Solo hunter

street

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2018
Messages
169
Location
Colorado
How many of you guys solo hunt?

What are the main challenges of solo vs not solo? Main solo advantages?

Which do you enjoy more?
 

rayporter

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 3, 2014
Messages
2,017
Location
arkansas or ohio
solo can be a challenge. I have driven 1200 mi to elk hunt solo with horses. the worst is the drive out and on occasion doing camp chores alone means hunting time has to be cut back.
I will go 5 hours away to hunt white tails alone frequently and camp 5 miles from the road without a second thought.


as far as actual hunting -even with a pardner we go our separate ways each day.
 

twall13

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
1,655
Location
Utah
I've done it, though not a ton. It took some getting used to but in a lot of ways I actually really like hunting solo. There is a sense of real pride and accomplishment when I'm successful on a solo hunt. I know I put in all the work, made all the decisions, etc. to make it happen and that can be rewarding. I also don't have to worry about someone else doing something stupid and blowing an opportunity for me. I tend to be more in tune with nature and learn a lot more when I'm solo. On the flip side, I never thought I'd miss the human interaction but after a couple of days without talking to anyone it can do weird things to my mind. I've found having a way to communicate with my wife, even if only via text, at least daily helps. I also download some podcasts to listen to at night, etc. Everyone is different, and most of my hunts aren't solo but I do enjoy a solo hunt from time to time.

I'll also note that, at least with elk, I think a bit more about the conditions and what it will take to get one out when I'm solo. If I have a good hunting partner (usually one of my brothers) then I pretty much know we can get an elk out of anywhere we are hunting. Packing it out solo I need cold weather or I'd better have a short/quick pack out. Mule deer I don't worry as much about. Also, depending on how you like to hunt, it can be nice to have two people for calling setups with elk.
 

GregB

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2017
Messages
597
Location
Idaho
I do a solo trip for myself then take my son on a hunting trip every year, before he started hunting I just went by myself all the time. The solitude is nice. What ever you decide you're going to do for a game plan there's no discussion or friction with your hunting partner. I think there is a certain amount of pride, or accomplishment in being able to do it on your own especially if you are successful. Downsides are if you are backpacking you can't bring as much since there is no one to split the load. You also have to pack out whatever you kill by yourself. Like twall13 said you have to understand the weather and your physical abilities to know how far in you can go and still get an animal out before the meat spoils. I also take a Delorme and extra first aid stuff since I'm by myself. I've also though having a caller for archery elk would be helpful. I will say when I'm with the kid it is nice to have someone to talk to. After 7-10 days solo you might start talking to yourself or the trees.
 

Mt Al

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2017
Messages
399
Location
Montana
Other than with my kids and a friend here and there, I've solo hunted almost exclusively for the past 25/30 years. Main reason is solitude, my timeline, no worrying about other people, etc.. I'm around people all day with my job, on the phone, etc. and just like to be alone outside. Advantages, for me, are that I see way more game, don't have to be concerned about who's shooting first/when, where someone went, finding each other if we split up, other people's agendas, etc.. I love people, have lots of friends, etc, just like hunting alone.
 

wannakillabigbull

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2015
Messages
906
Location
Colorado
I started solo hunting three seasons ago after graduating college. My solo hunts from that period: I shot a rifle mule deer buck in 2016 in Colorado, a rifle mule deer buck in 2017 in Colorado, an archery pronghorn buck in 2018 in Wyoming and a rifle bull elk in 2018 in Colorado. I also swung and missed on archery OTC deer in Arizona each of those years, archery Colorado elk in 2016, Arizona rifle coues deer in 2016, and a late season rifle bull elk tag in Arizona in 2017.

This post is in the mule deer forum so I’ll try to stay mostly to that. The main challenges of solo for me are mental. It can be much more difficult to stay motivated when the hunting is slow, and likewise it’s easy to talk yourself into going back to the truck early or bailing on a certain spot before you’ve really given it its due time. Mentally the challenges will me more of an issue the longer you plan on staying. I tend not to struggle mentally on a weekend or day hunt, but the week long hunts when the hunting is slow can really start to play with your mind. Physically, as far as deer hunting goes, I’m not super challenged by being solo. Two trips would be a max for me if I got one down and that’s fine with me. Elk hunting solo is a different story.

The main advantages of going solo are that I don’t have anyone else to hold me back physically or try to change my mind about how I want to hunt the particular area. It’s all on me and that’s freeing in a certain sense, but that’s probably only an advantage if you actually know what you’re doing. I’m also way quieter than when I hunt with my dad for instance. He tends to bang his trekking poles into everything in his path which makes archery hunting anything a lesson in frustration.

All that being said I enjoy hunting with my brother and/or wife much more than I enjoy solo hunting, regardless of whether I think I’ll be more effective of a hunter. Having someone to embrace the suck with you is irreplaceable from an enjoyment perspective.
 

coloyooper

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2017
Messages
339
Location
CO
I prefer solo, or at the most just sharing camp. Primarily because then I don't have to try to negotiate hunting strategies, locations, etc. And it's one less set of clumsy feet when trying to get in on animals. The solitude is nice but I do enjoy somebody else in camp to bullshit with at the end of the day.
 

ss13

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2016
Messages
257
I've hunted solo the past two season. Wy antelope and NM mule deer. Both trips were ok, but I prefer to hunt with a partner. It's not so much the actual hunting, but rather the traveling and off time conversation. When I'm not hunting I like being around someone else. I'll continue to hunt solo if I draw a tag and no one is available to tag along, but I do prefer a partner. 2019 I have a buddy applying with me, so I'm good to go!
 

Back Country Hunter 2

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2015
Messages
1,287
Location
Colorado
I killed two deer this year solo during rifle seasons here in CO. I shot a doe the first morning I went up. Then after helping a buddy, I had the last morning to shoot a buck. I saw one that excited me at first light and was able to get it done. It was my 2nd and 3rd animal taken solo. I had really zero challenges this year, because both were over fairly quickly. My main solo challenges have been all mental. Last year I did a 5 day solo late season elk hunt. I had no cell service and saw 5 people the entire time. I came back and felt socially awkward even talking to my wife. I enjoy hunting solo, but in short spurts. Extended periods of time solo mess with my mind.
 

Jacack

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2018
Messages
269
Location
Florida
Solo isnt so bad, I think it's pretty hard to find someone you can hunt with and not get tired of each other after 5 or 6 days the field. I hunt solo a lot due to not having someone that can get away as much as me, this past year my buddy joined me for 4 days then I stayed 9 more after he left. That was the longest I have done and it wasn't too bad as I was in elk everyday so it passed fast but I was ready when the season ended.
 
OP
street

street

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2018
Messages
169
Location
Colorado
All really good responses that corroborate my experiences. That really is the challenge isn't it? Do we optimize our chances for a nice buck by hunting solo? Or do we set ourselves up for an experience that we won't forget by sharing it with others? Although we could get both solo.
 

JP100

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2013
Messages
1,064
Location
South Island New Zealand
Never hunted mule deer, but hunted alot solo.

I am generally either guiding or solo hunting.

Mainly only advantages to solo, except packing out heavy shit.

Your senses are way more in tune, you way more focused solo.
You make better more sensible decisions I think. Take less risks.

You have only yourself to impress and disappoint.

Think it depends alot on who you are as a person though. I would happily spend months seeing very few people, and have.
Some people love being around others.

Being solo is quiet, and good for your brain I think.
 
Joined
Oct 3, 2013
Messages
1,635
Location
Oregon
Your senses are way more in tune, you way more focused solo.
You make better more sensible decisions I think. Take less risks.

Think it depends a lot on who you are as a person though. I would happily spend months seeing very few people, and have.
Some people love being around others.

Being solo is quiet, and good for your brain I think.
This sums up a lot of it for me. There is never useless conversation about a plan. You think it through on your own, make a plan, execute the plan. I find success solo hunting a little more rewarding.
 

Macegl

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2016
Messages
133
Hunt solo 99% of the time for mule deer.

Lots of advantages, less scent, noise and you don't have to worry about slowing someone else down, or waiting for them. You can change your mind and go wherever the day takes you. I love the time alone to think and unwind. Maybe the biggest advantage when it comes to mule deer hunting is keeping a good spot to yourself. Seems like whenever I take someone, it doesn't take long before their buddies show up.

Biggest disadvantage: Safety. I have a friend who slipped with his razor knife a couple years ago while field dressing an animal. Luckily he was with another friend who was able to get a tourniquet on, hike up a ridge, get some cell service and get search and rescue. He barely made it off the mountain, if he would have been solo he wouldn't have made it.

That definitely changed the way I do things. Still hunt solo almost exclusively, but I'm a lot more careful, and I'll be picking up a Garmin inreach soon. Also looking forward to when my kids get a little older. Hopefully, at that point I'll be doing more than 90% of my hunting with a partner!
 

robby denning

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Messages
8,942
Location
SE Idaho
Mostly solo but really enjoy hunting with a friend. Best solo advantages are getting tags (only need to worry about my points/app), not having to time vacation days (I often go on short notice), go where I want on the mountain, don’t have the dabate of who shoots first/whose buck, and when I’m tagged out, I’m done.

But it’s a lot harder mentally to hunt alone, and there’s a safety factor you’re giving up by hunting alone.
 

Jacob.smithjas

Junior Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2018
Messages
12
Location
Utah
I enjoy the solitude of solo hunting but understand the risks that are involved and take precautions and have medical training from my military days. If you can find a good group that isn’t drama and are willing to work together for everyone to be “successful”(however you want to define it) then I think that can be a much better way to hunt. Until I find those guys/gals to hunt with then I will be hitting the hills solo.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
OP
street

street

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2018
Messages
169
Location
Colorado
When you guys solo, are you typically backpacking it? Or do you usually do a base camp type hunt?
 

cbrown2x

Junior Member
Joined
May 26, 2017
Messages
22
Location
Wisconsin
Solo all the way. If you're super committed Itay be hard to find that equal in a hunting partner. Plus there is nobody to hold you back from your plan. Both are fun but the silence and focus seem to be what I enjoy most.

Sent from my LG-LS993 using Tapatalk
 

Sammckeeth

Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2016
Messages
60
Location
Montana
I love to solo hunt, for deer especially. The biggest advantage is the freedom. No worries about having to bounce decisions off hunting partners. Free to go as far in as I choose some trips it might be 2-3 miles other times 10 depending on what I feel like doing. Packing out a deer and camp is the biggest downside, although my hardest packout was with a partner, we both killed deer 11 miles in.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
Top