Are we losing valuable hunting skills as technology advances?
Technology is quickly making itself more pronounced in the hunting world. It has led to the creation of super light and more powerful compound bows, target tracking firearms, trail cameras, and so much more.
While all these advancements are great for the latest generation of hunters, are we beginning to forget the extremely valuable old-school skills past generations used? Is technology making us lazier in the field and making us lose the unique connection to nature and our surroundings?
Here are seven nearly forgotten skills every hunter should dust off from the past and add to their skill set.
1. Judge Distances Without a Range Finder
Today’s laser rangefinders make life extremely simple; by just pointing and clicking they give you an exact yardage measurement. In the days of old, people could literally call those same distances within degrees of accuracy with nothing more than a quick glance.
The really bad part is this trick is simple to learn and something you can even learn to do while passing the time in your stand or scouting. Simply pick objects out near and far, make a best guess estimate, and either walk them off or use your rangefinder to see if you were right. Repetition is the key.
This can come in handy if you do not have time to use a rangefinder when a once-in-a-lifetime buck presents itself.
Would you forgive yourself if you thought he was at 30 yards and he was actually at 20 as you watch your arrow or bullet sail over him?
2. Identify, Age, and Sex an Animal Track
Ever hunter used to know this skill. If you hunt deer, you should know what their tracks look like, and be able to differentiate between one made by a buck or doe. How about how long ago that deer left the track behind?
Luckily there are some great books out there on the subject to get you started such as “Peterson’s Field Guide: Animal Tracks.” This is a great activity to put into practice anytime you are out for a walk in the woods or while scouting.
3. Single Out and Track Game Over Distance
Being able to identify tracks is one thing, but could you figure out which way your game went or any clues as to where he has been? This is a skill we generally only see in the movies that only some over-the-top bush guy dressed in all leather with a huge Bowie knife can do.
While it is difficult to learn to do this, it is a lot of fun and will greatly increase your scouting skills.
Say you spot a nice buck and he vanishes down a trail. You give him some time so you don’t spook him before walking that same direction. You then come upon a four-way game trail with numerous tracks.
By looking for unique things in his track you can continue to follow him, as well as learn his travel patterns. Begin scanning for rubs and scrapes and you will find the perfect spot for your stand with the highest chances of seeing him.
4. Move Unnoticed Through the Woods
Any hunter’s greatest enemy in the woods is themselves. We are one of the very few creatures on this planet capable of walking upright, and the unique noise it makes is a dead giveaway to any living thing in the area that we are there.
By learning to change the way you normally move, you would be surprised at just how much you can blend in with the background.The infographic below on How to Walk Like a Ninja is the perfect place to start learning how to walk quieter in the woods or anywhere.
5. Stalk Hunt Game
Most hunters today don’t really move much while out in the field. We sit in treestands, treehouses, or ground blinds over feeders while waiting on the deer to come to us. Our ancestors really didn’t use that option and went in search of their prey.
You would be surprised, especially after learning and combining the other skills above, how close you can really get to a deer before you are noticed. I have seen people slowly work themselves to within 10 -15 yards of game before it notices or the hunter gets his shot off.
6. Shoot Accuratley with Iron Sights
A lot of folks see iron sights as outdated and the first thing they do after purchasing a rifle is throw a scope on it. Don’t get me wrong, scopes are great, but what if you drop your gun or accidentally knock the scope out of zero while out in the field?
If you learn to shoot correctly with iron sights, you can detach your scope and just keep on going.
7. Mask Your Scent with Natural Sources
There are tons of different scent killers on the market today. That wasn’t always the case though. Hunters in the old days would use more natural ways to mask their scent such as rubbing fresh pine needles all over themselves.
While scent killers do work well, using something already in the environment that your quarry is used to will work much better than any bottled scent.
By mastering some or all of these skills you can really start to grow a greater appreciation for the land and the game you are after. Hunting is truly about the experience of being submersed in nature, not your gear.
SEE MORE: 10 Hunting Skills Money Can’t Buy