It happens sooner or later for everyone who hunts, even more for bow hunters and trophy hunters who put in the time. Sooner or later every hunter has an encounter Up Close! What you do and don’t do up close, and hopefully in the moments before the encounter, will determine if it becomes just another close encounter or the success of a lifetime. You will have both if you put in the time and effort. Here are some tips for turning close calls into amazing success.
- Always believe that success is imminent
- Never second guess your senses
- Hide right
- Trust your camouflage
- Don’t ever give up until it’s completely over
- Senses on high alert
- Act before it happens
Every one of my bow hunting friends, myself included, has made a setup without full confidence in success. One time when we heard hunters pull over their truck, open the door, shut the door and then bugle we fell into the temptation to bugle back. Soon enough we called in the hunters, as well as the elk. Because we didn’t believe that success was imminent, we fooled around and blew a good chance at elk.
Another common mistake involves hearing a footstep or cow call and not fully believing what you heard, so always assume that what you hear is 100% real and act accordingly.
Hiding well is tricky. Use available cover but don’t bury yourself so that you won’t be able to shoot. Dark shadows are your friends and sunlight is only your friend if it’s in the eyes of your quarry.
Once hidden, trust your camouflage. Camo and face covering works extremely well. I have been within 40 yards of 3 bulls for over a half hour and had each animal look directly at me without ever detecting my presence. That was exciting!
Did that elk really just bust you or did he just get a little spooky? The difference is huge! Call again and he may be right back UP CLOSE if you weren’t fully busted.
Senses On – this has to happen just right in order to come out better than just another close call.
When a buck or bull is approaching, and not yet in sight, it’s the best time to draw your bow or ready your rifle. The click of a safety or any motion at all will send a close encounter over the next two ridges. Act before it happens whenever possible. When the buck of a lifetime shows up at ten feet it’s no time to have your arrows in the quiver or rifle on a sling.