On our most recent wild game bow hunting trip to Africa we hunted at a very reputable outstanding luxury lodge. Our professional hunter (PH), Ernst, was the “google” of spot and stalk bow hunting. In his career he has hunted hundreds of dangerous wild game animals as well as plains game animals in countries all across the continent of Africa. The privately owned lodge sits on 50,000 acres and the owners only allow spot and stalk bow hunting which is a unique opportunity in Africa. As a result, stealth stalking was a must and Ernst shared his many years of experience with us each night around the fire-pit set next to a huge water hole and each day as we stalked around the enormous property. In the coming blogs, we will share his tips for the perfect silent stalk.
1. Always listen to your professional hunter! This is an absolute must for success. They have years of experience in the field and know the patterns and habits of African animals. Consider this, you are a professional in your field and you expect people to listen to your advise and follow your instructions, the African PH is the professional in his field. Listen to him! Your success is his livelihood.
2. Silent clothing is a must. Test your outer garments as well as your under layers for sound. Soft materials do not make the “swish, swish” sounds that the more dense materials make. Wool in the winter (June through early August) and polar fleece are both quiet materials but you must know that every bush in Africa is full of thorns. It is a trade off but quiet is a must.
3. Silent shoes! big heavy soled boots are very loud in the bush. They may be more comfortable but they ruin the stealth stalk. You would think that hiking boots would be quiet but…they really are not. Soft soled lace boots are best. The Russell Moccasin Company makes the finest thin soled soft stalking boots. Quiet walking is a must in order to stalk within 30-50 yards of your game. The property we were hunting had abundant game so eyes were everywhere.
4. Step carefully. You must watch the game while at the same time be careful where you step. If possible, step in your PH’s footprints.
5. Stay one step behind your PH in order to present only one figure to the game. Always keep your PH between you and the game. When he stops…you stop…when he walks…you walk…when he runs…you run…when he walks through thorn bushes…you walk through thorn bushes. You never make your own path.
More tips on stalking wild game in the next blog. Stay tuned!