As whitetail deer hunters we spend a ton of time worrying about our scent and camouflage. While scent is extremely important, it is easy to overlook the importance of the noise we are making while we are in the woods. Nothing will get a deer’s attention quicker than a loud or unfamiliar noise. Many hunters are busted by mature deer every year by dropping a piece of gear, accidentally breaking a branch as we walk, or clanging metal together. Let’s talk about some ways that you can silence your movements and gear to ensure that you stay under the radar when bowhunting this fall.
Moving Through The Woods
When heading to our stand or blind we may not always be paying complete attention to the noise we are making—especially early in the morning when we are tired, it’s pitch black outside, and we’re eager to get set up for our hunt. A mobile hunter carrying in a stand and sticks on his back can have an even tougher time trying to walk quietly. There are a couple of solutions to this problem.
- Leave earlier. If you are not in a hurry to get to your spot, you can resist the temptation to move too quickly which increases the noise we make.
- Wear lighter shoes/boots when possible. I love the early season because my rubber boots weigh significantly less than my late season insulated rubber boots. This allows me to move quickly and quietly while feeling the ground under my feet.
- Strap down all your gear to your pack. Avoid any of your gear moving around while you hike in. Use bungees, ties, and straps to make sure there is no movement and nothing bangs together.
- Pack lighter when possible. Reducing bulk and weight helps you move quieter.
In The Tree
When you are in your treestand there are several things that can also make noise and give your position away. Your clothing can make too much noise. This could get you busted before you draw your bow back. Your bow itself can make too much noise on the draw and shot. The platform or treestand can also creak and scrape as you move around on it. These are some ideas to stay quiet while in the tree:
- Wrap metal gear. Suede tape or hockey tape can do a great job in silencing metal objects. Paracord is also a great and lightweight material to wrap around your stand itself to prevent noise.
- Wear clothing and outerwear with a soft surface. Gore-Tex is an amazing material that breathes well while being water and windproof. However, it is very noisy. Look for hunting specific clothes that feature a soft material over the Gore-Tex. This will give you the benefits of the fabric, while still staying quiet in the tree.
- Use limb dampeners and string silencers on your bow. They can help ensure that the bow is as quiet as possible when being drawn back and fired.
We put so much time into planning, scouting, and practicing for deer season. Painstaking efforts are undertaken to ensure our clothes are scent-free. Don’t compromise all of this planning by making a loud noise and spooking a deer. Quiet down your gear, slow down, wear quiet footwear and clothing, and pack light. These tips will help you stay stealthy in the woods this fall.