Snipers have a lot to teach hunters about movement through a territory.
How many times have you gotten busted just before the perfect shot? Even once is one too many.
Snipers in the U.S. military are specially trained to avoid detection by the enemy in situations where their life—and the lives of others—depend on it. Here are some lessons you can learn from snipers on how to avoid getting busted in the woods or the cornfields.
According to AmericanHunter.org, unnatural movement is one of the factors that are most likely to get you busted in the woods.
Moving Through the Woods and Fields
Movement for snipers is an art form—a slow and methodical one. They use their surroundings to mask their movements, keep a tight reign on how fast they move, and pause regularly to survey their surroundings.
The game you hunt has far better sight, sound, or smell (or all three!) than human beings. Long before you’re aware of any game in the area, they’re aware of you. It’s what keeps them alive.
Choose your routes carefully. Walk in areas that offer natural camouflage. If you’re moving near a hill or ridge, stay below the crest to avoid silhouetting yourself against the sky. Stay in the shadows when possible, and avoid dense foliage if you can.
If you get up close to your target and decide you need to move sideways, back up carefully until you’re out of sight, then move to the side and forwards towards your target again. This is what’s known as a “cloverleaf” pattern that snipers use.
Sitting in a Tree Stand
Sitting in a tree stand can be one of the most rewarding parts of hunting, even if you don’t score a buck. Just being in the woods is enough to make your day a good one.
It’s not always easy to sit still for long periods of time though. Keeping yourself warm, shifting to avoid discomfort, and keeping an eye on what’s going on all around you all require some movement.
The trick, again, is to move slowly and methodically, avoiding any unnecessary movement. Move your eyes in the direction you want to look rather than turning your head. If you still need to see further, turn your head slowly and scan the area with your eyes.
Keeping your cool when you sight a buck and your heart starts pounding is toughest part. Moving deliberately and slowly, even when under pressure, will keep you from getting busted.
Make sure your firearm or bow is positioned in a way that requires the least movement to set up for a shot but also allows you to rest easily during the waiting period.
If you just can’t sit still, or if you have kids along, using a portable ground blind might be a better choice. They keep you warm, out of the wind, and concealed from game.