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Thread: Failed/Discouraged Hunters Seeking Help

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
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    Failed/Discouraged Hunters Seeking Help

    Hi HuntingBC folks,

    I am a first generation hunter with no family hunting heritage or previous experience. This is my 4th year hunting (started back around 2018 ) and so far I’ve had zero success harvesting any big game. I typically hunt in a group of 3. All of us have no previous hunting experience and are self-taught via reading posts on here/books/internet articles and watching videos. We on average take about 3-4 trips a year ranging from about 5-7 days long. Based on the advice posted here, we always drive 3+ hours out of town (we’re located in the Lower Mainland) and have hunted areas around Princeton, Merritt, and Boston Bar/Lytton.

    For spring bear, we usually hunt around the end of May/early June. We’ve seen a couple of bears on the drive into camp but have never had a shot opportunity on one. I think I’ve read every bear related thread on this forum looking for advice: we glass greened up south facing slopes, glass areas with fresh poop, walk old/deactivated FSRs, still hunt through timber - but have never seen a bear. A lot of posts mention they love sunny days which we’ve hunted plenty of too.
    When there is an abundance of green grass, how do you narrow down what areas to watch. It seems like a bear could eat in one spot then travel several KMs away never to return.
    What do you do when you find fresh-ish poop? Find a spot to glass that area from, leave the area and check it later, try to follow/track where it went? How do you determine if it’s an active feeding area and if it’s likely it’ll come back?

    For mule deer hunting in the fall we’ve just never seen a buck. We usually take these trips during the pre and peak rut around the end of Oct to mid Nov. On these hunts we glass cut blocks throughout the day and always at first/last light. Are we just looking in the wrong spots? Should we be looking for specific foods or habitat? How do you know when to move on from an area and what makes a cut block more likely to hold animals?


    Sorry for the long winded post and plethora of questions. I’m sure a lot of this has been answered before but it’s hard to translate book knowledge into real world hands on experience. Having said that, we’ve tried as much as possible to learn on our own and be self-sufficient over the last 4 years. I understand hunting is not easy, especially without having a mentor to teach you/tell you what you're doing right and wrong, but getting skunked 4 years in a row is very discouraging. I’m definitely not asking for you to share your honey holes or secret spots - I want to become good enough to find my own. All help and advice is welcome. Cheers

    Last edited by Merino; 06-02-2022 at 06:56 PM.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    North Van
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    Re: Failed/Discouraged Hunters Seeking Help

    What part of the LML are you in?
    Rob Chipman
    "The idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders" - Ed Abbey
    "Grown men do not need leaders" - also Ed Abbey

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
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    Re: Failed/Discouraged Hunters Seeking Help

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Chipman View Post
    What part of the LML are you in?
    Hi Rob, myself and hunting group are all from the Vancouver area.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    Langley
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    Re: Failed/Discouraged Hunters Seeking Help

    RE which hills to glass...

    We tend to hunt thicker stuff so glassing isn't much of a thing.

    We poke in and out of isolated grassy pockets that aren't exposed to roads or even wide open terrain. Roads and open areas are a tad spooky for critters.

    Look for those little nooks and crannies where a bear doesn't have to worry about being seen from 100 yards away or something driving by.

    Hidden pockets of grass like little strips tucked between some old growth and the side of a mountain, entrance(s) enclosed by some brush, little creek action going, some place they are good and safe eating, napping, staying cool, etc

    But which grass? The ones the most fresh hits, like someone took a weed whacker to a good number of patches and the squared off tips haven't turned brown, less than 1mm of whitish edge. Vanishing dandelion tops and fresh torn up rotten stumps is another one to be looking out for at this time... fresh broken saplings with hair (boar scent markers) are gold now too.

    We hunt bears in R2 exclusively and find April is the magic month but good until first week of May. After that there's enough grass around, plus boars are covering distance looking for sows, not hanging out in any given pocket for as long, makes it a bit more random and tougher going.

    Nothing beats finding that first good grass in April and every bear from every mountain on either side of the valley is consolidated onto those first few good pockets. You can have well over a dozen bears hiding out around that first pocket even if it's not much bigger than a backyard.

    3 is also a bit of a crowd to be hunting with unless you are splitting up a good ways apart, like a few kms at least. I mean it's still doable, but it is a lot of extra scent and sound. Bears shy from crowds a lot more than they do an individual. We see more bears solo than creeping around together.

    As for deer, these R2 BT's took us years to figure out, but for any deer, hit the timber around those slashes, places with lots of old mans beard, lichen and such, check around for trails cut out through the mossy floor, now good chance you are in business. It's the saddles and benches in the timber up above and around those cuts that will be of more interest than the cut itself. If you're going to watch the cut, best to do it from inside the timber.

    Good luck out there
    Last edited by caddisguy; 06-02-2022 at 08:47 PM.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    BC
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    Re: Failed/Discouraged Hunters Seeking Help

    Just have to keep on going. It took me almost 6 seasons before I connected with my first cut tag. Go out and don’t expect to get anything, just relax, have fun and enjoy the time away. Once I got that into that mind frame things got great and I’ve been successful every year since then. The way I feel now is that if you get stressed out while hunting and it’s no longer fun, then you may as well just pack your gear up and go home. Be patient, your opportunity will come.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    Duncan
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    Re: Failed/Discouraged Hunters Seeking Help

    It took me six or seven seasons of chasing blacktails in the Chilliwack valley before connecting. I know your pain and frustration.

    How do you know when to move on from an area and what makes a cut block more likely to hold animals?
    this is always a tough question. There is a grass is greener phenomena no matter where you are. Obviously fresh sign is a dead give away that the animals are there. But that doesn’t mean they will be there when you are. What makes a cut block hold more deer? Usually it is a combination of food availability, proximity to good bedding areas, and security. Getting to know these areas and how to hunt them takes time.

    So I have a few questions for you. How often are you hunting in a season? How far from home are the hunting grounds? How often do you get out to scout these areas? Do your areas see a lot of hunting pressure during the season? There are more questions, but this is a good place to start.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Re: Failed/Discouraged Hunters Seeking Help

    Cut blocks are not my favourite spot to hunt.
    We say in cut blocks when I was young with deer sign in the snow but rarely saw much, so I know exactly what you are talking about.
    They can be there, they can certainly wander thru them in a b line etc.
    But going in and hunting them on timber around the rut has changed completely how much more success I found.
    My thought is, if you have a bunch of days strung together, that you go during or around the rut.
    Pray for snow, as the fresh sign will certainly help you figure out new areas better.
    Cut blocks tend to get more active at night it seems vs in timber during daylight.
    And the further you can drive, because you have 5 days at a time, will also get you into areas with less continuous pressure.
    Clise to the Lm, like Merritt or aboston bar or Princeton tend to have a lot of 1 day hunters, so the game is always on high alert and pushed back more times than not.
    Even on further away trips it can get busy, but I still feel you will see more.
    Finf fresh sign that cross crosses over many days, in a general area and you won’t be far from spotting deer in timber.
    Inside the fringes if cut blocks can produce better also.
    And yes, just driving thru them can produce rather than sitting all day.
    Evenings in blocks seem better as well.

  9. #8
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    Oct 2012
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    Re: Failed/Discouraged Hunters Seeking Help

    Good advice all around thus far...usually, but not always, the farther from hunting pressure you get the better your odds with big game, and as mentioned above, finding the fresh sign is key... with bears in the spring focus on the green up with dandelion and clover, deactivated roads are great spots as well as certain parts of cut blocks...I don't hunt R2 so I can't help ya with blacktail...

  10. #9
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    Re: Failed/Discouraged Hunters Seeking Help

    Just to toss in another example. One of our secondary pockets (we like to find 3-4 good pockets within 3km as the crow flies) ... it's maybe 100 yards from a mainline, total seasonal camper super highway, vehicles ripping by 50-80km/hour at all hours.

    Looks like impenetrable reprod, like it must be miles of fir tree clusters forever.

    Nope. Smash through 100 yards of fir clusters and it's a dang field of grass in a flat valley bottom. No evidence a human has poked in there in 20 years. I cant count how many bears we've had on trailcam eating and falling asleep in there.

    Poke around and find a bunch of places like that. There are plenty to go around. If you were a bear and didn't want to hang out in an open area or within sight of a road, some place you could just eat and nap, never to be seen or disturbed, where would you go? Find the places that solve for that and you got it.

    If you're finding areas with grass plus scat you're probably not far off, but those obvious places make more for night time grazing. Probably not far off, just gotta find those more secluded nooks and crannies near by.

    With regard to "sunny days", temps are a big variable there. If it's above 20C, probably won't see much aside from dawn and dusk. Those days that are like 15C, sunny off and on, light sprinkle, like days you'd expect to see a rainbow, that's good stuff right there, anything could happen any time of day. Over 20C they like to snooze in mossy shade and will look like a shadow.
    Last edited by caddisguy; 06-02-2022 at 11:56 PM.

  11. #10
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    839

    Re: Failed/Discouraged Hunters Seeking Help

    Try to find cutblocks where the roads are not drivable. Areas where the cut blocks are at the edge major slope breaks. Donít hunt the cutblocks though, hunt the edges. When you hunt, all areas are not equal. Itís like fishing. Find the hatch and find the fish. In this case, find the sign and then slow hunt it. Look for cutblocks with the tasty veg. Look for browse sign all the time. If you see it or fresh pellets, slow down. Slow down. Slow down. Did I say slow down? Glass even in the timber. Donít hunt in doubles. You are so much more visible and loud and smelly in twos. Always hunt the wind. Know the daily thermals. Change your plans to match the wind. Donít be lazy about he wind. Deer never stop testing it. Remember above all, the reason you are hunting is to hunt. The experience and the moment are the reason. The kill will come when you least expect it. It and the aftermath are the least fun parts, at least I my mind. But I hunt alone and have never killed and animal with someone to help, which is why, for me, the suck starts then. Once itís in the truck, itís easy peasy.

    When you get discouraged and feel useless, keep positive and focussed. Itís in those moments, when you have your head down that you are most likely to miss a good animal. Good luck!
    Last edited by Treed; 06-02-2022 at 11:52 PM.
    Your asking in the wrong place. This is the tinfoil hat capital of the internet

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