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Author Topic: First time solo backcountry hunt. Any tips?  (Read 3513 times)

Offline Deserthunter2016

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First time solo backcountry hunt. Any tips?
« on: September 14, 2017, 08:28:02 PM »
Hey everyone,

I am planning my first solo backcountry high buck hunt next week. I've read a bunch of things on solo backpack hunts, but just wondering if anyone on here would have some good tips or advice that they have learned from their own experiences. I have scouted the area I am going into, and have a fair amount of experience backpacking and just being in the backcountry just never on my own. Thanks in advance!


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Offline 300rum

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Re: First time solo backcountry hunt. Any tips?
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2017, 08:31:41 PM »
After about three or four days without saying a word to anyone on the planet, don't get weirded out when you start talking to yourself.   :tup:

Offline FWilliams

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Re: First time solo backcountry hunt. Any tips?
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2017, 09:58:38 PM »
with the summer we have had make sure you have reliable water sources mapped out....  I was in some country a couple of weeks ago and normal water sources were completely dried up....

Offline Boss .300 winmag

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Re: First time solo backcountry hunt. Any tips?
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2017, 05:38:12 AM »
Have you day hiked solo?

Doesn't sound like it to me, life in the back country solo is a whole different ball game.

Not trying to scare you off from it, but think all the worst case senerios that could happen. Broken leg/arm/hand/ankle,  sprained ankle , knee injury, sever knife/puncture wound, hypothermia, wounds caused by animal attack, self inflicted gun shot (don't laugh it happens), back injury, being pinned by some freak of nature tree/rock falling on you etc..

Now are you prepared to handle these things alone, do you have any first aid training, could you give yourself stitches, cut off your leg, or arm.

One thing I do when going solo is to add prescription pain killers to my first aid kit that I have saved from prior medical events.

Just some things to ponder, one can never truly be ready for every senerio that might happen, but thinking about them can help you be prepared if something happens. :twocents:

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Offline Deserthunter2016

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Re: First time solo backcountry hunt. Any tips?
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2017, 06:17:21 AM »
Thanks guys. I've done a lot of day hiking alone. Day scouting, short 1 day hunts for bear, etc. Just have not done any overnigters or multi day trips solo. I appreciate the tips, that's why I asked. I have first aide training from being a volunteer firefighter for 7 years. Everyone has to start somewhere, if we all let the fear keep us from doing things we love then we wouldn't do anything.


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Offline Stein

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Re: First time solo backcountry hunt. Any tips?
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2017, 07:56:51 AM »
Expect to be a bit nervous at night, for whatever reason not having a buddy completely changes the nights.  You also don't have anyone to push you and it is easier to bail out when you don't have to convince someone else.  Keep your mind in the game and commit to a certain number of days and know your mind will try to talk you out of it.

Offline Bill W

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Re: First time solo backcountry hunt. Any tips?
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2017, 08:11:41 AM »
I've done it in the "long ago".  One bit of advise:   take a book.

Offline lord grizzly

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Re: First time solo backcountry hunt. Any tips?
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2017, 09:06:58 AM »
Have you day hiked solo?

Doesn't sound like it to me, life in the back country solo is a whole different ball game.

Not trying to scare you off from it, but think all the worst case senerios that could happen. Broken leg/arm/hand/ankle,  sprained ankle , knee injury, sever knife/puncture wound, hypothermia, wounds caused by animal attack, self inflicted gun shot (don't laugh it happens), back injury, being pinned by some freak of nature tree/rock falling on you etc..

Now are you prepared to handle these things alone, do you have any first aid training, could you give yourself stitches, cut off your leg, or arm.

One thing I do when going solo is to add prescription pain killers to my first aid kit that I have saved from prior medical events.

Just some things to ponder, one can never truly be ready for every senerio that might happen, but thinking about them can help you be prepared if something happens. :twocents:

this one made me laugh. if you cant fix it with duct tape and blood clot your screwed any way. part of the deal.

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Re: First time solo backcountry hunt. Any tips?
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2017, 09:42:49 AM »
Take a small second headlamp/light in your pack....nothing worse than having a headlamp break while returning to camp in the dark alone (yes, that happened to me once.....and the "flashlight" on phones can empty the battery fast).  And pack both a GPS function device, and a paper map and compass.....I've needed to use both before. 
   
And assume you'll be "temporarily lost" at some point.  Meaning you know the mountain range you're in, but have no clue where you're at or where camp is at that moment. it happens sometimes.  And sometimes the GPS can't find a location, and if you're in timber you don't have anything to get a visual fix on.  When I know I'm temporarily lost, I like to sit down and have a snack and relax before I even bother pulling out the GPS or compass/map.  Your worst enemy while solo is panic.

If on an extended trip (more than 3 days) solo, I like to take a morning off and sleep in around day 4 or 5.  Read a book and clear your mind all morning.  Taking a pause mid week to rest and recoup helps me when I'm out solo for a longer trip if the animals aren't where I thought they'd be.

Also, I leave and return to camp in the dark when hunting.   When with friends, we'll walk a few miles in the dark back to camp in the backcountry.  When I first started out solo backcountry years ago, I finished my evening hunts closer to camp to minimize risk.  As I've gotten more experienced I've stretched that out. 

I take less risks when solo.  Some really steep slopes I'll avoid.  Even then I've had my share of slides down a mountain miles from a road while solo and have been very lucky to avoid injury. Just be smart, take your time, and never rush.   I have  DeLorme now, so at least friends/family can follow the breadcrumbs if something happens to me (and I can push the SOS button if still conscious).

 
My  :twocents: ......


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Re: First time solo backcountry hunt. Any tips?
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2017, 10:08:01 AM »
Hey everyone,

I am planning my first solo backcountry high buck hunt next week. I've read a bunch of things on solo backpack hunts, but just wondering if anyone on here would have some good tips or advice that they have learned from their own experiences. I have scouted the area I am going into, and have a fair amount of experience backpacking and just being in the backcountry just never on my own. Thanks in advance!


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Offline acnewman55

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Re: First time solo backcountry hunt. Any tips?
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2017, 10:15:26 AM »
Expect to be a bit nervous at night, for whatever reason not having a buddy completely changes the nights.  You also don't have anyone to push you and it is easier to bail out when you don't have to convince someone else.  Keep your mind in the game and commit to a certain number of days and know your mind will try to talk you out of it.

This is my experience when solo hunting.  I don't fall asleep for hours.  Bring a book, listen to a podcast, etc.  I usually can't sleep safe in my own bed until 10:30. 

Alone, in the wilderness?  I don't fall asleep until midnight.

Mentally - the game is tougher for me.  Without the camaraderie of a partner, and without someone to watch my back.  It takes more effort to push myself.

I passed up a nice black bear a few weekends back that would have been my first bear.  Because I was alone, getting dark, and didn't like the prospect of a solo packout from where I was.  Regretted it the next day.

If I had a partner with me, I'd be eating bear stew tonight.

So be prepared for the mental battle.

Offline Deserthunter2016

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Re: First time solo backcountry hunt. Any tips?
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2017, 10:22:16 AM »
I have gps, delorme and maps/compass. Use them all. Plan on base camping and hunting out from there since it's my first solo trip. But I am willing to pack up camp and move if the animals aren't in that area. Have good primary and secondary water sources scouted and mapped. Safety is always my first priority even more so since I am alone on this trip.

Looking at the change in weather this next week that may be a concern, but I have clothing and gear to accommodate for it.

I'm looking forward to the experience.


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Offline ctwiggs1

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Re: First time solo backcountry hunt. Any tips?
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2017, 10:52:37 AM »
Hey everyone,

I am planning my first solo backcountry high buck hunt next week. I've read a bunch of things on solo backpack hunts, but just wondering if anyone on here would have some good tips or advice that they have learned from their own experiences. I have scouted the area I am going into, and have a fair amount of experience backpacking and just being in the backcountry just never on my own. Thanks in advance!


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Be sure that friends or family know where you are going and when to expect you back.

 :yeah:

I have 3 maps when I do back country hunts.  I have one in my pack, one I leave with my wife at home so she knows exactly what my planned route is (Of course I'll deviate for animals but that'll give SAR a good starting point), and I leave a copy the map my wife has under my windshield wiper with a note of when I intend to be back. 

I'm not a huge fan of doing this last one but I decided after I had kids that my safety was far more important than the chance of someone ruining "my areas".  Most people won't hunt the back areas I like to get into so I haven't had any issues yet.  And it's worked out twice now that I was able to park my truck in another hunters camp that I know, so I could be confident that they wouldn't come out to my area because I knew them.

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Re: First time solo backcountry hunt. Any tips?
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2017, 11:53:28 AM »
It sounds to me that you have it pretty dialed in. My father in law is a hardcore solo backcountry hiker (I am not). His list would mimic yours and most of the other comments. He never goes without a book. Enjoy your trip and post up your experience when you return...good luck  :tup:

Offline j_h_nimrod

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Re: First time solo backcountry hunt. Any tips?
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2017, 01:25:46 PM »
I have been going solo for well over 20 years and love the solitude. I like going with friends, but I always have the trip I want to have going solo. Certainly keep safety in mind but don't let tales of the boogeyman or killer bears (cougars, wolves, marmots, etc.) worry you.  Always bring a book or something to occupy the dark hours. Have confidence in your abilities but don't be cocky and over estimate your experience. Enjoy your time and tell us how it goes.

Offline Stein

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Re: First time solo backcountry hunt. Any tips?
« Reply #15 on: September 15, 2017, 02:42:32 PM »
One more safety item, when I leave my wife a map, I also text her pics of the truck (with license plate), a pic of my tent setup, a pic of me and one of my pack.

Offline Boss .300 winmag

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Re: First time solo backcountry hunt. Any tips?
« Reply #16 on: September 15, 2017, 03:25:46 PM »
One more safety item, when I leave my wife a map, I also text her pics of the truck (with license plate), a pic of my tent setup, a pic of me and one of my pack.

Great idea, never thought of that one. :tup:
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Offline Boss .300 winmag

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Re: First time solo backcountry hunt. Any tips?
« Reply #17 on: September 15, 2017, 03:28:28 PM »
Have you day hiked solo?

Doesn't sound like it to me, life in the back country solo is a whole different ball game.

Not trying to scare you off from it, but think all the worst case senerios that could happen. Broken leg/arm/hand/ankle,  sprained ankle , knee injury, sever knife/puncture wound, hypothermia, wounds caused by animal attack, self inflicted gun shot (don't laugh it happens), back injury, being pinned by some freak of nature tree/rock falling on you etc..

Now are you prepared to handle these things alone, do you have any first aid training, could you give yourself stitches, cut off your leg, or arm.

One thing I do when going solo is to add prescription pain killers to my first aid kit that I have saved from prior medical events.

Just some things to ponder, one can never truly be ready for every senerio that might happen, but thinking about them can help you be prepared if something happens. :twocents:

this one made me laugh. if you cant fix it with duct tape and blood clot your screwed any way. part of the deal.

Bet this guy wasn't laughing!

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aron_Ralston
"Just because I like granola, and I have stretched my arms around a few trees, doesn't mean I'm a tree hugger!
Hi I'm 8156, our leader is Bearpaw.
YOU CANNOT REASON WITH A TIGER WHEN YOUR HEAD IS IN ITS MOUTH! Winston Churchill

Keep Calm And Duc On!

Offline ctwiggs1

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Re: First time solo backcountry hunt. Any tips?
« Reply #18 on: September 15, 2017, 03:50:59 PM »
One more safety item, when I leave my wife a map, I also text her pics of the truck (with license plate), a pic of my tent setup, a pic of me and one of my pack.

I like that.  I'll start doing that.

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Re: First time solo backcountry hunt. Any tips?
« Reply #19 on: September 17, 2017, 07:12:49 AM »
Be in position at daylight and glass hard.

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Re: First time solo backcountry hunt. Any tips?
« Reply #20 on: September 17, 2017, 01:52:38 PM »
Thought of this recently. How about rigging up a trip wire around your tent using fishing line and a little bell. Day one you may not being producing food stink smells but by the 3rd day things might develop an aroma around camp. Besides it doesn't weigh anything and gives you a little piece of mind in bear country.  :twocents:

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Re: First time solo backcountry hunt. Any tips?
« Reply #21 on: September 17, 2017, 02:06:45 PM »
Are you packing a side arm? My first solo trip I expected to be a little nervous at night. I ended up sleeping like a baby every night. Im pretty sure it was the peace of mind the pistol by my side gave me.

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Re: First time solo backcountry hunt. Any tips?
« Reply #22 on: September 17, 2017, 02:18:54 PM »
dont forget benedryl, i got stung by a wasp 5 miles in and leg was pretty swollen for 3 days

Offline Deserthunter2016

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Re: First time solo backcountry hunt. Any tips?
« Reply #23 on: September 17, 2017, 03:00:15 PM »
I always pack a sidearm. I like the idea of taking pictures of my truck, tent setup, and myself before I leave. That's a good idea for any backcountry hunt whether alone or with someone.


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Re: First time solo backcountry hunt. Any tips?
« Reply #24 on: September 17, 2017, 04:53:52 PM »
Are you packing a side arm? My first solo trip I expected to be a little nervous at night. I ended up sleeping like a baby every night. Im pretty sure it was the peace of mind the pistol by my side gave me.

sidearm is good provided you can get to it in time, point and shoot. There is a story on the web of 2 guys in a tent who had everything. bear spray and guns. A grizz busted in and killed them both.

Another story of a black bear vs. camp counselor in sleeping bag just this year. Be safe out there. http://nypost.com/2017/07/09/bear-takes-a-chomp-out-of-sleeping-camp-counselors-head/

Offline Deserthunter2016

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Re: First time solo backcountry hunt. Any tips?
« Reply #25 on: September 17, 2017, 05:36:08 PM »
What does everyone do with their food? I'm taking mostly prepackaged food like mountain house, protein bars, oatmeal, etc. I usually just keep it in my backpack next to the tent. Does anyone hang theirs from a tree at all?


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Offline dreadi

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Re: First time solo backcountry hunt. Any tips?
« Reply #26 on: September 17, 2017, 05:52:22 PM »
I never kept my food in my tent when I backpacked and always kept it hung.

Offline Bill W

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Re: First time solo backcountry hunt. Any tips?
« Reply #27 on: September 17, 2017, 07:50:23 PM »
hang food from a tree.  don't keep it in either the tent or backpack.  If you do you'll find out there's worse things than bears in camp, MICE.  They chew thru almost everything.  If it's not mice, it's chipmunks.

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Re: First time solo backcountry hunt. Any tips?
« Reply #28 on: September 17, 2017, 08:06:19 PM »
Mice will destroy your pack or tent in short order hanging food with a pair of sticks crossed over  tied online above your bag will keep the mice acrobats from getting into your food never store food in your tent or pack overnight.

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Re: First time solo backcountry hunt. Any tips?
« Reply #29 on: September 19, 2017, 11:05:42 AM »
Night time is a little odd, it's been mentioned have a solid first ad kit/ survival kit , water sources and mapped out is key

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Re: First time solo backcountry hunt. Any tips?
« Reply #30 on: September 19, 2017, 12:12:16 PM »
What does everyone do with their food? I'm taking mostly prepackaged food like mountain house, protein bars, oatmeal, etc. I usually just keep it in my backpack next to the tent. Does anyone hang theirs from a tree at all?


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Re: First time solo backcountry hunt. Any tips?
« Reply #31 on: September 19, 2017, 08:55:05 PM »
+1 for hanging food. 

Got the picture yet?

I've never seen a bear in the backcountry (seriously, although I'm hoping to change that now that I've acquired the hunting bug) but I've lost quite a bit of gear to mice. 

Also +1 for Mtn House or similar meals.  Instant oatmeal for breakfast.  Bars and jerky for lunch.  Mtn House for dinner.  Trail mix or more bars for snacks.  It's really hard to beat trail mix for calories per ounce.  But it's very easy to eat more calories than you need of trail mix  :chuckle:

Offline biggfish

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Re: First time solo backcountry hunt. Any tips?
« Reply #32 on: September 20, 2017, 01:38:38 AM »
Have a real tent not just a lean to tarp set up. First time I went solo I kept a fire going, when I watched cougars walk past my fire I decided it was time to go home.

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Offline Skyvalhunter

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Re: First time solo backcountry hunt. Any tips?
« Reply #33 on: September 20, 2017, 05:32:56 AM »
 :chuckle: now that's funny

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Re: First time solo backcountry hunt. Any tips?
« Reply #34 on: September 20, 2017, 06:06:10 AM »
I had to use a bear vault for my food in CO.  It worked pretty well but adds a couple pounds to your pack.

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Re: First time solo backcountry hunt. Any tips?
« Reply #35 on: September 20, 2017, 07:34:52 AM »
Stay out of hell holes unless your physically and mentally capable of getting an animal out of it.

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Re: First time solo backcountry hunt. Any tips?
« Reply #36 on: September 20, 2017, 07:57:15 AM »
Stay out of hell holes unless your physically and mentally capable of getting an animal out of it.

Bob could have given you another one.  Don't hunt with Bill W.  I have a picture of Bob, me and two others that went 4 for 4 on the high hunt opener back approximately 1987.

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Re: First time solo backcountry hunt. Any tips?
« Reply #37 on: September 20, 2017, 08:20:11 AM »
What does everyone do with their food? I'm taking mostly prepackaged food like mountain house, protein bars, oatmeal, etc. I usually just keep it in my backpack next to the tent. Does anyone hang theirs from a tree at all?


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I've never hung food at camp.  If I know I'm backpacking in an area with a dense population of bears, or grizzly country, then I pack the BearVault.  Otherwise, the OpSack works very well at preventing food scent and I usually pack two, one for trash.  Plus I always pack my Scent Bag on backcountry hunting trips to store my clothes in overnight, and generally just leave the OpSack in the Scent Bag when I leave camp.  I've never had a problem with mice or other animals in my tent with this approach. 

Offline Cab

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Re: First time solo backcountry hunt. Any tips?
« Reply #38 on: September 20, 2017, 09:09:24 AM »
Deserthunter2016 Thanks for posting this! I'm doing the same this weekend and was planning on asking the same thing. I plan on doing just a long weekend for my first trip and am excited that the weather looks pretty good for the area I'm going. Best of luck to you and hope you knock something down  :tup:

Offline Bookworm007

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Re: First time solo backcountry hunt. Any tips?
« Reply #39 on: September 20, 2017, 06:25:30 PM »
Make sure you test all of your gear before you head out and take extra batteries!!! This includes filters, stoves, lights tents, ect.

When camping alone I like to bring ear plugs, it helps me sleep and not listen to every single little snapping twig. It might make me more vulnerable but in our state I haven't heard of many people attacked in their sleep.
"I ain't never had too much fun"

Offline Deserthunter2016

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Re: First time solo backcountry hunt. Any tips?
« Reply #40 on: September 20, 2017, 07:11:12 PM »
Thanks everyone. I am headed out tomorrow morning. I will let you all know how it goes. Hopefully I come back with some meat and horns. Good luck to everyone else that is going out.


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Offline R2Rcoulee

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Re: First time solo backcountry hunt. Any tips?
« Reply #41 on: September 20, 2017, 07:15:40 PM »
Can I go with you?

Offline Skyvalhunter

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Re: First time solo backcountry hunt. Any tips?
« Reply #42 on: September 21, 2017, 05:57:30 AM »
No you snore too much

Offline R2Rcoulee

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Re: First time solo backcountry hunt. Any tips?
« Reply #43 on: September 21, 2017, 03:47:29 PM »
Lol. Just the last test before he went solo to see if he really wanted to do the solo trip. Hope everything goes as planned & is successful. Let us know how it went.

 

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