Combat Hunter Series: 3. The Hunt.
A Combat Hunter is not just a lean green fighting machine… he or she, is also a forager a path finder, recon, planner, organizer, teacher, guide
and a million and one other little things that come up, out in the field… The natural world is your playground, intimately knowing every rock, every
leaf. At a glance you know the difference between a rabbit run and human made trail… A combat Hunter is aware of every sight and sound of the
natural world… resourceful, aware…The animals are your army, the birds your spies, thickets, thorn bushes and the trees, your impenetrable
fortress…Nature is your mother she nurtures you, suckles you, comforts and protects you…A combat hunter... is the top predator in the woods…
THINK LIKE A HUNTER NOT A SOLDER
Almost everyone knows that to approach big game you must have the wind in your favor
… Blowing into your face or at least across your face…. But there are other things to consider as well… Wild sheep and pronghorns have extremely
good eyesight… A man appearing against a skyline will frighten both species... If you want to get close to a bighorn or a
Pronghorn, walk below the ridge top, stealing only peeks over the hilltop…. Sheep are generally easier to approach from above. They don't seem to be
as watchful in that direction, probably because potential predators such as wolves, cougars, or bears generally approach from below… snipers like to
be up high with an open field of fire… they know someone will violate these rules… Sometimes, the hunter becomes the pray…
If you want to see big game, pay close attention to thermal breezes. As the air heats and cools in hilly, rolling country, it causes thermal breezes.
At times these breezes are so gentle and faint that you may not notice them... In the morning, when the sun's early rays hit the side of a mountain
that has been cool all night, the air at the lower elevation warms up and gently flows uphill…. In the late afternoon, when the hillside becomes
dark, the reverse happens and the thermal breeze flows downward… The wind carries your sent… but it can also work in your favor by bring you
scents and information about what might be near…the smell of a cigarette can carry for miles on a breeze…even if I don’t see you… I’ll know
Experience and mind-set are the keys to unlock your potential…what you need is… keen powers of observation and an alert mind capable of rational
and logical thinking…
One of the things that separate a Combat Hunter from a beginner is the ability to interpret signs… An experienced Combat Hunter makes a mental note
of everything he sees …
More than a little of my reputation as a big-game hunter is the result of using binoculars. On a big-game hunt, I consider binoculars to be much more
beneficial than the 'scope on my rifle…
I don’t just make broad sweeps I pick likely spots and study them looking for those things that should not be there….
Eight or nine years ago I took a city friend Elk hunting … his first hunt… Before dawn the first morning we walked to a beaver meadow and sat down
on a high ridge. As the first arrows of light hurled themselves across the yellow grass, we began glassing the meadow for Elk...
"There's nothing there," my buddy said almost out loud.
"I wouldn't say that. I see a cow with two calves," I whispered.
"Over that clump of spruce. Those Elk are just inside the bush."
My bud focused his binoculars on the spot I pointed out, but still could not see the
Elk… They blended fairly well with the dark spruce, but to me, they might have wearing blaze orange vests… What gave them away were their backs
… the only horizontal lines among a mass of vertical ones…Almost everything that grows is along a vertical plane… up’s and down’s…four
legged animals are always on a horizontal plane… so the trick is to look for the things that are out of place… Not until one of the calves moved
was my partner able to pick them out. Looking for horizontal lines in a forest is one of the first tricks I learned in the outdoors…. Sure I see a
great many fallen logs and rocks, but I also see game which would otherwise escape my notice…
Another thing I learned early is never to look for an entire animal… You will seldom ever see one in a bush until you have waited it out and it
steps into the open… If you want to see a squirrel on a high oak, don't look for a squirrel… Rather look for the tip of a tail, the odd comer of a
head ticking out, or a bump on a branch that may be the bushy-tail's back, and so on…
Enemy combatants, stick out like a sore thumb… Too sure of their superiority and firepower… even when they try to move stealthily they pay no
attention to their surroundings, foreground. Midground, background… not only do they move like a rouge bull in a china shop… they stand out on top
of ridge lines... they cross open meadows… Picking the easy path…they move against the flow of nature… you as a Combat hunter need to learn to
be like the Elk… pick places where you disappear into your surroundings…you will seldom see an old buck deer walking out in the open in broad
Daylight... The only time he will be in the open is at dusk or dawn when something has really scared him, but then he will be running… Big old bucks
prefer to travel in some cover… just inside the tree line, by a brushy fence row, or along a wooded ridge… That is where you should be...
Incidentally, foxes usually behave in the same way. A fox may lie down in an open field to sun itself but it will stay there, relying on stillness and
camouflage for protection, unless someone or something frightens it… A combat Hunter takes his lesions from nature… Cover and concealment…
“Hey L-T come here… 1700 clicks to your 10 O’clock… at the base of the ridge in that big pile of rocks!” “What… I don’t see a damn
thing gunny?” “Gunny’s right sir… It looks like the barrel of one of those Russian 75mm.” “Ah f**K… scouts out… secure this
position… How do you want to do this Gunny?” “Let’s have the Warthogs make a couple of passes before we check it out…” Look for the
Dawn and dusk, that is when you’ll find a game trail. There’s something about the quality of light at these times that reveals all secrets. I
can’t explain why, maybe it has to do with the long shadows? Maybe it’s just the absence of morning dew in a well-defined line? Whatever that
case is, this is when you will know a game trail when you see one…. As the day progresses and the sun rises that trail just seems to magically
vanish right before your eyes, but you know and this is where you set your snares and traps. On bigger runs follow them. Look for places where the
grass is matted down. That will be a bedding spot for a moose, elk or deer. That is where you sit and wait, quietly, stretching out all your senses.
It might take a day; maybe two, but those big game animals are creatures of habit and will return and you’ll be there waiting. Big game will have
several bedding spots… they move from one to another as the day progresses… again creatures of habit… moving from one feeding place to the
next… habits like that get you killed…
Look for the food sources, acorns, wheat, corn… Look for the water, all animals need to drink… look for tracks, Animals like to revisit the same
places to drink. Follow the arrows… turkey like to feed on the same things deer and elk do. Turkey like to travel in flocks for protection… they
leave a well-defined footprint look for a kind of a” ^ “ looking thing… that will point the way… direction of travel… they might lead you to
a nice big juicy buck… or at least a good turkey dinner… only take the ones on the ground… turkey will take to the tall trees when threatened…
if you shoot a turkey in the tree the flock will scatter and will not return… but a turkey on the ground is a different matter… Poor old bob… he
should have known to be up here in the tree with the rest of us turkeys… oh well… they will stay and you can come back another day… as long as
their little turkey brains think that tree is safe…
Think of nature as one huge living organism where every living thing is interconnected… Predators in this vast world never pass unnoticed…Ask a
biologist about interspecies communication and they will tell you more than you ever wanted to know about the subject… all you really need to know
is, a threat to one is a threat to all and everything that lives in the woods is ever alert for those warning calls… I doubt there is a hunter who
hasn't picked up… then been followed by a noisy jay or cackling magpie…. They follow you calling; letting their friends know you’re there…
these birds often accompany mountain lions, bears and wolves too… why… Not only are they saying “Look out!” their also looking for an easy
meal… they know a predator will leave scraps behind… scraps for you… A feast for them… if you pick up one of these noisy visitors the best
thing is to just sit down and wait him out… he will get bored and move off… But also keep your ears open for his calls… they will let you know
when you are not the only predator in the woods… violate these rules and you may be lucky to see the bright flash of white as a big doe vanishes
into the stillness… if you’re not lucky… you may have just made yourself a target for the other hunters of the woods…
Sight sound smell… look for what shouldn't be there, listen for clues, and test the air for scents… I know an elk guide who could smell a bull elk
in rut… train you scenes, study your environment, and become one with nature and that mysterious interconnection with the larger world….
Link to the first part of the combat hunter series
Link to part two
edit on 6-9-2011 by DaddyBare because: edit to add links