Even though September has come and gone for the 2019 season, I seem to be getting a flood of questions regarding my gear choices for spot and stalk archery elk hunting. I’ve been elk hunting for 5 years, spending anywhere from 7-21 consecutive days in the field each time. I typically layer up with a mix of the following pieces!
I started installing wraps on my arrows for a few reasons, but mostly just to make them look different while simultaneously advertise my brand. I love them aesthetically, but they have been the biggest pain in the butt too. I don’t like that every time I hit another vane while practicing or do an average job fletching in the first place, I have to peel the arrow wrap off and waste all of that material, as opposed to simply replacing the single fletching. This probably isn’t the best thing to write about when I literally sell my own arrow wraps online (see here), but I want to be honest about it too. Maybe one day I’ll try them again, but I’m really annoyed with them right now and I’ve gone back to the old ways.
No matter how much you research, watch videos, or talk to fellow hunters about their experiences, you are bound to find something that you’d do differently the next time you get out. The cool thing is that it changes depending on the species, method of choice, time of year, terrain, and amount of time you have. I took little notes when I was on my recent archery antelope hunt - things that I’d want someone else to know before attempting to spot and stalk a speedgoat. A few of these I knew prior to the hunt from talking to friends, while others I learned by actually chasing them myself.
It was my first time ever hunting antelope and also my first time to hunt Wyoming. I connected with a family through social media that had several girls that hunted, including a 3 year old named Lilly that completely stole my heart. Wall tent camp on public land with a new group of avid bowhunters sounded so fun and I couldn’t wait to get there. I’d been practicing every day and feeling so confident with my setup. I honestly went into it thinking it was going to be fairly easy because I always heard there were so many antelope everywhere you looked.
Learning to make my own snacks for my hunts, especially jerky of any kind, has been the most gratifying thing to add to my skill set. Obviously it saves money because it’s no secret that buying it from the store is crazy expensive, but just seeing your work as a hunter taken a step further is really special! I cringe at the amount of money I’ve spent in the past on (beef) jerky, and I highly doubt I’ll be dropping my wild game off to be processed in the future after learning to simply grind my own meat. There’s so much you can do with ground meat, which is what brings me to this step-by-step for making one of my favorite snacks in the field! If you’re reading this and still don’t know how to grind your meat in order to make the tastiest meat sticks ever, start here then come back to this article!
I’m a rookie when it comes to handling wild game after the hunt. Yes, I am shamelessly admitting that I’ve been dropping it off to be processed for 90% of my hunts for all these years! We typically have a lot of meat when season wraps up, and the thought of processing it myself was daunting. Last year I decided I wanted to process everything myself, then in true Jessica fashion, I avoided it like the plague. I’ve had 5 or so deer sitting in my freezer this entire time. At least I deboned it before putting it in there!!