Should it be this hard?
My 2012 season was not what i was expecting. Oregon has been fairly good to me over the years as far as hunting goes. But as time goes on, I find it harder to find success. One would think that afte hunting some areas for over 20 years it would get easier?
I hunted deer a total of 18 days. I saw a total of 13 bucks most of those were one day when I ran into an area that held 9 bucks. None of them ever let me get into bow range.
I also hunted elk in the Cascades with a rifle, I have hunted this area for many years. I typicaly don't have a problem finding elk there. This year I hunted 7 straight days and never saw an elk.
I sometimes wonder if I am trying too hard, I hunt harder than most people I know, I always have. But lately it seems no matter how hard I hunt, I see less game now than I used to.
I have respect for the people on this site, I wonder what you think. I know I'm not a bad hunter, I've had too much success for a bad hunter. Should 18 days of deer hunting and 7 days elk hunting end up with tag soup? Do I need to start hunting out of state?
I have several relatives on my wife's side of the family in Eastern Oregon. I deer hunted it once but I didn't see a buck, not even a spike. I read the Oregon hunters magazine and they almost always paint a dismal picture of their deer/elk herds. I drew a tag this year and didn't bother to even buy it, the hunting there isn't worth the cost of flying from Alaska and buying the tag.
I know at least 2 different guys there that admit to herding elk off of public land using airplanes and ATV's and onto land either owned or leased by them, many thousands of acres. They call and report anyone for trespassing that might try and pursue the elk.
I can still find some birds to hunt there and still get preference points in case I change my mind someday, but I sure won't be spending much of my money to hunt big game there, at least not anytime soon.
Sometimes, I think a guy can get in a rut, and when you're continually not seeing game, you start getting down on yourself. Then, when you're hunting, you stop looking as hard (cause you're not gonna see anything anyways), which, or course means you're not gonna see anything.
Last year, I had a brutal year, going about 6 straight days of not seeing a deer, which is completely unheard of around here. Then my season hadn't been very good up until the point that I killed my nicest bow kill to date, with 2 days left in the season. The night before I killed my deer, I went back home and spent the evening with my wife, just to get my head back on straight. I got back in the woods with renewed energy, and a better view of what was really important, which is the time we get to spend in the outdoors. Then, while just enjoying the woods for what it is, I smoked a giant 8 point.
Don't put too much pressure on yourself, and enjoy the hunt for what it is.
Think of it this way:
You got 18 unsuccessful days out of the way to your next buck. You are 7 days closer to your next bull.
The poor times make the good times that much sweeter.
Perfectly said Bitterroot, Thanks!
I think we all need some tough seasons to make us appreciate the good ones.
Every seasoned hunter goes through a tough year. Six years ago I was pumped about getting to take the whole week of muzzleloader off here in OK. My work schedule has never allowed that. It turned out extremely hot & windy most of the week. I saw very few deer seven consecutive days. On day 8, (day before it closed) I killed a nice 8 point right at sunrise. I was walking back to the house to get my truck & there was 5 does standing behind my shop. I snuck up there & shot the biggest doe she ran toward the house & died about 50 yards from my backdoor! If you stay hooked up it will pay off.
I hear ya stalker. My dad, brother and I hunted two weeks for elk this year and saw two cows. While my brothers boss road hunted the area around where we were hiking and shot a spike. We hunted hard and got nowhere. But Bitterroot said it best, we are that much closer (hopefully).
I look at it this way, any day out hunting is better than a good day at work. Sometimes the areas we know the best the animals are just not there that year. Some areas I have hunted for years that produce year after year just don't have game in them any more. I don't know why, so I have had to learn new areas. Maybe you just need to move a little and see where they have gone.
Animals move around, weather patterns change, fires burn, every year is different. Could just be an off year, but if its getting worse year after year consistently, its time to move to some different areas.
Last year was my worst year ever, ate tag soup for all 4 non-resident tags in 4 different states. This year I only picked up 2, but have filled them and am itching to find something late season to go do next month. The droughts make it that much sweeter when you get back on a good stretch.