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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi all,
I'm a fairly new hunter and not a very successful one at that. Usually 99% of the time I'm solo. Single Dad of a beautiful little girl that loves the outdoors as well and likes to go with me sometimes but she's 5, so the attention span only lasts so long. With that said, I usually have every other weekend (that I don't have her) to get outdoors and that's typically what I do. I've been putting in for big game for half a dozen years or so now and only drawn out twice. My first time, first year, was in a LE unit that I had no success in. I hiked my butt off and didn't see any animals. My Dad and Uncle hunting with me drove around after dropping me off and saw 2 little bucks fighting but nothing was seen after that. 2 years later I drew again for a general season deer tag and on the last evening I harvested a 1x2.
I haven't drawn for 3 yrs since. I'm not putting in for super desirable units either, I just haven't had any luck! I got an OTC spike tag this year, hunted like crazy, got into some herds but never found a spike.
I have been duck hunting the last couple years with no success. I go out quite a bit but I'm by myself and trying to learn on the go and it seems like I'm learning everything the hard way. A couple weekends ago I shot at a duck on the water (lets not get into that discussion, you might be sensing my desperation by now lol) and it looked like I hit all water but it flapped around like I clipped it and disappeared into some reeds. I have hip waders and waded out there to try and find it, hit a deep spot that I think was an old dug out canal that I couldn't tell was there and proceeded to fill my waders with water. I went back to a shallow spot, stripped down to my underwear and went into the freezing cold water for 45 minutes to an hour, people snickering as they went by, trying to find the bird that I eventually decided was long gone.
Last weekend I went to Nebraska (cheap and available tag for whitetail doe's), again I put a lot of miles in and a lot of hours sitting and glassing but still didn't have any success. Should've brought my shotgun, there were ducks and geese flying overhead constantly!
I've spent countless hours on my boots in the marshes, up and down mountains, through fields, chasing everything from big game to small and have had little to no success. Needless to say, I am getting pretty down on myself and I'm finding it hard to keep that drive and enthusiasm that I love so much up to keep up the early mornings and long drives, sore body and legs.
I have a pitbull mix that is obviously not a hunting dog but she loves to chase things and has a ton of energy. I've thought about taking her out to see if she can run around, have some fun, and maybe flush something out for me.
So, my question is, what do you guys do when you have a prolonged period of taking nothing home to show for all your hard work? How do you or have you kept motivated when you suck so bad at the thing you love to do? lol for all of you successful hunters, was there a time in your newbie stage when you were as terrible as me or were you always pretty successful and I just need to hang up the ol boots?
I appreciate any advice, tips, GENERAL locations for ANYTHING I might get some success with and pick my spirits back up. I'm sorry for the long post and rant. I've been on here for a while creeping on the sidelines and reading a lot but I've noticed that most of you are great people and very helpful, so thank you.
Don't get me wrong, I think just being in the outdoors is 90% of a successful hunt and it's my happy place. But I also would like to get better and get some meat in my freezer. I don't care about trophies or any of that crap, I just want to have fun and harvest some animals to make some delicious meals. But the former is waning and the latter is non existent ha ha.
Oh and the cherry on top, I haven't had a lick of success fishing either! With a setup an old timer taught me, I used to slay it anywhere I went! Now, I can't even catch a cold. I also accidentally shut the tip of my fly rod in my door one day so there's that. Using spinning tackle as of late, hoping to get a new fly rod soon.
I know this is a pretty broad stroke for this section of the forum but I feel like the upland community is where it's at and I feel like I have the most opportunity to be successful with upland game/small game.

TL;DR I suck at hunting. I want to get better, be better. I feel like I've put in my time, effort, sweat and blood but with little, arguably no success. Any help would be appreciated!

Thanks!
Norm
 

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Welcome to the Forum!

What does your current bonus point situation look like (species and amount)? Have you been putting in for antlerless tags? If so, what does your current preference point situation look like?

The reason I’m asking because, at the risk of stating the obvious, hunting is all about location. Being in the right place at the right time is all it takes - easier said than done right?!! 😉

I don’t hunt upland game in Utah much, so I can’t be of any help on that front.

If you are ever out in the Uintah Basin, let me know and I’m sure we can find something for you to shoot or some fish to catch!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Welcome to the Forum!

What does your current bonus point situation look like (species and amount)? Have you been putting in for antlerless tags? If so, what does your current preference point situation look like?

The reason I’m asking because, at the risk of stating the obvious, hunting is all about location. Being in the right place at the right time is all it takes - easier said than done right?!! 😉

I don’t hunt upland game in Utah much, so I can’t be of any help on that front.

If you are ever out in the Uintah Basin, let me know and I’m sure we can find something for you to shoot or some fish to catch!
I have 3 points for pretty much everything. Deer (buck and antlerless), Elk (bull and antlerless), Pronghorn. I'm going to put in for turkey this year, I haven't in the past. So we will see how that goes!

Lately I have been hunting the Central mountains on my big game tags or mostly out helping with families big game tags since I haven't drawn for a while. But I am open to discovering new country. I probably shouldn't share this openly but who cares: I think I am going to target low density and low app number areas for my tags next year. Yes, they might have less animals but there will also be less hunters, less pressure, etc. I think it will be nicer than the zoo of the central mountains lol. It's just that those are the mountains I'm most familiar with and I have family that lives in Price.

Thanks CPAjeff, I just might have to take you up on that offer! I'll send you a PM when I have a good weekend to do so. I really appreciate the willingness and advice!
 

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You shouldn’t have a problem drawing a central mountains tag with 3 points and there are tons of places on that unit you can get away from the crowds, I hunt it every year.

I like exploring new areas as much as the next guy but you would be better served sticking with one area for now and really learning it.
 

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Central mts has less than 30% success rate. You are not alone in not filling tags. Thats not the real story though, there are guys that harvest 100% of the time, every year which skews the numbers. This means for the average guy, success is probably less than 20%. Quite the learning curve.

-DallanC
 

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Another wrench that gets thrown into the works is hunters like I am. I set my sights quite high when deer hunting and try to find the wall hanger type buck. While doing so I'll pass up numerous bucks that most would shoot as soon as they saw them. But I'll pass on them and hunt to the end of the hunt and more times than not I'll take a unfilled tag home.

About the only time that I'll shoot a small buck is when my freezer is empty. But even then I'll drag the hunt out hopping for a better one.

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You shouldn’t have a problem drawing a central mountains tag with 3 points and there are tons of places on that unit you can get away from the crowds, I hunt it every year.

I like exploring new areas as much as the next guy but you would be better served sticking with one area for now and really learning it.
I agree, I would be surprised if I didn't draw that next year, and there's no problem seeing animals. There are does everywhere! I also see bulls when I've got a deer tag and bucks when I have an elk tag lol. I have in my mind that if that's where I decide to put in next year, my plan is to go back in deep a day or two before. So far, the first year or two was driving around trying to spot from the truck because I didn't know any better, since then I've been hiking as far as I can but close enough to be able to get back to my truck at night. So I think finding an area to camp way back in there is going to be how I proceed moving forward. Living and learning!
The only reason I say I'd like to try new areas is to find a spot I fall in love with and dedicate a massive amount of time to learn every peak and valley and the animals behaviors in it thru ought the year. I just don't know how much I love the central mountains and I haven't seen the amount of animals I would like for as much time as I've spent in there. And the amount of tag soup I've brought home out of there. But who knows, we'll see!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Another wrench that gets thrown into the works is hunters like I am. I set my sights quite high when deer hunting and try to find the wall hanger type buck. While doing so I'll pass up numerous bucks that most would shoot as soon as they saw them. But I'll pass on them and hunt to the end of the hunt and more times than not I'll take a unfilled tag home.

About the only time that I'll shoot a small buck is when my freezer is empty. But even then I'll drag the hunt out hopping for a better one.

Sent from my SM-J737V using Tapatalk
I hope to get to the point one day where I have the luxury to do as you do. That will be a happy day for me and It's exactly where I hope my hunting career ends up! But when the freezer has been metaphorically empty for years on end, I don't have the option to be picky. In my opinion. If that makes sense...
 

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I should also tell you that I have a advantage as far as general deer tags are concerned. I and a few others on the form here have Lifetime deer tags that we purchased years ago, they are no longer for sale.

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Hi all,
I'm a fairly new hunter and not a very successful one at that. ...
Well Norm, I got to say, I don't know where to begin with you. Clearly you are a really bad hunter. Not to say you are a bad person or anything like that, but really... you are doing something all wrong. It seems the old adage that "even a blind squirrel finds an occasional acorn" doesn't apply to you. From what you're telling us, you spend the time and energy, in the right places, so I must assume you're just not seeing them, or spooking them, or something.
Here are a couple things I see young hunters do wrong. First, they walk too much and way to fast. They look for the animals and ignore the habitat or even the little spots you are most likely to see an animal, i.e. a deer is more likely to be along the fringe of an opening rather than out in the middle. Another thing with young hunters...they make too much noise. Now one more thing, keep this in mind..."never leave deer(or what ever it is you're hunting) to find deer." If you see deer while you're driving or walking, hunt that area. Game IS NOT evenly distributed across all areas and they live in areas of their choosing, not yours.
Of course, there's so much more to hunting, but it can all be learned with time and patience. Don't give up, take an occasional deep breath, look at what you're doing and if it ain't working, try something else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Clearly you are a really bad hunter.
Ha ha yes, I am painfully aware. Hence, why I am reaching out. I like to think I'm a pretty intelligent individual and I've done a lot of research and in my off time I like to watch hunting and outdoors videos (good, informative things. Not fake, high fence operations who sit in a stand and wait until the buck they grew and named walks by). I say that to let you know it's not like I'm stomping thru the woods willy nilly making a huge racket. Coming from upwind of everything and wondering why I never see anything. Walking in the middle of a meadow instead of hidden in the woods with the meadow barely in view and a good position to see things moving on the fringes. etc..
I feel like I have a good grasp of the tactics and practices used. But there seems to be a disconnect somewhere.
Like you said, I honestly have never thought of getting out and hiking around where I saw doe's on the side of the road because I would assume I would spook them as soon as I got out of the truck and it would blow everything out of the face of that mountain. Instead, I would take that as a sign that there are deer in the area and try to find a bowl, glassing point, or something to hike to in that general area away from 1. other hunters 2. where I think others may have pushed them to where they are hiding.
I don't know man, I'm at a loss here. But it hasn't been for the lack of effort, I'll tell you that! It might be a lack of knowledge, however, on areas that usually hold deer or elk, chukars, pheasants, or whatever I may be chasing and where they most likely would be given that time of year or what vegetation to look out for. I'll keep learning and trying to apply my knowledge though. I'm not about to give up now! Even though I suck, I still love it way too much to hang it up.
Good news is, there's only one direction to go when you're on the bottom, UP! I can only get better at this point...
I guess I was just looking for some tips, tricks, etc., to help me get better at a more expeditious rate. If all else fails, I'll keep learning the hard way, it's still learning! It might just take longer.

I will say this, when I do find some animals I usually don't have a problem spooking them. For example, I was out trying to find pheasants in the WIA area by Tooele (can't recall the name right now) and I ran into a couple groups of deer at different points in the day. I was able to get in to each group at about 100 yards and just sat and watched them for a bit. There were some good 4 points in there! Which was fun, but then I moved on to the reason why I was there in the first place. Like I said earlier, if I'm after deer for example, I find elk. If I'm after pheasant I find deer! ha ha I want to say I have poor luck and I do but I also have a problem blaming that for my unsuccessful outings. Even with poor luck, I would think I would have to succeed every once in a blue moon!
Thanks for your thoughts though, much appreciated.
 

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How much walking do you do? As stated, you don’t need to blast through like it’s a race but you should be covering some ground. Ideally, hike to a vantage point and let a good pair of glass do the walking for ya.

glass everything, when you think you’ve completely glassed an area, glass it again, then move a bit and get a different angle
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
How much walking do you do? As stated, you don’t need to blast through like it’s a race but you should be covering some ground. Ideally, hike to a vantage point and let a good pair of glass do the walking for ya.

glass everything, when you think you’ve completely glassed an area, glass it again, then move a bit and get a different angle
I feel like I do a good balance, as you mentioned. Not cruising super fast but actually getting where I want to go without it taking all day. Taking time to stop and listen. Look for sign. Take note of what the wind is doing. Trying to be smart about how I move and where.
I've always wondered, do you glass as heavy for upland/ small game as you do with big game? If so, my glassing in those situations could definitely be improved.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Also, listen to cutting the distance with Remi Warren, his entire podcast is about giving tips and tricks. I’ve only listened to a couple myself but the dude knows his crap
I am really big on that whole group of guys. Remi, Steve, Janis, Ryan Callahan, all those fellas and their shows/podcasts/YouTube videos. I've listened to a few Cutting the Distance, I'll go back to it! Lately I've been listening to the Meateater podcast.
 

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Upland / small game no. Other than pheasants they are hard to glass up. Now I hear and see grouse quite often.

As for deer and elk all I can say is if you are moving you are not looking. I'm not sure where you want to get to but I can almost guarantee you are walking past animals on your way to get there.
 
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