Is a hunter really hunting if they sit 15 feet in the air and wait to ambush a deer? Yes, they are \u2014you won\u2019t get an argument from me. But if that\u2019s the only kind of hunting a hunter does, their deer hunting skill-set might be very narrow, and they\u2019re missing out on one of the most rewarding styles of hunting one could ever try.Among all deer hunting methods, the one most neglected is the old-fashioned art of still-hunting. You can count on one hand the books that have been written about it since the start of the 20th century. One of them is old enough to have been Teddy Roosevelt\u2019s favorite. Published in 1904, it\u2019s called The Still-Hunter, by Theodore S. Van Dyke (1842-1923), a close associate of the great hunter-President.In light of Van Dyke\u2019s volume numbering more than 400 pages, it\u2019s fair to say you can\u2019t learn to still-hunt from a brief internet article. And although I don\u2019t consider myself an expert, I have some modest success under my belt and I can share some things I\u2019ve learned along the way. You won\u2019t be an expert at the end of this list either, but I hope you\u2019ll be encouraged to get out and try it. Still-hunting is like learning to walk again. When you\u2019re still-hunting you probably won\u2019t do face-plants like you did when you were a toddler, but whenever you bump a deer you\u2019ll feel like you have. Get back to taking baby steps. Abandon your normal gait\u2014the way you\u2019ve walked for 20, 30 or 40 years. Sometimes you\u2019ll lift your foot and put it down almost in the same track. Learn to move through the woods like ooze. Choose opportune times. I can\u2019t stress this enough. Certain times lend themselves to still-hunting more than others. If it\u2019s afternoon, expect to see deer preoccupied as they move to feeding areas. If a mild drizzle is soaking the forest floor, get excited because the woods will be very quiet. If it\u2019s snowing lightly, get very excited. The woods will be quiet, and in the snow your fluorescent orange isn\u2019t as noticeable to deer as it is in brown woods. You need to focus. In a treestand, maybe you can afford to daydream because when a deer enters your field of view he is unlikely to notice you. In still-hunting, you must be much more alert. Imagine yourself entering a deer\u2019s field of view with every step you take. That\u2019s exactly backwards from what happens when you\u2019re in a treestand taking no steps at all. You also need to be very aware of yourself, how you\u2019re holding your rifle or bow, how your clothing fits, even what you touch. Don\u2019t be distracted by more gear than you need\u2014distractions rob you of focus. Realize that deer may be moving, too. Deer will often move into your field of view, so continually scan the entire perimeter of the area visible to you. When you\u2019re doing it right, you\u2019ll spend more time being still than moving. Maybe that\u2019s why they call it \u201cstill-hunting.\u201d Stop often. When you\u2019re moving through the woods, stop often for a minute or two where visibility is good. Do not expect to use a tree for a shooting rest. No tree will be in the right position for a shot in any possible direction, and making that your intention will risk too much motion. Learn to use a shooting stick that you can quickly and quietly employ from a standing position. I use the Bi-Pod Shooting Stick\u2014it also helps support the weight of your gun while carrying it. And remember that deer activity often picks up at edges of various sorts, such as field edges, rights-of-way, or habitat transitions. Stop there, clear a place on the ground, and watch for 15 to 20 minutes before moving on.Deer often move along edges where habitat changes, for example from open hardwoods to thick hemlock stands. It\u2019s a great place to stop for a while when still-hunting. Know what to do about the sounds you make. You will inevitably make sounds. You\u2019ll step on a stick, your foot will suck muck, you\u2019ll brush up against a tree limb, and you\u2019ll cough or sneeze. When you make a noise, stop immediately. You may have caught the attention of a deer. Take a few minutes to scan 360-degrees around you. Look for parts of a deer\u2014a leg, an eye, the twitch of an ear, the horizontal line of a deer\u2019s back. Never let your footsteps fall into a cadence. Natural sounds in the woods are random. When your sounds or motions fall into a pattern, you will alert more deer. Use your ears. If a squirrel begins to chatter or a blue jay screams, they\u2019re probably reacting to a disturbance\u2014very likely it\u2019s you. Stand still until everything settles down or the critter moves away. You don\u2019t need animals warning of your presence. Keep your eyes up. While you\u2019re moving is not the time to be looking at the ground. Decide while you\u2019re standing still where your next two or three steps will land. The less time you spend looking at the ground, the more likely you\u2019ll see a deer before he sees you. Use topography to your advantage. If you\u2019re near a streambed, use the sounds of the water to cover your sounds. If you\u2019re on a bench, don\u2019t skyline yourself along its edge. Rather, move in a zig-zag pattern and peek over the edge periodically. When you slowly approach the edge, use trees to block a view from below. You\u2019ll be surprised how often you spot bedded deer. Keep the wind in your face. This must be your first priority, but it\u2019s way easier said than done. The good thing is that the wind doesn\u2019t have to be hitting you head on. It can be as much as 90 degrees from your left or right, but if you can\u2019t feel it on your face, deer will smell you and you\u2019ve lost the game.And that leads me to my Bonus Tip\u00a0–\u00a0On one memorable still-hunt I had to cross a field to get where I wanted to go, but I couldn\u2019t keep the wind in my face. I bravely walked the field\u2019s edge with the wind to my back and a thick patch of pines on my left. I kept my eyes on the far end of the field about 150 yards away where I thought some deer might be bedded. I was about halfway there when three deer stood up and ran to the left.I knew they had to go down a small slope to a flat bench. I expected them to head for the brushiest place on the bench. I also knew that if I ran back to the corner of the field, I could quickly position myself where I could see into the brush on that bench. I arrived a few seconds before they did. With my still-hunting technique I actually drove those deer to myself, and I was able to fill the antlerless tag in my pocket.I bumped this doe while still-hunting, but because I knew the lay of the land, I was able to predict where she would go. So the bonus tip is this: be a thinking hunter. When you\u2019re in a treestand, you can think about your job, your family, your future, virtually anything you want. You can even read this article on your smartphone. But when you\u2019re on the ground, you must think about hunting. Always be asking yourself, \u201cWhat are my options? How can I best cover this ground? Where are deer likely to be, or go, and what\u2019s my best path to get there?\u201dVan Dyke wrote this about still-hunting, \u201cthe greatest and most important branch of the whole art of hunting has, I may safely say, been totally neglected by the great body of writers upon field-sports.\u201d Today we have instructional videos, but they can\u2019t teach still-hunting. Nothing you read is a replacement for experience. And picking up tips and tactics here and there is no substitute for practice. It\u2019s no wonder still-hunting is still neglected more than a hundred years later. But if you make an effort to learn how to still-hunt, this \u201cmost important branch of the whole art of hunting,\u201d you\u2019ll join a fraternity of some mighty good hunters.