How do you prepare for a new hunt?

ffgoss4606

Junior Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2020
Messages
41
Location
Tupelo Mississippi
How do y’all prepare for a new hunt in a spot you have never been. I typically research the hell out of topography and weather. I generally have 1 spot I will go to on the first morning and start scouting after that, if season is all ready open when I get there. If it’s not then I spend 1 or 2 days glassing areas I want to hunt. Just wondering how everyone else preps for a hunt in a new place?
 

Fitzwho

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2017
Messages
657
Location
Midland, TX
I would say I'm pretty similar to that. Especially if I didn't make it out for at least a quick scouting session, I like to have a day or so before the hunt to go look at access points and just run the roads so that I know what everything looks like from the ground. Gives me a better feel for what I expect to see in my pre-determined hunting spots and a chance to shuffle around my options depending on what I see while doing that. Option C might become Option A, if the original is stacked with mountain bikers or something like that.
 

ThisIsMyHandle

Senior Member
Joined
May 24, 2020
Messages
103
I’ve been looking over satellite and topo maps in Arizona units for next January. Plus gohunt, google and forums. I feel that’s all I can do as far as scouting since I live in Connecticut. There’s no way I can get there for a scouting trip. For whitetails here, more satellite than topo. I typically don’t scout new state land unless there’s something I really need to see. I like going in somewhat blind for a hang n hunt.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

chasewild

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2016
Messages
655
Location
CO -> AK
It usually takes two years. Maps, google searches, instagram stalking, more maps, calls to biologists, review regs, commit to a hunt one year, postpone, then do it the following year.
 

5MilesBack

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2012
Messages
12,478
Location
Colorado Springs
For archery elk, I like going in blind to new areas. Jump right in once the season is in full swing. Finding elk is the easy part, finding the right elk is a little bit tougher......but that's what makes it fun.......a challenge.
 

AZ_Hunter_2000

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2019
Messages
1,325
1) Ask friends, family, friends of family, and friends of friends to see if any have hunted the area.
2) Check out the state's G&F site to see if they have any info on the unit/area you are planning to hunt.
3) Reach out to strangers via 3rd party sites such as HuntinFool.
4) Look at various sources for the topology of the area. This will tell you many things. This includes potential glassing/hunting spots, potential longest shot distance, type of optics (ex: 10x vs 15x), elevation change (direct impact on fitness requirements), etc.
5) Experience from previous hunts even if not the same area.
6) Have a realistic expectation that tag soup may be on the menu in Year 1.
 

Hoodie

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2020
Messages
527
Location
Oregon Cascades
Assuming I've already done the research on harvest, pressure, etc. and picked a unit.

1) Study topo maps and annual weather averages/snowfall data to make the most educated guess possible as to what elevation I can expect animals to be at during the hunt period.

2) Look at road access to determine areas within that elevation band likely to receive less pressure.

3) Within low pressure areas look at topo and satellite maps to determine areas with food, water, and good bedding cover in close proximity. This usually weeds out much of the unit. Rank these spots so I have a plan A,B,C, etc.

4) Glass feeding areas in the spots I've narrowed it down to.

5) Boots on the ground in feeding areas to find where animals come in (If glassing didn't answer that question).

6) Backtrail from feeding areas to find/mark bedding areas and identify the best ambush points.

I absolutely hate hunting areas I haven't been able to physically scout, to the point where I basically won't do it. That probably has a lot to do with the units I tend to hunt having low animal densities and low success rates. That said, in a unit with decent numbers you can figure a lot out just with OnX/Google Earth if you know what to look for. I like scouting every bit as much as hunting, if not more. Most of the animals I have encounters with during the season I've located before opening day.
 

Copperhead

Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2021
Messages
58
Assuming I've already done the research on harvest, pressure, etc. and picked a unit.

1) Study topo maps and annual weather averages/snowfall data to make the most educated guess possible as to what elevation I can expect animals to be at during the hunt period.

2) Look at road access to determine areas within that elevation band likely to receive less pressure.

3) Within low pressure areas look at topo and satellite maps to determine areas with food, water, and good bedding cover in close proximity. This usually weeds out much of the unit. Rank these spots so I have a plan A,B,C, etc.

4) Glass feeding areas in the spots I've narrowed it down to.

5) Boots on the ground in feeding areas to find where animals come in (If glassing didn't answer that question).

6) Backtrail from feeding areas to find/mark bedding areas and identify the best ambush points.

I absolutely hate hunting areas I haven't been able to physically scout, to the point where I basically won't do it. That probably has a lot to do with the units I tend to hunt having low animal densities and low success rates. That said, in a unit with decent numbers you can figure a lot out just with OnX/Google Earth if you know what to look for. I like scouting every bit as much as hunting, if not more. Most of the animals I have encounters with during the season I've located before opening day.
This guy gets it. My approach is pretty much the same. Stare at satellite images, cross reference with topos, then reference back the other way again to pare it down. Have several back up plans. Get on the ground and see how wrong you were. First couple of days for me are usually quick and dirty. Cover ground and compare. Backtrack if I need to. Have gotten lucky before though. Would also add that besides road access I also look for trail heads and hiker trails. Some places close down trails to non hunting activities and it can be handy to catch a trail leg for a little while to cover some ground, or use it for water/canyon/saddle crossing to get from one of your points to another. If the unit keeps the trail open for hikers during hunting season, then look where it goes so you can make sure to avoid it. I've made that mistake before. Bushwhacked to a place, set up, and an hour later watched a parade of hikers bebopping down a trail I didn't know was there like a quarter mile from me. Needless to say I moved.
 

Next Ridge

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2020
Messages
239
In addition to a lot of good advice above I also place calls to the game warden, biologist, or forest rangers in an area. I get a much better sense of access, trail or road conditions, other hunter density/atmospherics, etc than I do just e-scouting and reading websites.
 

.204smokechaser

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2017
Messages
224
Location
Idaho
This isn't in order of what I usually do.

Look on Rokslide, Hunt talk, other forums and YouTube to see what info is available without trying hard. Take the info I see with a grain of salt. Maybe exchange a PM or two with a person who may have hunted there.


Look at Google Earth, OnX and locate areas I'd like to visit. Create waypoints and a KML file that I can use later to possibly make a map of the hunting areas.

Look on glovis and sift through imagery to find old burns. Look at snotel sites and Local RAWS to figure out how cold it gets in the season.

Look at fish and game website for draw odds, harvest statistics, hunter numbers. Call fish and game and ask about recent animal counts and studies.

Locate someone I know who can give me the map to the local national forest/BLM area I want to hunt so I have a paper map to glance at and familiarize myself with.

Take a trip to the general area if its accessible when I go and learn the area, look for elk and deer and see what they're eating and try to guess migration routes. Stop at the local ranger station or BLM office and B.S. with the front desk person and fire guys about different areas and get information about the areas I'm interested in hunting. Ask where the most recent burns were (Possible camps, roads, trails, water source, cell service, etc.)

Locate the nearest gas station to where I'll be hunting, usually fill up (3) 5 gallon gerries so I don't have to go into town as often (People often forget that one!!)


I haven't hunted deep in the Selway or Frank Church but how I would prepare would be a airplane scouting recon with a local in the summer to go over areas I'd want to hunt and narrow down the air strip I'd want to be dropped off at. I went on a recon flight on one forest I worked on to learn the area better and its paid off.



In summary, I don't hunt big game in units without taking a drive to see the country first. Usually I hunt near where I've worked and/or work that year.

I'm starting to pack for my week or two truck camping adventure I'm setting off on this weekend to learn new country in Idaho and Montana and to visit some of the towns I'm interested in working/living in. Have a few job opportunities on different forests and the only way to figure out if I want to work or hunt there is to go explore those areas in the off season.
 

Mosby

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2015
Messages
1,439
I try to find as much information as I can online and then I drive there, set up a tent and spend at least a week driving around the area, scouting, hiking, talking with rangers, calling biologists etc. Get as many maps on the area including roads as I can. If I get comfortable, then I determine where the local grocery store is and scout that out and try a couple of local restaurants. Figure out what they have and what I have to bring. I also talk to locals and get recommendations on meat processing and taxidermy. I go check them out and make sure they are clean and viable. The last thing I do is confirm where I will be staying when hunting, whether that's a campground, hotel or trailhead. I go there and check it out. On my way home, I try to find the nearest Walmart, hospital, Chevy dealer and who has the cheapest gas in the area. A lot of stuff gets saved into my GPS, so its easy to find when I come back.
 

Rich M

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2017
Messages
2,226
Location
Orlando
I show up a day or two early and drive the unit/area. Already have the day 1 plan but want to have some on-the-ground intel to confirm it.

A lot changes between going to bed the night before opener til first light opening morning. About 2/3 of the world shows up to hunt!
 

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