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Great Opportunities

 
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Forums 2011 Hunt Adventure Challenge
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Iowan
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Jul-20-11, 
09:32 AM (MST)
"Great Opportunities"

I know many people that think I am crazy for leaving Iowa for other hunting opportunities. We have great hunting nearly out our back door. That said I have always felt something pulling me out west. I suppose it was the terrain, the scenery, the thought of hunting more exotic game,the physical challenge, and the thought of encountering a big buck or bull at close range. For many years life and finances kept me close to home. I was more interested in buying land for hunting around home and getting my life put togehter. About six years ago I got smart and at least started to build points and make application for some of the best hunts the west has to offer. At first we were unsuccessful and that is waht we expected for many years, we were so wrong. I am going to briefly cover some of those hunts in this post as many of them have not been posted on this site and the ending to my 2010 elk hunt was a wild one and I think many will be able to learn from the mistakes I made and will enjoy that story, not to mention that it will be the back story for my 2011 hunts.

Here is the outline for my most significant 2011 hunts.

9/24 - 10/6 Utah Book Cliffs Roadless Elk Muzzleloader
10/8 - 10-12 Northern New Mexico Elk Muzzleloader
11/1 - 11/15 Iowa Archery Whitetail

I will start by revisting my first elk hunt. It involved a youth elk muzzleloader tag that my nephew drew in 2009. Looking back we did not really know what we were doing but we had an experienced person step up and help us out immensely. Was a short but very fun hunt.


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  Table of Contents  

 Subject   Author   Message Date   ID 
 RE: Great Oppo...  Iowan      Jul-26-11   1 
  RE: Great Oppo...  Iowan      Aug-07-11   2 
  RE: Great Oppo...  Iowan      Aug-07-11   3 
   RE: Great Oppo...  Iowan      Aug-09-11   4 
    RE: Great Oppo...  Iowan      Aug-11-11   5 
     RE: Great Oppo...  Iowan      Aug-17-11   6 
      RE: Great Oppo...  Iowan      Aug-28-11   7 
       RE: Great Oppo...  Iowan      Sep-06-11   8 
        RE: Great Oppo...  Iowan      Sep-15-11   9 
         RE: Great Oppo...  Iowan      Sep-22-11   10 
          RE: Great Oppo...  Iowan      Oct-13-11   11 
           RE: Great Oppo...  Iowan      Oct-18-11   12 
            RE: Great Oppo...  Iowan      Oct-20-11   13 
             RE: Great Oppo...  Iowan      Oct-28-11   14 
              RE: Great Oppo...  Iowan      Nov-01-11   15 
               RE: Great Oppo...  Iowan      Nov-06-11   16 
                RE: Great Oppo...  Iowan      Nov-09-11   17 
                 RE: Great Oppo...  Iowan      Nov-14-11   18 
                  RE: Great Oppo...  Iowan      Nov-22-11   19 
                   RE: Great Oppo...  Iowan      Nov-23-11   20 
                    RE: Great Oppo...  Iowan      Nov-29-11   21 
                     RE: Great Oppo...  Iowan      Dec-08-11   22 
                      RE: Great Oppo...  Iowan      Dec-15-11   23 
                       RE: Great Oppo...  Iowan      Dec-20-11   24 
                        RE: Great Oppo...  Iowan      Dec-27-11   25 
                        RE: Great Oppo...  Iowan      Dec-27-11   26 
                         RE: Great Oppo...  Iowan      Jan-09-12   27 
                          RE: Great Oppo...  Iowan      Jan-20-12   28 
                          RE: Great Oppo...  Iowan      Jan-23-12   29 
                           RE: Great Oppo...  Iowan      Feb-06-12   30 
                           RE: Great Oppo...  Iowan      Feb-06-12   31 

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Iowan
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Jul-26-11, 
01:11 PM (MST)
1. "RE: Great Opportunities"

Fast forward to 2010 and the New Mexico draw results are showing up in email boxes and I get nothing. Not a big surprise as I had taken a couple long shots. A couple days later I decided to check my spam filter and turns out the NMGF had notified me that my nephew, brother and I all drew pretty good antelope tags and my brother, friend and I all drew Gila rifle elk tags for the 2nd season. This turns into a long story that I promise will connect with my 2011 hunts.

I will start with a brief run down on the antelope hunt in early October 2010. We were assigned a ranch by Lordsburg. I am still convince that some staffer was laughing his rear off when he assigned these yahoos from Iowa to a ranch in the extreme southwest corner of the state. I could write a book on this hunt alone. I will tell you it was an eye opening experience in regard to illegal immigration issues. I should also mention that the first thing my brother asked about was snakes as he is really freaked out by snakes. The rancher's son took off running to his room and grabbed a shoe box full of rattles and informed my brother that those were from just this year. I could not be convinced that we might have been assigend to a better ranch from a hospitatliy stand point and the hunting was pretty good also. The rancher's brother in law had one of his tags and passed on this buck just to let my nephew have a chance at it. By far the best buck we saw.

After harvesting his antelope I decided to take the first decent buck we saw as we planned to spend as much time as possible scouting our elk area after the antelope hunt was finished. This is my first antelope and I was happy with it. Good clean shot at about 200 yards.


http://www.monstermuleys.info/photos/user_photos/9754nm_russ\'_w_carter.jpg

After cleaning the antelope and loading up gear, we thanked the rancher for his hospitality and headed north to Reserve for a coupe days of scouting elk.

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Iowan
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Aug-07-11, 
02:40 PM (MST)
2. "RE: Great Opportunities"

I will try to post that last antelope picture again here.

http://www.monstermuleys.info/photos/user_photos/4915nm_russ\'_w_carter.jpg

Moving on to the 2010 New Mexico elk hunt. After filling our antelope tags, we headed north from Lordsburg to Reserve for a couple days of scouting. The stars really alinged for us drawing these antelope tags and then being able to scout our elk unit on the way home. We used this time to learn the roads and basically get acclimated with the terrain. We had a lot of fun glassing elk but really enjoyed the bugling all night long as it was early October. We already knew where we planned to hunt but having never set foot in the unit seeing it in person was very useful. We did not tackle any of the tough terrain on the scouting trip but it was nice to know what we were facing. We saw plenty of nice bulls and this is when it really started to set in for us that we had drawn some pretty great tags. Ater a couple days scouting we headed back to Iowa to get some work done and make last minute prepartions for the elk hunt.

Our hunting group consisted of my brother Curt, my 70+ year old friend Sandy, and myself. We hired Kevin Jamarillo of JFW Ranch Consulting to serve as our guide. Since Sandy was older and would not be able to hunt the same terrain as Curt and I we elected to have Kevin work with Sandy. Sandy had also been on numerous elk hunts in the past but had not been able to get a bull so that was our number one priority. I am not going to cover Sandy's hunt here because you will eventually be able to watch that hunt on DVD when Kevin releases his Seasons hunting series. Kevin also plays a huge role in my hunt, but we will get to that later.

So opening morning finds Curt and I on different vantage points glassing for elk. I should add that neither Curt nor I have ever shot an elk so even seeing elk is still very exciting for us. Saturday came and went with a couple smaller bulls spotted. I even started to put a stalk on one and then talked myself out of it. I did not need to shoot a monster but I was also not going to shoot anything under 300". We were in an area that was going to require a great deal of work to pack the animal out and I wanted to make it worth our effort. We also spotted a bear and a couple small mule deer. Saturday night was more of the same. Even though we did not get a chance to chase any bulls on Saturday we were having the time of our lives.

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Iowan
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Aug-07-11, 
02:40 PM (MST)
3. "RE: Great Opportunities"

On Sunday morning Curt and I again split up to glass different areas. We were about two miles apart and planned to meet at his lcoation at noon. My morning was uneventful. I again saw smaller bulls and two bears. So at about 11:00 a.m. I began the hike to Curt's location. Upon arriving I found where he had been glassing and some of his gear was there but he was not. I assumed correctly that he had spotted a bull and took what he needed leaving the rest. Luckliy I was able to get him on the radio and after telling me he had a bull down all he asked about was water. The first thing he did when he got out of the canyon to my location was apoligize and he was very sincere. I asked why he was apoligizing and he then began to explain where his elk was located. It was not in the canyon below us, it was in the next canyon over. We spent the rest of Sunday and most of Monday packing his elk out. Although it was incredibly hard work it made for a great story. It did leave us enough time on Monday to move to another location.

He took this bull with a 300MSW at 30 yards!

So now we have two days to try and get me a bull. I was very excited about the area we were moving into and having a bull down seemed to take a lot of pressure off of me. As it turns out my elk hunt really would not begin until Tuesday morning and would end 5 months later!

Below are the text from a couple emails I sent out when I returned from our trip as teasers.

A quick note and one picture from our elk hunt last week. I will get more of a story put together later (once I am caught up with work and home life). This is my favorite photo from the trip taken as we are reaching the top of the canyon. Curt had shot this elk at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday and this photo is the last trip hauling meat and the antlers out of a canyon named XXXXX Canyon which is surrounded by XXXXX Canyon and XXXXX Canyon that should have warned us not to venture into this area. The round trip from camp to the downed elk took around 4-5 hours. We saw several bigger than this one and as many of you know I had a chance at a great bull on Wednesday morning that turned into a very long story and an even longer day more on that later.

Thanks to all that provided information for the hunt, equipment, and support at home and work so I could go on this trip.

Next one:

We had a great time and went two for three. Our plan was to get one good one down and save the remaining tag for a monster. We did not get the monster but I had two different chances at bulls over 340. One was a big 7 x 7 with garbage. I had him at 75 yards but could not get a clear shot, I had a shot at his rump once but did not like the odds of recovering that bull. He was the biggest bull we saw. Then on Wednesday morning we were glassing and seeing lots of elk but nothing great when out of the blue there is a 340+ bull at 340 yards at about a 20 degree angle below us. I had a great rest and no wind so I felt good about the shot. I ranged him and held about 14 high of the center of the lungs and let it rip. The bull went down like a bag of hammers, did not move one inch. We exchanged high fives and even talked about sharpening knives. We were packing our stuff up to head down there when the bull stood up and before I could get another shot off he walked into some brush and over a little rise. He was on the ground for over two minutes. We were still confident that we were going to find him dead over the rise. We had talked about putting another round in him but after glassing him he looked very dead nose in the dirt and dropped on his legs I obviously regret that decision now. We found where he bedded about 200 yards away and there was very little blood (trace amounts). We backed out and came back in with our guide later. We tracked him for a couple hours and bumped him once, he appeared to be fine. It seemed to us that he was not mortally wounded so we stopped the search at 6:00 p.m. (shot him at 8:00 a.m.).

I suspect I hit him either between the lungs and spine somehow missing any vitals or in the front shoulder but based on where I was aiming the front shoulder seems unlikely. Have you had this happen? I was using a 7MM 160 grain Accubond.

The third tag was held by a 74 year old friend of mine and he hunted with a guide around XXXXX and took a small 5 x 5 we was thrilled with it. I could have shot a couple smaller bulls but not too many. We saw mostly 300 and up bulls.

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Iowan
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Aug-09-11, 
01:26 AM (MST)
4. "RE: Great Opportunities"

We now have the bull my brother shot on ice and have moved to another canyon about three miles from where we had been hunting. Tuesday morning finds us camped at the end of an ATV trail within one mile of the rim rock we wanted to glass from. We had a couple minutes on Monday night to run into the area and at least find our glassing locations for the next day. Up to this point I had not heard a single elk bugle; however Curt had been hearing bulls prior to shooting his elk. As we neared our glassing location, we started to hear a couple bulls sounding off. When we arrived at our destination is was still almost pitch black with only a modest glow to the east. As the sun rose over the next hour the number of bulls bugling increased to more than a dozen and we were seeing elk in nearly every drainage to the left, right, and in front of us. As best we could tell they were not rutting but warning the other bulls to keep their distance. We never saw more than two bulls together and when we did there was usually one large bull and one very small bull. We also did not see any bulls with cows. We did one smart thing on Tuesday morning, we knew we had found a great location and we elected to pursue a bull in an area that would not bugger the spot for the following day if we were not successful on Tuesday.

To make this long story shorter, on Tuesday, I chased two different bulls and almost pulled the trigger a couple times but things did not line up for me. The biggest of the two bulls I pursued was around 370" but I just could not get a clear shot. I even got to within about 75 yards one time. Although I was very tired by noon, I had a riot and was not at all stressed that I only had Tuesday night and Wednesday to hunt. We had seen so many bulls that I was nothing but excited for the remaining pieces of the hunt to unfold. We elected to only scout on Tuesday night unless a really good opportunity presented itself and it did not.

Wednesday at first light we were back on the rim rock from the previous day. It was almost an exact repeat of Tuesday with one exception, we were only seeing 300" or smaller bulls but they were all over the place. By 8:00 a.m. I had not seen a bull I wanted to chase but I was still hopeful becasue the previous day we saw bulls until almost noon. We were glassing a couple small bulls and some other cows across the main canyon when right below me in a small clearing at just over 300 yards I spot a really good bull. All I said to my brother was "Good bull, good bull" as I pointed to the are below. Before he could even find the bull, I had the gun on the rock in front of me. I had ranged that small clearing a dozen times and I knew it was 320 yards. So with a good rest and knowledge of the distance, I settled the cross hairs and pulled the trigger.

At this point, Curt is not even sure what the heck is going on but he knows I am excited. He asked me if I hit it and I tell him it dropped in its tracks. We both put our glass on the elk and he is laying on his legs with his nose in the dirt. I chambered another round and told him I was going to shoot him again. Curt was glassing the elk at this time and said 'do not bother he is down'. Why put another round in a dead elk?

We exchange high fives and we even start to talk about who has what knife and question whether or not we brought enough game bags. We had taken only a couple steps when I hear some noise from below us and as you probably guessed by now the elk gets to his feet. I frantically get set up for another shot when he turns and goes over a little rise. Although in a state of shock we believe the bull is mortally wounded and will be just over the rise.

We elect to have Curt stay at the rim rcok so that he can see if the bull tries to leave the area. I wait about a half hour and begin the descent into the canyon below to find this bull. I find the spot where he went down and can find no blood which is disappointing. I very slowly folllow the trail the bull was on when we last saw him. I am ready for a follow up shot if necessary. I can find no blood but his tracks are obvious and it is apparent his steps are labored. I follow his tracks for about 200 yards and simply do not feel good about the situation. I radio Curt that I think we should back out. He encourages me to push on a little farther. I go another 200 yards and the smell of elk is overwhelming. I am still on his track but no blood to be found. The trail had taken me into some very heavy brush, just the place a wounded bull might go to hide. After searching the immediate area with no success, I radio Curt and tell him I really think we need to back out and he agrees.

We head back and break our mobile camp. We headed out to meet back up with Sandy and Kevin. Knowning Kevin was much more experienced than us we were smart enough to go back and get his help. Curt and Sandy decide to stay at the main camp and get it broken down and things ready to go. Kevin and I make the long ride back to the termiantion of the ATV trail and then hike into the hunting location. It is now about 4 p.m. and I have to admit I am a little dejected and losing hope. I brought Kevin to the thick brush where I had smelled the elk and the odor was still present which lifted my spirits. We split up and started to cover the area looking for any sign. After a short while Kevin called me over to a location where the bull had bedded. There was urine and a small amount of blood present. We guessed that we pushed him out just minutes earlier. I now had hope that we might find this bull. We were able to follow his tracks at times but there was a lot of elk sign in the area and after a while we were not completely sure we were following the right elk. We did find aother bedding location. This one had no blood but did have fresh urine. It was about 200 yards from the earlier bedding location. At one point we heard the bull ahead of us. He was obviously hurt as he never left the area but he appeared to have enough in him to always stay ahead of us. I kept hoping that I might get a chance for another shot. The other thing that was very concerning to me was that we found only trace amounts of blood. How could I knock a bull down in his tracks for seevral minutes and there be no blood? Where did I hit him? Are we even tracking the same bull? This bull appeared to be heading up hill most of time and wounded animals are supposed to head downhill or towards water (not following this golden rule was another mistake I made). After about four more hours I convinced myself that the bull was not mortally wounded. My friend Sandy had also told us at the last minute that he needed to leave on Wednesday night to arrive back in time to fullfill a family committment. It killed me to leave without the bull but between Sandy's committment and my strong doubts that I had make a lethal shot, we elected to end the search. Although I was really disappointed that I had wounded a great bull, I felt I made an ethical shot and did my best to locate the elk. My two regrets to this day are not putting another round in that elk and not leaving an extra day on the back end of the trip for just this situation. I did ask Kevin to come back into this area when he had a chance to see if he might get lucky and find this bull. He agreed to continue the search...stay tuned this is where this story starts to get interesting and connect to my 2011 hunt. I shoudl also note that I had described the elk to Kevin as being very long, narrow, pretty symetrical, I remembered the lower part of his whale tails as being sunstantially longer than the tops, and he had a bump on his right side just before the whale tail. I guessed him at 340".

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Iowan
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Aug-11-11, 
04:18 AM (MST)
5. "RE: Great Opportunities"

Lucky for all of you I have a list of things to do at home before the kids' birthday party this weekend so I will have to keep this part short.

We have ended the search for my bull and I am trying hard to convince myself that I did not mortally wound that bull. I come up with all kinds of theories about how it must have been the shock of the bullet that knocked him down not the placement. I also tell myself that after 8 hours he should not have been able to get up from that first bedding location but he did. I am also trying not to dwell too much on the lose of this bull. If I somehow knew this bull was going to live I would have no problems calling the trip successful. My brother got a good first bull, my friend Sandy got his first and likely only bull at his age, and I had some great opportunities. We found a bunch of good sheds and were leaving with a pile of good stories. I was certainly down in the dumps and second guessing everything I did or did not do, but there were enough good things that happened that I was going to be able to look back on the trip with very found memories. The one thing I could not shake was the fact that the bull drop deaded in his tracks and did not move for at least two minutes - where the heck did I hit him and how in the world could he survive the 160 grain 7MM Rem Mag bullet.

So I had 18 hours to replay all the events in my head on the long drive back to Iowa. Of course when I got back I told all these stories hundreds of times to friends, relatives, neighbors, co-workers, and fellow hunters. The hunt occurred in the later part of October and there was not a day that passed where I did not think about that bull and what became of him.

Fast forward to March 2011. I start getting some emails from Kevin about his shed hunting. He was going to go back into the area I had hunted to look for the sheds of the 370" bull I had seen and look for my bull. He found some good sheds in the area the first trip in and lucky for me found one good shed that he planned to return later and try and recover the other side. No bull found on the first trip into this area.

A coupled days later I get the following text:

Found your bull today. He was straight downhill from that flat bench area in the oaks. He died on the creek. Took few pics. Looks like shot never exited. It was low and back judging by the trauma to the ribs on his left side. Hard to say when he died, but he is decayed. Has 55+ inch main beams. Interesting enough he has a kink like Kurts bull on his roght side. Send more pics later. Only had my cell phone camera. Anyhow he is down there. I can't pick him up without a tag and game warden consent.

Kevin was literally walking out of the area for that last time after the second shed hunting trip, looked back over his shoulder and saw antlers sticking above a downed tree.

Of course at this point I am anxious for more details and especially photos. I also had to prepare a written statement for the game warden and pay a small fee for the salvage tag. It took a short while and I was a little nervous how that would play out but it all worked fine.

He is the follow up email from Kevin:

Casey is going to meet me on thurs morn. Will get your bull no problem.

So now I am feeling better sort of. By this point five months after the hunt I had pretty much forced myself to believe that the elk lived. Frankly, it was hard to think about shooting, wounding, and not recovering the elk. The one good thing about the situation and the conlusion of that hunt is that at least I had closure and now knew definitively what happended. The bull had not gone another 200 yards down to the main creek in the canyon from where we stopped looking. Of course hindsight is 20/20 and I will have to live with that.

Then I finally started to get some pictures.

I will end here for now. In the next post I will tell you how I got him to Iowa, include some more photos, and tell you what he scored. I really apreciate Kevin going way above and beyond to help bring closure to this hunt.

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Iowan
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Aug-17-11, 
09:32 PM (MST)
6. "RE: Great Opportunities"

Since I am leaving for my hunt in less than six weeks I need to pick the pace of this story up a little bit. Here are a couple more photos of the dead head. I did not measure him but a friend that did said he scores 343".

http://www.monstermuleys.info/photos/user_photos/8660img00680-20110321-1632_(2).jpg

Kevin delivers the dead head to Jim and Kelly Wells of JFW Ranch Consulting in Albuquerque. As luck would have it a friend of mine that had wintered in Arizona was coming through and agreed to stop and pick the dead head up for me. Jim and Kelly were nice enough to meet my friend on the interstate as they had a large RV and trailer in tow. I had the dead head in my hands April 13th. The head is being beetled now and should be done soon.

All of this was a great distraction for me because my mom's fight against cancer was coming to end. As it turns out I learned I drew the Utah and the New Mexico tags about the same time she was passing. My mom passed on June 1st so I really did very little in regard to preparing for these hunts the first couple weeks of June and even considering turning the Utah tag back in because at the time preparing for two hunts seemed a little overwhelming and frankly insignificant. By early July the dust settled and I was able to begin getting input from friends and new friends I was talking to that had hunted this unit in the past. I quickly began to realize that the Book Cliffs hunt was going to be special. I am also very fortunate to have a friend that knows Unit 53 very well so the preparation for that hunt is made easier.

One of my first calls as I was getting serious about the planning was to Kevin. I new he could not guide me in Utah but I really did not feel I needed a hunting guide. I was interested in his cinematography abilities and really enjoyed his attitude and work ethic from my 2010 experience. After some very friendly negotiating we reached a deal on having him join me to film the entire Book Cliffs hunt whether it is one day or nine days. He had just been hired by one of the hunting shows to film their next two season so scheduling this was a little tricky but we got it done. It was also nice to know I had a reliable partner for the trip. Sicne the duration of the Utah hunt alone was going to be nearly two weeks, I needed someone that I knew would not back out. Since my brother Curt who is my main hunting partner had drawn the same New Mexico tag as me, he would not be able to join me in Utah.

I posted on MM that I was looking for someone to pack us in either for a fee or if someone wanted to join us for the hunt. After a couple discussions with many great folks we have this all worked out.

I then had to decide whether or not to buy a new muzzleloader and what type of sights/scope to use. I also knew that as a life long flatlander I needed to pick up my workouts to be ready for the terrain. I will pick up here later.

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Iowan
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Aug-28-11, 
10:07 PM (MST)
7. "RE: Great Opportunities"

It is hard to believe the kids are back in school and only three days left in September. I will leave for Utah in three weeks from this coming Friday. I have most of the big picture planning done and am down to a couple smaller things. I had a lot of work to get done on our farms here in Iowa and finished most of that up last weekend. We have not done anything with tree stands but there is not a lot of work to be done on that front. I have a couple projects at home that I am going to knock out Labor Day weekend then I should be ready to devote more time to final preparations.

I had stressed a little over buying a new muzzle loader but more regarding the type of 'scope' to use. I had 50% of the people telling me to go with the 1X and the other 50% advising me to use a red dot. I settled on the Aim Point red dot. I have only had it out three times and it has performed well every time. Here is a picture of the target from the first three shots I fired (I brought it to Brownells and they mounted the red dot and sighted it in for me - their office is between my house and our farms). This target was a 100 yards.

I have since shot it at 150, 200, and 250 yards. I was able to shoot it well out to 200 yards but 250 yards is outside the range of this set up or my skills. I feel really good to 200 yards but that is the limit. Here is a photo of the gun on the lead sled at our shooting range (pasture).

I absolutely love the Aim Point. I was able to get a deal on this used one otherwise the price would have been outside my budget. I am heading out to shoot here in a few minutes. I want to get another 20 rounds or so through the set up before the hunt.

Of course New Mexico allows scopes but I am going to stick with this set up for both hunts. I thought about setting up two guns but I decided to stick with one once I shot well out to 200 yards. My brother can shoot well out to 250 yards with his scoped muzzle loader. Do you get the feeling I will regret this later?

Based on the number of applciations I was submitting in 2011 odds were that I was going to draw a tag somewhere so I have been training pretty regularly since January 2011. I was in good shape for my 2010 hunts but wanted to step it up a little for 2011. In my next post I will go over the physical preparations I have made for 2011.

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Iowan
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Sep-06-11, 
03:38 PM (MST)
8. "RE: Great Opportunities"

My preparations for the hunt continue. I have added some of the figures from my physical activities since January 1st and here are those totals:

Miles Ran: 640 (about 20 miles per week)
Miles on Bike: 1,200 (about 60 miles per week during the summer)
Miles Swam: 35 miles (2,000 meters a week - less in summer)

I have done two half marathons this year and both under two hours. I have been doing a number of 5K runs and my times are from 24 to 25 minutes. I am 6'1" and weigh 220 pounds so those are respectable times.

I wish I lived close enough to put some time in at higher elevations but it is not an option for me here at 1,000'.

People always say you need to be in great shape to enjoy your time elk hunting. Having now been on a couple hunts I really think it is one of the most important parts of hunting out west. No doubt I could be in better shape and being lighter would help but I feel I am ready for the hunt.

I will be at my hunt location for four full days before my hunt begins and I will use that time to scout and acclimate to the terrain.

I leave in two weeks two days!

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Iowan
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Sep-15-11, 
09:35 AM (MST)
9. "RE: Great Opportunities"

This may be my last post prior to leaving on my three week elk hunting adventure to Utah and New Mexico. I have taken a little time during the past two weeks to better prepare for our whitetail season here. I have mowed our clover plots and adjusted some tree stands. I have not had cameras out yet but plan to get at least two up this weekend before I leave for the elk hunts. I wish I had time to do a little prep work but I don't. I have not talked much about our whitetail hunt but I shoudl be able to post some really good trail cam photos after the pre-rut and hoepfully some good harvest photos.

The Iowa pheasant roadside counts came out a couple weeks ago and it was another tough year for our pheasants. I am fortuante to own and have access to some of the few remaining honey holes in the area. Here is a picture a farmer friend sent me of a unique pheasant from his farm. I have seen many varities of albino or partially white pheasant but never a blue one.

I have been checking gear, cleaning clothes, preparing food, servcing the vehcile, and all the things we all do before a trip like this. I find it amazing how littel gear we need but how much gear we feel we need to bring.

My next post will not be until October 16th or so. I plan to take hundreds of photos and will share the good ones when I return.

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Iowan
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Sep-22-11, 
10:35 PM (MST)
10. "RE: Great Opportunities"

All the gear is loaded and I just have one more work obligation before I can jump on the interstate and start the 15 hour journey west. The cool weather at night and all the photos being posted have me really anxious to get into the unit and set up camp. We should be settled in by late afternoon on Saturday. That will give me three full days to poke around and enjoy the area prior to the hunt.

I am in pretty good shape, feel comfortable with the gun set up, and have some really good tags in my pocket.

I have never been away from any job for three weeks, much less my family. I will miss my kids but it will also be really great to get back home and see them after being away that long.

I hope to be able to post up a photo of at least one good elk when I get back in mid-October.

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Iowan
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Oct-13-11, 
12:13 PM (MST)
11. "RE: Great Opportunities"

I had a long write up done a couple days ago and then my computer froze up and I lost it so you are going to get the abbreviated version which is still plenty long. I will start in reverse order. The New Mexico hunt was a bust. The weather pounded us. We were scheduled to be packed into an area at about 10,000' and the packer said he would not do it because of the weather that was approaching. This forced us to regroup and develop a park and hunt strategy or hike in a set up a smaller spike camp. The terrain in Unit 53 is nothing to screw around with. Without snow it was managable but once the ground was covered in snow there was no way we were going to risk climbing 2,000' feet opening morning. The other thing I hated about this unit is all of the development and housing that scattered all over the base of the mountains. Everyone is claiming their five acres of the moutain, building a road to it, and then a house. We could have tried to hunt the lower terrain but then you have to navigate homes and little commnities. There are earth ships, yurts, two dudes in a hammock (not kidding), no singage on the roads )the locals remove this so that you can not find your way around), and some pretty steep terrain. Remember I had just spent 9 days in the Book Cliffs running and climbing all over the place with little to no problems. Now I will admit we did not get to hunt what I have to guess are the better areas in Unit 53 - but there is not a snow ball's chance in hell I would go back to that unit - good news for those that like this unit.

Did I mention Taos - what a freak show. Everyone claims to be an artist or rancher - I think they just claim to be one of these professions. People chanting, signing, smoking weed, stores selling authentic locally inspired items made in China. It was entertaining and there were some pretty cool shops but just another little tourist trap for the most part. I do not think the world's most industrious people are found in the Taos area. There were many nice people but that is just not an area I enjoyed being while on an elk hunt. In case you ever want to see first hand the devastation development (poorly designed sprawl would be putting it kindly)is having on the habitat elk and other game relies upon visit Unit 53 - it is really sad.

In stark contrast to the negative things mentioned above was the Utah landscape I enjoyed for over a week. I did not shoot the biggest bull in the unit, in fact I may have harvested one of the smaller bulls taken but I am happy with it and very pleased with the experience I had there. It was such a pleasure to learn about how the Nature Conservancy and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation had worked with the DWR and the ranchers only 20 years ago to preserve this special place. If any of you were involved in this thank you!

I have to go pick up my daughter but when I can write again I will start from the beginning of the Utah hunt. Here are a couple pictures to tease you a little.

I will also add that I found a really nice dead head that was likely from the 2010 season. If lost a bull and can give me the general location and the very unique feature this bull has we can talk a little more. My friends from Utah are working through the process to go back in and get the dead head. I would have hate to lsot this bull. WhiskeyMan will be happy to know I did not find it by riding horses in the quackies. If no one claims it in the next two weeks I will post the photo. Once the photo is posted I will not even talk to anyone about trying to claim the dead head without video of them wounding the animal.

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Iowan
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Oct-18-11, 
12:18 PM (MST)
12. "RE: Great Opportunities"

OK - I am starting to get some PMs pleading with me to pick this up a little. This email will not help those of you sending me notes but I will at least tell you what is coming up:

I will provide the story of the hunt in the Books and photo of the dead head. The dead head sort of ends the first half of the hunt story.

I will pick up after the dead head and finish the story and post of picture of the elk I harvested.

I will also post some photos of the New Mexico hunt - mostly just photos of snow.

I am putting trail cameras out this week and should have some photos by that first week in November.

I am hoping by mid-November to either have a story about a big buck or even better a photo of one I arrowed. The weather is colling down, the corn harvest is moving along well, and the rut is less than two weeks away.

Then we will wrap up with some bird hunting and the later gun deer season - so this will go on until late January.

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Iowan
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Oct-20-11, 
07:39 PM (MST)
13. "RE: Great Opportunities"

I have 20 minutes to write about a week in the Book Cliffs! After taking two days to drive from Iowa to Utah I met my new friends in Thompson Springs the Saturday before the hunt was to begin. We drove to the Sego Canyon gate and found the parking lot nearly bare as the rifle hunters were gone and we were likely one of the first muzzle loader groups to arrive. Packing the horses was uneventful and after a couple hours we were off. We walked in while the horses did most of the heavy lifting. I did still carry a pack of about 50 lbs which was harder than I expected. The walk was pretty flat but it was 7 or so miles. It took about three hours to get to our camping location. By late afternoon on Saturday camp was set up and we had time to go on a pretty substantial hike to check out some area. My friends has to leave on Sunday so I would be alone in the unit for up to four or five days. They want to show me as many areas as they could before they had to leave. Late that evening we found two bulls really fighting agressively right at last light. My legs were no really ready for so much walking the first day but it would make things easier by the time the hunt started. We had a big day on Saturday, I guess we hiked nearly 15 miles that day total. We ate good that night and slept even better. We were up a little late on Sunday and did not get in a big hurry but we did go check out another canyon, by now I was at least comfortabel in the area around camp and ready to explore a little farther out each day before the hunt. By noon I was alone in camp but not alone. By now there were a couple camps scattered in the immediate area, I was surprised at the number of people I was seeing. Although it is a roadless area you see many people, everyone was really nice and I admit it was a little comforting knowing that there were people around if I ran into trouble. My feet hurt and I was a little tired so Sunday I climbed to a good glassing location and just enjoyed some quite time, as night approached there were plenty of bulls sounding off.

MOnday morning found me up early and ready for another big hike. I was set to cover some ground but I only got about two miles from camp and 1/2 way up out of the canyon when I found myself in the middle of several bulls. I sat tight and waited for light. There was a pretty large group of elk that included several cows, 4-5 satelite bulls and one really good bull. He had the frame of a monster - really long and extremely wide but his tine length adn mass were only average - I liked him a lot. Although I covered a lot of ground over the next couple days and saw many bulls, I kept finding ways to get back to this area and found this bull everytime. Fast forward to Tuesday afternoon. By now there are lots of camps and many hunters runnign around. Not only elk hunters but a significant number of deer hunters (I never did see a big buck). Unfrotunately, on Teusday afternoon the bulls I had been watching were especially vocal and every hunter in the area was converging on these bulls. I was undetered, I had wtched this bull for three days and I had a pretty good feeling we could get in there and get him right away. I went back to camp early Tuesday afternoon to rest and eat a good meal. I was also expecting Kevin (friend that is filming the hunt) to arrive Tuesday afternoon but he did not show by the time I went to sleep.

Of course I am really pumped and hardly slept after about 2:00 a.m. so by 3:00 a.m. I just decided to get up, eat a little and head out extra early. By 4:00 a.m. I was ready to head out of camp when I saw a head lamp bouncing on the trail coming my way. I called out to the person once with no answer, a little lounder the second time, and by the third time I had my hadn on the .357 - I was jsuting getting nervous when Kevin calls out. I should have know that is who it was but it kind of freaked me out. He hiked into an area he has never been starting at 1:00 a.m. and arrived by 4:00 a.m. He did miss my camp and woke up the neighboring camp - they did not know what to think of this guy hiking in during the middle of the night. A half hour later we were headed down the trail and up out of the canyon to where I had seen that biggest bull. We spent about two hours workign into position on this bull as the sun climbed. we got within about 300 yards - we were going to either work in slowly or sit on him all day depending on how he was reacting to calling and our noise as we tried to sneak closer. About this time we heard some hunters behind us and they were taking a more agressive approach on this bull - such is hunting on public land. The bull busted out. We had a nice chat with these guys and headed off to find another bull. It did not take too long. We found a bull that was bugling about every two minutes up until about noon. He was beaded in some dark timber and there was not much we could do other than try to come up with a plan for that afternoon. After sitting on this bull for four hours he started to move and did the exact opposite of what we anticipated, so again we were off to find another bull. It took about an hour to get on another bull and this one was in an area I had scouted and I knew the terrain. He was responding agressively to our bugles. There was trail that would lead us pretty close to where we thought this bull was calling from so we moved pretty quickly. Apparently the bull had the same idea we had, next thing we know we have passed each other and he is now sounding off from where we just came from and we are now where he had just been. I get set up for a shot as he is pretty close. About three seconds later a nice 320" bulls is standing facing us at 150 yards but he is at a really steep incline above us. I was on him but did not like the shot - too steep, a healthy distance, and nothing but the front exposed. After a two minute stare down, he turned quickly and headed off the opposite direction. The rest of day one was eventful. We arrived at camp about two hours after dark and ate well and slept even better. We knew it was just going to be a matter of time.

We were up early again the second day (Thursday), filled our packs with necessities (we found ourselves finding reasons to leave things to lighten our packs each day). We headed to a new area this morning and by first light were nearly on the ridge. About 3/4 of the way up we heard a weak and kind of pathetic bugle. We decided to sit tight and listen for other bulls before pushing to the top. It sounded like there might be two or three bulls because of the varied types of bugles. The bull was moving up and out of the canyon heading ultimately for the same ridge we were climbing to reach. About 1/2 hour after sunrise I spotted the bull nearing the ridge about 400 yards away - his bugle was deceiving as he is a really nice bull. I think it might be the same bull I had been scouting as this was only two miles from that location. Sorry - I have to go pick up my daughter.

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Iowan
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Oct-28-11, 
05:42 PM (MST)
14. "RE: Great Opportunities"

So we have good bull about 400 yards away and he is climbing out of the canyon quickly so we have some ground to cover - about 400' vertically so off we go. We are able to find him from time to time as we climb to the ridge where he is heading. He crests before us and dumps over the other side after staring us down for about five minutes. We really push hard to get there and it all comes together - sort of. Of course he can hear us and it is pissing him off so he now has a very strong and deep bugle and is sounding off regularly right below us in the next canyon. He is close but we can not see him as it is really steep so we need to inch over and try to get on him. He is really covering ground now (aren't they always jeez). We keep inching quickly over the ridge trying to find him when all of sudden he is 100 yards broadside but walking at that elk in a hurry pace. I was pretty gased from running that 400' vertical. I should have taken a second for a couple deep breathes and a good rest. I did not, I shot free hand and was breathing heavy. He was a lot bigger than we thought also - probably 350"+ - I got a little excited. The shot looked good and the bull acted like he was going to go down. I was reloading as fast as possible as he was staggering and stammering below us. At one point he stopped and almost toppled over. The problem was I immediately started to feel like I hit him low in the front shoulder. To try and make this long story short we tracked him all morning, mid-day, and evening. We set up on the other side of the canyon from where we lost his trail and at sunset found him across and up the canyon with only a slight blood spot in the area that would be similar to our tricep. He looked fine except for that blood spot. Many of you will see this all on video, from the video you would swear he is going down. I was pretty bummed out until we found him back and could see he was no worse for the wear. I would have been thrilled to have killed this bull but again once I knew he was fine, I was ready to either hunt him the next day or move on. As you can imagine we climbed through, over, around, and on top of every inch of that canyon for hours. While looking for my elk, we came across what is likely an elk that was wounded last year and climbed into some thick stuff in the bottom of the canyon - exactly where you would expect a wounded elk to go. Since I was really focused on finding my elk we did not even take a photo with the still camera so I had to get a photo of the video on the computer screen but you can see it is a good bull. I am a little over 6'1" and 220 pounds to give you some point of reference.

I will wrap the Utah hunt up in the next post with a photo of the bull I ended up taking. A couple people have stated that they do not think the UDWR will let me have this bull - outside of my control either way - was still an exciting find.

Pheasant season opens in the morning and the bucks are entering the seeking phase - good time to be in Iowa. I have a bunch of cameras sitting on scrapes that are in areas we do not hunt much so I should have some good trail cam photos in 10 days or so, they have been out a week already.

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Iowan
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Nov-01-11, 
07:36 PM (MST)
15. "RE: Great Opportunities"

Had a good weekend. Iowa State thumped Texas Tech, Iowa lost to Minnesota, we shot a pile of pheasants, and am starting to see the rut pick up. Back to the elk hunt.

So Friday morning we are back in the same canyon where we last saw the bull I clipped the day before. No bugling at first light but we spot a large herd of cows and a good bull across the canyon but well out of range. We start to put our plan together when another herd comes charging through the herd we were watching. About this time we start to hear human voices (it was very calm and sound was carrying for a long way). We never did see that group but shortly after we saw another group of hunters on horses riding the ridge past the elk. I do not think they ever saw the elk but their noise pushed the elk and we tried to intercept but came up a little short. Over the next hour we saw every hunter in the unit on their horses riding all over the place. We new we had to leave that area but we were near some water so we went a little farther to fill our bladders where we ran into two camps and a pair of hunters. All nice people but the area had way too many people. After a little rest at the water source we headed south away from the crowds. We sat and glassed the Ute land for an hour or so just for fun. It is some gorgeous country. We decided to head even further south and we were not seeing boot or horse tracks after a while. with about 15. hours of light remaining I spotted a bull and about six cows working out of the darm timber down into a little staging area adjacent to a larger meadow. Lucky for us the meadow was towards camp not away from camp. Kevin and I did not agree on how to pursue this bull. I wanted to get down into the far side of the meadow and work back towards them along the tree line and Kevin came around. As you all know it takes an hour to get anywhere in these areas and this was no exception. The sun was almost setting as we neared the far side of the meadow and we still had to find them back and work into position. Right before we dumped into the bottom a small band of cows spooked and paused right in front of us at 50 yards. They calmed quickly and eventaully proceeded in single file right in front of us, we thought there might be a bull bring up the rear but it ended up being all cows - this also took about 15 minutes.

We worked slowly up the meadow back towards the elk. After about 300 yards Keving spotted them bedded right where the meadow and the timber met. They were calm and unaware of our presence. We got as close as possible using a shallow creek bed but eventually it bacame full of brush making it nearly impossible to go any farther. We ranged the elk at 215 yards and Kevin asked if I could make that shot and I said I was not comfortable shooting that far. He had alreadt set up the video equipment and was filming the elk. I told him I needed to be at around 150 yards to feel really confident. He gave me a funny looked, like well we are at 215 and I do not see how you are going to get any closer. I told him I would dump back into the creek bed and try to work closer and he would stay where he was and film. Although I was anything but stealthy (Kevin later said I sounded like a buffalo) I was able to cut the distance to about 115 yards where I was able to set up for a prone position shot. I took a couple minutes to catch my breathe and since the bull was now actually moving closer to me I was in no hurry. I thought about the bad shot I had made on Thursday morning and calmed myself and settled the red dot right behind the shoulder. When the elk stopped I squeezed off a shot and immediately felt good about the shot. Turns out I hit him in the heart and somehow it then traveled up through at least part of one lung. He went all of 60 yards and fell on a nice large flat rock.

I was and still am very happy about making a clean and quick kill. I have no regrets about taking this bull. I am also thrilled that we have a ton of video of the bull prior to and after the shot. After starting a large fire on the flat rock we got to work and work it was - we forgot (I forgot) a knife sharpener. We finished at about midnight and got back to camp at 1:00 a.m. Our friends from Utah had come back in and were awake and a little worried about us so they were happy to see us. Although they were a little disappointed that the hunt was over they were also excited for me and anxious to see the bull in the morning. The pack out was uneventfull and easy with the horses.

All and all I would give this hunt and unit high marks. The unit can be hunted on foot once you are packed in but no doubt the guys on horses and mules covered a lot more group than we could.

Here is the picture of the bull I took.

I will be hunting as much as possible here the next couple weeks and pulling trail cameras this weekend. Hopefully I will have a whitetail to show you all soon!

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Iowan
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Nov-06-11, 
09:19 AM (MST)
16. "RE: Great Opportunities"

Shifting gears now to hunting Iowa whitetails during the peak of their rut which is right now. I had been out a couple times last week and saw many smaller bucks but was having a great time. I knew it was only a matter of time before the bigger deer started to show up. The weather had been pretty windy and I really think that reduces deer movement even during the rut but the days after strong winds tend to be pretty good. Last Thursday was windy, rainy, and a little warm. By Thursday night and early Friday the winds died, the temps dropped, and the clouds moved out. Friday morning was perfect - 27 degrees, very light but slightly variable wind, and clear. Even on the drive to the farm I saw lots of deer running around and I saw a great buck along the road by our farm right before my parking spot.

Once in the tree stand I began seeing deer immediately. There was a clover food plot to my north that had about 10 does and yearlings eating breakfast so I knew it would not be long before the bucks showed up. Within about 15 minutes the does scattered and a very tall and pretty heavy buck started to chase these does around. As long as he was with does I was just going to be patient and not try calling to him or rattling. He chased does over a very large area and eventually I lost track of him. During the next hour there were almost always deer of some variety in the area. At one point that big buck I saw driving in was coming across a 200 acre CRP filed toward me but he picked up a doe and went back the way he came (I have him on trail camera so you will see that in the next posting). At about 8:30 a.m. the large buck from earlier showed back up in the clover plot with no does, I quickly rattled lightly and just briefly - he began trotting toward me but the route he was taking would have had him come by at about 40 yards which is about my limit. Those deer have an amazing ability to pin point the location sounds come from and sure as heck he made a slight adjustment and was headed right for me. At one point I was not completely sure he was big enough but after a quick second assessment I liked his unique features enough I decided that if he presented a can't miss shot I was going to take him. Within seconds he was at 7 yards slightly quartering away looking away from me at a small buck that was coming toward us. After putting an arrow through both lungs he did not go far. I waited about 30 minutes although I was certain he was dead as I heard him go down and could see the blood trail with my binos.

I tracked him for about 80 yards into a shallow ravine. I was by myself so the photos are not great and dragging him out myself was a little tough but got it done. I have no idea what he scores but I like him. I am headed to the farms to pull the rest of the trail cam photos so you should be able to check those out in the couple days.


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Iowan
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Nov-09-11, 
08:18 PM (MST)
17. "RE: Great Opportunities"

Taking part of tomorrow off to pheasant hunt around home. Going to be cold and we even have some snow on the ground so it should be decent. Our archery season for deer is peaking right now and it is fun to take out friends and family. I also have pulled all but two cameras so I have some photos to share.

I took my head from the buck I shot to the guy with beetles. I had been hearing about a couple really good bucks that were found just south of town that had locked horns. I could not find photos and no one had any good information. Well it turns out the guy that does my deer heads had them at his place so I got to put my hands on them and take a couple photos. They have been donated to the County Conservation Board so they are publically owned so I did not have to worry about pissing someone off.

The one buck is extremely wide - maye 24" or larger. The other is probably a 150" to 160" ten point. I have never personally found bucks locked together, in fact these are the only ones I have ever seen in person.

I will post some trail cam photos next time - I promise. I should also have at least one more good deer harvest photo this archery season and maybe one during the gun season.

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Iowan
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Nov-14-11, 
07:50 PM (MST)
18. "RE: Great Opportunities"

We are in the middle of our best hunting in this area. I am backed up with photos and stories. I picked up some of my elk and deer heads from the guy that beetles them for me, found a good dead head while moving some stands yesterday, had a couple great pheasant hunts, and have a few nice bucks on trail cam photos.

Here are a few trail cam photos - I will save the best one for later. I will also post some pheasant hunt photos and the European mounts from the ones I picked up on Sunday later.

I love big 8 points. My brother does not think this is a shooter but I really like this buck.

Here is another one that I do not think is a shooter but my brother really likes.

I have one on film that is much better than either of these and we have seen two that are bigegr than anything we have on film.

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Iowan
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Nov-22-11, 
08:45 AM (MST)
19. "RE: Great Opportunities"

Here are a few more photos from the trail cameras. The rut is still going strong and we have seen some really good bucks. We have also had a few successful pheasant hunts but my overly techy friend that took the photos has the files so large and in some funky format I can not get them to load here. Over the holiday weekend we will move a couple stands to better position ourselves for the gun season the first weekend in December. Have a good Thanksgiving holiday. We are lucky here, I will to the end of Janaury here in Iowa and at least one trip to Kansas.

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Iowan
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Nov-23-11, 
04:53 PM (MST)
20. "RE: Great Opportunities"

I picked up the euro mounts from the guy with the beetles the other day and since my daughter had friends over I put them to good use. Left to right 2011 Utah elk, 2010 Iowa Whitetail, 2010 New Mexico elk.

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Iowan
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Nov-29-11, 
07:26 AM (MST)
21. "RE: Great Opportunities"

Our whitetail rut is pretty much done and our gun season opens this Saturday. We spent all day on Sunday adjusting stands and making sure they were all in good working order. I really like the gun season because you get to see a lot of deer and people are pushing them all day long so it is easy to sit all day. We usually take at least one good deer and we are due for a great deer one of these years.

I was able to get out pheasant hunting for a couple hours before everyone arrived for Thanksgiving and picked up three birds. I also had a chance to bow hunt over the weekend. Since I have already taken a buck I was pleased to have this coyote present a 35 yards shot. I usually get one or two each year but had not got one this year until now.

I should have some more deer photos early next week. I am also going to start to put some pressure on Kevin to get my video done before Christmas - we will see if that works?

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Iowan
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Dec-08-11, 
08:18 PM (MST)
22. "RE: Great Opportunities"

Our first deer gun season has come and gone. It was cold but the wind was not too bad and we did not have snow for the first time in several years. I had some friends from Alabama here hunting and they all had chances at good bucks but only ended up taking one deer. It is an 8 point because it did not have any brow tines but still a good deer.

Our second gun season starts this weekend and I plan to hunt that season and it appears we will have very comfortable weather for all day sits over the weekend. After this weekend we focus mostly on taking does with youth hunters but if the right buck comes along we certainly give them the opportunity to take them too.

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Iowan
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Dec-15-11, 
08:48 PM (MST)
23. "RE: Great Opportunities"

We took a good buck during the second gun season and found a pretty good dead head. The buck that was shot is on my brother's camera. I did not realize it right away but I have a trail cam photo of the dead head deer. Given one more year he would have been a good one.

We have about three weeks of deer seaosn left so I should have some good youth photos coming up. Took a youth hunter out Sunday night and he missed a doe at 40 yards - I did not have to gut and clean a deer so I was not too upset.

Here is the trail cam photo and the photos of the dead head.

And then the dead head...

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Iowan
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Dec-20-11, 
04:02 PM (MST)
24. "RE: Great Opportunities"

I talked to Kevin (guy creating my hunting video) last night and he has the first version completed and is adding music now. It appears I will be able to post some clips before I wrap up the HAC post in late January. If you are one of the many people that helped with my Utah elk hunt don't be shy about sending me a reminder (with mailing address) so you get your complete copy. I will get the last of the deer harvest photos posted, a couple pheasant hunting ones, and end with a video clip from the Utah elk hunt.

A quick note about this photo. I am so lucky to have a friend that has helped me in so many ways. He has a great piece of restored prairie that he lets me hunt, lets me use his Parker reproduction 28 gauge, and even provided shells until I was able to buy a case for us to 'share'. This was one of those special days - three birds on point, three shots from a classic gun, three retrieves to hand, and great weather.

Merry Christmas to all.

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Iowan
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Dec-27-11, 
06:47 AM (MST)
25. "RE: Great Opportunities"

Here is a photo of a buck we took with muzzle loader here in Iowa a couple weeks ago. We were wearing orange and tagged the buck right after the photo. I hate wearing orange in the photos and do not like the look of the tag on the antlers for the photos. I have also not gained 100 lbs since my last photos either, you have to wear that much clothes while sitting on stand this time of the year.

He is a pretty good buck but would have been much better next year.

We still have a couple weeks of deer hunting left. My 13 year old nephew shot a decent buck last night and I will post those when I get them off my brother's camera. I was also able to shoot a couple pheasants over the Christmas weekend. The next three weeks will be spent taking a bunch of nephews and other kids hunting so you should see several youth hunters on here in the next couple weeks.

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Iowan
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Dec-27-11, 
06:47 AM (MST)
26. "RE: Great Opportunities"

I have some friends here in town that had been going to Wyoming for cow elk hunts. They had gone two years in a row and not even seen an elk. I finally told them to look at some other options. They drew the Unit 52 cow hunt for New Mexico. With the help of some of you we got them set up for this hunt and to say they had a good time would be a huge understatement. They have each shot bulls before and believe it or not they prefer cow hunts. They had a great time and met some very friendly and helpful people - yes I was using them as scouts/guniea pigs for this unit in case I decided to archery hunt there in the future - we both win right.

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Iowan
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Jan-09-12, 
08:44 PM (MST)
27. "RE: Great Opportunities"

Late season hunting is always fun because it usually revolves around taking my nephews and other kids out hunting. I have watched four kids take their first deer (all does since we are trying to lower numbers a little) in the past couple weeks. Although I was not present my 13 year old nephew harvested his second buck after taking a doe. We also snuck in a little pheasant hunting while he was here with me. This is my youngest nephew and I think he has the hunting bug the worst.

My simple rule with kids is that it has to be your biggest buck and it has to have at least 8 points.

Like most young shooters his ability to hit pheasants is pretty hit and miss. He was responsible for at least one of the birds as far as he knows.

I will post a couple more photos of the youth hunters and their does, some photos of the last pheasant hunt of the year, and believe it or not I have already found one fresh shed. I am still hoping to be able to post some video of my elk hunt before this wraps up. Like all of you I am already putting my 2012 application strategy together, but we have a little more hunting season left here.

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Iowan
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Jan-20-12, 
08:40 PM (MST)
28. "RE: Great Opportunities"

The 2011 hunting season was certainly a memorable one for me. I feel fortunate to have so many great opportunities to enjoy the outdoors both right out my back door and in other parts of the country. Each season I meet great people and develop new friendships and 2011 was no exception. I am both relishing the memories from the last year and looking forward with anticipation to what 2012 might have in store for my friends, family and myself. I am amazed that each year, life seems to get better and my outdoor experiences are always a big part. I feel a little sorry for those that look back on yesterday as the good ole days or glory years. At least at this point in my life I can hardly wait to see what tomorrow will bring.

Here are a couple photos from the waning days of the 2011 season. This first photo is the second set of locked whitetail bucks. This photo was taken of a set of bucks from the farm immeidately north of our farm. I have not seen these in person but this was forwarded to me by one of the hunters that leases that farm.

This photo was taken after I took a friend's son out on a late muzzle loader hunt. We were targeting does and he made a great shot and put this deer down almost on the spot.

This final photo is from my last pheasant hunt of the season. The last one is always important because it is the one that is freshest in your memory as you wait for season to open again the following year. This was a good one too. My dog Belle was on her game, I shot pretty well (I did miss the first bird of the day), and there were plenty of birds to chase. I have ended a few seasons with a miss and those are hard to live with for almost 10 months.

You may notice in the photo that I am using a 20+ year old Remington 870 Express (it is a piece). I bought a Browning Citori in early 2011 and frankly I am not very good with it so I went back to the gun I have been shooting since I was just out of high school.

I am still hopeful I will have some video clips to post before the HAC ends but if not this will likely be my final post. It was fun for me and I hope you enjoyed it too. I find myself going back and reading my own post as this makes a great journal for me to enjoy also.

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Iowan
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Jan-23-12, 
08:40 PM (MST)
29. "RE: Great Opportunities"

Forgot one. This is a shed I found during a late season pheasant hunt. I have been pheasant hunting for 30+ years in Iowa and have never found a fresh shed while pheasant hunting.

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Iowan
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Feb-06-12, 
10:11 PM (MST)
30. "RE: Great Opportunities"

For not much more than the cost to have an elk head mounted I have this video to relive my 2011 Utah Book Cliffs Elk hunt. I highly recommend Kevin's services as he is great with filming and editing but also a wonderful guy to be with in the outdoors. It is almost 30 minutes long.

I hope you enjoy it.

http://vimeo.com/36178957

If this link does not work simply do a search on Google, etc. for 'vimeo kevin jaramillo' and select the Book Cliffs Elk hunt video there. While there you can also view our 2010 New Mexico Gila elk hunt (sandy's elk hunt).

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Iowan
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Feb-06-12, 
10:11 PM (MST)
31. "RE: Great Opportunities"

One last post I promise. I talked about the dead head from New Mexico earlier in the post. Here is the video link to that hunt. Kevin was with my friend Sandy (I think he was 73 years old at the time of the hunt) and my brother and I went the other direction. It does give a little more information about the dead head and has some great footage of where it was found. Enjoy.

http://vimeo.com/36277399

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