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Hunt Forever West - 2013

 
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ihuntelk
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Aug-07-13, 
08:30 AM (MST)
"Hunt Forever West - 2013"

Can't believe I'm a week away from season starting and I haven't had time to start my HAC.

This year is going to be super fun as my 2nd daughter, Paige, just turned 12 and has a few (7) tags in her pocket. Kenz has 3 and I have 4 Wyoming tags. Nada out-of-state this year which is probably a blessing. Next year when my wife is finished with her Master's Degree, I might cash in some points for a couple out-of-state tags. This year will just be too hectic.

Hunts for this year:
Kenz, Paige and I all drew a good Wyoming pronghorn tag and will be behind the rifle in a few weeks. Paige also has 2 doe tags for the unit.

Kenz, Paige and I all drew the same mulie tag I had last year. We all applied seperately and I was hoping to draw 1 maaaayyyybe 2 between the 3 of us. Needless to say, 3 tags will be super fun. I'll bowhunt it in Sept. and then get the girls in the field in between volleyball games the end of October.

I drew a good bull elk tag in NW Wyo. Marked 10 days off for the archery hunt in mid-Sept. Would have marked off more but my parents have been serving as missionaries in Japan for the last 18 months and come home in Sept. I'll burn a few elk days going home to see them. I wish they would have consulted with me first!!

All three of us also have a late-season cow elk tag.

Still deciding if they'll have enough time to chase a bull elk on a general tag. I'm guessing school and volleyball will interfere.

Paige also has 2 doe deer tags. She'll get to shoot a couple whitie does in November. She should get to harvest elk, mule deer, pronghorn and whitetail for her first season. That's a few more than my forkie mule deer buck the year I turned 12.


It's probably illegal to do a post without pics so here's a few pics of antlers from this spring. Girls picked them up pretty close to the house while I was in the office working. Needless to say I was worthless the rest the day..........






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  Table of Contents  

 Subject   Author   Message Date   ID 
 RE: Hunt Forev...  ihuntelk      Aug-09-13   1 
  RE: Hunt Forev...  ihuntelk      Aug-13-13   2 
   RE: Hunt Forev...  ihuntelk      Aug-27-13   3 
    RE: Hunt Forev...  ihuntelk      Sep-03-13   4 
     RE: Hunt Forev...  ihuntelk      Sep-09-13   5 
      RE: Hunt Forev...  ihuntelk      Sep-11-13   6 
       RE: Hunt Forev...  ihuntelk      Sep-30-13   7 
        RE: Hunt Forev...  ihuntelk      Oct-03-13   8 
         RE: Hunt Forev...  ihuntelk      Oct-07-13   9 
          RE: Hunt Forev...  ihuntelk      Oct-29-13   10 
           RE: Hunt Forev...  ihuntelk      Nov-21-13   11 
            RE: Hunt Forev...  ihuntelk      Nov-25-13   12 
             RE: Hunt Forev...  ihuntelk      Nov-26-13   13 
              RE: Hunt Forev...  ihuntelk      Dec-09-13   14 

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ihuntelk
(126 posts)
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Aug-09-13, 
06:39 PM (MST)
1. "RE: Hunt Forever West - 2013"

All Paige wanted for a birthday present was a new bow.......so we finally went and looked. We don't have any bow shops within 2.5 hours of home so we went back to Archery Idaho in Idaho Falls when we were in town for a reunion. She couldn't decide between the Mission Craze or Menace.

She liked the pink camo on the Menace but we both thought the Craze fit a little better.

Her first group with the Craze solidified the deal!

We put a Trophy Taker Smackdown rest and fletched up 1 dozen Easton Ion arrows. She also put a little color on it with her stabilizer and sling.

First shot was a RINGER! Then she calmed down and probably hit where they were supposed to.

Then she wanted to shoot at 'animals' and had a pretty good 2nd group.


Not to be outdone by their older sister, Ashton and Rainey each grabbed a Mini-Genesis and started launching.......
Ashton shoots like her dad. Good concentration on 4 and the 5th is always a flyer!

She kept asking about 'Robin Hooding' an arrow. She knocked the knock off of one arrow and wants to keep shooting until she splits them!

Rainey was proud of her turkey.

Not sure where her other 5 or 6 arrows hit, but you can't argue with a headshot.........

You can't get them excited about the great out-doors and hunting if they're sitting home on the couch.

I was all packed up and ready to leave. She wanted to shoot one more arrow before we left.

I would have put her in for a different pronghorn hunt than the one she drew. It's not very susceptibel to archery hunting out of a blind and I want a very controlled situation for her first arrow at an animal.
She keeps bugging me about stalking a mule deer in Sept. We'll see how good she's shooting by then.

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ihuntelk
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Aug-13-13, 
08:53 AM (MST)
2. "RE: Hunt Forever West - 2013"

Took the girls and loaded up 60 rounds for this fall. 74.0 grains of H4831sc with a 168.0 grain Berger VLD.

Then went to the range and they set up targets. Plan was to set up targets at 100, 200 and then shoot the gongs at 300.

Paige was up first. 12 year-old shooting my Weaver 300 Win Mag. Kevin Weaver does a phenonemal job on building custom rifles. Paige first shot this rifle a couple years ago at age 10. This was her time getting to shoot it with the new Vortex scope!

Kenz was up next. She's trying to figure out how to close her left eye to shoot right handed. We normally carry a pirate patch when we're in the field. She looks pretty funny with it but I wouldn't want her shooting at me!

Then each shot off the shooting sticks.

Kenz was pretty happy with her first shot off the sticks!

Both shot really well and it gives me a good feel for what they're capable of in field situations. I'd hate to be an antelope with either of them settling the Vortex crosshairs on me!

I then jumped behind the rifle and fine tuned it at some longer ranges. Got home and filled out my paperwork for a custom turret from Kenton http://kentonindustries.com/
They arrived yesterday and went on the rifle last night.

I sure enjoy having custom data for my scope even if I'm not a long-range banger. Pronghorn hunt will be here soon enough. 5 tags between the 3 of us will make for a super fun long weekend!

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ihuntelk
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Aug-27-13, 
03:58 PM (MST)
3. "RE: Hunt Forever West - 2013"

Got Paige and Kenz out for a fun couple days of looking for Pronghorn. Several bucks with some WOW factor. We shall see.....


Why yes, that is a big knob-like cutter coming off the backside!

The ol' 4 Runner died last year at +331k miles. I finally bought a new truck. Can't wait to get blood in the back!

Lovin' the new Core4Element gear. Can't wait for the 2013 stuff to hit the shelf! This was also my first extended trip behind the Vortex Razor Bino and Spotter. They are definitely all they are cracked up to be. I wasn't sure I could afford that nice of glass for the kiddos to use, so I bought them a pair of Vortex Diamondback's. I was amazed at the clarity and quality of that piece of glass. MUCH BETTER than anything I had til I was out of college. Are all girls SPOILED ROTTEN???


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ihuntelk
(126 posts)
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Sep-03-13, 
11:37 AM (MST)
4. "RE: Hunt Forever West - 2013"

Got a new Spot-Hogg Hogg-It sight a couple weeks ago. Got it all dialed in and shooting sweet.

I was finally ready to fine-tune the 3rd axis on some steep downhill angles.Paige and I loaded up the rig and drove about 15 minutes from the house to a couple hills that were 'steep enough'!

Set up the Morrell targets at the bottom of the hill and hiked up to shoot a few.

49 yards. 34 degree angle. Vortex Ranger said to aim for 36 yards.

Shot 3 field tips first.

Adjusted the 3rd axis and shot my Ulmer-Edge tipped Injexion. Needless to say, I was pretty happy with my first arrow.....

Stepped back to 61 yards, 34 degree angle.

Ranger said aim for 50 yards.

Not perfect, but not bad for my first group. I really should have been shooting lots more from these angles. The muscle memory seemed a whole lot slower than at the range at my house!

I decided to shoot a 7-pin sight this year. I've only killed one animal over 50 yards (only one I've ever shot at). Killed lots under 30, but I always have a long-range pin in-case I need to follow-up and that's my only opportunity. I paint my 50 yard pin white so I know that all my hunting pins are above that. Works for me to keep things straight in my head. I do love the 60, 70 and 80 pins for practice and prairie dogs!

Paige didn't want to shoot the steep angles. We set up at the truck and let her shoot several rounds.

This golden-mantled ground squirrel decided to come watch. Poor sucker would have died if I was a 12 year-old with a bow in my hands............

Not bad for her 30 yard group. Getting better, but still not ready for this fall.

I then shot all 5 broadheads at 30 yards from the flat to make sure tweaking the 3rd axis didn't mess with anything. As many of you can tell, I'm about as far from a tech junkie as you can get. I just wanna hunt stuff......

Deer and Elk in Wyo have already opened. I had too many irons in the fire at home and work to go on the openers. I am leaving tonight to go hunt the next 4 days. Hopefully a glory pic or 2 for my next post. Good luck to everyone out there. Hunt safe and hunt hard.

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ihuntelk
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Sep-09-13, 
10:14 PM (MST)
5. "RE: Hunt Forever West - 2013"

Had an awesome day of hunting desert bucks. Saw lots of bucks but nothing I got too serious about on day 1.

Wanted to shoot this buck just because he was in one of the coolest beds I've ever seen. Needs another year though.... You can see a little velvet and part of an ear if you zoom it in.

Had this real nice buck at 40 yards in his bed when I realized he was a 3x4. Hope I don't regret it..........

Last buck of the day. Saw tines and not much else. Made the stalk to 26 yards and when he stood up, wasn't quite what I was looking for.

That night I was contemplating going elk hunting or staying to look at velvet mulies. Decided to hunt velvet in the morn and then leave for the big drive to elk camp. Found a good buck at first light and watched him work into a draw to bed for the morn. Found him in his bed about 8 o'clock. All I could see was antlers, ears and the back of his head at 90 yards. Reached for the camera and it wasn't there...... Still cussing myself.

Took off the boots and stalked to the finger ridge above him. 36 yards above him to be exact. Nice 26 inch buck with great eye guards and 5-6" in-line 5ths on both G-2's. Probably a 175ish deer with the extras. Ended up being 2 other bucks with him that I could see. After 10 minutes another buck showed himself from around the roll in the hill as he got up to change beds. Wind was still in my face for the next 25 minutes when it went completely slack calm. I murmured under my breath and held on until I felt a little backdraft cross the back of my neck. One of the small bucks I still hadn't seen around the hill stood up nervously. My buck jerked his head to look at him. I came to full-draw as 5 bucks stood from their beds. Every buck but the one I wanted to introduce and Ulmer Edge to........ They stood for 3 or 4 seconds and he finally came boiling out of his bed. Every other buck followed him out. He never stopped until he was 120 yards out. I just shook my head in disbelief.
After watching them blow out of the country, I decided to head for elk camp. Mulies can wait..............


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ihuntelk
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Sep-11-13, 
12:23 PM (MST)
6. "RE: Hunt Forever West - 2013"

After I left the deer hills, I drove to my elk unit. Saw a cow and calf moose on the way in. Good to see some calves with the wolves and griz hammering them.

Got to our trailhead and sorted gear to load the backpack.

Several miles and 1500 vertical feet later we heard a couple bulls bugle on their own - 2:30 in the afternoon.

We worked up the ridge to the bugles and got the wind right and headed into the darker timber. Lots of duff on the ground and very little downfall made the walking pretty easy. Matt stayed back to call and I got within 150 yards. Matt gave a couple soft cow mews and 2 bulls screamed back and headed our way. They continued to bugle as they closed the distance. After a couple minutes of silence I heard a branch break to my left. Tan body was ghosting through the timber into the rocky timbered bowl I was overlooking. I had already hit some trees for ranges so I was ready when he stepped out. I caught a couple flashes of antlers and my heart started to sink as I knew I wouldn't be packing this bull off the mountain. He walked through several openings and stopped at 12 yards. I mentally drew and picked a spot while I followed through and watched my Injexion pass through. I mentally killed that bull 100 times! He walked behind umpteen trees and then through several more openings where I could have killed him. Not today..........
About then the bull up the ridge bugled from 60 yards. The 5pt made a bee-line away from him and I. I then caught legs and antlers up the ridge. Ended up being a decent 6x7 that we had seen from a mile away earlier that afternoon. Probably a 315 type bull - still not what I was looking for. He stopped just under 40 yards and tried to find the lost cow below him. No such luck so he finally turned and slipped back to the 5 cows he left just over the ridge.

We headed up the ridge to try and get as close to the summit as we could that night. Hopefully we'd locate more bulls to chase in the morning.

Got to a nice saddle and threw out the Easton Kilo tent in the dark. Fired up some Mtn House and climbed into the tent to snuggle with my Big Agnes. It was so hot, I just laid on top of my bag until a bugling bull woke me at 2:30AM. I crawled into the bag and got some more shut eye. Next morn we loaded up the packs in the dark and were headed up to the summit before the sun had risen. Heard a few bugles and saw a handful of bulls on the ridges down below us. Looked like the same bulls we had seen the evening before.

Got to the summit and started glassing for bulls. Saw a few smaller bulls on the ridges several miles away. Not much talking in the heads of the 2 canyons we were looking into so we continued to look at new country.



Loaded back up and headed a mile down the ridge. Came over into the head of a new creek and had a couple bulls bugling on their own. Got the wind right and set up above them. Matt hadn't even got the first mew out of his mouth when I could see legs coming........FAST. He came on a rope and passed behind several big pines, giving me the opportunity to draw undetected. I did not take the opportunity to even draw on this bull as he wasn't going home in my pack either. At 14 yards I could see the whites of his eyes and drips of moisture in his nostrils. He needs 5 or 6 more years of high mountain grasses before I'll pack him off this lofty perch.



Saw several more young bulls throughout the day. Finally, that evening we were perched up high looking into a georgous creek bottom flowing off these rugged peaks. I picked up a couple elk on a sage/aspen/pine hill 3 miles below us. The Vortex Razor was already attached to my Outdoorsman tripod.

In no time at all I was looking at the type of bull that makes you forget all the pain and suffering associated with this type of hunt.

I pulled out the GPS to look at the topo between us. He was right at 3 miles as the crow flies. I had 1.5 hours of sunlight left with several big ridges between us. It was never going to happen tonight, but we needed to get off this ridge to hunt him on Saturday. There were a couple roads in the bottom below us that he was feeding within 250 yards of. I was shocked until I looked at my maps to see that they had been closed for several years. Sweet, no chance to have quads buzzing around blowing everything out of the country!

Got to the botton and up the other side to be above them in the morning. Camped in the dark with a big mountain thunderstorm bearing down on us. We were sitting on a point listening to a couple bugling bulls as the sun started to lighten the Eastern horizon. Just faint half bugles. Pretty indicitive of this time of year.
We ended up seeing over half a dozen bulls but never the guy we were there to hunt. I think we saw a couple of his cows but couldn't verify. The wind and country were pretty inconsistent for the type of set-up I would have taken on this bull. The only time he would have heard me call was when I was already at full-draw and needed him to stop. I wasn't going to blow him out trying to call to him this early in the season, especially when he was already tending 10 cows. Stayed there til noon and never glimpsed his hide. Only heard 1 half-hearted bugle from where I think he was feeding. Not enough to get me to go in looking.....

Here's another bull we saw but didn't even make a play at. He needs another year or two as well..........


Left the hills that afternoon to go look at some new country from the rig. I had never hunted this unit before and wanted to have a plan B location in case plan A was overr un when I get to go back. I needed to be home for Sunday, so I was on the road by 3..........

Ended up seeing right at 20 bulls in 2 days. Had 3 within bow range. Not a bad couple days when you consider it was 80 degrees. Once it cools down and the rut is in swing, I'll go back for 6 days. Hopefully I'll find the bull I saw Friday night. Time will tell.

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ihuntelk
(126 posts)
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Sep-30-13, 
09:52 AM (MST)
7. "RE: Hunt Forever West - 2013"

Got to go back on the elk hunt after a week Hiatus. I would have liked to be back on the hill that next weekend but my family took priority. My parents have been in Japan for 18 months as missionaries and they got home the 5th and had a family gathering on the 12-15th. I told them they should have consulted with elk season before making plans...............

Got to camp at 1AM after a 9 or 10 hour drive. Got as close as we could to the location I had seen that big bull over a week earlier. Went to bed in the cold rain and woke up to clear skies the next morning.

After glassing for 2 minutes I found several wall tents in the bottom of 'MY' canyon. There were no visible or vocal elk where there had been several herds a week earlier. We started glassing further up the canyons coming off the mountain peak in front of us. We started picking out a few scattered herds but they were 2.5+ miles as the crow flies. We pulled out the Vortex Razor Spotting scope to look at a couple bulls. Nice but not what I was looking for. About then my friend Ben tells me to look at the highest point on the mountain. Sure enough, there were 20 elk crossing the rock face at almost 11,000 feet. We put the spotter on the bull. Definitely didn't need a second look on him - even at 4.1 miles............

We looked at the maps, hiked back to the truck, loaded up our packs and headed up the mountain with enough gear for 5 days.

Didn't take the closed road long to change to our trail. Didn't take long after that to get put in our place as #2 on the food chain.

Couple miles in I had to take care of a HOT spot.

As we dropped over a ridge and into some dark timber, there was a couple bulls bugling under us. After 10 minutes it was apparent there was a herd with a bull in front of us. I poked along the trail as a couple bulls bugled in the bottom. The bull in front of us was pretty vocal to their calls and our soft, infrequent cow chirps. As soon as I was within 100 yards, I put it into 4x Low and just poked along. Glassing, looking and listening. Glassing, looking and listening..........

Pretty soon I had a calf at 31 yards with some tines visible behind it. The calf just fed patiently as the bull behind was in and out of the openings I could see bugling and chasing a cow. The calf haad climbed the hill to our level and decided to walk down the trail I was standing on. 30 seconds later a cow was visible from the roll of the hill. She decided to join the calf. Pretty soon the calf is at 12 yards trying to figure out what I am. After a 30 second stare down it slowly stepped off the downhill side of the trail and began feeding. The cow followed. WHEW!

By now the bull was on the trail heading my way. He was licking his chops, glunking and really sniffing for any tell-tale signs from this cow. He had a great frame on him but was short on several points. Ben was on the trail 30 yards behind and slightly above me - must have looked like stadium seating for the show! When the bull turned broadside at 23 yards I could feel Ben wondering out loud why I wasn't going to draw on this bull. He then turned and started back down the trail. He knew I didn't belong on that trail with him and stopped, lowered his head and began looking me over at 10 yards. Water droplets were falling from his mouth and nose as he moved his head slowly from side to side looking at me with his right eye, then his left, then both. He'd had enough and slowly turned and stepped off the trail to the cow and calf feeding 15 yards below him. It took almost 15 minutes for them to walk off. Ben slowly worked up to me and told me I was crazy............... I wasn't going to stick a 310-320 bull with his big brother still on the mountain.

We popped out on another saddle and continued down our trail. After a while we stopped to look.

He had dropped down into a few trees in a small canyon.

Back up the trail we went and pulled out the glass as we got closer.

We dropped our packs about 1 mile from him and dropped over the backside of the ridge to keep out of sight. When we popped over the top, he was bedded 600 yards away. Ben took this pic through his bino's so it's not great but shows some good tine length!

We had seen this bulls harem cross the rock face and bed in some scrub Krumholz while the bull and 2 cows stayed lower on the mountain. I knew it'd be easier to fool 3 sets of eyes than 20+. We crawled over the ridge trying to keep the elk hidden behind the krumholz. After 200 yards we got up and hurried to cross the 400 yards of small canyon in front of us.

Once that was succesful, we slowly picked our way up the other side trying to keep the Krumholz patches between us and the elk. As we were approaching the last patch, I hadn't seen him for over 15 minutes. I was hoping and praying he was still bedded within range of the patch I was about to step out from behind. Then I saw tines! He was up, broadside and feeding with his head down. Ben was right behind me and verified the range my Vortex Ranger had just given me.
I had a small rise about halfway between us covering the bottom portion of his vitals but in no way would it interfere with my 58 yard arrow flight. I stood, drew, relaxed, picked a spot, settled pin and..............


And then I punched my trigger like I've never punched it in 25 years of bowhunting. I was cringing before my arrow was even halfway there but I couldn't make it stop........ It deflected off the little rise and went sailing over this awesome bulls back. I've killed 20+ animals with a bow and had never done that before. I was excited but my pins weren't jumping. I don't think it was nerves, I just think I shanked it at the worst possible time.
Over 6 miles, 2500 vertical feet, 9 hours and I shanked it. Not much else to say. I'm not sure how many miles I've walked the last few years looking for that opportunity to kill a super Public Land DIY bull with my bull..........and I shanked it!


We headed back down the trail to camp and a long, long restless night.

Not even a hot Mtn. House and dry tent (Easton Kilo 3P) was going to help me sleep tonight.


At sunrise we were on the Razor and Outdoorsmans Tripod but I didn't have much hope of ever seeing that bull again. My only prayer was that his 20 cows that had been further up the mountain would be hesitant to leave if they weren't the ones we spooked.

We couldn't believeour eyes when the whle herd was back on top of the mountain.....and he was with them. They fed over the top so Ben and I hustled to get to a spot where we could make a move if one presented itself. We hadn't seen elk for 30 minutes so we were continuing down the trail to have a look at the backside of the mtn. I happened to look up at the right time and saw a cow feeding over towards us. We hunkered down until part of the herd was 290 yards above us. We were trapped on a finger ridge and couldn't move anywhere.

We just laid there admiring the view and hoping they would make a mistake for the 2nd day in a row. One of us owuld get up every 3 or 4 minutes to look at the bedded elk above us. The wind was pretty consistent blowing across us but every now and then it would do something crazy. Ben got up to peek at the elk and couldn't see any of them. We slowly hiked around the bowl in front of us to look over the other side. Our worst fears were confirmed.

We hiked over the top and spent all day glassing the drainages on the backside of that mountain but never turned them up.



My Heli'm was gasping for Oxygen at that elevation.

We turned up quite a few bulls and even a few sheep, but never found that bull again.



Wilderness Athlete Hydrate and Recover to the rescue!


The next morning it was snowing and COLD. Yes, that rock is as uncomfortable as it looks but atleast I'm out of the wind! The C4E Torrent gear performed awesome.

We glassed lots more elk including this tempting bull, but nothing I was going to chase.



Later that evening we still hadn't found the bull again. We both were pretty sure which drainage he was in. We were already in about as far as we were willing to go. I don't think I could have packed an elk out of the next canyon over. I'm not sure we could have gotten horses over there. I hope we made the right choice.

We loaded up that evening and headed off the mountain. I had a plan B that we were going to spend a couple days in. This young bull was bugling in the canyon as we hiked out. A few cow calls later and he was at 40 yards.

The next day we do an 11 mile loop glassing and calling into LOTS of country. Saw 1 small 6, 2 rags, 2 spikes and a handful of cows with the 6. There were no fresh droppings, tracks, rubs, etc..........

We decided to head off the mountain as the public/private issues with this unit had severely limited the places I thought I could go to get away from the quad crowd and find a good bull. On the way off the mountain we saw another possible source for our lack of elk........... Those are Ben's size 13's for comparison.

We decided to make the trip to my deer unit and see if I couldn't stick a mulie in the next 2 days. We saw this buck at first light from a vantage point. I told Ben I was gonna pass with his short forks. Several hours later I told him we should go shoot that buck so I could free up a couple personal days at work to take my girls. Both of them have the same deer tag and we were planning on an October rifle hunt. After 5 or 6 hours of searching we found this buck in his bed. I could see part of 1 tine...................
I got the wind right, made the stalk and was perched 18 yards above him when he decided to get up from his bed to change positions. My Injexion tipped with an Ulmer Edge found it's mark and he went 75 yards down the draw....... First critter I've ever shot with a mechanical head. The Carnage was more than impressive.

Outdoorsmans Optics Hunter Pack loaded for the trip out.

He is my widest mulie. 29 7/8 unless I get to measure a little velvet fuzz, then he'll tape a touch over 30".

I think I'm more exicted to take my girls in October with the rifle. I'm still debating going back with the rifle for elk. I'm sure I'll find a way to go for a day or 2..........


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ihuntelk
(126 posts)
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Oct-03-13, 
12:37 PM (MST)
8. "RE: Hunt Forever West - 2013"

I got to see something that most people will never get to. Thought I'd share it here on my HAC.

What? Dall Sheep in Wyoming? Never!



Maybe someone should tell him, he's supposed to look like his friend?


Sounds like several folks have taken pics of him over the years. Still pretty cool to see in the hills.

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ihuntelk
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Oct-07-13, 
11:46 AM (MST)
9. "RE: Hunt Forever West - 2013"

My 2nd daughter, Paige, turned 12 this year. I felt like alot of this season was gonna be dedicated to her. Her, Kenz and I put in as a party for pronghorn and drew. Definitely couldn't have done that with Preference Points in Wyo for residents. So glad we killed that stupid bill this spring.

We found several bucks the day before the opener. Paige got to be first on the trigger since it was her first big-game tag. We found this buck that she really liked. He had some character with a twist/knob on his left side and extra mass, bumps and broken tip on the right. I have 4 daughters. When they have a bad hair day with 1 hair or a clump of hairs that won’t go into place and sticks out from their head, they call it a Wanger Doodle. Paige thought this guy was having a ‘bad horn day’ and named him Wanger McDoodle. Their mom continues to express her concern over the girls naming an animal they are trying to harvest.


We also found some other bucks that would have scored better but as I’ve said before, when it’s my kids tag, they can pull the trigger on any legal animal they want. No score, no spread, no length. Whatever makes them happy, makes my happy.




Kenz had her eyes set on one buck, but opening morning we were looking for Wanger McDoodle for Paige. We found him at first light and pretty soon she was set up on the shooting sticks with him in his bed looking the other way at 95 yards. She looked at me with eyes as big as silver dollars and said she was shaking too bad to shoot. I inched forward so I was right behind her. About then, he stood up and walked 15 yards before putting his head down to feed – perfectly broadside. I leaned into her ear and very calmly but firmly told her to close her eyes and take some deep breaths. Then put the crosshairs on his shoulder and squeeze…………. I could see the muzzle settle down and BOOM! He ran 15 yards, turned butt towards us and put his head down. He laid down after 5 seconds and it was over. I can’t believe she was grinning wider than I was, but she was.

Notching her first tag.



The rest of that day we tried to find Kenz’s friend she named ‘Sham-Sham’. I’m usually not one for naming a critter I’m pursuing but it was fun to hear the girls come up with names and the logic behind it. We found him late in the afternoon but he wasn’t quite legal so we tried to take a few pictures and watched him til dark to see if he would move further down the draw onto public.

The next morning we found him at first light and he was on the right side of the fence. After a quick stalk, Kenz made a great shot and her biggest pronghorn was wearing her tag. She fell in love with his extra prong on his right side. I loved his length and hook. We were both thrilled. His left side is actually longer than the right. 16 3/8 versus 15 7/8 – WHO CARES!!



We spent the rest of the day and half the next looking for me a buck to hang my tag on. I was a little torn. I have killed some great pronghorn and only wanted to harvest a SMOKER, but it would be really cool to have the tri-fecta going with the girls on this trip, but I couldn’t shoot one smaller than theirs as the ribbing had already started, ……………. Let's just say that I looked at quite a few goats. I passed 4 bucks over 80". I don't believe any of them were over 83". I've never been much of a 'score' hunter but I wanted to kill a BIG STINKY PRONGHORN. We found one that would have fit the bill but my friend Jim was able to notch his first pronghorn tag EVER.

Here's how the girls spent most of their time 'looking' for me a buck. SHEESH!

Paige also had 2 doe tags. After I was mostly done looking for me a buck, we decided to shoot 1 doe and then get on the road for home. It was hot and I only had 1 more cooler since their bucks and lots of ice were occupying the other 2. We found a lone doe in a good spot. Glad she didn't have a fawn at her side. We stalked down the hill to 225 yards and I laid my Optics Hunter Pack down. Paige laid the rifle over the pack and slid behind it like she's been doing this her whole life. She jacked one in and settled into the rifle. I leaned down to tell her to breathe and squee... BOOM! - FLOP!
She surprised me with how quick the shot was. She rolled over with a big grin and said "Smoked her, Dad!". I had to chuckle at that one, especially after how bad she was shaking on #1.

We were a little slow on the camera as you can see by the dead white dot above Paige's head.

Talking about the shot and set-up to see if there's anything we should have done better for next time.

Loving the Vortex Viper HS-T scope!! You can still see the white dot!

Jalapeno Cheddar summer sausage is now on the menu!


Here's a pic of my buddies Bob Beeman and Jim Michels with Jim's BIG Wyo pronghorn. Bob made the spot and Jim made the great shot. The girls and I stayed back about 250 yards while they closed the distance but we got to see him go down.

It was a great trip to get to spend quality time with my girls. Great bucks were just the icing. Now if we can just get through volleyball season we'll go chase mulie bucks. They've got the same tag I filled my archery mulie on.
I hope we can find them a bigger one, unless they want to shoot a smaller one. If they're happy, I'm happy.


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ihuntelk
(126 posts)
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Oct-29-13, 
02:22 PM (MST)
10. "RE: Hunt Forever West - 2013"

Super Paige and i headed out for a couple days of mule deer hunting on her tag. This is the note I sent to school:

We spent quite a bit of time on the glasses and finally found 2 bedded bucks about 11 AM on day one.

We made the stalk to 170 yards and got her set up on my pack.

She took one look at both of them through the scope and decided to pass.

Dang Sure she would have killed him! Great look through my Vortex HS-T scope...............

I told her that I'd killed 4 bucks before I killed a 4pt. She still elected to pass and go look for a bigger one.

We went for a big hike that night to glass the country I killed my buck in last year. I couldn't find a buck but we saw some great country!



The next day we made several big hikes and finally found some bedded bucks. There were 9 in this draw.

Including a whopper forky that she passed.

Lots of time on the glass.

Next hike turned up another big forky. She passed.

More time on the glass.

And another forky.

Finally right at dark we spotted a big bunch of 25+ deer. This buck and couple does were the last ones over the ridge.

Paige and I ran up the hill as the deer were trying to sneak around the top of the canyon. I got the pack thrown down and Paige laid down. I got glass on all the deer and found 2 bucks on the left with the right one bigger than his friend. I barked directions pretty quick and BOOM! Whack. I was amazed at how quick she was able to acquire and shoot. I was a proud papa.

Right after ths shot with her still on my pack and the rifle with deer on the ground!

Why wouldn't you want to take your kids hunting?

Walking in.

All kids should shoot a forky for their first buck!

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ihuntelk
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Nov-21-13, 
12:33 PM (MST)
11. "RE: Hunt Forever West - 2013"

Not too much to report from my last elk hunt. I only had 3 days to hunt. I would have loved to hunted more days but couldn't find any more personal days from work. I hate it when work interferes with life and hunting. Ended up seeing 40ish bulls. They were going to the dark timber early in the morning and staying there all day. With a foot of crunchy snow in the timber, there was no way to root them out. Just had to sit on ridgetops and hoped they came back out the way they went in.

I only saw 1 bull that I probably would have tried to kill, but never made a move on him. Bryon was with me the whole trip and had never killed an elk. We made a couple set-ups on 6pts for him. On the last eve, our bull never came back out but I glassed this bull on the adjoining ridge and Bryon got it done. I wish my first bull looked like him.

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ihuntelk
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Nov-25-13, 
03:34 PM (MST)
12. "RE: Hunt Forever West - 2013"

Picked up my elk from last fall and Kenz's pronghorn from this fall from the taxidermist last week. Elk would have been done sooner if someone would have paid him more up front! Kenz's Pronghorn was only in his shop 2 months. How's that for turn-around? Ron Brown with Barrett Creek Taxidermy in Ryan Park, Wyoming is who I use. I'll let you decided for yourself but I sure like his work!






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ihuntelk
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Nov-26-13, 
00:26 AM (MST)
13. "RE: Hunt Forever West - 2013"

Got out on Saturday to try and fill my cow tag. Took a good friend that moved here just over a year ago. Jim had a general tag and I had an additional cow/calf.
I thought we'd be the first rig down my desired road that morn. WRONG! 2 4-wheelers and 3 big jacked up trucks beat us down the road. I was a little miffed but thought we'd make the most of it. Saw 1 bunch clear across one canyon that I wasn't packing a cow out of.
Walked out to a point and immediately spotted 3 elk across the finger ridges to the west. Jim got laid down on my pack and I was on my shooting sticks. I let him have first dibs. He hit his cow and she laid down. I shot the calf out of the group as the other cow had a radio collar.
Ended up having to quarter them and pack them 5-600 yards up out of a slippery hole. Had another friend with us that hasn't been in Wyo long enough to be a resident. In fact, I think it was Jake's first big-game harvest he's ever been in on. He's still not sure how he likes packing elk!

Jim and Jake with Jim's 2nd elk.

Jim and I with my winter supply of roasts and steaks. We shot from the top of the hill on the left side of the frame.

Glassing for elk in sub-zero temps. First time I've needed to use my new Core4Element Elevation Jacket with Downtek down insulation. Lightweight, warm, breathable, packable.......... Absolutely loved it!

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ihuntelk
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Dec-09-13, 
03:23 PM (MST)
14. "RE: Hunt Forever West - 2013"

Had a good Thanksgiving break with family and friends. Paige had a couple doe tags that we decided to fill. She killed one right at dusk on Friday night and one right at dawn on Saturday morning. She wanted to field dress the one on Saturday all by herself. I had to cut around the bum-hole but she was able to do the rest. That's 5 critters for her during her first hunting season (2 pronghorn, 1 mule deer and 2 whitetails). I'm not sure that we'll make it out to try and find her an elk or not. Too many irons in the fire now that basketball season has started.
She shot both with my Weaver 300 Win Mag as they were moving between bedding and feeding areas. Not much else to say, other than one of my goals to keep boys away is to have my girls shoot more critters than any boys in their classes. Hopefully the boys will feel insecure enough that they'll leave them alone. So far, so good!


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