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Hunter with multiple helpers/spotters?
I have been watching The Mountain Project on Youtube. This is a pretty cool channel with lots of awesome western hunting footage. I was watching an episode last night where a lady drew a sheep tag in AZ and they had numerous people in camp to help her spot. Like 10 extra people glassing and looking for rams type of help. I understand why people do this but I don't think I would personally be interested in having 10 people helping me try to fill my tag. I don't care if someone else wants to take this route (I really don't) but I just realized while watching this that filling a tag is simply a personal quest and at some point with all the added help it feels like a team sport instead of me vs. my quarry. I am ok with having a guy call elk for me or something like that but I am not a fan of 40 sets of eyes tearing the landscape apart so that I could lean on a bipod and touch the trigger. I hope that people understand I am not chastising this lady for doing this, I am just simply stating that I wouldn't be interested in tagging an animal like this.
Hunting is just more than crossing a species off a list to me.....even if it is a once in a lifetime chance. To each their own but this type of stuff seems a little much. In my eyes it is ok to not punch a tag. I know some people have no issue with this but have issues with baiting or even a high let off bow. There is just some things that don't pass the smell test for my personal hunts and many times its unknown where I stand on a given technique without some experience or exposure with/to the method.
I agree. To take it a step further, this is why I'd never hunt with a guide. It's just not my thing. I want to do it all from the planning to the eating.
I disagree from the standpoint that it's totally up to the hunter how they want to proceed. If it's legal then it's not my place to judge. Personally I would only want a couple of my best hunting partners with me on a hunt like that and no more. Probably 3 guys tops. Sharing a hunt like this that many guys may not ever get a chance to do in their lives is a way to share a special memory with friends and family. I think the species plays a big role in that obviously. Pursuing an elk or a whitetail or mule deer then every man for himself.
What are you disagreeing with Brotsky? If you are saying it is up to the individual how they want to do it, we agree.
Agree x2 ..... With that many people "helping" someone tag an animal - What I picture is the "Spider Bull" type of a hunt. Definitely not for me!!!
Had the sheep tag been in UT, I'd say that was normal. Often, you see animals killed in UT with so many people in the picture, that some are almost in each others laps just to get into the frame.
I guess it "takes a village"...SMH
I’m glad I now know your opinion, not sure what I would have done without it.;)
If your looking for approval, I do agree with you.
It's up to the party with the tag, but if all you do is show up, have the sheep pointed out to you, aren't you merely a shooter and not a hunter??
African PH''s often refer to the client as the "gun".
I'm probably going on my first guided hunt in 2019/20 and not sure how I'll feel about it. I've also gotten to the point where sitting in a tree has little appeal.
But that's my choice and others can do whatever they want.
When I drew my Oregon sheep tag I had my two brothers, uncle, nephew and great hunting buddy. For me, it was about sharing a special experience with the people I care most about. Of course, having extra eyes is a great help. My unit only had two tag holders. The other hunter probably had 7 other guys. I would'nt want to affect the other hunters experience by having my people block off access so we talked with him often. Last year I shot a Dall sheep and it was just me and the guide. Very cool experience, but not the same without our hunting buddies to share the memories with.
Bowfreak, maybe we aren't disagreeing then! :)
A sheep tag is a rare opportunity not only for the holder but for close friends and family also. A chance perhaps never to be had in their lifetime. So when one has a tag close friends often want to tag along and participate in the hunt, see the terrain and everything involved. I have no qualms with it. I invited many on a recent tag I was fortunate to obtain. Although I invited numerous folks and had many offer to go, I only had two takers. Lol. One of my best friends didn’t pass up the chance, and one of he beat archery sheep hunters ever joined me in addition to the guide. I would have gladly entertained more company. It’s just fun for me personally to share in a hunt of that magnitude
Ram I was after that survived several more years (never was killed by anyone).
Ram I was after that survived several more years (never was killed by anyone).
Ram I was after never came down from near the top of the far mountain.
Ram I was after never came down from near the top of the far mountain.
Hunting desert bighorn sheep in Arizona requires a LOT of eyes --- it's unlike anything else you've undertaken. When it gets to the stalk itself, the hunter may go it alone, but more likely will have 1 (maybe 2) go with him/her up the mountain. In some hunt units, it's not unusual to glass from the desert floor 1.5 - 2 miles from the mountains. On my desert sheep hunt, I'd waited over 30 years for my tag, then was one of 4 that year in the entire state who ate tag soup (even though I spent an entire month actively at it) ...
That person with the tag gets to do the killing. Can’t call them a hunter. That’s not for me, I love the thrill of the hunt !!! One on one.
Ahhh springtime on Bowsite. Come on hunting season! Cure the boredom.
I can see both sides,I have killed many animals by myself,and some with a friend or two.I have only killed one sheep,and after applying for 39 years,I had about 8 or 10 of my closest friends along,and more coming through the hunt.It was great to be able to share it with them,as some of them may never be able to have a sheep tag.It was a experience like no other I have ever been on.
Good for her, it's her tag, probably once in a lifetime, she drew it, therefore earned it, and has spotters that's fine. What I am not fine with is the spider bull. Guy throws down over $200k for the special any weapon during all seasons hunting tag. Hires everyone in the state to spot for him and put him on the bull, then he kills it. Big effing whoop, not the least bit excited about a situation like that. I have more respect for a guy shooting a spike whitetail and feeding his family. That's just me, and all the money goes to conservation etc, etc, I get it, but don't have to like it.
Not for me. At a certain point a gaggle of spotters violates fair chase, but so do food plots in my personal ethos. If it's legal what can ya do but give a polite congrats and move on.
When in Rome....
With what little sheep hunting I've done I see no issue w/ spotters for sheep, you can't be everywhere and when time is of the essence for very weary prey I see nothing taken away from the hunt by having helping eyes. Spotting the animal is a very small, but crucial piece of the puzzle. The hunter still has to close the distance and hunt that animal.
Its like hunting w/ dogs, at first glance I was mildly disgusted w/ it... basically "anyone can shoot an animal out of a tree". But after time I realized it had far less to do w/ the harvest and was more about the chase and watching dogs work etc... Its all about perspective; some are capable seeing different view points, while others are not. Though you [or me] may not agree, just be thankful we are allowed to hunt via different methods.
I understand the points made about the individual challenge and experience. Some of my best hunts have been alone or with one other guy (esp my dad or my son).
That said, sheep hunts are special. They are rare tags, the country is gorgeous, and the animals often visible for long periods of time. I try to go on any sheep hunt that I am invited to help. I would personally limit the people who help me but it is really great to have a big crew in camp in the evenings.
The great part is you can decide who and how many you want on your own hunt.
The only thing worse is group blood-trailing. What’s up wih the search party?
You hit you find it is what I say.
At some point one becomes not a "hunter" but a "shooter". How does "fair chase" fit with the posse of spotters?
I see it on TV and I see it in the field. To me that's not what hunting is supposed to be.
When I did my one and only Dall Sheep Hunt it was my guide and me. Great fun. I get scared around crowds:)
From what I’ve seen these team hunts are rarely bow hunts.
I understand why a big ol' posse is sometimes used on hunts like that. I wouldn't consider myself in any way superior to that hunter if I chose to do the same hunt solo. Just personal choice and both methods are perfectly legal.
There are actually a few states that do legislate the number of people that can be involved with a single tag. The New England Moose hunts are one example that comes to mind. There are some other states where they probably should do that. If you ever draw a San Juan Utah early elk tag as an example, you'll find out what I mean. For that hunt there are only 30 or so tags issued, but without knowing better you'd swear there were 500 hunters on the mountain. One fellow in particular buys the conservation permit every year and employs such a huge "Spottin' Posse" that the outskirts of his camping area look like the Walmart parking lot on Black Friday.
I agree with what has been said here, and I prefer to hunt alone in most circumstances. Many times these giant groups are for auction tag hunters that hire teams of people to scour the unit for the biggest animal. But there is another reason that people outside the West may not have considered.
Since many permits in the West are so difficult to draw, sometimes when a friend draws a permit others just want to the chance to participate in a hunt they may never draw themselves. Most people I know in Arizona have drawn nothing this year. If a friend draws a premium hunt, such as sheep, many people with no other hunts to enjoy will want to participate just to have something to do. As I said, this is especially true in order to be part of such a premium hunt they will likely never get to participate in themselves. Since by law sheep is once in a lifetime in our state, helping on a friend's sheep hunt is also the only way a hunter will ever be able to get any experience at sheep hunting, so that they might have at least a little experience if their number is ever drawn for their own tag.
Eyes can be a good thing. Why do so many pro golfers have so few of lost balls in the rough and amateurs get hammered with penalty stroke for lost balls?
It's ironic that some people holler foul about cellular trail cams yet something like this is ok.
I like to hunt alone or with one other person, even if it's for something like a Bighorn Sheep. If I were to have 10 helpers it would take away from the accomplishment of it for me. Nothing wrong with being part of a team and accomplishing something, and I've enjoyed playing on lots of sports teams. Hunting isn't really a team sport to me.
If you can't fit your hunting posse in the front seat of a Ram 2500 then you are edging into the role of shooter. You are unlikely to be the person that first spots the animal you will stalk for a shot. You are unlikely to be the person that is closest to estimating the age and size of the animal. You may not be the person to decide which animal to stalk. You may not be the person to primarily field dress and cape the animal. You may not even carry the horns or antlers out or a single quarter. I would find it difficult to ever rank that sort of hunt as one of my most memorable as reach my twilight years.
Could always just put a lot of trail cameras out.
I'd like to think that these helpers would be a lot more useful than a trail camera. If they just stand by a tree an can only tell you what was 10 yds in front of them during the last week, then you need to get new helpers.
To each their own. I’m definitely with you though. The satisfaction of a solo hunt means much more to me.
I got no problem with it. Like Stickflicker said, a lot of those western hunts are probably just friends or relatives. Even if they are hired spotters . . . I’m a capitalist. . . Good for them for spending money in the local economy and employing people.
I wished I had a friend or 10 along on my Nevada elk hunt, would have been nice to “cover more ground” so to speak.
As far as the hunter vs shooter argument . . . I mean really?! Who cares? I for one like to shoot. The guys that argue that “it’s just shooting” not hunting, better never sit a friends tree stand, or have a friend recommend a spot, or even get intel about an area from someone else . . . Otherwise they’re a hypocrite.
Motivation is a very interesting concept in hunting. I hunt to impress no one. I guess its in my blood or at the least I am hopelessly addicted to the adrenaline hits. If I embarrassed my family and friends I would quit and take up bowling because that still matters to me as it should. Within those bounds I pretty much do whatever floats my boat.
So where does spider-man-bull fit into that? What is his motivation? If he does it just becuase he has the freakin cash to and doesn't go around puffing his chest because of it? Guys are into some freaky stuff right? And we elected one of them to the highest office. I am sure spider dude knows he's not the greatest hunter of all time just like the Don knows he ain't the greatest pipelayer there ever was. Does it define their very beings that they can buy what they want? They worked hard for that, why would I be jealous? Good for them. Spider bull don't impress me any more than Stormy but I don't resent them for the experiences theyve purchased. I don't know, but I feel like that context matters.
I see guys luck into trophy animals then turn around and try to pimp that out; or try to sell themselves as the greatest hunter that ever lived and in that I see far greater personality flaws. I guess I would rather see people pissing away money than acting like fools trying to generate money from hunting.
Ethics became a funny thing when Al Gore invented the innerwebs. What used to be personal is now evangelized for all to judge and be judged.
This is what it is for some. Ok, whatever.
When I was a 1x1 and 1x2 rifle elk guide I was always the "hunter" and everyone I guided was simply the "trigger puller". I always tried to be a teacher but many didn't care to learn anything, they only wanted a dead animal.
I see no real difference between what she did and someone you uses every electronic gizmo ever invented to hunt with. If it's legal and it floats your boat then good for you.
The real issue is when all those spotters are spread out all over the unit and think they own everything they see.
It's total bullshit. Been there done that, single guy hunting runs into spotter "A" then "B" , then "C" and they all state the same thing " we are watching those sheep"
I'm sorry, but those "posse" hunt are a total crock.
Cazador I would head right after those sheep and be sure to send back a few full moonshots on my way up the mountain if I had time.
Whenever I see a picture with a whole bunch of guys lined up it leaves a bad impression. Does it really take that many people to be successful? It's legal and common but it really bothers me.
There is a big difference in hiring an outfitter with an army of guys out spotting (like the spider bull) and having a group of friends and family helping on a sheep hunt.
Many governors tag holders hire extra guides to look for a specific animal. It boils down to guys with too much money and too lazy to do it theirselves. I'm all for family and friends though!
Fill a tag at all cost, and stroke your ego. When does hunting stop being hunting? In today's world of hunting the pressure to tag a trophy is getting ridiculous, and there are plenty of violations to prove it. Sad but true, hunting is becoming something other than hunting.
I have a very large ego and having someone glass an animal for me to shoot really rubs me the wrong way. I hunt only what I can afford to hunt money and time wise and I prefer to do it myself or with a single guide. The guide is simply to get me into an area with animals in it I will then select an animal I would like to try for and it becomes a one on one hunt. I will call and stalk all by myself If it is legal and the hunter is fine with the process so be it, Who am I to rain on his parade? I hunt for the meat and the thrill of the kill, it is not a party game for me. God blesss stay legal so we all can enjoy many more years of quality game hunting!
I think there are 2 or 3.... or 4 different levels,combinations and questions on this.
#1 are these folks volunteers.... or hired "guns"..... mercenaries so to speak. Maybe just me but there is a big difference between "sharing" a rare hunting experience and paying for an army of babysitters.
#2 what species? Sheep hunts on drawn tags are OIL experiences for the most part in this day and age. There may be the rare elk or moose tag that warrant such honor, but not many. BUYING such an exclusive tag..... then paying for a posse of spotters and guides..... those who have and are doing it..... likely couldn't care less what I thought about it anyway. Moot point.
#3 may chap some folks but to me it makes a difference if it is a rifle hunt vs a bow hunt. A bow hunt for sheep.... wow... somebody in the posse has spotted a dandy ram a mile away. Now.... go over there with your sharp sticks and kill it..... hunter is just a "shooter" or "killer" my azz...... it takes a skilled bowhunter (outside just slop luck) to kill a sheep in his country with a bow. A 500 yard shot with a rifle..... not so much. That is more or less just a shooter. Maybe personally a skilled shot.... but still just a shooter....
Lots of variables. Some kind of important to the overall picture that is painted.
Spider Bull..... IMO.... well, that whole thing bothers me.
A guy draws a OIL archery sheep tag and has a half dozen or more buddies and family helping out..... literally sharing his hunt and good fortune with them.... I'm good wid dat.... I don't feel they are nearly the same thing.... ethically.
To me they are on the opposite ends of the spectrum. Or speculum.... whatever...
10 spotters? The performance anxiety would wreck the experience. lol
The only way to train for that would be to put yourself in a shoot-out in every 3-D tournament you could shoot.
That stated OIL tags are experiences to share with buddies if they wanted to contribute.
I enjoy the ability to whiff an animal,clean my arrow of debris and tell my buds I ain’t seen nuttin’ too much.
Always carry a toothbrush in your pocket Steve.
I understand and agree with many of the comments here about hunting being personal and not needing a "posse" to kill an animal however I didn't get that vibe from the video OP is talking about.
Seemed to me like a woman who drew a OIL tag and felt it was more important to share with friends, family, kids, etc than have some kind of epic solo hunt. Didn't have a spider bull feel to it at all.
Economies of scale. When you dump 100k on a tag 50k on a gang of spotters to canvas a unit seems like a bargain.
"Spider Bull..... IMO.... well, that whole thing bothers me."
I've seen the "Spider Bull" mount (and replicas). About the freekishly and ugliest set of horns I've ever seen.
Yeah, I'd pass on a bull similar to the spider bull if presented with a shot in the wild....right after I pissed my pants.
The Spider Bull "hunt" was in a special class. That buyer didn't give a sh!t about the hunt or the animal, only the acquisition of the Biggest. His was a quest for a title. And others do the same on a lesser scale.
As far as guided sheep, those rams are pre-scouted for the most part. Many from planes and many are cataloged by guides while doing hunts with other clients. An outfitter has a giant old ram in his territory, you don't think he's going to offer that trophy to a "preferred" client. Average Joe, one-time hunter is going to get marched up a different drainage.
I think "...that kind of hunting is not for me.." can often better be translated to, that opportunity is not available to me. I don't like crowds either, but what I'd do with a true OIL tag, I wouldn't know until I had one. Just from reading on Bowsite, seems like many rare tag holders are immediately contacting every previous tag holder and anyone with knowledge of the area. Then end up hiring a guide as well.
The problem with "family and friends" is they too are not prone to " this is our area syndrome".
Example, family and friends spread out all across said unit. " jimmy seeing anything over there? "Nothing bobby tell Timmy that Ryan said he saw a nice one and he should come here right away before this other guy sees them"
I don't have the answer, just calling the hand.
I completely agree with the OP. I think the party vs. the animal thing is about the lamest thing going on in western hunting outside of the new norm of taking rifle shots with bows to be successful. (Guys have no idea how gey those group photos come across)
When I had a true OIL tag, I reached out to other hunters who had hunted the unit prior, and appreciated the coaching. I've since passed that gesture on to subsequent hunters. I had the financial means to hire a team, a guide, whatever, but it became a personal quest and the pressure was on me alone. To each his own, but even having a bunch of friends and family operating as spotters and logistics managers would have diluted the experience way too much.
But for many it's all about "getting the animal". Sharing with "family and friends" in camp, during preseason scouting, etc.. is palatable and fun. But like Cazador says, the difference between Team Mossback scouring an area and Team Jones spreading out to find the animal only differs in the amount of cash outlay. That ain't hunting to me.
Too many variables to judge it. Available time, physical health, money, ability to pre-scout unit, are all factors that weigh into whether to have help or not.
Life is short. Stop worrying about what others do (as long as it's legal). Hunt your way and be happy that it satisfies you.
"Pressure to fill tags"....from who? Yourself? So you can post it on Instagram and get some likes or more followers? So your buddies won't think you're a crappy hunter? I guess the older I get and the more years I hunt the less "pressure" bothers me. I'm only beholden to my maker, the rest is just memories made and time enjoyed in the field, hopefully there's some steaks and some antlers at the end. If not, well I don't think any of us is starving.
Sheep hunts are different. I had a couple of friends (Jake and Nedly) join me on my desert sheep hunt. With the guides, we had a bit of a crowd. When we were glassing, we pretty much stayed together. There were no radios involved. It helps having lots of eyes to scan every nook and cranny. When we found the ram, my guide and I climbed the mountain and stalked the ram, while the others watched from the bottom through spotting scopes. Having two good friends along to experience the highs and lows was priceless. It is one of my most memorable hunts.
I get a kick out of the pressure part. The regular guy that draws a OIL tag ...he has pressure for sure. The guy that buys a governors tag ...he can buy another governors tag, but why bother when you can hire 10 guys full time for a month a wait for a phone call.
"...you can hire 10 guys full time for a month a wait for a phone call..."
In Arizona, they hire them for a full year and wait for a call. How is it considered "fair chase" when being rich allows you to hunt year-round, often in nearly every unit in the state, year after year (even when the regulations make the species once in a lifetime for poor hunters)? When seasons, hunt units and bag limits no longer apply, how are these considered these fair chase hunts?
They are not fair and hunting has gone too far, enabling rich men to legally do what a poacher is forbidden to do.
"They are not fair and hunting has gone too far, enabling rich men to legally do what a poacher is forbidden to do."
Life isn't fair, you're old enough to know that. What poachers do is illegal, what these "rich" men are doing, while borderline unethical, is legal.
And what these rich people do Nick is basically no different that what a "poor" person does who has a dozen trail cams set out that are hooked up to his smart phone or whatever. Or for that matter than people who go on guided hunts where they are led to a treestand or blind that others have scouted and set up for them. They only real "hunting" they do is make the shot and maybe "endure" a day or so of waiting for the "shooter" to come by, and the biggest "sacrifice" they paid was the 5K fee.
But if it's legal and it trips your trigger then God Bless.
The laws allow for a wide variety of hunting styles, which is a good thing. That's the beauty of hunting in the US vs some other countries where the methods and styles are highly regulated. From a management and opportunity perspective, one ram killed by a team of 12 is no different than one killed by a solo longbow guy.
When the army of spotters and scouts impacts other legal hunters is where the line is crossed, IMO.
Agree Jaq. Do what you like until it impacts me, and then we have a problem.
We all know what is "legal", but as hunters we need to police ourselves/each other when we see things that are blatantly unethical and threaten our heritage, tradition, and our way of life...JMO
X2 Jaq, "That's the beauty of hunting in the US vs some other countries where the methods and styles are highly regulated. From a management and opportunity perspective, one ram killed by a team of 12 is no different than one killed by a solo longbow guy. When the army of spotters and scouts impacts other legal hunters is where the line is crossed, IMO."
I have some serious personal thoughts on how I should hunt certain animals but I never publicly place those thoughts on others who are within legal statutes. Division does no one any good as far as the collective group goes for hunters.
Personally, I did not bait for whitetail deer where I could legally do so. If I go Coues deer hunting it will be a spot and stalk because that is the type of hunt I want and the reason why I would make the long drive. I am not going question someone that uses stands or baits where it is legal do so.
We must be very careful when placing our own opinions on others who are within the legal limits of the law.
ELLMAN, I totally agree. Problem is who decides what is "unethical", because a whole lot of hunters believe hunting with a bow is unethical. Here in CO many hunters voted to ban spring bear hunting, baiting, hounds, and all trapping.
When I drew my AZ ram tag there was one guy who had over 30 folks in his “entourage”. Since Area 43B is the Yuma Proving Grounds they limited him to 8 or 10 on the unit at a time. He got a ram.
Thankfully, I did too - with just 3 of us (always together). I much prefer my hunt to his, but I’m not mad at him about it. Everyone has to sleep at night.
Sheep hunts often draw a crowd. Like others I see a difference between some friends/family and a bunch of mercenaries.
If there is more than one tag holder in a unit, then to be fair, you can have as many glass’ers as you want, but you all have to glass from the same spot.
I don’t agree with the “fan out “ approach if it interferes with other hunters.
Jaq: I would say common sense, and or the majority should decide. That scares me a little bit saying that because from what I'm seeing these days the "majority" is completely devoid of the other... :-(
'I don’t agree with the “fan out “ approach if it interferes with other hunters.' Amen.
It's not the way I would want to hunt (method means way more than a kill), but unless you have the only tag for the unit, you ARE ruining the hunt for others in the area. One or two "helpers"/companions is plenty during ANY hunt. More companionship than that is more appropriate around the campfire.
"We must be very careful when placing our own opinions on others who are within the legal limits of the law."
The problem with that is, at some point the inappropriate behavior will result in new regulations, that will probably be more restrictive than necessary and impact those that weren't the problem to begin with. Look at the tree stand and ground blind limitations arising in many areas because of the excesses and lack of consideration/respect for others.
Assuming those who fan out are ruining the hunt for others if there are multiple tags in an area is an incorrect assumption. I’ve been on multiple sheep hunts in Nevada and have been part of three to four person spotter teams on several friend’s hunts and can confidently state we’ve never ruined someone else’s hunt. The majority, if not all, of the glassing we did as spotters when we weren’t with the hunter was done from roads a mile of so from the mountain. We rarely see other hunters but when we do we avoid them or vacate the area. In addition the majority of the hunts I’ve been on many, if not most, of the other hunters finish their hunts the first day or two since most aren’t looking for a trophy, B&C ram and are happy with a mature ram. On my personal hunt in 2011 or 2012 we only encountered one other group after the first day and went to another area that day. This was a unit with 12 tags and it wasn’t a huge unit.
Now if you’ve got a bunch of jack wagons in a 20 person team running around the mountain on ATVs without considering others then there could be a problem, but one jack wagon and a partner can also ruin someone else’s hunt.