Now that you have some knowledge about crossbows, it is time to learn some of the most basic hunting techniques and tips. These techniques will also compose of some tracking guides.
Use of ground blinds
Some ground blinds are readily available in the market. They are like tents where the hunter can view from inside and look for their prey from openings in the tent. The designs and styles are usually “camouflage” so that animals will not notice it.
The main purpose of having a ground blind is concealment - due to the style, you become one with the hunting location. On top of that, it can also protect you from natural elements like wind and rain.
If you do not want to buy an assembled ground blind, you can still build your own by using the materials that are already in the hunting location. A good example is setting up a blind using fallen timber.
The technique here is to set the blind up before the hunting season. This will give the wildlife enough time to get used to them, and they will not be scared to go near it.
One thing you should never forget when hunting is to place a “signal” for other hunters to know that your blind is occupied. Tying a ribbon of a designated color (usually hunter orange) will do the trick.
Other benefits of using blinds are these:
- You won’t risk injury from falling; hunting from a treestand is quite disadvantageous due to that.
- It’s very easy to set up. As complicated as it sounds, ground blinds only need mere seconds to pop up.
- You will have full control. Having the ground blind gives you the freedom to think through your techniques, load your bolt and place your target without hesitation.
- Last but not the least, it will give you comfort.
When doing a still hunt
Unlike hunting from a ground blind, still hunting is like looking for the animals actively. That means you will have no sanctuary. You have to move carefully to get near your prey. Follow these techniques when doing a still hunt.
- Move slowly and listen carefully
Abrupt movement can alert the animals and make them run. The less noise you make, the more likely you will hear them.
- Windy and rainy seasons are best for still hunting because the animals become less mobile
They seek shelter somewhere in the area.
- Use all the resources you have
Be it the trunks of the trees or undergrowth, anything that can hide your movements should be used to your advantage.
- Be aware of the wind
The wind should always be in your face, which means its direction should be against you. Why? It’s because if the wind is against you, your scent will be carried to the opposite direction.
If you are trudging the same direction as the wind, then the animals will catch your scent and it will make them flee.
- Always make sure that your bow is not loaded, until you are ready to shoot.
Stalking is almost similar to doing a still hunt, the main difference that when stalking, you already have an animal that you want to hunt. That means, you have seen it move, and you are merely following it. You also use precise tracking techniques-- like the fresh fallen leaves.
Tracking needs skills. A very skilled hunter will be able to detect movement just because of the tracks.
First thing you need to do is to look for signs. Signs can be anything from animal poop, prints on the mud, branches that are broken, and leaves that look like they have been stepped on. It will also be good to listen very carefully for any sounds that may indicate presence of animals.
Your path should always be the easiest to trudge. The less noise you will make, the less likely that they will be alerted. But of course, do not compromise your safety. Make sure that the path you will follow will not cause you harm.
Your crossbow should always be ready, that’s why it is important that it is cocked once you reach the hunting location. Be mindful of the noise you will make when loading the bolt.
The animals are also dangerous. Never run on them. You can never tell if they will run away, or if they will attack you. Just because you have a weapon, does not mean that your guard should be down.
Hunting from a treestand
Hunting from a treestand is becoming popular. A tresstand is simply a seat with an attached ladder. You can place it or lean it on a tree. One of the many advantages of this technique is being able to shoot accurately - your arrow is really pointed downward so there is little to worry about deflection and trajectory.
Another great thing about treestand is the fact that animals will not be able to detect your scent. You are from an area above so the wind will not carry it to their direction.
Try using lures and scents
You increase your chances of finding an animal if it will be the one to come to you. Urine scent is the most common scent used to make animals move toward your spot.
But don’t worry; you won’t have to collect actual urine just for this. Hunting shops often have synthetic urine available depending on the animal you want to hunt.
Lures are different, but they serve the same function. They can be lick or mineral powders. They will be easily detected by animals because of the taste (both salty and sweet). Feeds can also be used because food is always attractive for animals.
As much as you want the animals to come to you, your scent will drive them away. Just because you did not use a strong cologne or perfume does not mean that they will not detect your natural scent. They will.
This is why scent neutralizers were invented.
These can be soap, shampoos, deodorant or lotion and they have the capacity to mask or neutralize your scent. If you use these products, there is less chance for the animals to catch your scent, making it easier for you to come as close as you need - even if the wind is trudging the same direction.
Aside from scents and lures, you can also use game calls. Game calls is a device that can produce sounds so that animals will be attracted to follow it. The key here is to make sure that you have practiced enough in using the device before actually using it in the field.
The art of blood trailing
Blood trailing is the skill that you must possess after you have hit your target. The thing is, once the shot is made, it does not guarantee that the animal will stay in place.
The most important thing to do is to keep your focus on your target - don’t lose it even after you’ve shot it. Take note of the area you have hit, is it a vital organ? Will it incapacitate the animal? Also notice the direction to which the animal ran.
The next is to track the blood, remember that the arrowhead is made so that the animal will die out of blood loss. It’s all in the shot you made, if it is clean, then the animal will most likely fall down immediately.
If it is off, then it will be able to move and go away. If the latter happens, don’t follow the animal right away (it will be surprised and it may run, making it harder for you to follow it). Your best chance is to wait for 30 minutes before tracking it.
After the wait, go directly to the site where you have shot it, from there look for all the clues that you can gather, especially the blood. If you happen to lose the tracks, get back to the original location where you made the hit. To make things easier for you, mark it with tape.