How to make the flush pressure work to your advantage
I know the sinking feeling of going to where you plan to hunt only to find it looks like a Costco parking lot on July 3rd. every nook and cranny on opening morning. Because if we’re being honest, even the most welcoming hunters would prefer to have a hunting spot for themselves.
This is because the pressure of hunting very obviously changes the behavior of animals. But if you’re hunting big game on public land anywhere in the country (and even here in Alaska), you’ll have to deal with the pressure of the hunt at one point or another. Rather than just turning around and spitting gravel out of the parking lot in disgust, you need to realize that you can often still have a successful big hunt when other hunters are present. Sometimes you can even make the pressure work for you. Hunters who are consistently successful are adaptable and are willing to change tactics as the situation arises.
Hunt where the animals will be
It is often not enough just to be able to outperform your competition. Backpack hunting is very popular and many hunters are in fantastic shape. You can’t always rely on animals to stay where they are before the season, but you can try to anticipate where they will go once they are under pressure. If you are hunting in an area that you know will come under pressure, focus on where you expect the animals to go or the position to intercept them. This could mean a corridor of movement to private land or a saddle to the next drainage where you would expect animals under pressure to escape. When animals are kicked out of an area, they don’t just disappear; they go to a place where they think they will be safe and comfortable.
The preseason scouting is excellent. But if you are in an area where you know there will be other hunters, putting all your hopes on where you saw animals before the season was a recipe for disaster. Anticipate where these creatures will go to escape the hunters and you’ll have a better chance of hitting a tag.
Hunt the “Front-Pays”
Sometimes an entire area can be saturated with hunters, but with all the popularity of backcountry hunting, many “extreme” hunters unknowingly walk alongside dozens of animals trying to reach the sweet spot. , and sometimes even cause the animals to congregate much closer to the road than they would otherwise. Sometimes you can find animals in places you wouldn’t have thought of looking at just because it’s not “far enough”. If everyone is hiking try to hunt closer to the road or trail. You might be surprised at what you see.
Take your time
Nothing forces a hunter to hurry like knowing that you will be competing with other people, but often the best strategy is to slow down and hunt more carefully. Rushing frantically to try and beat other people in a location will usually not improve your odds. Many times I have seen hunters buzzing around an area or hiking in an area where there are animals in sight, but the hunters never even notice them. Different hunts obviously require different methods, but here is an example. A few years ago a buddy of mine was listening to another hunting couple say they couldn’t find any legal Dall sheep. He literally heard this as he could see a legal ram, the one he had observed, beyond the shoulders of other hunters. They gave up and left.
Plan for hunting pressure
Under ideal circumstances, we can do all of our off-season planning based on where we think the animals are and will be, as well as what lands we have access to and our points of entry. Mapping and landownership apps and software help tremendously, but everyone now has these same apps, so many of these “secret places” are laid bare even to the less savvy hunters. A big initial benefit of these apps was finding small, hidden holes. Well, even with hunting pressure taken into account, these apps can still do that, but you have to reverse-engineer it. In other words, use your mapping app to find places that seem less appealing to other hunters. Sometimes these might not be the best hunting sites, but they can still give you a great hunting and experience. For example, if you look at a map and the first thing that catches your eye is a gorgeous mountain bowl that’s a good 5 mile hike up the road, you can bet everyone has pinned that bowl to it as well. X. So instead of hunting there, take a look at all the features around that bowl and pick a less obvious spot on a digital map.
Read more : How to Beat the Crowds in Whitetail Woods on Public Lands
Never give up
Even though the pressure of the hunt may spoil the experience a bit, or at least whatever you want the experience to be, you can still have a great time. Sometimes finding success under the pressure of the hunt can seem even sweeter. Not all hunts will be productive, but know that the most successful hunters remain patient and persevering regardless of the pressure of the hunt. It starts with the state of mind, and luckily, it’s one of the few things you can control there.