Yeti GOBOX Collection

Other hunters at your top spot, what do you do?

Pretty common occurrence for me. I try to figure out where they are and then try to guess what that might do to animal movement. Turn a negative into a positive and see if they will push stuff to you. Doesn’t always work, but if you’re committed to hunting a certain area, it’s all you got.
 
I assume Mule deer?

go deeper and farther than others will. That's how I got my deer two weeks ago. Deer will go where people aren't. If you are not physically able than just keep trying your spots.

AND:

Enjoy every minute of it. Deer or no deer. The older I get the more I just try to take it all in.
 
Parking areas are not all the same. Sometimes you know that that person must be up in that one basin and going in might really screw them up. Sometimes you have no idea whether that person is on the south side of the road, or the north side, 1/2 a mile in, or 2 miles in, up on any of 7 ridges, or down in either of 2 swamps, or somewhere in between. The latter is much more common here, which is why I'm rarely dissuaded by seeing other vehicles.
 
If you have a top spot you're absolutely in love with, as others have said, make sure you’re the first one there in the morning. Go REALLY early and start hiking in.
Aside from that, it all depends on the location and if more that one group can hunt there effectively.
I always try to talk to other hunters if I run into them on the trailhead or up in the hills. A simple “what’s your plan, how do I stay out of your way?” Or “here’s where I was planning on hunting” goes a long way.
In my mind, whoever was there first gets to share their plan first and then the second guy needs to adjust to that.
 
I’ve had many hunters/groups give me crap when I arrive later than they do. Sometimes they got to the trailhead first, but I’m out of my car and on the trail in 5 mins. Sorry, parking at the trailhead doesn’t give you “first dibs” at spots. If I meet groups on a trail, often slow hikers, I ask where they plan to be so I can hunt elsewhere. Usually they tell me, sometimes they are pissy about it as if I am going to steal their spot, or just mad at themselves for being a slow hiker, or probably just disappointed they no longer have the whole place to themselves.

I used to aim to get a really early start and be in place a couple hours before shooting light but I do not employ this strategy very often anymore. Probably 3/4 times I have done this the hunters who arrive after me see I am there but that was “their spot” and they are not changing their plans. Many times I have had people move right in on top of me, like pissing in the same urinal close, which I really hate. Many times I have had people set up 25-50 yards from me. I don’t say anything, but I do regret getting up at 3 AM only to have that happen.

Best thing to consider is what your goals are. If #1 goal is not getting skunked, the # of rigs at the trailhead is not overly important. Often hunters congregate where the game is and everyone has a good opportunity for success.

The older I get the more OK I am with getting skunked, so I often hunt where game densities are very low and I am the only one there. The goal of the outing is the experience itself. Not uncommon to hunt all day and see maybe 0-1 legal animals. I enjoy the solitude and not seeing any people.
 
I think it depends on the size of the area, but the best option is to just get up earlier than the rest, and get there first.

I had a situation last year, with a spot in the backcountry here in Montana. There is a specific point I love to glass from, where you can often catch elk crossing, I have killed several bulls from it, and never seen another hunter in there. Last year we packed a camp in on horses, made my way over there opening morning, and had, no shit, 13 different guys that had backpacked in, all sitting within 300 yds of each other on that point.

I was pretty blown away and disappointed to say the least. Regardless, I walked by them and shot a nice bull about an hour later. They were all still sitting in the same spot as I came by them with the bull on the horses.

Sometimes you need to improvise.
 
I assume Mule deer?

go deeper and farther than others will. That's how I got my deer two weeks ago. Deer will go where people aren't. If you are not physically able than just keep trying your spots.

AND:

Enjoy every minute of it. Deer or no deer. The older I get the more I just try to take it all in.
Yep - mule deer. And that’s a great reminder and something I’m struggling with lately. I just finished my 5th elk season with yet again no elk, and the pressure through most of september to get one was almost making it unenjoyable. I would just keep pushing until I found fresh sign and if that meant going till I couldn’t go any more that’s what I’d do. Very hopeful that the deer hunt will be a different story. Thanks for the reminder.
 
The older I get the more OK I am with getting skunked, so I often hunt where game densities are very low and I am the only one there. The goal of the outing is the experience itself. Not uncommon to hunt all day and see maybe 0-1 legal animals. I enjoy the solitude and not seeing any people.
I’m 28 and haven’t had anywhere near enough success hunting to be OK with getting skunked. I find solitude during backcountry fishing trips, but when it’s deer season my excitement directly correlates with deer. Good advice wth the hunter congregation point, that’s something I tend to try and ignore because I also hate running into other people, but it might be unavoidable here
 
Parking areas are not all the same. Sometimes you know that that person must be up in that one basin and going in might really screw them up. Sometimes you have no idea whether that person is on the south side of the road, or the north side, 1/2 a mile in, or 2 miles in, up on any of 7 ridges, or down in either of 2 swamps, or somewhere in between. The latter is much more common here, which is why I'm rarely dissuaded by seeing other vehicles.
This is an awesome point, thanks for making it. Many of these spots Im planning to use to access multiple hunting areas, so the concept of probability wasn’t really on my mind before. Thanks!
 
On my elk hunt this year I saw SxS out in force. I’d never previously seen them go that deep and there was even one who tooled up to a pretty little 10,000’ spring fed pond and just parked. Didn’t even get down, just sat for an bit and then motored off to ruin somewhere else. It’s like we need another financial meltdown to rein in credit approval for these people. Woods in 2010 sure were different. So yes, plan to use Plan C or further and 4mi off the roads.
 
You gotta put a few tricks up your sleeve for these situations. Many of these are covered in our elite sniper school training along with some others that are too good to share for free.

1st - public land is your land and it's my land. Run your play and realize most hunters suck at hunting so use that to your advantage. I like to employ a decoy spot every now and then where I can easily be spotted by other hunters. If the hunting sucks I'll consider touching off a couple shots and doing some wild gesturing/celebrating to make others think I'm in the honey hole. Always shoot in a safe direction.
2nd - Remember most hunters are slow fat and lazy. They'll usually stay on the easiest trail and walk the tops of the ridges for all to see. Better yet they'll cross every open hillside and meadow to let every animal in the county know that they're coming. Get off the trails and find the animals.
3rd - In the event you get someone on top of you don't be afraid to whip out your fart call and blast it a couple times. Nothing like a loud hot, fart to break the tension and project your dominance. An alternate to the shotgun fart or the bowel evacuation fart is the balloon fart which sounds like letting the air out of a balloon.
4- Avoid confrontation. If you encounter an elite hunter who's ahead of you just yield and find a way to run a secondary plan. Don't be fooled by the flat bill guy with matching everything though. He's just good at crossfit, posting on social, and hiking fast. Beware of the older guy with a flannel shirt and a beat up rifle, possibly wearing jeans. He's an experienced apex predator who's played this game before.
5- If you've got a hot spot don't ruin it by getting seen or heard laying down a dink. I've had guys stumble onto more than one of my sniper hides while I'm on a buck. Most of the time they won't even see your bedded buck if you play it cool like you haven't seen anything all day.
6- Know the difference between weekend spots and midweek spots.
7- Let the idiots do the walking. Post up where you can spot pressured animals with your glass and go to work.
 
It really detracts from the point of getting up early and hiking in in the dark if the hunter who pulls in behind you follows you with head lamp and flashlight waving wildly and insists on standing on the tops of all the ridges. Seriously dude, it's a convincing lighthouse imitation but save it for halloween.
Encounters with other hunters had me pretty close to being over it and done without filling a tag this year. My season ended beautifully and I couldn't be happier with the hunt that harvested my deer but before that I was on the verge of saying it's not worth it.
 
You gotta put a few tricks up your sleeve for these situations. Many of these are covered in our elite sniper school training along with some others that are too good to share for free.

1st - public land is your land and it's my land. Run your play and realize most hunters suck at hunting so use that to your advantage. I like to employ a decoy spot every now and then where I can easily be spotted by other hunters. If the hunting sucks I'll consider touching off a couple shots and doing some wild gesturing/celebrating to make others think I'm in the honey hole. Always shoot in a safe direction.
2nd - Remember most hunters are slow fat and lazy. They'll usually stay on the easiest trail and walk the tops of the ridges for all to see. Better yet they'll cross every open hillside and meadow to let every animal in the county know that they're coming. Get off the trails and find the animals.
3rd - In the event you get someone on top of you don't be afraid to whip out your fart call and blast it a couple times. Nothing like a loud hot, fart to break the tension and project your dominance. An alternate to the shotgun fart or the bowel evacuation fart is the balloon fart which sounds like letting the air out of a balloon.
4- Avoid confrontation. If you encounter an elite hunter who's ahead of you just yield and find a way to run a secondary plan. Don't be fooled by the flat bill guy with matching everything though. He's just good at crossfit, posting on social, and hiking fast. Beware of the older guy with a flannel shirt and a beat up rifle, possibly wearing jeans. He's an experienced apex predator who's played this game before.
5- If you've got a hot spot don't ruin it by getting seen or heard laying down a dink. I've had guys stumble onto more than one of my sniper hides while I'm on a buck. Most of the time they won't even see your bedded buck if you play it cool like you haven't seen anything all day.
6- Know the difference between weekend spots and midweek spots.
7- Let the idiots do the walking. Post up where you can spot pressured animals with your glass and go to work.
Number 6 is key but I like them all!

Did this a few years ago… probably pissed a whole shit load of people off…

My favorite, though can be a bit of a gamble.

When you realize there are 20-30 people in the small area you consider your honey hole. A group of 2-3 sitting at the top of every bowl and ridge.

You just cut low from bowl to bowl, bumping the deer lower and waving at each group as you pass by. (Playing the idiot)

Then you circle around to the spot you know they funnel out to private and shoot a nice deer.

And then hike the top of every bowl and ridge with the antlers on your pack on the way out. Helps if you wear a pink hat…

Boy was I a bit of a dick that year. But I was the only one out of those 30 to shoot a deer.

All that to say, if you know an area well enough you can play the pressure to your advantage. Some spots you need to be the first one in, some spots hiking in before first light will blow all of the deer into the Aspens in the bottom of the drainage.

I know a lot of people like to glass for mule deer, I like to cover a lot of country while they are moving around on opening weekend. If I ever make it past opening weekend it turns into a glassing game but the adhd kicks in.
 
Number 6 is key but I like them all!

Did this a few years ago… probably pissed a whole shit load of people off…

My favorite, though can be a bit of a gamble.

When you realize there are 20-30 people in the small area you consider your honey hole. A group of 2-3 sitting at the top of every bowl and ridge.

You just cut low from bowl to bowl, bumping the deer lower and waving at each group as you pass by. (Playing the idiot)

Then you circle around to the spot you know they funnel out to private and shoot a nice deer.

And then hike the top of every bowl and ridge with the antlers on your pack on the way out. Helps if you wear a pink hat…

Boy was I a bit of a dick that year. But I was the only one out of those 30 to shoot a deer.

All that to say, if you know an area well enough you can play the pressure to your advantage. Some spots you need to be the first one in, some spots hiking in before first light will blow all of the deer into the Aspens in the bottom of the drainage.

I know a lot of people like to glass for mule deer, I like to cover a lot of country while they are moving around on opening weekend. If I ever make it past opening weekend it turns into a glassing game but the adhd kicks in.
Herding is a great technique when done legally. Now that you're a famous pink hunter some of these tactics will become more difficult.
I'll deploy a couple of these on the unit 66 tag I'm getting tomorrow.
 
It turned out that my concern was unwarranted. I did see other vehicles in a couple spots nearby, but I never even saw another person, let alone another hunter.. punched the tag on day 2, and I’d say the “moderate” distance approach worked. I got into several pockets of deer about 1.5 miles off the roads. Some spots further in (3-4 miles off the road) held little to no deer sign, which was surprising but might be because I’m not a totally wise hunter yet. Thanks for everyone’s input and great discussion and best of luck to anyone still with a tag!

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