Predator Hunting Stand Approach
A lot of Predator Hunting articles give Stand techniques like calling, types of calls, decoys, locations etc. Some hunts are over before they’re even started. Many beginning Predator Hunters make pre-Stand mistakes if not taught otherwise. I have gone with new and experienced Predator Hunters that tend to forget all the instruction given to them and let common routines rule their actions. I cringe every time these habits win out just before the hunt starts (i.e. slamming vehicle doors, loud talking…).
I recall a hunt where everything went right before the calling ever started. We decided before hand to go to a familiar location, not far away, that produced success. This hunt was a first for most in our group. As we got close to the area I proceeded to give instruction on what to do. The instructions, while driving there, were as follows:
- Make sure you park a ways off from the Stand. This is to keep your sent, car engine noises, gasoline smell, exhaust, and the car itself as far away from the Stand as possible. Vehicles are a huge source of unsuccessful hunts. When you get to an area where you can park and hike into the Stand, park the vehicle so that it is hidden out of sight and off the road. You don’t want to make your vehicle visible and associated with your hunting and calling. Also hiding your vehicles doesn’t advertise to other hunters where you favorite Stand might be.
- Exiting the vehicle needs to be done as quietly as possible. Young hunters have the hardest time remembering this one. Stealth is your ally. When you get out of the vehicle, do you really need to slam the door? Lift the handle while gently pushing the door closed. A door slam can be as loud as 90 dB. That’s just over half as loud as a gunshot (160 dB). Predators ears are sensitive and can easily pick up on those sounds.
- After exiting the vehicle do a wind check. This will help you know how to hike into your Stand and what direction to hunt in. You don’t want to broadcast across the hunting area your sent before getting there.
- Make sure you have all your gear. Make sure you have ammo, gun ready, and all other hunting gear needed. Nothing like showing up to the Stand after your hike to find out you forgot the E-Caller remote or have dead batteries.
- Hike to your Stand like a Stealth Ninja. As you’re hiking to the Stand, do so as quietly as possible. Stay close to cover and not out in the open if possible. Don’t give yourself away before you get there.
We arrived to the Stand and all the above advice was followed. Everyone got setup, guns (AR15s) ready and on shooting sticks except mine. I had the caller and decoy that needed to be setup. I hiked out about 50 yards as quietly as possible and setup the caller and decoy. I hiked back in the same “Ninja” like manner and started getting my gun and stuff ready. In the middle of doing this, one of our hunting group member made a shot with the boom echoing everywhere. I was instantly annoyed and looked around to figure out why they would ruin our Stand before even starting. Turns out since we approached the Stand so perfectly, a Coyote, not too far from the decoy/caller, lifted its head up to see what kind of noise I was making and ended up taking a dirt nap. That was the quickest Stand ever.
Every Stand you go to needs to be done as cleanly and quietly as possible. Who knows what’s lying around unknowingly waiting for you. If we had approached our Stand any differently, the outcome most certainly would have been failure.