WRITTEN BY: ERIC STANOSHECK
The big question, WHY? For all of us, there are deeply personal reasons why we hunt at all, much less why we choose to take on the challenge and adventure of DIY hunting. Hunting, in and of itself, has so many facets, such as how we hunt, what weapon(s) we choose, what species we chase, how much technology we use in the process, whether we go guided or DIY, etc…. I respect and support anyone’s methods as long as they are doing it ethically and legally.
For me, there are several reasons why I prefer DIY hunting. I have and will continue to go on guided hunts at times, but the vast majority of my days in the field will be by my own research, sweat, effort, and trials. I’m a DIY hunter by my roots and preference. I consider myself an adventure junkie, and how I find adventure is through hunting multiple species in every terrain and state I’m able to. Some of these species happen to be on my bucket list and due to limited time and legal issues they must be guided hunts, such as my Brown Bear hunt in June.
The purest form of DIY is a solo hunt in the backcountry with your camp on your back and nothing but nature surrounding you. When you start limiting variables such as creature comforts, hunting partners, and access to restaurants, stores, hotels, etc,.. you open the chapter to self-reliance. Your skills must be honed, your situational awareness must be sharp, and your attention to detail affects more than just your success. I believe to some extent that is what we are searching for as DIY hunters.
We are taken back to our ancestors who had to be successful hunters and would go to any means necessary to feed their families. Nobody can argue with the rawness and primal feeling of waking up next to a remote glacier 30+ miles from the closest road knowing you won’t see any sign of humans for 10-12 days. DIY also has a very common feeling of jumping in the truck and driving to the neighbor’s woodlot to climb into a treestand for the night or setting up camp with a family member or friend and enjoying a 3-day weekend hunting elk. In all situations, it’s you versus the game you are hunting. Whether you are successful or not you did the research, spent the time after your quarry, and earned the DIY title.
The expense is another very common reason we hunt DIY. It is no secret that prices of guided hunts and western adventures are creeping skyward annually. If you want to do multiple trips and chase more than one species each year you must put hours of time researching maps and regulations as well as making scouting trips to your chosen locations, unless you have the cash reserves to pay somebody to do it for you. Unless we are independently wealthy I believe this is where the root of all of our DIY hunting comes from.
As I sit here in my den writing this article I’m looking at 11 different species of DIY big game trophies. Each one represents a great amount of effort and time spent well before the hunt, and a lifetime of memories in the field alone or with friends and family. Each species provided its own adventure and challenges, as well as tested my resolve countless times. A few of them represent multiple unsuccessful trips years before as I slowly learned how to outsmart the species and move undetected in their climate and topography.
I don’t have to look too far to know why I am a DIY hunter and I know each and every one of you can do the same. For our own reasons, we hunt DIY and as different as our personal feelings and methods are we all share the same purpose and objectives every time we begin again and chase our next DIY adventure.