"Through a decade’s worth of lessons, I’ve found the following tactics have special merit in the elk woods and, when I have remembered to implement them, increased my chances at arrowing a bull." - Steven Drake
It was on a trail in Colorado, years ago, that he encountered the older gentleman with an elk on his back and a simple traditional bow in his hand. Nick had marvelled at the bow in disbelief, not certain how something so simple could kill an animal as big as an elk.
If you are up for the effort, you can chase a whitetail into some of the roughest and most rugged and unforgiving country imaginable — places where humans have seldom tread and with good reason. The dense and swampy wilderness of South Florida is just such a place.
Layering 101 with SITKA Gear Founder, Jonathan Hart
As humans, we are at a genetic and physiological disadvantage to survive in wild places. Yet we’re instinctively drawn to test our mettle against species who have adapted for millennia to thrive in these challenging environments. At SITKA, we build systems to level the playing field with wild animals in their domain; giving hunters the ability to adapt to the rapidly-changing conditions encountered in the wild.
Gaining access to private land can be an intimidating hurdle for most hunters, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, knowing how to ask permission can be a hunter’s secret weapon, especially when it comes to accessing public land drainages only reachable via private land or, even, opening up a door to private land access for years to come.
To Lyle Hebel, hunting is about filling the freezer, and his favorite big game species to eat is antelope. However, he cautions, it’s essential to keep the meat clean when breaking it down in the field and to “put it on ice immediately.”
Cruising along the backroads of Montana, Lyle Hebel spots the outline of antelope, grazing deep within the sagebrush landscape. He’s about a mile away, but knows that getting close is a game of cat and mouse.
Hunting Marco Polo sheep in Tajikistan has a reputation — not just for its high-altitude, unforgiving terrain and daunting travel in an unknown world — but also for corrupt outfitters, shady hunting practices and poachers.
Rustic wooden gates groaned open as our Toyota HiLux rumbled through. We navigated the rutted, winding dirt road; every pothole and washboard negotiated revealing another layer of the towering Andes Mountains. A gin-clear river meandered through the valley floor. Willows on the cusp of fall color shimmered in the cool afternoon breeze. This was the start of the annual breeding season for red deer in northern Patagonia—also known as the roar.
A good coach once told me that “being lucky” is actually just being prepared. It was a valuable lesson and one that also applies to the backcountry. Now is the time to prepare with a purpose, not the week before the season starts.
Holding and growing healthy deer on the property you hunt is a labor of love, especially when it comes to mature bucks. While there’s always the chance a buck might spend time on your neighbor’s property, there are key strategies for maintaining quality whitetail habitat to keep that buck—and a few others—on your dirt...