Why Guys Quit on the Mountain

Rich M

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Where does "want" come from? Pretty sure that's mental. And what happens when you "don't" want to be out there? When you force yourself to keep going when you don't want to.......that's mental too.

Not gonna quit and try to glamorize it as a tough mental game when i was more worried about my wife, kids, job, whatever than i was hunting.

If yer just gonna worry don’t go and waste the time money resources just to turn around and head out early, likely screwing over your hunting buddies, especially if you drove. That’s just messed up.

Will concede that dropping off a quarter and immediately turning around to hike 5 miles back in for another is definitely mental and physical endurance. You dont wanna but gotta.

Then the next day you go help yer buddy tag out. Yer a good buddy. You want this. Not mental - fun.
 

SoloWilderness

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This thread is perfect evidence that there are "hunters" and there are "guys who hunt".

"Guys who hunt" are out there to relax and enjoy time with their friends, and are excited if they get something but don't really care too much about success. The guys in this thread saying hunting is their vacation are in this camp. These are the guys who are most likely to quit.

"Hunters" are out there to be successful and care VERY MUCH if they are not. They are not out in the woods to relax. They are out there to grind and work and get it done. These are the guys who generally don't quit.

There is nothing wrong with either of those mentalities, but I think it's very hard for these two groups to understand each other.

In my group of dudes we are all "hunters", with one exception....he's a "guy who hunts". He's the one bringing beer to camp, starting campfires and staying up until 11-12 PM drinking, rolls out of bed well after sunup, wanders around the woods, and comes back to camp. In a week long hunt he's usually heading back into town for a burger 2-3 times minimum. He's a great guy, but he honestly does not understand AT ALL how important hunting, and being successful, is to the rest of us. He gets a little bummed when I tell him that I won't hunt archery elk with him for the simple reason that he decreases my odds of being successful (he adds noise, and movement, he can't call, and he can't shoot past 20 yards because he never practices).

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This hits the nail on the head. I no longer hunt with my BIL for this reason. He wanted to learn to hunt elk with a bow and put in a medium degree of effort to get there, for a few years. I was more than happy to help him learn, even though it impacted my success on multiple occasions. I put him on elk on several occasions, and he always decided that it was too deep in a hole, too far from the truck, or too late at night. To this day he has never taken an elk. He is a great guy to go fishing with, and take casual camping trips with, but I won't hunt with him anymore, because his lack of commitment starts to impact my own at times. That burger in town starts to sound awfully good after the 4th or 5th time he mentions it...

You either want to be successful, and are willing to do whatever it takes to, or you are just on vacation. Either is a valid choice, it's just important to be realistic, and to pick hunting partners who have the same focus.
 

SuspiciousFish

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This hits the nail on the head. I no longer hunt with my BIL for this reason. He wanted to learn to hunt elk with a bow and put in a medium degree of effort to get there, for a few years. I was more than happy to help him learn, even though it impacted my success on multiple occasions. I put him on elk on several occasions, and he always decided that it was too deep in a hole, too far from the truck, or too late at night. To this day he has never taken an elk. He is a great guy to go fishing with, and take casual camping trips with, but I won't hunt with him anymore, because his lack of commitment starts to impact my own at times. That burger in town starts to sound awfully good after the 4th or 5th time he mentions it...

You either want to be successful, and are willing to do whatever it takes to, or you are just on vacation. Either is a valid choice, it's just important to be realistic, and to pick hunting partners who have the same focus.

That would really get to me as well. Then you are having to manage logistics, planning and someone else's morale which would suck. I am lucky that my BIL had the same intensity that I had on our hunt. We both knew damn well were going to hell and back to find elk and complaining or stopping short was just not an option. There is no bravado or bragging, just shared quiet determination.
 

Indian Summer

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I’ve already said what keeps me going until the end. I do want to kill a bull but I also have a goal of finishing what I started.

It starts with a goal. If you said to yourself at any point “I hope I kill an elk” and you don’t hunt until the end then you have given up hope. That’s called quitting. You can talk about enjoying camp too but if you leave early it’s not much different.

With all due respect call it what you want but if a person is happy with memories of a camping trip as a participation trophy then to each his own I suppose. With the cost of elk licenses these days and how difficult they’re getting to draw I like memories of dead bulls and antlers to look at and hold for years to come. That and a freezer full of elk meat. I can camp all summer with family and friends.
 
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Gerbdog

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Cant say i have many camp memories, the crew i hunt with and i take it all .... serious enough i guess. The reason for a lack of camp memories is.... i'm never at camp. Camp is the place i shovel down food and sleep and thats quite seriously it. I Dont go back to camp midday, im sitting a wallow or even a half used game trail... anything that even gives me a slightly better chance of seeing an elk midday.
 

mooretitan

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I quite last year and it still bothers me today. Had a Wyoming General Elk tag for my son and dad. After 5 days my mind just wasn't right. We had a lot of serious family health issues and just could not shake it. Felt I needed to be home when really life was going to be what it was with or without me home. We were on elk each day and just needed to dig deeper to make it happen. Pretty low point for my hunting career. I am the one who is known for digging deep and getting done. It sucked and still sucks
 

CRJR45

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It's funny how my mind works sometimes . When I'm home , all I can think about is being somewhere else , hunting or fishing . But when I'm in the mountains' or on the ocean , I think about things at home , what needs to be done and what I've done wrong and it's hard to turn it off . Hard to stay focused . I've never quit , but I've never taken on the type of hunts I read about here , just saying .
 

Indian Summer

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It's funny how my mind works sometimes . When I'm home , all I can think about is being somewhere else , hunting or fishing . But when I'm in the mountains' or on the ocean , I think about things at home , what needs to be done and what I've done wrong and it's hard to turn it off . Hard to stay focused . I've never quit , but I've never taken on the type of hunts I read about here , just saying .

I’ll give you a positive way to look at that.

It’s ok to think about that stuff. While you’re thinking you’re getting things at home straight in your mind. Straightening out your priorities. Realizing what important and what really isn’t. Possibly rearranging your priorities. So you’re actually getting something done.

Push through the tough times and finish your hunt. Make finishing your goal instead of focusing in killing. Then when you go home tackle of of the things you need to with confidence because you now realize what you’re capable of.

When I say elk hunting is mental I don’t just mean the hunting part. It’s also the totally different and unique perspective you get on life while you’re in wild country. Do it for a couple decades and you’ll realize it’s good for you as well as the people back home.
 
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trophyhill

trophyhill

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Well said! Sometimes people just need a little reassurance when in a new situation. I'd like to say everyone should be strong enought to do this on their own but not the case. Great write up!

I quite last year and it still bothers me today. Had a Wyoming General Elk tag for my son and dad. After 5 days my mind just wasn't right. We had a lot of serious family health issues and just could not shake it. Felt I needed to be home when really life was going to be what it was with or without me home. We were on elk each day and just needed to dig deeper to make it happen. Pretty low point for my hunting career. I am the one who is known for digging deep and getting done. It sucked and still sucks
I believe there are exceptions to pulling out. Family and health issues. I had to leave for a funeral in the middle of a hunt in 2015. I was able to go finish that hunt because i know thats what my friend would have wanted.
 

Jakerex

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[QUOTE="

With all due respect call it what you want but if a person is happy with memories of a camping trip as a participation trophy then to each his own I suppose. With the cost of elk licenses these days and how difficult they’re getting to draw I like memories of dead bulls and antlers to look at and hold for years to come. That and a freezer full of elk meat. I can camp all summer with family and friends.[/QUOTE]

Participation Trophy……. I was 12 years old once when my ONLy goal was kill kill kill. Not my only goal anymore. Not looking for a trophy, per say, either.


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trophyhill

trophyhill

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As someone else mentioned earlier in the thread, 1 thing that motivates me to keep grinding or hammering or whatever we want to call it is reminding myself that this hunt only comes once a year. And then i think back to last year as i was looking at the mountain in my rear view mirror and thinking to myself i wish i had another week
 

SuspiciousFish

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As someone else mentioned earlier in the thread, 1 thing that motivates me to keep grinding or hammering or whatever we want to call it is reminding myself that this hunt only comes once a year. And then i think back to last year as i was looking at the mountain in my rear view mirror and thinking to myself i wish i had another week

I think that about 30 seconds into opening my inbox at work the next Monday...
 

Indian Summer

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I think that about 30 seconds into opening my inbox at work the next Monday...
I think that when it’s time to wake up and at the bottom of every hill. I say to myself yep this is going to suck but next week I’ll be wishing I could bust up this mountain with my trusty day pack a gun and an elk tag.

You definitely have to keep that in perspective.
 

Marble

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The last hunt I called early was 2020. I went with my dad to Idaho for archery elk. He was 70 at the time. I wanted to go solo but he asked if he could go and why not? How many of us have a dad that's 70 that can still backpack?

He wouldn't hunt with me during the day, too much for him. We were a few miles in, in an area he had never been. He had everything he needed for navigation, but he got "turned around" everyday when he was just cruising around on the very well marked trail. The last time I listened to his story and was internally shaking my head at him. First time in my life that happened with him. I figured my dad's well being was more important than my hunt. So I called it and we headed home.

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IdahoElk

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I quite last year and it still bothers me today. Had a Wyoming General Elk tag for my son and dad. After 5 days my mind just wasn't right. We had a lot of serious family health issues and just could not shake it. Felt I needed to be home when really life was going to be what it was with or without me home. We were on elk each day and just needed to dig deeper to make it happen. Pretty low point for my hunting career. I am the one who is known for digging deep and getting done. It sucked and still sucks
To me it sounds like you had your priorities in order, family is way more important than hunting.
 

Scoot

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I 100% agree with IdahoElk! There are totally legit reasons to pull the pin! Family and health are a couple of them. People who don't quit for reasons like that are pretty misguided and their priorities are mess up IMO. Quitting because you miss your wife... that's a different deal.
 
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