One of the most important skills a hunter can learn, whether it’s on the field or in the stream, is how to be quiet. As the animals we hunt are naturally skilled in hearing, our usual steps and movements as humans are just far too loud to take with us as we hunt, and so we need to adapt to the way of the hunting woods.
Humans come with a range of sounds that we might not even realize we’re making until we’re trying our best to keep quiet. Something as insignificant as a zipper on your pants to a tickle in your throat that causes a cough can be like an alarm bell to a deer in the distance, for this reason, you need to be prepared to keep them silent.
For this reason, everything from the hunting boots we wear to the way we step our feet down on the hunting wood floor should be carefully orchestrated. As the prey we are hunting has some of the finest sense of hearing in the entire animal kingdom, you need to make yourself a worthy adversary showing the stealth and patience of a true hunter.
By far the most important bit of gear you’ll buy for hunting is your boots, and this is especially true when you’re figuring out how to walk silently. Most modern hunting boots come with features that allow for low noise levels, such as softer materials on the upper and more flexible rubber so that you’re not squeaking as you move.
Not only is the style of boot you choose important, but so too is the way you wear it. You should never wear a boot that isn’t an ideal fit, as this can cause discomfort in your steps and noise as the material rubs together. Having your boots laced correctly also means less chance of them slipping and causing noise, which although as minute as it might seem, can have a huge impact when you’re out in the hunting woods.
In addition to your boots, you’ll also want silent noise clothing options to help keep you quiet. Although camo gear has been designed to help you blend in visually, you have to be sure it’s made from materials that limit the friction and noise they make as they rub together. Bonded fleece is a popular choice for this, but it’s also possible to get silent variations of the popular Gore-Tex material which is used as a waterproof shield in hunting.
As hunters pass down their knowledge to others and pick up tricks along the way, you’ll always be treated to new methods about how to keep quiet in the woods. Here are some popular tips that you might like to try on your next outing:
There are two main approaches you can take when you want to stay undetected in the woods on foot, and these are especially helpful for elk hunters. Try this next time you’re out on a hunt and wearing your stealthy shoes:
This is the most common approach for all types of hunting, and it involves taking very careful and calculated steps so as to cause as little disturbance as possible. This can be very hard when the leaves are dry and the ground is brittle, as any little movement can make a sound.
For a completely opposite approach for walking through the woods, you can try to mimic the way that the elk move. This way, although they might hear you there’s a chance they’ll mistake you for one of their own so when you walk up on them they won’t be aware. Try to imitate how they put a hoof down immediately followed a back one quickly and then pause.
When you know and respect the animals you hunt, you’ll realize why it’s important to take time to practice how to be quiet in the woods. These animals have far superior senses than us, so we need to be sure we’re performing to the best of our ability just to be given even a slither of a shot at hunting them.
Learning how to be stealthy is just like anything else to do with hunting, it takes the right gear and a lot of practice. Along the way, you’ll learn your own tips and tricks that are handed down from other hunters, and eventually, you’ll be almost as stealthy as the animal you’re hunting.