“Make it like home, or you’ll want to go home.” It’s the saying we live by in elk camp. If there are too many factors wearing you down, eventually you will quit hunting and return home. While some hunters may want to “rough it,” we believe life is hard enough. This blog lists the factors that, if controlled, will allow you to hunt all season, but, if neglected, will derail your trip.
Warm Breakfast and Good Food
Nobody wants to stand in the cold any longer than they have to, but day five of cold oatmeal will make you want to go order a McGriddle. Getting out of bed ten minutes earlier to make a warm breakfast gets the day started off on the right foot. We often eat egg, salami cheese sandwiches on bagels in the mornings. Oatmeal does the trick when I know I have a long day ahead of me. Additionally, take a page out of your ex-girlfriends playbook and stock up on “comfort” foods. Oreos and bags of halloween candy always bring spirits up after a hard day. A heavy-duty cooler is nice, not only for transporting game meat, but also to have perishable food options including: butter, eggs, lunch meat and mayonnaise. If only we could manage to keep chocolate ice cream from freezing.
I have taken several month-long trips in my car over the last few years. The added security from wind and rain combined with a completely flat floor allows me to consistently sleep well. My buddies that sleep in tents bring cots to camp. Just do not show up thinking you’ll be so tired at the end of a long day that you’ll fall right to sleep. Sleeping with a stump jammed between your ribs will wear you out by the end of the first week.
If you have read The Call of the Wild, you know that all of the wannabes have a dirty camp with gear lying all around while the studs finding the gold keep things tidy. That should be enough motivation. Also, clean when you’re feeling good because a dirty camp will be one more annoyance when things aren’t going as planned.
Normally I wash off in a stream around noon. However, when I have been hunting ridges for several days I will take a shower at camp. It’s a little thing that can go a long way towards feeling like you’re not the failure your chocolate-ice-cream-eating ex-girlfriend thought you were.
If at all possible get a camp site with LTE. You have decided to hunt for more than a week straight and invest a substantial amount into non-resident tags. As a result, you’ll have some lingering doubts in the back of your mind about your decision making skills. You want to spend as little time as possible with those thoughts as possible. Try not to think at all if possible. Namaste. Breath, focus on your breaths and not on your crippling student debt. Read a book, call your mom or just check the gram.
Cold, Hungry, Wet and Tired
If you can avoid being any of these, only botched opportunities will bring you down. I hunted every day except one last season. The day before we hiked 12 miles the last 4 of which were through a downpour and arrived back to camp at 10:30. I could have checked all four boxes.
Mix It Up
Changing both who you hunt with and where you hunt will always things up. During the past season we had two buddies from college and high school join us for a few days as well as my sister, who came out for two weekends. We also switched units when things started feeling stale. If you feel like the energy level is low, or you want to throw something at your hunting partner, try mixing it up.
Last Few Words
If a plane were off by 1% on its way from New York to London, it would land in Bangladesh. That’s not factually correct, but you get the idea. Keep your basic needs met, and you shouldn’t have a problem hunting for a few weeks. There are those that want to “get away from it all.” If that’s you, just read Walden and keep the quotes off the gram.