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I was successful drawing a tag…now what? pt 1

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I was successful drawing a tag…now what? pt 1

To everyone who has read my posts about hunting in the western states and applied for the draw, thank you. I hope you read this and take note of the techniques I use when hunting a new area so when you do draw a tag you can be ready.

For those who drew a tag, this article is for you.

I drew a tag, yeahhhhhhh.

You wait impatiently watching the mailbox for your tag and you wonder in your mind, was it a good idea, will I be able to go, where are the animals, will everyone make fun of me if I go and don’t get one….ad infinitum.

You’ve done the worst of it, you have a tag.

It doesn’t matter at this point what kind of hunt it is, you need to get out and practice with whatever is your legal weapon. I normally draw a resident rifle tag so from here out I will be talking along those lines, but bowhunters or muzzle loader tags are in the same lists for hunt prep.

What to do first?

You need to make your packing lists and firm them up well.

I had an October hunt one year and we got an early snow. I was not packed for snow but you can believe every year since that hunt, my cold weather bag and boots were in the truck when I left the house.

You can always leave a bag or box in camp, but mountain weather is not to be underestimated. Plan for it.

So get your clothing list made.

Get your weapon list made- You really should carry at least 1 spare. An extra bow, or rifle is always a good idea. Things happen. I was on an archery hunt last year and the crossbow limb developed a crack, luckily it was the last night of the hunt and I was lucky all the way around that week.

In all the years Ive hunted, 35+ at this count Ive never needed a spare rifle more than once. But I was very happy when a broken scope didn’t end my Elk hunt.

Weapon specific gear- Cleaning rod and kit. You don’t need a rolling tool box but a small kit to keep the bore oiled in wet weather is never a bad idea. If you are hunting with a partner, work out what you both need and bring 1 kit.

While you are thinking through your gear/ clothing list.

You need to be going for a walk, every day.

At least a walk. And probably more than a walk if you are serious about this hunt. You need legs and lungs to hunt at high altitude, and there isn’t a sofa workout in existence that will get you there.

You have been dreaming about this hunt your whole life, get in shape to actually do it.

I had a friend who wanted to hunt Elk in Az.

He drew what was his dream hunt. It was a Cow tag, but it was his elk hunt.

He lives at just over sea level in his home state and was in fair to decent shape, even though I warned him about the altitude difference. I tried to convince him to come a few days early, because I live just under 5000 feet, and he needed a few days to acclimate before we drove up to 7000 feet. We also needed time to fine tune his zero, as well as other minor things.

As it turned out , he wasn’t able to get out until the day before we were supposed to leave.

Altitude sickness sucks

A zero at 700 feet is NOT a good zero at 7000 feet.

So this poor guy was sick from day 3 to the day before his flight, because altitude absolutely kicked his behind.

And he missed the only shot he had because he was convinced he was good with the zero he left home with.

Live and learn.

So get in the best shape you can before you leave home.

Its going to be hard enough without handicapping yourself once you get out here.

Scouting

I now the next comment I get will be about how to find the animals before I get there.

You need to order maps, or download them and print them out of your hunt area.

Get on the forums, there are a lot of them and they are state specific. I counted 14 which covered Arizona alone.

You are not going to get someone’s honey hole, but you will likely get people to tell you where to not waste your time.

What I like to do

Buy multiple copies of the map of your hunt area.

Waterproof 1 copy and on the second copy, using a pencil draw the grids on the map you like to use.

You want to break down the area into bite sized pieces using your forum connections and research the Game department web page.

Call the office , find out weather, rainfall and animal movements.

Another tidbit you wont hear from anyone else. Call the Forest Service too.

Yes, the Forest Service

You will also need Forest Service maps of the area you are hunting if it is public land. The Forest Service doesn’t speak the same language as Game Departments, their vocabulary is based on road and trail numbers, Wilderness area boundaries and boundaries of parks and Natl. Forests.`

Also ask about fires. Yes fires. And scheduled controlled burns, which I guarantee will be uncontrolled very quickly.

Research old burns, satellite photos help here for locating firebreaks and new roads which were pushed in to fight the fires. Forest rangers are very well versed in their district. Most don’t think much of hunters but some creative talk about wildlife photography usually brings out the information. Telling them you want to take pictures of animals without being disturbed by ” those nasty hunters'”  has been known to work.

Having a lady friend make the calls never hurts either.

Some solid gold information

3-5 year old burns are solid gold for finding Elk. They love the grasses growing and the areas are open so glassing is awesome at first and last light.

Satellite photographs are easily found online, they are cheap and you should locate the most recent Sat Photo you can find. A burn in a Black and White photo looks white or grey, heavy forest looks black. Simple but easy to mess up if you don’t know.

Ariel photos are used to see roads, fire breaks and old burns starting to grow back. They will have waist high grass at year 3 after the fires, which will draw Elk and Deer like a magnet. If there is a water source close you have what we in the action business call, a “sure thing”.

If this area is 2 ridges away from any access roads, you have hit the lottery, shut up and get in there the day before your hunt starts and set a cold, no fires, camp. You will thank me for that later.

Im going to finish in Pt 2 so I keep those who don’t like to read my very long posts interested.

I was successful drawing a tag…now what? pt 1

 

 

 

 

The post I was successful drawing a tag…now what? pt 1 appeared first on The Quiet Survivalist.

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