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Preparing for Your Hunt


By Russ Van Orman

Preparing for your DIY hunt


Well, you have applied for your tags and you were successful. Excitedly, you tuck the tags in your sock drawer where you won’t lose them and then think “now what?” It is exciting, but don’t lose track of the details.


Questions you should ask yourself include: where is the best chance for success? Who do I call? Where do I stay? When should I go (early, middle, or end of the season)? What is the weather like that time of year for the area I will be hunting?


These are just some basic questions you need to ask Successful Draw Tagyourself whether your tags are for a resident or non-resident hunt.


First, who do I call to get the information I need? Start with the state’s fish and game department. You’ll need to talk with a person who is knowledgeable of the different areas to hunt within the state. The state wildlife biologist or regional biologist is a good place to start. It is very helpful to write down some questions before you call. These questions might include; where is the best area to hunt? Is there public access to these areas?


During your call, you should have a general map for reference. A map will help you locate the towns and roads referred to during your call. At the end of the call, thank the person and ask them if you can call again closer to the time you’ll be hunting. This is important since animal patterns can change from year to year.


If you have the opportunity, a personal visit to the region’s wildlife biologist just before you start your hunt would even allow you to locate more specific areas to hunt in.


Once your questions are answered then you’ll need to order some topographical maps of area. The Internet is a great resource for locating and purchasing these maps.


Personally, I purchase the Delorme topographic map book for the state I will be hunting in. Once a specific Mapsarea is decided on, order a map for just that area. Google maps are also a great resource.


After you have determined the area or region, you will need to determine where you will be staying.


If you’re on a back country DIY hunt then you’ll have limited options of either a light packable tent or a bevy sack.  Another option many outfitters offer is a drop camp. These camps may include food, depending on how much you wish to spend. They will not include a guide or cook. The outfitter will take you into a back country area that has wall tent set up for you to hunt from.


The time of year influences and determines where I’ll be staying. One year some buddies and I decided to go on a late November hunt in Montana.  I had a great wall tent with wood burning stove. The majority of the hunt the temperature didn’t get above -10 degrees during the day.  At night it would go below -30 degrees. We actually put our drinks in the cooler to prevent them from freezing, but they froze anyway. It was great successful hunt; however, it was cold and miserable even with stove going all night. Lesson learned.  During my return hunt to that area, we found a log cabin rental with a hot shower about ten miles from the area which we hunted in. It made for a very comfortable hunt.


During early season, a wall tent or RV can be great to hunt from if the area in which you will be hunting is close by. Plus, there is nothing more relaxing than sitting around a campfire after a long day of hunting.


In locating a cabin, it is advisable to locate one as soon as possible.  In many areas cabins are at premium. The cost can range from $85 to $150 a night.


When looking for a cabin, write down what you are looking for before you call the owner. Some standard Montana Miners Cabinquestions I ask include; how is the cabin heated? Are there laundry facilities? Are hot showers available? Does the cabin have a complete kitchen? Can you hunt from the cabin?


Just following these simple steps; and asking the right questions, will allow you to have a great hunt in the Deep Countree.


In our next issue we will discuss, what you should take on your hunt.  We will also have a menu planner.