View Full Version : Going hunting by myself...
December 21, 2007, 10:26 AM
My wife is out of town visiting her family in Louisiana, and I seem to have found myself with a lot of time and 3 days to spend it on. I've been cooped up in the house now for two days and I'm going stir crazy looking for things to do other than go out into the crowds of Christmas shoppers ::shudder::
So I'm going down to the hunting lease to get some time in. I have a planned trip to the lease next weekend, but I figure it won't hurt to get down there twice before season is over. I've still got plenty of open tag's available and there's no sense not using them when we have loads of doe on our property. I still have a buck tag too...
Problem is, nobody else on the lease can get away this weekend, the landowner doesn't allow guests, and I've never gone hunting or camping alone. It's in a rural area, but populated and I have cell phone service on the entire property in case of emergency. The idea of hunting/camping alone sounds like fun, but the logistics are somewhat daunting. I need to gather some brush wood for a fire, I'll be cooking for one, and setting up and breaking camp on my own. I'm perfectly capable of handling all of this, as I usually do most of it anyway when there are others at camp with me. I'm looking forward to it in all honesty. The only thing that bothers me is the idea that the logistics may take up more time than I want to spend on them, but that's not too big of a deal...
Anybody else ever hunted or camped alone? Throw me some tips or advice on things to do to pass the time, safety tips, etc.
Wild Bill Bucks
December 21, 2007, 10:35 AM
Keep your cell phone on your person somewhere, so if you fall or get hurt, you can get your hands on it.
Last year I had a freind that fell out of his stand, and broke his leg. His cell phone was in his back-pack up in the tree stand, and he spent 3 hours laying there, before someone rescued him.
December 21, 2007, 10:53 AM
Just make sure that someone knows where you will be hunting. Set it up so that you are to call that person by a certain time on a certain date. That way if something happens to you he or she can call help for you.
Otherwise, hunting and camping alone is almost a religous experience. One time I spent five whole days without seeing another person or saying a single word. Wonderful!!!
December 21, 2007, 10:58 AM
I do it all the time; yeah, keep your cell phone (turned off :) ) in a readily-accessible pocket in your clothing, preferably in the pockets in a coat which are up high in the chest area - easy to access if you are hurt.
If you're hunting with a treestand, have an easily accesible knife (or 2 or 3) which you can open/use with one hand, so that if you fall and hang from your harness and can't get back up, you can release yourself to the ground. I use a neck knife.
Don't run your car electric system with the key in the ON position without the motor running, such as to charge your cell phone or spotlight, listen to the radio, etc. Otherwise you're looking at a long walk to find someone to jump you. One of those power packs that are a mobile jumpstart are not a bad idea if you can afford one. Since I have a standard transmission vehicle, I always park at the top of a slope facing down, so that if I run out of juice, I can start it by popping the clutch.
As mentioned, let someone know where you will be and WHEN you expect you will be home.
Beyond that, just generally don't do anything stupid. :p
December 21, 2007, 12:36 PM
I dont really know what to say to this, but obviously things can go wrong in the woods, and you do have a family to get back to. However, there was a day before cell phones and folks took off into the woods to hunt for days with nothing but a pocket full of matches and a fry pan. Go out and enjoy time alone in the woods. Maybee you'll have to improvise a little, and maybee you'll have a good story to tell.
December 21, 2007, 12:38 PM
I've hunted elk and moose alone numerous times - one time I winter camped alone as well. I can't really add to the suggestions above, other than get some training on Wilderness Survival and/or Wilderness First Aid. I've read up on survival and I've had the good fortune to take a Wilderness First Aid course twice. This will potentially save your life if you ever get hurt.
Have a successful and safe hunt!
December 21, 2007, 05:39 PM
I go hunting by myself a LOT and there are do's and don'ts with everything. DO leave info where you are or will be, when you expect to be back, and take along the cellphone. Don't forget the firstaid kit, extra clothes, a space blanket and fire making stuff, WATER, an extra knife or two where you can reach them!, and an extra harness if you are into climbing trees. Gather twice as much wood as you think you need, take time to set up your fireplace and prep meals you can fix after dark if needed, and a can opener (yeah, we forgot it once this year). If you hunt alone you have nobody to blame for spooking game but yourself, and you can wear full camo if there isn't anyone else around. Make sure you have a good battery and the cables are tight. Stick a set of jumpers in the trunk (box) and take extra ammo. DO BE CAREFUL and don't tire your self out early in the day so you can make it back to camp by nightfall. Take trail marking tape if you go where few people go to mark your way out and your stand. Don't take chances! CB.
December 21, 2007, 07:48 PM
Be safe and have fun.
I've camped and hunted alone a few times.
Mostly I think of both as communal activities much more fun when you're sharing.
I don't know you or your situation so any advice would probably miss the mark. If you've got any common sense you'll do fine.
December 21, 2007, 09:16 PM
Oh yeah, another thing. Carry 2 or 3 compasses with you at all times, and if it's cold at all, do NOT get wet, and have a space blanket and plenty of warm clothes to wrap up in in case you have to sleep overnight away from camp. And what crowbeaner said - mark trails with tape and such if you're in unfamiliar territory.
December 21, 2007, 10:31 PM
I go camping alone several times a year. LL Bean and several other companies make a great survival radio that runs on batteries and a hand crank, the new models can charge a cell phone too.
Bring a good led headlamp and at least one good book, carry a well stocked survival kit with you at all times, bring a good topo map and keep it dry, and even though several people have said this it bears repeating; let someone know where you are and when you'll be back.
December 22, 2007, 12:52 AM
I almost always hunt by myself. Have been for over 30 years. Started out bowhunting with a recurve at 17 and wanted to be sure I was quiet enough, then just started enjoying the solitude. It is great to be with friends and enjoy each others company doing what we enjoy doing, but being alone gets you back in touch with yourself.
I always study maps before I go to a new area, let my wife know where I will be hunting, and carry a cell phone. Not that I can always use it, but it makes my wife feel better. One hunt a couple years back I had to hike 3 miles to the top of a mountain to call her and almost killed myself on the way back down. Now she is a little less insistent about me calling every day.
December 22, 2007, 05:26 AM
Hunting alone is, as someone else said, a DIFFERENT experence than hunting with someone. And it's to be remembered that a day long hunt alone is not the same as a few nights alone.
A few times I've loaded up my small boat with all my gear and crossed over to Cumberland Island, in Georgia, to camp and hunt alone. In a situation like that being a Boy Scout, as in "BE PREPAIRED", is much more important than in the day long hunt alone.
Make lists. Check them TWICE. Critical items, the compass someone mentioned being a example, should be available in redundency.
As for the experence being different. What I noted is that there is a certian sense of satisfaction in doing it all by yourself. The selfreliance factor and the learning that you can do things alone is very satisfying.
I was never in the military but I think this is something folks in the military, especially the really special guys, the Rangers and Seals and the like, have in them that makes them always, even after being out of the military for 30 years, carry themselves different and behave a little different. They've done things alone that most of us have never been asked to do. And they know they can do them, and you've got to respect them for doing it.
In a small way, for certianly hunting alone is not near the same as what our military folks are exposed to, the beilef in your own ability for self reliance will be enhansed.
Go for it.....................
December 22, 2007, 09:28 AM
I do it, and not as often as I would like...as the previous post stated, it's a different experience. I'm around people constantly, and it's a great way to recharge the batteries. I also have had some great talks w/ God out there alone. When I do this, I like to truely rough it. No camp house, no trailer, just out in the woods...Sometimes just w/ a sleeping bag and campfire...no tent. I do this down the National Seashore (padre Island) in the summer quite a bit in the 4x4 section...It's fishing and not hunting, but the end result is the same. Bright stary skies and no one to interrupt. quite...still...bright night skies...You notice a lot of things you never noticed before. BUT here's some do's that have been stated, but they are worth repeating...make a plan, let someone know when you are leaving, and when you are returning. Carry your cell. Turn the ringer completely off. Think about what you need to take, but take as little as possible. Don't forget the toilet paper:D.
Have fun and enjoy yourself!
December 22, 2007, 10:09 AM
I prefer to hunt and camp by myself.
December 22, 2007, 11:36 AM
I hunt on my own a lot. I always carry a snake bite kit, space blanket, knife, signal mirror, fire lighting gear, milspec poncho that can be turned into a shelter (I hunt in snowy mountains), some energy bars,mobile telephone and an Emergency positioning beacon (EPIRB) the latter is a small back packer model.
If the farm uses walkie talkies to communicate, I ask the farmer what frequency they use.
Carry a map and compass and know how to use it- DO not be one of these jokers who use a GPS for nav and don't know how to do it the old way.
Tell someone where you are going and how long you will be out and stick to this.
December 22, 2007, 11:42 PM
For anyone going places that are dangerous to get lost in or hurt in, be sure to read 98.6 degrees, the art of keeping your *ss alive. awesome, awesome book!
December 23, 2007, 12:39 AM
I have camped and hunted alone at the deer lease for the past 3 or 4 years, when no one else could go. I try to be extra careful when climbing into the tree stand and try to avoid doing anything in a daredevil nature. I carry my cell phone (off while hunting) in my shirt pocket and always have 2 sharp knives on my person. I hunt where and when I want and have a great time. It is lonely at times but I enjoy being in the woods and camping alone.
December 23, 2007, 09:23 AM
I love going alone and do it all the time. I carry a small survival kit with water and food in a backpack at all times, along with cell phone. The advice about treestand safety and the "cutaway" knife is very good. Make sure the knife is accessible from either hand and doesn't require you to reach far.
I'm like the OP in that I usually end up doing all the work when I camp with friends. The trick is to do as much prepwork before hand as you can. Don't plan big complicated meals and try to be as efficient as possible in what you pack and choose to do.
December 23, 2007, 11:04 AM
Yesterday, I went rabbit hunting up here in northern Wisconsin. It is a good thing that I were shooting glasses (saftey glasses). I had walked into a branch that hit my glasses and then put cut on the side of my nose. If I had not wore these glasses I could have damaged my eye. So wear shooting/saftey glasses, carry a cellphone and tell someone were & when you hunting.
I got 2 snowshoe rabbits. :)
December 23, 2007, 12:05 PM
What I learned from years and years of solo camping and hunting had little to do with "stuff" I'd brought along.
1. Learn how to walk in rough, rolling-rock country without falling.
2. Learn how to fall without hurting yourself. Little stuff like roll onto a shoulder, don't stick your hands out so you can break your wrists.
3. Cllimbing to a stand: Always do the three-point thing. Two hands, one foot; or, two feet, one hand. Never load your weight on just one hand and one foot. A limb or ladder rung can break.
Just three days? A couple of cans of soup or chili, and crackers. Salami and cheese in the cooler, but don't forget the bread. Mayonnaise or mustard is optional, but mustard keeps better when the ice is all melted. At least a five-gallon jerry can of water. Instant coffee, etc. A wee drop of the creature for around the campfire.
January 2, 2008, 11:51 AM
Probably late with this -
If you are going alone, but are using a central camp point (your truck, tent, etc) do not kill yourself on the logistics. You are really there to hunt, so you won't need (or want) to spend a lot of time sitting around the campfire.
Food - PB&J sandwiches are great, a few cans of soup to have a warm meal at night, a one burner stove to warm it up on.
If I can break away for a quick solo hunt during archer elk season, I just sleep in my truck. If I am by myself, the only reason I sleep is because it is dark and can't hunt. Food is important only as energy to hunt.
Enjoy the quiet!
January 2, 2008, 12:19 PM
+1 on almost everything said here. One thing to toss in though...batteries. If you bring devices (flashlight, cell, GPS, whatever) extra batteries are a must. Besides, in a pinch, I've heard one can use steel wool and a battery to start a fire. Never tried that one though.
January 2, 2008, 06:43 PM
I've heard one can use steel wool and a battery to start a fire. Never tried that one though.
Works best with a 9-volt and fine (but not super-fine) steel wool. It's easier and more reliable than a match in windy/wet conditions.
January 2, 2008, 09:35 PM
Just remember to face away from the fire. When you're alone the boogers can get you from behind if you just sit there and watch the fire. :eek:
Seriously, I always hunt alone but I'm really particular about climbing and other foolish things.
January 3, 2008, 12:45 PM
Didn't mean to abandon this thread, I just haven't had much Internet time over the holidays. Since posting this question, I've been hunting twice on my own and I think the only way to describe it would be as a "spiritual" experience.
I found that I spent a lot more time in the field, as I wasn't saddled with the "schedule" other hunters on the lease try to conform to. I was able to hunt a lot longer and get to know the land on our lease a lot more intimately by actually trekking it. I had a really enjoyable time, and it is something I will definitely do again many times in the future.
The only problem is how to get the wife to agree to let me go more often.
I appreciate all the advice in this thread. All of it got used, and it was all well received.
January 3, 2008, 01:34 PM
Glad you enjoyed it!
My wife hates it when I go solo, since it is big public land. I try and mitigate her fears by printing out a map of the area I am going, marking where I think the truck will be, making imprints of my boot soles (step on a piece of aluminum foil on the carpet, makes a nice print if they have to go look for you). I also carry enough stuff to handle most situations with me at all times.
She grew up in the City, so the whole concept is way out of her comfort zone, but she puts up with it.
January 3, 2008, 04:01 PM
I'm glad you had fun.
How many acres is your lease and what kind of terrain?
Getting to know the lay of the land will give you a real advantage over your buddies.
Take the wife along a few times.
January 10, 2008, 02:32 AM
I took a very memorable solo trip to the Sinkyone Wilderness on the North Coast of California. This was spring camping, not hunting but the same precautions apply. Cali has a few more drug dealers and growers than most places so I had to bring self defense gear. I had a great time! I wish you well in this endeavor. The late Townsend Whelan said "A man is not competent until he can stalk alone and armed in the wilderness"
January 11, 2008, 03:30 PM
Sounds like it worked out well for you SkySlash, but I think it worthwhile to keep the thread alive.
I don’t hunt, but I’ve been camping alone a few times. I call it “getting aboriginal with my bad self”!:) It is a lot of fun and this thread reminds me I’m over due.
I think Art is right; it’s not so much the physical things you bring, but knowledge, skills and abilities that ensure survival and beyond. Reading up on survival is an excellent start, but practice brings invaluable experience. On our annual “Man Camp” trip, where there are anywhere from 2 to 10 guys, I sometimes build a shelter out back of my tent, just to have the experience. Sometimes I’ll practice building a fire with no matches, or make a stick compass or I’ll condense potable water from a pile of wet leaves. I get some crap from the guys, but it’s all good-natured and the experience builds confidence. When one is confident in their knowledge, skills and abilities, surviving will most likely be easy and thriving will be what makes the experience incomparable to any other.
Yep… highly recommend it!:)
January 11, 2008, 04:02 PM
Funny story (in hind sight). When I was just starting to hunt, I ended up in Eastern Oregon where we were going to bowhunt by myself due to everyone else having work commitments.
I got in later than I had hoped, so just rolled out a sleeping pad and sleeping bag under my jeep, had some supper and went to bed. Of course, I was keyed up, so was having a hard time sleeping.
I heard something walking around, gave a shout and it ran off. I actually got up and drank a couple of beers to work up a good full bladder and proceeded to mark my campground...
Made me feel better, not sure if it did any good......
January 11, 2008, 05:16 PM
Hunting and camping alone will tell you more about yourself that you may want to know. I do this quite a bit and learn something new every time I go.
I don't do the "can of beans" routine, I fix myself a full meal just as I would if I were at home, sometimes better because my wife doesn't share my appreciation for finer things like black eyed peas, turnip greens and Hominy. To me it's about the "me" time, I'll talk to myself, my dearly departed Lab, to the squirrels, well, you get the idea. So your never really "alone"......
Whatever you do heed the precautions mentioned above concerning safety but remember that your there to enjoy yourself and have an "experience" that you can't enjoy if other people are present......
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