At Huntin’ Fool, we make a living by specializing in hunt research. However, none of us have ever killed an elk from the seat of our office. At some point, every research journey should become a boots-on-the-ground adventure that will provide a host of memories to look back on. The transition from research to adventure takes courage. At some point, overanalyzing your options wastes valuable time you could spend dialing in your hunt plans.
With that in mind, I thought I’d share an overview of how we determine what hunts we go on each year. To begin with, we always rely on our own research as the number one trusted source. This means that we start in the pages of the Huntin’ Fool magazine.
I trust my teammates’ research unequivocally, so if I’m thinking of burning coveted points or acquiring a tag through another means, I’m going to look through the current year’s research while comparing it to previous years as well. That research is compiled by talking to outfitters, members who have hunted the unit recently, wildlife biologists, committees who make recommendations for isn’t another source out there that has put more effort into compiling and sharing information than the pages of your Huntin’ Fool magazine.
Once I’ve narrowed my choices down to a few units, I’ll spend some time on the Huntin’ Fool 3D map, onXmaps, Google Earth, etc. This is an important step because I want to have some general terrain, access, and habitat information before I run my options by my fellow Hunt Advisors. Yes, you heard that right, we consult each other in the same way we consult you. At this point, it’s important to select the hunt that’s the most interesting to me and move away from weighing hunts against each other. It’s now time to direct all of my energy into that unit.
Don’t get me wrong, I get tempted to question my plan. This is especially true when I have bonus or preference points at stake. However, I’ve learned there is a lot of noise in today’s digital world. Conflicting opinions are abundant, and they all result in the same thing – paralysis by analysis. Unfortunately, this paralysis causes too many of us to sit on the sidelines for “one more year.” Meanwhile, state game and fish agencies are constantly in the background contemplating new herd objectives, tag allocation systems, season dates, and more. Generally speaking, the changes don’t result in more or better opportunities, especially for non-residents, so my advice is to pick a unit and send it!