In my July 2016 column, I touched on some difficult hunts, and considering that then I’ve had really a handful of men and women ask me for more information on the topic. So here are a few of my top picks for very tough hunts, and what made them such a challenge for me.
Out of the 5 species of deer recognized by Pope and Young, I have to give the award for “most difficult” to the diminutive Coues deer. To hunt these little deer in the U.S., you have to go to either Arizona, which has the largest population of Coues deer, or to pick areas in southern New Mexico.
I killed my 1st Coues deer on public land in Arizona, where a buddy and I hiked into the backcountry and camped in the desert. The daytime temperatures were above one hundred degrees, and at evening I believed I was going to freeze to death.
It took numerous all-day sits at a waterhole for me to finally kill a Coues deer, and although he wasn’t huge by trophy standards, he was a monster to me.
The pack in and out with a lot of gear on public land, combined with drastic daytime/nighttime temperature swings, are what produced this an incredibly challenging hunt.
I have had difficult hunts for whitetails, mule deer, and Sitka and Columbian blacktails as properly, but for me, the Coues deer is at the leading of my list of physically and mentally difficult hunts.
I have to incorporate sheep on my list of difficult hunts. Though there are 4 diverse species right here in North America, I can not choose one particular more than the other. The bighorn, Stone, Dall, and desert bighorn sheep are all found in hard nation to access without having wearing out some boot leather.
They are also usually identified above timberline, or in comparatively open places with limited cover, producing stalking to within classic bow range an incredibly challenging undertaking.
Backpacking into remote locations, and long hikes and stalks make this a prime-tier physical hunt. Mentally, if you’re hunting without a guide on public land, just figuring out the draw information for different states and which regions have the greatest odds of effectively drawing a tag and hold the highest sheep numbers can be difficult as properly.
If you opt for a guided hunt, figuring out how to come up with that considerably funds and which credit card to put it on can be a mental nightmare, too.
I believed sheep hunts have been physically draining, and then I went goat hunting. I usually heard that you have to climb above where the sheep reside to get into goat country, and there is a lot of truth in that.
To uncover a goat, all you have to do is locate the steepest, roughest country that appears impossible to get to (and typically is), and that is exactly where goats call house. I have practically gone off cliffs and slid off the side of a mountain much more times on goat hunts than any other kind of hunt.
It is one of the handful of hunts where I frequently locate myself questioning my own sanity. I also usually uncover myself in negative circumstances exactly where it is no one’s fault but my personal that I got into those circumstances in the very first place.
If you are fortunate sufficient to kill a goat, at times the recovery alone can be far more hazardous than every thing that led up to it because of the treacherous nation where these cloud-dwellers reside.
Most folks don’t think of pronghorns as a physically and mentally demanding hunt, but I absolutely do. Initial off, the physical discomfort of sitting in a hot blind, exactly where temperatures are typically more than 100 degrees, is taxing.
Do this for 12 to 14 hours a day, for a number of days in a row, and you are now searching at a kind of torture that’s really used in some nations. For me, the mental challenge of pronghorns comes from watching a buck I want to shoot gradually perform his way toward me (occasionally for hours) across the wide-open terrain.
Let’s just say that a lot more frequently than not, I am normally a certifiable basketcase by the time an antelope is in variety.
I would be remiss if I didn’t consist of elk in this column. Elk are smart animals that are typically located in rough country, in remote places.
Admittedly, I am a little spoiled on elk, because we have them behind our property in Colorado where I’ve killed a handful of “easy” ones. But I have also harvested a lot of elk on challenging backpack hunts on public land.
Fact is, most elk hunts take location in rugged country, and most elk are killed from the ground, so packing out is not for the faint of heart. Because of all this, elk are right up there on the toughest-hunts list as far as I’m concerned.
Grizzly & Brown Bears
In my opinion, out of the 4 species of bears, these two are the most difficult. Hunts for each take location in remote places, and just acquiring to where they contact house can be a chore.
Bowhunting grizzly and brown bears also normally requires camping out in these remote areas, and includes a lot of hiking and glassing to uncover a bear in a very good location for slipping to within stickbow variety. If the physical strains of these hunts — frequently in inclement climate — isn’t sufficient, there is also the whole mental aspect of getting incredibly close to an apex predator.
Yes, I know that black bears attack more folks than grizzly or brown bears, but there are also a lot far more black bears in North America. I am also a lot a lot more intimidated by a grizzly or brown bear than I am by a black bear. Possibly it’s because I have been charged a couple of times and I’m a tad gun-shy of them. Or would that be bow-shy?
Hunts for any large game animal can be challenging, and I’ve had some quite challenging ones for species not talked about here. In basic even though, this is my list primarily based on my experiences.