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Hunt Forever West - 2012

 
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ihuntelk
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Apr-20-12, 
05:25 PM (MST)
"Hunt Forever West - 2012"

LAST EDITED ON Apr-20-12 AT 09:25 PM (MST)

Before I introduce Hunt Forever West and my 2012 HAC, I need to thank MM for the opportunity to air some of our hunting episodes as the “Hunt of the Week”. I hope you’ve been able to view the episodes and enjoy watching. I’ve been involved with a couple tv hunting shows and it didn’t take very long to realize that wasn’t how I was raised to hunt and that’s not the ethic I want to pass to my kids. I stepped away for many years but kept filming some of our hunts. A year ago, I decided to edit some footage for friends and family. I do all the editing and hired a starving college student to do the graphics I couldn’t do. We posted the first few episodes online and before long we were partnering up with some great companies to expand the episodes to more venues. I have no desire to be a tv personality or to go from big ranch to big ranch killing critters I don’t deserve. I’ve never liked self-promoting, but after our first few episodes I realized there are A LOT more hunters out there who hunt like I do. Hunters who have the same desire to pass ethics and traditions to the next generation while trying to preserve and improve the habitat that these critters and our kids need. I hope our episodes will resonate and we can help you pass on the ethic and tradition we all cherish.
Ok, I’ll get off the soap box…………… let us know how we’re doing.

Since the episodes are now airing on MM, we thought it would be great to submit posts/pics to the HAC so everyone can see what is coming down the barrel for next season’s episodes.
Cade Powell
www.HuntForeverWest.com

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  Table of Contents  

 Subject   Author   Message Date   ID 
 RE: Hunt Forev...  ihuntelk      Apr-20-12   1 
  RE: Hunt Forev...  ihuntelk      May-08-12   2 
   RE: Hunt Forev...  ihuntelk      May-09-12   3 
 RE: Hunt Forev...  ihuntelk      May-24-12   4 
 RE: Hunt Forev...  ihuntelk      Jun-01-12   5 
 RE: Hunt Forev...  ihuntelk      Jun-19-12   6 
 RE: Hunt Forev...  ihuntelk      Jun-20-12   8 
 RE: Hunt Forev...  ihuntelk      Jun-25-12   9 
 RE: Hunt Forev...  ihuntelk      Jun-29-12   10 
  RE: Hunt Forev...  ihuntelk      Jul-23-12   11 
   RE: Hunt Forev...  ihuntelk      Aug-13-12   12 
    RE: Hunt Forev...  ihuntelk      Aug-30-12   13 
 RE: Hunt Forev...  ihuntelk      Sep-04-12   14 
 RE: Hunt Forev...  ihuntelk      Sep-10-12   15 
 RE: Hunt Forev...  ihuntelk      Sep-12-12   16 
 RE: Hunt Forev...  ihuntelk      Oct-02-12   17 
 RE: Hunt Forev...  ihuntelk      Oct-23-12   18 
 RE: Hunt Forev...  ihuntelk      Oct-30-12   19 
 RE: Hunt Forev...  ihuntelk      Nov-01-12   20 
 RE: Hunt Forev...  ihuntelk      Nov-05-12   21 
 RE: Hunt Forev...  ihuntelk      Nov-15-12   22 
 RE: Hunt Forev...  ihuntelk      Dec-07-12   23 
 RE: Hunt Forev...  ihuntelk      Dec-10-12   24 
 RE: Hunt Forev...  ihuntelk      Jan-04-13   25 

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ihuntelk
(126 posts)
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Apr-20-12, 
06:40 PM (MST)
1. "RE: Hunt Forever West - 2012"

LAST EDITED ON Apr-20-12 AT 09:23 PM (MST)

Here's a brief synopsis from last season - ALL DIY.

My 12 year old, Kenz, with her first big-game harvest. 10 year old, Paige, assisted.

HFW team Carson Beattie, Cade Powell and Zane Powell scored on 3 super Wyoming Pronghorn. All 3 were a 2nd choice tag. Access-Yes property and knocking a few doors.
16" tall

pretty buck


8"bases and 4 3/4" mass above the prong. 15 1/2 tall

Cade and buddy Rhen with broken-up archery muley. 7 1/2 year old buck. General tag.

Sid Beattie with his first bull elk. Carson called in December to tell me his father had just been diagnosed with cancer. "He just flipped 60 and has never killled a bull elk. No pressure, but you've got to find him a 6pt. in Wyo this fall". Gret experience to spend a few days with Carson and Sid in the field this fall.

Carson also connected on a bull, with his dad at his side.

12 year-old Kenz with her first deer - Wyoming whitetail.

Cade and buddy Hart Jordan also connected on Wyo Whitetails.

12 year-old Kenz's first elk - Wyoming.

I had all 4 of my girls on this hunt with family friend, Tom Pickren. Crazy trying to stalk elk with this entourage......


I was fortunate enough to be in on several other hunts last fall. I was blessed to walk away from a GIANT bull elk on my backpack archery hunt to go help a church member's family after cancer took him at 40 years old. I was fortunate to go back and look for that bull during the rifle hunt. I saw 61 bulls in 3 days (24-6x's), but never found that giant and never pulled the trigger. I hope I draw the same limited quotat tag this year!!
I also got to pack elk for another 12 year old on his first elk hunt and I helped my 10 year old, Paige, on her first greenhead (out of the air!!) and a few sage grouse. Please pass on this great sport we love!

Why yes, those are pink flip-flops she's wearing! LOL

10 year-old Paige's first greenhead. Thanksgiving morning, Wyoming.

Can't wait to see what 2012 turns up! First stop, Kenz wants to shoot a black bear so May 1 we'll be in Idaho for spot/stalk bear! Stay Tuned............

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ihuntelk
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May-08-12, 
12:35 PM (MST)
2. "RE: Hunt Forever West - 2012"

Just got back from a Central Idaho bear hunt with my daughters Kenz (12) and Paige (11) as well as my 2 brothers Zane and Jake.
We left early tuesday morn and rendezvoused with Zane in East Idaho. We loaded up his pop-up camper and truck and headed west to bear camp 5.5 hours away. The girls were in a vehicle over 13 hours that day when I finally woke them up after midnight to go crawl into their beds in the camper.

We ended up seeing 5 bears in 3.5 days, even with snow and rain EVERYDAY! Had Kenz on a nice blackie with a tan snout on Thursday eve. It was right at the limit of where I'm comfortable with her shooting. We decided to watch it for a little so she could calm down and Zane and I could decide whether to let her shoot or not. After 15 minutes on the open hillside, the bear decided to head back into the small patch of serviceberry, sumac, bittercherry, and current with 15 big Ponderosa Pines on the far edge.

That bear never came back out and we could see the complete hillside around the patch of trees/brush. We waited 2 more hours and then tried to get it up and moving with the predator call. No luck. We hiked out in the dark, scratching our heads........

Saw 2 big bears that we would have chased in a heartbeat. One was in a location I didn't think I could get Kenz in to make a shot. The other bear was right on a ridgeline a mile away. Kenz and I were loading up to go when I looked up at the monster black clouds bearing down on us. The rain started and the fog set in and you couldn't see 100 yards. Kinda hard to find a bear over 1 mile away when you can't see.......... Temp dropped 15 degrees in 30 minutes and then the snow started. We stayed there for 4 more hours until it was dark. The fog never lifted.

We ended up losing over half our hunting time due to fog and big mountain rainstorms. The rest the time it was cold - temps never got over 47 degrees. Had a great time with lots of elk, deer, skunks, grouse, and coyotes viewed. Had a wolf howl 100 yards from camp one morning. Still send chills down my spine even though I've been in on lots of wolves. Paige was still sleeping, but Kenz got to hear it. I didn't take near enough pics with the still camera as I was running video camera.

Paige will be 12 next April and is adament that she gets to kill a bear next May. Kenz says she still has first rights since it was pretty poor weather this year. I'm just glad they're not fighting about boys!


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ihuntelk
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May-09-12, 
08:33 AM (MST)
3. "RE: Hunt Forever West - 2012"

Checked draw when I got back fromt he bear hunt and I struck out on Wyoming sheep, moose, mtn. goat. No surprise..............

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ihuntelk
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May-24-12, 
09:11 PM (MST)
4. "RE: Hunt Forever West - 2012"

#1303 on Wyoming's Bison priority list. Typically there's just under 4,000 on the list. Definitely won't be hunting bison this year. My lowest nymber the last few years has been 3,412 so we're headed in the right direction! LOL

I'll apply for Kenz and I for Wyoming elk, deer and pronghorn this weekend. I'll apply alone for Idaho elk and deer and buy my Arizona deer point to go along with my little stack of Utah elk and deer points, Colorado deer points, Arizona elk points and Kansas deer points. Pretty tough to apply for everything on a fixed 1 income with limited personal days, especially when I've got phenonemal hunting here in Wyoming. We shall see if any stars align.........

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ihuntelk
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Jun-01-12, 
10:09 AM (MST)
5. "RE: Hunt Forever West - 2012"

Pronghorn fawns are hitting the ground in Southern Wyoming! I typically see the first fawns of the year around Memorial Day. This year is no exception.





The other good news is that we had a fairly mild winter and had good grass/forb/shrub production last summer/fall. The herds went into winter in pretty good shape. Pronghorn bucks
typically put all their horn growth from November (when they shed their outer sheath) until mid April into their prong and above. They put their growth from mid April until fall below the prong. I've been seeing lots of buck with good mass above the cutter and good cutters this spring.

Good Cutter

Great Mass above the cutter

I applied for Kenz and I for Wyoming Elk/Deer/Pronghorn yesterday. I was more excited about her units than I was my own. With her school schedule and volleyball, the only species we put in for the same unit was pronghorn. I applied for units where my priority is to bowhunt and units where her priority is to draw!
I then applied for Idaho elk/deer. I really want my Idaho deer tag and with the odds on the elk hunt, it would just be a bonus!
I also applied for AZ deer. No chance to draw, but might as well throw my name in the hat since I'm buying a point anyway. I'd cancel most of my other hunts if that tag comes through!

I'll be cutting more episodes of HFW for this season and crossing my fingers until the draws. My wife is working on clinicals and a few classes this summer in her Masters program. I'll be Mr. Mom all summer and the scouting and fishing will suffer but family takes presedence. Always has. Always will.

Good luck to everyone in the Wyo, Idaho and AZ draws - unless you're applying for mine and Kenz's hunts! LOL


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ihuntelk
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Jun-19-12, 
11:25 PM (MST)
6. "RE: Hunt Forever West - 2012"

Just returned from a quick trip to East Idaho. I haven't had a new bow in 10 years. I've killed plenty with the old Darton Maverick, but it was time to finally upgrade. Tom at Archery Idaho (www.ArcheryIdaho.com) really helped me out and got me tuned and shooting. I ended up with a Mathews Heli-m. It is simply amazing to shoot. Trophy Taker Extreme FC rest. 2 dozen Easton Injexion 330 arrows. B-Stinger stabilizer. Mathews 2-piece quiver. I had an old Spot-Hogg hunter sight I put on until the Trophy Taker HeartBreaker sights are being delivered. Top off the Eastons with a dozen Trophy Taker Ulmer Edge 100 grain broadheads. I've never shot a mechanical head in my life. Always been a fixed blade freak, but I absolutely love the new Ulmer Edge. It's amazing what has changed and upgraded with bows in the last 10 years since I seriously shopped........... Come on tags!

I shot quite a few arrows on monday. Paper tuned and sighted in 20 and 30 yard pins. I've never shot a bow that punches tacks like this. Can't wait for August 15th!!

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ihuntelk
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Jun-20-12, 
01:10 PM (MST)
8. "RE: Hunt Forever West - 2012"

I love Wyoming! Draw was posted this morning and my fall just got a whole lot busier!

2012 License Draw Results
License Type Results Area/Type
RESIDENT ELK YOUTH Successful xxx-1
RESIDENT ANTELOPE YOUTH Successful xxx-2
RESIDENT DEER YOUTH Successful xxx-1

Kenz drew all 3 of her tags. The pronghorn hunt was a 2nd choice but her deer tag is an awesome muley tag and her bull elk tag is awesome as well.

2012 License Draw Results
License Type Results Area/Type
RESIDENT MOUNTAIN GOAT Unsuccessful N/A
RESIDENT BIGHORN SHEEP Unsuccessful N/A
RESIDENT WILD BISON BULL Ranking Assigned - 1303 002-1
RESIDENT ELK Successful xxx-1
RESIDENT DEER Successful xxx-1
RESIDENT ANTELOPE Successful xxx-2

Note: Unit numbers have been removed to protect the innocent!!!

Not to be outdone by her, I also drew all 3 of my hunts. Pronghorn was 2nd choice but I killed an 83 incher on it 3 years ago, screwed up on another book head 2 years ago trying to film myself, and drew first choice last year so I didn't hunt it. Same bull elk tag as last year where I passed 61 bulls with the rifle - 24 6x6's, and a muley tag I've had before. Muley hunt will strictly be archery for me as I'll be with Kenz on her deer and elk during the rifle portion of my deer tag! We will hunt with my buddy Rhen during her deer hunt. He and his father, Roger, have spent lots of time in this unit and killed some great bucks. Rhen and I drew it 3 years ago. He killed a 29 3/4 wide buck and I killed a big 3 pt. so I could save 5 personal days and take my wife on a vacation!

Rhen's buck from Kenz's unit

My buck from Kenz's unit

My Pronghorn from 2009 from the unit we drew this year as a 2nd choice. 7 3/4 on the bases with a dinky 4.5 inch prong, 15 tall, 8 inches on top 2 mass measurements combined - 83 gross

There's the mass!


My brother-in-law Matt drew my elk tag as a party application with me. My brother, Zane, drew the same pronghorn tag he killed an 85 incher in last year (see first post). Sid Beattie is still doing well enough to come hunt and he drew the same pronghorn unit as Zane.
I don't know what I'll do if I draw anything in Idaho or Arizona. Guess I'll just have to hunt my tail off!
Can't wait to find out!

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ihuntelk
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Jun-25-12, 
06:02 AM (MST)
9. "RE: Hunt Forever West - 2012"

Had another quick trip to Idaho this weekend for some business. After all our luck in the Wyo Draw, Kenz and I decided we better go to the range. Paige and Ashton and Rainey joined us as well. The girls and I met my buddy, Carson, out at the range and filmed a couple 'Tips of the Week' for more Hunt Forever West episodes.
Kenz shot my Weaver 300 win mag on all 3 of her critters last year and was anxious to shoot it some more this year - she says I can't have it back! Here is her 5 shot group at 100 yards. 1 off the bench, 2 off shooting sticks from a sitting position and 2 prone.

Is that group sufficient for a 13 year-old girl?

Paige even shot it a couple times off the bench and loves it. Here's a couple pics of the rifle. Kevin does an amazing job while building these rifles. Price him and the 'Big Boys'. I dare you!

www.weaverrifles.com

After Kenz and Paige shot the 300, Ashton and Rainey shot a brick of .22 ammo. I then fine-tuned my turret.

800 yard target - 4 shots - 3" group.

Now don't worry about us being long-range nuts. I know what my gun can do and practice REGULARLY with it, but we're good enough hunters that we don't have to try and shoot EVERY animal at 700 yards. LOL!! I still laugh at some of the shows that aren't capable of stalking within 1/2 mile of an animal. Really??? 2010 and 2011 I was in on 29 big-game kills. 1 whitetail at 640 yards and 1 cow elk at 420 were the furthest shots (both 1 shot kills) we had to take.........

We then drove back to Wyoming on Saturday evening. Maybe it's because I was born in Idaho and grew up looking at the Tetons everyday, but i still think they're prettier from the Idaho side.

We then passed a new deer crossing sing about that WyDot must be using. This sign is a little West of Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Near Pinedale, Wyoming there are 2 wildlife overpasses that are being constructed in crucial migration corridors for mule deer and pronghorn. I hope they help. Pronghorn are really hesitant to use underpasses so WyDot received extra money for overpasses as these will be used in the longest big-game migration in the lower 48. Pronghorn from Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks will use these on their epic trek to SW Wyoming.

Been shooting the new Heli-m every night. I stepped out to 60 yards on my 2nd evening and here was my first group.

Still have some tweaking to do, but everything seems to be coming together. I posted a quick teaser clip for HFW and Russell APX gear on youtube today after we finished the graphics Saturday in Idaho (hence the trip). Go check it out for some great critters to get us all pumped for this fall.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnZZIWLd4fE&feature=plcp

I keep checking the Idaho draw everyday........
I'll keep preparing for and focusing on our Wyoming tags assuming Idaho and Arizona don't want my money this year.

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ihuntelk
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Jun-29-12, 
11:25 AM (MST)
10. "RE: Hunt Forever West - 2012"

5% on my Idaho elk tag and a little better than that on my deer and I DREW EM BOTH!!! Unreal. I'll take it!
I'm not sure how my wife is gonna take it. OH CRAP!!!!!
What's even crazier is my brother, Jake, drew the elk tag bordering mine. I consider it a top 4 Idaho tag.

Before you start the hate mail, let me defend myself. I only drew 1 elk tag in 20 years applying as an Idaho res and have now drawn 2 in 8 years as a non-res. Only drew 1 deer tag as an Idaho res (and I was 12) and now I've drawn twice in 5 years as a non-res. I've never drawn a limited quota Idaho pronghorn tag. I'm the guy that missed out on a Wyoming deer tag 3 years in a row when odds were 70%. I'm the guy that missed out on a Wyoming pronghorn tag when 162 people applied for 150 tags............ Maybe these draws really are random.

I have no idea how I'll cram all this into mine and Kenz's fall. I'm sure I'll have to eat a tag or 2 in Wyoming. In my opinion I drew the best elk tag in Idaho and the best archery deer hunt. I HAVE to hunt those tags.
I'll post later after I look at a calendar and look at how many personal days I have at work.

Maybe there is something to the old addage that you can't draw if you don't apply. Another old Wive's tale about "making hay while the sun shines" comes to mind. Tags like these only come along every 25 years so I'm just gonna have to hunt smart and hunt hard and let the racks fall where they will!

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ihuntelk
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Jul-23-12, 
09:24 AM (MST)
11. "RE: Hunt Forever West - 2012"

Here are a few pics from this summer. These first ones were taken by my buddy - Patrick Walker. We left work one friday afternoon and went to check out a leftover antelope unit that I was going to buy to bowhunt. They sold out and, thankfully I'll get to spend more time on my Idaho deer tag.

Velvet Muleys

Nighthawk

Pretty Wyo Sunset

This past weekend I finally got to sneak away for a couple hours to go scout my Wyo deer unit. Pretty sure it's the only chance I'll get to scout before the opener.

Younger Bucks





Here is the 3rd best buck I saw. MAAAAYYYYBEEEE 27" and a 165" type buck. I bought a new camera and it really sucks for digi-scoping. This is the best pic I got of him. Might have to give my wife the new camera and go back to the old one.

I did get some decent video of this buck. I was so ticked with my camera that I didn't even try and take pics of the best bucks. I also video'd the best bucks and hope I arrow a deer and get to use some of the scouting footage in an upcoming episode. Best buck was 25" 175-180 type buck. 2nd was over 30" but wouldn't score 160" even with 2 kickers. I don't care! He was a big mature mulie and I'd kill him if he makes a mistake this fall.

Speaking of mature mulies. My buddy Ron Brown at Barret Creek Taxidermy in Ryan Park, Wyoming finished my archery mulie from last year. He was all broken up and as you can see from the pics, about lost his G-3 on his right side as well. Ron said he hadn't seen a older, more beat up mulie in his life!

This buck doesn't 'score' for crap, but if you haven't guessed by now - I don't hunt for score. I hunt for big, old, mature critters. A 'score' could never tell the stories this buck has to tell.

Still waiting to confirm AZ didn't want my money. No CC hit but also no results yet. I know at-least one HFW member is hunting AZ deer this fall, we just don't know which tag. I'll do another post with a general synopsis of what tags we'll be hunting this fall. All I know is I asked for 192 hours off this fall and was approved by upper Mgt. With Saturdays and 4 holidays, I'll have the ability to be in the field over 30 days this fall. Idaho deer starts Aug 15th! Can't wait............


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ihuntelk
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Aug-13-12, 
00:25 AM (MST)
12. "RE: Hunt Forever West - 2012"

I believe this is my last internet service until Saturday night. My Idaho deer tag opens Wednesday morning. I'll be scouting tomorrow eve trying to locate a good buck my brother Jake scouted on a couple occasions this summer. I'll come out Saturday eve and go back in Sunday afternoon, if needed, and hunt until the 24th. I will probably wait until I come out with a deer on the pack and do a day by day breakdown with pics as the hunt unfolded....... Wahoo, let the games begin!!!

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ihuntelk
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Aug-30-12, 
10:43 AM (MST)
13. "RE: Hunt Forever West - 2012"

Not sure how to begin........ but here goes.

My brother, Jake, found a GOOD buck on 2 occasions late this summer. The last time he saw him was almost 3 weeks before season. I live almost 14 hours from my hunting location in Idaho so I didn't scout. I arrived at my hunting location on thursday the 14th about 4 o'clock. I spent that evening on the Outdoorsmans tripod and Swarovski 15x56's. I turned up 7 bucks. Best buck was a 22" 150 type buck. Jake joined me that night about 10PM. We went to bed with big anticipation for the opener the next day. Jake had procured the same tag from the Idaho leftover list and would be hunting with me.

Jake and I spent the next 2 full days looking for that big buck to no avail. The country isn't very conducive to good glassing. We split up both days so each of us could glass a sage flat bordering a little butte with mahogany and ceonothus in the small draws and near the ridge tops. Most the time you couldn't glass 3/4 mile of country, but we were still averaging 8 bucks a day. Best buck was a 3 1/2 year old 3x3.

Few of the new friends we made.

Thursday afternoon Jake took off for his old pronghorn waterhole and was thinking about putting up his blind and sitting that eve. I waited for my other brother, Zane, to show up and then we would join him. We have seen some good bucks near where he sits the water hole. Again, it is rocky nasty country that isn't conducive to glassing. There just aren't enough knobs to give you any topo relief to glass within 5 miles. That night, after banging around on nasty, rocky roads for 4 hours, we were at our spot and went for a hike. You can literally hike in this country for miles and miles and never touch the dirt. ROCKY!!!


My dad jokes that the Feds have duped us all. The US has never put a man on the moon they just filmed Southern Idaho and claimed it was the moon. In that spirit I took a picture of a 'moon rock' for him!

We turned up quite a few sage grouse, pronghorn and few muleys but no bucks. The next morn we walked down the road a mile. Might as well walk since it’s faster than you can drive. We glassed a couple big sage pockets on the edge of a big butte and saw 11 bucks that morning. Best buck was 21" 3x4.



Same story that night with a few smaller bucks and no good way to glass the country. We decided to move to a good transition zone between sage, mahogany and junipers in some foothill country so I could put the glass to work!

You'll be amazed at the opportunities a good tripod (Outdoorsmans) and pair of 15x's will open up.

Just EXPECT it and prepare.

We hunted close to camp Saturday morning and then drove a couple hours across that forsaken desert to our new hunting area.
Jake also had this tag last year and killed a respectable buck on the LAST DAY of season after working a couple nice deer earlier in the hunt.

Headed to bed - in their bed - dirt nap! Jake 2011


We climbed up on his favorite glassing knob at 2PM and immediately found 7 bucks. Best buck was a 23” 165-170 type deer. He bedded under a big Juniper with a smaller 4x. Jake asked if I wanted to stalk him. I passed and then he said he wanted the opportunity. His wife is expecting on Sept 19th and he really wanted a buck in velvet. We got busted within 60 yards. I was running video and this is the best pic I can get. Took it off the video screen with my camera….

We went to town Saturday night, church on Sunday and then I headed back out that eve. Jake’s 2 boys were sicker than dogs and he needed to be home. I wasn't sure how I was going to run video camera and my bow!


I saw lots of bucks on Monday but no shooters. Tuesday I watched a nice buck walk over a ridge 1.5 miles away. Literally saw him for 3 seconds cross the ridge and immediately hide behind a big Juniper. I waited an hour then stalked over. I was 60 yards from the Juni and was trying to figure out exactly where he was bedded and what I needed to do. He got up and started feeding away from the tree but I got some good video. He slowly walked over a small ridge 150 yards in front of me. I got to the top just in time to see him in the shadow of a big juni. He stood there for 10 seconds then ducked into the tree. I made my circle and pretty soon could see antler tips 25 yards away. I just hunkered behind a sage and a rock to wait for him to stand up. It was the perfect ambush until 30 minutes later he absolutely EXPLODED out of his bed. He bounded about 3 or 4 times then stopped and started shaking his head. He was behind some brush so I couldn't shoot. After too many head shakes he just slowly walked straight away into a mahogoney draw where I couldn’t follow. I assume he had a yellowjacket fly up his nose to make him come out of his bed like that! I know he didn’t smell, see or hear me. Chalk one up to the Pott's Factor, I guess. He was a 22-23” 165 type buck.

Wednesday was really slow. I had only seen 2 or 3 small bucks by 6 that night. I did have a big 3pt go to a bed that morn. I thought he wasn't in the primary bed under that juniper so I wondered if a bigger buck was already in the primary bed. I made the stalk and took some pics/video at 30 yards of his antlers. There wasn't a big buck with him.

Do you see the velvet?

Thursday I watched the best buck I’d seen the whole trip and a smaller buck go to the same juniper Jake had stalked on Saturday. Some of the bucks were in their beds before the sun ever came up and some would stay out and feed all morning. This buck fed until 9:30AM. I got to watch him at 1000 yards for several hours through the 15x’s. I judged him at 27” and a touch over 180. He was a great 4x4 with a small kicker off the left G2. They laid down and I started my stalk. I was about 200 yards away when I took off my boots and pack. I then belly crawled for 200 yards to get to my small sagebrush 34 yards away. The 200 yard stalk took almost 2 hours. Several does and a couple small bucks came over to bed by the juniper but they weren't allowed. When I was about 80 yards away there was a little commotion and a couple other bucks came in and laid down. I was face down in a rockpile and couldn't see all that was happening. After a doe and small buck cleared out I continued on. I sat on that hillside under a 2 ft tall sage for 3.5 hours in 99 degree heat. They were 34 yards away but all I could really see were antler tips from what I thought was 4 bucks. Finally, I put the video camera on the tripod just over the top of the sage so I'd just have to reach up and hit record then draw and shoot a buck when they stood (sounded good in theory anyway). A forkie got up and adjusted 4 times in that 3.5 hours but none of the other bucks moved. All of a sudden a 5th buck decided to stand up on my side of the tree. He instantly pegged my video camera and stood there bug eyed for 10 seconds. I'm hunkering behind this 2 ft tall sage and cussing his mama and her mama and..................... Finally, he snorts and the other 4 bucks are instantly on their feet looking my way. The 2nd best buck is on the right of the Juni so I hope he'll stand there for 4 seconds so I can draw and poke a hole through him. I got about 3/4 drawn when he blew out. I came to full draw and just about shot the small buck that stood up first out of spite! The biggest deer mulled back and forth behind the Juni for about a minute but I could never find a softball size opening to shoot through. Finally they all bounded away over the ridge. The other buck that had joined their bed while I was face down in the rockpile was a 26” 170 type buck. Nice 4x4 mulies!

I wanted to cry after they bounded out. I slunk back to my boots and pack then found some shade and drank 1/2 gallon of Hydrate and Recover. I was drinking over 1 gallon each day in that heat. I decided I wasn't giving up yet and glassed till dark. I saw 2 small 4x's and hiked out. Got to the rig about 9:30 and headed for Zanes house in East Idaho. Pulled in at 2:15 and crawled into bed. Got up and drove home to SE Wyoming. I had meetings on Saturday that I wasn't going to miss and so ended my Idaho deer hunt.

After stewing for a whole week, I've decided to cancel my Wyoming archery elk hunt. I'll be heading back to Idaho for 7 full days of hunting in September and I can rifle hunt my Wyo elk in November.
I don't mind getting punched in the mouth, until I have to swallow my own blood! LOL
Those bucks punched me in the mouth and I HAVE TO GO BACK. We shall see........

As a side note, Jake hunted Tuesday (27th) afternoon through today. Tuesday night he saw a BRUTE 4X. He guessed him at a legit 30" and massive. He only saw him for 2 minutes that eve. Wednesday morn he couldn’t find that brute but he found the same buck I tried to kill the week before. He was 36 yards when the bucks buddy, same 4x I saw him with, caught a small wind swirl and busted Jake. Jake agreed he is a legit 180+ with a small kicker on the left side.

This morning was slow so he hiked a ways to a basin he had seen a decent buck on Tuesday - driving in. He found him and poked a hole through him at 36 yards when he stood out of his bed. Jake swears he's 27" outside (with the kicker), even though the pic still doesn't do it for me!! He normally would have passed this buck but his wife was put on bed-rest until the 19th and today could have been his last day.........

Jake Idaho 2012

I leave tomorrow for the opener of my Wyoming deer tag. I’ll hunt Saturday and Monday. Not sure what my expectations are going to be. I guess it’ll depend on what deer I see Saturday morning!

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ihuntelk
(126 posts)
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Sep-04-12, 
01:19 AM (MST)
14. "RE: Hunt Forever West - 2012"

I got to sneak out for the opener of the Wyo archery hunt on Saturday and Monday.
I'll be brief since I'm still curled up in the fetal position sucking my thumb and crying for mama (just like Prince John on the Robin Hood cartoon!!).
Saturday morning there were 5 trucks on the 2 mile chunk of country we've hunted for years WITHOUT ever seeing another hunter. My bro-in-law Matt was with me running video. Let's just say that all 5 trucks were gone by 8 that morn and we systematically picked each draw apart as we hiked, glassed, glassed, glassed and hiked. I found 30 deer in their beds from 1 spot. Really cool even if they were younger bucks. Finally that night we found a bunch of 5 bucks and were in position. I had em at 70 yards - I think. I pulled out my rangefinder and it was dead!!!! Bout then another hunter showed up and blew it.

Really bad pic off my video camera screen! Video is great, though.

He was a gorgeous 3x4 with 4 kickers on the right side and 1 on the left (the 3 point side) pushing 30". His best buddy was a 185 main frame 28" typ.

Sunday we went to church and rested. That night we took the kids out to look at a petrified tree and look at a big herd of elk hanging out on a private ranch. We saw some good deer that night to.

Monday, Matt and I were on a ridge at sunup glassing a big deer and his 4 buddies over 2 miles away. We watched them feed out into the badlands and up a draw to bed (we assumed). It then took 2 hours to get over there. We hiked and glassed all day and only turned up 3 smaller bucks (22" 4x, 25" 3x with kicker and 23" 4x) and 2 does. About 4 o'clock I was ready to call it quits and go get on the road for the 6 hour drive home so the kids could have a better nights sleep for school. I glassed one more draw and found 3 bucks. Made a huge stalk and ended up 70 yards away waiting for them to get out of the rimrock and come down the draw to feed. I was hunkered in a rockpile when the first buck walked by 5 minutes later. Video was rolling as I passed this 4x. He then stopped and looked behind him, turned and walked away and out of sight. About then, I felt a wind gust that had shifted. I'm sure his buddies further up the hill caught my wind and blew and that's why he turned and followed......

I'm really tired of eating humble pie - for every meal - this season. I hope I'm back up there this Thurs - Sat. Sorry the pics suck, but it's too hard taking good pics when we're running video camera for everything already.
I need a break. Or a new hankerchief.........


The good news from this weekend was my brother, Zane, and buddy, Carson Beattie, and his dad, Sid, were in Wyo for their pronghorn opener. Zane was trying to follow up his 85 incher from last year. This year tipped the tape just over 82 (gross) and Sid killed his biggest pronghorn ever.
I'll have them do some pics and a little post later this week..

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ihuntelk
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Sep-10-12, 
05:07 PM (MST)
15. "RE: Hunt Forever West - 2012"

Zane's report from the pronghorn hunt:

What a follow up to our 2011 Wyoming antelope hunt. Last year three of us drew tags...my brother Cade and myself...and friend Carson. We joked driving over about shooting three bucks over 80 inches...and that is just what we did. You can see the video episodes on www.huntforeverwest.com or read the story in the Fall 2012 issue of Western Hunter (www.westernhuntermagazine.net).

I drew the same tag again in 2012 as did Carson's dad Sid. Carson, Sid, and I loaded up the truck and camp trailer and headed for Wyoming on Friday, the day before the opener. Friday evening we put to bed several shooter bucks, including Chester from 2011, and a couple of new buddies that looked even bigger than Chester. We knocked on a couple doors and received permission for these same fields again. We also found two new bucks in another area that Sid named #1 and #2...the order in which he wanted to shoot them.

Saturday morning found us up and looking for #1 and #2. They were already moving at first light from the fields out to the sage brush draws and badlands where they felt protected. Knowing they would be up and out of their beds by mid day and back to the green of the fields we leave them alone to go find Chester...my first choice buck since we had a relationship with him from the year before. As we get across the valley to the place that Chester calls home, we find out from a neighbor that some other hunters had already killed a buck in that field this morning. Frustrating...we had exclusive permission to hunt these fields...only to have them spoiled by ignorant road hunters that stumbled upon our bucks. We don't know if they killed the first buck they saw or Chester or one of his big new friends...but the antelope were all gone from the fields and scattered across the badlands.

Disappointed we drove back to save our claim on #1 and #2. #1 was still in his bed when we returned...but several bucks had moved back into the fields...including #2. These were Sids bucks and he had first choice whether to shoot #2 or not...and after watching him through the spotter he decides not to wait for #1. These bucks were in a walk-in area, so we park on the road edge and use the limited cover available to stalk in to 200 yards from the feeding and bedded bucks. Just then another bunch of "road hunters" decide to ignore the walk in signs and drive into the fields. I had to break cover and flag these guys down and motion them to get out of the fields. They finally saw me...but not until after they were 150 yards from the bucks which they hadn't seen yet from the road. Of course this makes the bucks nervous and they move across the field and behind a swell in the topography out of sight from our position. Wouldn't you know it...the road hunters didn't actually leave...but drove over to the other side of the field and were driving in along the far fence. Unbelievable...what part of "walk-in" do they not understand.

Knowing the bucks were nervous and not wanting to be foiled again by lazy guys in a pick up...we decide that no matter who we needed to shoot #2. We split up with Sid and Carson moving up to the high ground and upper edge of these fields, while I worked towards the center part. We hoped to cover both escape routes in case the red pickup guys spooked the bucks out of the fields for good. Once on higher ground Carson and Sid could see the bucks in the lower field. They happened to be just out in front of me...but still out of sight from the crest of the field. I was sneaking closer when I looked back and noticed two bucks on the skyline coming in behind Carson and Sid. One quick glance through my binos I immediately recognized #1. As I reached for my phone to text Carson his message buzzed through...they had also seen the bucks and Sid was setting up for a shot. The bucks were 280 yards away from them.

At the report of the rifle #1 flinched and then staggered several steps until he was out of my sight. I turned my attention to #2 and the other bucks with him. I was finally able to locate them...running away across the next field over...and right towards the the red pick up. I gather up my gear and put my pack on to walk up and see Sid's buck. After a few minutes I notice horns bobbing over the crest of the field and they were working my way. I sat down in the middle of the cut field in the stubble and set up on my sticks. 13 or 14 bucks worked towards me until the front one finally noticed something out of place about 150 yards out. Buck #2 was clearly a wise old buck and didn't want to be in these fields any longer...as the front bucks would stop to look at me he would come up behind then and poke them in the rear end to keep moving along. He also kept himself in the center of the group for protection. He presented shots on two occasions but without a clear back drop I held on the shots. Finally at 100 yards he cleared the front bucks and a solid back drop I touched off a shot. Hearing the "whump" when the rifle recoiled I expected to see him piled up when I got back in the scope and was surprised to see him still on his feet. He had whirled around and after three wobbly steps he nose dived into the dirt. The shot had broken his front shoulder and passed through the opposite side taking both lungs.




I ran up to take a quick picture to send to Carson and my brother Cade who was chasing deer instead of hunting with us. He was heavy and had many of the same devil points and trash that my buck Roid did last year. Sid got to shoot his #1 buck...I missed out on Chester but it would have been a mistake to pass on #2 since he topped 82". Sid's #1 buck stretched the tape to 80"...his biggest antelope buck ever. We killed these two big Wyoming antelope bucks only fifteen minutes apart and capped off an awesome repeat to our hat trick of 2011.


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ihuntelk
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Sep-12-12, 
08:06 PM (MST)
16. "RE: Hunt Forever West - 2012"

I've had a few days at home to lick my wounds and cool off. I think I can finally make a post from last weekends deer hunt without going cross-eyed and dizzy. I'm now 13 days into archery hunting muleys this fall. I've only come to full draw once and I haven't released an arrow. One of my buddies has threatened to start calling me Karl Malone. Apparently I can get it done (regular season) until it's a monster muley (playoffs!) then I go into "choke mode".

Thursday I glassed up 17 bucks. 15 were in their beds and I blew 2 small bucks out of one draw as I was sneaking over the rim to glass. Best buck was a 24" 165 type deer.

Couple younger bucks in stalkable locations. I apologize for the bad digiscoping pics. My new camera sucks as does my phone camera. Atleast you can tell they're bucks!


Friday I was in the badlands on a huge bluff and watched 4 bachelor bunches (17 bucks) heading my way to bed for the day. A couple looked good from over a mile away but not what I was looking for once they were 400 yards away off the bluff. I then hiked 2 miles to another big knob to try and find a bedded buck. I found a good deer at 12:30 in the afternoon. He stood up for 2 minutes and turned around and laid back down. He was on a big greasewood flat with tall rabbitbrush and 5 foot sage. 30 minutes later he stood back up and fed 1/4 mile to the East and started rubbing his antlers on a big sage. I grabbed my tripod off my pack to put my binos on and turned back around to set up and watch him go to his bed. When I turned back around, no buck. I sat on that knob for over an hour and couldn't find him in the tall sage. Finally I came off the knob, got behind a small roll in the topo and peeked over the top 125 yards from where I knew he had to be laying. The wind wasn't quite right so I laid on there for 1.5 hours with my glass to my eyes the whole time. The wind was fairly steady from east to west so I belly crawled 50 yards across the cacti infested ground to a decent screen of tall sage. I now had some great cover to hide me on the next 80 -90 yards where I would set up to wait him out. I had a couple cacti in my knee so I rolled onto my side, pulled them out and rolled back to my belly just in time to feel a big gust blow the wrong way and watch him come bounding at. Nice 27" 180+ buck. I sat there dumbfounded as he churned up the desert under his hooves.
If I didn't have bad luck, I'd have no luck at all. No complaints though as it beats the heck out of working. The tide has to turn!!
Saturday I was behind the glass as the sun was lighting the Eastern sky. I worked 3 miles of badland rim by poking along, glassing, moving 10 feet, glassing, repeat..........
I glassed over 30 does in their beds and finally found 3 forkies (in their beds) together at 2:30 that afternoon. I had originally planned on stopping at the draw they were in but had to check out the next 3 draws. No deer. I headed for home to see my wife and kiddos.
I think I've got one more big weekend that I'll be able to hunt with the bow. If I continue to pull a Karl, I'll just go back the end of october with the rifle for a few days.
We shall see.................

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ihuntelk
(126 posts)
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Oct-02-12, 
10:38 AM (MST)
17. "RE: Hunt Forever West - 2012"

I just returned from 5 days of hunting in Idaho. I couldn’t take it anymore and HAD to go back and try and poke a hole through a muley.

I left after church on Sunday and drove straight to camp. It was 12 hours on the nose. I stopped for fuel and met Carson in Pocatello to give him a couple chips from HuntingGPSmaps.com for Idaho and Wyoming. He gave me my brother Zane’s spotting scope (how lame is that? I don’t even own a spotting scope! Someone needs to thump me…. Everytime I’ve got enough saved for a good spotter, the kids need dentist work, or tires on the van, or…………).

I pulled in, set up the cot and tried to catch some Z’s before Monday morning. Monday I woke up to a light drizzle and much cooler temps. It was in the low 40’s that morn. I hiked out to my point and set up in the rain. I found a couple bunches of does and fawns but no bucks. By 9, I still hadn’t seen a buck. I decided to hike around the bowl I had been glassing to see what type of sign there was. As I poked through the top end of a small patch of Mahogany, a buck stood up in its bed below me and began feeding. Not what I was looking for so I continued on. By early afternoon, I had seen over 30 deer. I had glassed all of them in their beds and hadn’t spooked any. Finally, I’m on the opposite side of the bowl from where I had seen the small buck. I set up on my Outdoorsmans tripod and it didn’t’ take long to find his 2 buddies. They got up and fed across a big sage flat to a rim of Mahogany. I recognized 2 of the bucks from earlier trips: a 24” 3pt. and a 22” 165 type 4x4 – the same buck that had a yellow jacket fly up his nose on my earlier hunt. I stayed on my point til dark and didn’t find any other bucks.

Jake rolled in about 11:30 that night. He was positive we were gonna find one of the better bucks we had seen during the august hunt. He’d hunted the country HARD the past 2 years and spent lots of quality time out there in previous years. I was still super optimistic we’d turn up a mature deer. We hiked to our glassing knob that morning and found a grand total of 7 does and fawns. Jake saw 68 deer from that spot 2 weeks earlier. Sheesh!
By late morning, we decided to go look at another spot. He was only going to be able to hunt with me until wed night and wanted to show me another spot if I needed it on Thurs, Fri or Sat. We turned up 7 bucks that eve with a pretty good 4x4 that was only 20 inches wide, but had great height. He looked like a younger buck so we kept hunting. Same song and dance for Wednesday.

I had decided to hunt our big bowl Thursday morning and if I hadn’t turned up any bucks I would pull out and head south. I also have the Nov. rifle elk tag in that unit and wanted to see some of that country before I came back for that hunt. There would be deer in that part of my unit as well and maybe a change of scenery was in order.


Low and behold, that morning there were 3 bucks out feeding at first light: the decent 4x from Monday, the small basket 4 and a wider 4x. This wider 4x looked like a more mature deer and 24 or 25” wide. His fronts were pretty weak, but a respectable deer. I decided I would try for him, then go look at elk and still drive home to make my daughters volleyball games on Saturday.

Sage flat where they were feeding. Bedded in the middle mahogany in the upper patch.

They fed and bedded in a great spot. I crept to 150 yards and dumped my pack and boots.

Looking back to my glassing knob from where I dumped my boots.

Sage brush I needed to be able to shoot over.

Wind was in my face and the deer were bedded with sage blocking their vision towards me. After a 30 minute crawl, I was planted on my hiney, snuggled up on the shady side of the biggest sage brush 34 yards from him. My Heli’m was in front of me with an Injexion tipped with 100 grain shuttle T’s atop my Trophy Taker rest. It only took 30 minutes for the basket 4 to change his bed and lay down at 29 yards. 30 minutes later, the wider 4x got up and walked straight away before laying down at 44 yards. He never presented even a semblance of a shot.

Buck in his bed. Look for the tines!

An hour later, the basket 4 was up again. I snuggled in tight to the sage and waited for him to go back to bed. He mulled around, fed on a mahogany and seemed unconcerned until he snapped his head to attention and tried to bore holes in me. HOW IN THE #&*! did he see me? He just seemed to sense something was about to run amuck and walked around for a minute trying to figure out what I was. I called him every name in the book and he finally turned and slowly started to trot away. The other 2 bucks were hooves in motion and actually beat him out of the mahogany patch and over the ridge…………. They didn’t even attempt to find out what was amiss. I was devastated. He’s not even that big of a buck that I’m trying to poke a hole through! How do guys like Ulmer do it every year on BIG DEER???? I consider myself a pretty savvy woodsmen and I was utterly befuddled and at a loss for words.

After 30 minutes under a shady juniper, I was ready to head out and look for elk. I laced my boots up, strapped on my pack and stood with every intention of giving up. After a few steps, I turned around and hiked to the tallest knob. I was not leaving this piece of real estate until I killed a deer! 2 miles and a couple hours later I found another buck in his bed – or so I thought. After studying him, I realized it was the same 3 bucks that had just stomped on my heart like a 2012 BYU field goal kicker against the Utes (LOL – I cheer for the Pokes but will dig at Y football every chance I get!!). I couldn’t believe it.

Buck in his bed - 2nd time today.

Some days in August I’d see 20 bucks along with 40 does in this country. This trip all I can find is the same 3 bucks? Are you kidding me? Well, it’s still game on so I formulate a strategy. About then the bucks were up and feeding. A herd of Angus came over the hill headed for water and walked right through that herd of bucks. I was camped in the shade of a juniper, sitting on my stool, outdoorsman tripod in front of me with my binos on top. Those deer spooked and started my way.


At 100 yards I was thinking how ironic it would be if I killed him while sitting on my stool. I had the video camera out of my pack and rolling. They slowed and began feeding on the bitterbrush. After 20 minutes they lined out and headed over the ridge to the west. As soon as they cleared the top, I loaded my gear, threw on my pack and gave chase. The sun was sinking fast and I knew it was now or never. I crested the ridge in time to see them quickly feed over the next little ridge 100 yards away. As soon as they were out of sight, I sprinted to the next ridge and slowed to creep over the top. This time they were 80 yards and feeding on some mahogany. They had picked up a forkie and he and the basket 4 were 200 yards away feeding to the south. The bigger bucks looked like they wanted to stay NW. After 10 minutes they slowly disappeared over the next ridge. I could see a tall patch of sage on the crest of that ridge, up from where they had crossed but in line with where they were moving. The sun had set and shooting light would quickly change from pink to dark purple. I crept toward the sage patch but stalled a time or two when I saw tines over the horizon. My hunch was correct and they were feeding to the NW. It took forever to close the last 30 yards to the sage but I couldn’t shoot until I cleared the sage. As I peeked over the top, the wider 4 was in the back and instantly pegged my movement. The sunset was perfectly at my back so I stood as I drew, locked and released………………….

I lost the arrow in flight but the solid whack was music to my ears. He spun out twice trying to get his feet under him and I knew I had hit a little forward and got the shoulder. The 2 bucks ran over the hill 75 yards away and I exhaled as a new flood of emotions poured over me. I quickly went to where he had been standing and took off my pack for a marker. I walked out to the little rim of the small canyon to try and lay eyes on him. I sat down and after 3 or 4 minutes, his buddy walked out from behind a Juniper 300 yards away. He was snorting, looking back and pacing back and forth. By now the light was really poor. He walked behind a Juniper that was the last I saw him, but I knew my buck was down. YES!

I went back to my pack, waited 15 more minutes then started on the blood trail with my headlamp. It took about 30 minutes to sort out the 200 yard blood trail. Arrow had passed through the front shoulder blade, along a rib on the opposite side and was lying 5 yards beyond where he’d been standing.

I rolled a little video, took some really bad still pics and then started peeling quarters and filling game bags.

I took everything out of my Outdoorsmans Optics Hunter pack and then put ALL 4 quarters inside. I poked the spotting scope and a couple shirts in an outside pouch and filled every pouch I could with the rest of my gear. I tied the head and cape on the top and cinched it down. Finally I tied my Heli-m on the back and was amazed that everything was on the pack but my video camera and one small bag with lunch and a few odds/ends. I then pulled out my GPS and hefted my bulging pack up and buckled in. I’m guessing I was pushing 130 lbs but didn’t get to weigh in. 1.5 miles took me right at 1 hour and I rolled into camp at 11:59 PM. Another sweet night on a cot and then I got up and headed for home. I wanted to see my wife and kiddos that night and then make my 2 oldest daughters volleyball games Saturday morning. Heck of a fun hunt. I’ve tried to add up how many bucks I saw and keep coming up with over 100 different bucks in the 12 days I hunted. Best buck I saw was a 180+ 27” 4x with a cheater. I had him at 34 yards for 3.5 hours. Next 2 best bucks I saw were 170 type 4x’s that both were in bowrange. The buck I killed was the best buck I found on my return trip. I’ve fallen in love with hunting desert deer in both Wyo and Idaho with the bow and can’t wait to match wits again next fall.

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ihuntelk
(126 posts)
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Oct-23-12, 
09:32 AM (MST)
18. "RE: Hunt Forever West - 2012"

Boyz Drool part 1

Took the 2 oldest girls out of school Wednesday afternoon and headed for McKenzie’s elk unit. When she drew the tag, I was positive we had a slam dunk. A family friend had purchased a big ranch 4 or 5 years ago and gave us permission to hunt. I’ve killed 20 elk in my life and exactly 0 have been on private land. I’ve always hunted them the ‘hard way’ and wanted to try and find a little easier way to get my daughter a bull. I figured we would mostly be on public land but access it through the ranch. The owner showed us on the maps where the ranch was located. I put her in for that unit and she drew. I didn’t think much of it and called the ranch manager the week before her hunt to get directions. I was a little confused as the bunkhouse we would be staying at was 15 miles from her unit. After further discussion, I determined the owner wasn’t sure where his ranch was…………............

I should have known that there is no such thing as a slamdunk elk hunt. Needless to say, I was scrambling as her unit is mainly private land and I had never set foot in it before. I started digging through the maps, google earth and called a buddy up by her unit. After some scrambling I felt like we had as good of a game plan as possible. Her hunt opened on the 9th but they had their Jr. High volleyball tourney that weekend. We’d be 10 days late, but going elk hunting was better than not going elk hunting!

We got on the road and stopped that eve to fill up the rig and the kiddos. I can’t believe a large blizzard is $5.49!

We camped that night with the girls in the back of the 4-Runner and me on a cot outside. The next morn we were going to familiarize ourselves with the country before we hiked into our spot. Deer and pronghorn were also open and rigs were EVERYWHERE. We still saw lots of lopes and deer but no elk.

About 10 o’clock we loaded up the packs to hike into the ‘elk hole’. Paige packed one of my old backpacks with their lunch, gloves, hats, water, gps and headlamps. I packed my Optics Hunter pack with 2 tripods, video camera, stool, spotting scope, knives, gamebags, maps, headlamp, their winter coats, extra hats and gloves, water and enough snacks to feed 2 growing kids for a month. Kenz packed my Weaver rifle and shooting sticks. It took us about 1.5 hours to skirt some private and get into the 4 or 5 square mile chunk we wanted to hunt. My gps chip from www.HuntingGPSmaps.com was invaluable! There was one spot where 2 section lines came together. It didn’t line up perfectly on the map so I zoomed into it on a GIS layer at work and also on my GPS. Sure enough, there was a 40 yard swath that we could hike through and stay on public the whole way – I wasn’t going to try the corner crossing thing with my kiddos there!

We set up on 2 big canyons and proceeded to glass. And glass. And glass.

Paige kept digging up sandstone layers and scribing her name and smiley faces on them. Kenz took a power nap.
Yes she is really hiding under there. Look for her ear and ponytail scrunchy!

I stayed on the binos for over 5 hours and couldn’t turn up 1 elk.

Some decent elk sign in there but nothing within a week. At 5 that eve, I knew the elk had to be getting up and moving to the private hay meadows 2 or 3 miles away. Still nothing, so we hiked up a little ridge to glass the hay meadows in case the elk somehow slipped by us. As soon as I put my binos up, I could see 100 elk bedded in the hay meadow. As I kept scanning 5 more bunches were visible including some smoker bulls. I could also see mulies, pronghorn and whitetail. This ranch charges a crazy fee to shoot one in the hay meadow but quite a few people do it. Generally it takes one person to shoot an elk, deer or pronghorn and the elk head for the hills we were hiding in. Apparently the ranch hadn’t had any shooters for a week as evidenced by all the sign being a week old. These crazy buggers were content to lie out in the hay, 3 miles from the nearest tree, all day long. We watched them til dark and hiked out. That night I heated up a pot of fresh chili and we sat on my cot, eating chili, watching shooting stars and counting satellites.

The next morn we were on point as the sun came up and put the spotter on all the elk far below. We were positive they would come our way today. No such luck. I couldn’t find another elk in the country we could hunt.


That night we hiked out and decided to go to her deer unit a couple hours south of us. I apologized like crazy for not doing my homework better before putting her in for that elk hunt. She had killed a cow the year before but wanted a bull this year. I really wish it was my tag we were burning and not hers………….

Got to her deer unit and a spot my buddy Rhen had scouted a couple times in years past and had always seen mature bucks. We went to bed about 11 and about got blown out of the hills. The next morn we were on the glasses as the sun came up.

We glassed some awesome country.

Hiked out to some good vantage points.

Picked up a few sheds.

Hiked around some water sources looking for tracks and generally held on to our hats as the wind was 30 mph all day long.

The temps in the mid 70’s didn’t help either. We ended up seeing lots of pronghorn, 30 deer and 5 bucks.


That evening we found our best buck - a 22” 3x4.

I tried to talk her into shooting it. Once she looked through the spotter she just looked at me and said that I could do better and I should find her a big buck. HUH!!!!

I kept telling her that I killed 5 deer before I shot one that big. She didn’t care. She wanted a bigger buck and it was my fatherly duty to find it! She killed a whitie buck last year and this was her first time hunting mulies. First-time mulie hunters aren’t supposed to pass 22” bucks are they?

All in all, we had a great time and got to share many laughs and a few serious conversations. She’ll eat her elk tag, but we’ll go whack her mulie this weekend. Temps are supposed to be in the 30’s with some snow! Should be a great weekend.

Just another great reminder of why Girls Rule and Boyz Drool - or so my 4 daughters keep telling me.


To add insult to injury, when I got service that night, my brother Jake called and sent me a pic of his Idaho bull he'd killed that week.

I can't wait for my Idaho tag to open...........

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ihuntelk
(126 posts)
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Oct-30-12, 
04:26 PM (MST)
19. "RE: Hunt Forever West - 2012"

I took Kenz and Paige out to Central Wyoming on Friday and Saturday to find a mulie for Kenz. We met my good friend Rhen and his family. The weather was awesome. It had snowed the day before and highs were supposed to be in the low 30's. I filmed this hunt and didn't take near enough still pics, but here goes.

Ended up seeing over 70 deer with 15 bucks.

Paige picked up a few sheds that we found during our glassing efforts.

Found 3 bucks on this hillsides over a mile away. Ended up blowing them out while I was trying to get Kenz settled on the rifle and also running the video. Might have been the best buck we saw - 25 inch 4x4.

Here is the draw we found her buck in that eve - after she passed him up that morning.

Had him dead-to-rights that morn but she wanted to keep looking and try to find a 4x4!

That eve we went back and found him and his does 1 canyon away. After a fun stalk, I had her laying down on my pack. He was 216 yards away and bedded in some sage. I then got the video up and rolling and told her to squeeze when she was ready. 1 shot from the Weaver 300 win mag and he never knew what hit him.


Little bugger has now killed elk, whitetail, pronghorn and now muledeer. Not bad for a 13 year-old? We still have her Wyo pronghorn tag and will get to hunt next week.
Take your kids hunting! Awesome trip with a couple of my kids. I keep telling them that I'll gut and pack anything out of anywhere as long the want to go and I'm physically able.


The End!

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ihuntelk
(126 posts)
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Nov-01-12, 
10:05 AM (MST)
20. "RE: Hunt Forever West - 2012"

Went back for my Wyo rifle deer hunt. Was going to hunt Monday afternoon til Wednesday at dark.
Saw a few bunches of deer on my drive in. One bunch had 5 bucks with a cool 22" forkie.

Found this bunch of 3 spikes with one old doe. Looked like these boys got dropped off with the sitter!

This guy with the big GNARLY dropper was the boss.

Was just about to my parking spot and saw a covey of Chukars. Here's one hiding in the photo under the really cool deer trail up the side of this ridge.

Got to my parking spot at 5:30 and needed to cross this big bowl to get to a glassing knob a mile away before the sun set at 6:08.

Deer beds were everywhere in this canyon. Some in some pretty cool lookouts.

Few more scenery pics.

About halfway to my glassing knob I stopped to glass the top end of this canyon. Several deer had beeded in here during archery. Sure enough, I could see antlers sticking out each side of a sagebrush at the top end. He was in the exact same bed I'd seen deer use in Sept.

I stayed hidden and moved up the draw. Peeked over my last ridge and he was still bedded 143 yards away. Set the video camera on the tripod and rolled some footage then settled into my rifle. All I could see was antlers so I needed him to stand. I wanted him to do it on his own accord and sat at the ready for 30 minutes. The sun had set about 10 minutes earlier and I knew I was losing filming light too fast. Finally I started squeaking then squalling like a dieing rabbit. He stood up looking my way and immediately fell back down.

I wasn't sure I wanted to shoot him. Since I had the camera rolling I decided to shoot so I could leave 1 1/2 days early for my Wyo elk tag. I didn't end up going to chase elk as there were a few more important things to do at home. I can't believe I'm gonna eat that tag for the 2nd year in a row........... ouch!

Kenz and I will go whack our Pronghorns this weekend and then it's off to Idaho for my bull elk tag. Best tag I've ever drawn in my life. We'll see how long I can hold out. Nice problem to have!


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ihuntelk
(126 posts)
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Nov-05-12, 
01:45 PM (MST)
21. "RE: Hunt Forever West - 2012"

Took all the kiddos out saturday afternoon for Kenz and my pronghorn. This unit can be pretty good for a whopper or 2, but we just ran out of time. We hunted one night after school and then saturday afternoon.

After a huge stalk and a couple opportunities that slowyly walked away while Kenz was trying to get situated, we finally were in position. She made a great shot with the Weaver 300 win mag. This is her 5th big-game harvest. Not bad for a 13 year-old?

Only 12.5 inches tall, but lots of mass and character. Kenz loves his white tips!

The whole crew. Kenz 13, Paige 11, Ashton 9 and Rainey 6. This was Rainey's 5th big-game harvest she's been on.

Her buck ran 100 yards after the shot and laid down. The remaining 40 lopes took off running and came back about 3 minutes later. The best buck stood 100 yards from his fallen comrade and just stared. After 3 or 4 minutes, I finally decided I should hurt his feeling as well. I got on the rifle and Kenz got on the video camera. I had to hit mine twice before he fell over.

The Whole Crew. Boyz Drool and Girls RULE!!!

I did a quick gutless quarter on mine and threw it in my Outdoorsmans Optics Hunter Pack. We got to Kenz's and took pics. I then sent Paige with Ashton and Rainey back to a 2 track. Paige threw my pack on and carried it the whole way - almost 3/4 mile. I figured she was hauling 40-ish pounds.

Kenz and I then gutted hers and I decided I'd pack it to the 2-track as well. Kenz packed the rifle, video camera and tripod.

I filmed the whole hunt and it was too tough running camera, wrangling kids and helping Kenz on the rifle to take any scenery pics during the hunt. We had a fun time and got to share the great outdoors together. I've had lots of people tell me how crazy I am to haul 4 girls out into the hills, but I figure they won't learn to love and appreciate it if their home sitting on the couch! Get em involved!

-Cade
www.HuntForeverWest.com

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ihuntelk
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Nov-15-12, 
08:29 AM (MST)
22. "RE: Hunt Forever West - 2012"

Just returned from my unbelievable Idaho elk hunt.
Couple quick things I learned (or re-learned!)
1) Packing elk by yourself SUCKS!!! Especially all uphill.
2) Elk are Elk and big bulls only get big with AGE. It doesn't matter if it is a 'slam-dunk' late season tag. Elk will still find the biggest nastiest hole in the country and hide in there.
3) Trophy Hunting sucks! There's a reason I only hunt for big mature critters and don't care about score.
4) Don't believe anyone's opinion unless they've actully hunted the unit - recently. I heard from all sorts of folks that I should shoot a 380 bull........ if I killed a 330 on the last day, I'd wasted my tag, etc.... I hunt for myself and NEVER feel regret/remorse if I pull the trigger.
5) Hunting is funner with family and/or friends.
6) Packing elk by yourself SUCKS!!! Especially all uphill. (That one is worth repeating several times. :-D )

I won't go into long drawn out details on this hunt. The pics should suffice. Let's just say I saw over 150 bulls in 6 days. Saw 2 absolute tanks that I should have (and could have) killed but they were all busted up (see #3 from above.)
Ended up killing my best bull to date - even though he was broken up. He's my 20th elk; 16th bull; 14th branch-antlered bull. Killed him a day after my 2 brothers left (see #1, #5 and #6 from above).

Got there Wednesday eve and set up camp and glassed that eve. Saw a handfull of bulls and some awesome country.

Thursday, Jake and I saw 400 elk and almost 100 bulls. Most 2-3 miles away. Big Swarovski binos on an Outdoorsman Tripod is the BEST way to glass. That afternoon the snow and fog set in and you couldn't glass 400 yards.

Zane joined us that afternoon and we were still fogged in. The next morn we were on our glassing point. Truck said 13 degrees when we started hiking. It was cold glassing that morn.

Zane and Jake taking a break from glassing in the fog/snow.

Home sweet home for the week.

More Scenery Pics



The side of the line you hunt better match what's on your tag!

The bulls didn't know what state was what. If they saw human, they ran..............
Jake left late Sat night to head home. Zane stayed til early Sunday morning. We did drive up the mountain to see what tracks were in the new snow, but didn't hunt. I still believe that's a day of rest.


Fresh elk trails in the Ceonothus (buckbrush).

Monday I got to the top of the mountain at first light and saw 29 bulls and 150 cows/calves. Saw 2 TANKS. One was a 360+ frame but broke 4th's and 5th's on both sides. Other was a 380+ frame missing half his 4th and all his 5th on the passenger side. Drivers side had a broken 4th and then main beam was snapped after 4th. Unbelievable frame on this bull. Unbelievable fronts and mass but I knew he wouldn't score very well (see #3 above).

Big 360 frame bull and 2 buddies were here.

After glassing a few more elk, the 3 bulls moved down the mountain and joined 8 other bulls in the big aspen patch 4 or 500 yards South of where the arrow is above. I decided I was going to go get a closer look at the big-framed bull and his buddy. His buddy had great length but his 4th's and 5th's were inline with his main beam and probably alot longer than they looked from a mile. I hiked off the mountain and came over the ridge above all these bulls. After poking along and glassing, I finally found them bedded in the thick, nasty aspen patch. I was 250 yards and pulled out the Swaro spotter to try and get a better look. 2nd bull I saw was a new bull. I studied him as best I could through the dog-hair aspens. I knew he had mass and a good frame. I also knew he had a broken 5th on the passenger side. Other than that, I couldn't tell much........

I sat there for 3 hours as it blew, sputtered snow and blew some more. I couldn't find the big-frame bull or his buddy. I also really wanted a cleaner look at this new bull. They were finally up feeding a little and rubbing antlers on poor little aspens. I thought he was a potential shooter but I still didn't know. There was only one direction he could go that I wouldn't get a clear look at him. One of his 6pt buddies decided to take that exact route and he followed. I was worried that I better shoot or he'd walk and I'd never know. He immediately stopped with his vitals in a 2ft. x 2ft opening. Of course his headgear was still covered. I decided it was now or never. 2 shots at 250 yards from my Weaver 300 into his boiler and he was down. His buddies then ran out of the aspens and stood on the hillside smiling pretty for the video camera. The big-framed bull and his buddy never did appear. Hiking down to my bull, I saw where they had hiked over the ridge before I ever got over where I could look (see #2 above).



Got him quartered and ready for the pack out then hiked out and got to the rig about 8:15. Had 2 Idaho Wardens waiting for me when I got there. Killed him about 400 yards from the state boundary! They checked my license and made sure I wasn't stuck down in that hole. Both were very courteous and professional and were out freezing their tails off trying to protect our game.

Killed him in the nasty aspen patch in the bottom of this photo -to the right of the border!

Went back the next day and it took me 4 trips to haul him out (see #1 and #6 above). Trip #2 I was able to get both front quarters into my Outdoorsman Optics Hunter pack. I couldn't get a hind and a front in, but believe I could have on a 3.5 or 4.5 year-old bull.

Head and Cape had to come in the last load so I could navigate the aspens and ceonothus better.

Did all 4 loads on Tuesday. Got back and tore down camp and STUFFED it into the ol' 4Runner.

Had 10 bulls cross the road in front of me on the way out - 1 raghorn and 9 spikes!
Stopped to take one last pic before I headed East.

Drove to Zane's and spent the night. Unloaded all his and Jake's gear that I still had and headed home to the fam.

Got bored crossing I-80 in Southern Wyo and had to take this pic.

Was about home when the ol' 4Runner flipped 330K. If anyone knows someone at Toyota, I'd be glad to tell em my story for a new rig :-D
All Hiway miles!!!!

I couldn't believe how broke up all the bulls over there were. I was expecting some of them to be broken, but I would wager that 90% of the 6pts. were busted up. Lots of snapped main beams and 4th's and 5th's. I don't know if it's nutrition related or high bull/cow ratios or what it is. All I know is there were lots of bones missing. The bull I killed had the most bone still intact of any I saw in his class.

That should do it for my 2012 Big-Game hunting seasons. Been a fun year. Definitley will do a few things different next year. I know I will spend more time getting my kids out and involved. My parents are serving as missionaries in Japan right now but will be home next Sept. Can't wait to get back out in the hills with my dad, kids and brothers.

Hope you enjoyed our HAC. I'll do one more post later this week as Carson killed a big Idaho Wolf a week ago! That just might be the best way to finish up my HAC for this fall.

-Cade
www.HuntForeverWest.com

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ihuntelk
(126 posts)
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Dec-07-12, 
07:45 AM (MST)
23. "RE: Hunt Forever West - 2012"

As promised, here are a few pics from Carson's Idaho Wolf. I will do another post next week as I called in 7 wolves 2 weeks ago. Audio is unbelievable and video is alright. Had em at 50 yards and could't shoot in the dark timber.............. but that's another story. Here are pics from Carson's wolf. If you'd like to read the story you can go to: http://westernhuntermagazine.net/idaho-wolf-photos-role-reversal/

Glassed a bull across a huge canyon.

Made the stalk and started glassing where they thought the bull went to bed.


Wolf came barreling out and almost made it over this little rise. Carson got 1 snap shot and wasn't sure if the whump was wolf or stump related.

Ran up to where the wolf ran over the rise and this is what he found.....

Nothing like sharing the experience with his dad.

Loaded up and headed out..

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ihuntelk
(126 posts)
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Dec-10-12, 
11:33 AM (MST)
24. "RE: Hunt Forever West - 2012"

It has now been 2 weeks since my Wyo wolf hunt. I think I'm finally ready to talk about it with a bunch of other addicts. Hopefully this will give me some closure until the next time I get to go.

We were in East Idaho for turkey day with my 2 brothers, sister and our families. Friday we were going to go look for a Canis Lupes. Zane and Jake had tags on the Idaho side and I had a tag on the Wyo side. I hadn't hunted over there for many years but we'd had a couple experiences with wolves before management went back to the states. Our plan was to travel some of the roads until we cut tracks in the snow and then we'd make a game plan. To be honest, we weren't expecting to find any wolves. We were looking at some new country for a high-country backpack mulie hunt next fall and planned on being home in the early afternoon.

We decided to take one more road before we called it a day. We were the first rig on it for well over a week. Quite a few moose tracks and a few deer but no elk. About 12:30 we finally cut a wolf track. It was a couple days old but still mighty impressive. 1/2 mile later we cut a pair and could see where they'd traveled the same route coming and going. 1/2 mile later we cut a pack. Looked like over a half dozen and there were a couple super-sized tracks so we new the alpha male and female were running with them.
They were either made during the night or early in the morning. Pretty big ridge to our north, paralleling the road. We drove up the road as far as we could and then Jake and I got out to hike up the ridge. Zane would drive to the end of it and we'd walk it out for 2 or 3 miles howling and glassing. If the wolves were on our ridge, it would be hunt on. If they were to the north we'd pull out the gps loaded with our huntingGPSmaps chip and really scrutinize the boundary.

We walked that ridge out and howled a few times with no response. Toward the end of it, we cut their tracks. We knew it was a long-shot but we took off in pursuit. 2 miles later we humped it up another ridge. There were lots of moose tracks/beds in the ceonothus and blow-down with new willows and a few aspens growing. The wolf tracks went right through the middle of them but no evidence of a chase. As we peaked out on the ridge, we decided to howl one more sequence. If we could get a response in the big canyon below us, we'd figure out a strategy. If not, we'd head to the rig.

Jake howled and we waited and waited.

Finally a lone dog answered but sounded miles away. 10 seconds later, the whole pack answered and they were across the canyon! Jake hustled down 100 yards to where he could glass the opposite side. I turned the video on and captured some audio and me grinning like a wolf in a herd of wooly range maggots.

About then, Jake hollered back that he found them! I hustled down to him and set up the video before I started glassing. The openings were pretty sparse, but some of the pack were laying out in the open.

The Alpha male was the most impressive critter I've seen in the woods.

They howled off and on for 5 minutes while we decided what to do. After looking at the gps, we knew we were still legal in the bottom of the canyon. There was a small ridge between us that I could have hiked up and shot them at 250 yards, but it wasn't on our side of the line.

We bailed off the big ridge and ski'd down to the bottom. The wolves serenaded us most the way. As we got to the bottom it was a cluster. A couple canyons, a creek and a boundary all came together at the same point. We had to stay south of them and didn't get to set up in a very good position, but it was the best we could do. We figured we were within 800 yards of them.
I set up 15 yards in front of Jake who was manning the video and the calling. I had 2 decent shooting lanes but knew they'd have to be within 50 yards. Everything else was pretty dense with small conifers, deadfall, willows and huckleberry.

He howled and the wolves INSTANTLY howled back. Sounded like they were coming closer. They were carrying on when Jake squeeked at me a couple times. I looked up just in time to see a grey blur go through 2 little openings. I swung my rifle around but never saw it again.

Jake had a good look and new it was a pup that ended up at 75 yards sitting on its haunches for 4 or 5 minutes.

The pack continued to howl so Jake changed tactics. With 1 of their clan alone and close to us, Jake started yipping/whining like a hurt pup. No deal.

We stayed put for 25 more minutes with them howling off and on. Finally they sounded like they were within 100 yards and really started carrying on. The audio from my video camera is unbelievable. I've got close to 4 or 5 minutes of the howling at 100 yards. They were growling/fighting as well, but the camera didn't quite capture that.

We called with wolf sounds until they let out a barrage of howls. Jake decided to pull out the coyote call and barked at them 8-10 times and then pseudo coyote howled a couple more.
I really wish I could have seen the look on their faces when he did that. Next thing I know, he's squeeking at me again. I'm scanning the forest to my north for all I'm worth. Finally I see a flash of grey. It spun and was booking the other way. I swing my rifle and catch 2 or 3 more flashes.

One went through a 2 foot opening parallel to me so I swung to the next opening. I was in the center of the 4 foot opening when black started into my scope. Unfortunately, it had turned and was jumping over a deadfall almost straight away and I only caught part of its side in my scope. I swung to the left and just about took a snap shot at it's hind quarter. The angle was pretty steep - not a Texas heart shot - but almost straight away. I passed on the shot and that was the last flash I saw of wolfie wolf.
They had come behind us enough that the first dog had finally caught our scent. We knew if they came in below us, they'd catch our scent but didn't have any other options with the set-up.

Jakes view from the camera, 15 yards behind me. How many can you see?

How many now?

I'm pretty dang good at shooting blues and ruffs in the aspens with the shotgun and am pretty sure I would have connected, but............. As much as I've wanted to shoot a wolf in the last 18 years, I didn't want it to be that way. I also knew there was a certain boundary within 10 yards of this wolf. I had been able to glass a couple of the boundary signs while I was waiting and had a mental note of where they were in relation to the creek. Last thing I (or any ethical sportsman) needed was a dead wolf on the wrong side of the boundary.
We've come so far with the management of these awesome animals and I didn't need to give the enviros another arrow in their quiver.

I'm still just sick to think we were so close. Even sicker to know that Jake could have killed any one of them, but didn't have a Wyo tag. It was an unbelievable experience to have them so close(3rd pack I've had under 60 yards - but first time with a tag in my pocket). They are truly the most intelligent animal I've ever pursued or seen in the wild. Now that states have management responsibility, I intend to do my part every chance I get.

Jake and I telling the camera 'How Close' we came from tagging a lobo.

Thanks for listening to me sob and try and get it out of my system. I think I'll be alright until I get to go again for 3 days between Christmas and New Years. If that doesn't cure me, I'll be in Central Idaho for 6 or 7 days in mid-February. Hopefully one will want to take a road trip through Wyo with me. We shall see.

As a side note, I took all these pics off my video camera so quality isn't super, but tells a decent story when we were dogging tracks and didn't take any still pics.

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ihuntelk
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Jan-04-13, 
05:04 PM (MST)
25. "RE: Hunt Forever West - 2012"

Got to jump-shoot a couple limits of green-heads over New Year's. My poor lab, Hank, was gonna throw me out. This was the first time I got him out fetching feathers this year.

My girls wanted to sleep in and hang out with their cousins. That's alright as Hank and I got some much needed male bonding. Sure love my 'Harem' of 5 women, but sometimes it's just good to get out with the boys!
Hope everyone has a safe and prosperous New Year with more family time and hunting than you legally can have in a year!

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