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I Feel a Good Year Coming On!

 
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ladyshooter
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Jul-27-10, 
09:50 AM (MST)
"I Feel a Good Year Coming On!"

LAST EDITED ON Jul-28-10 AT 09:54 AM (MST) by Founder (admin)

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Just me packing in camp

I started hunting about 12 years ago when I got married and have anticipated the hunting season each year since then. When asked what I wanted to put in for the once in a lifetime draw the answer was easy, desert sheep. My grandpa was an adventurer and spent thousands of days hiking the southern deserts of Utah. He loved and admired the grace and agility of these animals and felt grateful when he was able to see them in the desert country that he loved. From his stories and experiences, and a few of my own, I have gained that same love and admiration. I anxiously look forward to the day I will be able to hunt these amazing animals. This year part of my sheep fever will be satisfied, not on the desert sheep that I thought would be my first sheep hunt, but on a sheep I never thought I would be able to hunt.

At the introduction of the Full Curl Society hosted at the Western Hunting and Conservation Expo, I listened to the presentation explaining the mission and future of the Full Curl Society by Don Peay and Karl Malone. I liked what I heard, especially about their desire to help the average, everyday man fulfill his dream of hunting sheep. After it was over I made the decision to sign up and donate my $40 to the cause. I was one of the last people to put in my ticket. As luck would have it, my ticket was the first drawn from the quarter curl bucket. I was going to hunt dall sheep! Ten hunts were given away; four of them were to women. It was an emotional high and I still can’t believe I’m going sheep hunting!


Still on a high the night I drew the sheep hunt, and my awesome husband who introduced me to hunting.

In addition to sheep hunting there are some good prospects for the archery deer season and I am looking forward to the archery spike elk hunt. I'll have to share my spike elk hunt from last year in a later post. It was one of my favorite hunts.

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  Table of Contents  

 Subject   Author   Message Date   ID 
 RE: I Feel a G...  ladyshooter      Jul-28-10   1 
  RE: I Feel a G...  ladyshooter      Jul-29-10   2 
   RE: I Feel a G...  ladyshooter      Aug-01-10   3 
    Hiking the "B"  ladyshooter      Aug-03-10   4 
     Gun Prep  ladyshooter      Aug-04-10   5 
      My Favorite Hu...  ladyshooter      Aug-05-10   6 
       And Off I Go ....  ladyshooter      Aug-06-10   7 
        Home Again . ....  ladyshooter      Aug-20-10   8 
         Phase I - Gett...  ladyshooter      Aug-25-10   9 
          Bowhunt in Ful...  ladyshooter      Aug-25-10   10 
           Phase II - The...  ladyshooter      Aug-29-10   11 
            RE: Phase III ...  ladyshooter      Aug-30-10   12 
             A Morning on t...  ladyshooter      Sep-01-10   13 
              And the Humili...  ladyshooter      Sep-08-10   14 
               Head Hanging L...  ladyshooter      Sep-14-10   15 
                Inbetween Hunts  ladyshooter      Sep-22-10   16 
                 Elk Ridge in t...  ladyshooter      Sep-24-10   17 
                  Looking Back  ladyshooter      Sep-28-10   18 
                   More from Alas...  ladyshooter      Sep-29-10   19 
                    Muzzloader in ...  ladyshooter      Oct-05-10   20 
                     Two seasons do...  ladyshooter      Oct-09-10   21 
                      An Unexpected ...  ladyshooter      Oct-14-10   22 
                       Rifle Season S...  ladyshooter      Oct-21-10   23 
                        Rifle Deer Sea...  ladyshooter      Oct-24-10   24 
                         Rifle Deer Sea...  ladyshooter      Oct-31-10   25 
                          Extreme Huntre...  ladyshooter      Nov-04-10   26 
                           Last Big Hunt ...  ladyshooter      Nov-07-10   27 
                            Scouting Late ...  ladyshooter      Nov-17-10   28 
                             Late Rifle Elk...  ladyshooter      Nov-22-10   29 
                              Late Rifle Elk...  ladyshooter      Nov-29-10   30 
                               Thanksgiving B...  ladyshooter      Dec-12-10   31 
                                Until Next Tim...  ladyshooter      Dec-24-10   32 

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ladyshooter
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Jul-28-10, 
11:38 AM (MST)
1. "RE: I Feel a Good Year Coming On!"

After the high of finding out that I drew a sheep hunt some reality started setting in. I needed to loose some weight, I wasn't obese, but I definitely had some chub that needed to go. It was reinforced by about every person I ran into at the expo that knew I drew. They all commented that I would need to get in shape and the better shape I was in, the better chance of getting a good ram. I did not take offense to these comments, they were statements of reality and I appreciated them. I had a friend who had lost some pounds from a program called Live the Life. I signed up and went for it. In a nutshell it is a combination of eating six balanced meals a day, resistance training, and cardio. I also added in as many hikes as time would allow. It was exciting to see the change take place as muscle started to replace chub. I am in the best shape I've ever been in. My snug size twelve was replaced by a size six. I feel confident that I will be able to pull off a successful sheep stalk, no matter how far or high I'll have to hike.

Post Live the Life.

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ladyshooter
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Jul-29-10, 
06:16 PM (MST)
2. "RE: I Feel a Good Year Coming On!"

As mentioned before I am also looking forward to the archery spike elk hunt. To many it's not the highlight of the year, but I love this hunt. There is just something about hunting when the leaves are starting to change, the weather is great, and the mountains are in preparation for the first snow. A few years ago my husband drew the San Juan archery elk tag. It was an awesome hunt spent with great friends and family. We ended up camping 21 straight days with our 18 month old twins. The twins loved every minute of it. Brayden shot a great bull and we were able to pack the kids in for pictures. It was a great family moment.

Last year my husband was out of town during the spike hunt. I packed up the kids and headed to Blanding by myself. I wasn't going to miss out just because he wasn't there! I left the twins with grandma and pa and went hunting. The first evening I saw some elk, but it didn't work out. I went back to camp and settled in for the night. There was a bear outside about 50-60 yards away making all kinds of ruckus. I think he was getting mad at some cows in the area. After a while he left. The next morning I went to my favorite water hole and settled into the blind. I started hearing elk at first light. At 7:30 a group came in with three different spikes. I took the first available shot and watched as the bleeding elk stumbled into the muddy water 40 yards away. My immediate response was, "Oh please don't let him die in the water. There's no way I can keep him clean by myself." About as soon as that thought came he stood up, walked up the bank, and laid down. He didn't move another foot and was gone. After a few photos, I started working as fast as I could to beat the heat of the day. Four hours later I was on the road. It took me five trips to get the quartered elk out. It was such a confidence booster to know I could do it on my own. It is my second favorite hunt of all time.

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ladyshooter
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Aug-01-10, 
08:55 AM (MST)
3. "RE: I Feel a Good Year Coming On!"

Back to my sheep hunt. . . My second concern after the physical aspect was gear. I have some gear, but not sufficient for an Alaskan backpacking hunt. I was excited about my boot situation since I had bought a pair of Kenetrek boots at the Expo. (I love outdoor companies that provide a women’s line.) That excitement was dashed after my first conversation with Ultima Thule Outfitters. It is mandatory in their area to hike in plastic boots. The quest for plastics was underway. I wanted to put some miles on the boots so I knew what to expect in the field. I was able to find a pair of used Koflach’s for a good deal and picked them up. It was a challenge to get the right combination of socks and liners to make the boot feel comfortable. I finally got it figured out and they are now bearable, but I am not excited to spend hours upon hours hiking in them. Hang in there Kenetrek’s you will be put to good use. I guess it’s a small price to pay for a sheep.

I opted to take a gun after talking to the outfitter. They were not optimistic about killing with a bow. Since archery is my first weapon choice it was a hard pill to swallow, but I ultimately want to kill a sheep. A Christensen Arms .270 wsm ended up being the gun of choice for its light-weight barrel.
For rain gear I will be taking a Patagonia Rain Shadow jacket and Sitka rain pants. I am borrowing a set of carbon fiber trekking poles, Arc’Teryx backpack, and Arc’Teryx pants. Thanks to my awesome friend for your advice and help with gear, you know who you are!


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ladyshooter
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Aug-03-10, 
08:50 AM (MST)
4. "Hiking the "B""


My most convenient training hike is to the top of the “B” hill from my porch. I throw on my pack, plastic boots and head up to the hill. It was slow going to start out with, but got progressively better. I started with 25 pounds and have worked up to 45 pounds. My favorite hike is in the mountains on the peaks that I bowhunted last year. There are a few very steep slopes that were good to practice on.

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ladyshooter
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Aug-04-10, 
09:57 PM (MST)
5. "Gun Prep"

Since I have shot archery for most of my hunting endeavors I needed to get more comfortable with a rifle. We purchased a Christensen Arms .270 wsm off KSL.com. It took a lot of experimenting to see which bullet worked best. We enlisted a lot of help from friends who had experience with reloading. I owe them a huge thank you! Barnes bullets were not consistent and Fusion had the same results. After trying a few others we settled on 130 grain Sirocco’s. They are the most consistent and group nicely. Luckily I am not scared of the kick from rifles so I don’t flinch when I shoot, but I did need practice pulling the gun up and centering the scope quickly. It took me a while at first to get it down, but I feel comfortable now. The outfitter said the majority of shots are 300 yards or less. Last year I shot two doe antelope, one at 350 and one at 450 yds., so I feel comfortable with range.

300 Yard Group

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ladyshooter
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Aug-05-10, 
08:18 AM (MST)
6. "My Favorite Hunt of All Time"

I mentioned earlier that my spike elk was my second favorite hunt. My favorite is hands down my Book Cliffs deer tag that I hunted back in 2000. It was my third year of hunting and I was still a novice when it came to stalking. I had killed two animals previously with my bow; pig and antelope.

The pig hunt is worth writing about. My awesome husband had planned out the perfect way to introduce me to bowhunting and bought a pig hunt on a private ranch. My hesitation with killing was that I wasn't thrilled about seeing the animals die. Pigs run when shot so it would be perfect. Well it ended up that I shot the pig a little back in the liver and it ran off. We were not sure of the shot so we went after the pig. He was bedded down and we were able to get close enough for a second shot. I didn't want to do it, so he shot it right in the heart. It proceeded to spin in circles and squeel like a shot pig. It was the worst sound I had heard and I just stood there in shock. After what felt like eternity he expired. I looked up and I saw a look of horror on my husband's face. He knew I was done hunting for good. Lulckily it didn't scar me too badly and I did continue to hunt. I figured if I could get past that experience, then it could only get better. I was right! Ironically I've watched the majority of my animals go down. I now realize that watching them go down is thrilling. It means that the shot was good and the animal died quickly and painlessly.

Back to my Book Cliffs hunt. I was really lucky with the draws my first few years of hunting. My second year I drew out an antelope tag in the 9 Mile area. The next year I drew the Book Cliff's deer tag. It was my first time to put in for both. The first year I wasn't as lucky and hunted the general archery season by myself in Blanding. My husband couldn't get off work so I went down to try my luck. I was clueless on how to hunt and came home empty handed, but I did have a great time and saw some smaller bucks. After a couple years of hunting I realized that I was still pretty clueless when I was on the Book Cliff's. I was in awe at the number of good bucks that were everywhere. What made this my favorite hunt was the number of stalks I did on nice deer. I found out I was a great at stalking and could get within range, but when it came to closing the deal something always went wrong. I either ranged wrong, used the wrong pin, or just plain missed. Every day I was getting on good bucks and I was hooked on hunting. I loved getting so close and watching, even if I couldn't close the deal on the big ones. I loved every minute of it, and I think this will be my favorite hunt for a very long time. I ended up with a decent little 3x4 that I shot from the road.


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ladyshooter
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Aug-06-10, 
11:19 AM (MST)
7. "And Off I Go . . . ."

The twins with us on my hubby's Pansaugant deer hunt last year

Tomorrow is the big day that my adventure starts. There are many emotions going on right now; anxiety about leaving my kids for so long (of course tears were shed, it's going to be hard), excitement to get out into the field and hunt, some fear that I will not have what it takes to tackle the steep mountains, but mostly gratitude that I have the opportunity to experience this once in a lifetime adventure. I plan on going out and maintaining the attitude that this is something I will most likely never experience again and to enjoy every minute of it, good and bad.

I fly out of SLC airport via Delta's non-stop flight to Anchorage at 11:23 a.m. I stay the night in Anchorage then get picked up by Ultima Thule Sunday morning. From there we will drive 4-5 hours to Chitina. A hopper plane will fly us to their lodge. Monday morning I will be dropped off on a glacier in some of the roughest and steepest terrain the world has to offer. I will be hunting on the Wrangell mountains at about 12,000 ft. My guide and I will be hunting out of a base camp.

Here is the gear list the oufitter sent:

Sunglasses, sun screen, lip balm
Baseball type hat
Pile cap (covers ears)
Man made fiber long underwear light or medium weight
Pile, Synchilla or 3SP or similar pants
Light weight rain coat, rain pants such as Helly Hansen Impertech or Cool Dry rain pants and anorak
Pile or equivalent jacket light weight
Thinsulate or down coat
2 pairs Poly-pro gloves with outer covering,
1 pair uninsulated leather gloves (deer or elk)
3 sets socks: one pair light with heavy pair-Thorlo or Smart Wool
Short sleeve t-shirts: Coolmax or other wicking material
Slip on shoes, sneakers, or running shoes for use around the lodge. We take our shoes off before entering the buildings.
Mole Skin, Second Skin, Athletic Tape, blister Kit
Gaiters
Headlamp/spare batteries
Paperback book
Sleeping Bag (rated to -10F,)
Mattress pad lightweight.
Internal or external frame back pack at least 5500 cubic inches
Walking stick or ski/trekking pole (we have ice axes if they are needed)
Binocular-10X max, lighter is better with foam neck strap. Spotting scopes, range finders and tripods can be brought and left at lodge if you and your guide decide you don’t need them.
Camera
Plastic Mountaineering Boots

Some things I modified to fit what I already had or what I felt was better. Now that everything is packed, I keep wondering what I forgot. I guess I'll find out in three days . . .

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ladyshooter
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Aug-20-10, 
12:54 PM (MST)
8. "Home Again . . .And Now the Bowhunt!"

I made it home safely and WOW what an experience. It was everything I wanted sheep hunting to be. I loved every bit of it. I just got home and now need to work on the bowhunt starting tomorrow morning. I will post more on my sheep hunt soon, and hopefully a deer hunting story as well. I don't think anything can beat my sheep hunt for this year though!

Finishing touches with sighting in.

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ladyshooter
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Aug-25-10, 
09:52 AM (MST)
9. "Phase I - Getting There"

The trip to Ultima Thule Lodge was a bit long, but well worth the wait. I arrived in Anchorage around 2:00 p.m. and found my luggage with no problems. I met another sheep hunter on the same flight and we discussed our upcoming hunts while waiting for our luggage. This was his second dall sheep hunt, the first he came home empty handed. I enjoyed our conversations about hunting and could see he was a true hunter who loved it for the joy of hunting. His advice to me was to never give up, even when I felt like I couldn’t take another step, get up and keep going. He said it all comes down to mental toughness. Thanks, Wade, I hope you had a great hunt. I boarded a shuttle to my hotel on a rainy, overcast day. The locals say this is one of the wettest summers in a long time. I arrived at my hotel and waited for dinner with Ultima Thule guide Johnny, hunter Mario, and George, a friend of Johnny’s. We enjoyed a great meal at Glacier Brewery and got acquainted by telling hunting stories. Mario is from Spain and has hunted all over the world, he is a class act and I liked him from the start. He runs his family’s candy manufacturing business.

The next day I was picked up at 8:00 a.m. to begin the four and a half hour drive to Chitina’s airstrip (pronounced Chitna). We arrived at 2:00 p.m. after a few stops for snacks and lunch. The airstrip was a large parking lot with one log storage building that identified it as Ultima Thule Outfitters’. Johnny showed us the fishing wheels used for subsidiary fishing. Paul Claus, Ultima Thule owner, was due in at 3:00 to pick us up. He arrived on time and in a plane that is truly awesome. It is an Otter with a modified jet propulsion engine. It looked like a hover craft landing and only used about 30 yards of the runway.

For the aircraft lovers out there here is a clip of the Otter landing.
http://www.monsterhuntclips.com/video/987/Otter-Landing

My excitement showed regarding the plane and I was able to ride as co-pilot. I love flying in smaller aircraft. The country is beautiful with the Wrangell Mountains in the north, Chitina River directly below us, and the St. Elias Mountains in the south. It was a bit overcast so we couldn’t see the peaks, but there were two peaks above 16,000 ft. and a handful of others between 10,000 and 14,000 ft. on the Wrangell side. The lodge is indescribable. Everything that wasn’t taken from the land is flown in. They have a small tractor, four wheelers, a dozen or so structures, and gorgeous flower gardens. Dinner was excellent, sheep steaks and wild mushrooms over a bed of mashed potatoes.

The next day was Monday, August 9th. At 11:30 I was flown out to my hunting area in a SuperCub airplane with large tundra tires. We saw a lot of sheep on the way which was encouraging. I had three different landings, one in Hawkins Glacier where I was dropped off to wait for Paul, another on a glacier that we were going to hunt, and a third on a tundra knoll that my guide, Johnny, preferred over the glacier area.

Here is video of both the glacier and knoll landing. Pretty cool stuff.
http://www.monsterhuntclips.com/video/989/1st-Glacier-Landing
http://www.monsterhuntclips.com/video/990/Knoll-Landing

It was beautiful in both spots, but the knoll had more impressive panoramic views. I could see the Barnard Glacier directly below us feeding into the Chitina River, University Peak to the northwest, and rugged, steep mountains to the southeast.

SuperCub's landing spot & Chitina River in the background

University Peak & Barnard Glacier at the bottom of pic

Camp

I was excited for my hunt to begin. Johnny and I saw a few small rams really close to camp. The excitement was building and I couldn’t wait to see what opening day of dall sheep hunting would bring.

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ladyshooter
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Aug-25-10, 
08:18 AM (MST)
10. "Bowhunt in Full Swing"

Well no luck so far on the bowhunt. We have been chasing some desert bucks that are alluding us. We saw some small bucks on opening morning that we could have stalked and shot, but it's still early. I want to get my first four point this year. Grandma and pa were at our house on the opening day and watched the twins. I was nice to be able to hunt with my lover.

On the way home we had this four point at 3 yards in our neighbor's yard. Happens every year!

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ladyshooter
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Aug-29-10, 
08:41 PM (MST)
11. "Phase II - The Hunt"

I have to say that I love Alaska. Everything is so BIG, the mountains, the valleys, the rivers. I couldn't think of a better setting to kill my first sheep.

The next three days turned out to be quite uneventful. We saw 15 rams, but none were legal. A legal ram has to either have a full curl or be eight years old. After glassing, listening to Johnny’s guide stories, eating and sleeping for three days we were picked up and moved to another location. It was another amazing flight. The plane flew low over mountain passes and close to cliff edges. It was another thrilling ride, more exciting than a roller coaster. We landed where Canyon Creek Glacier starts, surrounded on three sides by tall rugged mountains covered in snow and ice. After finding the most level spot on a mound of granite rocks we set up camp. It was raining as we secured the tent and put our packs under tarps. After a delicious Mountain House meal we retired. My spirits were lifted at the new prospects of this area and I had a hard time falling asleep, wondering what the next day would bring.


The rain had stopped during the night and the morning of Friday the 13th greeted us with overhanging clouds that threatened rain. After an hour of hiking it started to rain and the rain gear went on for the rest of the day.

We rounded the base of the mountain which opened into the canyon the rams were spotted in. One of the rams was bedded down in plain view. We backtracked to avoid being seen and went behind a hill of rickety rocks. From there we hiked to the middle of the canyon opening and peeked around to see where the ram was. We were clear and started toward the rams. The entire path was hiking over pile upon pile of rocks that the glacier had dumped in its wake. We came to the base of a glacier and without skipping a beat Johnny started up its steep face. I hesitated for a moment, concerned that I had to hike up a chunk of slick ice in the rain, then started up. There were rocks frozen into the glacier that provided good footholds up the 100 foot slope. Our next obstacle was a glacial stream five feet deep and at the narrowest part five feet wide with water roaring down a two-three foot channel. At one spot there was a small rock island we slid onto and climbed up the other side. After crossing a field of rocks and ice we came to a steep rock slide with cliffs jutting up the last thirty feet. On the other side was the grassy slope the rams were supposed to be on. We slowly made it to the cliffs and found a path of dirt about four feet wide. We started up the very steep chute. By gripping the rocks on my right and planting my walking stick on the left I clawed my way up the last obstacle.

Johnny spotted a ram bedded down at 350 yards that was legal. He stood up and I fired, he appeared hit. The final shot hit the spot and he was down. Thick fog rolled in and I would not have been able to shoot again.

I started shaking as the excitement of the moment settled in. I had just shot a dall sheep and successfully completed a hunt of a lifetime. I thanked Johnny and we hiked to my ram. He was beautiful with a perfect white coat and wide sweeping horns. I stood in awe at the beauty of the mountains around me and was so grateful that I had the opportunity to hunt these amazing animals. It is a hunt I will never forget.




We loaded our packs, Johnny with the meat and me with the horns and hide, and headed down the same chute we came up. We dropped the meat at the stream crossing and headed back to camp. It was a long hike back and I was ready to get out of my wet clothes and crash in my sleeping bag for the night. We ate the celebatory raspberry crumble provided by Mountain House and were out for the night. We went back in the morning with the sun shining down and picked up the meat. When we made it back to camp Johnny cooked up tenderloin on a flat rock. It was so amazing to eat fresh meat after six days of eating Mountain House, trail mix, and jerky.

Paul & Lonnie came to get us at 4:00 and we were on our way back to the lodge. I told Paul I was in no hurry so we went for a longer flight scouting for more sheep. He flew me low to the ground, close to cliffs and banked hard a few times to get my stomache rolling. I loved it and never felt nauseous. My hunt was coming to a close. I was having mixed feelings. I was excited to get home and see my kids, but I was not ready to have it end.

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ladyshooter
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Aug-30-10, 
06:39 AM (MST)
12. "RE: Phase III - Coming Home"

Back at the lodge I ran for the sauna, bathed, and enjoyed a great dinner over the fire with roasted wieners, my sheep, salads, and smores.

It was great to see the other hunters and staff. We shared hunting stories and got re-aquainted. Mario shot a stud ram on the first day, 40 in. with 15 in. bases. Bill missed one and was planning on going back out in a few days. Stories were told on the front porch of the boys cabin with the smell of cuban cigars Mario and his guide were enjoying in the fresh night air. The other woman hunter who also won this hunt was still out in the field.

The next day, Sunday, was pretty lax. Johnny and I went for a hike up the river from the lodge and glassed for black bear. It was a slow day and we didn't see anything. It was decided that we would go back to Anchorage the next day. Packing was bitter sweet. Sad goodbyes were given and I was homeward bound.

Part of the Ultima Thule crew.

Paul & I at the drop off site in Chitina

Tuesday was spent as a tourist day in Anchorage. Johnny, Mario, and I did some shopping, checked in our rams with the wildlife office, and ate some great food. Mario dropped of his ram and cape at Knight Taxidermy where we met Russell Knight. He will be hosting The History Channel in his shop for prehistoric restorating. He gave us an extensive tour of his facility he was very friendly.

I flew out of Anchorage at 1:23 a.m. and arrived in Salt Lake at 8:00. I saw my husband first, it was so good to see him. Then I noticed he had our twins with him. My little girl saw me and yelled "Mommy" and came running. It all came spilling out then. Tears flowed as I held my children that I had missed so much. I was home and it felt great. I am an average housewife who was able to go on a hunt I never dared dream of. It has added to my character and increased my confidence. Best of all I have a wonderful family who was so supportive of me and a husband who beams with pride when he talks about my hunting adventure. What could be better than that!?!

Sappy time is now over. I will keep you updated on how the bowhunt turns out. My family is headed to Blanding this weekend to hunt spike elk and then deer. We're hoping for a full freezer this year!


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ladyshooter
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Sep-01-10, 
07:25 PM (MST)
13. "A Morning on the Mountain"

I am lucky to have a husband who supports me with my hunting. When it works out with his work schedule he will take the twins for a couple hours in the morning so I can get in some good hunting time. Yesterday I went up in the mountain on a peak that I hunted a lot last year. I chased a couple huge (one 160ish the other 190ish) bucks. I came within 80 yards of both, but couldn't get any closer. Yesterday didn't turn out as good. I stalked into what sounded like an animal walking over dead-fall and found this guy.

He had a very grumpy face and was not happy that I interrupted his feeding.

Besides this guy I saw five does, a snowshoe hare, and another hunter. I would call it a semi-success. It's always better to be out hunting than home in bed.

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ladyshooter
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Sep-08-10, 
03:05 PM (MST)
14. "And the Humility Sets In . . . "

After the high from Alaska and killing a beautiful ram I am feeling the dissapointment that can happen on the bowhunt. I've been hunting on Elk Ridge for a spike or cow for the past five days and have only seen bulls. Is is possible to be on Elk Ridge for five days and not see a cow elk? I didn't think so, but apparently it is. Most of the elk are still down in the deep canyons. There is a lot of hunting pressure up top. I did meet Pete (C3) after he shot his bull. Congrats to him, he was on cloud 9 and couldn't have been happier. His HAC is Lucky 25, a year on San Juan. Go check his out, it is a good read.

Here are a few pictures.

Coming off Elk Ridge today we had heavy fog and muddy roads. Here is our trailer caked in clay mud.

I still have three more days. I feel some good luck coming my way.

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ladyshooter
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Sep-14-10, 
07:33 PM (MST)
15. "Head Hanging Low and Tail Tucked Between My Legs"

Well, no elk this year. Going into it I thought it was a no brainer, done deal. That was not the case this year. I think our problem was spreading out too much. We should have stuck to one plan and carried it through to the end. So after sitting in tree stands, blinds, and chasing elk that were not quite rutting we were skunked. I still had a good time hunting with my favorite partner. Grandma & pa took the kids quite a bit so we were able to spend some quality time hunting.


We saw quite a few bulls that we were close enough to shoot. Here is video of one that a friend of ours shot a few days after this video. It was about 15 yards from the blind.
http://www.monsterhuntclips.com/video/1027/San-Juan-Bull

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ladyshooter
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Sep-22-10, 
08:29 PM (MST)
16. "Inbetween Hunts"

We just got back from another trip to Elk Ridge. Does this mess look familiar to anyone!?!

Time to reorganize and get ready for the next hunt starting next Wednesday! More posts to come with pics from the last Elk Ridge trip.

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ladyshooter
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Sep-24-10, 
12:43 PM (MST)
17. "Elk Ridge in the Rut"

We had a blast last weekend while on Elk Ridge. My awesome in-laws took Autumn and Porter while we went out to play. Saturday morning was slow with no action and a lot of glassing.


We decided to check out another area where my husband knew of a good wallow. We hiked in around noon and set up the hammocks for a nap. I love these TrekLight hammocks. They are very light, easy to set up, and comfortable.

We heard bugling during our down time and after a quick siesta we headed in the direction of the bugles. The area was hot with elk screaming all around us. It was such a rush. We were trying to find a good elk for a rifle hunter so we bounced from bugle to bugle trying to get a glimpse of the bulls. One good bull 370-80 in showed himself. It was a blast getting so close to multiple elk and hearing them bugling. We found the wallow on the way back and it had been hit pretty hard buy the elk.

Also caught this horny toad. They are cool little reptiles.

We pulled out so we wouldn't blow all the elk out of the area and went to another spot to see what bulls we could find. We found this nice bull in a spot that was easy to kill.

We had a great time. The hunter ended up with a decent bull, but not the big one above. Another bull with an identical 7th point stepped out of thick oak brush and was shot. It was disappointing, but the experience of being close to bulls in the rut outweighed the negative in my mind.

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ladyshooter
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Sep-28-10, 
09:18 AM (MST)
18. "Looking Back"

I can't help but look at the photos and video from my Alaskan hunt. It already seems like a long time ago. I find myself wishing I could go back and experience it all over to feel the same excitement and sense of accomplishment while it's still fresh. Here are some more of my favorite pictures and video.

My cabin from the front. The Claus' find and finish these knotty posts themselves.

Part of Donna's flower garden. I can only imagine the hours spent planting and caring for these beautiful flowers.

Me at the Hawkin's Glacier drop off before flying into Barnard Glacier.

This is an old prospector's cabin by the Hawkin's Glacier landing strip.

Here is Barnard Glacier. I took this photo from the plane on the way in.

Johnny while glassing.

This is some of the terrain we were glassing the first three days of the hunt.

I attempted to take a picture of these rams through the scope. It's a bit blurry, but you get the general idea. A lot of rams, none were legal.

Here is a short video of rams we were watching lick minerals. One was ornery and would show his dominance. Nothing legal here, but fun to watch anyway.
http://www.monsterhuntclips.com/video/1052/Battering-Rams

Here are a couple shots of an amazing sunset. This was my last night on the Barnard Glacier.

We ran across this small glacier stream in the second area, Canyon Creek Glacier. The water rages down these streams very fast.

Right after I shot my ram there were three others that hung around for a little bit. Mine is middle right shown with Johnny heading up to the ram.

These are mountains close to where I shot my ram. I took this the day after I killed while hiking back in for meat.

I thought this video was cool because it showed how crazy the country is that they fly in. It was a short runway and there was a glacier stream they had to avoid (you can see it when we take off). You'll notice after Lonny & Johnny take off Paul instructs me on how to shift my weight. Sorry for the poor filming while I readjusted my seating arrangement.
http://www.monsterhuntclips.com/video/1053/Canyon-Creek-Glacier-Take-off

That's it for now. I have a few more videos and pics that I would like to share when I get them uploaded. I hope you enjoyed reminiscing with me, I know I did.

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ladyshooter
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Sep-29-10, 
09:17 AM (MST)
19. "More from Alaska"

I think this is the end of my Alaska posts unless I find more interesting topics.

Here is a short video of the steep incline we climbed up.
http://www.monsterhuntclips.com/video/1056/The-Chute

Quick video after I shot my ram. The fog that rolled in right after my last shot was short lived and it cleared up for pictures and a little bit of video.
http://www.monsterhuntclips.com/video/1059/Right-after-shooting-ram

Here are the first intimate moments with my fallen ram.
http://www.monsterhuntclips.com/video/1057/First-time-to-see-ram

Johnny filmed me telling the story back at camp. It is short and sweet.
http://www.monsterhuntclips.com/video/1055/Camp-Dialogue

Today was the opening of the muzzleloader deer hunt. I love being a dedicated hunter and having all fall to hunt!

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ladyshooter
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Oct-05-10, 
09:43 AM (MST)
20. "Muzzloader in Full Swing"

I love the muzzleloader hunt. The time of year is beautiful with the changing leaves and the cooler weather. . . well except for this year! It has been exceptionally warm this year. The leaves have been beautiful though.

I thought I would share the challenges and joys of hunting with kids. We do not have family close by to watch the kids and I don't feel comfortable enough to ask anyone to watch them at 5:30 a.m. so they come along!

I love the snuggles.

Here are two grumpy hunters.

We took some time to have fun with them. They love fishing. While at the lake Autumn says, "Mom, I have fun when we are to the lake fishing." Hopefully we are building good memories for them that will erase the memories of waking up too early. I caught this fish within the first 10 minutes, and that was it for me. My hubby caught one as well, but smaller!

I love having them with us and they do really good, but it is restricting. It limits hunting to mostly road hunting which isn't very effective when looking for a decent four point.

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ladyshooter
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Oct-09-10, 
08:20 AM (MST)
21. "Two seasons down, one to go!"

The muzzleloader has come to a close and still no deer. It was a fun season and I passed up quite a few smaller bucks, looking for my first four point. I was able to go out on my own a few mornings without the kids. I saw two good four points, but they were 800+ yards away. I tried to get on them before they disappeared into the thick cedars, but didn't make it in time. I was within 80 yards of four smaller bucks the same morning, but decided to pass.

I saw a couple beautiful sunrises while out hunting.

I passed on one small four point early on in the hunt. If I would have seen him on the last night, I would have shot him. I'm glad I still have the rifle hunt, one last chance.

Here I am on the day I passed the small four point.
http://www.monsterhuntclips.com/video/1074/Muzzloader-hunt

On the last night we got a sitter for the kids and gave it one last go. My husband went on one side of the valley while I went around the other side. I saw some bucks coming out to feed and started closing the distance. I got within 150 yards and found the same smaller bucks from the other morning. There were seven small bucks with a three point being the biggest. I sat and watched them for the rest of the night. There was another hunter coming in on the same deer. It was kind of fun watching someone else putting the sneak on. He didn't end up getting close enough and gave up just before dark.

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ladyshooter
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Oct-14-10, 
09:32 AM (MST)
22. "An Unexpected Hunt"

This weekend I get to go on a hunt that was not planned for. My brother-in-law has an antler-less moose tag. My husband and I will be going to the Kamas area to help him out and see what we can find. I have never hunted for moose before, so I'm pretty excited to see how it goes.

A few years ago while living in Pleasant Grove we would see quite a few moose while out scouting and discovering new areas. They are awesome animals to watch. I can't wait to get outdoors again.

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ladyshooter
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Oct-21-10, 
08:01 AM (MST)
23. "Rifle Season Scouting"

As a follow-up the moose hunt fell through. If anyone knows where some cows are in the Kamas unit let me know. My brother-in-law hasn't seen one yet, and the hunt is coming to a close soon.

We have been scouting a few times for the rifle hunt coming up on Saturday. These scouting trips have provided some fun family outings. The twins love looking for deer with their binoculars. We took them for a short hike which they loved. My girl said on the way down, "Mom, that was a fun time on the hike."

We saw a few small bucks. They were the same ones I had at 150 yards on the last night of the muzzleloader season. I took some video of them. http://www.monsterhuntclips.com/video/1101/Rifle-Deer-Season-Scouting

I love being out with the family in the outdoors. The twins observe and explore nature. It is a great place for early training. We were able to point out some fresh deer beds in the cedars. They thought it was pretty cool.

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ladyshooter
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Oct-24-10, 
09:35 AM (MST)
24. "Rifle Deer Season"

This is it, the last chance to kill a deer for this year. I am a dedicated hunter and this is my last year that I'm enrolled in. I have really wanted to kill a four point this year. I've killed five bucks in my past hunting adventures and the biggest was a 3x4.

I've already posted my Archery Book Cliff's buck. Here are a couple other bucks I have pictures of. The other two deer were archery season two points. I don't have pictures of them on my computer.

Archery 2006. I was a happy camper this year. I was six weeks along with the twins after four years of trying to get pregnant. My chessy Kuda helped us track this deer. She ran up the hill and came back with a stick in her mouth that had the deer's blood on it, then proceeded to run right to it. I was surprised, it was a skill I didn't know she had.

Rifle 2009. We were road hunting with the kids. They were pretty excited to watch mom shoot a deer. Later in the year they were able to see dad shoot a great buck on the Pansagaunt Muzzleloader hunt.

I've passed up on a lot of smaller bucks during the 2010 archery and muzzleloader seasons. It has been extremely fun getting close to bucks and deciding to pass and wait for something a bit bigger. I love knowing I can get close and fill my tag when needed. I am hopeful that I can pull it off and get my first four point this year. It would top of an already great year with my sheep and time spent in the field looking for deer and elk.

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ladyshooter
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Oct-31-10, 
09:42 AM (MST)
25. "Rifle Deer Season - My First Four Point!"

YEEEAAAAHHHHH!!!! So I did it. I killed my first four point. He may be a young, small four point, but he's a solid four point and I'm pretty excited.

I broke down and asked a babysitter to come at 6:00 a.m. and watch the kids so that my husband and I could go out together on opening morning. It says a lot about a 14 year old babysitter to wake up early on Saturday morning to babysit. It was so much fun to share this exciting moment with my hubby.

I was dropped off in a valley below where we had seen some deer. In the dark I started making my way up to where I could glass and see if they were in the same place. The fog was constantly rolling in and out of the valley. My view often looked like this:

It was a beautiful sight to watch the fog come and go.

I crossed the valley and made my way up the opposite ridge. As it got lighter I slowly made my way to where I thought the deer would be. As I was glassing I saw four does with one lone buck at 240 yards. I studied the buck and found that he was a four point. The does were walking away from me and the buck was reluctantly following them. Next thing I know he turns and starts walking down the shallow draw where I'm sitting. I loose sight of him and decide to move to the edge of the trees to get a better look. I pick a fallen tree and crawl my way to it. It was the perfect natural blind. It sat shoulder height while on my knees. I peeked my head over and started glassing with my binos. After a few sweeps of the trees across the draw I found him! I started getting buck fever and the familiar excitement of knowing it's almost time to pull the trigger. I watched him trough my scope and realized he had just enough of his vitals showing to make a clean shot. I tried to relax, and the next time my cross-hairs went over his shoulder I pulled the trigger. I was shooting my .270 Remington youth stock rifle. It kicks like a mule and makes me sore even when using a gun stand sighting in. I didn't even notice the kick or the sound when I shot. There was smoke and I couldn't see him go down. I pulled up my binos and scanned the hillside for the deer. I saw nothing and figured he had dropped in his tracks. I grabbed my gun and made my way toward where I shot. I entered the trees a little lower in the draw than where I shot and started getting worried that he may not be there, but after about 30 yards of walking I found him! I was so happy to see that he had gone down in his tracks. Here is the video of my deer right after I found him and gave thanks for a successful hunt.
http://www.monsterhuntclips.com/video/1108/My-First-four-point

I called my husband on the radio and told him the good news. He was on top of the hill and quickly made his way down to help me take photos and quarter him. He was really excited for me and was a great help in getting the deer taken care of. He had watched these deer and was amazed that the buck left the does. He did not know where I was and after finding out that the deer came right to me he started calling me the buck whisperer.


The pack-out wasn't too bad. However, it was all up hill and we were happy to see the truck at the end. The fog had lifted and it was a beautiful day.

Days like this make all the disappointments and failures worthwhile. I was excited to get home and tell the kids about my deer. I was greeted with huge hugs and excitement as they looked at the deer horns. At that moment, and many others, I felt bad for the wives that sit at home while their husbands are out hunting. They do not know what they are missing!

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ladyshooter
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Nov-04-10, 
10:39 AM (MST)
26. "Extreme Huntress Contest Finalist!!!"

You may have seen my general post with the link to vote for Paula Richmond for the Extreme Huntress contest. If not here is a recap.

First of all I am STOKED to have been selected as a finalist. There are some incredible women in the contest and I feel honored to be numbered among them.

If I win I will be sent to New Zealand to hunt red stag, chamois, and tahr. There will be other prizes as well that are pretty sweet. New Zealand red stag is number two on the list of hunts I will do before I die. Dall sheep was number one!

The link to vote is http://www.tahoefilms.com/poll.php?poll_id=6. Please pass on to your contacts and ask them to vote for Paula Richmond. It is an amazing opportunity that I am really excited about.

Thanks for following my postings throughout the year. It has been really fun for me to write about my hunts.

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ladyshooter
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Nov-07-10, 
11:10 AM (MST)
27. "Last Big Hunt of the Year"

Our good friend drew a late season elk tag here on the Beaver unit. We are looking forward to going out on the hills with him to find a good bull. The season opens November 13th which is also the 2A State Championship game in Cedar City. San Juan and South Summit will compete for the title. My little brothers-in-law are both on the San Juan team. We'll have to take a break from hunting to watch the game.

While out scouting the other night we came across habitat restoration in action. It was cool to see large pinion trees being uprooted to make way for vegitation more suitable for wildlife.

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ladyshooter
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Nov-17-10, 
06:56 PM (MST)
28. "Scouting Late Rifle Elk Hunt"

Scouting for elk was not very successful. There were a few nice bucks spotted, but no elk until the day before the opening of the hunt. The night before the opener a few bulls were spotted as well as some cows. One bull got the attention of our friend. He decided this was the bull that he wanted to hunt on opening morning. The bull was put to bed and as long as nothing major happened during the night he would be there the next morning.

We all went to bed excited for what the next morning would bring.

Here is a video of a couple bucks and the bull that we were to hunt. I am new at this video editing thing, so here is my big movie premiere.
http://www.monsterhuntclips.com/video/1168/Late-Elk-Scouting-2010

Also, just for fun here are the twins in their Halloween costumes!

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ladyshooter
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Nov-22-10, 
10:17 AM (MST)
29. "Late Rifle Elk Hunt - Opening Day"

Early, on November 13th we loaded up and made our way toward the bull elk that was spotted the night before. At first light we were in our planned location. After a few minutes the bull was spotted. Soon after he was spotted a group of three four wheelers drove by. It made us all a little nervous that they would spook the elk. My husband and his friend started making their way toward a ridge located about 250 yards away from the elk. Soon after they left I couldn't find the elk. He had been easy to spot in some thick oak brushes, but now he was nowhere to be seen. After an hour or more of searching, he was never located. He had fled the area. My husband said they found his tracks and he was not wasting any time in getting out of there. They were running tracks, not walking tracks. They decided to walk down to the main road and have us meet them there.

We all met up and were discussing the morning's events when we heard hounds light up close by. We looked up the ridge and found our bull on a dead run! He was being chased by five to seven hounds right on his heels. It is amazing how fast he maneuvered through thick oak and side hilled a steep ridge. The hunter had him in the cross-hairs, but the elk was running and zig-zagging to much to make a good shot. In a frenzy, we piled into the truck to try to cut them off on a side road close by. Our other friend stayed back to watch. On the side road we saw the dogs go in front of us, so we had just missed seeing the bull. We turned around and headed back down the main road. Our friend who stayed behind had jumped on his four wheeler and followed the crazy stampede. At one point he had the elk at 150 yds. standing broadside. Our group didn't see him again after the first crazy sighting. We drove down the canyon not believing what we had seen.

We went home and left our hunter friend in the hands of a good friend who knew the area while we went to the 2A State football game. San Juan won 19-6.

No shooters were seen that night and the opening day ended without an elk on the ground.

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ladyshooter
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Nov-29-10, 
02:27 PM (MST)
30. "Late Rifle Elk Hunt - Elk on the Ground"

Sunday was not near as exciting as Saturday. A few more elk were spotted, but nothing big enough to shoot.

Monday ended with success and a dead elk on the ground. My husband was glassing a higher vantage point while Steve and another friend spotted some elk and worked down on them. They started seeing bulls, two, three, then four bulls in a small area. Everyone but Steve was checking the sizes to find out which one was biggest. Steve had his gun on a solid rest and was getting anxious, he was nervous about killing since we had not seen much while scouting and hunting. One of the bulls stepped out and he said, point blank, "I'm shooting him." After one shot the smaller elk was down. It ended up being roughly 330 in, so not too bad for a late season bull. Steve was really excited and happy with his elk.


After two long pack-out trips the elk hunt was over. My husband has been close friends with Steve almost all of his life. I have known him since I started dating my husband in high school. He has a big heart and I cannot say enough good about him. It was great to have him stay with us and to spend time hunting with him.

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ladyshooter
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Dec-12-10, 
07:28 AM (MST)
31. "Thanksgiving Bucks"

We traveled to Blanding to spend Christmas with my in-laws. My husband had a cow elk tag to fill so we headed out the first morning after we arrived. It was by far the easiest, quickest hunt I've participated in. We left at 5:00 am and drove out to Elk Ridge. At 7:30 a group of elk were spotted. He jumped out of the truck and shot one of the cows. After a few steps she went down about 100 yards from the road. We trudged through the snow, cleaned her out, and were able to load her into the truck whole. We were done by 8:15 a.m. That was it!

We didn't know what to do with ourselves for the rest of the trip. That night we headed out to a popular rutting area for deer to see what we could see. There were quite a few good bucks and a whole passel of three points. It would be a good area to do a management hunt!

Here is video of some of the bucks we saw. I loved watching them rut. They would circle around and around each other fiercly eyeing their opponent. Unfortunately we didn't see any bash antlers, but it was still entertaining to witness the process.

http://www.monsterhuntclips.com/video/1248/Thanksgiving-Bucks

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ladyshooter
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Dec-24-10, 
08:06 PM (MST)
32. "Until Next Time . . . ."

What a great year this has been! To have gone on the sheep hunt alone would have been enough to make it spectacular, but in addition I was able to see some awesome rutting elk and shoot my first four-point. Being able to scout and hunt for elk with my husband for three weeks time was priceless. It was some of the most enjoyable time we’ve had. Looking back into February my life was changed when I found out I was going to hunt dall sheep, a hunt I never thought I’d be able to do. . . and what a hunt it was! I loved every minute of it. I have had fun sharing this hunting season with the MonsterMuleys crew. It has been cool to meet and get to know new people. I met C3 on the elk hunt after he shot his awesome bull. He is as cool as he sounds in his posts. I’ve looked up to Predator and the two amazing bulls that she shot this year. What a woman! She is one all women (and men) hunters can learn from. Reading midnight and bugleboy brought back memories of hunting the Wasatch extended archery hunt. My husband and I hunted there many times before we moved. Thanks to those who have given compliments and for anyone who has enjoyed it. It was a great way to document an awesome year of hunting.


Doing what I love the most, hunting with the kids. 2009 antelope doe hunt.

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