Knowing your prey is one thing. Knowing how to find it is another issue altogether. These tips for elk hunters from the experts at Pursue the Outdoors will get you after your target in no time.
One of the reasons humans aren’t successful when they hunt is because they don’t become a hunter. Putting on hunting clothes and picking up a hunting weapon does not make you a hunter. Taking a weapon into the field with the intention of hunting does not make you a hunter, or maybe it does. It does not make you what you should be if you want to be good as a hunter, what your ancestors were, which was a predator. The difference between a hunter and a predator is that the predator has an intimate knowledge of the game in the area, the area itself, and knows where to find the game under the current time of year, time of day and current environmental conditions. If you have hunted the same property for several years you understand what I mean.
The more experience you have on a particular piece of land, the more familiar you are with it. The more experience you have hunting, the better your hunting skills and hunting techniques are. The more experience you have hunting particular species, the more you will know how it reacts at particular times of the year and times of the day under different environmental conditions. The more experience you have hunting a particular species on a particular piece of land, the more you will know where to find the animals on that land under all conditions.
A predator knows where to find the game under all conditions. To be successful as a predator you have to know the land, and the species; understand how the species will react under all environmental conditions; and have experience hunting the species, use proven, successful hunting techniques and be a good hunter.
One of the biggest problems for hunters is not knowing the lay of the land. Hunters don’t know the lay of the land because they may have never hunted it before or have not spent enough time and effort scouting it. No one can teach you the land. You have to learn the lay of the land yourself; and the more hours and years you spend on it, the more you will know about it. You can cut corners by getting information from someone who knows the land, and by having and being able to use topographical maps and aerial photos, which will give you an idea where the preferred habitat of the game is.
But, if you don’t understand the game you won’t know what type of habit it prefers or where to find it under varying environmental conditions. You can learn about the game by reading, listening to others, watching videos and by watching the animals themselves. The more time and effort you put into trying to understand the animals, the better you will be at predicting where to find them under all types of weather conditions. The best way to learn about the animals is to research them thoroughly and gain all the knowledge you can, then spend time and effort watching and hunting the animals yourself. Knowledge is only a partial substitute for personal experience.
You can learn good hunting techniques, but without good hunting skills, learned through personal experience, even the best hunting techniques won’t do you any good. Hunting skills (being quiet, unseen, unscented and a proficient shot) must be sharpened by putting them into practice over several years. The traits of patience, perseverance, persistence and curiosity are possessed by predators and can be taught through self-discipline. These traits and skills must be combined to make a good predatory hunter.
Knowing you should stay downwind of big game, knowing when to sit still and be quiet, knowing that if you hunt all day you’re chances of seeing game are good; and doing it is not the same thing. Knowing there may be an animal just over the next hill; and going there to find out is not the same thing. Knowing that sitting it out in cold, windy, wet weather will probably help your chances of seeing a trophy whitetail buck, or a flock of bluebills; and suffering through the weather is not the same thing. Knowing that putting in more time and effort will help you learn more, see more and become a better hunter; and just thinking about it, is not the same thing. Reading and listening can help you know and understand, but you have to supply the time, effort and experience if you want to become a predatory hunter.