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Author Topic: Strategies and Tactics for Steep Terrain  (Read 446 times)

Offline StoneTrees

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Strategies and Tactics for Steep Terrain
« on: August 09, 2018, 02:43:37 PM »
Greetings everyone.  I'm a new hunter out of South Seattle and in my second season of modern firearms hunting.  Last season, I hunted the Methow Valley with the only other person I know that hunts.  He had been at it for about 15 years hunting elk mostly, but he unexpectedly passed away a couple months ago after a severe bicycle accident.  He was a good man and I'm sorry to have lost his companionship.  Going forward, I don't have his knowledge or place in the community to fall back on so I'm prepping for the upcoming season on my own.

Like everyone, my time is limited so I've been scouting around areas that are within a couple hours drive from Seattle.  This season, I plan to hunt GMU 335 so I can get a well defined plan in place.  From what I've read, the Teanaway is comparably crowded to the Methow Valley due to it's easy access from the Puget Sound area.  I've accepted that for this year with the understanding that I'm willing to do what many hunters aren't: venture well off the trails and roads and do so in the higher and steeper areas.  Growing up backpacking these mountains, I feel pretty comfortable with the terrain, variable weather conditions, and weight on my back.

This strategy does introduce some challenges however.  Particularly, while on my scouting trips, I've found that the steep pitch and heavily clogged forest floor combine to make my approach to remote candidates for feeding and bedding areas happen with all the stealth of a steam locomotive.  Whether stand hunting or still hunting, I need to get in there quiet.  Anybody have any tips, tricks, or strategies for moving through this terrain without alerting everything within a ten mile radius?

Cheers.

Offline ian_padron

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Re: Strategies and Tactics for Steep Terrain
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2018, 04:08:57 PM »
Hike in using a trail. Once you clear treeline run the ridges into whatever basin you plan on hunting off trail.

Getting anywhere in 335 by bushwacking up from the valley floor is pointless. You'll run out of cuss words in the first 100 yards.

Sent from my LG-H872 using Tapatalk


Offline StoneTrees

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Re: Strategies and Tactics for Steep Terrain
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2018, 09:53:41 AM »
Hike in using a trail. Once you clear treeline run the ridges into whatever basin you plan on hunting off trail.

This was my fallback plan so it's good to hear it confirmed.  I just worry about other hunters happy to march a trail as well.

Offline ian_padron

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Re: Strategies and Tactics for Steep Terrain
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2018, 10:54:15 AM »
A lot of guys talk about how busy 335 is, I have not found that to be the case. It's no ALW or GPW for modern, but it's definitely not the pumpkin patch it's cracked up to be either, especially after the opener.

If you're willing and able to push deep off trail once you're up high, you'll be all alone.

Most guys that go deep hunt off dirt bikes or horses, neither of which are as good as a pair of boots and a pack once the trail ends. 99% of hunters back there day hunt off the North, Middle, or West Fork roads. Lame!

It took me a couple years to find my spots back there, Google Earth is very misleading in that region because of how rocky and hot it is...what looks like garbage on GE might actually be lush green meadows depending on the time of year, and vice versa.
Hike in using a trail. Once you clear treeline run the ridges into whatever basin you plan on hunting off trail.

This was my fallback plan so it's good to hear it confirmed.  I just worry about other hunters happy to march a trail as well.

Sent from my LG-H872 using Tapatalk


Offline yakimanoob

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Re: Strategies and Tactics for Steep Terrain
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2018, 11:52:30 AM »
Sucks about your buddy.  Sorry to hear that. 

Ian's tip about trails is a good one.  I think about trails as highways to get me into the region, then hoof it off trail a basin or two and you'll often be alone.  I've also found Google Earth to be pretty limited in the North/Central cascades; I think they just don't update the sat photos often enough. 

Offline Elkcollector82

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Re: Strategies and Tactics for Steep Terrain
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2018, 12:18:10 PM »
One thing you might do is cache food or supplies into an area you plan on hunting. Do this on scouting trips closer to season. That saves weight going in for the season. Dry bag and hang from tree. Then all your packing in is limited gear. You will thank yourself later. Ridge lines are great way to travel off trail. Just make sure you donít walk down the middle. Donít wanna skyline yourself. Just stay over the edge and peak over the other side when your in your hunting spot. Use treeís/rocks whatever to blend in as you cross over the ridge. Keep wind in your favor.

Offline StoneTrees

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Re: Strategies and Tactics for Steep Terrain
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2018, 12:25:32 PM »
A lot of guys talk about how busy 335 is, I have not found that to be the case. It's no ALW or GPW for modern, but it's definitely not the pumpkin patch it's cracked up to be either, especially after the opener.

It seems most places are like that.  Even last year in the Methow, I saw an appreciable drop off in the number of hunters in our by Sunday afternoon.  Monday and certainly Tuesday morning were much less crowded.  Still came up empty though.  Saw 16 does, but nary a buck to be found.

Quote
Most guys that go deep hunt off dirt bikes or horses, neither of which are as good as a pair of boots and a pack once the trail ends. 99% of hunters back there day hunt off the North, Middle, or West Fork roads. Lame!

Looking at the substantial number of dirt roads in the area, my biggest concern was the ease of access to the area and the subsequent pressure easy access invites.

Quote
It took me a couple years to find my spots back there, Google Earth is very misleading in that region because of how rocky and hot it is...what looks like garbage on GE might actually be lush green meadows depending on the time of year, and vice versa.

That's been my take on things as well.  Hence the premium I've been placing on getting myself out there to identify a handful of promising locations to focus on this fall.

Cheers.

Offline yakimanoob

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Re: Strategies and Tactics for Steep Terrain
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2018, 12:45:55 PM »
One thing you might do is cache food or supplies into an area you plan on hunting. Do this on scouting trips closer to season. That saves weight going in for the season. Dry bag and hang from tree. Then all your packing in is limited gear. You will thank yourself later. Ridge lines are great way to travel off trail. Just make sure you donít walk down the middle. Donít wanna skyline yourself. Just stay over the edge and peak over the other side when your in your hunting spot. Use treeís/rocks whatever to blend in as you cross over the ridge. Keep wind in your favor.

Yep.  DEFINITELY going to start doing that.  haha.  thanks for the tip Elkcollector :).

 

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