Wind whipped across the desert and up the mountainside, battling the falling dusk for supremacy. Dusk won, as it always does, and with the setting sun, the wind died, mourning into the draws and eddying across the flats. We sat on a vantage point, field glasses trained upon mountain peaks that shown golden in the last rays of evening sun. The golden line crept upward, the peaks fell into shadow, and last light was only minutes away when my buddy spotted a buck. It was a great Coues deer and worth every effort, so we grabbed our packs and rifles and began our stalk. We had 1,400 yards to cover before we would be close enough for a shot.
Legs aching and lungs burning, we crept over the last rise. Only moments of shooting light remained as my buddy settled in behind his rifle, dialed his turret and dropped the great buck.
Why Spot and Stalk?
Ask any group of American hunters the question “What do you think is the most exciting way to hunt big game?” and most of them will answer “Spot and stalk.” It’s no surprise; on much of North America’s hunting lands, it is impossible to employ spot-and-stalk methods. Dense woods, flat terrain or other factors prevent it, and as a result many avid hunters rarely get to experience the thrill of spotting a big-game animal from a distance and then running, climbing, creeping or crawling to get close enough for a shot. If you’ve never tried spotting and stalking, you owe it to yourself to give it a go.
Tools of the Trade
It’s likely your standard hunting equipment will work for spot-and-stalk hunting. If you possess a good binocular, semi-lightweight boots or shoes, and an accurate rifle, you can get the job done. That said, let’s take a look at some gear I consider ideal for spotting and stalking.
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