Why Guys Quit on the Mountain

ozyclint

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Apr 27, 2012
Messages
1,394
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Queensland, Downunder
That’s one of the motivators to go hunting for me. No work calls or emails, no news about the crazy shit happening in the world, no monitoring investments, etc. Cliff talks about the stress, and all I can think about is the stress relief.
Carpe Diem is a beautiful thing. We don't do it often enough.
 

5MilesBack

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Feb 27, 2012
Messages
14,065
Location
Colorado Springs
You're quitting right when it starts to get good.
I can't even count how many bulls I've left out there at dark that are absolutely "ready to go". One year I was hunting within 1/3 mile from my truck camp. The bulls never made a peep until only about 15 minutes of light were left. By dark I had that bull screaming and close. I never made another peep but hiked to camp. He stayed about 100-150 yards from my camp until about 0300......screaming his head off every 30 seconds. I didn't sleep a wink. Then he moved off and I still heard him in the distance.

Another bull literally followed me for 2 miles to my truck. He stayed high on the ridge top and screamed every now and then just to let me know he was still there. I never made a peep after dark, but he still came. There I am with the truck door open, putting my stuff in, and then starting it up and turning the headlights on, and he's still screaming from up the hill as I drove away. I just wish they'd start earlier in the evenings sometimes.

Then this year, I get to a spot I hadn't been to in several years at 3:15pm and there are three bulls bugling already within 200 yards of me. Unfortunately the winds were all over the place and it was impossible to make a move in any direction for very long without the wind doing a 180 and back again. Waited until the sun went behind the mountains, and the wind calmed down, and then it got crazy about 6pm. Never seen anything like it.
 
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Poser

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Dec 27, 2013
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Durango CO
I watched some of Cliff’s videos. In one of them, he talks about food being either one of the central problems guys run into, possibly (can’t remember for sure) of the main reasons people quit early. Following some hunting FB groups, the complaints, excuses and seeming lack of preparation support this.

Seems to be the case that a lot of newbies don’t put much thought into food and, even then, many who do put some thought into it do not seem to test and experiment. A lot of guys claim that food isn’t important to them and that they take the “if it makes a turd” approach, but few actually fall into that category. Food is highly personal and also very psychological. You need to figure your food out or you are going to break down.

Next up, I think a very general lack of backpacking/camping experience is a very overlooked factor. You need to know how to camp (wherever style camping you will be doing): you need to be efficient at it, you need to be comfortable and you need to be able to sleep well. This is literally the easiest aspect of hunting to prep for. Regardless of where you live, go camping. A lot. Get good at it, dial your sleep setup in, test your equipment, set it up and break it down often. You need to be a good camper if you are going to camp and merely camping while you are on a hunting trip is going to create more problems than it is going to solve.
 

JohnB

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Joined
Aug 28, 2019
Messages
273
Poser is totally spot on about knowing how to camp and getting some miles in before hunting season. At the beginning of the hiking season I sleep pretty restlessly and by the end of the summer I'm asleep before I'm even in my sleeping bag.
 

JeffRaines

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Joined
Oct 24, 2015
Messages
1,464
Sleep and food is a big factor, and seeing this video opened my eyes to the reasoning behind some things.

I learned a long time ago that I have to eat... and many times that means forcing myself to stop every hour and forcing a snack in when I'm nowhere close to hungry. Sometimes that's forcing a meal down - not because it tastes bad, but because my appetite is non-existent.

Sleep is another big deal, but I've got that mostly handled. I know the first night I sleep like hell, so I'll typically dose up on melatonin or Benadryl - a small dose - just to help me get some sleep. The second day I'm tired as hell all day because I didn't sleep well the first night... and from there on its smooth sailing because night 2 I'm asleep shortly after my head hits the pillow... but I won't lie, that second day is a grind in and of itself because running on 2 hours or less of sleep sucks ass. I typically am perked up the third day.

Another thing that's worth mentioning is taking time to do some of your routine stuff. I like waking up well before work to enjoy a cup or two of coffee in solitude... I've found doing the same thing on hunts(when possible) is really beneficial. Its nice to wake up and have a cup or two of coffee sitting in the tent before you've gotta hit the trail - even better if there's a wood stove involved. Even better if its actual coffee and not some instant crap! Not that all instant coffee is bad, but nothing beats a fresh brewed cup.

One other thing that I've thought of, and this applies more to the guy doing it himself is not having a frame of reference of what's right and wrong. You're in the woods all day and don't see anything - its hard to impossible to determine what you were doing right and wrong if you have little to no experience. In this way having a more experienced partner or outfitter is a godsend because you can at least ask them what went wrong, whatever. Sure, sometimes the animals just aren't there, but at least you can know what you were doing is what you're supposed to be doing.
 
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Poser

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Dec 27, 2013
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Durango CO
Poser is totally spot on about knowing how to camp and getting some miles in before hunting season. At the beginning of the hiking season I sleep pretty restlessly and by the end of the summer I'm asleep before I'm even in my sleeping bag.

Similar. I spend 50-60+ nights a year in a sleeping bag and, coke backpacking season, it takes me a couple of times out to get comfortable again. Literally, sleeping on the floor of a backporch or patio for a week leading up to a hunting trip could solve so many issues for the uninitiated.
 

woods89

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Sep 3, 2014
Messages
1,254
Location
Southern MO Ozarks
I watched some of Cliff’s videos. In one of them, he talks about food being either one of the central problems guys run into, possibly (can’t remember for sure) of the main reasons people quit early. Following some hunting FB groups, the complaints, excuses and seeming lack of preparation support this.

Seems to be the case that a lot of newbies don’t put much thought into food and, even then, many who do put some thought into it do not seem to test and experiment. A lot of guys claim that food isn’t important to them and that they take the “if it makes a turd” approach, but few actually fall into that category. Food is highly personal and also very psychological. You need to figure your food out or you are going to break down.

Next up, I think a very general lack of backpacking/camping experience is a very overlooked factor. You need to know how to camp (wherever style camping you will be doing): you need to be efficient at it, you need to be comfortable and you need to be able to sleep well. This is literally the easiest aspect of hunting to prep for. Regardless of where you live, go camping. A lot. Get good at it, dial your sleep setup in, test your equipment, set it up and break it down often. You need to be a good camper if you are going to camp and merely camping while you are on a hunting trip is going to create more problems than it is going to solve.
I almost quit on my first elk hunt. Food was definitely a factor, as I had dehydrated my own stuff and really didn't have a good sense of what I needed. I got 3-4 days in and was mentally shot, missing my wife and kids, etc. I actually took a day off. I had my vehicle parked up there so my buddy left camp to hunt before daylight and I hiked out to my truck. I drove about an hour and a half into town, got a shower, had a fancy coffee, and got a burger. Then came one of the more consequential decisions of my hunting life. It was really tempting to point the truck east and be home in a long day.

I've always felt if I had it probably would have ended my elk hunting for good. I decided to go back up. I wound up getting into elk that evening, and everything got better from there. I think my buddy was surprised to see me when he got back to camp, as he probably assumed I would just head home. We had good 2 days until season ended, even though neither of us punched a tag. Since then I've enjoyed it more every time. Now I can't wait for my next trip.

I still miss my family as the hunt wears on, but it's nothing like that first time. Knowing what to expect makes a big difference. And I do food differently now!

And I agree 100% on backpacking/camping skills. It's a huge plus to have them before you add a tag.
 
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MJB

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Joined
Jun 18, 2020
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289
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San Diego
A positive attitude is always a must in life! ALWAYS!

Solo hunts I always find a Wilson in the woods, otherwise, after three days I get loopy and just shut down.....but with Wilson, I have a pal to talk to and it does help to get you motivated back on the hunt and enjoying the beauty of Mother Nature.

I always find Ishi out there somehow to be my Wilson.......
 

sneaky

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Joined
Feb 1, 2014
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ID
I never understood how they could quit because of missing their family.

Aaaaaaand then I had a baby girl........
$500k buys a lot of diapers and baby food lol

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk
 

PaBone

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Aug 1, 2016
Messages
141
Location
Western Pa.
I don't like foods with salt, pepper, garlic, onions or just about any other spices. So store bought dehydrated and freeze dried meals are out for me. Sleep and food never seem to be a problem, I expect to loose some weight and be tired after sleeping on the ground and walking ten miles day for two weeks. My problems seem to be when I get home, just hard to get into hunting whitetail mood after hunting elk.
 

Dos Perros

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Jul 30, 2015
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Lenexa, KS
You guys are missing the number one reason why guys quit: they have no belief in themselves.

If they believed they could overcome anything and get it done, they would stay. But, they don’t believe, they think of spending more time and effort as futile and a waste, so they consider what they could be doing instead and they bail.

I’m not a very experienced hunter but I believe any day I’m in the field something has a good chance of dying. Optimism, positivity, belief.
 
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WoodrowCall

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Joined
Mar 24, 2020
Messages
188
Watched my buddy crumble last year due to lack of sleep first, then food. He’d never tent camped before and I tried to get him to try it out ahead of time before season. “I’ll be just fine” was all I got back each time I suggested preparing. Nights 1-4 he woke me up in a panic because he couldn’t sleep. He’s a hard core hunter at home, but he was absolutely worthless with no sleep.

After 3 days in with crappy food because he went cheap on meals saying once again “I’ll be just fine”. He wasn’t fine. Got to where he wasn’t eating, etc. He ended up leaving early while I stayed on the mountain by myself.

This experience convinced me majority of being in the mountains in the backcountry is mental. Some have it and some don’t….
 

Mykolaivka887

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jan 15, 2022
Messages
944
You guys are missing the number one reason why guys quit ..... they think of spending more time and effort as futile and a waste, so they consider what they could be doing instead and they bail.


This coupled with the weather, was the number one reason why three of my clients bailed early this past fall.
 

280Ackley

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jun 4, 2014
Messages
591
Location
Idaho
You guys are missing the number one reason why guys quit: they have no belief in themselves.

If they believed they could overcome and anything and get it done, they would stay. But, they don’t believe, they think of spending more time and effort as futile and a waste, so they consider what they could be doing instead and they bail.

I’m not a very experienced hunter but I believe any day I’m in the field something has a good chance of dying. Optimism, positivity, belief.
I think that bull in your avatar proves otherwise about your hunting experience!!!
 

5MilesBack

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Joined
Feb 27, 2012
Messages
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Colorado Springs
For whatever reason I didn't sleep well this year. Normally on my cot with lots of padding in my wall tent I sleep better up there than at home, but not this year. I didn't have one good night of sleep, and I spent 17 nights up there I think. That wasn't all in a row, but total for the season. I could see how that would be a problem for some guys. And food as well.....especially if they're planning on MH all season. I used to be able to do that, but good food is definitely a morale booster. It's like coming out and going to town for a good lunch of dinner......always a good pick me up.

I think a lot of guys go into a hunt with the wrong mentality to start with. These days.......comfort is #1 for me. I have no problem shutting off the alarm and sleeping in if I choose to do that. Whatever it takes to keep my season going. I ate really well this year, but still lost 17 pounds. So my 1# average loss per day still holds true up there regardless how well I'm eating.

This year, I wish more guys would have packed up and left early. It was wayyyyy crowded this year. I think for every one guy that quit and went home, three more showed up to replace him.
 
OP
trophyhill

trophyhill

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Joined
Feb 27, 2012
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Tijeras NM
I can't even count how many bulls I've left out there at dark that are absolutely "ready to go". One year I was hunting within 1/3 mile from my truck camp. The bulls never made a peep until only about 15 minutes of light were left. By dark I had that bull screaming and close. I never made another peep but hiked to camp. He stayed about 100-150 yards from my camp until about 0300......screaming his head off every 30 seconds. I didn't sleep a wink. Then he moved off and I still heard him in the distance.

Another bull literally followed me for 2 miles to my truck. He stayed high on the ridge top and screamed every now and then just to let me know he was still there. I never made a peep after dark, but he still came. There I am with the truck door open, putting my stuff in, and then starting it up and turning the headlights on, and he's still screaming from up the hill as I drove away. I just wish they'd start earlier in the evenings sometimes.

Then this year, I get to a spot I hadn't been to in several years at 3:15pm and there are three bulls bugling already within 200 yards of me. Unfortunately the winds were all over the place and it was impossible to make a move in any direction for very long without the wind doing a 180 and back again. Waited until the sun went behind the mountains, and the wind calmed down, and then it got crazy about 6pm. Never seen anything like it.
I called in probably 10-12 bulls in southern CO right at dark where i had to back out because i couldnt see my pins as the elk were closing in. Yes they were doing most of their rutting where i was hunting during the night.
 

Mykolaivka887

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Joined
Jan 15, 2022
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944
For whatever reason I didn't sleep well this year. Normally ..... I sleep better up there than at home, but not this year. I didn't have one good night of sleep, and I spent 17 nights up there I think .......


Same here. So far this fall I've spent 51 nights on the mountain and haven't slept worth crap. Frustrating. Sleep deprivation is definitely NOT a good thing.
 

KHNC

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Joined
Jul 11, 2013
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NC
I keep the TRUTH in my signature so any newbies reading my posts will see it clearly.

" ELK HUNTING IS HARD!"

I get mad as Fk when i screw up a shot on an elk. Opportunities dont come often and i get pissed at myself when i blow them. Feel like throwing my bow and tell all elk to go to hell! I never throw the bow. Not yet anyway. Takes me a few hours or maybe even a whole day to get over it. I keep hunting while bitching at myself non stop. lol. Next day or so im good as new. But damn, elk hunting can piss a guy off for sure.
 
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KHNC

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Jul 11, 2013
Messages
2,791
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NC
Same here. So far this fall I've spent 51 nights on the mountain and haven't slept worth crap. Frustrating. Sleep deprivation is definitely NOT a good thing.
Sleep at elevation really sucks ass. Havent found a way to combat that yet either. I never get sick and am fine all day. I can be dog ass tired when i hit the rack. Soon as i do, wide awake half the damn night.
 
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