Caribou Gear

How long did you hunt....


Sep 3, 2013
Eastern, OK
...before you killed your first big game animal of each species?

I was listening to the MeatEater podcast this morning and was surprised (and somewhat relieved) to hear Steven Rinella say that he hunted elk for about 45 days over 3 seasons before he killed his first elk, a calf.

So far I have less than 15 days over 2 seasons (4 years apart) of elk hunting under my belt and have seen a total of 8 animals in a hunting situation. And I haven't killed one. YET!!

I started deer hunting in 2002 when I was 23 years old and hunted probably 25-30 days over 3 seasons before I made my first kill in 2004. An 8-point buck.

I was actually encouraged to hear I'm not just a total failure as an elk hunter after hearing what Steve had to say. LOL. I really like his podcast because I feel like I learn from his hunting experiences. I also find them quite comical.

While you're at it, are there any other podcasts (besides Randy's upcoming) similar to the MeatEater podcast that you guys enjoy?
shot a buck mule deer my first season but it took me Three years for a cow elk - lots of blown opportunities. I was 15 and I was hunting alone and I still think it is the most proud I have been hunting.

There are a lot of good podcasts out there, but there really aren't any that I have found that are like Rinella's in that they focus on Western hunting.

Hopefully Mr. Newberg changes that soon. :)
Don't remember for my first Deer, but it was the first Season. Probably 6 weeks of Weekends.

Elk, I had a tag while I was in school in Idaho, but I can't say I hunted them, I was Day hunting after school. . So 4 seasons of blanked on them. Followed by 9 years of not hunting elk. First elk killed was on day 2 of my first Elk Bowhunt.

Took me 3 seasons to get a Whitetail buck to run into my bullet in Idaho.
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I started deer hunting in 1976 and I don't think I shot a deer till 1979. The tiniest little spike mule deer you ever saw. I was very proud. :cool:
I hunted 3 days solely for elk my first season, killed a buck mule deer the second season, a whitetail buck opening day of the third season and a cow elk the last day of my third season. The 2nd and 3rd seasons I hunted a lot of days.

I don't count the days I spent bow hunting deer in college. It wasn't hunting as much as walking in the woods. I also don't count the three days I was able to hunt in the 9 years I was in the Marine Corps.

I might add, the first elk hunt I went on was a rifle hunt with an OTC bull tag. I saw one cow/calf pair that trip. I could've possibly made the shot of it had been a legal animal.

My second trip was an archery hunt with an OTC either sex tag. I saw six elk that trip but couldn't get in bow range. If I'd had a rifle I could've easily shot a cow right outside my camp.

Now it sounds like I'm making excuses doesn't it?
My first evening hunt for bear I was successful....thanks largely to a great group of friends! Ugh..... Mule deer & elk just bring up sickening memories. For whitetail I hunted one season until successful, but that was many moons ago when I was 16.
First year hunting elk in Colorado with a rifle was a bust. Must have been 10 years later moved to Montana and couldnt hunt till the following year. Met some.guys at the archery shop and went elk hunting with them with the bow ...lost my release , busted two pins off and my string let go on the trip.
Well bought bow on a tuesday with one.week of hunting to wife was so mad at me ....well took and shot my very first elk ever !!
Twent seven yard my was a 5 pt.bull !!! It was the most exciting day of my hunting life so far..this all happened in 2006. The boys put me in the draws that year and i drew the Bridger buck tag ...shot a 7 pt.Muley ....again all by myself..
Montana has been a good to me as far as hunting goes. Just put in all the time you can and maybe with a little luck you will score.!!!

I got a little spike mulie early in my first year of hunting. I got a cow elk the first year of trying but it took several years to finally get a bull. I don't get many any more, mostly just help others but I always buy a tag in case I see a monster
I might add, the first elk hunt I went on was a rifle hunt with an OTC bull tag. I saw one cow/calf pair that trip. I could've possibly made the shot of it had been a legal animal.

My second trip was an archery hunt with an OTC either sex tag. I saw six elk that trip but couldn't get in bow range. If I'd had a rifle I could've easily shot a cow right outside my camp.

Now it sounds like I'm making excuses doesn't it?

I think we all have stories like that. I could have tagged several cows during archery season last year - in a bulls only unit. The year before I missed a bull during opening weekend of archery season. I missed a 70 yard shot during rifle season on a calf that was standing still looking at me 2 hours before I killed my cow.

I got my first buck in my first year as a hunter, age 12, 2 minutes into legal shooting time. Little yearling 8pt in PA. I had my eyes closed and head leaned back against a tree, and I was groggy from just getting up and getting to my stand. My dad whispered at me to shoot, and I opened my eyes, raised my rifle, and shot within a couple seconds.

On the other hand, I kinda earned the buck with all the effort I put into small game that fall. 7 long Saturdays trudging around with one rabbit to show for it. But then I was in college until I got my second buck. I thought I was cursed or had used up all my good luck on the first one.
1st buck hunt a forky muley,decent one too.Jeez,musta been 69'
1st elk was 75' in MT. OTC.
1 hr in camp I'm loading the 30-30 and the guys who went up the ridge to take a look around send a 5x5 right down to me,Mikie yells shoot and there lies a 5x5 50 ft from me.
2nd elk was 3 yrs later,same group and just about the same thing happens a 5x5 comes and I shoot it @ 100yrds.
Now the MT boys named me Hank4elk, they said I had a way with them critters.
Took me 20 yrs and 35 bucks down between til next one,a fat Tule cow. 10 yrs now I've been passing on 330 bulls for THE BIG ONE,or now not getting drawn.But I've filled 3 more cow tags,and guided guys to 8 big bulls..........maybe this year I'll just shoot the first one I see again!
Both of my hunts have been self-guided. The first was a drop camp and the second was a complete DIY. I really wish I had an experienced hunter to help me out but I guess in the long run success will be that much sweeter.
I shot my first big game animal, a Mulie (a doe) my first day of hunting, but had alot of help, dad and some older friends that got me into hunting were there for the whole show! I got my first antelope buck my first afternoon (hunting solo 16yo). My first Mulie buck was in my third season 4th day of the hunt (first season I had the tag). And my first bull elk I got in my second season i had the tag and 7th total day of hunting elk. That was the most rewarding animal of any I have ever shot, I could only hunt weekends and made the drive from southern California to Montana three seperate times and would have made a fourth trip the next weekend for the season closer if I hadn't got one that weekend.
I finally got my first elk last season, a big cow. It was my fifth hunt for elk and before I pulled the trigger I had invested 22 days and about 250 hard miles with nothing to show for it. By then I was convinced I was the worlds worst elk hunter!
My first deer took three seasons. The first was a Blackie season on Ft Lewis. Saw at least 50 deer but zero bucks plus it was a 3pt or better unit. Then I was in Europe for 5 years. One season at Ft Bragg with zero luck and finally connected with a WT buckin WA at a buddies place. As for elk, I was lucky enough to connect with a decent 5x5 on my third day thanks to some great info from my hunting buddy.
I guess I was lucky that my first hunt was a doe antelope in Wyoming. Took about a day to get one down. My first elk, however, took about a month or so of hard hunting. My first deer took about a week of hard hunting. Big thank you to long hunting seasons!
I got my first deer on my first weekend trying, I will never forget when he came running at me over the ridgeline. My first elk took me a little longer, I didn't really try until I was in college, and it took me a couple seasons to find elk and get them dialed in...
I guess maybe I had it a bit easier growing up out west, but in 2010 I was lucky enough to kill a bear, antelope, mule deer, and elk in Montana. That was every tag I had that year (also killed a few WT does). I haven't done it since I moved out of state and don't have the time available that is needed to accomplish the same feat anymore. Only 4 more years until I can move back, then I'll have a serious shot at it again:)
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