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Older solo hunters
Elk
Contributors to this thread:
Wild Bill 08-May-24
WV Mountaineer 08-May-24
Aspen Ghost 08-May-24
Old Reb 08-May-24
WapitiBob 08-May-24
Corax_latrans 08-May-24
Stoneman 08-May-24
Charlie Rehor 08-May-24
Shuteye 08-May-24
wyobullshooter 08-May-24
Jaquomo 08-May-24
Jaquomo 08-May-24
Swede 08-May-24
12yards 08-May-24
Jaquomo 08-May-24
drycreek 08-May-24
Groundhunter 08-May-24
cnelk 08-May-24
Beendare 08-May-24
pav 08-May-24
Dale06 08-May-24
Supernaut 08-May-24
bowelk65 08-May-24
keepemsharp 08-May-24
Stix 08-May-24
hunterjoe 08-May-24
badbull 09-May-24
BULELK1 09-May-24
BULELK1 09-May-24
BULELK1 09-May-24
BULELK1 09-May-24
Phil Magistro 09-May-24
welka 09-May-24
RonP 09-May-24
scentman 09-May-24
drycreek 09-May-24
Keepitreal 09-May-24
midwest 09-May-24
TGbow 09-May-24
Coyote 65 09-May-24
Whocares 09-May-24
Paul@thefort 09-May-24
Who Cares 09-May-24
Who Cares 09-May-24
TGbow 09-May-24
badbull 09-May-24
Jaquomo 09-May-24
Phil Magistro 09-May-24
badbull 09-May-24
Jaquomo 09-May-24
loprofile 09-May-24
midwest 10-May-24
DanaC 10-May-24
welka 10-May-24
Bowboy 10-May-24
bluedog 10-May-24
TGbow 10-May-24
Cornpone 10-May-24
DanaC 10-May-24
Jaquomo 10-May-24
Cornpone 10-May-24
BC 10-May-24
elkster 10-May-24
shade mt 11-May-24
Trying hard 11-May-24
Beendare 11-May-24
grape 12-May-24
ahunter76 12-May-24
Ursman 12-May-24
From: Wild Bill
08-May-24
Aging big game DIY solo hunting on public land isn't hard if you change the game. I remember when I had to accept my aging as a handicap and relearn my approach to hunting. I hunt within 2 miles from my vehicle now. I now carry only the bare essentials in my backpack keeping it as light as possible. I use trekking poles for hiking. I use a game cart for my game removal. I use a popup ground blind more times than not. I avoid areas with heavy hunting pressure. I use optics a lot to reduce my need for unproductive hiking. I day hunt solely returning to my warm camp fire and tent at night. I purposely avoid extreme temperature hunting. My pace is a lot slower nowadays, which is actually a good thing for hunting. I hunt moderate to easy terrain areas. I hunt cows/does and young bulls/bucks instead of going after the trophy animals to fill my freezer. I always use a map and compass, or GPS device, to find my way. My wife tracks my whereabouts on her cell phone. I no longer pressure myself about filling my tag. The journey is the blessing, and if I fill my tag, its just icing on the cake.

08-May-24
I’m going about as hard as I ever had. I’m not as old as you but, if I live long enough I’ll be doing the same thing.

I admire you 70-80+ year old guys still getting after it. Good luck Bill.

From: Aspen Ghost
08-May-24
How old are you Wild Bill?

From: Old Reb
08-May-24
Hey, at least you are still in the game. That's all that counts. You adapted and you keep keeping on.

From: WapitiBob
08-May-24
I don't sleep on the ground anymore.

08-May-24
Where do you pitch a tent in CT? I think I’d live a lot “closer” to productive Public hunting here if I knew where to spend the night. I have gotten the impression that most of the hunting areas are essentially “closed” after dusk….

From: Stoneman
08-May-24
Great perspective Wild Bill. As Clint said, “A man’s got to know his limitations”.

Right behind you!

08-May-24
I have cracked the Bowsite Code. At my current “junior geyser” stage I hunt with young Bowsite guys in their 40’s and 50’s. Bowsite rocks.

From: Shuteye
08-May-24
I am 82 years old and still hunt my 40 acres like always. Only difference is I use a frontend loader to bring out my deer instead of dragging. Nice to put the deer in the back of my pickup truck too, but I have been doing that for a few years. Also, I don't hunt all day like in my younger years but still get my deer. Hunt mainly mornings to have all day to take care of a deer I have killed. Only shoot one or two instead of ten.

08-May-24
How I hunt hasn’t changed, although I no longer feel guilty whenever I take a morning, or two, off. Hunting’s the easy part. Getting those beasts out of the woods is what’s becoming more of an issue for me. All the beetle-killed downfall has put an end to the game cart option. A quality pack frame, along with my trekking poles, are now a must for packing one out.

From: Jaquomo
08-May-24
I'll be 70 in a couple weeks and still hunt elk solo. But like wyo, I pace myself now because I can hunt the whole season, and I've learned how to find elk closer to roads so I can sleep in a good bed in my camper. A rested hunter is a better hunter, especially as we get older.

Deadfall has ended the use of game carts. So having a couple sturdy pack frames along with a younger, super-fit wife makes the pack out easier, but still not "easy".

From: Jaquomo
08-May-24

Jaquomo's embedded Photo
Jaquomo's embedded Photo
A happy pack mule! I rewarded with a treat!

From: Swede
08-May-24
I started tree stand hunting in my mid-forties because of my eyesight. I can't say it is as much fun as hunting on the ground calling, but it has been a lot more productive. I think it is a great bonus that at 76 I am still out enjoying bow hunting and I fully expect to get an elk. Any elk I kill will have to be a bull where I hunt, but I do not care that it is not a P&Y trophy.

From: 12yards
08-May-24
Someone on Bowsite said "keep the old man out"! Lou maybe???? Anyways, that's me right now at 61. Keeping the old man out of my body. I'll still go pretty hard in the fall and go pretty far in.

From: Jaquomo
08-May-24
Paul is the all time expert on "keeping the old man out"!

From: drycreek
08-May-24
Charlie, you’re on to something there. At 77, I either hunt with my 69 year old buddy, (hey we are each still half a man) or my son and his buddy. If hunting with the latter, I don’t even have to gut a deer ! ;-))

From: Groundhunter
08-May-24
I will be 75 May 19th, still at it...just alot slower and take.more naps.... I enjoy myself and could care less what the other guy thinks.

From: cnelk
08-May-24
I’ve had the foresight to realize that Ol Man Time is undefeated and started looking for and hunting spots that aren’t that far off the path and not difficult to get to.

I now have several areas in a couple states that hold animals during hunting season that I’ll be hunting in the future.

And you can be damn sure I won’t be showing them to anyone.

From: Beendare
08-May-24
Mid 60's here.

I'm headed out in June to scout a spot in my elk unit I haven't hunted. A few of the areas I have located on GE are between 5-6 miles in and 3,500' in elevation- which is more than I wanted to go but it might be necessary.

I typically just go as slow as needed....and will probably spike in there for as much as a few days at a time. I plan on backpack scouting that country in a 20 mile loop with a 30# pack ...but it all depends on how it looks...and how I feel. I have my GAIA....and a Zoleo.

EDIt- I do worry about the solo thing a little. I should probably subscribe to one of the Rescue companies.

From: pav
08-May-24
I'll turn 63 this year and will be bowhunting bull elk solo DIY in Arizona, Unit 8. Plan to arrive at least five days prior to the opener and hunt the entire season if necessary. Goal is to hold out for my biggest bull...at least until the last couple of hunting days. I am hoping to find a packer in that unit...due to the physical limitations that come with age.

From: Dale06
08-May-24
I’m 73, still put up my own tree stands. I hunt private only and can usually limit my walks to 300-400 yards and fairly level. I hunt elk guided, and mostly sit by waterholes in blinds or tree stands, but I do walk and climb at my own pace, when needed. Don’t let the old man in!

From: Supernaut
08-May-24
Good post Wild Bill and I'm glad you're doing it your way.

We should all be so lucky.

Be safe and shoot straight. - Jim

From: bowelk65
08-May-24
Almost 70 and hunt elk solo and hunt outwest every fall. I still hunt hard but not as far from the truck. 2 years ago a moose and elk 5 days apart to far from the truck almost killed me. I'm a slow learner.

From: keepemsharp
08-May-24
Just turned 80 here. Main thing is my loss of balance, so now its ladder stands or ground blinds.

From: Stix
08-May-24
61 here. The biggest force multiplier is to STAY IN SHAPE!

From: hunterjoe
08-May-24
I turn 60 this year. I will be solo chasing elk (should draw). I can not wait for others to be able to go at this stage of the game. Just got to go!

From: badbull
09-May-24
Good thread and post Wild Bill. Turning 86 this year I have become more of a facilitator for my offspring than a solo hunter. Two seasons ago I had a scary situation while elk hunting at high elevation (10k + elevation). I awoke after a midday nap not remembering the names of my two sons that were in camp with me. I then realized that I could not remember my wife's name, my grandkids names, and even my own name. I did have a stroke 5 years ago and a mini stroke called a tia. I got my memory back within an hour or so. I feel for me hunting solo is no longer a good idea. Charlie's idea is a good one as is Lou's solution (a lucky guy for sure). Paul is in a class by himself as I fully appreciate what he can do. I commend Beendare for his fortitude and the toughness he demonstrates. I don't think that the young people appreciate how hard it can be for us old guys (pretty sure Lou's wife knows as she seems like a wonder herself), Badbull.

From: BULELK1
09-May-24
I'm 70 and pretty much Solo hunt everything from Desert Ram (last year) to elk and mule deer yearly, most years in 2-3 states.

I hunt smarter and slower and seem to get into more animals now than I ever have.

I was with in 35 yards like 3-4 stalks on my D-Ram tag last year, but I had to be 25 yards or less with my Recurve. Slower and smarter got me that close.

I started that 2 miles logic or less from the truck on elk & muleys a couple years ago. I might do 5-6 round trip but I gotta be able to solo bone off pack out.

I downsized my pack to a fanny pack, mainly because I had precancer surgery on top of both shoulders last mid-November and my backpack shoulder straps hit right on top of the surgery, I laid up for 10 days and got the go ahead from my Dr. to continue my Sheep hunt and 1 late cow elk tag.

I'll see if I can find pix of the Fanny Pack Kill/clean, first aid ect set-up.

If ya stay in shape year-round, Age is just a Number (and for me stay away from dang ladders).

Good luck, Robb

From: BULELK1
09-May-24

BULELK1's embedded Photo
BULELK1's embedded Photo

From: BULELK1
09-May-24

BULELK1's embedded Photo
BULELK1's embedded Photo

From: BULELK1
09-May-24

BULELK1's embedded Photo
BULELK1's embedded Photo
Lite weight and nice and tight

Good luck, Robb

09-May-24
I'll be 72 this hunting season. I envy those of you that are in their 50s and 60s. The reality for me isn't so much about getting older as it is physical. Much of my hunting is whitetails in mountain terrain and I usually go about a mile or more back in. I did it all backwards. For most of my first 40 years I hunted a very nice farm that had hills but was easy to hunt. Then when that got sold I ended up working harder to get a deer.

My past few seasons have been limited due to surgeries and chemo but I'm feeling stronger now and ready to go again, even if at a slower pace.

From: welka
09-May-24
All of you that are approaching or over 70 and still chasing elk are inspirations for all of us! I am 60 and figuring out how to make sure I can get to 65 with a bad ankle. Starting to really plan for potential tree or ground blind hunting spots over wallows/waterholes that will produce consistently as I get to 65+. Good health to all!

From: RonP
09-May-24
paul read the thread title and said to himself, this doesn't apply to me so i'll skip it.

:)

From: scentman
09-May-24
Paul is out doing what this site is all about, hunting with his bow... I'm only 66 and probably couldn't keep up with the legend on a turkey hunt! scentman

From: drycreek
09-May-24
RonP, that’s exactly what I was thinking ! ;-))

Kudos to you 60 plus guys that still hump over ridges and mountains, and haul meat back !

From: Keepitreal
09-May-24
I'll say it again. Growing old is a privilege denied to many. I lost my dad to cancer nearly 20 years ago, he was 63. His twin hunted till has last day when the Lord took him home as well at 74. Their older brother is still hunting with us and gets around pretty well having replaced both knees, a hip, an ankle, a shoulder and most recent his teeth. Never give it up even if that means just hanging out near camp. You all are inspirations to us by still going strong. JD

From: midwest
09-May-24
Hope I die on the mountain.

From: TGbow
09-May-24
Phil, I'm glad you're still out there goin..God bless you.

Badbull, I hope I'm still at it at 86..God bless ya. I'm over 60 but I'm thankful I can do what I can do.

From: Coyote 65
09-May-24
79, I didn't get drawn for elk this year, but the wife did. So not solo, but escorting her around. Not so hard to field dress with 2 people. Pack out will be with a wheelbarrow where the little wheel has been replaced with a motorcyle wheel with a brake. Will not be too far from a road as she can't walk too far.

Terry

From: Whocares
09-May-24
This 77 yr old elk hunter had a knee replacement in December and the other one 6 weeks ago. Winter was basically pt and healing. Today for the first time went to the ski hill I hike all summer to try it, for my mental health as much as anything. Got half way up and then looked down and thought now what have I done! But made it down ok. Moved as slow as an old man, but really I may be an old guy in 5 or 10 years! The hill will be a regular occurrence now pushing it more each time. Gotta be ready for September!

From: Paul@thefort
09-May-24
Chuck, purchase a pair of Knee Sleeves (various products available) for knee area support. You will not regret it when hiking up and down hills.

From: Who Cares
09-May-24
Thanks Paul. I'll check that out.

From: Who Cares
09-May-24
Just looked knee sleeves up on line. There's hundreds!

From: TGbow
09-May-24
My Dad is 95, last couple years he's not been able to walk much on his own. He keeps saying he's gonna get back out in the woods again. I'm guilty of taking things for granted sometimes...now that I'm over 60 I'm still able to walk a long distance and get around, I'm thankful that I can but it's easy to take things for granted if we don't watch it.

From: badbull
09-May-24
After reading your posts above, it looks like 70 is the new 55. I remember reading an article many years ago ( I think that it was in Bowhunter Mag.) about bowhunting elk after 55 with several commenting that were in the 55 to 70 age bracket. They sounded a lot like our 70 and above commenters. Maybe Bowsite is a special group of bowhunters.

From: Jaquomo
09-May-24
Nick, with the hunter I was guiding who died in my arms on the mountain, one of the last things he said was, "This is the most beautiful morning I've ever seen. And I finally got to hunt with my son". The last sound he heard was a bull bugle. Hit the ground dead without making a sound.

Can't make that up. Many of us would be happy going out like that.

09-May-24
TGbow, you are blessed to still have your father.

I vividly recall deer hunting with my grandfather when I was a teen and he was in his 60s. How I had to go slow for him up the hills. Now I’m the old one but, in spite of a couple of health issues, I’m in far better shape than I remember my grandfather being.

From: badbull
09-May-24
TGbow, I think that you are right about taking things for granted and good for you for being around for your father. Jaq, your story of that hunter on the mountain is the most unforgettable story that I have ever seen on Bowsite or maybe anywhere. Badbull

From: Jaquomo
09-May-24
Badbull, the whole story is epic. One of the saddest and craziest experiences I've ever had. He was a famous war hero.

From: loprofile
09-May-24
I will be 73 this summer. Just tried saddle hunting for the first time last fall. Have only hunted with recurve fo last 30 years. Only change in my hunting is I am not as likely to be in my stand an hour before daylight as I once was. My wife and a few friends can find my location on cell phones if they do not hear from me

From: midwest
10-May-24
We should all be so lucky, Lou.

From: DanaC
10-May-24

DanaC's embedded Photo
DanaC's embedded Photo
This style of knee brace works well for me when the ibuprofen or naproxen isn't cutting it. Good hiking shoes with good inserts are mandatory, not optional. A hiking staff really helps too.

From: welka
10-May-24
Lost my dad to cancer a few years back. He had a bucket list item to be 90+ and kill a buck and a bear. Now transferred to my bucket list! Good luck to all.

From: Bowboy
10-May-24
I’ll be 64 in December and still hunt pretty hard. I exercise 5-6 times a week and try and stay active. My dad died at 71 and his dad died at 66. I hope I can break that streak. IMO no one knows when a medical condition arises and throws us a curve ball.

From: bluedog
10-May-24
Bowboy nailed it.. "IMO no one knows when a medical condition arises and throws us a curve ball."

Last 2 years I got a couple.. I'll be 77 in a week haven't been hunting or fishing in 2 years. Was feeling total lousy.. turned out I have advanced Lyme disease. Month of daily oral antibiotics, month of daily IV antibiotics and another month of oral.. Guess got it stabilized.. Lost my appetite, went from 210 to 150... back to 170 now. (I'm 6'2")

In November damn near caught the big one... had complete blockage of upper intestine..some kind of blood vessel hernia. They took out about 16" of intestine.. Didn't bounce back as fast as I planned but getting there.

Right now fighting pnuemonia...bad cough and lost my voice..

Whine whine snivel.. LOL Bummer fishing opens this weekend, I'm sick as a dog and wife is in Duluth supporting her sister who is having open heart surgery today.

Like Bowboy says you never know..Btw I still have delusions of a come back. I'll find out.. had my stoicism tested lately.. make hay while sun shines guys. .....

From: TGbow
10-May-24
Prayers for you Dan... pneumonia is ruff stuff

From: Cornpone
10-May-24
I'm 79 and hunt alone almost exclusively. Due to that I installed the Life360 app on my wife's and my phone. But, alas, it's relatively useless as far as I'm concerned because it doesn't give coordinates.

From: DanaC
10-May-24
^^^ sounds like there's a market for something that combines that app with a GPS locator. Anyone?

From: Jaquomo
10-May-24
Inreach does that. I carry an Inreach all the time, scouting, hiking, wherever I don't have cell service.

After a few years of using high potency CBD/CBG, it has really had a positive effect on my sore, stiff knees. I went off of it for several months this winter and spring and the soreness/stiffness came back. Now after a week of am and pm doses, knees are good again.

From: Cornpone
10-May-24
I see Google Maps has the share feature. But, unless I'm overlooking something, it's as useless as the Life360 app because it doesn't give coordinates as well.

From: BC
10-May-24
Last few years it’s just been whitetail for me. Last time out west was WY in 2019. I just take it slow and steady now. Go easy and enjoy the hunt. Being retired helps this mindset but also can’t deny the changes that come with age. Had some surgeries, some issues with my lungs, but all in all I’m blessed to be bowhunting.

From: elkster
10-May-24
Cornpone, DanaC, Inreach with a 15 dollar per month subscription uses satellite and can share your location to friends and family on a computer at home ( IIRC ) and will notify responders with push of a button. I stared using one when I got Stents about 8 years ago. The "cost of playing poker".

From: shade mt
11-May-24
turned 59 in Jan, i don't think anything has changed for me yet, as far as strength etc...

One thing has changed though, i do not heal up as quick after injury, at least it doesn't seem like it. When i was younger i'd push to my very limit, with nothing left....i don't do that so much anymore.

Age catches everybody eventually if we live long enough.

From: Trying hard
11-May-24
I'll be 63 yo before the fall hunting season...I've hunted alone since I was in my early 20s...I exercise year round...I'll never be in triathlete shape...but I'm doing ok

From: Beendare
11-May-24
Some of you 80 year olds are an inspiration to me.

It's tough getting old and having to adjust your exceptions- at least for me. I used to be a 20 mile a day backpacker....and I used to check out hot chicks on the street too. Then I look in the mirror and understand why I cannot do either of those anymore- grin. [Or at least why I get the 'dirty old man" looks. Grin again]

I'm of the mind set I need to fight it and stay in shape. That part I do pretty good. The more important side of the equation; What I eat...now thats a work in progress. It's hard for me to walk away with food on my plate. Heck, I even cut my Beer/Wine by 50%.

I used to be able to keep the weight off by working out- no more. 8 hrs of hard cardio a week [or more] and a couple hours of weights...and sure I'm stronger...but not much lighter...the weight just isn't coming off.

From: grape
12-May-24
This is a great thread. My dad has died. I miss him. Those of you that still have yours around, don’t waste a day with yours!

From: ahunter76
12-May-24

ahunter76's embedded Photo
ahunter76's embedded Photo
ahunter76's embedded Photo
Those stick bow days b/4 compounds.
ahunter76's embedded Photo
Those stick bow days b/4 compounds.
As I age I have adjusted my hunting tactics. Aging takes it toll in different ways for each of us. I no longer chase Elk but I have made at least 30 trips to Co., & N. Mexico in those earlier years & I think 6 for Antelope. I move slower & having taken a wide variety of Biggame I have become very selective on Whitetails. No Does or younger Bucks as I get a quarter Beef each year & plenty of venison from my Son & 2 adult bowhunting G-sons. I build/repair everyones arrows. I have no pressure filling a tag as I have arrowed many a wild critter. I started bowhunting in 1956 & nearing 83, blessed to still be in the game. I still compete in big archery tournaments & find that & meeting up with old friends as much enjoyment as hunting. Longevity allows me to share those adventures with my Son & G-sons now..

From: Ursman
12-May-24
At 85 l still chase mulies, whitetail, bear, antelope, hogs, and turkeys. Dropped my draw weight down to 50. Don’t hunt elk anymore. I hunt alone and by the time l could successfully pack one out it might spoil. Keep in shape by hiking and snowshoeing 3 to 5 miles every other day rain or shine, and exercising on the odd days. Got my first hunting license in 1960. Shot lots of critters in the states and Canada. Loosing the drive after l lost my hunting buddy of 50 years last year. Guess they’re right, it’s more than the killing, it’s camaraderie too! Wife doesn’t want me to go in the mountains alone. Hell, what better way to go than somewhere on the mountain. Let the bears get even!

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