Heading out West this fall? These websites can help ensure your hunt is memorable and successful.
Whether it is the bugle of a bull elk in September, a pronghorn appearing at a watering hole, or the prospect of a 30-inch mule deer during the late season migration that draws you westward like a moth to flame, online research plays a pivotal role in your prehunt preparation. With countless websites focusing content on the backcountry and the western hunting experience it can be difficult to decipher what is or isn’t worth your time and what will or won’t be a helpful contributor to your big game undertaking.
Though not a completely exhaustive list, the following websites can help you efficiently plan and execute your next western adventure.
State-specific websites can, in a pinch, serve as a stand-alone source for any western big game hunt in the works. License fees, application deadlines, and species specific regulations are just the tip of the iceberg floating through this realm of cyberspace. As an added bonus, almost all western states have online applications available on these government hosted websites: Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, Arizona, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, Washington, Oregon, California.
Needing tactical advice for a spot and stalk archery elk hunt? How about tips for visually capturing your hunt just the way you experienced? Western Hunter is a veritable wealth of information spanning the planning phase of your hunt through the documentation and editing if you so choose. Definitely a must-visit for any westward bound outdoorsman.
Extreme Elk Magazine
Species specific websites like Extreme Elk Magazine can further focus your research efforts depending on the game you plan to pursue. Multiple world champion elk caller, Corey Jacobsen, and his diverse and accomplished editorial staff put together one of the preeminent elk-specific written publications and websites available. In addition to their invaluable tips and experience, many of the publication’s articles are submitted by DIY western big game hunters.
Aside from first-hand, boots on the ground, self-experience, Google Earth is the next best thing since freeze dried meals for the western big game hunter. Visual and topographical imagery that puts you in your area before you ever set foot in your area is an invaluable source of knowledge that can make the difference between a full freezer and tag soup.
Akin to Bill Belichick for the NFL, Mike Eastman and family have the established reputation, and multiple generations of experience to back it up, when it comes to public land western big game hunting. If a big game animal lives west of the Mississippi River there is an article, video, and/or tactical breakdown for pursuing and harvesting it within the vaults of Eastmans’.
Find a hunter with western dirt in the soles of their boots and you will also find a gear junkie with a seemingly insatiable appetite for what’s new in the world of western camo and accessories. ROKSLIDE.COM is a catchall for the gear addict and wannabe alike.
With product reviews and comparisons, tips on sales, and hunter classifieds Aron Snyder and guys of ROKSLIDE.COM host just about any tidbit of gear related info a western big game hunter could desire, and if they haven’t written about it just head over to the forum and pose your question to the large and growing membership who enjoy the dive into the gear-themed wormhole.
Where does the gear-needy western hunter turn when time and budget aren’t on their side? Camofire.com narrows your choice of great sales on top of the line brand name outdoor gear perfect for the aspiring or western hunter who needs to update. Their mobile app, found in the GooglePlay Store, can alert you whenever new deals are posted.
Sometimes the best research can be obtained through the lens of fellow hunters. Huntervids has a library of rifle and archery hunts for whatever your western quarry may be. Vicarious voyeurism can not only stoke the flames for your upcoming western hunt, but it can also provide valuable backcountry tactics that written word alone cannot explain.
Mark, author and proprietor of Sole Adventure provides well-written, information-rich, first-person accounts of his developing western big game hunting addiction. Occasionally, he will include gear recommendations that fit any budget based on his experiences in both success and failure. More importantly, Mark does a great job of bringing the whole western pursuit of big game into a realistic and relative perspective.
Full Draw Film Tour
In case your dreams and the countless hours of television dedicated to the pursuit of western big game weren’t enough, the folks at the Full Draw Film Tour annually assemble amateur and professionally sponsored archery hunts of your favorite western big game species. The site itself provides the tease for each entrant into the festival as well as guidelines for submitting your own production if you feel so inclined. FDFT is the icing to your western hunt planning cake.
Randy Newberg, Jason Matzinger, and Steven Rinella, are three western big game hunters who can educate, captivate, and feed your need for the public land western big game experience. It would be a disservice to exclude this collective wealth of knowledge from any big game hunting list.
While most aspiring western hunters are waiting for the draw results to be finalized or licking their wounds from luckless published draws, it is never too late to start the planning for your next western big game adventure. Take the time to peruse each website listed and enjoy what, for many, becomes an increasingly enjoyable adventure.