Hunting as an experience is surreal. Truly, there’s nothing quite like the thrill of the hunt. What makes it worthwhile are those tags that we know the challenges that accompany them.
Your skills are tested, and your mental fortitude is put to the grinder.
No matter what state or province you hunt in, North America always has something new to offer. From the wide-open expanses of the midwest to the rugged mountains of the west, there is always a new challenge waiting for the experienced hunter.
In this post, we will discuss some of the most challenging hunts in North America.
Categories That Make Up The Challenging Hunts
Many factors could affect the difficulty surrounding your journey to finding that worthy quarry. For example the licensing fee, cost of hunting an animal, the preparation-or lack of it, or the scarcity of certain essential gears.
However, some of the most difficult to surmount are the ones that are presented to us by nature itself.
- The type of animal: In some cases, the animal itself can make the hunt much more challenging. For instance, elk are notoriously difficult to hunt because they are very intelligent and have keen senses. They are also very fast and agile, making them hard to track and even harder to kill.
- The terrain: The terrain of the hunt can also make it more difficult. If you are hunting in dense brush, it can be hard to see the animal and get a clean shot. Similarly, if you are hunting in mountainous terrain, it can be difficult to track the animal and get to it.
- The climate/weather: The weather can also make a hunt more difficult. If it is raining or snowing, it can be hard to track the animal. If it is very hot or cold, it can be difficult to stay comfortable and focused.
- The time of day: The time of day can also make a hunt more difficult. If you are hunting at night, it can be hard to see the animal. If you are hunting during the day, the animal may be more alert and aware of your presence.
- The size of the animal: The size of the animal can also make a hunt more difficult. If you are hunting a very large animal then gear up with the necessary transportation system. The size of the animal could also indicate the toughness of hide.
Using these parameters we will be looking at the toughest hunts under these categories:
- The hardest to find/track
- The largest game
- The most difficult/harshest terrain
- The fastest game
- The most dangerous game
The Hardest Game To Find/Track: Hunting Down The Legendary BigHorn
Bighorn hunting is definitely a thing of legends, and I can jokingly say, akin to the Sasquatch. It is by far the most difficult trophy to obtain, but let us not jump the gun just yet.
As established earlier, terrains can determine whether you have a nice hunting experience or not. It can affect your tracking ability, or give your prey an unfair home advantage like camouflage or just bizarrely deft footholds.
All this and more is the reason why one of the most difficult animals to find and track down is the Bighorn. The Bighorn is a species of wild sheep that lives in the mountain ranges in North America.
The two most popular species are the:
- The Rocky mountain bighorn sheep
- The Desert bighorn sheep
Blessed with acute senses, agility, swiftness, and great nimbleness these animals have the innate abilities to give any experienced hunter a tough time. Coupled with how difficult or deserted their habitat is, you will then see the reason why they are a serious challenge.
A hunt for these legends can take anywhere from 7 days to many weeks, and this is even with the most skilled outfitters by your side. Camping and traversing these regions will test your mental fortitude, survival skills, as well as your physical fitness.
The bighorns know how to blend well with their surroundings, this makes them hard to spot. Their speed and agility makes them hard to track.
As if the stress of having to track them down wasn’t enough, that is only the second hurdle you would have the luxury of facing if you are lucky enough -or rich enough- to acquire a bighorn tag.
Prestigious, seasoned hunters from around the continent know that the biggest badge up on your wall is, not some large ferocious animal, but the bighorn. Many have spent their entire hunting career of over 50 years trying to acquire one and have failed.
It is considered the rarest game, and this is why the Bighorn stands firmly on the list of the most difficult hunts in North America.
The Largest Game: Bearing The Full Weight of The Bison
One of the largest animals in North America is the bison. Magnificent creatures, these animals are very large and very powerful, making them difficult to kill. Experts and experience will tell you that you cannot hunt these animals casually.
Because of their thick hides, thick skulls and short necks, you cannot place your shot carelessly. To properly or fatally wound these princes of Utah, you will have to depend on a close-range, well-placed shot.
Miss and you will have your shot quarry running away and getting mixed up with the rest of the herd -if you’re lucky.
If you are not, you get an angry bull, weighing up to 2000 pounds, after your own hide. To prevent something so problematic a double-lung shot is the general shooting tip for effectively hunting bison.
A bison is a huge haul and, therefore, another difficulty that the size of the bison presents could be the transportation. After a successful hunt you have to quarter it, package the by-products, and store the meat in coolers so that it is well preserved.
If you are not working in a private ranch, you might have to do this yourself.
This dangerous yet magnificent beast is a thrilling catch. Make sure you are adequately prepared and geared-up (have the right caliber) before heading out in search of bison antlers to adorn your wall.
The Most Difficult/Harshest Terrain: The King in The North
One of the most difficult and harshest terrains to hunt in is the Arctic. It is very cold and desolate, making it hard to find animals. It is also very difficult to travel, as there are no roads or trails. It is also very easy to get lost in the Arctic, as there are no landmarks.
In this very harsh region resides the polar bear. The presence of this dangerous animal even ups the tempo and increases the risk of just even living or surviving in this region -talk less of hunting.
When hunting in the Arctic you have to consider the sub zero atmosphere when you kit up. If the cold gets to you then it is over before it even begins. Of all the cold places, the Arctic bare frigid fangs that sink deeper into the bones.
This cold region greatly affects the performance and comfort of hunters. It causes labored breathing and spiked heart rates, induced shivering that reduces aiming and shooting accuracy, and its harsh winds and blizzards greatly reduce visibility.
Also, If you are not appropriately layered your fingers will freeze, your joints stiffen and hypothermia can set in.
On the flip side, if you do get enough layering on then your movement, maneuvering, and handling is sabotaged to a great degree. The most ideal kits are the ones that will keep you warm while allowing you to move freely.
Finally, you would need to make sure local guides accompany you as they are familiar with the lay of the land. They have the appropriate experience and the transportation or equipment you will need for your endeavor.
Thankfully, due to these difficulties, coupled with high costs of traveling, acquiring specific gear, and how expensive a polar bear tag can be due to the regulations to protect these animals, many hunters hardly find it worth their time.
We have caused these kings a lot of problems with global warming and climate change instigations.
The Fastest Game: Swift As The Pronghorn
The difficulty in hunting the pronghorn lies in its obscene speed. One of the fastest animals in North America, the pronghorn can reach a max speed of up to 60 mph. To give you a nice comparison, that is a number within the speed range of a cheetah who runs.
When this antelope starts running away from you, then come back next time, because you have very little chance of landing it as prey.
When hunting the pronghorn you have to be stealthy in your approach -you need to learn to be a good stalker. Experienced hunters who have practiced the spot and stalk method multiple times will be able to adeptly carry out this method.
Even in that regard, a kill isn’t certain.
The pronghorns are easy to find, and their herd easy to spot having distinct white, fluffy behinds. The environment you would find them however are plains, vast expanse of grass that makes stalking or ambushes hard.
So you now have the task of figuring out how to get close to your quarry without being spotted. With only long dry grasses and pieces of rocks to provide you the coverage you need, you will perform long, arduous belly crawls just to get in position.
That is very difficult because, aside from the absence of efficient cover, pronghorns are extremely cautious and have acute senses that can detect anomalies. Remember, your objective will be to get in position without them running away from you. That’s game over.
You also need to be comfortable with longshots as you cannot allow them to get too close to your perch. If you let that happen they could sense your presence and get spooked.
The Most Dangerous Game: A Grizzly Affair
One of the largest animals in North America is the grizzly bear. They are very large and powerful, making them difficult to kill. They are also very good at hiding in thick brush, making them hard to find.
The grizzly is a predator and has the equipment of a very successful one. Their sense of smell, their speed, their power, and sense of hearing makes them deadly when tracking prey.
When confronted with danger, these attributes make them even more deadly as they will turn super aggressive and villainous, making them dangerous to hunt. All of these factors make the grizzly bear a difficult and dangerous animal to hunt.
However, there are a few tips that can help you succeed in hunting them.
- First, you need to be very careful when you are stalking them. Make sure to keep downwind so they cannot smell you.
- Second, be very quiet when you are moving through the brush.
- Third, be prepared to shoot quickly and accurately when you see the bear.
- Finally, be sure to have a backup plan in case the bear charges you.
When you are preparing to go on a hunt as dangerous as this, your first priority is your survival. Adequately prepare to increase your chance of survival before thinking next of the success of your hunt.
As you can see, many factors can make a hunt more difficult. The type of animal, the terrain, and the weather, can all make a hunt more difficult. When planning a hunt, it is important to consider all of these factors. If you are up for a challenge then by all means give it a go at any of these hunts. However, take note that you need to be prepared for the challenges that you may face. Take the time, plan your trip/expedition months or even years ahead of time. By doing so, you will increase your chances of success.