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  #1  
Old 09-20-2017, 3:43 PM
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Default First Time Solo Hunting This Weekend. Any tips? *UPDATED*

Deer season is a week old and I'm not willing to wait another three weeks for a friend with a B-Zone tag to have a free weekend, so I'll be spending Friday, Saturday and good chunk of Sunday by my lonesome up in Mendocino National.

I know solo hunting isn't ideal for obvious safety reasons. Rest Assured I'm doing everything I can to ensure my safety. I'm providing a map, an itinerary, and a travel plan to my wife, and another to my parents in case something delays me coming home.

I've never solo hunted big game before, and while I had an idea of a game plan and have scouted the area I plan to work in recently, I am more than open to suggestions from more seasoned hunters. What's worked for you in the past when having to work solo? What things should I avoid?

Thanks in advance for any advice you can provide.

UPDATE:

So this weekend was uncharacteristically cold up in lower Mendocino National with a daytime temperature Friday afternoon of a whopping 46 degrees. Friday night it was about 35ish in the tent. Despite my 3 piece Mil-surp mummy bag, I was cold AF.

Saturday was fine, still cold, but fine. Didn't get out of the 40s til 3pm up around 5K-6K feet. That high, I didn't put eyes on any deer. While I'm not expert, I'm guessing that with the cold snap, the deer decided to go down the mountain for a few days.

It definitely would have been nicer having someone else there with me, if for no other reason than to share in the boredom and cold.

Thus far, It's Deer: 1, Me: 0
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Old 09-20-2017, 5:39 PM
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I wouldn't call myself seasoned, but here are some thoughts from someone who has solo hunted as a total noob:

Bring a book for afternoons if you're not going to hunt all day.

If you're car camping, bring extra stuff, like socks, backup shoes, really warm things in case it gets freezing at night. Also, consider a cot if you'll be in a tent that will fit one.

bring some good food like decent steaks and eggs or whatever you like to keep your energy and morale up.

Being a big water jug with a spout if you'll be camping a site without services.

Watch videos on how to field dress and quarter your quarry should you bag one far away from help or your vehicle.

Pack lightly for your hunts, it'll be a heavy load-out if you're successful.

Consider a side-arm if you're going to be in an area with possible grow ops going on. Be on the lookout for signs of criminal activity. Chances are, there won't be game nearby, or at worst nearby game might be poisoned.

Last and most importantly, have several backup plans in case your planned area doesn't work out.
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Old 09-20-2017, 6:14 PM
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I hunt deer solo every year.

Scout your area.
Have faith in your gut instinct.
Hunt the wind.
Glass constantly.
Patience.
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Old 09-20-2017, 6:23 PM
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Bring toilet paper.
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  #5  
Old 09-20-2017, 7:05 PM
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M1967 Poncho Carrier
Military Poncho and Poncho Liner
Tyvek ground cloth
Heavy duty space blanket
Web belt
Couple of pouched for carrying additional gear
Butt pack
First aid kit
Neck knife and belt knife
Pack some food and water
Game bag
Some large trash bags
Tp and wet wipes

And don't forget your tags and wallet

A gun or bow and arrows might be important to bring.
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Old 09-20-2017, 7:25 PM
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What others said plus ammo. Shoot if I didn't have to take my dad to dialysis i would meet you up there. You going to Snow Mountain? I bagged a bear Sat but still need my B tag filled. Good luck and be safe.
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Old 09-20-2017, 7:33 PM
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Some info on ponchos and Poncho liners

https://masondixontactical.wordpress...-poncho-liner/
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Old 09-20-2017, 8:43 PM
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A solid first aid kit and an ace bandage just in case you twist something.
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Old 09-20-2017, 9:15 PM
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Make sure someone knows where you are
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Old 09-21-2017, 6:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skip_Dog View Post
What others said plus ammo. Shoot if I didn't have to take my dad to dialysis i would meet you up there. You going to Snow Mountain? I bagged a bear Sat but still need my B tag filled. Good luck and be safe.
I plan to be just North-West of Snow Mountain and the State Game Refuge, closer to the border of the Yuki Wilderness I'm planning on working the North and South sides of M61 depending on the wind. There seemed to me some decent old clear cuts and burn areas in that region that I'm hoping will make for decent spotting/shooting.

The odds are against me that I get anything this weekend but I'll drop you a PM the next time I'm planning on going up.

All great advice, folks. I really appreciate it.
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Old 09-21-2017, 6:39 AM
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Make sure someone knows where you are
Can't emphasize this enough, know your area! Know where the back roads are and which directions they run, know major land marks in relation to where you are and parked. If you have a gps, cool, but carry a quality compass too. Batteries fail at the most inoportune time, plus it's really easy to get turned around in the dark.
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Old 09-21-2017, 6:51 AM
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Hunting solo can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. If you ask everyone what to bring and take their answers to heart, you'll end up with a 120-pound pack.

I would suggest incrementalism. Start with smaller jaunts from the truck, and just get used to the whole experience. Don't head 5 miles uphill your first time out. As you get more experience, you'll find out what gear you really need/want and develop some woodcraft along the way in your own style. Just make a checklist and modify along the way, then you won't forget stuff in subsequent trips.

As far as keeping loved ones aware, I got myself a Spot tracker several years ago. It's great peace of mind for my wife, and pretty useful otherwise (I can send a non-emergency, "Help!" text to a list of buddies should the truck break, for example). It also has emergency extraction features should that become needed.
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Old 09-21-2017, 7:04 AM
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Glass more and walk less.
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Old 09-21-2017, 8:28 AM
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Quote:
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..........Don't head 5 miles uphill your first time out.............
I would amend that to read - don't head 5 miles downhill into a drainage your 1st time out.

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Originally Posted by lewdogg21 View Post
Glass more and walk less.
^^ This. Go up and situate yourself above a promising area, sit still, be quiet, and glass. It is the best strategy in an unfamiliar area.
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Old 09-21-2017, 1:48 PM
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I used to hunt solo a lot when I was younger. Much younger. A lot up in mendo natl forest cow/red mountain area. Here's what I used to do.

I got to know an area decently. This doesn't happen on one or two trips. The more you go the more familiar you get with an area, landmarks, terrain, etc. and then you venture a bit further knowing you can always find your way back.

Start with a central campground area. Pack your car with extra supplies. Don't venture further than you can safely get back from before dark. Walking speed straight line flat ground is 3-4 mph. In the field about half that. So basically you don't want to be any more than 2 miles away from the car if sunset is less than an hour and a half away.


I used to go when I was younger and the knees, back, etc weren't so afflicted by age. This was of also course before gps and cell phones and such. So I had a topo map. Get one either way. Put a mark where you are. Learn to use a compass. It's not hard. Learn to land nav, shoot an azimuth, find a reference point, landmark, etc. Also, learn to range estimate distances with the compass ruler or other means. It's not difficult really. That way you know the general directions you need to travel.

Keep track of your directions of travel and time of travel. Bring orange surveyor tape and leave breadcrumbs. Especially on trails. Bring a sharpie and make a note of things like distance and direction on it. Odds are nobody will be up there to mess with it.

Stay as much as possible on or near trails. Going into the thicket will get you lost right quick.

Bring lots of water and high calorie and energy snacks. Nuts and dried fruit, power bars, etc. Otherwise pack light.

You're either going to deal with a deer at the car or in the field. If at the car, leave all that stuff there. If in the field, you'll need backpack room for it. You're going to need to butcher deer in the field. You won't want to drag a deer 3 miles back to camp.
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Old 09-21-2017, 7:04 PM
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Maybe I didn't see it, but did anyone reference the sticky thread on this? Some good info in there.
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Old 09-21-2017, 7:07 PM
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Maybe I didn't see it, but did anyone reference the sticky thread on this? Some good info in there.
Nope, and I wasn't aware of it. I'll check it out. Thanks!
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Old 09-22-2017, 12:52 AM
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Just make sure you take a sidearm with you and bring two bottles of water or one water and one Gat. Also bring some snacks to keep you energize for the hike.
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Old 09-22-2017, 5:43 AM
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Don't take any unnecessary risks. It's better to detour a mile or two vs. chancing an injury (or worse) by taking the "shortcut".
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Old 09-22-2017, 7:14 AM
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While not necessary if you know the terrain/area really well, but a handheld GPS can be handy in a number of ways. Marking spots of any particular interest, measuring distances, marking areas to avoid (like private land or refuges), and creating routes to name a few.
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Old 09-22-2017, 8:29 AM
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Do you and your wife know how to use find my iphone or any of the other phone locating apps? They do not need cell service to operate by the way.
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Old 09-22-2017, 6:06 PM
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The majority of my hunting is solo and in VERY remote areas of So. Eastern Oregon, north NV, etc. and thi said last year I purchased a inReach satellite messaging, tracking, and SOS device. About $300.00 plus monthly or annual service plan.

Works great and allows me to stay in contact with my family. And allows for them to see where I am at at anytime via the tracking function.

Stay safe and good luck.

.
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Old 09-25-2017, 6:38 AM
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bump due to update.
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Old 09-25-2017, 7:07 AM
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I hunt solo a lot. Been doing it since I was a teenager. If you're concerned about safety, get a S.P.O.T. and have someone monitor your texts while you're out. Use the midday downtime to scout.

https://www.findmespot.com/en/
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Old 09-27-2017, 6:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by omgwtfbbq View Post
Deer season is a week old and I'm not willing to wait another three weeks for a friend with a B-Zone tag to have a free weekend, so I'll be spending Friday, Saturday and good chunk of Sunday by my lonesome up in Mendocino National.

I know solo hunting isn't ideal for obvious safety reasons. Rest Assured I'm doing everything I can to ensure my safety. I'm providing a map, an itinerary, and a travel plan to my wife, and another to my parents in case something delays me coming home.

I've never solo hunted big game before, and while I had an idea of a game plan and have scouted the area I plan to work in recently, I am more than open to suggestions from more seasoned hunters. What's worked for you in the past when having to work solo? What things should I avoid?

Thanks in advance for any advice you can provide.

UPDATE:

So this weekend was uncharacteristically cold up in lower Mendocino National with a daytime temperature Friday afternoon of a whopping 46 degrees. Friday night it was about 35ish in the tent. Despite my 3 piece Mil-surp mummy bag, I was cold AF. Nothing worse than a cold night sleep, don't underestimate the value of a polar fleece or wool blanket wrapped around your bag.

Saturday was fine, still cold, but fine. Didn't get out of the 40s til 3pm up around 5K-6K feet. That high, I didn't put eyes on any deer. While I'm not expert, I'm guessing that with the cold snap, the deer decided to go down the mountain for a few days. You'll find that deer generally don't move unless they are forced out. It generally requires snow or lots of rain to get them moving.

It definitely would have been nicer having someone else there with me, if for no other reason than to share in the boredom and cold.

Take a book or 2 to read it helps pass the time, it can be lonely but it also gives you time for introspection and I enjoy the time to work stuff out.


Thus far, It's Deer: 1, Me: 0

These things have worked for me.
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Old 09-27-2017, 12:47 PM
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There is a FB page called B Zone Blacktails. Now, you may not have a lot of luck finding someone who will share hot spots with you - but they are posting a lot of pics of nice looking deer - and some guys filled 2 tags!
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Old 09-27-2017, 1:54 PM
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There is a FB page called B Zone Blacktails. Now, you may not have a lot of luck finding someone who will share hot spots with you - but they are posting a lot of pics of nice looking deer - and some guys filled 2 tags!
The blacktails in B-Zone are beautiful, which is one of the reasons I was okay with driving 2-3 hrs a weekend to try to find out. I won't be going up this weekend but a friend, myself, and his GF will be going the weekend of 10/6.
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Old 09-27-2017, 1:57 PM
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Send me a PM if you head up again. I still have one tag to fill and my buddy cant get up again till 13th OCT. I am going to get up as much as I can. No tag soup for me this year.
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Old 09-27-2017, 3:04 PM
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I live in the sacramento area too. Would you be willing to have a buddy go too. I am new to this and would love to learn best practices and know where to begin.
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