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arrowflipper's picture
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to go or not to go

I walked out the trail from camp to see what I could see.  I rounded a corner and two bull elk were grazing in a small meadow a mere 20 yards from me.  They didn't have a clue I was there.  Did I mention that the season opened "the next day"? 

I tip-toed my way out into the scabland of my buddies ranch.  I was sneaking my way through some sagebrush and small draws when a huge mule deer buck stood from his bed, only 75 yards away.  He stood and looked at me before bounding off to safety.  Did I mention that the season opened "the next day"?

I am now superstitious.  I refuse to walk through my hunting grounds the day before the hunt.  On both of those two hunts, I went home empty handed.  I have decided that I will be ready to shoot when I venture into the field.

We usually get to hunting camp at least one or two days before the season opens.  I see lots of guys tromping around looking for animals.  Do you believe they do more harm than good by going out the day before the season opens?  They say they want to know where to hunt the next day but I think they are moving the animals out of the area.  What are your thoughts?

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When a tree falls in a forest

When a tree falls in a forest does it make any noise? 

I too have done a lot of hiking and driving around my hunting grounds before the hunt and have seen quite a few animals and then the next day it seams like they have disappeared but was that because I spooked them or did they just move on?  Would they of been where I saw them the day before the hunt if I never had gone out and seen them or would they of been somewhere else?  I think that we need to consult Confucius here. 

When you really look at it there are people out in the woods all the time.  Riding their horses, atv's, bikes, and driving around in their trucks.  Weather it is cutting fire wood for the winter or just checking out the hills I doubt that the animals even care.  I have even had deer and elk come into an area when I am cutting wood for the next winter and stood there and looked at me for a few minutes. 

Now if you want to get into superstitions, one year I found a Indian spear point while out scouting the day before the hunt and figured that the great spirit would grant me great hunting the next day.  The next day I had a chance to take one shot and kill two 3x3 mule deer.  I figured that if I shot the closest one in the neck the one behind the first one would be hit in the head but I passed them up hoping for a bigger buck.  Now here is where the superstition comes in.  A lot of Indian tribes believed that you had to kill what ever animal presented itself to you or you would make the great spirit mad at you.  Well, the rest of the season I only saw one other buck and it way a yearling spike horn that we also passed up. 

So what should of I of done when I had that chance of two bucks with one shot? 

arrowflipper's picture
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legal?

Was it legal to shoot two deer?  IF not, you did the right thing.  If it was legal, wow you missed a great opportunity for bragging rights.  I could tell you a similar story if it wasn't on a public site,  even though it was a bunch of years ago in a different state.  I did the trifecta with my bow with one arrow.  For people who think an arrow doesn't penetrate, I have news for them.

Thanks for a great response to my question.  That's why I love this site.

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I would like to say that I

I would like to say that I have no superstitions but I'm sure there are a few small ones like everyone else. But as far as the situation you described, I don't go out to where I hunt for at least a few days before the opener. If I see some before of course I will expect to see them again and be disappointed if it doesn't work out that way. If I was to see nothing at all it would still not change where I'm going to hunt opening morning but may have me headed out with lower expectations and I don't want that either.

I will be out a lot in the weeks before that to decide exactley where I'm going to start but will leave it alone when it gets really close.

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Leaving your hunting area

Leaving your hunting area alone yourself is one thing but how about others in the area? 

This happened to us on a bison hunt in Utah in 2008.  We had arrived into the area 5 days before the opening.  During those days we were watching between 60 and 100 bison in the general area and one large herd of between 60 and 70 animals.  The day before the opening we were sitting in camp where we could watch the general area where they were located when all of a sudden I spotted the whole herd heading out of the area.  Come to find out a person with another hunting party wanted to take some pictures of them and had rode into the area on a atv and hiked over to where he could get some pictures.  That was all it took, the bison were off and running and no hunter got a shot at any of them. 

The big thing is that you can plan for yourself but there is always that other person that will screw it up for you. 

niceshot_smitty's picture
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Joined: 06/08/2011
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been there

I don't know how many times i have gone a 1 or 2 days before the hunt and see Mule deer or Elk and never see them again tell after my hunt.   The last 2 years i have got tags for the parts of the state that i won't see tell opening morning.  I have done better but don't like the idea of going in blind.   This fall i have deer tag for the unit i live in and i plan on scouting every day up in tell the last week before the hunt.  I know what is out there, but i don't want to get my hopes up on bring home the monster deer that i have watched now for 4 years.  My Elk hunt is in a part of the state i know i won't get to tell my hunt and i all so got to watch the news every night to see how much of it has burned now that it is in New Mexico by Luna. 

So when you ask to go or not to go.  To me it just depends on how bad you want to tag out.  It is more fun to be in the woods then at work.  Tagging out is Just a bonus!!!

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We will pretty much stay out

We will pretty much stay out of our hunting spot for the week before.  It's a little different where we hunt in the east, as we hunt the same small area. 

We actually hunt all 3 seasons there, archery, muzzleloader, and rifle.  There are a couple weeks in between the seasons, so we use that time to let the woods "settle down".

I don't know how I would do it if it was a bigger area like a ranch out west.  I would think I would be more frustrated that anything if I saw some deer and elk the day before the season.

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The reason you'll see deer

The reason you'll see deer /elk the days before the season starts is because the season hasnt started yet, Didnt you know the animals have calenders with the start dates circled on them, they know there safe till that circled day comes around they also have the end of the season dates circled too, I cant tell you how many times i have seen animals the day before opening day and then like magic there all gone at shooting light only to be seen again the day after season closes.