Shawn Monsen is a Utah mule deer freak who routinely sneaks within bow range of giant bucks–like the 214-incher he shot a few seasons ago (pictured above). His muley stalks involve glassing from a distance, then whittling 1,000 yards down to 50. Here’s how to do it.
Map the Route
“I don’t rush into a stalk once I locate a good deer. I map it out, making sure I have workable terrain. You can get really close with only a slight rise to conceal you–but the rise has to be there. If I don’t have a good route that I know will put me in range, I wait for another day.”
Take a Picture
To keep his bearings, especially when hunting alone, Monsen carries a digital camera. “The landscape will look different as you move, so take several pictures before you begin your stalk, then stop to reference the landmarks in the photos as you go.” This way, you’ll better judge how far you’ve traveled and the location of the deer.
Study the Buck**
“You may only be able to see parts of the deer–antler tines, an ear, maybe his back. But make sure you know which way he’s facing. Always plan your final approach from behind.”
Lose the Shoes
“Once you’re within 125 yards, it’s lockdown time. I take off my pack and my boots. I put on an extra pair of socks for padding and start to slide into range. You have to get to a comfortable shooting distance, but not so close that you risk crowding the buck and making him nervous. Being a good shot at long range is a big help.”
Bide Your Time
“Once in range, be patient. Don’t pressure him. Keep your bow in front of you and watch the buck through your binoculars. Draw when he gets restless and starts to stand up. This might take a while. The longest I’ve ever waited on a buck was nine hours–but I killed him.”
From the September 2013 issue of Field & Stream magazine.