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Thread: Woodland stalking-advice needed!

  1. #1

    Woodland stalking-advice needed!

    Hi all

    I have been invited Fallow stalking Wednesday afternoon on a 2000 acre estate in Oxfordshire, it will be mainly woodland stalking which I've never done before so I'm asking for any advice from our knowledgeable forum member's.

    Many thanks


  2. #2
    Ask the person thats invited you, its their ground and they will be able to give the best advice for you on what to take etc.

  3. #3
    Hello Chris,

    Go as slow as you are physically able when moving forward, stop frequently and stand and watch for as long as you see fit. When you do stop, try and make sure you are against a tree, both for cover and also to lean against should a shot present itself as you will find this a bit steadier than shooting off sticks.

    Good luck, I hope you enjoy your day.



  4. #4
    SD Regular willie_gunn's Avatar
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    FWIW, here are my thoughts.

    As Thomas said, go as slow as you can from vantage point to vantage point. Most of the times I 'bump' deer it's because I was spending more time moving than looking.

    With leaves still on the trees and the undergrowth still quite high, don't look for a deer, look for a bit of a deer - an ear, a leg, a curve, a patch of chestnut, a movement - or basically look for anything that isn't woodland Also, occasionally crouch or even kneel down to get a different vantage point. With Fallow you will have lots of eyes looking for you

    All that said, I was out yesterday and we stalked right past a roe doe that was bedded down in heavy undergrowth. We stalked carefully and quietly right past her without either of us seeing her


  5. #5
    The best advice I have heard recently about the speed to travel was during the week we were invaded in the Highlands, I'm not sure who said it but i think it may have been the hairybiker person. The speed at which to move? "as slow as Honey in winter" I think that is a wonderful way of putting it, but I am easily pleased. Just like willie said, look for an ear there is bound to something attached to it.

    Have a great time.


  6. #6
    Move slowly as stated already and wear good camouflage especially to cover hands and face which stand out a mile! Soft & quiet footwear is essential as deer feel vibrations as well as hear you at close range. (That’s why Muntjac stamp their feet in alarm when they see you sometimes!) My top tip for the woods though is to continually use your bino’s.
    Your eyes will naturally focus on the closest objects – a bit like a digital camera on ‘auto-focus’ would pick up the closest branches to it. By adjusting the focus on your binos you effectively see through the closet cover and into the woodland beyond! A whole new world will appear! 8)
    Keep looking in the same direction and focus in and out.
    Woodland stalking is a game of ‘who sees who first wins’! It is very challenging, but very rewarding when you get it right! It takes real skill to sneak up on a Muntjac or a Fallow without being seen. Roe are easy in comparison!
    Have fun!

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Monkey Spanker
    Your eyes will naturally focus on the closest objects – a bit like a digital camera on ‘auto-focus’ would pick up the closest branches to it. By adjusting the focus on your binos you effectively see through the closet cover and into the woodland beyond! A whole new world will appear!
    I'll add that you should not always be expecting to see 'complete' deer but try to see patches of colour or shapes that do not fit in with their surroundings. That way your eyes will be drawn to an animal standing in, or partially obscured by, vegetation, and with a bit more effort you can then start to see through the cover and make out the deer.

  8. #8
    I would agree with monket spanker,use your binos regular walk as slow and as quite as you can.Wear a face veil and gloves. i stalk fallow almost exclusivley.Roe and muntjac are a piece of piss compared to a herd of fallow with so many eyes and ears.Also most importantly do not forget the wind you will sometimes get away with deer hearing or seeing you but it is unlikley if they wind you.
    Good luck

  9. #9
    Some great advice already to which I can only add that you can't move too slowly.

    In a wood used by fallow there is a high browse line but still below your eye level (unless you are a dwarf) and just bending down a little to look under the tree canopy now and again is a good idea. Almost everything in a wood is vertical, examine anything that is horizontal carefully, it won't be long before a tail or an ear is flicked if it is a deer. In woods that have been planted, look up the rows, you can see a surprisingly long way in apparently dense woodland, but the same applies to the deer!

    There's nothing wrong with sitting under a tree with a good vantage point and just watching things for 10 minutes before moving on. Deer don't generally see you as such, they see movement, so if you see something freeze and don't move until you are sure that a) it's not a deer or b) it hasn't seen you and don't forget, if you can see one, there will be others.

    You can't overdo the camo and use talc or something similar to constantly check the wind as it swirls around in woods and you need to check it every few minutes.

    With the wind right and a good deal of caution you can get very close in thick woodland, I occasionally get inside 20 metres, but it needs very careful observation and absolutely silent footfalls. If you think you have been seen avoid direct eye contact and in a wood used by walkers that deer are used to seeing, walk at an angle to the deer and you might get away with it...... usually not though!

  10. #10


    I think Paul has struck on a few really good points;

    - get low down regularly, they feed with their heads down and lie down to rest

    - look for horizontal lines they are uncommon in a wood

    - if you see a likely spot stop moving. I got a nice buck because I found a good edge and waited over half an hour at last light

    The only other thing I would say is look out for singles. I know fallow are herd animals but I have shot several that were alone or in small groups, especially at this time of the year when the rut has stirred things up.

    Most of all dont be in a hurry

    Oh and ENJOY IT

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