Beginner solo hunter advice

WVmike

Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2020
Messages
70
Location
West Virginia
Here are few things I’ve found to be helpful in overcoming small issues that have the potential to become big ones:

foot care - I don’t have the toughest feet; even when I was in the army in a light infantry unit and walking everywhere with everything on my back, I had to pay attention to foot care. So I always pre-tape my feet with Leuko tape and bring powder and extra socks (prefer darn tough). Leuko tape can also serve as a pseudo duct tape/adhesive for fixing stuff.

water - I always carry a couple iodine tabs or a small dropper of bleach for use in the event my filter (katadyn) breaks

first aid kit - I have a small circular plastic container thing that I use for a pill case. I keep a couple pain killers, aleve, couple Benadryl (for allergies or reactions), and a couple days worth of antibiotics (amoxicillin or doxycycline).

paracord - you were a devil dog, so I won’t belabor this point. Ha

Micro leatherman - not one of the standard size ones that weighs a pound
I usually keep a first aid kit in my pack all the time even when I'm rucking. I usually keep a tourniquet, basic first aid things with water purification tablets, headlight, small plastic bags, electrical tape, a gerber, small container of precut kt tape for blisters and of course paracord. I would probably be disowned by every Marine before me if I didn't at least have the paracord. lol
 

Cheesehead

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 6, 2017
Messages
361
You’re asking a lot of the right questions. Coming from the Midwest out west to hunt, starting in 2017, I’ve done at least 1-2 trips per year since then. Not great at it yet but you learn more each year. After you go once you’ll get the bug.
A lot of good advice so far.
You absolutely want an inReach of some stripe. You will want to go next year or two as well, and the tech will last a while...what will really help is if your better half can reach you as needed. Helps a lot, trust me. Buy a used explorer se—also acts as a backup gps.
I also got a cimarron with stove. I think it is a great choice, esp if you think you might go with a buddy / during late season subalpine. If you think you are more likely to go solo consistently, maybe consider a hilleberg.
 

Bozone

Active member
Joined
May 7, 2012
Messages
190
Location
Bozeman
From the eastern part of WV. I have recently been looking into doing more solo hunting trips not only in the wilderness areas here in WV but also going west to hunt elk. I have solo hunted twice in national forest and wilderness areas here in WV over the past two seasons. I would like to hunt with my friend that I usually hunt with but more times than not our schedule doesn't match up or other obligations are in place prior to setting hunting trip dates. I prefer to do alot of backpack hunting to get into where alot of people don't go especially in the wilderness areas. Most others enjoy parking the truck and watching a corn field or bean field and I don't care for that type of hunting. I was in the Marines and have basic navigation skills with a compass and survival skills. I currently work 3 days a week as a nurse so I have flexibility with hunting and training year round. I typically do either the Mtn Ops elk fit program, ruck with weight, run and insanity max or other similar programs on my days off depending on what is scheduled for the day. The rifle I use is either a Weatherby Vanguard 7mm Rem Mag or Remington 700 .308.

Anyone with advice on what they would do differently on solo hunts that range from a day hunt to a 3-5 day hunt? What equipment is a must or which is preferred? I'm looking to purchase a seekoutside cimarron and stove combo and also was debating on which personal locator beacon to pick up. My wife will not let me go west in search of elk until 1. I go with my hunting buddy or 2. I have some way of contacting her and help in case of emergency.

I already have a Mystery Ranch Metcalf with a first aid kit/headlight, etc and a pair of Zamberlan Saguaro boots I purchased in 2019. Any advice would be appreciated and I have learned alot already from this forum.
Great to hear you are looking to venture out more, and solo if need be. I hunt a lot solo, mostly by choice and sometimes because schedules with hunting buddies just don't align when they need to. Tons of great advice provided for sure.

This may be a repeat of some of the other advice given, but I think you can boil it down to:
- get an InReach or something similar. I use the Mini paired up with my phone, and it has been a great addition. Peace of mind for my wife, and I can ping friends to help on long/tough packouts.
- Being solo, you will be carrying more weight/gear as you have no one to split it with -- shelter, stove, etc. Where you can, save weight on the big items, namely shelter/sleeping bag and the "extras" you bring.
- Try a handful of overnight hunts to dial in your gear and system without a big commitment (great time to test drive the gear you need and don't need) and do it when the forecast is good or terrible -- nothing will show you how well you prepared like below freezing temps and sideways snow!
- Get comfortable with the being alone part of solo hunting. I do pretty well alone for a few days, but it becomes more of a grind if the trip goes more than 4 days. Others really enjoy lengthy solo outings, but I find my sweet spot is about 2-3 days. That amount of time really gives me a good dose of solitude and being able to hunt how I want.
- Keep on your fitness regimen. The better my aerobic base and overall muscle endurance (especially legs) is as the season arrives, the better my hunts are, regardless of duration.
- Rinse, repeat. Have fun, stay safe.
 

nwihunter

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 8, 2015
Messages
437
Location
Valparaiso, IN
I’m also a novice western hunter coming from the Midwest. I’ve been on 4 elk hunts now and the last was a solo trip. My takeaways from limited experience


1. Elk are freaking huge! While packing one out by yourself is definitely a challenge,
breaking one down solo can be a very difficult task on its own. It probably won’t drop in easiest to spot to work on it. Trying to hold up a 70lb. or so hind quarter by yourself while cutting through that hip joint can be a circus.

2 I agree with everyone else with the inreach. I love mine. It’s nice to have some contact with the family when you are solo.

3 I carry blood clot with me and have had to use it before.


4. I also try to be conscious of taking any extra risks as far as climbing through blow down, knife usage, stuff like that. Something you might not think much about hunting by the house but can easily turn into a disaster when you are miles in and by yourself.

Like I said, I’m a novice but have learned a couple of things on my own and ton from others on this forum. Also total isolation has its own weird challenges as I learned on my last trip. The mental aspect was probably tougher than the physical aspect of the hunt for me. It was my first time though so I shouldn’t struggle with that as much next time.
 

WVmike

Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2020
Messages
70
Location
West Virginia
Great to hear you are looking to venture out more, and solo if need be. I hunt a lot solo, mostly by choice and sometimes because schedules with hunting buddies just don't align when they need to. Tons of great advice provided for sure.

This may be a repeat of some of the other advice given, but I think you can boil it down to:
- get an InReach or something similar. I use the Mini paired up with my phone, and it has been a great addition. Peace of mind for my wife, and I can ping friends to help on long/tough packouts.
- Being solo, you will be carrying more weight/gear as you have no one to split it with -- shelter, stove, etc. Where you can, save weight on the big items, namely shelter/sleeping bag and the "extras" you bring.
- Try a handful of overnight hunts to dial in your gear and system without a big commitment (great time to test drive the gear you need and don't need) and do it when the forecast is good or terrible -- nothing will show you how well you prepared like below freezing temps and sideways snow!
- Get comfortable with the being alone part of solo hunting. I do pretty well alone for a few days, but it becomes more of a grind if the trip goes more than 4 days. Others really enjoy lengthy solo outings, but I find my sweet spot is about 2-3 days. That amount of time really gives me a good dose of solitude and being able to hunt how I want.
- Keep on your fitness regimen. The better my aerobic base and overall muscle endurance (especially legs) is as the season arrives, the better my hunts are, regardless of duration.
- Rinse, repeat. Have fun, stay safe.
Thanks for the info! Appreciate everyones input. I'm in the process of getting my shelter, stove and in reach well before hunting season this fall. I'm also planning on going to a nearby wilderness area that I hike and will be hunting in this fall for an overnight hunting trip to try out the setup I have to see what works and what doesn't work. I've day hunted myself before from dawn to dusk and was comfortable but I know that it does not compare to overnight and multiple days to boot.
 
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