East to West Part 3 Photo 2

East to West Part III: Putting it All Together

By Tye Abell, Rokslide Member

In Part I and Part II of this series, I discussed what I consider to be the best methods for preparing an eastern hunter to tackle the West. In this article, I am going to detail my own journey towards my first western hunt. My hunt took place in Wyoming with mule deer as my target species in September 2015. Ultimately, I was successful, but if I had returned to Alabama without a notched tag, the trip would have been a success in terms of lessons learned and experiences gained. If you make killing an animal the number one priority of your trip, the numbers say you'll likely end up failing. If you'll consider the advice within this series, your odds of taking an animal will increase; but the ultimate aim of your trip should be to further your abilities as a woodsmen in every area you can.

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East to West Part 2 Photo 1

East to West Part II: Preparation Hunts

By Tye Abell, Rokslide Member

In Part I of this series, Planning Your First Western Hunt, I discussed the best method for dialing in the gear for your first Western hunt. In Part II, I'll dive into another area that is vital to increasing your odds of success, preparation hunts.

You may be questioning what constitutes a "preparation" hunt? It's rather simple: any hunting trip that takes you more than 6 hours away from your home base to a public land area.  These hunts can be beneficial in several ways.

  • Gain insight into how well your research methods work
  • Test your optics
  • Learn where you're deficient in map reading and navigation.
  • If you're successful and tag an animal, you can practice the gutless method (if legal) and further test your pack's ability with heavy loads.
  • If unsuccessful, you can evaluate how you react to failure on a hunting trip and gain insight into how to keep yourself motivated while on your future Western hunt.
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Read more: East to West Part II: Preparation Hunts

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East to West Part I: Preparing for Your First Western Hunt

Part I: Picking the Right Gear

By Tye Abell, Rokslide Member

As an Eastern hunter living in Alabama, hunting the West used to seem like an impossible undertaking: hunting in unfamiliar territory, living off my back at high altitude, andif successfulpacking an animal out of the backcountry. With experience and planning, I overcame these potential roadblocks and enjoyed success on my first backpack style Western hunt.  

I put this article series together for the hunter who desires to hunt out West and wants to be fully prepared for that first and subsequent trips. Part I will detail what I consider to be the best method for determining what gear will accompany you on that first hunt.

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A Bag of Bags

By Larry Schwartz, Rokslide Member

Many years ago, actually many decades ago, in the 1960's and 70's, I was a new Boy Scout and just learning about backpacking. My first backpack was a BSA Yucca Pack, a khaki colored canvas cube with a flap and a tubular steel frame. It held a whopping 1500 cubic inches of my teenager-sized clothing, sleeping gear, food and cooking gear. Back then we could actually build fires so I didn't carry a packable stove.

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Read more: A Bag of Bags: How to Organize Your Backpack