First, thank you to everyone who took part in my first segment of "Becoming a Better Hunter". Now on to part two.
Last year was my first mule deer hunt in CO. I drew a left over tag for GMU 37, 371, 18, 28. I did a late summer scouting trip south of I-70 in unit 37. I discovered the area was very thick cover, and the results were less than ideal. At the last minute I sought out the advice of others and shifted my focus north into unit 28.
I spent the remainder of the summer studying maps and looking for the right spot. I found the spot I wanted, and two weeks before the season, I called the wildlife biologist and validated my thoughts on the area. A week before the season started, I made a quick last minute scouting trip. I saw several does, one small buck, but more importantly I got the lay of the land.
The season came, and I had 4 nights/3 mornings to get the job done. The first morning came, I got to my spot, and suddenly saw a line of deer walk 75 yards directly in front of me. Unfortunately there were 9 does/fawn, no bucks. The next morning I returned to the same spot, and spotted a small buck about 500 yards out, but in a steep area I couldn't get. The third morning I headed to the location of the small buck. Unfortunately I setup about 200 yards too high up the mountain and missed an opportunity (more on that in the 3rd post). Each afternoon I glassed, walked, tracked, and kept looking for better areas.
So here in lies the question: how much time do you spend in committed to one spot? How far are you willing to deviate from the area you scouted? At what point do you call it a loss, and drive the truck a few miles up the road? The same question goes for spotting. Do you tell yourself there's deer in here you just have to find them, or do you head on down the road?
The last night I hunted, I walked off the the mountains with another hunter. I asked his plan for the next day, and he said he was headed about 5 miles up the road for the next day. Immediately I started question whether I should have done the same a day sooner (as the rookie I figured he knew more than I). On the drive home (empty handed), I struggled with whether I was over-committed to the area or if persistence and patience was the right approach.
Please share your insights, and thank you again in advance.