, whereas in the winter you need a good insulating suit that is waterproof.

Boots

Apart from being dressed in the right colours, so that you don't stand out too much against your surroundings, noise reduction is also essential. Especially on days that are still, when any noise is easily heard by the animals. This is an important point to consider when buying clothing, and a pair of good boots that don't squeak can make all the difference.

If you have a very hilly hunting area, such as one with cliffs or other rocky terrain, it's important to have a stiff ankle in the boot so that the ankle doesn't move, whereas in most other types of nature you should prioritise boots that allow you to feel the ground beneath you.

If you can feel the ground, you'll quickly notice a branch or similar, which you don't want to snap at the wrong moment.

Having wet feet is also annoying, and can ruin the entire experience of a good hunt. Waterproof and soundless boots are therefore a great advantage.


Hunting guide for deer stalking


A good pair of binoculars

Another part of your preparations should include driving or walking around the terrain to see if you can spot any animals that you want to hunt. So it's not just during the hunt that you'll need a good pair of binoculars. Binoculars give you a better idea of the animal's age, and it's easier to see a trophy from a distance.

During the hunt itself, these are essential. On a bow hunt on a spring morning, it's important to scan the area with binoculars! This makes it easier to spot the animal in the twinkling morning dew.

Another advantage of good binoculars is that they absorb the light, so you actually see better through them in fading daylight than you do with just your eyes.

Binoculars come in many different sizes, but if you plan to do more deer stalking as opposed to sitting still on a shooting ladder you would benefit from binoculars that aren't too heavy or bulky to carry around.

Bipod

The most important part of hunting, regardless of the game, is to deliver a confident shot, so that the animal dies as humanely and efficiently as possible. That's why a good bipod is essential for resting your rifle in and keeping it steady.

There are several shapes with several legs and ways to rest your rifle. The most important is to ensure that the height is suitable for the hunter and that you use the same bipod when practising at the shooting range as you do on a hunt. There's no point lying down at the shooting range to shoot if you're then going to shoot the game standing up and with a bipod you aren't used to.

A lot of game flees at the noise of a hunter who is trying to unfold their new four-legged bipod and adjust it to the right height while also getting their rifle to rest at the right angle. These are things you need to practise so you can do them standing on your head, and so that you are able to shoot responsibly.

An extra bonus is that you can also lean your binoculars against a good bipod during your stalk for a steadier look across the landscape.

Knife

For some people the knife is a weapon, but for the hunter it is an essential tool. Killing the game is one thing, but preparing and eating it afterwards is also a pleasure.

We won't get far with a dead animal after a successful hunt without a sharp hunting knife. The knife is one of the best items to have for those who enjoy nice gadgets.

There are knife makers who produce the most beautiful tools made from exotic woods and hand-sewn leather sheaths, and once you've used one of these regularly for a number of years to cut up a piece of deer, it will take on a special significance because it's no longer just a cold blade placed in the sheath, it also represents a wealth of wonderful experiences.

The knife is one of the hunter's dearest possessions - hanging by your side in the hope that the preparations, stalk and shoot are successful.

Weapons and ammunition

There as many opinions about weapons and ammunition as there are hunters. Everyone has their own personal experience of specific calibers and types of ammunition, and those new to hunting can quickly become confused when one person says one thing and another something else.

So we've kept it simple here for those new to hunting:
The law imposes special requirements on projectile weight and speed. If you stick to the law, you can be certain that your weapon will be powerful enough for your prey.

Always make sure to shoot the rifle before hunting and when changing ammunition. Prioritise good riflescope. There's no point fitting a cheap telescope to a very expensive rifle!

Get someone experienced to fit the telescope so that it sits firmly and correctly on the rifle in terms of eye distance.

And finally: practise at the shooting range in all the positions that you might get into on an actual hunt, so that you're well prepared.


Close to the animal

A morning stalk in easterly winds. It probably doesn't sound like much to the inexperienced hunter, but if you've tried it, you'll know how challenging this can be.

You stalk against the wind, so that the animal doesn't notice you - while having a low-lying sun right in your face. It's really hard to see - even with binoculars - when the sun is so low. Meanwhile, the animal has the best conditions to see the hunter!

Instead of going right up against wind and sun, you could plan the hunt so that you stalk in a side wind. This isn't always possible, of course, if the terrain isn't suitable.

The same applies to an evening stalk with a north-westerly wind - depending on the season. In the winter, the sun sets early and doesn't reach the north-west; it's the sun and wind coming from the same direction that's the challenge. Evening sun isn't usually as sharp as morning sun.

However, if you have the sun on your back, the animal will struggle to see you as it doesn't see well against the sun either, and you can easily move around in the shadows from the trees and other vegetation.

Always think of your stalk with the sun and wind in mind. If the conditions aren't right for a morning hunt, or if you haven't seen any animals around several mornings in a row, it may be worth planning your stalk for midday.


Hunting guide for deer stalking


Know your terrain

Wind is never just wind - particularly from a specific direction. The wind travels round hollows, along hedges and by the edge of the forest, as well as in forest glades. That's why it's important to know your terrain and know how the wind works there and in which directions. This also applies to positioning your bipod and ladders.

Good preparation for the season can quickly become the difference between luck and planned success on a hunt. When you know your hunting area well, and you know your stock of game, then nature becomes your second home in a way, and good hunting craft becomes about more than just a shoot and some meat in the freezer.

You could also carry a small bottle of chalk with you on a hunt. A quick squeeze of the bottle will quickly show you which way the wind blows. Alternatively, throw a handful of dried grass or leaves up in the air without too much effort.

When you are out and about in the terrain out of season, note any areas where there are scrapes and sweeps. Animals will often be nearby or return to those spots. Tracks are common to game, and if you can find a cross between two tracks, there is twice as much chance.

In early spring, the animals like the sun and tend to pick the sunnier side of the forest or terrain. When you go on a recognition mission, you may find the seating areas where they like to stay.

All these small signs of life are worth getting to know, just as it's important to notice whether they are moving to and from a particularly attractive feeding area.

At one with nature

If you actually think about it, how you spot the deer is often by noticing a small change in the terrain - a dark spot that isn't usually there, or something that doesn't look 'natural' through the binoculars.

That's how the animals also spot us. We need to remember that we are on their turf. Wouldn't we also notice if our spouse had hung a new picture up in the living room? But if the picture had the same shades, the same size, and maybe even the same motif as the old one, we may only notice it the second or third time we went in there. If we can pull off the same trick on our deer, then there's a chance of success.

Being dressed in full camouflage isn't enough if our hands and face are winter pale. Every time we raise our binoculars, our hands will be clearly visible against the dark background. So wear a pair of gloves and face mask to complete the illusion.

Movement

Stay focused on the game and move really slowly. Every time you take a small step of just twenty centimetres, your angle of vision will change, and you may also be visible to the animal. Pick up your binoculars slowly. There's no doubt that patience is a virtue when deer stalking!

But taking it slow is a major route to success. Try not to look down, instead try to develop the ability to feel the ground with your feet - check before you step and add your weight. Keep your gaze facing forwards and to the sides, and use the binoculars a lot more than you think you need to. Also look behind you.

The animals are often busy marking their territory or resting. Only move when the animal has their head down or is preoccupied by something. As soon as they look up, stand still and stay still till they become preoccupied again. You will be surprised at how close you can get. But don't walk forwards just to get closer. If you spot the animal two or three hundred metres away, then plan where you want and can shoot from in plenty of time, so that you're not suddenly just hundred metres away without being able to shoot because you have no butt. Find the spot from where you can shoot with plenty of time before your final stalk towards the animal.

In windy weather, the animals hold themselves much more still in the forest than normal. Their sense of smell and hearing isn't optimal in these conditions and so they do what's safest for them - stand still. This means that they won't be as visible as when the weather is calm, but will mean you can get a little closer. During a stalk in windy weather, you may have to look for the animals inside the forest growth and the higher vegetation. On days like these you need to look carefully through your binoculars to spot the the slightest change in nature between the trunks and behind the bushes.

No hunt is the same

That's why it's always exciting and is what makes us want to keep going back. If we knew exactly what everything would be like beforehand, we'd quickly lose interest.

The old saying 'in theory there's no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is,' is very applicable to hunting.

That's the wonderful thing about hunting, we never become perfect in ourselves, everything is a game between nature and human. We will never be able to dictate the course of battle. Only rarely will we experience everything coming together, but with regular practise and good planning we may get lucky and enjoy more and more of those moments.

Everyone has their own unique experience of what works for them on their terrain. The biggest route to success is to hunt as much as possible and create your own experiences.


Herding deer

Removing and cutting up an animal so that it can be used as food isn't hard, in fact it's harder to do anything 'incorrectly'.

Basically, you need to remove the fur and innards, and then you can use the rest. This is important to know for the new hunter who many not be familiar with this information. It's just about getting stuck in an enjoying it.

Having said this, it's also worth getting a trained butcher to show you how it should be done. This ensures you get more out of the animal, especially larger deer. A butcher can show you how to properly bone a haunch and explain what the different parts are called, and how best to use them.

Having this knowledge and being able to do this part of the hunt completes the experience as a hunter and will delight your family and guests at the dinner table! As hunters we have to use what we kill and both the heart and the liver are superb to eat.

FaLang translation system by Faboba

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