Planning for 2016

20 Jan

Here we go again! The season is over and it’s time do some reflecting on the past season, but more importantly, start preparing for 2016. Most nights, after the kids are in bed, I pull out the iPad and spend some time on Google Earth, basically daydreaming about hunting out west. And when I say “some time”, I really mean several hours surveying every section of land across four different states. The reason I’m doing this is because I want to go on another western hunt, but I’m not sure what I want to do yet. I have a couple options.

 

Leaning towards an Elk hunt in September. But things can and will change.

Leaning towards an Elk hunt in September. But, things can and will change.

 

Option #1

Although the weather kicked our butt this year and I spend a lot of time in a test, I had an absolute blast chasing elk in Idaho. Not sure if I’ll go to the same exact area, but I have been looking at different areas in the same zone. I have just about every piece of equipment I need, so the cost will be way less than the previous year. This will be a bit of a risk, due to the fact that I won’t be able to go out there to do any summer scouting and I more than likely I won’t be going with anyone who knows the area.

Option #2

Same state but this time I would be chasing mule deer. Because the elevation would beĀ 2000-3000 feet higher with steeper inclines than the area I elk, I will need to be in way way way better shape than I was for my elk hunt. This trip would also be an additional 6-8 hours of driving, and that equals more money in fuel. This trip would take the most planning and preparation, not only from a hunting standpoint, but a financial, mental, and physical standpoint as well. By far the most difficult option.

Option #3

I have been doing some research and there are a couple antelope hunting zones in Wyoming that I might be able to get drawn in with the two points I will have come the start of the season. This might not be the most physically demanding hunt, but it will still take a ton of planning as I know virtually nothing about hunting antelope. However, I have a couple contacts that will hopefully point me in the right direction as far as what zone I need to apply for and hunting tips and trick for the fastest animal in North America.

Option #4

Last but not least, Nebraska. This is an OTC hunt where I can buy a tag for antelope and another tag for deer (mule deer or whitetail). Luckily I have distant relatives who own somewhere around a 25,000 acre cattle ranch in the Sand Hills. I went on this solo hunt in 2014 and it is some of the most beautiful land the good Lord created. The best part of this trip it that I will more than likely spend my nights in a house and get to shower every day. This also means that I won’t have to pack as much crap in to the field with me everyday. This will be the easiest hunt as far as planning, financially, and conditioning is concerned. And because I have done this hunt before, I know the area.

When it comes to whitetails there two areas I want to focus on this off season, on top of my normal off-season routine.

More Ground

This was a bad year for me when it came to hunting pressure. Not only did I have to share property with other hunters, the main property I hunt was logged throughout the season and not leaving me with many options. Starting immediately, I will be on the hunt for new property. This past season was a perfect example of “you can never have enough property”. I already have a list of doors I’m going to knock on for permission to shed hunt over the next month. Shed hunting is almost like a job interview. If the land owner begins to trusts you, your more likely to get access for other types of hunting. Remember, if they don’t give you hunting rights, ask about access to hunting ground that might be bordering the property you already have access to.

Stand Access

Not only will I be looking at new ways to access my current stand locations, I will also be looking at different methods of getting there. There are times I think that driving through some of the fields and down the two-tracks I currently use to get to my parking spot, might actually cause a bigger disruption to the property than I originally thought. So, I have been thinking about buying hip-waders and using a couple deeper creeks to get to the backside of some of my properties. Also, maybe take a mountain bike the rest of the way once I get past a certain point on the farm. I’ll do just about anything to reduce additional pressure on the farms I hunt.

In a matter of weeks I’ll begin shed hunting some of the farms that are closer to where I live. From there… anything is possible!

Thanks for reading,
Dan (DFW)

4 Responses to “Planning for 2016”

  1. Tom alford January 20, 2016 at 8:34 pm #

    i would go with option 4 makes more sense in my opinion

  2. LS January 21, 2016 at 3:49 pm #

    I think you need to have Mark Kenyon film you on a trip to Oklahoma to go noodling. Then again you’re already down a finger, so maybe elk hunting would be better.

  3. Mike Higman February 4, 2016 at 3:54 am #

    I feel like Nebraska is an awesome opportunity. I’d stick with it until you conquer it.

    Also, you should add Iowa public to that list. It’s free, and it would be a challenge. It would also add to your steet cred (like a teardrop tat). When Kenyon starts talking about how pressured Michigan is, you can tell him to get back to you when he hunts something besides his cushy private farms.

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