By Adam Parr
“If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.” Truer words have never been spoken when it comes to hunting, especially with my approach. In our current era of a social media crazed society, seeing endless amounts of trophy photos when you yourself have nothing to share can make it seem like the season was a failure. Some of us (myself included) are left with tags burning a hole in our pocket and it paints a picture of an unsuccessful season, but was it really?
Hunting isn’t easy nor will it ever be, at least that’s how it is for me. I’m a firm believer that sometimes it takes eating a tag to make a harvest that much more fulfilling the following year. At this point in time in my life, I don’t want a hunt handed to me or anything to come easy because the victory tastes that much sweeter when it finally does come together.
In 2016, I was not able to fill my archery whitetail tag in Eastern Colorado and I’m perfectly okay with that. Finding the time to hunt between working a 40+ hour work week and limited resources are just some of the challenges that myself and many others have to overcome just to have the opportunity to hunt in the first place. On top of this, I choose to make hunting harder. Not because I’m trying to be the ultimate badass or because I have something to prove, I just simply prefer the following; DIY hunting, with archery equipment, on unmanaged land.
Just to be clear, I’m not looking for a pity party; I’ve had one hell of a season. I shot a 6×7 Bull Elk in Colorado With My Bow and to be honest, this was the best hunting season I’ve ever had. This article is intended to show the way I prefer to hunt and how difficult it is to take big game animals on a consistent basis doing it this way.
DIY Is My Style Of Hunting
First and foremost, when it comes to hunting deer and elk, I prefer the “Do It Yourself” way of tackling a hunt. In my opinion, figuring out the puzzle and getting it done on your own forces you to step up your game and in return, the outcome is that you become a better hunter. I embrace the challenge and the work that goes into scouting, hanging tree stands, and running trail cameras (just to name a few) all on my own because without that work, I’ve missed out on what hunting truly is to me. Getting a shot opportunity or harvesting an animal is just a reflection and a small representation of the intensive amount of work that goes into getting that opportunity in the first place.
I’m not here to knock outfitters by any means but given my current circumstances and preferences at this point in time, I will not hunt with an outfitter because I would miss out on all or some of these steps.
I Don’t Hunt On Managed Land
This is a slippery slope when it comes to this point due to the multitude of variations of what “management” means but here is the scenario I like to portray in regards to this topic:
Take 10 hunters, put them each on their own 500-acres of land that they have never stepped foot on before and give them five days to hunt with all things being equal, the guy who comes out with the biggest/oldest/most-mature/top-scoring animal is the best hunter, in my opinion. Due to the degree of luck that comes into play during a hunt, this scenario should be repeated over the course of 10 years to gather enough data to determine who is the hunting champion.
Now you might be thinking to yourself, “What the hell does this have to do with illustrating your point?” My point is that the scenario described above eliminates any sort of pre-planning, food-plotting, pre-season scouting, habitat manipulation, and pre-knowledge of a particular piece of land which in turn creates a raw and pure hunting scenario with limited time and resources. This is what I truly believe hunting to be.
This is why much of my big game hunting is comprised of public land hunting or door knocking on private land. These areas and parcels allow me access, not manipulation, which forces me to play the cards that are dealt, which is what I prefer and enjoy as “pure” hunting.
Bow And Arrow Is My Weapon Of Choice
Again, this is a heated debate and a slippery slope but to me, taking and harvesting game with a bow and arrow is what I prefer because of the challenge. Not only do you have to get closer to the animal which requires honed skills, you also have to become very proficient with shooting a bow, which requires endless amounts of practice.
With bowhunting, I get to experience more up-close, heart-pounding encounters with animals staring me right in the eye while I try to hold my composure from less than 20 yards away. Hunting with a bow also gives me the ability to see an arrow take flight and watch it bury into an animal at close range.
On the other hand, I also believe there are certain circumstances where archery hunting is easier or can generate more shot opportunities than gun hunting given the time of year, hunting pressure, and season length but I prefer bowhunting based on the reasons stated above and the challenge it presents.
I Support All Legal Forms Of Hunting
My intent with this article is not to divide hunters with certain hunting styles, equipment, and management practices, the intent is simply to illustrate the way of hunting I prefer at this point and time of my life. We all lead different lives, grow up with different experiences, and live in different parts of the world which leads to differences in how we prefer to hunt.
Some people have extremely limited time which leads them to hunt with an outfitter. Some people grow up in families who have thousands of acres of managed land. Some people prefer gun hunting because they simply prefer gun hunting. And you know what, I support all of it because we all come from different walks of life. Who am I to judge someone for something they do differently than me? My life could change tomorrow that could force me to hunt with a gun, on heavily managed land at an outfitter property. I judge no one.
What it ultimately comes down to is this… I’m going to hunt in a manner and style that gives me the most fulfillment and enjoyment, no matter if I bring home an animal or not because that is what makes me happy. I encourage you to do the same.
What is your preferred hunting style and weapon of choice to harvest big game animals? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below.