Every year, I try to hunt a totally new area. At times, it can be intimidating because I have no clue what I am getting myself into. It doesn’t matter how much time I spend digital scouting or talking to people with knowledge of the area, things always seem to be different than I expect. The only true way to learn an area is by getting boots on the ground.
Hunting a new area every year can be extremely beneficial over time. It works best if you are doing it in states that offer true over-the-counter tags. I will hunt a new area or a different part of the unit for a couple years, jumping around trying to figure out where the animals are. Even when I do find an awesome spot, I will not necessarily hunt it again the following year. I will save it as a backup plan if the new area I am looking into doesn’t work out.
Even though hunting the same area over and over can lead to more success as you figure it out, for me, it becomes boring. I like the adventure of not knowing what’s over the next ridge and figuring out new areas where big bucks and bulls live. Last year, my buddy and I picked a spot on the Idaho map where neither of us had ever been and ended up having a hunt-of-a-lifetime. Nate harvested a 350" bull. That makes me want to go back to that same spot, but it also makes me want to try another area out to see what we can turn up.
At the end of the day, boots on the ground is what a guy needs. It helps me become a better hunter because I have to adapt to an area I have never hunted before and it makes me think twice because I’m not sure what’s on the other side of the ridge. Each hunt is different, and I have to prepare and pack differently for each one. I feel like this will help me when I draw a really good tag in a unit I have never been in before because I have already been trying to adapt to new areas.
Regardless of how you like to hunt, you should be hunting. I see a lot of guys who have never gone on an elk hunt as they are just waiting to draw that one big tag. Once they draw that tag, they don’t know what to do because they have never elk hunted before. I believe every good hunter has a little adventure inside them that they are trying to discover. The best way to find that adventure is by picking a spot on the map and just going for it. You never know what you’ll find. It could end up being the best hunt of your life, even if it means heading home with a tag in your pocket but a lifetime of memories because you just did something you never thought you could have done. Make a plan and let your Lewis and Clark syndrome take you somewhere new this fall.
Remember, over the next few issues we will cover a lot of the better opportunity hunts available in multiple states. If you have any questions, give us a call.