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Author Topic: Planning your self guided hunt  (Read 973 times)

Offline Campfire News

  • 12 Point Droptine
  • Join Date: Feb 2010
  • Posts: 3175
  • Location: Alabama
Planning your self guided hunt
« on: March 15, 2010, 05:51:10 PM »
Planning your self guided hunt

By TalkHunting Pro Staffer Jeff “ke7cjw” Love

For years you have watched the TV shows and read about hunting Elk. You have been saving every penny you can to be able to afford the trip. While sitting in your tree stand waiting for that trophy Whitetail you imagine the bull of a lifetime slipping through the timber edging closer and closer. You have your Elk bugle and cow call, 4 DVD's of instructions on how to call Elk and have practiced to the point your family has banned you frm the house.

The time to start planning your trip is now. Don't wait until late summer. Most of the Western states hold their controlled hunt drawings in the spring. Application dates range frm January to May so start researching the area you want to hunt now. Start with the game department page for the state you are planning to hunt. Here in Idaho the best place to start is with the Idaho Hunt Planner.  Frm this site you can search for the hunts that are available for what species you want to hunt and you can also check the odds of getting drawn for the controlled hunts as well as the harvest data for each hunting unit.

Once you have decided on what unit you want to hunt start studying the area. Because it is too far for you to go and actually scout on the ground so the next best thing is to go to the web. There are numerous sites that will allow you to search topographical and aerial photos of most areas. Google maps have fairly good maps that are easy to navigate around. You will also want to purchase good topographical maps of the area for the hunt. The hunt planner also has a link to t he Map Center where you can order maps of the area. Make sure that you bring a map with you. This is not your nine acre wood lot you normally hunt. The Frank Church River of no return Wilderness area for example is 3.2 million acre road less wilderness area. You wander in the wrong direction because you don't have a map in there and you may not make it out. The Elk hunting is good in this area, but it is wild country that few people venture into. Make sure that you bring a compass and know how to use it as well. I know there are many very good GPS units available on the market today and having one of these would also be a good idea, but when you get deep into the timber those things may not work and by the time you get to a spot where you can get a signal you could be several miles frm where you want to be.

The next thing you want to do is get into better shape. No matter how good of shape you are in now, you are not used to the high elevation. You will be spending all of your time going frm 6,000 to 9,000 feet in elevation. When all of the hunting you have done is in that nine acre lot in southern Mississippi and you hit 6,000 feet just sitting on a stump will make you breath hard.

A lot of hunters when they decide on this trip go out and buy a new Magnum rifle. There is nothing wrong with that, but before you run out and buy that Magnum think about all the gear you want to take on this hunt. You will want to have good optics. This is the most important piece of equipment you can bring. You will be spending a lot of time glassing frm a ridge top looking for your Elk. Make sure that you have the best optics you can afford. The better the light gathering ability, the longer you can glass. Elk will move any time of day, but they are most active at dawn and at dusk. Don't miss out on that bull of a life time because your optics were not good enough to pin point that bull at as the light faded the night before your last day to hunt. Your usual deer rifle that you are familiar with and know how to shoot well will do for Elk so if the budget is tight skip the new Magnum and spend the money on a good pair of binoculars or a spotting scope.

Hypothermia is the next consideration. Even if you are planning a September rut hunt you must be prepared for this. In September the temperatures can drop quickly and if you get caught unprepared out there you could be in trouble. You do not need sub zero temperatures to be effected by hypothermia. If your body temperature drops 20 degrees you will die so you want to be prepared. Bring plenty of layers of clothes and make sure you bring some rain gear and heavy winter gear. Snow storms do happen in the high country in September. Make sure that you have multiple fire starting methods with you. Just tossing a couple boxes of wooden matches in your pack is not enough. Make sure that you have a good flint and steel for starting fires and practice with it before you set out. You do not want to have to figure out how to start a fire with a flint and steel while your hands are shaking and numb as your body starts shutting down the extremities to keep the core warm.

Before you leave on the trip make sure that your family not only knows where you are planning to go, they should also have a copy of the map of the area with your hunt area clearly marked. You should make arrangements with them to contact the authorities in the area if you do not check in with them at the end of the hunt. Find the phone numbers for the local Sheriff and Search and Rescue. If you do not check in exactly when you are supposed to have them call and let the Sheriff know where you were and that you are late checking in. Make sure the map has your departure point clearly marked so they can let the Sheriff know where to begin looking. A lot of people have cell phones and will send text messages and even post pictures to the internet frm their tree stands, but when you get out in the middle of nowhere out here the cell phone will probably not work. Sometimes you can find a cell signal frm a ridge top, but that is not always the case. You have got to have someone who has communications capability waiting for you to get back that can alert the authorities that you are late as quickly as possible.  Follow these steps and your chances to get that Bull of a lifetime will improve.

Good Luck, and Good Hunting;

By Jeff “ke7cjw” Love

« Last Edit: March 06, 2013, 11:09:17 AM by Hunt Master »


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