I love when people look at me cross eyed when I bring up that I go on “mock hunts?” I haven’t figured out if the look is because they think I am crazy or if they just cannot figure out what the heck I am talking about. Hell, it might be both and that is just fine. I think that mock hunts occur in 2 different ways and therefore might have 2 different reasons for them.
There is the notion and sometimes a joke from other hunters that hunting season starts the day your last hunt ends. That would mean that my last hunting season started November 18th, 2017 and it has still been rolling to the present day today. Us hunters laugh at this and poke fun but I think there is bit of truth to it. The reason is because I am constantly trying to perfect my system and get better. A few questions I ask myself on the daily.
- What went well?
- What could I have done better?
- What should I have done differently?
- What will I do next time?
- Why did things occur the way they did?
These questions are just a few that truly bring up the point that there is always something to improve upon and that is because I just learned something from the time in the woods. With that said, I write these points down and put a plan in place for the next hunting trip. I went from November 2017 to June 2018 without a hunting trip. My next hunting trip actually happened this June but I had a plan in place prior to that for what hunting trips I wanted to do and where I wanted to apply this year to get out in the woods. Some of these happened and some have not due to tag allocations, draw odds, etc.
So what exactly did I change this year?
One of the biggest changes for me this year was that I wanted to change my gear sets to be truly ultralight this year for the backcountry. Therefore, I measured out everything that I had in my backpack last year and what the weight was by gram. This year, my goal was to lighten my load by 10lbs! That is quite a lot when we are talking about grams. A good example would be a headlamp that I have that weighs 16 oz. I have now changed over to another headlamp that might not be as bright but it also only weights 8 oz.
Being human, we are not equipped to survive without tools in the wild. If we are to survive, we depend on tools to make things happen which is why gear is so vital. I for example have a new tent this year. I need to test this tent in some weather and also play around with it’s setup a few times to feel comfortable and know the details of the gear that will benefit me in the backcountry.
Can you imagine what it would be like to be in the middle of nowhere, miles away from any other person and I would be just figuring out the pain points of my gear? Terrible! Mock hunts now I think might be making some sense? I sure hope so. I complete them in a couple different facets now to be a good use of time and benefit. Here are the main 2 ways.
- I go hunting another species and bring all the gear I will be using on my longer, more important hunts. The next one will be a coyote hunt that I am looking to in July which in my home state will be steaming hot! How will that differ my usage of gear and how will that feel on my body. Hmmmm… Something to look forward to and find out.
- I go on a scouting trip and mimic what I will be doing in the field with the same gear. Going scouting in the area you will be hunting is remarkable. I did this last year for this years hunt. I knew where I was applying and my odds of drawing this year so a trip I took last year for 5 days was truly to mimic what I would be experiencing this year. Guess what? I will be going straight to the same spots that I know I saw deer and elk which makes things much quicker and more comforting. I feel confident in my abilities to bring home some meat and racks this year!
I hope you see how important a mock hunt would be to your planning throughout the year and how they can be utilized. If you have some time, it would be without a doubt, great advice to go out and complete one or 2 this year to help you become more successful in the field. Until next time!
Scout, Hunt, Repeat