|This article does not cite any references or sources. (April 2008)|
Defined narrowly, a game stalker is a hunter who for sport, approaches close to its timid quarry before making a kill. The practice is commonly associated with the moors of Scotland where the principal quarry is red deer. However, the skill is found worldwide and is of extremely long standing. Many other species such as cats and hyenas also stalk their prey.
Among hunter-gatherers, where their quarry is timid, stalking is a way of livelihood in order that they may catch what they hunt. Nowadays, stalking is frequently done for purposes of photography or observation of animal behaviour rather than for killing.
Whatever the means of killing, the hunter has to be near the quarry in order to achieve it. Most animals are very sensitive to the presence of predators. In many cases, their sense of smell is highly developed, detecting anything with an unusual scent. The stalker therefore needs to approach from down-wind. Similarly, care needs to be taken to avoid being seen and heard.
In North America the term still hunting is often used to describe a hunter's general quiet, footbound search for game, with the term stalking limited to hunting individual animals once such animals are identified.
The deerstalker is a type of hat associated with Sherlock Holmes and Elmer Fudd. Notable for its slight rain-brim to the front and back, with a camouflage checked twill pattern and fold-down earpieces for selective warmth or to raise when listening for deer.