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Old October 16, 2005, 10:45 PM   #1
itgoesboom
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Join Date: June 16, 2002
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Back from my first hunt...Results/Lessons Learned.

So, as mentioned in a previous thread, I went for my first Elk hunt today. It was actually my first anything hunt.

We started out hiking a logging road that went around and over some clear cuts in the forest, where we found some game trails and elk and deer tracks. This was a good spot for me to get the basics of what to look for, what the game trails look like, what Elk rubbings look like, the difference between Elk and Deer droppings and such.

After covering that area, and finding nothing, and no fresh Elk sign, we moved on up the road.

We attempted to call some Elk up from the top of a ridge, and got a weak response from somewhere quite a ways off. It was the only response we got all day from calling.

So then we hiked up another old forest road, that was overgrown and showed some fairly fresh sign. We saw quite a few branches knocked back, lots of rubbings, and quite a few bear scratches.

My hunting partner also had a Black Bear tag, so this meant that instead of just having one animal that we could look for, we had 2 species that we could go after....I just couldn't shoot the 2nd.

There was quite a bit of bear sign, all the way up the road, including some very fresh scat and scratches that looked very fresh. My hunting partner figures that the bear either had just come through this area just before we got there, or had heard us and scampered off.

As we moved through the area, we found quite a big of more sign, both Elk and Bear, but we didn't find any animals there.

After that we tracked some fresh Elk tracks up into the brush off the road one direction, until we got to an area that was too dense to get through. After getting on the road again, we found more tracks going the other way, so we tracked that direction too. Same result. Lots of fresh tracks, lots of branches knocked down, but too dense for us to move quietly.

Our last hike was up another logging road, were we found more bear and elk sign, as well as quite a bit of deer sign, very fresh. That was a little disapointing, since we could tell there was a big buck in the group, but it isn't deer season. But, on the bright side there was really fresh coyote scat amongst it, so we tried for that.

In the end, we didn't get the Coyote, we didn't get the Bear, and we didn't get an Elk. But I did have fun, and I learned a lot. My hunting partner did a great job showing me the ropes, showing me a couple different tactics for hunting, and we got close to some Elk, Bear, Deer, and Coyote.

Lessons Learned:

1. Most important is I need my own hunting rifle. The one I borrowed was nice, and is accurate, but I need my own hunting rifle. My SKS and CETME just won't cut it.

2. I need a good pair of binoculars. I used a pair of binoculars that my hunting partner had, and they were good, but were tough to use with my glasses. So this and a binocular harness are needed.

3. I need to work through my equipment and find what snags on what, what gets in the way of other equipment. My left side pocket kept snagging my rifle bolt when I would unsling, making it tough to unsling quickly.

4. Don't trust the weatherman. Forcast called for 10% chance of rain, with the forcast being mostly sunny where we were hunting. But when we got there we ended up with a large downpour for awhile, and we had lots of fog.

5. I need a good backpack. Something that can hold gloves, a knife and sharpener, bone saw, water, extra ammo, any extra clothes that I need to carry and a small emergency kit.

6. Plastic orange vests are noisy. I think I will pick up a fleece one before next season. Instead of the plastic, I used a orange hat, but I think I would have prefered a vest and to use my bush hat.

7. I need to scout an area prior to hunting it. We had to make a last minute change to our plan the night before the hunt, so we were hunting a new area, with no previous scouting, and spending only one day hunting. Next year I will try to scout out atleast twice, and it would be good to set up a GPS for this as well.

8. Fitness. I held my own today, but I know it would have been a stretch to hike out meat from some of the better areas today. Very rough country. I need to continue to work out, and increase my fitness.

9. Time. I need more time. We felt pressured because we only had a day to do all the hunting I will do this year. Thats tough, especially going after elk. Next year I want to spend a few days in the back country, hiking and hunting.

10. I need a good knife for field dressing. That and a sharpening stone.

11. I suck at calling. I practiced my calls prior to going, but I didn't practice saturday, and when I went to call, my cow call left a lot to be desired. I need to practice more, and maybe pick up a better call or two.

12. Range estimation. On flat lands, I was pretty accurate. Across ravines, valles, and looking downhill, I was seriously off. My friend and I both guessed one distance at 300-400, and it turned out to be 600+. So a range finder is an item that I would like to pick up, finances allowing. Practice at ranging would be good too.

All in all it was a good day, and what I really needed. A good learning experience.

I.G.B.
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Old October 17, 2005, 09:29 AM   #2
siotwo
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Join Date: February 6, 2005
Location: The Woodlands, TX
Posts: 217
Great hunt report. Sounds like a terrific gain in knowledge from one day in the field. Its tough to have 'everything' you need the first time out. There's alsways something else you could have had, or didn't actually need.
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Old October 17, 2005, 09:36 AM   #3
Just Lookin
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Great report on your first Elk hunt..... as a new hunter, I really appreciate all the information and insight you included.


Thanks for the great post,



Jim
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Old October 17, 2005, 12:50 PM   #4
itgoesboom
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Join Date: June 16, 2002
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Some additional lessons that I learned that I forgot to post.

#13. Flexibility. This goes along with fitness, but is somewhat seperate. We needed to bend and flex, and duck and such while trying to get under branches while not disturbing them. I really need to be more flexible.

#14. Bipods. Great tool, and it's my preferred way of shooting a rifle. But I found a couple of downsides. First, the bipod gets caught on quite a bit of stuff. And to make it worse, any time a twig, branch, or even a leaf would brush the spring, you would hear a very unnatural springy sound.

#15. Boots. I am really glad I had a good pair of boots. I think that a good pair of boots is one of the most important pieces of gear now.

I.G.B.
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Old October 17, 2005, 04:40 PM   #5
yorec
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Sounds like apretty good time - and you're listin' the right stuff!

Keep at it and eventually you'll get one. Then you're list will grow exponentially.
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Old October 17, 2005, 05:32 PM   #6
FrontSight
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that's great, you learned more on one trip than a lot of people learn in a whole season...and non hunters think hunting is easy!
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Old October 19, 2005, 01:16 PM   #7
Foxman
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Good post, keep going and learning and most of all ENJOY!
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