BRIAN JOHNSON ON OUTDOORS — What makes a hunting experience really great

Published 12:02 am Tuesday, October 29, 2019

This hunting season has been less than spectacular for me, to say the least.

I have been on two guided hunts that I felt could have been once-in-a-lifetime great hunts. However each hunt ended up being far less rewarding than I had hoped for.

In fact, not only did I not kill what I was after, I never even saw one. After reflecting on these two hunts I began to ask myself what make a guided hunt good or bad.

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Certainly the entire experience cannot be based on just the kill. What other factors come into play. After thinking about it, here is my list of what makes a great guided big game hunt.

1. Good accommodations
I’m not staying that I have to stay at a five star resort, but a clean climatized place to sleep in comfort is a must.  After a long day of hunting I like to be able to take a hot shower and then retire to a comfortable bed.

2. Good food
Here again a world-class chef is not necessary, but if I pay good money for a hunt, I expect more than bologna sandwiches. A nice breakfast to start the day seems to really add to the hunt and coming back to an awesome dinner will help ease the pain of a bad day afield.

3. Comfortable well placed stands
Most whitetail hunts take place from a stand and most of the time you will need to sit still for hours at a time.  This is almost impossible in a cheap stand. At the bare minimum make sure the stand has a seat cushion and something to lean against. Sitting on a metal grate all day simply won’t cut it.

A stand needs to be positioned where the hunter has good shooting lanes and can easily hunt undetected.  If you are uncomfortable the whole time, you will lose confidence and develop a bad attitude in a hurry.

4. Friendly knowledgeable guides
When I go on a guided hunt, I am relying almost exclusively on the knowledge of my guide.

The guide needs to know where the animals are bedding and feeding as well as their travel routes. The guide should pay attention to the wind and always set the hunter up accordingly.  Along with this knowledge, a friendly personality is a great plus.

Someone who can keep things positive and crack a few jokes along the way will help add to the overall experience.

As a former hunting guide myself, I learned real quick that I couldn’t control the animals. Sometimes they go nocturnal and other times they simply out smart the hunter. With that being said, all of the things mentioned above can be controlled and with attention to detail, they can help make an average hunt great.

Brian Johnson, originally of Winnie, is pastor of First Baptist Church of Winnie, owner of and outdoors writer for The News.