A skill which, once mastered, will enhance your hunting experience
Spotting your prey is the easy part, getting to a decent shooting spot within range is a whole different ball game. Moving undetected through the bush is a skill which requires a bit of practice.
Tips to get you started
Put in the effort to master these skills before you travel and your African hunting experience could be a lot more rewarding!
Learn how to walk quietly – it will take a bit of practice, but this is how traditional hunters and trackers have been walking for thousands of years so it is possible to master it.
• Start with both feet planted firmly on the ground.
• Slowly raise one foot and stand with all your body weight on the opposite leg - like a heron.
• Reach your raised foot forward, and gently put it down to test the ground ahead of you for noise and balance hazards.
• Slowly transfer your weight onto that foot. If it makes too much noise or you feel unbalanced, lean back onto the original foot and search for a better landing position.
Other tips that will help with stalking quietly through the African bush include:
1. Allow your steps and movement to be dictated by what’s happening with the animal. If the animal is being alert and looking around or listening… Stop and freeze. Wait until it goes back to feeding and starts making a bit of noise.
2. Try to not rely so heavily on your eyes to see where you’re going. You want your eyes to be free to watch the animal so learn to use your peripheral vision to watch the path ahead of you.
3. Stay downwind of the animal so it doesn’t smell you.
4. Be still when the wind is still but take more risks when a gust blows through to mask your movement.
5. Use visual cover such as objects in the landscape and shadows - plan your approach accordingly.
6. Crawling is even more quiet than walking.
7. Pay attention to the birds. If you disturb the birds, then many animals will pick up on their alarm calls.
8. Use the animal’s own movement to your advantage. If the animal is already coming in your direction, find a good hiding place and wait.
Please remember at all times while stalking and in particular crawling that weapon safety must always be an integral part of your movement. You must ensure that your weapon is only loaded immediately prior to taking the shot.
It sounds like a lot to think about but remember human beings are fundamentally wild animals - you already have a natural intuition about how to stay hidden and move quietly - just let your innate hunter instincts kick in!