Hunting is easy right?

Checking in from over a year ago on the blog! Business has been busy and the tag applications are coming to a close for 2019. Utah right now is the final piece of the puzzle with tag point only applications closing on October 31st. In the meantime, I just got back from one of my hunts this fall with some great friends. In reality, this hunt has been planned for almost an entire year. While our original plan was to hunt in another state where we should have had 100% draw odds to get our tags as a group, that was not the case this year. A recent lowering of tags and a higher application count, took us out of the running to just accrue some points. With that, there was a pivot to drive for a general season, over the counter option for everyone.

As I look back at the week, I am reminded of the hard work that was put in to ensure that the hunt was a success. While we all can quantify success in our own way, mine is successful if I saw animals, had a great time and learned something new. Getting some meat in the cooler is just the cherry on top and if it is a trophy, then we really did well! This year, due to the OTC (over the counter) tag, I feel that we needed to find needles in haystacks. So what all went into this hunt if it was an OTC tag? Sounds like you just walked into the store, bought your tag and hit the woods. That’s pretty easy….

Not quite. First off, we needed to ensure we were fit. Weekly check in’s with everyone on their fitness, competing text chats and cardio planning to get our bodies ready was needed. The reality is, if you do not have something to look forward to, you lose sight of what is happening. Being fit for the mountains is a big deal and having some tangible goals to reach is a great feat. The best is being able to hit the stair master or treadmill for an hour with a 50lb vest on your back. Love that!

Second, we needed to put a plan in place. I put the mapping into perspective and did some recon. I connected with locals, former hunters in that area and also scoured over maps online. I searched forums, spoke to some more people and confirmed on google earth. Then, waypoints were set and sent out to everyone so we knew where we would be possibly camping, where we would be hunting and what areas we needed to visit as potential hot spots.

Third, we needed to plan our food out. We knew how many days we would be out in the woods and we all needed to consider how much our bags would be weighing. A good method of calories to consider for one of these hunts is based on the weight of your good. For every ounce of food, you should be putting in 100 calories. When you consider what your will be putting in your pack, these foods will likely be full of fat, nuts and dried fruit. Some favorites were bobo bars, greenbelly meals, probars, stinger waffles and Mountain Houses!

Gear was our fourth component. We needed to ensure that everyone had the right gear for the weather. This included our tents, the right clothing, optics and paying attention to our weight throughout this process. Overall, as we got closer to the event, we looked at forecasts and saw that it was going to be cold at night and early mornings but it would be in the 60’s mid day. This meant we could get away with a few layers staying at home or in the truck. We also needed to figure out how we were camping. In essence of how many roads we had and the potential to stay mobile, we decided to have backcountry camping methods with hiking in and setting camps up near game. If we wanted to move, we could easily do so.

Sighting in our weapons was the fifth and final phase. Bows need to be shot continuously while rifles need to be sighted in. We all need to feel confident in our weapon of choice if we were to cut notches in our tags. This means that you are taking hours of your day, weekends, etc to ensure you are dialed in. This means that time is constantly of essence to put yourself in the position to get things done.

As I reflect back, time is the most important piece to everything. The time to scour the books, to read about the units, to get the information for the states plans, to plan the hunt, and to get organized and confident in everything means that there is a ton of labor put into play. While I do hunt plans and enjoy the reading of information for tag applications, the only component that is usually considered is the final result. So was it a success?

Yes, it was a great success! Was it easy? HELL NO! It wasn’t just grabbing a license at the local walmart and going to shoot something in the woods randomly. That is a thought of an uneducated, clueless, city dweller that has no idea what they are talking about nor have they put any time into learning about the outdoors.

As a huge success, we saw animals in their prime. We saw large trophy animals in their own element without them even knowing we were there. When you are within 10 feet of an enormous animal and you know you could harvest it right then and there, you succeeded. When you go back and break things down, this means that your planning was solid, the information was great, the time spent preparing was well worth it and you took advantage of your time allocation. I believe that is a success 🙂

I hope you all have many successes as we did.

Scout, Hunt, Repeat

Alex

Should I Start Small Game Hunting?

Often times, we hear go big or go home. I think this is a common thought to just about anything in life. If you are going to buy a car, make sure you get it fully loaded and make sure it’s huge! If you shoot a deer, it needs to have a massive rack, etc. Big game hunting is a very addictive form of hunting and it is very exciting to say the least. However, if you are just getting started in the outdoors, if you want to experience a hunt that’s a little different or you just want to hunt more often throughout the year, small game hunting is a great option for you.

How does it differ you ask?

For one, I think you can let loose a little more and have a bit more fun small game hunting. You aren’t worried about rabbits having an amazing sense of smell and sniffing you out with the wind direction. You see, when you are hunting big game, you have to watch every step, you have to play the wind and you ultimately need to be pretty darn fool-proof to find and stalk a big deer or elk. When you are small game hunting, your objective is to walk around through the brush and get birds to flush out. When you hunt rabbit, you want to hike around and then freeze from time to time because your lack of motion all of a sudden freaks a rabbit out and it bolts out of nowhere. This ultimately gives you a huge upper hand. It’s almost as if your objective small game hunting is to get animals out from their hides holes to harvest them. The ability to hike around, flush animals out and get some miles on your boots is a great benefit that you can share with friends to make it enjoyable.

Time is also a big benefit. You can do a pretty short hunt and manage to get a lot done. A 1 to 2 day period is plenty of time to meet your objectives. This isn’t typically the case big game hunting out west, where a week to 10 days is a typical length of time for a hunting trip. In 2 days small game hunting, you can have the opportunity to harvest and see multiple animals. You typically can’t say that with other hunts.

Hunting in off times. Most hunters are up early morning to either glass or get into the tree stand and then they are back in camp or taking a snooze in the mountains during the middle of the day. This then leads into a late afternoon evening hunt. When you are small game hunting, you can do it at all times of the day. Certain species of animals react differently and also have different life patterns that yield an huge opportunity for hunters. If you don’t want to wake up at 4am, getting out at 8am is still good!

Most importantly, small game hunting will give you the opportunity to still scout for other animals and you get experience out in the wild. You will see tracks and trails to a bunch of other critters that will yield to many waypoints and memories of where you saw a deer track, elk track or coyotes. You can put this into your knowledge bank and use it for your next years tag application process if desired.

As you can see, there are many great reasons to get out and experience some small game hunts. No matter what, being out and experiencing the outdoors is better than being on the couch. Go get out there and have some fun.

Here is a short video of a small game hunt and a new hunter learning about some new tracks.

Scout, Hunt, Repeat

Alex~