How-to be a more successful trophy hunter.

A giant elk taken by Jason Bausch with Exclusive Pursuit Outfitters.

A giant elk taken by Jason Bausch with Exclusive Pursuit Outfitters in 2014.

I am not going to lie, it is going to cost you more money, time and effort, at least if you want to be a more successful trophy hunter.

For the majority of us, hunting isn’t just about the meat, but if it is, there are lots of opportunities to go kill elk, deer, pronghorn, rabbits, waterfowl and upland birds through out the west, at a fairly low cost, so let’s make sure we aren’t mixing apples and oranges in this article.

Over the past few days, I have heard “hunting is a Rich Man’s Sport” way too many times, because I honestly think hunting in general, isn’t, but trophy hunting, now that is a different story, but I would say, “it’s for those who Sacrifice something.”

Personally, I could use the saying, ” it’s a Rich Man’s Sport ” for anything, like……  Golfing, Fishing, Softball or MMA, because for me personally, I like all of these activities, but I don’t value them like I value hunting.  I simply do some of them occasionally and I realize god only gave me 24 hours in a day and I have a medium sized wallet, so my extra time, money and effort is going into hunting.

What do you value the most?

With regards to trophy hunting (or selective animal hunting), there are 2 things which I honestly see as the BIGGEST factors in those who are consistent vs those who are not.

  1. DIY Scouting and hunting knowledge.
  2. Hiring a quality guide for their scouting and hunting knowledge.

Do you have to do either of these to go hunting?

Absolutely not!!

BUT….

The ones who are the most consistent at trophy hunting, do 1 of the 2 above things.  

I know you may not like it, but it’s the truth.  

I GUARANTEE IT!!!

If you don’t have time to scout and you don’t have the money to hire a guide, it’s going to be almost impossible to be consistent.  If you have TRULY audited your time and money situation, and you can’t do either, I would suggest a couple of things, if you want to continue to selective animal hunt aka trophy hunt:

  1. Look at only gun hunting.
  2. Decrease your trophy expectations.

I know, you are probably a bowhunter, but as bowhunters we are not putting the odds in our favor to begin with.  Success rates are typically much lower while archery hunting, because obviously it is a more primitive hunting tool.  At least if you have a gun and you see a good animal during your hunt, you have a better chance of getting into range.  Since I have become a proffesional hunting guide, I have found myself applying for more gun hunts, because I don’t have as much time to scout for my own hunts.

With limited time to scout, hunt and money, I had to lower my personal trophy standards.

Limited time to scout, hunt and money, I had to lower my personal trophy standards on my limited entry 2013 Utah Archery Elk Hunt.

If you don’t have the leg work in your unit, you are probably being unrealistic to expect to produce top tier animals from that area (without a lot of luck).  I found myself in this situation in Utah a few years ago and although my archery elk hunting goal in my home state is often 380+, my goal in Utah while hunting with out the scouting time or a guide, was to hit the 350+ mark.  I can honestly say that this was a challenge and I was extremely happy with my archery bull.

Do what makes you happy!  Complaining only distracts you from your goal. 

Scouting and hunting knowledge of your unit/GMU is critical!  So, that means you will have to make sacrifices in order to be consistently successful and it still doesn’t guarantee success; that’s trophy hunting.

-Craig

Related articles you might like:

Why you are a Trophy Hunter.

I am jealous of your hunting success!