I'm loading up the truck now to head out soon for some elk hunting.
Despite having a fairly successful hunting season so far, I am heading in to elk hunting with fairly low expectations, because, well...I'm winging it.
For the last 8 years, I have hunted with the same group of guys, in the same area...Bethel Ridge, just west of Natchez. The overall success rate for that area is 3%, but we have always hunted there because 'hunting is about more than hunting'...and it has been a fun time. We always have a really nice camp set up, and the camp side of stuff with all my buddies is fun.
A few years ago though, I ruined it, and shifted from modern methods of hunting to muzzleloader, to increase my success rates. A few other guys shifted with me, kind of splitting the group in half...but since we only live two hours from where we have been hunting, guys still came up to visit, and hang out as one big group.
This year, it was shaping up like most guys were going back to Modern, except for me and maybe two other guys, who, frankly, spend more time drinking than hunting. In the end, I decided to punt for elk season, and strike out on my own. I bought a tent and a propane heater, and studied some maps for a bit, and decided the area with the best combination of success rate, and easy access to public land is in the Selkirk GMU, in the North-East corner of the state.
I have never been there before. I'm heading in with no scouting, and a few maps. Best case, I get an opportunity to shoot an elk. Worst case, I'll get a chance to see some new, pretty country, and enjoy some solitude. The weather is supposed to be decent, with overnight lows dipping into low 30's, upper 20's, and daytime highs in the 50's.
The absolute worst thing about it all is that I am going to be missing my younger daughters birthday. She turns 8 tomorrow, and is at a serious guilt trip age.
Oh well...maybe I can bring her home a few hundred pounds of elk meat for a present.