PSE’s Emily Anderson Hunting Alone
By Emily Anderson
Once and a while the question comes up as to whether or not I hunt alone. The short answer is usually, “no.” Mostly I hunt with my husband. Although, there have been a few times where I have ventured out on my own. These hunts have taken place in familiar areas, where cell service signals are not rare, and with my sidearm securely attached to my belt.
Ladies, if you are pondering the question of whether or not to hunt alone, there are few things you should consider…
The first thing to think about is the type of hunt you are preparing for, and the second factor is the location of your hunt. The type of hunting you prefer, e.g., tree-stand, blind, or spot and stalk, most likely will play a factor into whether or not as a female hunter you feel comfortable with solo hunting. The location in my opinion is a bigger factor. For example, I would not want to venture off on a 10 day back country wilderness hunt by myself. I think I could keep myself from getting lost since I’m usually not directionally challenged; however, I wouldn’t trust myself enough to stay safe. It would also not be an easy task getting the meat out. I am up for a lot of things, but not that type of challenge. I know there are options like drop camps and packing a satellite phone to call your coordinates in for someone to come pack out the meat, but it is still not something that interests me… at least doing it by myself. On the other hand, if I’m hunting deer and had a tree-stand hung and ready to go, I would have no qualms about sitting solo waiting for a white-tailed deer to walk by.
In addition to the type and location of your hunt, here are a few other thoughts to consider prior to venturing off into the woods by yourself…
1. Do you have means to take care of the meat? Make sure you are prepared to gut your animal, or at least have a very good plan for getting a hold of someone quickly that can help. Is there cell service in your area? Remember, the meat is the trophy!
2. Since you are most likely either entering or leaving your hunting area in the dark, be aware of your surroundings. Even though you are armed with a bow, there is still potential for a bad situation to occur, e.g, other individuals with ill intentions, or even other predators in the woods. Be prepared!
3. Lastly, something that a lot of hunters don’t consider is the loneliness factor. This shouldn’t be a problem if you are doing a quick day trip, but if you are planning on spending several days by yourself in the wilderness, be prepared to start talking to yourself. Seriously. It is something that a lot of hunters may not admit, but being by yourself in the woods is not something easy to do. I’ve recently heard several hunters, who have experience in the back country, admit to this. Be prepared to deal with the loneliness factor, e.g., bring a journal or good book to help pass the hours.
The urge to venture off into the woods and tag an animal by myself frequently tries to convince me I should. The romance of it all temps me. My “I can do it” attitude threatens to override my common sense, but this urge is quickly replaced by reality and I’m brought back quickly to my senses. In my opinion, hunting with a friend or spouse somehow increases the joy in the hunt. When someone fills a tag, there are friends for high-fiving and helping with the skin, gut and pack out job. Everyone pitches in to take care of the meat. Usually, my part of the team-work is in loading an animal on pack frames and carrying it off the mountain (after the skinning and gutting). It is the part of the process I enjoy the most. The burn in your legs and lungs somehow doesn’t matter or slow me down. The momentary pain can’t stop the smile from creeping over my face due to the knowledge of all the future meals that are loaded on my pack frame. The thought of backstraps and tenderloins is all the motivation I need to take that next step.
Yes, I think I’ll continue to hunt with family and friends… it makes the experience more enjoyable! What about you? Do you prefer solo hunts or group hunts? Why?