Stand or Sneak?

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Published on: Nov. 2, 2006

Last revision: Feb. 16, 2011

five different sections during the time I remain on stand, I have a 5-percent chance of encountering it, assuming that being in the same section as the deer means that I would see it. If I move through five sections and the deer remains still, the odds of having all six legs of the two animals involved occupying the same section at some time during the hunt are also 5 percent.

Because I used only my fingers and my cold toes in the calculations, my math became a little clumsy when I tried to figure the odds should the deer and I both move through five sections during the time I was hunting.

You might think the dual movement improves the chances but, instead, it allows the possibility of me moving into an area that the deer had already occupied, or vice versa. Essentially, I was back to the same 1-percent chance that both of us would occupy the same section at the same time.

In addition to being wonderfully time-consuming, the exercise was constructive. It suggested that if the deer were moving, I would be better off in a stand, but if the deer were laying up somewhere, I’d be better off sneaking.

Of course, I didn’t bother with speed of movement, duration of stay in a section, unhuntable or uninhabitable sections or other complications. The odds only hold for purely random movement throughout the entire woods by either deer or hunter. Fortunately, we can improve those odds by eliminating some of the randomness.

For one thing, we can take advantage of patterns of deer movement. Deer are crepuscular animals, which means they are usually most active near sunrise and sunset. This suggests that your most fruitful approach to hunting early in the morning and late in the day is to sit and wait. If you want to sneak, take advantage of the times when the deer aren’t likely to be moving.

Because deer movement often involves traveling between bedding and feeding areas, we have a better chance of intercepting deer if we sit and wait somewhere between those destinations.

Stand-Hunting Lessons

I used to bowhunt not far from a big field. I was able to hunt a lot of mornings and evenings and got to the point where I could guess pretty well when the deer would be moving and in what direction they would be heading. During the day, they bedded anywhere from a quartermile

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