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  1. #51
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    SE Idaho/El Paso, TX
    Posts
    207

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    I think you already have some good ideas but I'll add some ideas of my own.
    Get out and hike this summer and learn the areas you plan to hunt. This will provide you with the benefit of exercise, learning your physical limits and help you learn the country you plan to hunt. Hiking off trail is much more difficult and slower than hiking on a trail. While hunting, I spend very little time hiking on trails and it is good to learn how to navigate the country you plan to hunt without the aid of a trail.
    As a new hunter, don't underestimate the ability of animals to smell you. Deer and elk will have no problem smelling you even if they are 300 yards downwind. Often you won't even know these animals were there because they will disappear before you ever see them. You can fool an animals eyes and ears but you will never fool their nose. Scent lock suits and sprays might help a little but I believe a deer that is 100 yards downwind of you is going to smell you every time, even if you do everything you can to minimize your scent.
    Don't underestimate the eyesight of the animals you are hunting. Pronghorn have amazing eyesight. I've had deer and elk spot me multiple times from 500+ yards away. I've had pronghorn that were a mile away run from me when I've stopped my truck to look at them. If you skyline yourself or make quick movements, animals are more likely to spot you. Camo can help some but staying off the top of ridge lines and your movement is much more important than camo.
    Learn to use binoculars. It isn't uncommon for me to sit in one spot for more than 2 hours or more just looking through my binoculars. Using binoculars for close range spotting while still hunting through trees can also be effective. While scouting in the summer, just glassing animals for the first 2-3 hours of the morning can teach you a lot about animal movements and teach you to trust your binoculars even when you have been looking through them for an hour strait without seeing a single deer or elk.
    Being mentally prepared to hunt day after day is challenging. If you can get a friend to hunt with, it can really help with the mental part of the game. I find after 3 days by myself hunting, it is more mentally challenging than when I have a friend to share camp with.

  2. #52

    Default

    I was in the exact same boat as you 2 years ago. A relatively new CO resident who had never even fired a gun. I too wanted to pour a lot of time and effort into learning to hunt with the end goal of successfully harvesting something. I agree with the others who have said a successful harvest shouldn't be the only measure of success but I also think that mentality is easier to have when you have past harvests and a level of confidence that what you are doing makes sense. I was fine with being unsuccessful if I felt like it wasn't because I was completely clueless.

    My first year hunting I got a doe pronghorn tag in WY, a buck deer tag in CO, and the OTC bull tag in CO. The only one I successfully harvested was the doe pronghorn in WY.

    My second year hunting I got the same lineup of tags and was able to harvest both a doe pronghorn and a mule deer buck.

    Both years my goal was to thoroughly research, plan, scout, and hunt the entire season for elk. Both years I fell short of that goal and I THINK that was the greatest contributor to my not being successful at elk. I have yet to see a bull elk in the field while hunting as a matter of fact.

    One piece of advice I would give you as a fellow newbie is to make sure you really understand what you need to do after the kill. Fielding dressing, evidence of sex, bagging, cooling etc. That is why the WY pronghorn tag is so good it has a high success rate and will give you the opportunity to practice these things on a much smaller scale. I must of watched 100 youtube videos on field dressing and I still had a tough time with it the first go around. I can't even imagine if the first animal I got down had been a bull elk by myself.

  3. #53

    Default

    Sometimes people just overthink and under prepare.

  4. Default

    Don't trust the harvest data too much. Colorado doesn't even have mandatory harvest reporting. The numbers are junk in/junk out statistical estimates. As for the chances of success, don't forget about the moon, weather, rut, food supply, water supply, hunter pressure, game population, habitat condition, male/female ratio, percentage of adult males and the effect on the rut, luck, etc.

  5. #55

    Default

    Hunts don’t fail, hunter do. If you don’t understand, then you’re doomed to fail.
    What doesn't kill you, hunts like hell.

  6. #56
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    North Phoenix Az.
    Posts
    359

    Default

    Think like a predator and be sneaky and You will eat. too many people worry about all the high tech equipment, but yet really don't know how to hunt. Experience will eventually help some.Be persistant and patient......Good Luck all............BOB!

  7. Default

    My elk hunt failed cause I took Tony, my best buddy hunting with me. He needs to stick with whitetails out east.

  8. Default

    I used to work for an outfitter who summed it up best. Guides and clients would be dropped off on an airstrip and by the afternoon next day they'd be on the sat phone describing a barren landscape, poor weather, no animals, and asking to be moved to a new spot. He had a rule that no one got moved for the first three days. When guides and hunters would overthink it and envision some shangri-la at the end of the next plane ride he'd succinctly say "I don't have anywhere to move you. Get up tomorrow and go hunting!"
    You know, when we did just that we were generally a lot more successful than when we sat in the tent thinking of how much better it was somewhere else. When faced with a lack of ideas find a high point, sit down and glass. Not for ten minutes, but ten hours. Then find another one and do it again. This obviously doesn't work everywhere, but you get the picture. When I read articles about guys who consistently shoot big midwestern deer, or arrow elk, there is one consistent theme, time spent afield. I recently watched Randy's New Mexico hunt with Corey Jacobsen. Case in point. Just keep at it.

  9. #59
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Clyde Park, MT
    Posts
    388

    Default

    These are the biggest reason I've seen hunts fail for other people as well as myself.

    Time- Elk hunting is all about finding them and some time that can take a few days.
    Pressure- People put too much pressure on themselves to be successful, a lot of that comes from not having enough time to get it done.
    Giving up too early- Hard hunts take time and its really hard to keep the right mindset through a tough hunt, this is one I struggle with the most.

    As far as hunts being a failure if you're not successful, that's not entirely true. However, I know a handful of people that use that as an excuse to not do what it takes to fill the tag on hand. I can have a great hunt and not be successful, but I will never be satisfied until that tag is filled.

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