As the days drag on and success evades you, it can become so easy to get discouraged. “This will never work!” “What am I doing out here?” “I am just a terrible hunter and my family is going to starve!” Anyone else have these thoughts running through their head out there? That alarm goes off early in the morning, and you lie there arguing with yourself about how it’s a waste of time to even bother…why not just stay in your sleeping bag and save yourself the embarrassment of taking your bow for a hike today? But, I try to keep the following three thoughts at the front of my mind on any hunt, and it drastically changes my ability to be successful.
The sun came up, the hours started to tick by, and I didn’t see anything. After a while, the fact that I had been up since 4:00 started to catch up with me, and I could feel my head starting to droop. Eventually, I straight-up fell asleep. I’m not sure how long I was out, but I remember being suddenly awakened by the loudest, most hair-raising sound I had ever heard in the woods…a giant bull elk bugled directly behind me. I snapped awake, and slowly turned my head to see a bull and five cows standing less than 10 yards from my blind. The adrenaline dumped into my veins, my heart-rate went through the roof, and I remember thinking, “holy crap…this is about to happen!”
I can’t believe how fast time flies! I decided over five months ago that I was heading to CO for an Over the Counter Archery Elk Hunt, and it felt like I had all the time in the world. Now, I am just a couple weeks out from hitting the trail in a brand new wilderness in an unfamiliar state chasing these magnificent creatures that I haven’t hunted in two years…the mixture of excitement and trepidation is hard to describe (it’s like the night before your wedding day…if you feared you might fall off a mountain or utterly fail at getting married). If you have also been trying to get yourself prepped for a brand new hunting adventure (whether out of state or in your own backyard), then what should you be focused on in these final weeks leading up to the big hunt?
If you’ve paid any attention to the world of Western Big Game Hunting lately, then you’ve surely heard of GoHunt. This is the subscription service that gives you access to buckets of information for any state you could want to hunt in the West…draw odds, trophy potential, success rates…how they pull all these stats together is the greatest blend of hardcore hunting and number-crunching nerdery I’ve ever seen! Well, GoHunt is currently offering a 30-Day free trial! So, I’ve been playing around with “The Insider” for a couple weeks now, and here is my take on the situation…
All pre-season I have poured all my scouting efforts into roughly a couple square miles of National Forest. And then it happened…lightning struck…literally! A fire broke out in that area, and the powers-that-be decided to let it do its thing as a controlled burn. Now, that’s a great call for the long-term health of the area, and I’m sure in a year or two I will be right by the edges of those burns as they should attract deer and elk like moths to…well…to a flame. However, it left me panicking (not just because my game cams are still in there, hopefully not getting burnt to crisps), but I realized that if the whole area goes up in flames or isn’t re-opened in a month, I have absolutely ZERO other spots scouted for deer season.
Almost all of us who are hunters also maintain some sort of full-time job…it’s how we afford to be able to go and hunt in the first place (and…you know…feed our children and stuff). But, every hunter knows that when we’re at work, we’d almost always rather be hunting. Even if you genuinely enjoy what you do for a living (as I do), hunting just gets deep in your soul and takes over most of your mental free time. But, if you can’t put in as much time as you’d want at the range, scouting, or dialing in your gear, how can you keep the ball moving forward without getting fired?
My middle child (the 6-year-old) has been all about hunting for years. He is constantly asking when he can go, if he can come with me, when we’ll go scouting…the kid just wants to be in the outdoors. Now, as a squirrelly boy who can’t sit still through a single meal, he’s not exactly ready to come out on a hunt just yet. But, a few weeks ago the whole family headed up to the woods for some much-needed R&R, and I made a plan to take Gibson out with me to hang a couple game cameras one morning. We both had a terrific time out there together, and here are the 4 things I believe I did right to make this a success…
Over the past five hunting seasons, I’ve put a lot of miles on three different pairs of hunting boots. All were from different manufacturers, all were different in terms of function and style, and all had their pros and cons. When it comes to hunting (especially Western hunting), boots are one of the pieces of gear you don’t want to skimp on. I’ve done long treks in $50 boots in the past, and I definitely paid for it in terms of blisters and pain. However, boots and the way they work with your foot is a complicated equation, and just because your boots cost more than your truck payment doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be comfortable or last for years.
Hunting is hard enough without adding cameras to the mix, and most of us aren’t going to recruit or hire a guy to come with us simply to film the whole thing. But, can a cell-phone pic here or there really capture all the memories you’re hoping to preserve? Probably not. So, what can you do if you’re not a photographer, don’t want to mess up your hunt dinking around with cameras all day, and may even be hunting on your own a lot? Here are some thoughts on what you may or may not need, depending on your goals for the video.
Well, it’s been a couple months since my first post walking through all the facets of planning an out of state hunt. At this point, I will be hitting the mountain in almost exactly three months, and I couldn’t be more excited! I also couldn’t be more aware that there is still so much to do. So, at the three-months and counting mark, here is what I’ve done and where the whole process stands.