Hardest Hunts

The five hardest hunts on earth will test everything you have and then keep coming at you.

Between the harshness of the environment, the improbability of drawing the opportunity, and the fact that some game animals could literally kill you, there’s something about these hunts that just scream difficult.

Hunts like these are why outfitter and guides are so important. They teach you why things like a satellite phone are so important. They go to show why dedicated hunting lottery application strategies are so important. And, they prove why situational awareness can literally save your life.

This is not only about which animals are the hardest to kill, but also the hardest to find and hardest to access. 

Do you think you could achieve success in one of the toughest hunts in the world?


hardest hunts on earth
Craig Raleigh

There’s a legend about leopard attacks that says every second that a leopard is on you equals 100 stitches. A male leopard can weigh from 120 to 180 pounds, and when wounded, it is probably the one animal most likely to charge.

Most outfitters and guides require at least one week in the field for locating, tracking, and hopefully bagging one. Hunting leopards happens in their own territory, where they’ve got definitive advantages over our human senses.

Mountain Goat

Hardest Hunts

You may hear a term like “alpine hunting” and get a picture in your head, but the mountain goat makes its living around steep cliff faces and knife-edge ridge lines where other creatures shouldn’t ever consider wandering.

If hunting above the timberline is what you’re looking for, then by all means, you may want to chase one of these sharp-eyed goats. Just remember how tough hit is to draw a legal tag in the U.S., and the “hardest” term gets even more real.

Cape Buffalo

Cape Buffalo Hunting
Getty Images: GavinD

The cape buffalo is known as the “Black Death” and the “Widow Maker” in some circles, and you don’t get nicknames like that by mistake. This species has a deadly reputation for being a veritable walking volcano, ready to erupt.

Bowhunting for cape buffalo is truly a near-impossible hunt, but it hasn’t stopped some from trying. For spot and stalk hunts, the breeze is your biggest enemy. A free range cape buffalo will wind you, which often prompts a charge if they don’t like what they smell. Can you ready yourself, aim, and shoot in time?

Polar Bear

With big kudos to the brown and grizzly bear versions of the family Ursidae, but a large male polar bear can weigh as much as 1,500 pounds and grow to nearly 10 feet tall. Add to that the fact that a tag is extremely difficult to get, the cost is enormous, and chances of subzero temperatures are likely. What you get is a spot and stalk hunt like no other, pursuing the earth’s largest land predator. Oh, and you’re on relatively flat terrain, almost certainly covered with snow, with little to no cover. Good luck!

Wild Sheep

Bighorn Sheep Hunting
Matt Dirksen/Getty

This group includes Dall sheep, stone sheep, desert bighorn sheep, and the bucket list Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. Whichever you choose, and if you’re lucky enough to draw a tag, you’ll expect to have one of the most gritty hunts you’ve every experienced, bar none.

Places like Alaska, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories, and the rugged mountains of Montana will test you and your body like no other. In fact, Montana typically allows for two (2!) non-resident Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep tags, and thousands apply for them every year.

So Many Difficult Hunts

Honestly, some would argue we needed to include “mature whitetail buck” in this list, not so much for the danger or the terrain, but for the lifetime we spend loving to chase them while they seemingly disappear into nothingness during the open season. Some of us will never get a chance to hunt overseas, or be physically able to trek to a mountain peak.

Others would argue for animals like the hippo and the rhino, the grizzly bear or the mountain lion, as they are both dangerous and difficult to reach, even for an experienced, resource-rich hunter.

The fact is that any hunt can be difficult and dangerous. A loaded firearm, a two-story treestand, a flash flood, or a kid along for the first time can all present obstacles, and make things hard, technically.

Which one is the hardest in your eyes?

Please check out my book “The Hunter’s Way” from HarperCollins. Be sure to follow my webpage, or on Facebook and YouTube. Go to Rack Hub and use the coupon code Craiger for a new way to display those antler sheds!


The post Hardest Hunts: 5 of the Toughest on Earth appeared first on Wide Open Spaces.

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