Capitalizing on Opportunity

Croz

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Jul 30, 2015
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Hi All,

Brand new here, but the wisdom in this community is easy to see. That said, I've got a pretty broad question.

Please don't take this as bragging of any sort. I'm very fortunate to be in the position that I'm in and want to ensure that I take full advantage:

I'm 26 and a brand new hunter (no real guidance or mentors). I work from home and live in Washington state (tucked right in the Cascades). My job currently gives me two weeks of vacation, but next year I will have 3 weeks and 4 weeks each year after that. In addition, they give us a sabbatical period every 7 years in which we are required to take 3 weeks of vacation at one time. This 3 weeks does not count against the standard 4 weeks we already have, so they can be stacked.

Obviously, this creates an opportunity for some great adventures and fantastic hunts. So my question is this:

What can I begin to do right now to take full advantage of this great schedule and impending sabbatical in 5 and a half years? Would love to hear about everything from preparation and experience building to tag applications and anything else you can offer.

Thanks for any insight!

-Croz
 
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Croz

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Thanks for the response. Any recommendations on what tags to go after in with that time-frame? Obviously sheep and goats would be an unlikely draw in 5 years. Looking for that highlight type of trip.
 

kansasdad

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Dark continent for a combo photo/hunting safari. One weekend to get there, hunt, fish snap pics, repeat as desired, travel back with spare time to handle reverse culture shock and the jet lag.
 

1_pointer

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Thanks for the response. Any recommendations on what tags to go after in with that time-frame? Obviously sheep and goats would be an unlikely draw in 5 years. Looking for that highlight type of trip.
Unless you are lucky, even the "highlight type" of deer and elk tags would unlikely in just 5 years.

You didn't mention finances or family, which are most folks hurdles to highlight trips. So, the following may or may not work for you because of those same hurdles.

Start getting points in all the states you think you will want to hunt, both short term and long term. It's too late for most of that for this year, except Wyoming. Get online and buy points there. Starting next January be ready for application season.

In the next few years, use that time off to go hunting for things that are easy to draw. I don't put in for WA, so I'm not sure what's available. However, I know you can still buy a whitetail tag in Idaho and do that hunt yet this fall. Since you are new, just get out there and start hunting. Don't ignore small/upland game. Hunting birds and small game is easier/cheaper and a good way to see and figure out new country.

As far as the highlight trip in a few years...I'd suggest you set up a savings plan. Calculate how much you can save in that amount of time then go shopping for the species you can afford. That is something I really wish I'd done before becoming a parent. If sheep or mountain goats are what you want, start looking at the cost of those hunts in AK and/or Canada. Generally goats are cheaper than sheep. With your time off you could make a bigger trip of a hunt like that by vacationing to and from the hunt destination.
 

LopeHunter

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Build up application points in WY, CO and MT then put in for "sure" draws the year of your sabbatical. Should be able to hunt Sept 1 though most of Oct that way. If you did not yet get WY points yet, you have until the 30th to buy them. An additional WY species point is huge for pronghorn and helpful for deer and elk.
 

fishing4sanity

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Look into a float trip in AK for moose/caribou/bear/wolf/fishing/photography. Great way to spend some of the sabbatical time and see an amazing state. If you want to travel farther away, look into Africa, Australia and New Zealand - with that much time-off singularly or all of them in one big trip.
 

VAspeedgoat

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I agree with buying points but I think that being a new hunter I think I would stick to easy draws and otc hunts and gain some experience before the sebatical trip. That way in five years you can dedicate 3 weeks to hunting not learning. That said I would choose your game maybe elk, mule deer, or both on the same hunt. Heck throw in a pronhorn on that trip too. In my opinion points are not as useful if you can't capitalize on the spot due to lack of experience.

It is a nice problem to have though.
 

Croz

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All fantastic ideas. thank you!

as1_pointer mentioned, family and money are certainly hurdles. We've got a 2 year old and another on the way. You know how it goes, lots of time and no money, or lots of money and no time :)

Alaska sounds like a great bet. Been to Juneau, but the interior is completely foreign to me. A good moose/wolf hunt sounds like it would be more affordable and easier to travel to. Africa and New Zealand sound amazing, but the airfare combined with tags and guide fees would be astronomical as you know.

I'll certainly start buying points in WY, CO and MT as soon as they're available again. Then aim at Alaska for the big trip. In addition to the research that I'll be doing, any thoughts on particular Alaskan units that I should focus on?

Thanks again for the advice all. much appreciated.
 

Croz

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I agree with buying points but I think that being a new hunter I think I would stick to easy draws and otc hunts and gain some experience before the sebatical trip. That way in five years you can dedicate 3 weeks to hunting not learning. That said I would choose your game maybe elk, mule deer, or both on the same hunt. Heck throw in a pronhorn on that trip too. In my opinion points are not as useful if you can't capitalize on the spot due to lack of experience.

It is a nice problem to have though.

Thanks for the pointers! I've been doing my best to gain experience in the last year or so. Been on two bear hunting trips and recently called/killed a coyote. It's not much, but it's helping.

Will certainly be stalking Hunt Talk from here on out to pick up any information I can.
 

1_pointer

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Thanks for the pointers! I've been doing my best to gain experience in the last year or so. Been on two bear hunting trips and recently called/killed a coyote. It's not much, but it's helping.

Will certainly be stalking Hunt Talk from here on out to pick up any information I can.
Congrats on the coyote! Just keep going out after critters and you'll pick up what works for you and what doesn't. FWIW, one of the most successful hunters on this board has stated multiple times that if you can figure out how to consistently kill coyotes, you'll be well along your way to being a good big game hunter.
 

sbhooper

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Small critters start building your hunt savy. Keep going after small, local stuff all the time that you can. As some have stated, think hard about the types of hunts that you want to do in the future and decide the finance part of it etc. There are some great hunts that can be done every year without building points. If you are going to jump on the trophy bandwagon, then start looking at the hunts and how many points necessary to draw them. Also, pour over the Fish and Game websites in the areas that you choose, so that you have a grip on the permitting process.

If I was just starting, I would concentrate on antelope, as they are not difficult to hunt and a permit can be easily had in the lower-demand areas, or doe/fawn options. Just remember, you can never do too much homework when it comes to spending your money on specific hunts.
 

Croz

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Thanks for the responses 1_pointer and sbhooper. really appreciate the insight.

With a career just starting and a young family, my wife and I are really just making stuff up as we go. Hard to tell where the future goes, but I think the one big hunt I would like to do before keeling over would be a bull moose.

Until then I will definitely be following the advice that's been given here. keep pounding those mountains for any critter that I can get a tag for. There's got to be some amount of boot leather paid that will, Lord willing, put some meat in a freezer and some sort of story on this site.

Thanks all.
 

1_pointer

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If moose is what you'd like to chase, start building points in the states that have them. It'll be a LONG shot to draw any of those in 5 years, but you have to start if you want to do it ever. Guided Alaska moose hunts are now in the price neighborhood of sheep/goat hunts. Though a somewhat smaller sub-species, moose hunts in Canada can be more affordable. Good luck on the planning!

My wife and I are in the same boat, just making it up as we go!
 
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