This fall bowhunting season I need to make some adjustments to how and where I hunt as well as there will be a change as to frequency. My wife and I are expecting our second child, a daughter, this July and with an infant in the house family will come first. With that said, I’m hoping to get out into the woods for a Saturday here and there during the fall archery season. Which means if I want to have any chance on putting a stalk on, I need to have done my research, planning and scouting to know the best place for me to go for success. I’ve got a couple of disadvantages that i’m also dealing with besides being a rookie and completely new to all of this. I lack any 4×4 vehicle or mountain bike to carry me up the forest service roads so I can get deeper into the wild a bit faster. That could also be my advantage as it’s possible that more and more hunters are going deeper in the woods and the most likely spot could yield success.
I’m just starting that process of my research gathering right now.
1) Google Maps & Earth— I’m using both the roads and the satellite imagery to search out some likely areas that I can get access to that may also have wildlife. Since I’m still new to all of this that last part of wildlife is a guess on my part as I don’t know exactly what I’m looking for specifically. In the meantime I’m searching out access points to jump off into the wild. I also will be pouring over my DeLorme topographic map book to study the terrain and possible locations that I want to check out.
2) Fish & Game site — I’ve downloaded my theoretical targeted hunting area and have looked at the details of the game management unit i’m considering. I’ve also looked at the historical hunter success data from the site and of course am cross checking all the dates, species and info in the regulations book. I may even extend a phone call to a Game Warden with some questions about this purposed area i’m considering, based on the article from Sole Adventure when he was planning his elk trip.
3) Forums — I’m mostly a lurker as I don’t have much solid info to contribute to a forum, but I’m attempting to gather some intelligence about the area that I’ve considering to hunt blacktails this September.
4) Boots on the Ground / Scouting — Going forward, when I have some free time, I plan to head out and do some scouting to check myself for validity that this unit is worth what little time I have to give towards bow hunting this coming season. Scouting is a critical part of the process to aid in a hunters success. Typically my hunting buddy will be out chasing elk in a distant woodland from where I’ll be, but I don’t have that time to take to go with them … this year.
5) Books — I’ve got a stack of books I want to get through this year, all non-fiction and in some way or another hunting / backcountry related. Since I’m new to bowhunting some of these books are on tactics for a particular species of quarry and others may be on backcountry skills. For many years I’ve been backpacking camping, so I’m not new to the woods, but I now know that my first experience on a bow hunt you experience the woods very differently when your looking to participate versus just be a witness to wildlife.