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What makes for a successful hunt?

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What makes for a successful hunt?

Old 06-17-2005, 09:35 AM
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Default RE: What makes for a successful hunt?

Being able to get out and spend a whole day in the woods and bonding with my daughter
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Old 06-17-2005, 09:52 AM
Join Date: May 2005
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Default RE: What makes for a successful hunt?

JamesB, I can appreciate taking pictures I have an album full of Deer Ducks Bears etc.and I actually was able to get some great shots of Big Horn Sheep in Montana last year as well as the one of the Lion I took (Below) people see the picture and ask me how could you have shot it. Well if it was another Whitetail I would have let it slide, butknowing that it may be the"ONLY" time that I will have the opportunity then it wasn't as hard to do. Ihave this picture as the background on my computer, the picture says it all being in beautiful country persuing a magnificent animal! All I have to do is look atthe pictureand it brings the whole week back to memory, something I will never forget.

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Old 06-17-2005, 02:07 PM
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Default RE: What makes for a successful hunt?

everyone has their "thing" - what they are looking for in the hunt.

for some, its simply about killing animals. For some, its all about net B&C score. Other ? They are after the HUNT and the kill is vastly secondary and still otehr people hunt for even a more variety of reasons.

me ? I hunt for the Hunt, not for the kill, and what i am after is highly dependent on the weapon I'm carrying and where I am hunting. That said ......... I am going on a mule deer hunt this fall and the purpose is a 170+ B&C rack (thought not exclusively the sole purpose)
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Old 06-19-2005, 10:52 AM
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Default RE: What makes for a successful hunt?

IMHO, there is a veritable "shopping list" of things that peoplemay belooking for in a "hunt." I think a lot of folks, in a simplistic sort of way, throw a lot of extra “baggage” under the "hunting tree" that don’t necessarily fit well there. Then come the arguments over whether someone's standards for a good hunt are right or not..

A hunting trip (hunting adventure?) may involve many elements: new environments, stunning scenery, bonding with nature, exploring the land and the content of ones own character, bonding with hunt-mates, friendship, socializing, adventure, mis-adventure, and then come the more "hunt-essential" components: pursuit, stalking, KILLING, and then the completion of the act --- field dressing and meat care.

Many of my criteria for a successful trip/adventure (notice I didn’t say “hunt”) are met in the week before the hunt begins. Working with my friends to set up camp the weekend before the season makes for the reward of hard work and the night time socializing that follows, plus a light brush with mother nature. Once, camp has been set up and the other folks retreat back to the city, my wife and I settle in for the week in advance of the opening day. Crisp autumn mornings. Aspens in full color. The blackest of black nights and a brilliant ceiling of stars. Warm sunny days, wicked thunderstorms, and sometimes blankets of snow (or hail) on the ground and stacked up in the pines --- ah, the gentle and the rough side of nature. Horses have been delivered and in caring for them I get reacquainted with my ranching days of long ago.

Scouting and setting up the spike camp about four miles in from the trail head, especially if the bulls are still bugling is a real treat, but it is still satisfying even if they are not in the rut. Having my nearby elk camp neighbors (all non-resident) over for “banquet night’ and catching up on old and new times is great socializing. I like being away from it all, days (even weeks) at a time. No telephone, No radio, no TV, No newspaper and not wanting any of them, isolation can be precious and one of the best parts of a remote/away from home adventure.

Sorting It Out.
With much of the “touchy feely trip/adventure/social/friendship needs” pretty well met in the week prior to the hunt (and supplemented in the course of the hunt and during meat packing and butchering that follows the hunt), this lets me get down to the serious business of HUNTING including the overt intent to KILL something. I don’t know many camps that are truly “happy camps” ready to rate their HUNT 100 out of 100 points if there are no animals taken by the end of it all. IMHO, someone needs to bag something. Our ancestors went hungry following a “no harvest” hunt. I’m thinking they weren’t too happy when that happened, I tend to share that sentiment though I don’t go hungry.

Strategy, Tactics, Execution. IMHO, here comes the primal essence of the hunt. The sound of 70 elk in a single herd heading your way. The snapping and breaking of timber. The bugle of the herd bull as he struggles to keep them together. The stir of age long instinct and the adrenalin spike of spotting “the one” you are going to take out of the group of many. Focusing like a peregrine falcon upon your prey. The “squeeze” of an upcoming, but indefinite window of opportunity. Will the shot be easy, doable, or a pass?

The situation unfolds. Systems go largely onto autopilot. The time/distance/angle/x-ray/impact calculator makes the call, and the rifle responds immediately to the unseen/nearly subconsciousmental command. The disturbance/buffet of the shot, the “jump” of the sight picture, the K-THUD of the bullet, the immediate “k-ting” of flying empty brass as the action seemingly works by itself, the reacquisition of the animal in the scope. Down and out. Safety on, but ready for any movement and a follow up if necessary. No hurry now, take your time, enjoy the approach. Confirm the kill (carefully). Done!

Taking Possession: "You once belonged to nature you beautiful thing --- now you belong to me and for that I am thankful, I will take good care of you.” Yes, to me the killing is important, not mandatory, especially if my group fairs well and there is meat to share, but important nonetheless. I do not apologize nor shrink from including killing in my definition of a successful hunt (versus a successful adventure or a successful trip)and if that makes me a "killer", then I guess I’m a killer; however, I’m a primal hunter in my mind--- and I do tend to break a "hunting adventure" down into its relevant parts. I do have a strong propensity for killinggame when I'm hunting. Yet, I will go back home after two weeks with an unfired rifle if the shot opportunity never presents itself (I don't believe in "plinking" on a hunt just to hear my rifle).

The Meat. Field dressing/quartering the meat to me isquite satisfying. With the transfer from mother nature to myself complete, knowing that I’ve got it cut up right, clean, and cooling with the flies kept at bay assures me that good eating lies ahead. Itend toreflect on the hunt that produced the meat when I eat my game.

Judgment Day. Frequently, for me, the overall success rating of a given year’s hunt is determinedwhile I’m walking out of our hunting area, leading our packhorses with loaded meat panniers, a pack on my back, and a rifle slung over my shoulder. The trailhead lies just ahead, and this is the last load. Hmmm, yes, life is good. IMHO making the same trip out of the same hunting area after 5 days with nothing to show, regardless how good the adventure and friendship and all the other elements were, does not carry the same salt.


My definition of a successful overall hunt is quite different from this viewpoint compared to my personal viewpoint. Hopefully, as many of the following occur for each hunteras possible and in the listed order of importance. The more the better:

** You didn’t get hurt.
** You didn’t get in trouble with the law.

** You had a good time to where you want to come back again, regardless whether you got your animal or not.
** You didn’t get “runaway-itis”, wanting to run back home before your commitment of butchering the meat and packing up every last bit of camp was completed. (Amazing how many folks just can't wait to get back to the very thing the went on the hunt to get away from).
** You behaved in a way that made your fellow hunters want you back for next year (Interesting the side of folks you get to see when they are out of their "normal environment" tired, short on sleep, weather beaten, and challenged --- some real Dr. Jeckl/Mr. Hydes out there).

** You got a shot opportunity regardless whether you took the shot or got the animal.
** You got your animal.
** You got your animal and you are really really happy with it.

Each year every camp member “signs” the wall tent with a mark-a-lot, in a section of the tent wall that we have dedicated to that year's hunt. In years with a good harvest, the signatures are robust and annotated with commentary. In bad years with little or no game taken, the list readsrather blandly.IMHO, those actions of those signorsspeak volumes.

So that is some of what I ponder when I hear the question asked, “What makes a successful hunt? For me at least that is neither ashallow nora simple question. IMHO, the same is true of the answer.


Rebel Dog,
That is an absolutely outstanding photo.Wow.
I hope you KILLED that lion in addition toHUNTING him!
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Old 06-21-2005, 11:19 AM
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Default RE: What makes for a successful hunt?


That is quite possibly the best answer to that question I have ever read/heard. You conveyed my sentimentsmuchmore eloquently than I ever could have.Certainly we are thereto"kill" something. I don't personally think that it defines the "adventure" in its entireity, but it certainly is a large portion of it.Can a hunt be successful withouta harvest? Yes. Is it more successfulwith a harvest? Certainly.
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Old 06-21-2005, 09:47 PM
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Location: Rocky Top Tennessee
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Default RE: What makes for a successful hunt?

Bein' healthy enough to get to my stand ranks right up there. Bein' awake when the game happens by is kinda important too. Mostly though seein' wildlife I don't normally see when workin' around my property. With over 80 head of big game of some kind or another the kill ain't all that important any more.
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Old 06-22-2005, 06:23 AM
Nontypical Buck
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Default RE: What makes for a successful hunt?

When I leave my stand and walk slowly back home through the darkness only to be consumed with the thought of doing it all over the next morning. That is my sign of a successful hunt.
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Old 06-24-2005, 02:21 PM
Nontypical Buck
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Default RE: What makes for a successful hunt?

Enjoying that time with Family & Friends is the best. The getting a shot or killing of your quarry is just a bonus. Ever go on a few days or week long hunt by yourself????I Have...Try it, then, I think you will realize what makes a hunt "FUN" & memorabile.
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Old 06-24-2005, 08:58 PM
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Default RE: What makes for a successful hunt?

Being out there and feelin alive is most important I think. If I can get my adrenaline pumpin at least once that day, then it was all worth it!
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Old 06-25-2005, 07:49 AM
Join Date: Dec 2004
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Default RE: What makes for a successful hunt?

For me, a successful hunt is just hunting. I don't feel the need to harvest game, just being out is good enough.
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