Why Guys Quit on the Mountain

jjohnsonElknewbie

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Mar 16, 2021
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1,402
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Western Iowa
Had a father/son on our hunt last fall. The father had great success with the outfitter 15 years ago. He was a good man and was jacked up about the hunt. His son was also pumped, probably mid-20s. After riding in 18 miles day one and then putting in 18 hours on the mountain the next day he fell ill. On day 3 they rode out together with the outfitter and my bull. I felt terrible for the Dad, because I knew he just wanted his son to love it as much as he did. Unfortunately it didn’t work out.
 

SuspiciousFish

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Joined
May 26, 2022
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216
Elk hunting has a revolving door. We recruit new hunters every year. And every year rookies walk away. It’s not for everyone. The ones who like it love it. The ones who don’t are never coming back!
As long as that means I can find KUIU gear on Ebay and barely used bows on Craigslist then Im cool with this.

Personally, I had my first hunt in Colorado this fall (OTC archery elk) and it was a brutal 5 day experience waking up at 4:00am ang being out until dark each day. We got hailed on at 12,000 ft, rained on, stuck in deadfall labyrinths with the sun going down, soaked in Aspen groves that felt like jungles and sat at a beaver dam for 8 hours in the sun. We saw a lot of sign but never saw or heard an elk.

In any case, it was the most fun I had for years and I am already preparing for next year. There is just something about hunting that gets to you. Every minute you are out there and decision you make is deliberate and works to a goal. Any luxury that takes away from the goal is shunned. Something about being cold, hungry and worn down by the mountains but persevering just makes you feel ALIVE.
 

Indian Summer

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Feb 17, 2013
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As long as that means I can find KUIU gear on Ebay and barely used bows on Craigslist then Im cool with this.

Personally, I had my first hunt in Colorado this fall (OTC archery elk) and it was a brutal 5 day experience waking up at 4:00am ang being out until dark each day. We got hailed on at 12,000 ft, rained on, stuck in deadfall labyrinths with the sun going down, soaked in Aspen groves that felt like jungles and sat at a beaver dam for 8 hours in the sun. We saw a lot of sign but never saw or heard an elk.

In any case, it was the most fun I had for years and I am already preparing for next year. There is just something about hunting that gets to you. Every minute you are out there and decision you make is deliberate and works to a goal. Any luxury that takes away from the goal is shunned. Something about being cold, hungry and worn down by the mountains but persevering just makes you feel ALIVE.
Man that was perfect. Coming from a first time elk hunter makes your words interesting. It shows that you are obviously one of us.

If that means there’s something wrong with us we don’t care. I realize there are some people who are on a vacation. Killing an elk is just a bonus. That’s fine. But to us it’s a labor of love. Tons of both. Like I said you either love it or you hate it.

These days I’m starting to look at the price of elk tags and saying… damn, for that much money I sure I hope I kill one! Just one more thing I say to motivate myself.

Good luck with your next hunt!
 

Idaho_bow_hunter

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2019
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Location
Idaho
I’ve got 3 kids at home under 6 and it can be hard sticking it out when I know the wife is struggling with bedtime and other kid stuff. Sometimes the garmin with unlimited texting is a blessing and sometimes it’s a curse. I’ve pretty much given up on solo hunting in the back country. The inner voice starts to worry about the family and if I’m not seeing game, the drive to hunt starts to take a nose dive. I never felt that way before the kids. Hunting with others seems to help this more than anything else for me.
Hunting in the mountains is a mental game for sure, and comes easier to some than others. I think the first step is looking inward and figuring out what makes you leave hunts early and learn to combat that. Positive self talk and positive talk between hunting partners makes a big difference. Just my 2 cents.
 

darcytribe

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Joined
Mar 14, 2013
Messages
1,016
I’ve got 3 kids at home under 6 and it can be hard sticking it out when I know the wife is struggling with bedtime and other kid stuff. Sometimes the garmin with unlimited texting is a blessing and sometimes it’s a curse. I’ve pretty much given up on solo hunting in the back country. The inner voice starts to worry about the family and if I’m not seeing game, the drive to hunt starts to take a nose dive. I never felt that way before the kids. Hunting with others seems to help this more than anything else for me.
Hunting in the mountains is a mental game for sure, and comes easier to some than others. I think the first step is looking inward and figuring out what makes you leave hunts early and learn to combat that. Positive self talk and positive talk between hunting partners makes a big difference. Just my 2 cents.
I’m with you on a good partner. For me it makes all the difference. We’ve both helped each other when it inevitably gets tough and the other is getting down. We also spend time talking about more than just the hunt we’re on. I personally would not do well solo.
Another factor that naws at me after several days is lack of comfort. I’m soft when it comes to that, hate to say. When your tired, cold, wet, muscles aching it can be a discouragement. Elk hunting seems to bring bring plenty of those conditions and they do weigh on you over time.
Life slows and you have time to think without constant stimulus. For me these times are helpful in re centering priorities. In my life that turns my attention to those I love. I end up missing them a lot every time. I also wrestle with selfishness knowing there are those at home “covering” for me to allow me to do hunt away from home.
Especially when it’s slow on the mountain I wrestle with the thought, “there are things I probably should be doing right now”.
Usually these thoughts are at night when I’ts just me and my thoughts and when I’ve felt tugs to throw in the towel. That said, for us, the majority of our opportunities come after many days of working hard and sticking with it. You tube compresses all of that time and work into 25 minutes and almost always ends in a successful harvest. Can set guys up for unrealistic and unmet expectations that for many is hard to get past.
 
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trophyhill

trophyhill

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Feb 27, 2012
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Tijeras NM
I’ve never done an outfitted hunt, and don’t know if I ever will. I might. I was more interested in what Cliff was saying looking at it from a hunters mental stand point looking from the outside looking in. In my minds eye, attitude is everything from day 1 until the hunt is over.

Remaining positive with the “today is the day” is the phrase of the day everyday has been very important to me. Particularly as mostly a solo and backcountry hunter where elk are concerned. I’ve spent many days not seeing elk and blown many opportunities. You have to have a short memory out there when it comes to these types of things. No matter what the outside influences may be. Especially when it comes to heavy pressure units. You just have to factor that in with your decision to hunt otc and or other pressured hunts. Ultimately we put the most pressure on ourselves. Overcoming the mental part is a huge deal!
 

ozyclint

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Joined
Apr 27, 2012
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1,394
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Queensland, Downunder
"When you think you're done, you're only 60% done"

When I'm discouraged I think of people like the explorers in the age of discovery. Leaving loved ones for unknown amounts of time, usually years, with no idea whether you will survive to see them again, all with no means of communication.

Ernest Shackleton and his men in the Antarctic, Ejnan Mikkelsen and Iver Iverson surviving 865 days alone together in Greenland.

Then I snap out of it and stop being a pussy.
 

Idaho_bow_hunter

Junior Member
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Aug 1, 2019
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Location
Idaho
You hear guys like Randy Newberg talk about how modern clothing and gear help you hunt longer more comfortably, which is probably why gear junkies bite onto that. I guess compared to blue jeans and plaid shirts we are more comfortable, but that older generation of hunters prove that mental toughness trumps fancy clothing and gear.
 

Mykolaivka887

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Jan 15, 2022
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944
You hear guys like Randy Newberg talk about how modern clothing and gear help you hunt longer more comfortably, which is probably why gear junkies bite onto that ..... but that older generation of hunters prove that mental toughness trumps fancy clothing and gear.

Exactly ......
 
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