Walking is not Stalking
On a recent trip with my mentor in quite dense overgrown woodland where I had the lead for some time, my mentor tapped me on the shoulder.
He had the look on his face that said the mentor mentee relationship was in action and I was not about to be offered a coffee.
Iíll lead you follow he said and watch and listen to me stalking .
He took the lead and off he went. I followed for about quarter of an hour when we came to a track through the wood cut by farm machinery. Right he whispered what have you picked up. He was definitely quieter than me.
I had realised that I had been more sluthering my feet as my mum used to say. This meant that I often held down the end of grass and then broke it off when my other foot came forward making a fair amount of noise. I needed to pick my feet up and place them vertically down more like walking in snow.
Ok he said thatís part of it, I knew there was more to come when he said you donít mind me mentioning these things do you. Well as I probably couldnít find my way back to the car at this point anyway and I am here to learn and very grateful for the opportunity I said no you carry on.
Firstly look down the way you are going to go, survey the route, decide where you are going to walk, where there are least obstacles, twigs to break branches to step over, think quiet.
When you walk you look around well but you move about from the waist like a slow metronome. Deer are looking for danger and pick up movement, a deer on a track ahead of you may fail to pick up a smooth motion head on towards it if you are lucky, it will definitely pick up a side to side erratic swaying. I had noticed that he walked very upright I thought it was an ex-military thing.
So I had the lead again and we progressed for half an hour and sure enough with some planning, thought and picking up my feet the progress was much quieter. Another lesson learned.