I’ve been practicing my monster with some teams that are competing in the DGL tournament and keep having the same issue: I never feel safe evolving to stage 2.
It’s never that I’m short on food, I can gather meat quickly and generally keep my armor up even though I don’t evolve. But it seems that a good team will get on your trail and always have a good enough idea of your general location that you’re rarely going to get a chance to evolve without being domed.
I know you can minimize some of the risk by evolving inside a cave, since you’re at least safe from orbital strikes there.
When I DO manage to get to stage 2, progressing from there to stage 3 is usually not an issue, since you just kill a couple hunters and do it while they don’t have a full team to fight you with. But I’m always super nervous about getting caught with my pants down/losing a big chunk of health before the fight can even start, especially if I’ve taken any health damage at stage 1.