Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Preparation For Elk Hunting

Prepare or Fail

Larry had a tough morning. His Browning BAR froze shut and we needed to "kick start it," like a jammed M-60 machine gun. Put the butt on the ground and use the side of your boot to jump on the charging handle. Larry persevered. The red spot on the bull's left shoulder shows correct shot placement, even in adversity.

Stats for this blog show that interest in elk hunting peaked during the last two weeks in November and have now fallen back to where they were in September/October. It’s possible that folks are returning to work, or focusing on family and the holidays, but now is the only time to address next year’s elk hunt.

Now that rifles have been serviced, clothing has been put away and gear has been stored it is time to assess what worked in 2009, what didn’t work in 2009 (and prior years) and what things need to be done to correct those deficiencies.

Elk hunting is an individual sport.

If it were a competitive sport, the competitive elk hunter would attack next year’s hunt, TODAY.

It may seem unrelated, but the University of Montana Grizzlies lost their championship game to Villanova’s Wildcats last weekend. UM and Villanova are in the Division I Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA).

The closest NFL teams to Montana are Green Bay, Vikings, Broncos or Seahawks; all of which are at least a day’s drive from the Big Sky. So, when the Griz get to the playoffs nearly everyone in the state becomes a fan--even a so-so football fan like myself.

Watching “your team” put out max effort, only to lose on ESPN isn’t much different from watching bull elk walk away from hunters that had given everything they had. A toe-kick in the dirt. Maybe a little frog in your throat. Maybe more.

If the Griz assess this game the way elk hunters should assess their game, they would find the weakness was in rushing the ball. It was apparent during the game and even more so in the statistics.

The Griz had one rusher, Reynolds, who carried 15 times for 64 yards, or 4.3 yards per carry.

The Wildcats had five rushers that carried 51 times for 351 yards, or 6.9 yards per carry.

The weaknesses of Montana Football are that it is a team sport, and Bobby Hauck, the Grizzly's coach has been picked up by UNLV.

The team will need a new coach to assess this years deficiencies and plan for next season.

Since Elk Hunting is an individual sport:

Today is the time for an elk hunter to attack next year’s hunt.

Here is a list of things you may want to consider:
  • Was I in a good hunting area?
  • Was I in good enough shape to hunt elk?
  • Did I hit the boiler factory with one round at 200 yards? (Can I today?)
  • Did I book with a good outfitter?
  • Did my good outfitter have qualified guides?
  • Did I take too much gear?
  • Did I take too little gear? (most hunters take TOO MUCH!)
  • Do I want to do better next year?
In previous posts, I have related that 95% of my hunters had a chance at a bull during their hunts. A chance is a 5x5 or larger bull within 200 yards, and with plenty of time to aim and fire a safe, effective shot. Only about 60% of the hunters took those bulls home. In nearly all cases, the deficiencies related to operation, control and shooting of firearms.

Since shooting of firearms is essential to a rifle hunt and elk hunting is an individual sport, shooting is the one thing that you can attack. Practice shooting is more important than any other item on the list. Even if you have a poor hunting area, bad outfitter, unqualified guides and too much or too little gear, YOU can improve your elk hunting success by attacking and shooting today, and tomorrow, and the day after that.

That final question, “Do I want to do better next year?” may seem a bit inane, but if you want to do better next year--attack today. If you’re not sure, eh, don’t worry about it, and don’t worry about it next October either.

Montana Football Season is over, prepare now!

Montana Elk Season is over, PREPARE NOW!



Emily said...

I agree with you that being prepared is key. I've been shooting my bow consistently this year and plan on following through with it all the way up until opening day next summer. I always want to be better today than yesterday. I find it easier to take one day at a time.

Good post!

Go Vikings. Oh wait. I mean... Go Broncos! Either one will do.

Dennis A Carroll said...

I wish more hunters were as dedicated as you are.

When people leave comments I sometimes can't put a face to the name. I have no idea who Emily is, but I do know "Scent Free Lip Gloss." lol

Thank you for the comment and have a wonderful Christmas and New Years.