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M700
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Posted: January 20 2018 at 11:28am | IP Logged Quote M700

With mild amusement at myself, I find my hunting priorities shifting. Some of this may be age, some just the result of success in some areas of hunting, and new options becoming more attractive I dunno. Are yours shifting?

Elk - honestly, I have no desire to shoot another big bull. I've only shot one, and probably wouldn't turn down one, but I'm much more enthused about all that wonderful elk meat from a spike bull or a cow... One big ol' set of elk antlers on the wall seems to be plenty, to keep me thinking about elk country & elk hunts and... elk steaks!   Not that the steaks from the big bull were bad, they were excellent too.






Black bear - A hunt I enjoy tremendously! Spot and stalk black bear is an exciting and challenging hunt here in the steep country of Washington's Cascades. Brutally hard work to get a bear hide, head & meat out of the canyon bottom a thousand feet or more below the road too. But I traded away my last black bear hide & head before taxidermy. No desire for another bear rug in the house. They do make mighty fine sausage though! :) I think I'll keep hunting them, but won't be so picky about size anymore. Want to try to use the predator call more. That was really exciting, having a bear come in, stalking me! Yee Haw! Washington has at least 30,000 black bear, and the resident tag is inexpensive. Gives me a great option, and a lot of sausage when I manage to get a shot.





Mule Deer & Pronghorn Antelope - two favorites! I've only been hunting antelope for a few years and have only taken three. They're so danged fun to hunt, and the meat can be delicious! Better than any other wild game I've ever had. The mule deer are common near my home, and I just love hunting those big guys. I'll take doe or buck, according to my tag. I enjoy the taste of mule deer, though some do not. Equally happy with either, though I admit, I would be very pleased to take a truly large buck someday. I've been hunting mule deer for decades and hope to continue hunting them as long as I am able.





Whitetail - I dunno - never worked up a real enthusiasm for hunting them, though I do like the taste. They're fun to hunt. I've only taken a few over the years. We have some whoppers here in Washington if a fellow was interested in taking a trophy buck, but mostly I just like to take the occasional small buck, or doe, to add to the freezer. I suspect the reason that I'm not more enthused about whitetail hunting is that in Washington I get only one deer tag a year, and I'd much rather hunt my local mule deer.

Birds! My interest in upland game hunting has rekindled the past few years! My youngest son and I are having a blast going after chukar, quail, grouse and pheasant with the dog!


Ducks? No longer any interest, though I do have a duck-addicted buddy who invites me now and again. Time to time I'll go freeze in the dark duck blind with him...  They can taste great!

Coyotes! This interest comes and goes. It's a lot of fun, and I feel I'm doing some good, taking a few coyotes from my mule deer area. They take a tremendous toll on the fawns. They'll even go after the elk! I don't typically save the hide, just like to hunt them, and whack a few. Great time afield with the 25-06 for sure.

Varmints - like rock chucks & sage rats & prairie dogs. I dunno - at one point I was a pretty enthusiastic varmint shooter, but that interest seems to have waned some. It would be fun to go for a couple of days of sage rat shooting with my son though. We have some good varmint rifles, a 204 Ruger and the 17 HMR. Both are very accurate.

Mountain Lion - ya - it's something I try year after year - but so far with no success. Someday...  

I keep applying for the "once in a lifetime" tags for moose, mountain goat & bighorn sheep, but without any confidence that I might actually manage to draw the tag. Ever. Bighorn is the one I want most out of all those.

Caribou - I'd love to go back north for the big barren ground caribou! Saw quite a few of them on my trip to the arctic, and I'd love to return and hunt those big deer of the north!

How 'bout you? Still satisfied with the hunting you do, or have priorities shifted for you as well?

Regards, Guy






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Paul B.
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Posted: January 20 2018 at 3:07pm | IP Logged Quote Paul B.

It's not so much that priorities have changed as the old bod refuses to
cooperate. Two bad knees that require replacement plus too many years
make most hunts out of the question. The last few years the only hunts
I've been able to do were from a truck which is not my favorite way but
it's either that or nothing. I'm considering booking for another elk hunt
come the end of this year as I'll be pushing 81 years of age at the time
off that hunt. Just hoping I'll still be above ground at that time. In the
meantime I'll just go on enjoying the meals that last elk provided while
contemplating the next hunt.
Paul B.
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STCM(SW)
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Posted: January 20 2018 at 3:24pm | IP Logged Quote STCM(SW)

"Mountain Lion - ya - it's something I try year after year - but so far with no success. Someday.."

" I just like to take the occasional small buck, or doe, to add to the freezer. "
"They do make mighty fine sausage though! :) I think I'll keep hunting them, but won't be so picky about size anymore. Want to try to use the predator call more. That was really exciting, having a bear come in, stalking me! "

Now, that's where I am hunting now.
Any deer is better then none as none his past year. And any bear will make some fine stew.
An Elk? I just come up short all the time.

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richhodg66
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Posted: January 20 2018 at 9:42pm | IP Logged Quote richhodg66

I've pretty much resigned myself that my big game hunting will be Kansas white tails forever, and I'm OK with that. I actually put less time in doing it the past few years and have done better. If I change anything, I'll just resign myself to the fact that a good buck is gonna be much harder to take if I abandon hunting with the cross bow. I really don't like it, and I think I'd rather take a lesser buck with a good rifle during the general season. Maybe I'll dig the old long bow back out and get it going. Our season is such that the only way you can hunt in October and November, the best time of the year, is with archery equipment.

I toyed with the idea of water fowl hunting this year, but haven't yet. I'm not gonna get a dedicated boat, decoys etc. If anything, I'd be after geese only and I could get them over land if I wanted to.

What I have really taken to hunting again is tree squirrels. The fox squirrels here are a lot bigger than the grays I hunted as a kid, but still very challenging. I've been using a shotgun more lately, but nothing Is more fun than sitting and sniping them with cast loads in one of my .22 Hornets or sometimes a .22 rimfire.

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KinleyWater
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Posted: January 21 2018 at 6:59am | IP Logged Quote KinleyWater

I've only really been hunting for a few years - not counting a few times as a teen - and my priorities have changed not. I still want to actually take a shot on something; something which has yet to occur. A little discouraging, mostly frustrating.

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M700
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Posted: January 21 2018 at 8:59am | IP Logged Quote M700

KinleyWater wrote:
I've only really been hunting for a few years - not counting a few times as a teen - and my priorities have changed not. I still want to actually take a shot on something; something which has yet to occur. A little discouraging, mostly frustrating.


I think the biggest advantage a hunter can give himself, is to hunt where game is abundant.

That sounds so simple - but - I've spent a lot of time up in the mountains hunting, where it turned out there really wasn't much game. Find out where whatever critter you're after lives, in good numbers. And hunt there.

I have found that it can be well worthwhile to arrange to hunt on private land, where the number of hunters is carefully regulated. Even if I have to pay a "trespass fee" or I'll cheerfully do some work around the place to secure an invite.

Example - Dec 2016 - I was after elk only about 12 miles from my home. I was hunting too high. I was hunting where I saw the elk earlier in the season, and my tag was for a late season cow. I didn't think the snow on the ground was enough to get the herds to move down, but it surely was!

All I was finding up high were some big bull elk - and I couldn't hunt them, only a cow. After a couple of days of this, it pretty well slapped me in the forehead, and I started hunting low. I dropped about 2,000' to where there wasn't nearly as much snow on the ground, and sure enough I got into elk. Eventually I even got a phone call while I was at home, from a landowner who was pretty excited and told me, "There's at least 30 of them near my orchard now, get out here!"

That's a good phone call to get!

I hustled out there, but the situation had changed. Coyotes had run the elk out of where they'd been, and I couldn't get to them.

But the next day... I got an elk! Not far from there, and again the landowner was cheering me on. He got some mighty fine backstrap steak a few days later, and my son and I are invited back to hunt his land anytime one of us has that particular elk tag.

So - by recognizing that I was hunting in the wrong area, though not by many miles, mostly by a couple thousand feet of elevation, I was able to get into the elk. Learn where the animals are... Hunt there.

Guy
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KinleyWater
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Posted: January 21 2018 at 9:44am | IP Logged Quote KinleyWater

I appreciate the advice, Guy. In this area, there are mostly deer and bear. Seems that when the season opens, the deer teleport into an alternate dimension, not to be seen again until the day after the season . There is a small herd which wanders through my backyard on a regular basis, but as I am suburban, and not rural, I can't just shoot one (no matter how tempting).

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richhodg66
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Posted: January 21 2018 at 5:23pm | IP Logged Quote richhodg66

The learning curve is steep sometimes. Been hunting the same big tract of public land for 20 years or so. I've taken an average of two deer a year in that time, the vast majority on that same tract. At some point it went from "if I get a deer" to "when I get one and what I settle for". The seasons and some of the rules have changed, but over that time, I've learned a lot and now have several spots I can position myself in such a way as to be pretty sure of a killing shot. It just took several years of putting in the woods time and learning.

Put me in a different set of conditions and it wouldn't be starting all over again, but it would be more challenging.

One thing I can say is, you're 100% not gonna get one if you aren't in the woods. I'm always amazed at how many guys here don't get a deer all season and when you talk to them about it, it's "well, I didn't get out then, or I had this to do, or I only stayed out a few hours". One of the reasons I kill a few every year is because I take it seriously. Once when I was tagged out early and then the general firearms season started and I couldn't hunt, I took the wife and kids out to a late breakfast and there's several guys in the diner in hunting garb. Had to think, "you're sure as hell not gonna shoot one over your pancakes", and if I'd been able to hunt, I'd have been out. There may be a time when I don't have the drive to get out when it's real cold, or it's snowing, or I just don't feel like it, etc., but that time hasn't happened yet.

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Buffalogun
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Posted: January 21 2018 at 6:06pm | IP Logged Quote Buffalogun

Shifting hunting priorities? Yeah, me too!

I still enjoy hunting and taking meat. I've never tried to focus on the biggest set of head gear in the woods. I like the meat and the time.

However, over the last 10 or so years I have found myself getting as much or more pleasure in helping my son take his animals. Some days I don't hunt because I don't want my scent to disturb his hunting. I don't mind and being retired, I have more time to hunt than him. Both grandbabies like venison and that's fine with me.

Whitetail meat is very good when cared for properly between the field and the freezer.


Mike

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KinleyWater
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Posted: January 21 2018 at 7:27pm | IP Logged Quote KinleyWater

richhodg66 wrote:
The learning curve is steep sometimes. Been hunting the same big tract of public land for 20 years or so. I've taken an average of two deer a year in that time, the vast majority on that same tract. At some point it went from "if I get a deer" to "when I get one and what I settle for". The seasons and some of the rules have changed, but over that time, I've learned a lot and now have several spots I can position myself in such a way as to be pretty sure of a killing shot. It just took several years of putting in the woods time and learning.

Put me in a different set of conditions and it wouldn't be starting all over again, but it would be more challenging.

One thing I can say is, you're 100% not gonna get one if you aren't in the woods. I'm always amazed at how many guys here don't get a deer all season and when you talk to them about it, it's "well, I didn't get out then, or I had this to do, or I only stayed out a few hours". One of the reasons I kill a few every year is because I take it seriously. Once when I was tagged out early and then the general firearms season started and I couldn't hunt, I took the wife and kids out to a late breakfast and there's several guys in the diner in hunting garb. Had to think, "you're sure as hell not gonna shoot one over your pancakes", and if I'd been able to hunt, I'd have been out. There may be a time when I don't have the drive to get out when it's real cold, or it's snowing, or I just don't feel like it, etc., but that time hasn't happened yet.


Very true, and I don't get as much time outside as I want.

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M700
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Posted: January 21 2018 at 9:59pm | IP Logged Quote M700

I think that keeps my son from being more successful. He gets busy with life, and I don't think he's ever devoted more than two or three days a season when going for deer or bear.

However he has taken a number of whitetail & mule deer, as well as two bears.

It's often not easy. I remember that "learning curve" too.

Guy
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MontanaWolf
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Posted: February 03 2018 at 12:59am | IP Logged Quote MontanaWolf

If I have a choice I shoot the elk calves or the deer fawns, like the meat better and do not feel dead after we get it out. At least I have said that every year for the past 5 but nope then hunt season rolls around and there we go, big elk and deer, seems the little ones are smarter than the big ones, they hide from me.

Edited by MontanaWolf on February 03 2018 at 1:00am


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