I usually hunt with a friend or family member, and I would recommend you do so as well. It’s safer and you’ll often learn from one another. However, sometimes your hunting buddy is busy, and other times you’re hunting game that you want to hunt alone, or maybe you want to hunt more often than your friends do.
Whatever your reason for hunting solo, you should make sure you’re prepared to do so. Don’t just head out in the morning as you would when hunting with others. To ensure you have a safe and successful solo hunt, follow these five tips.
Plan More Than Usual
You should always go into a hunt with a game plan whether you’re hunting alone or not. When hunting solo, you need to take the planning portion of the hunt a few steps further.
You want to know the land you’re hunting intimately. Know where you’re entering the hunting ground and where you want to exit when the hunt is done. Have a plan ahead of time for how you’re going to approach the hunting site and make a checklist of things you need to do once you get there.
Also, consider bringing along a GPS system even if you think you have a firm mental grasp on the location. I have a good sense of direction, but I still recommend the use of a quality GPS system separate from your smartphone. Standalone GPS systems designed for hunters offer way more capabilities and can provide needed direction when your cell phone has no coverage.
Let Someone Know Where You Are
One of the nice things about hunting in a group is you have your fellow hunters looking out for you. If something happens to you on a solo hunt, you’re all alone. That’s why it’s extremely important to let someone know exactly where you’re hunting and about how long you’ll be out there.
All sorts of things can happen on a solo hunt from a firearm accident to a sprained or broken ankle. If you don’t let someone know where you will be and for how long, you could end up stranded without help. This simple tip could save your life, and it only takes a second or two.
Bring Emergency Gear Just in Case
You should always have a basic first aid kit when hunting. When you’re in a group it’s easy to let your buddy’s kit suffice for both of you. When you go out alone, make sure you have plenty of first aid materials on hand.
Additionally, bring your smartphone to make emergency calls. It’s also smart to have a GPS with an SOS function, like the Garmin inReach Exlplorer+. Some GPS systems will link to your smartphone, but a GPS with built-in emergency communications capabilities is the best.
Have a Plan for After Your Kill
How are you going to get your kill out? With a hunting partner, this is a lot easier. You have an extra set of hands or someone who can head back to the truck or base camp for additional supplies or an ATV. Don’t head out alone unless you have a foolproof plan for getting your kill back home without help.
If you’re hunting large game, you’ll need to be physically fit enough to move your kill out of the area by yourself. This can require some physical strength. While you may be able to get an ATV to help you move the deer out of your hunting spot, oftentimes you’ll have to drag the animal a fair way after field dressing it, and you need to be ready to do that.
Adjust Your Hunting Tactics
You’re going to hunt differently with another hunter or with a group than you would by yourself. This usually depends on the people you’re with and the game you hunt.
When you’re on your own, you can easily make decisions on the fly. This is a significant positive of hunting solo, and you shouldn’t be afraid to change your hunting tactic if you need to.
Many hunters, depending on the game, like to spot and stalk prey when hunting solo. This technique works well. It’s just you and the prey. The decisions you make only affect you, meaning you don’t have to worry about anything else.
Others prefer to draw animals in by calling when hunting solo. This also works well. However, it can make for a lot of work. You have to call, listen for a response, locate the animal, and close the gap. Some hunters love the challenge of doing it all on their own while others would prefer to do this with a partner or a couple of partners.
Obviously, the technique you use depends on the type of game you’re hunting and the individual situation. If you’re used to hunting alone, don’t get discouraged. Many hunters realize they rely heavily on their hunting partners the first time they go out alone. Take your time and focus on your skills. If you do, you should have a good time out there.
Hunting alone can be a rewarding personal experience. What are some of your tips for hunting alone? Leave a comment below.