These five hunts for North American big game are unique, exciting, and should be on your bucket list.
Many claim exotic foreign hunts in far away lands are the only way to have a truly exhilarating time, going after huge game animals that you don't see often.
But in reality, some of the most exciting and heart-pounding hunts can be had within North America's boundaries.
The continent has some of the best terrain to hunt in the entire world, and many don't even realize it. Here are the five game you should hunt that should be on your bucket list.
View the slide show for the five most exciting hunts in North America that you should definitely consider taking a trip to.
Only a few states offer early-season elk hunting during the bugle season where you can use a rifle. For the best odds of obtaining a tag focus on archery and muzzleloader seasons. Rifle hunters are not out of luck though, look into Colorado's Eastern Plains zone where you can use a rifle in September.
A bull elk piercing the silence with a gut wrenching roar is a sound every hunter should hear. This season not only lets you hear the elk bugle but it lets you communicate with them directly using cow and bull calls.
With the use of calls and decoys you can experience elk up close and personal. If you must use archery equipment you are forced to let the elk get pretty darn close before taking a shot. However, there is nothing that says you can't hold your gunfire until the elk is in spitting distance.
Early Season Mule Deer
Many hunters think of mule deer hunting as a long-range situation. It certainly can be in the high country and elsewhere when mule deer are visible on the opposite canyon. However, stalking bedded mule deer in sorghum, alfalfa or wheat field is a whole different experience.
Some early seasons require archery gear. In these areas the seasons may open as early as August. In some cases the mule deer are still in velvet. Another plus is that the weather is typically warm. Getting up close to mule deer that haven't been disturbed since last year is an awesome experience. I recommend Alberta as the province of choice for early season mule deer hunting.
Moose in the Rut
What's not exciting about calling a two-thousand pound animal into a range less than five parking spaces?! Bull moose respond readily to calling during the rut. These hunts often feature the use of boats or canoes. Anytime hunting and boating can be combined, there's potential for a real adventure.
Mountain Lion Hunting with Dogs
These hunts are usually conducted in the winter months with a preference for snow, but areas like Nevada offer cougar hunting when the weather is warmer.
The sound of a pack of dogs on a hot trail is exhilarating. The effort and energy needed to keep up is an additional challenge to the hunt. Once a cat is treed, it is like open a surprise gift - you never know what you're going to find.
The treed lion may be a female, a youngster or an old Tom. Once in a while, the dogs will tree a bobcat, bear or some other critter.
Spot and Stalk Bear Hunting
This is a different sport than bear hunting from a treestand over bait. Vancouver Island, Alaska, North Carolina and several Canadian provinces stand out as areas to focus on.
When big bears are targeting food sources such as salmon in streams, berries in forested areas and agricultural crops in farming areas, it is a productive hunting tactic to stalk them.
Being on ground level with a big bear adds an exciting element to the hunt. In some areas, particularly in Canada, there is an opportunity to take two bears on the same hunt - doubling the excitement!