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View Full Version : How does one become a solo hunter?



ssliger
03-13-2012, 07:27 PM
Something I've been wondering. How does one become a solo hunter? I've always hunted with friends or family. This last year my main hunting partner moved away and I attempted to do some solo hunting. It was not very fun for me. Anyone can ask the people who know me and they will tell you, I love hunting and I can't stand to be by myself. Just wondering if anyone here has any ideas how to become a better solo hunter.

Bitterroot Bulls
03-13-2012, 08:12 PM
It takes some getting used to, and it isn't for everybody. I started going solo out of necessity, but grew to like it. I always feel safer with a partner, though.

Ikeepitcold
03-13-2012, 09:12 PM
I agree with bitterroot. It very tough to be a solo hunter. I have done it a few times and I prefer to be with one or two other buddy's. With that said I also don't like to hunt with multiple people which is why I started to solo. There is a ton of work when your solo and you must enjoy the solitude of the mountains and know there is some real danger involved. It's not for everyone and I don't care to do it on my own unless I have to and will if that's what I have to do. I have two guys I hunt with very often. We all have the same hunting techniques and mind set. It works for us.

homegrown
03-13-2012, 09:26 PM
I moved to Montana almost two years ago now, primarily to hunt, I didnt know anybody here and my backcountry experience was limited, but I was determined . I started out with just overnight trips and worked my way up, a guy doesnt realize how long a day is until he's on the side of a mountain 5 miles in with nobody but him self, thats lonely. But at the same time I loved it. Most my trips are still short ones just because of work commitments but anyway it just takes practice.

Kevin Root
03-13-2012, 09:47 PM
Like you ssliger, I've had more than a few hunting partners move away and out of the state. That can be a very sad time when reflecting on past adventures with friends and family.

Hunting the backcountry alone is not for everybody. Traveling solo takes a bit getting used to. The solitude of a week or more in the backcountry is perhaps one of the biggest tests of solo hunting.

For me, I had to get used to pushing myself out of some of my comfort zones. I think the hardest comfort zone to push for me other that solitude mentioned was next getting miles off a well traveled trail alone. To get better at solo hunting and traveling in the backcountry alone and feeling more comfortable with it, I think one needs to just do it and do it more often.

A good way to start is just starting with short trips to try out new gear upgrades, go on fishing trips, scouting trips, or short weekend trips. Just find an excuse to get out on your own in the backcountry. It does get better or more comfortable in time.

Be safe, but more importantly enjoy the journey. What truly motivates meI am IN LOVE WITH THE JOURNEY.

Jon Boy
03-13-2012, 10:37 PM
Do you want to solo the back country or just solo hunt in general? If its my tag im trying to fill I almost always try to go alone and prefer it that way. I love to help people out on there tags but when it comes time for mine I prefer to go alone. When it comes to the back country, well refer to my recent thread "first solo backpacking trip" I think the best way for that is like stated by Kevin, work into it, do it more often and PUSH yourself out of your comfort zones. I didn't put it in my other thread but, I almost didnt stay the night and kept debating back in forth on whether or not to stay. Finally I bucked up and forced my self to set up camp right before dark knowing I would have to cross that bridge one time or another and sooner was better than later. Might sound weak but thats really how it went and its quite a bit different when your up there alone. Glad I did now I have little fear of doing a one nighter and my next trip will be a 2 nighter.

packer58
03-13-2012, 10:39 PM
All of the above are all good takes on becoming a solo hunter. For myself, there's nothing that equals the solitude of being alone in the hills relying on nobody other than myself and the skills that I have perfected. Solo hunters take a lot of pride in what they accomplish alone, from the planning of the hunt, the long quiet drives, setting up camp, hunting and hopefully packing out game. As mentioned, the solitude is not for everyone. You must learn to have confidence in your ability.

RUTTIN
03-14-2012, 08:33 AM
The first few times I went in solo, I was a lot like Jon Boy. Didn't want to stay the night by myself, it was a little different. I still get lonely after only a couple of days. But I think I hunt a lot better solo, just for the fact that there is no one else to hang around camp and BS with, so I am out hunting more. I still prefer to hunt with a partner, mainly for safety reasons, but sometimes my partners can't go, and I am not going to stay home, so I hunt solo.

BobT
03-14-2012, 09:52 AM
I started out hunting solo when I was a kid, my Dad was a once a year deer hunter but that just wasn't enough for me. Over the years I just kept at it. I moved around a lot when I was in the Navy so really didn't have much choice a lot of times. I still prefer to go it alone most of the time, that way I know who to blame when something goes wrong and who to congratulate when everything comes together. I do hunt with my best friend quite a bit and have for over 30 years but it's certainly not a requirement. I never saw hunting as a social event, I hunt to kill stuff and I don't want to bet my tag on a group decision. I'm not anti-social or anything and I like to sit around the campfire and shoot the breeze as well as the next guy but when push comes to shove I'll usually go alone.

Bob

Timberstalker
03-14-2012, 12:33 PM
My way of solo hunting is a little differant, I do alot of hunting alone. I accually rather have it thay way most of the time. But I'm not real big on staying in the backcountry overnight so I just hike in and out every day. Its alot of hiking in the dark, but I would rater do that and have a comfortable camp an a good nights sleep. I may not get as far back in as alot of guys here, but where I hunt in Oregon its hard to get more than 10 miles from a road or trailhead. I agree that when your solo you tend to stay in the woods longer, and when it all comes together its more rewarding. The hardest part for me is planning on how to get the animal out without help, so I pack alot of gear that I don't always get to use.

Bitterroot Bulls
03-14-2012, 01:21 PM
The hardest part for me is planning on how to get the animal out without help

Oh yeah, easily the loneliest part of the hunt.

Kevin Root
03-14-2012, 01:36 PM
Oh yeah, easily the loneliest part of the hunt.

I actually enjoy a torturous pack out. It is what makes western hunting truly a unique experience. It makes the kill of the animal just the beginning of the adventure. Call me crazy but some of my best memories are when I am packing meat and hides off the mountain.

BKC
03-14-2012, 01:52 PM
Kevin, you sound like you are still young. I'll check back with you in about 10 years! :)

Muleys 24/7
03-14-2012, 02:11 PM
Like most... my closest huntin buddys were lucky enough to move out of state. I still have a few here but they don't have the bug like I do, so I started going by myself and really started liking it. I perfer going solo and even if the other guys go we all split up and regroup at night, at the base camp. After getting use to going solo it's not bad at all IMO. I actually think I hunt harder alone.

Jon Boy
03-14-2012, 02:17 PM
Call me crazy

Your crazy :)

This reminds me, I need to start a new thread on packing out an elk by yourself. I have yet to figure out what im going to do when I bring one of those beasts down by myself besides trying to bribe a rancher with some manual labor lol

Kevin Root
03-14-2012, 02:26 PM
Kevin, you sound like you are still young. I'll check back with you in about 10 years! :)

That made me smile BKC. :) I'm sure my ability to get out and do this type of thing will dwindle with some more years. I've read this quote, "Hunt when you can, you're gonna run outta health before you run outta money!" There is a lot of truth to that statement. I've been backpacking since I was 15 years old and love it.

I'm not looking forward to the day when my health will run out. I'm 51, average build but still enjoyed my Mule deer buck pack out last year solo up and down the mountains. It's very hard work and I know it sounds crazy but I still find it very, very rewarding. It is one of the highlights in the adventure that I look forward to.

hardstalk
03-14-2012, 02:33 PM
I started archery hunting for a bit more of a challenge I thought the craze would catch on with my buddies but to no avail. Therefore I went alone and have done so for a couple years I feel as much as physical training is a must so is mental training if your like me a week off of work is quite hard to come by so when I get the chance to go out I like to make the best of it. But the days become really really long when your solo. Which makes convincing yourself to turn back that much easier. One thing I might add which makes the evenings a bit easier is a nice night cap I prefer a shot or two of jack and it seems to wash awaY the what ifs and whatever noises the mountains make that you may not be used too in your own bed. Haven't packed out an animal yet but I'm over the hardest part... Staying out there and hunting hard.

Bitterroot Bulls
03-14-2012, 02:36 PM
Your crazy :)

This reminds me, I need to start a new thread on packing out an elk by yourself. I have yet to figure out what im going to do when I bring one of those beasts down by myself besides trying to bribe a rancher with some manual labor lol

That is a great idea, actually. Setting up a deal with somebody that has stock can save your apple.

While I enjoy working for what I get, too, I just can't agree with Kevin. the best part of the packout is setting my pack down on the tailgate.

Kevin Root
03-14-2012, 02:38 PM
Your crazy :)

This reminds me, I need to start a new thread on packing out an elk by yourself. I have yet to figure out what im going to do when I bring one of those beasts down by myself besides trying to bribe a rancher with some manual labor lol

For an elk or bigger, that does sound like a good option or get in touch with a horse/mule packer ahead of time and have or rent a satellite phone. When you get your animal you can arrange the pack out help for those bigger animals, depending how far back you get the animal. The Sat phones rentals are pretty reasonable as an option these days.

http://www.mobal.com/satellite-phone-rental/

Kevin Root
03-14-2012, 02:41 PM
While I enjoy working for what I get, too, I just can't agree with Kevin. the best part of the packout is setting my pack down on the tailgate.

Can't argue with that Bitterroot Bulls. That is a good feeling :D.

jay
03-14-2012, 02:47 PM
I myself like having at least one other person. I know its not always possible, so on those days I adjust my hunt. It's more for company, motivation, safety, and of course another set of hands if something gets the sleeping pill. I give those who go out alone for days in the backcountry a ton of credit, that takes some cajones!

Bitterroot Bulls
03-14-2012, 02:54 PM
For an elk or bigger, that does sound like a good option or get in touch with a horse/mule packer ahead of time and have or rent a satellite phone. When you get your animal you can arrange the pack out help for those bigger animals, depending how far back you get the animal. The Sat phones rentals are pretty reasonable as an option these days.

http://www.mobal.com/satellite-phone-rental/

You can also set up one of your SPOT messages to get ahold of your packer, complete with lat/long and a link to google maps so he/she knows where to go.

Timberstalker
03-14-2012, 03:09 PM
the best part of the packout is setting my pack down on the tailgate.

I will never forget 9/17/2011 @ 8:00pm, when I took my pack frame loaded with the head and horns from my ram and set it on the tailgate. After two weeks of solo hunting, I've never felt more relief and gratification, and probably never will.

Fish
03-14-2012, 03:51 PM
Well said Timberstalker. I packed a few bucks 5-7 miles out of the Cascade mts on the high buck hunt, and doing it all buy yourself makes the hunt even more worth it.

Kevin Root
03-14-2012, 03:57 PM
You can also set up one of your SPOT messages to get ahold of your packer, complete with lat/long and a link to google maps so he/she knows where to go.

The SPOT is a great tool. My wife loves the SPOT tracking me and my check in prearranged messages. It gives her a bit more comfort getting a message that I'm ok check in from me. Sending a message direct to a packer via SPOT. That's a good idea Bitterroot Bulls.

mthuntress
03-15-2012, 03:11 AM
Just did it!I love to see what's on the other side of the mountain.It was like a fire inside me and it was the only way to put it out.And now I can't get enough of it.

Elk Hunter
03-23-2012, 12:07 AM
I originally started solo hunting because I couldn't find anyone who wanted to pack in with me, and I was going regardless. I usually limit myself to about 5 miles in and as far from any trail as I can get. Don't see nearly as many people that way, but I see a lot more elk, take a lot more pictures, and I know a lot more about how to bone out and process a critter than I knew before. The longest I have every been in is 2.5 weeks, and I have packed out three elk by myself. You don't have to worry about gaining any weight. I actually work at trying not to lose any. Did have one bad knife incident the first time, but I am much better prepared for such things now. Came close to being trampled by elk at night a few times, and it is not unusual for them to keep you awake at night bugling next to your tent. One year I had a herd of 13 elk bed down next to my tent the night before season opened. I have heard that backpacking in to hunt like I do is called extreme hunting. Whatever the label I would say the way to get better is to keep doing it. !!!WARNING!!! Solo hunting can become addictive.

jenbickel
03-23-2012, 08:45 AM
I started solo hunting because I didn't have a choice. It was either go alone or don't go at all. I'd much rather just go alone if those are the options! I started out just solo shed hunting then last year it grew to solo antelope and elk hunting. I kind of like it because I can go at my own pace , go where I want to go and not hear any complaining that we are going too far. Im very social so it does get lonely. I usually end up talking to myself or the trees.

Zim
03-24-2012, 02:30 AM
I had to get used to hunting solo out west because the majority of the time my buddies procrastinated. Then I got bonus points everywhere and they don't. After several trips I wanted the barrier to entry that was backpacking, to limit competition. So since then I have drawn several tags in areas where backpacking held advantages. Last year I packed in 4 miles and scored a 330" elk with my bow. At 52, one concession I made though is to not kid myself I could pack it out solo from there. I hired a local to bring a horse and pack it out.

To handle the solitude during my hunt, I take a cell phone, tiny radio, bear spray, and a Spot Messenger. They act as my security and substitute for live company.

NDHunter
03-24-2012, 08:21 AM
I usually end up talking to myself or the trees.

I'll bet the trees are glad when you are done hunting Jen so that they can get some peace and quiet. :D

2Below
03-24-2012, 10:27 AM
I went solo the season before last. I had planned on going with my brother, but he ended up unable to go. I thought about just not going, but my wife said "if you can't go by yourself, how are you going to take your boys." That of course is a very good point and anytime your wife tells you to "man up" you pretty much have to do it.

The first trip was tough. The days were ok, but the nights were long. Though the first night in, I heard my first ever bugle as I was setting up my tent. That was really cool and is something I won't forget. I made it three nights, I didn't come out with an elk, but I did come out with confidence that I can pack in solo if I need to (which may happen this year).

sjsmallfield
03-24-2012, 06:38 PM
I'll bet the trees are glad when you are done hunting Jen so that they can get some peace and quiet. :D

LMAO. That is awesome!

MT Muley
03-24-2012, 10:04 PM
I have been hunting by myself for awhile now. I grew up hunting with some of my best friends in the world... I still cherish those memories with them.. But, things change and I am the only one of the gang that still hunts. I have never minded being by myself though to be honest. Sure there are things I miss about being with friends, but anymore, I like the solitude. I like being on my schedule and hunting the way that I want to hunt. I have tried hunting with a few new hunting friends, but it hasn't worked out.

BKC
03-25-2012, 02:35 PM
3012 Finding someone to hunt how you want to, where you want to and when you want to is tough. I have found that Pete is always ready to go. Is this still considered solo hunting?

packer58
03-25-2012, 10:38 PM
3012 Finding someone to hunt how you want to, where you want to and when you want to is tough. I have found that Pete is always ready to go. Is this still considered solo hunting?

Yes it is !!!!!!!, as long as you do all the talking :D

HuntinFool
03-25-2012, 11:40 PM
Im very social so it does get lonely. I usually end up talking to myself or the trees.
Typical woman, always has to be talking. :)

NDHunter
03-27-2012, 08:14 PM
I don't know about everyone else, but I think one of the biggest downsides to hunting and also fishing by yourself is that it just isn't as fun when you have a great experience and don't have anyone else to share it with. I've had days where I've gone fishing with my brother-in-laws for an entire day, never had one bite and yet we all had a blast. Then I've had other days when I've caught a bunch of fish or had an awesome hunt by myself, but it just wasn't quite as fun. So for me, that is a big negative for going by yourself....

Bitterroot Bulls
03-27-2012, 10:10 PM
I don't know about everyone else, but I think one of the biggest downsides to hunting and also fishing by yourself is that it just isn't as fun when you have a great experience and don't have anyone else to share it with. I've had days where I've gone fishing with my brother-in-laws for an entire day, never had one bite and yet we all had a blast. Then I've had other days when I've caught a bunch of fish or had an awesome hunt by myself, but it just wasn't quite as fun. So for me, that is a big negative for going by yourself....

Yeah, the celebration is definitely better with a partner, but the satisfaction of doing it on your own is pretty great in a different way.

packer58
03-27-2012, 10:35 PM
Yeah, the celebration is definitely better with a partner, but the satisfaction of doing it on your own is pretty great in a different way.

I agree that it's easier to dish out high 5's if there's another pair of hands around :). But my own personal experience is that after months of planning, preporation, getting to the hunting grounds and grinding it out day after day alone. Once it all comes together and I get my animal on the ground that's when the emotional tidal wave arrives. Sometimes it takes me a couple of hours before i can start breaking down the animal. After I pull myself together the work starts, once I get the last load to the tailgate the second emotional wave hits, so I just sit there and reflect.

Red 1
03-27-2012, 11:09 PM
I agree that it's easier to dish out high 5's if there's another pair of hands around :). But my own personal experience is that after months of planning, preporation, getting to the hunting grounds and grinding it out day after day alone. Once it all comes together and I get my animal on the ground that's when the emotional tidal wave arrives. Sometimes it takes me a couple of hours before i can start breaking down the animal. After I pull myself together the work starts, once I get the last load to the tailgate the second emotional wave hits, so I just sit there and reflect.

I hope this is how I feel at the end of my hunt this year. I have had plenty of trips with freinds where I had wished I was alone.

RobinHood
03-30-2012, 11:32 PM
For me the greatest feeling has been sending out the first text message with photos attached. "I did it"

Then the response is, "by yourself?"

And with a tear filled smile I replied, "Yessir..."

One thing that has helped me is taking a hunting magazine with good bucks in it and then sticking a pic of my family to the wall of my tent. Then when you begin to bargain and negotiate with yourself, you can look at that pic of your fam and the magazine. This helps me to set my priorities straight and realize l have one goal and only one way to accomplish it... Man up, stay on the mountain and get the job done. Thats just my 2 cents.

Red 1
04-02-2012, 12:13 AM
For me the greatest feeling has been sending out the first text message with photos attached. "I did it"

Then the response is, "by yourself?"

And with a tear filled smile I replied, "Yessir..."

One thing that has helped me is taking a hunting magazine with good bucks in it and then sticking a pic of my family to the wall of my tent. Then when you begin to bargain and negotiate with yourself, you can look at that pic of your fam and the magazine. This helps me to set my priorities straight and realize l have one goal and only one way to accomplish it... Man up, stay on the mountain and get the job done. Thats just my 2 cents.

Great advice

Wyoflightmedic
06-10-2012, 12:57 AM
I have done solo from base camps and remote sites. Knowing your limits , planning and being very goal oriented has made my hunts fun. I give myself 2-3 lbs for ipod, and reward snacks for meeting my goals. Try going solo before season to test your mental and physical Abilities. Also test your equipment. Pack out 50 pounds of rocks and head back to your camp and can You do that 3-4 more times in 24 hours. Good luck!

Roger L
06-28-2012, 08:58 PM
Here in California you are allowed to hunt deer/ pigs/ bear with dogs. My duck duck dog goes along with me and she's always great company and completely useless (my preference) as a deer/pig/ bear dog.
They make great companions on a solo hunt.Fortunately for me, but not the dog, I've drawn late season deer and elk tag for Nevada. I am trying to figure out how to bring the dog, chase a few chukar and back pack into the back country without having to lug a dog crate.

Muleys 24/7
06-29-2012, 07:43 AM
Here in California you are allowed to hunt deer/ pigs/ bear with dogs.

I think you better check the hunting regs..... I'm 99% sure you CAN'T hunt/pursue deer with dogs in Califorina. I'll look it up later, don't have time now.

JNDEER
06-29-2012, 09:19 AM
I think you better check the hunting regs..... I'm 99% sure you CAN'T hunt/pursue deer with dogs in Califorina. I'll look it up later, don't have time now.

That would be a big 10-4!

I think what he meant to say was that it would not be illegal to have a dog with him while he is hunting, at least I hope that is what he meant.

goindeep
06-29-2012, 10:21 AM
Where in the regs does it say that a dog cannot be used for deer hunting? The only restrictions that I know of are; no dogs allowed during archery season of deer and bear, and only ONE dog may be used to pursue mammals during the general deer season.

trkytrack2
06-29-2012, 11:24 PM
Heck; I thought you just wanted to rid yourself of the guy's you had been hunting with. I was gonna say....just piss them off real good and your on your own.
But in answer to your question, like others, I've gone both ways and although I enjoy the company with a fellow hunter, I find I kind of enjoy the one on one with myself quite a bit. But it can get lonely once in awhile. Ya just have to keep at it and enjoy your own company.

freddogs
07-02-2012, 09:03 PM
It's nice to have a good partner with you hunting. Some times your good partner can't go and I would rather hunt alone then with a poor partner. Over the years I often hunt alone. It's my game plan and I choose how I hunt. I don't pack intothe wilderness for days but I can drive to WY from WI and hunt on my own. I stay in motels and just hunt somewhere for a day. There are people around to talk to if I want to. A deer or antelope or turkey or game birds are not that bad to pack out.
I often find it relaxing to sit in the woods and squirrel hunt by myself some morning or afternoon. That's how I got started hunting by myself.
Some times a hunting partner isn't ready for a big hunt and they can decrease your enjoyment if they want to go home early because they miss their family or they are just tired of hunting.
A good bunch of people to hunt with have the same dedication to hunt as you do. If I can't find a dedicated hunter to go with. I go solo.

Muleys 24/7
07-02-2012, 10:16 PM
Where in the regs does it say that a dog cannot be used for deer hunting? The only restrictions that I know of are; no dogs allowed during archery season of deer and bear, and only ONE dog may be used to pursue mammals during the general deer season.

I think your right...... I thought I read it somewhere before that it was prohibited. I'd never go that route. Well I'm sure it'll be illegal soon.....come on, it's califorina. haha

Drhorsepower
07-03-2012, 12:14 AM
I think your right...... I thought I read it somewhere before that it was prohibited. I'd never go that route. Well I'm sure it'll be illegal soon.....come on, it's califorina. haha

I know in late 90's early 2k, it was illegal in certain counties I want to say. Things have changed probably.

tim
07-06-2012, 05:57 PM
a good way to beat the lonliness is to bring in a little ipod with speaker or little transitor radio. i prefer the radio because you hear the dj talking. my little radio also has the noaa weather station on it. Handy little piece of equipment. Also if you don't like doing other mountain activities solo you won't like hunting solo. Getting game out is a big deal, but it is very manageable if you don't over do it. And one guy can get an elk out, parachute cord goes along way and also. the biggest thing an indvidual needs in backcountry solo hunting is self confidence. Not cocky, but make sure you know you can do it. And it helps if you have done it. Start with a simple overnighter and work up from there.

quicknick
07-06-2012, 08:22 PM
My father and I have been hunting partners since I was 10 but now I moved further away and my interests are changing. He loves driving around in his jeep and stopping on every hill to glass. We killed a lot of deer that way but I always found myself getting out and hiking off the road (killed a lot of deer that way too). I have an intense calling to start back country hunting which he has no interest in whatsoever. I believe that makes me a solo hunter come this season as I'm going to start doing short backpacking trips in D8. It will be interesting and hopefully rewarding.

Old Hunter
07-17-2012, 09:57 AM
Hunted with my dad from 52 to 82 when he passed. I've hunted alone ever since. Going to be 70 this year, and still doing it alone. Probably safe to say i'm not going to change.

Brady
07-23-2012, 06:30 PM
Hunted with my dad from 52 to 82 when he passed. I've hunted alone ever since. Going to be 70 this year, and still doing it alone. Probably safe to say i'm not going to change.

I hope I'm still at it at 70, I'm 26 right now.

Old Hunter
07-24-2012, 08:40 AM
Clean living, lots of exercise, and a good attitude will get you there. I'm hoping to have another 10years of hunting in me.

Herman Sniffles
11-22-2012, 09:52 PM
In California you can hunt deer with ONE dog in certain zones, but not in others. The D zones are doggy zones, X zones are definitely not. Much of California is just a massive brush-pile due to poor logging practices and fire suppression. I hunt D3 which is basically just one huge tangle of impenetrable brush unless you are in a clear cut, above the tree line, or down in the central valley. I have two rat terriers that I use (one at a time) and they can be very helpful. It's kind of like pheasant hunting, you better be pretty fast on the draw when Sparky's nose meets Bambi's butt. And the mutts come in very handy if you have to track a wounded deer. Those noses they have are something else. And as a certified solo hunter, I enjoy their company and like listening to their stories when they haven't been drinking.

Drhorsepower
11-22-2012, 10:21 PM
In California you can hunt deer with ONE dog in certain zones, but not in others. The D zones are doggy zones, X zones are definitely not. Much of California is just a massive brush-pile due to poor logging practices and fire suppression. I hunt D3 which is basically just one huge tangle of impenetrable brush unless you are in a clear cut, above the tree line, or down in the central valley. I have two rat terriers that I use (one at a time) and they can be very helpful. It's kind of like pheasant hunting, you better be pretty fast on the draw when Sparky's nose meets Bambi's butt. And the mutts come in very handy if you have to track a wounded deer. Those noses they have are something else. And as a certified solo hunter, I enjoy their company and like listening to their stories when they haven't been drinking.

I think that changed this year, not 100% positive though.

JMSZ
01-28-2013, 02:34 PM
I went out on my first solo trip this past fall. My family are all back east and I haven't ran into anybody I that I know well enough to hunt with.

I went up planning to head out and stay in the backcountry, but ended up staying back in the camp where I parked and heading out each day by myself to hunt.

The first night up there, I was at a little camp site just off the road and it was completely dark before I started to set up camp. I'm used to going places for my job or the reserves and being by myself, but this is a completely different kind of alone.

The second night, I found a camp where another guy was based out of and stayed there. It was nice having a little human interaction when I got back to camp at night. I also didn't bring anything stronger than gatorade and coffee. He had some Patron and was generous with it. A few sips of that definintely takes the edge off and I will be getting myself a flask for next year.

When I was out during the day, awesome only begins to describe it. Eating lunch on the top of a mountain, looking out to the north and west the Sierra Nevadas. Walking down to the edge of a meadow and seeing beds...sitting behind a tree and hearing branches breaking as something moves through the woods off to my side. Feeling my heart rate pick up.

It's nice not having anybody else around then... you set your own pace, you don't have to worry about somebody else moving or making noise or wanting to go back to camp.

I'm making some equipment changes and from now on, I have to plan on going up and spending a day getting acclimated to the altitude (9,000') before I head out.

But, since going up, I can't stop thinking about wanting to be up there, how I'm going to pack, how I will pack out an animal, where I will want to go next year.

arrowslinger21
02-01-2013, 08:06 PM
I didn't read this whole thread so I don't know what has already been discussed completely and what hasn't, but I wanted to comment and didn't have the time to read 6 pages, so I will enter into the conversation here.

For me it is incredibly hard to hunt with people anymore. Outside of my dad who I hunt with some still, most people become more of a hindrance than anything. It is hard mostly because everyone has different expectations. Some guys like tents, some guys like bivys, some guys go without shelter all together. Other times guys camp in the bottom near water, while harcore mulie hunters may go 2-3 days without a water source at a time. It just is hard to find someone on the same page with you in every aspect, and then have them want to hunt the same place, at the same time, for the same animal where only one of you will probably get a shot at best.

My very first trip solo was when I was probably about 16 or 17 for a day trip, and just after I got out of high school I branched off and started doing backcountry hunts for 4-5 days at a time solo. I had always hunted deep with my dad up until then, but after high school I just had a different schedule so I went on my own. I remember my first trip out was just a one nighter, and it was different but I just pushed myself to get to sleep and not worry about it. The next year I did a 4 nighter and never thought twice and I've never looked back since.

I work for a forestry company so I am also in the woods 5 days a week for 10 hours a day, and about 97% of that work is all timber cruising that is done 100% by myself, so being in the woods is nothing new for me. However, the overnight stay by yourself when you are a long way from the truck can be a bit intimidating, but I think once a guy just bites the bullet and tries it, you will really learn to like it. I dont really have any tips for making it easier other than increasing your experience and exposure with it.

sagehunter
06-24-2013, 11:57 AM
I started hunting solo because no one would go with me. It was a little difficult at first but I got used to it pretty quick and really like it. I think I may be a little bit crazier than most hunters. I love to go far and hard/fast. My first backcountry solo elk hunt I hiked into a wilderness area 7 miles in the middle of the night before the opener. I made camp around 2 a.m. and woke up at six with 6 huge mule deer bucks 100 yards away from me. I shot a bull with my bow later that day on the other side of a 12000 foot peak. It was great and im addicted to bowhunting the backcountry. When I train I do it the same way far, hard and fast. I have turned off some friends from hunting with me because of this so I just keep going solo. I am always more successful solo, I do whatever I feel like doing and go as hard as I feel like going. Cameron Hanes book Backcountry Bowhunting really got me excited and helped me with the idea of solo hunting. Be smart, prepared, and give it a try.

25contender
06-24-2013, 08:59 PM
I like this thread!! This year will be my 20th elk season and 1/2 of those I have done at least one week solo. My good friend could not always do a two week trip and I have always planned on doing two weeks in late September. I truely believe you hunt more efficient, smarter, and expend less energy hunting solo. It also gives you the ability to move when you have too. I actually find I hunt better and longer when I am solo but as most have stated it is nice to have at least one good friend with you. When I did my first trip solo I had some restless nights but over came that pretty quick. Of those 20 seasons I have really only split my time between two different general areas in Montana. I have learned that it is almost always better to know a few areas really good than to know a bunch of areas marginally. The wife does not care for me going solo but to me there is something extremely self satisfying about solo hunting in the high country. Very seldom do I see anyone and I am pretty surprised if I do. I always have a plan before I start especially when it comes time to pack out a Elk on a solo trip. I have packed out my share over the years by myself and though it is not easy I know I can get it done without loosing any meat and that is the most important thing to me. I wouldn't call it extreme hunting but time alone is a rare thing for me and it gives me a great chance to regroup and think back over my life. The more I go out on my own the more I appreciate what living in this country is truly about. Man just look up at the sky in the high country on a clear cold night and listen to the Elk bugling off in the distance!!! it absolutely does not get any better than that.
Mark