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Looks Like A Slow Year Ahead

 
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Jun-02-15, 
10:22 PM (MST)
"Looks Like A Slow Year Ahead"

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Had so much fun last year posting a hunt report, I thought I'd give it another try. Starting off pretty slow this year (I think I'm 0 for 13 in five states ) tho. Still have long shot hunt applications out there in Montana, Wyoming, Arizona, and Idaho. The next month is the absolutely slowest one of the year, waiting on final draws! Failing all of those, it looks like Texas will be my last resort!

Got a couple contacts from lucky non-residents with Idaho moose tags, so looking forward to helping them. A good friend has an Owyhee California sheep tag also, so maybe I can tag along and pack.

Will try to get lots of pictures up this year, and show you all the wonders of Idaho. Should be a fun year ahead anyway.

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  Table of Contents  

 Subject   Author   Message Date   ID 
 RE: Looks Like...  Blank      Jun-06-15   1 
  RE: Looks Like...  Blank      Jun-12-15   2 
   RE: Looks Like...  Blank      Jun-19-15   3 
    RE: Looks Like...  Blank      Jun-24-15   4 
     RE: Looks Like...  Blank      Jun-28-15   5 
      RE: Looks Like...  Blank      Jul-20-15   6 
       RE: Looks Like...  Blank      Aug-17-15   7 
       RE: Looks Like...  Blank      Aug-17-15   8 
        RE: Looks Like...  Blank      Aug-30-15   9 
         RE: Looks Like...  Blank      Sep-13-15   10 
          RE: Looks Like...  Blank      Sep-21-15   11 
           RE: Looks Like...  Blank      Sep-28-15   12 
            RE: Looks Like...  Blank      Oct-05-15   13 
             RE: Looks Like...  Blank      Oct-20-15   14 
              RE: Looks Like...  Blank      Nov-01-15   15 
               RE: Looks Like...  Blank      Nov-13-15   16 
                RE: Looks Like...  Blank      Dec-15-15   17 
                 RE: Looks Like...  Blank      Dec-18-15   18 
                  RE: Looks Like...  Blank      Dec-28-15   19 

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Jun-06-15, 
08:35 PM (MST)
1. "RE: Looks Like A Slow Year Ahead"

Youngest grand-daughter on her first camping trip last weekend. Kinda partial to this one, think she's a keeper. Born on 10/15 I think that my general elk season openers might be a thing of the past for a few years! All the more reason to draw controlled hunt tags.

Since it's the last weekend of our bear season here in SE Idaho I figured I'd better give it one last try with the predator calls and the muzzle loader. Has anyone else noticed just how wet and green the woods have been? To protect myself from the mosquitos I had on long johns, heavy clothes and heavy jacket, a face mask, AND a headnet! Thank goodness for DEET 100. Saw a buck, a bull moose, and 4 cow elk. Called one cow into 4 yards!!!!! No bears tho.

Think its time to play the waiting game, and practicing crossing my fingers. While there's still apps in the barrel there's hope!

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Jun-12-15, 
05:29 AM (MST)
2. "RE: Looks Like A Slow Year Ahead"

Had to come down to Salt Lake City today to pick up my youngest grand-daughter for the summer. The wife decided to tag along and we were just going to take it easy and see what developed. We are about a year from retiring so I bought her a new Toyota Tacoma double-cab and a great little bunk house trailer for camping and hunting. So far, we are enjoying the heck out of it. Really looking forward to the upcoming draws to see if we get to use it during this hunting season. She assured me I didn't draw in Utah this year, because we are gonna get it next year and live on the Paunsagunt for a month. My kind of woman!

Stopped off at Willard Bay to check out the camp ground. What a nice facility, I can see I've been missing out and will have to add it to a list of fishing spots to try. Can't believe we drive by it all the time, and have never stopped. We got the urchin picked up and started to meander our way around the Valley and slowly head home.

I've been going down and back to SLC for almost 40 years, and can usually find sometime to stop and eat in the Layton area. Surprisingly enough, today found us on Antelope Drive and I mentioned to the wife we should go out to the Island. Never been there in all these years, and it sounded like a great idea. Off we went on our journey.

If you didn't know where you were before, you would now. The plaque says this is "representative" of the Island's deer. Holy crap!

It was about 90 degrees today and I had little hope of seeing anything at all, but animals were out in force and it was a great drive around the area. Saw a few deer, lots of antelope, big bison bulls, lots of chuckars, and (including me) lots of tourists. Great state park,and we could see why people enjoy going out there. Super green from the rains, and everything was out in the middle of the day. The main mountain is amazing. The only buck close enough to the road to photo with the cell phone was oblivious to the traffic, as were most of the other animals. He is inside his ears, but knobbing out nicely and will be a respectable 4 point this year.

Where else but here on Antelope Island could you get an American Bison, a sandy beach, the Great Salt Lake, and one of the most densely populated corridors of the West all in one picture. Amazing!!!!!!!

All in all, a great day spent enjoying the outdoors. Couple more weeks and things will start to fall together for ID, WY, AZ, and Mt. and we will all know how our Fall schedules will develope. Good luck to everyone.

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Jun-19-15, 
03:57 PM (MST)
3. "RE: Looks Like A Slow Year Ahead"

Well, struck out for quite a few more apps, raffles, and Super Tags in a few more states and was really starting to get discouraged. Finally today rolled around and they posted Wyoming results. Bingo! Got a unit 98 antelope tag for the west side of Kemmerer. How I missed out on a deer tag with max points, and drew a random antelope with NO points in a quality unit is beyond me - but I won't complain. Hopefully Idaho will be good for us next week and we will be able to plan out a schedule for the remainder off the season. Gee, I think I'm at 1 for 55 tries now!

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Jun-24-15, 
03:36 PM (MST)
4. "RE: Looks Like A Slow Year Ahead"

Well, it picked up a little more this week with the Idaho draws being posted. Maybe it won't be so slow a year after all. I get to hunt for muzzle loader speedgoat again with Predator (Lisa), after she gets done helping her Dad get a monster Utah bull. No luck for the wife, my boys, or the grand kids. My hunting partners drew both the muzzle loader antelope and muzzle loader deer, so lots of smoke in the air this Fall. His daughter has a late rifle hunt for elk up in Unit 30, so we can hunt whitetails and elk at the same time. Come on Arizona, hurry up and draw, and then Texas is the final one of the year. Good luck to everyone on any remaining ones. Practice a lot and get some great photos for us all to drool over.

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Jun-28-15, 
07:46 AM (MST)
5. "RE: Looks Like A Slow Year Ahead"

Had a weekend free for a change, so decided to drop down to northern Utah and hook up with Predator to rip some lips on local finny creatures. Hadn't tried this in Utah yet, and figured it was worth the trip. The lake was absolutely beautiful and relatively vacant when I arrived at 0730. What a perfect day for float-tubing.

Boy, how that peace and quiet changes in a hurry. Didn't realize what a popular swimming hole it was until every Mom, Dad, kid, paddle boarder, and jet skier in four counties showed up about 1100! The fishing was still pretty good until 1400, and I landed 20 bass in 5 hours. Lisa got a mixed bag of both bass and bluegills, and had plenty for a low calorie evening dinner.....

For a 102 degree day, it was pretty fun and I will put it on my list for next year (but possibly a month or two earlier!!!!!!!! The traffic wasn't too bad on the way home, and no one tried to run me over before I got back across the state line.


Back in Idaho, it was just as miserable as Utah so I had to come up with another plan of my own for the next day. That's when the stupid gene kicked in and I decided to go out in the desert and look for antelope. Yep, you guessed it - just as hot and the mirage from the heat waves was terrible. The huge rains we had in April and May are really showing up in the horn growth, but now they are just staying in the alfalfa for the cooling effect of the irrigation! Animals are smarter than us, sometimes! The pictures don't do the bucks justice, but they are really coming along.

Talked with several of the landowners I have permission with and they were enthusiastic about me and my friends working them over again this year. Should have good luck and hopefully this year we are 4 for 4.

Hope everyone has a safe Fourth of July holiday, and enjoys a celebration of their own. Will be looking forward to many other posts on other threads as we get closer to hunting seasons.

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Jul-20-15, 
01:22 PM (MST)
6. "RE: Looks Like A Slow Year Ahead"

Finally got caught up with chores and projects around the house, and decided it was time for a road trip of my own. Since I drew the Unit 98 antelope tag in Wyoming in the random draw this year, I figured I'd better get my butt over there and start scouting and learning the roads and areas. Very familiar with Unit 93, which shares a common border with 98, but haven't spent any time in the neighboring unit. An early start led me to Kemmerer and I arrived at sunrise, to see what was gonna be a day full of buck deer and lots of antelope.

The deer are scattered all around the fields and creeks, and sleeping in the upper aspen groves, and were easy to spot in their pretty red summer coats. I found them from the center of town, all the way up to about 8500 feet. The hills are still really green, but it is drying out fast. Roads are a little dusty but not bad yet. It was cool enough I didn't have any issues with snakes around any of the many scattered tanks and waterholes. Found it really interesting that the bigger bucks have well-developed forks already, but some of the little guys have a lot of growing still to do. I think there is about 2-4 weeks of growth left for them and that will end it. They are what they are after that!

Found lots of antelope scattered everywhere, and as usual in the summer the does and fawns are pretty well focused on fields and feeding the little ones, while the bucks were either singles up in the high lonesome draws or on open windy sidehills. The entire valley around Viva Naughton Reservoir is packed with big herds. Only found a couple herds of bucks together, and they were all little guys. The badlands and rolling hills above Fossil Butte National Monument had some good ones too.

The antelope bucks look like they are pretty much topped out in growth. Maybe another inch on the hooks, if at all. While I did see some nice ones, none really jumped out as exceptional yet but I was encouraged to see the difference between this year and last. A mild winter and more early moisture seemed to help, as last year the floods of May-June-July were too late to do much. Mass looks to be good, and most prongs seem higher up on the horn than last year.

Looking forward to the hunt, and think it will be really interesting and fun. This year we will probably have to take the trailer and spend several days at a time in the center of the area. The area would be new country for the wife to see, and she is pretty excited about that.

The draws are finished in Arizona, and that resulted in a story of a different nature. Highs, lows, and highs again in the tag department but will save that for another time. Good luck to everyone and hope you all smoke some monster trophies.

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Aug-17-15, 
09:34 AM (MST)
7. "RE: Looks Like A Slow Year Ahead"

About time I got off my lazy butt and got something posted. We have just been slammed at work, both the wife and I putting in about 12-14 hours each day, and seems every weekend there is a wedding, or some other family outing to attend. Now that it's close to the season, those things take a back seat!

Mentioned that the Arizona draw had a story behind it. I am one of about 20 million government employees affected by the huge hacking issue, and loss of a lot of personal info related to my security clearances. We decided to contact all the credit card banks and have a fraud alert put on them, just in case. Friday morning of the draw, I get a text from the bank saying there was a $300 charge on my card; I'm in heaven cause that is a NR deer tag. Only put in for two hard to draw units with 25 total tags each, so I got something good! What a great weekend Then the disasterous happens - Monday morning, I get another text saying they denied the charge. Oh No! Try to call the Phoenix office all day, and cannot get thru. The bank says sorry, we didn't know if it was a valid charge. REALLY? the AZG&F Dept.?????

Resign myself to losing the tag, and I'm pissed. Try all day Tuesday and same result - busy, busy, busy. The wife calls me about 5:25 PM as I am leaving work and says she got home, and there was a message from some gal in AZ. If she will call back, she will tell her what it is about. Remember, now its 5 minutes to closing. Wife calls the direct number to lady's desk and finds out it is for the deer tag, calls me back as I'm in the car now, and tells me. I say OMG, give her a different card without the alert on and hurry. Wife calls back, and lady takes down the info as she is going home now, but says she will give it to her boss in the morning, and then its up to him whether or not to issue it. Pins and needles for 2 weeks, and no one knows if it will fly or not.

There is a fairy godmother department after all, and apparently she works in AZ G&F!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Unit 6B/8 Dec. Coues Deer.

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Aug-17-15, 
09:34 AM (MST)
8. "RE: Looks Like A Slow Year Ahead"

Got to move around the state a little bit this month, and see some beautiful country. The antelope are still keying in on the alfalfa and irrigation in all the units, the desert is burned tinder dry from drought, and wildfires erupt with the smallest lightning strike, the upper end of the Pioneers around Sun Valley is as green and lush as I've seen it in a long time. Those "hills" are definately one a days! You don't climb up, hunt in the mornings, then go back up in the afternoon. Pretty steep and rugged.

Did manage to find a few elk, but most were coming up out of the various creek and river bottom cover into private fields. I've been hunting the desert out of Idaho Falls with the Snake River Plain tag, and have only seen signs of the elk moving in the night, and IDFG has out propane cannons to keep them jumpy and out of the hay fields.

Took the wife out to the Birch Creek Valley for a little R&R with her brother, sister-in-law, and their new trailer. Really relaxing weekend, a little fishing, and a few toddies to stay cooled down.

Sent this pic to some friends down in Texas and they couldn't believe we have such pretty places on public access areas. Weather was 45 for the low temp., and 85 for the high. Just right for this boy. Talked to my friends in Lake Havasu City and it has been 116 degrees for a week. OMG, how do you survive that?

Looking forward to Idaho and Wyoming antelope hunts, they should complete and post the 2nd chance draws this week, and it will be time to go get my OTC deer and elk tags. Good luck to everyone who is hunting now, or getting out soon.

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Aug-30-15, 
10:44 AM (MST)
9. "RE: Looks Like A Slow Year Ahead"

Finished up a quick desert elk hunt this morning, and only saw 4 cows at long distance and about 100 antelope in a couple hours. There has been a big bull and 14 cows crossing from the agricultural land back into the hills for a couple weeks, but I have not been able to connect with him. They have wised up to the pressure, and are leaving the fields in the dark so as to reach the safe zone before shooting time. Since I had a few hours to spare, I decided to go out and shoot the White muzzleloaders and try some new bullets I got for the Wyoming antelope hunt in 12 days.

People have been talking about these new Federal B.O.R Lock 350 grain lead bullets, so when Midway finally got some in, I ordered several packs. With the shipping and everything, they were less than $ 1.50 each. I'm really satisfied with my Hornaday .452" 300 grain XTP's and also the Barnes 300 grain Expander's in sabots for most of my general hunting, but I'm always willing to try something new and improved. The Powerbelt all-lead 348's have been working fine for Predator and I on the Idaho muzzy season too.

They finally arrived in the mail box, and I was really curious about the design and appearance. As you can see in the pictures, they are very streamlined with a hard polymer tip, and have a poly seal around the entire bullet. The red base is described as a hardened bore scraper to clean out fouling.

If anything, in the White Whitetail with its .503" diameter they almost load too easily in the clean barrel. The weight of the ramrod and two fingers lightly pushing and it goes right down. It has a hard poly tip which could cause some problems at loading, but my ramrods have a hole drilled in the loading end which fits the tip perfectly and allows seating without any problems whatsoever. Maybe the little shaped one for Barnes tipped bullets would be good too.

Used my standard hunting load of 100 grains of Pyrodex P by volume, and an RWS #11 cap to duplicate my regular loads. After the first round, I knew I had a winner in this load and was shocked by what happened next. Three rounds into less that 1 1/2" outside diameter with my scoped rifle and the Redfield 2-7X scope at 100 yards. Unreal!!!!!!!!!

Each one loaded just as easy as could be, and there really was no indication of fouling buildup. Guess the scraping ring really does work like its designed to do. There was just enough fouling to give a nice snug fit, without worry of losing the seating.

After the sight in on the paper plate, it was time to try them on my hokey animal target. Don't laugh, it looks terrible but gives you a realistic animal silhouette to shoot at. I've even used it in a pinch for a decoy out in the alfalfa fields to mark my furthest shot range. It makes me bear down a little more, and can be used from 50 out to 300 yards. As you can see from all the holes, it has weathered the storm of 22, 243, 7MM, and big 50's. When it gets shot to pieces, I just cut out another one.

Another amazing group resulted, and this time a four shot string. The hole above the group is not a flyer, but one I missed with the rattle can of paint. I am really sold on this bullet as a performer. Don't know if Idaho will allow it for muzzleloader only season, but for short range and over in Wyoming for antelope it is the cat's meow right now. Word has it that Colorado reviewed it and approved it for their muzzleloader use. Time will tell how it performs on game.

Hope everyone has a great Holiday weekend. Hearing some stories of antelope success, and deer or elk should be hitting the ground soon. Enjoy the coming season!

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Sep-13-15, 
04:25 AM (MST)
10. "RE: Looks Like A Slow Year Ahead"

Finally made it thru problems at work on Wednesday, and got away for a day of vacation and opening of Wyoming antelope season on the 10th. The wife tried to get me a head start by packing the camp trailer, but it was still almost 6:00 PM before I got away. Everything pulled good and the trip over from Idaho to Wyoming was uneventful until I got to Cokeville. There was supposed to be a BLM campground just 5 miles out of town, on the highway, but it was nowhere to be found. I was going thru the whoop-de-dos at about 65 mph and the next thing I know, there's 50 deer in the middle of the road. Lock up all six wheels and the tires are screaming, I'm screaming, and the deer are going crazy and screaming too. Luckily, they parted like the Red Sea and all of us were saved! Went back to the gas station later and asked for help. It's amazing what you can find in the middle of the night, if you're friendly and share hunting interests. I probably couldn't do this good off MonsterMuleys, if I tried! The map speaks for itself. Thanks for the help.

Got a good nights sleep in the parking lot, and was up early for antelope hunting and seeing new country the next day. Cokeville is a pretty small town, but it really looks tiny from 5 miles away and 3000 feet higher!

Hunted for the first four hours of the opener, and located a few antelope, lots of deer, and an elk or two up high. Proceeded up the mountain and then got camp set up for the rest of the stay.

The location was perfect, and it let me cover hundreds of miles of roads and basins with binoculars and spotting scope for the next couple days. Even tho we've made a half dozen trips since buying the trailer, the 15 miles of gravel road shook loose every piece of sawdust and metal shavings from manufacture. Did have a little sweeping to do, once I stopped. I was able to come back at lunch if needed, refuel without going to town, and even found time for a nap or two! There was always the radio to keep me company in the evening, a ball game or two plus FaceBook updates, and a million stars to look out at thru the window! Did I mention, I'm a decent cook and a mean bartender!

I was a little disappointed in both the quality and quantity of the bucks in the unit. I put in a couple hundred miles each day, and stayed long after others left. Saw a couple little bucks killed, and a couple does. Maybe I am just too early, and it is more of a migration type hunt. The majority seem to be in the 1-2 year old range. Didn't locate a lot of 3 or 4 year old bucks. Saw 15 bucks the first day, and passed up 25 on the second. I think a 13" buck was the best I saw for the entire trip. Certainly nothing I would settle for with either my muzzleloader or a rifle. Lots of photo opportunities tho.

They were in small bachelor groups still, and lots of singles starting to roam around. I think it really is about two more weeks until the rut kicks in. They were great to watch tho, lots of fun to photo, and made for several great days afield. With it open until Oct. 31st, there will be plenty of time for a good one to show up. I love the fact that antelope bucks are so photogenic, and usually will pose for one or two good shots before running off.

I don't think I have ever seen a place like Cokeville or Kemmerer around the hay fields that had so many deer. Morning or evening, they were hammering the alfalfa, and during the daytime could be seen roaming the sage or trying to drift into a water hole. One spot, I saw 5 really nice bucks out in the desert together. Might be a really good unit to consider for deer also. The does all looked to be in good shape, and many had twin fawns.

The one thing that really surprised me on this hunt was the difference between Unit 93 (last year) and then 98 this year. I figured that being side-by-side they would be similar terrain, but they are totally different. Love the fact that the bucks are up in the rimrocks and it takes some heavy-duty glassing to see them. Not like the oil fields at all, and driving only gets you so far in this unit. Did a lot of walking and sitting, and it was a fun time. I did screw up, and misunderstood that the unit boundary was actually the Ham's Fork creek, and not the highway. Lots of antelope between the creek and the road are actually 93 goats. Huge flats and canyons require patience, and I don't even know how many of them are up in the National Forest areas or the tree pockets.

I am excited to have this tag again in WY, and will go back in a week or two. My Idaho muzzleloader antelope hunt opens Saturday the 19th,. and I have been watching a couple good ones here. Have three more friends with tags for this hunt also, and there is always Predator to take hunting for her goat. If nothing else, it's a great excuse to eat breakfast burritos in the dark and watch a sunrise or two.

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Sep-21-15, 
06:10 PM (MST)
11. "RE: Looks Like A Slow Year Ahead"

Finally got to be opening day of the Idaho muzzleloader antelope hunt this past Saturday (the 19th). We went out to our previously scouted spots, and got set up for the day. Unfortunately it was also opening day of the sage hen season, and people screwed us and the antelope up all day long. Driving right up to a hunter in a pop-up blind (when the antelope are coming in) and asking if we've seen any "thunder chickens" is not really appreciated. Ended up cashing it in late afternoon for the old drive-spot-stalk method. This one is Dave's first antelope, and with a muzzleloader too. Pretty happy guy.

Sorry for the bloody picture. When the buck is laying there, and still breathing, he is gonna get really excited when you try to stick him with a knife. I think he made the full 8-second ride, before he got the throat cut and the buck died!!!!!

Had a lot of does and small bucks come in to the alfalfa for me, but the only good buck got run out by "diesel stalkers" in their trucks. Pop-ups in the hot sun put me to sleep, so a book and Thermos of coffe is a necessity!

Saturday ended with just the one buck taken, but another was missed by my partner. We decided he was so good we would try again in the morning. Went back out, re-aaranged the blinds and coverage and began the wait again. Same issue with the trucks again, but only ran off does and fawns this time. This buck finally came in after things settled down, and my partner was able to put the hammer down when it counted. This is one of the best bucks we have been able to take on this hunt. 15 1/4" with 6" mass and prongs makes for a nice 78" score. Two bucks down now, and just Predator and me with tags left. Hope we can get some as nice.

Will keep trying for both Idaho and Wyoming antelope the next couple weeks - they are rutting hard and are running all over chasing the girls. You see them one day, then the next they are 5 miles away. Makes finding them again a challenge. Will update the report next week.

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Sep-28-15, 
01:16 PM (MST)
12. "RE: Looks Like A Slow Year Ahead"

Another weekend has finally arrived; did I mention just how much I love hunting season! The wife has plans to spend all three days with friends and grand-kids, and its time to chase antelope out on the desert in Idaho again with the smokepole. The weather has been cooperating very well, and the hot and dry conditions have them hitting the farms in the area pretty regularly. It has actually been too hot for comfortable blind hunting, but that is the most successful way to get them close. Without a pattern, antelope are pretty hard to hunt in the open, and spot and stalk is difficult in the flat desert sage.

I've been watching all the antelope in the area since we drew the tags back in June, and actively scouting for the past 4 weeks. There is an earlier hunt, and sometimes the good ones get killed and you have to start looking all over again. I have located three very nice bucks which I would be very happy with. The Number One choice is called "Hook", the next is "Runner", who takes off with the entire herd if a vehicle approaches within 800 yards, and "Stubby", who has mass from hell but I can't tell if he is broken or just worn off on top. There may be others show up as the hunt progresses, but these are great to start off with.

Let's see, wheres the best place for a blind? Looks pretty open, but the visibility is great and you can see them coming for a long ways!

Oh gee, I think the key is to find where they are coming in from the desert hills, to get to the promised land (alfalfa and water!). They are creatures of habit, and as long as you don't pressure them too much, they will continue to use certain areas.

This is where the one buck I have named "STUBBY" is coming in with his 30 does and fawns. He has incredible mass, and prongs, but just no tops to speak of. I think he scores OK but he is my third choice buck. Watched him walk by at 65 yards Friday night, and gave him a courtesy pass. Just too early in the season not to try for one I really have my heart set on.

If you park your vehicle at the haystacks by the green field for lunch, they just think you're another piece of farm equipment and feed right in front of you at 60 yards. How come 12" bucks do that, but the mature big guys over 3 years old are smarter than that?

Went back out the next morning and watched a bunch of elk for a couple hours. I have a cow tag for this unit, but it is open for 3 more months. Besides, it is 90 degrees and way too hot to mess around with an elk by myself. I'm antelope hunting anyway and a drive by shooting would almost be too easy. Think I'll wait until there is some snow on the ground. The bulls also know that they are off limits now, and will wander around in front of you all day long. This bull was still in the hay field at 1:00 in the afternoon!

Kept on looking for my other target bucks and was lucky enough to find the one I call "HOOK", with his herd of does, and make an approach to within range of the White 50 cal. Whitetail. Shooting the 348 grain Powerbelt, it has the trajectory of a thrown brick so closing the distance, using a rangefinder, and making a steady shot from a rest is critical to your success!

Rather surprised at the measurements on his horns. He's a really nice buck with decent horn length and lovely turned down tips. He's right at 14 3/8" by 14 3/4" after they were cut off, trimmed to the hard sheath, and in the salt.

Closed out the Idaho antelope season for me, and now we have to get another big one for Predator. A nice 14" buck has already taken over Hook's herd, and he is definitely a candidate. There are several other possibles and it will be nice to see and hunt with her again. Gonna smeak back over to Wyoming soon, and don't expect to see much antelope hunting pressure anymore. Maybe just a one or two day hunt will seal the deal.

Good luck to everyone just starting their deer and elk seasons. The Fall weather is close now, and there is a certain nip in the air in the mornings. I know the coffee sure tastes better out there, while watching a sunrise, and it makes me smile. Even the fishing is starting to crank up again, and hunting big brown trout is as much fun as looking for antlered game.

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Oct-05-15, 
11:22 AM (MST)
13. "RE: Looks Like A Slow Year Ahead"

Had a fun time this weekend, and got out to do some more antelope hunting here in Idaho. A new NR friend I met got his moose, up in one of our short range units, and is headed home. Lisa was able to come up for a couple days and we played in the rain and wind. Antelope definitely don't like those conditions and it was discouraging to only see about half of the numbers we were used to around the fields. Most stayed bedded out in the sage. Still, we had 3 or 4 big ones spotted and gave it our best effort to outsmart one. Could get close or even VERY close to the little guys, but the big ones always seemed to stay just out of range of the muzzleloader. Spot and stalk was almost impossible in the muddy conditions.


The desert cow hunt is resulting in some harvests, and the people driving around looking for them don't help with the antelope either. Any truck traffic keeps them on the move. Did a little driving around and watched some of the many elk in the area on a wildlife refuge. They really watch those safe boundaries tho, and will give you lots of eye candy and opportunities for photos. Here's a gorgeous bull with super long beams and great points.


The weather finally broke yesterday afternoon, and the sun re-appeared. With it came the animals, as they were tired of laying around. At one time she had 40 animals in the field in front of her, but only the dink bucks would wander in and out by the blind. Had to take off and meet another moose hunter in a different area and get them lined out on the area and habits of some bulls I had scouted, and they seem to be great guys also. Hopefully a big one will go down easy for them.

Hopefully the work week will speed by, and it will be time to hunt and fish again soon. Can hardly wait, and deer season will be upon us next.

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Oct-20-15, 
04:42 PM (MST)
14. "RE: Looks Like A Slow Year Ahead"

Well, the other NR moose hunter had great success on his hunt here outside Idaho Falls, and if anything it came too quickly to enjoy the beautiful scenery the unit has to offer. Got a really nice bull with big palmated brow tines and long palms. Scores and looks nice, and he was happy. Made for a satisfying drive home.

With them gone and work tamed down a little, it was time to jet back over to Wyoming again for a day. Being only a couple hours away, you can day hunt it in the closest portion. I have been disappointed with this particular unit, but maybe it is just an off year, and not representative of its real quality. This is the better of the bucks I'm finding. Just doesn't have that mass to give it the WOW factor I'm looking for. Would sure like to find over 15" length or heavy mass.

Finding lots of other game to look at and take pictures of tho, and these sage hens were glad to pose for a few snapshots. They aren't even spooked by the vehicle, and you can ease by slowly after they move off about 10 feet. Dumb birds!

Headed back home after passing up a couple dozen bucks, and decided to look around for some desert elk or whitetails for a couple days until Lisa gets to come back. This coyote was proud to pose at 424 yards, right up until the 7 Mag went off and he took a dirt nap!

Always enjoy getting to spend some quality time with Preddy, and she was able to put a couple days off together and get her butt up to Idaho. Went out late in the afternoon to make sure the antelope were still on the same pattern, and we made a plan for in the morning. Set up the Primos Double Bull pop up blind right in the center of the alfalfa field against the deep-well pump and cabinets and had her waiting for daylight. Pretty soon there were 30-40 speedgoats all around her, and walking by, or even bedding within 30 yards! She sure got some great photos while waiting for the big ones to saunter by.

When she finally had three shooters in the field to pick from at the same time, she had quite the choice in deciding which one was worthy of her attention. She almost set this one on fire at 40 yards!!!!! Great shot Lisa, and the text "BBD" came right after the shot. Watching from one field and a haystack over, it looked like it dropped in the blind

The next day things were settled down around the house, so since Idaho is nice enough to give you a 3-day fishing license with your hunting one, we figured we had better make use of it. The browns were cooperative on the South Fork and we managed to start below Palisades Dam and fish our way home to dinner. She was trying for that South Fork slam, but the rainbow was the one that eluded her.

Packaged up all the antelope for a cooler ride home to SLC in her truck, and we were ready to part ways the next morning. Her back to Utah, and I snuck back over in the rain to look for Wyoming antelope again.

Saw more deer than lopes in the morning, but when the skies cleared in the afternoon the goats seemed to pop out of the sage everywhere. Passed up another 16 bucks yesterday. Still no monster "Holy Crap" bucks to take my breath away, but with two more weekends to look I know there's gotta be one there somewhere for me. Did find some quality deer to look at tho.

Gonna keep looking for some desert elk over here in Idaho, the whitetail buck season opens tomorrow in my favorite unit with the shotgun and rifled slugs, soon the weather will turn colder and coyote hunting can get started in earnest, and every day is one more closer to hunting Coues deer in Arizona. Yippee!

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Nov-01-15, 
08:38 AM (MST)
15. "RE: Looks Like A Slow Year Ahead"

Well. October has slowly come to a close and the last 10 days have been pretty busy with hunting and fishing. The whitetail buck season opened in the desert unit I like to hunt, so I loaded up the slug gun and took a stroll. Lots of broken terrain, lava rock, and no roads means bone them out and backpack them to the truck. Not for the faint of heart, or lazy hunters! This is me with my serious "gonna walk 8-10 miles and jump them" face on. Unfortunately, all I got up were does, but it was still fun.

The fishing was really good for a couple days, then the Bureau of Reclamation started messing with the river flows and have now got it down to its stable winter flow of only 900 CFS. Will let it rest and settle down some, and the bigger browns will be getting on the spawning redds soon.

Made another trip over to the Kemmerer area and looked at a bunch of antelope again. Seeing some better ones, but even with them migrating down from the hills I am not seeing the big ones I expected. What a huge difference between units 93 last year and 98. This is one of the better ones this trip, but his prongs were still low below his ear tips and he went up without a lot of hook. A potential victim, but there is still another week to look.

As the day got long and the winds picked up to gale force, I finally found a single buck bedded down that I thought was the one. Appeared to be tall, had big hooks, and was heavier than I was used to seeing. Weak prongs, but the other qualities made up for them. I was able to hide the truck and make a good stalk, but ran out of sagebrush cover while I was still 388 yards away. He was bedded in the short yellow grass, and I knew I wasn't getting any closer without spooking him. I proned out and crawled forward enough to have as steady a shot off a dirt mound as I could, ranged it one more time, and held a half body into the wind. At the shot, I recoiled off him and as I came back down I saw dirt explode right in front of him. The 40-50 mph winds had pushed the bullet further than I thought, and I MISSED! Darn it. He blew up and ran all the way out of the basin, and never looked back. Time to head home after this, and I was pretty disappointed in the outcome. This much wind may be normal for Wyoming, but it sure ruins the hunting.

Back home in Idaho I started going back out in the desert once again, looking for an easy cow elk or a whitetail buck. Don't want to shoot a big cow a long way from the truck, so I'm waiting for snow to make using my sled a lot easier. Groups like this really make it tempting tho.

Worked a couple more days, and soon it was the weekend again. The antelope season ended Oct 31st, so I left the wife to do Trick or Treat and headed back over. This time I took my hunting partner to help glass and judge the lopes I had been seeing for this last day. Maybe I was being too picky. We quartered the unit back and forth and looked at about 250 antelope and 150 deer. Some of the bucks were nice, but the winds were horrible again. Most of the animals have made it to town, are ganged up in huge herds, and the herds were really spooky. Combine 30-40 skittish antelope in a bunch, and making good stalks is out of the question. I had 3 or 4 blown stalks when I was still 300-400 yards out, and we know from previous experience that is too far a shot in the wind. I needed to look in the hidden bowls and basins. Soon we glassed up a nice buck with 4 does, and I knew I could make a stalk into less than 200 yards. Perfect!!!! While glassing him up, I told my partner that it looked exactly like the one I had missed the week before, and we were only one basin and a half mile from that spot.

We hid the truck and I took off down a long valley, keeping a ridge between us. When I got where I needed to be, I crawled up to the top and started to slither over. Soon I could see his back, and when his head went down I'd ease forward a little. When I ranged it to the tall sage behind him, it said 110 yards, and only 102 to him. Proned out, I could see the yellow grass in my scope, and saw the muzzle wasn't going to clear the crown of dirt in front of me. I hated to get up because the rest was better in the wind, but I was able to roll up to a kneeling position and clear everything. The wind had me going from chest to butt, and back, so after three times that I pulled up to his shoulder and shot. He went down in a pile, and never twitched. Standing, I gave a thumbs up to my partner who had watched the whole thing and we did the recovery. The pictures show just how mature he is, and looking at his teeth, he is at least 4 years old. Perfect one to take.

It is the same animal, and I am very fortunate to get another chance at him. I really believe it was the best one I saw the entire time I hunted. Measures out exactly 14" on each side, but has heavy mass and carries it up to the top. I also am a sucker for big hooks, and he's got those too. He did end up being weak on the prongs, but I'll be happy to live with that.

I am extremely fortunate to draw back to back Wyoming antelope tags, and I love hunting them. You can make it as challenging as you want and it is a really fun time. Maybe in the next couple years I will be lucky again.

Half way through the season so far, and we are having a blast. Got plenty of time to keep adding in more trophies. My friends have some late muzzy deer tags, my partner's daughter has a late bull tag, and there's always those pesky cow elk to fill the freezer. Good luck to eberyone still out there.

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Nov-13-15, 
00:17 AM (MST)
16. "RE: Looks Like A Slow Year Ahead"

Got the antelope horns all cleaned up, tissue trimmed, and the sheaths bondo'ed back on the horn cores. This way they are permanent and don't smell in the future. The mass is what is so impressive on this one. Mounted it on the "wall of death", as my wife lovingly calls it, in the garage and it looks pretty good with all the rest of them. He ended up scoring 73", with only 3" prongs. Man, I wish I had found a great one. Love to look at big antelope, and I'm still trying for that elusive B&C head.

Had to work long hours to get some projects done at work, and missed the opening day of second whitetail season in the middle of the week. Soon my day off arrived and Friday the 13th rolled around, and it was definately bad luck for this guy. There was a 6 pt, 8 pt, and smaller 10 pt with a half dozen does and they gradually fed out of the private alfalfa fields and up thru the sagebrush draw to the mountain. They love to go up the creek bottoms and spend the day laying around in the canyons.

The smaller 10 point followed a single doe on a trail 300 yards out on the flat, but that was just too far for the slug gun even at 2000 fps. The 6 and 8 pt. came my way with the rest of the does, and walking the same trail. This nice 8 pt was the most dominant of the three bucks, and when he came by at 200 yards I lit him up with the Rem 870 and 300 gr Hornady SST bullet. Solid whop sound came back, and I watched him wobble and go down in a pile, after a 100 yard sprint. As good as I marked him going down, it still took me a while to find him in the tall sage. The shot was perfect behind the shoulder, and all the meat will be utilized.

The daughter-in-law wants some winter meat and there's nothing better than whitetail steaks on the BBQ! My son accuses me of being lucky because of my 33 year old hat, so I told him it's just persistence and perseverance, not luck! Had to take a picture of the hat anyway tho, just to rub it in!

The steelhead are biting up at Salmon so that is tomorrow's plan, and there are always those pesky cow elk to chase in the desert. Just passing time until my Arizona Coues deer hunt in December anyway! Good luck everyone.

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Dec-15-15, 
09:40 AM (MST)
17. "RE: Looks Like A Slow Year Ahead"

Sorry for the long delay in posting, just been one of those busy times. Some good, some bad, lost a few friends and a family member, but things have settled down a bit now. I finally got caught up at work and felt I could take an entire week off to go down to Arizona for the opener of my Coues deer hunt. The payback is I have to work the entire week before X=Mas to let my other co-workers leave early.

Got down the day before, and got settled into the room in Williams. Thought about bringing the trailer down, but decided that hot showers and color TV sounded better than roughing it. That's more of a Sept/October getaway any how. Hopefully with a Paunsagunt tag next year There were lots of cow elk hunters staying there too, and I think they were all in Unit 10. This top end of Unit 6B and 8 ends at the Interstate, so you have to drive 20-30 miles to even get to the hunting areas. I stopped in the gun shop and asked about the whitetail hunting. Guy told me it was mostly a mule deer area, as they live up top. When I told him I had a whitetail tag, his words were "You're a dumb bastard-you have to go down into the canyons and just work way too hard!" Maybe that's why they can grow up and get old?

Opening morning found me looking into the right places, and thinking maybe he was right. We have hunted elk here a couple times and have named these HellNo, Phuckett, and Stupity Canyons.

Glassed long and hard and finished the day seeing 34 cow elk, 6 big bulls, and 13 mule deer. Found quite a few WT tracks and sign, but none had feet still in them. The tanks are all full, the acorn crop was fabulous this year, and there was plenty of bear and lion sign also. The other great thing about staying in Williams is the choice of food. I figured I had worked plenty hard enough to treat myself to a piece of the Pine Country Inn's famous pie. If you get here, you deserve to splurge on one yourself!

A smaller quick storm blew in that night, and my how things changed in the morning. If you haven't tried walking on Arizona rocks and cactus, when they're snow-covered, man you are in for a treat! The worst of it was in the morning, then the sun appeared and the low and middle canyons melted off and the glassing and hunting began again. Sorry for poor picture quality, but it was a whiteout most of the time, and only cleared up when the wind blew 30 mph! I used the phone instead of the good expensive camera.

Found a lot more of all the animals after the storm, and knew just where I needed to be in the morning. Dropped down to about 10 degrees that night, and we all know how deer like the sunshine after a storm, and freezing cold weather. The next morning was a repeat of the first two, with lots of glassing from high points and overlooks, and seeing plenty of animals moving around. The snow in the big oak thickets made it much easier to see whitetails moving in them since the leaves are all gone, and soon I had a pair of does coming up one side of my canyon, around the head of it below me, and on to the yellow grass and sunshine opposite from me. It is a little early for full blown rutting activity I figured, but that was certainly what was going to happen next.

About 20 minutes after the does came thru I glassed up a big buck working his way up the canyon in my direction. I had to look twice to make sure it wasn't one of the mule deer I had been seeing, because his rack was huge! Nope, silver gray, petite body, white circled eyes, and nimble prancing gait - definite whitetail!!!!! He never stopped once, all the way up the trail the girls had taken, and I lost him down below me in the jungle of laurel and tall manzanita. That stuff hides an elk pretty easily, and whitetails just flat disappear.

I had been preparing for these long shots all Fall with the big 300 Ultra Mag, and had the utmost confidence in it. I had been knocking down coyotes out to 400 regularly, so I figured the distance would be OK. What I couldn't figure was how to get him to stop. He never did, so I glassed ahead and picked a straight portion of the trail where he would line out and slow down. When he walked into the Zeiss scope, I put the cross hairs directly between his shoulder blades, and gently squeezed off the round. I heard the solid whop of a direct hit immediately, and as I came down from recoil I saw him hunched up and dashing into the laurel thickets. Now the fun begins.

If you haven't ever hunted by yourself, you just don't know how important a spotter is, when you have to go across a deep canyon. I found myself being cliffed out, so had to move a long way around to get down through the rocks. Then when I got to where I had marked the deer, I couldn't find hide nor hair of him. After an hour of futile searching, I climbed all the way back up, marked my shooting spot, and re-ranged to the shot and location where the buck ran. I had been about 100-200 yards off the entire time! Went back down and spent almost another hour looking in the right location. before finding him. He had died and fallen about 4 feet down off a rock ledge, between a sheer face and a laurel bush.

Absolutely world-class Coues whitetail deer. What a monster. There just aren't enough big words to describe hime, and he is everything I knew he would be.

I just had to get a picture in here with the "Dr. Death" hat, for my son's sake. He was unable to come down due to work commitments and was just sick he had to miss it.

After some photos, caping him out for mounting, and boning the entire thing, I loaded it into my backpack and was ready for the climb out.

It's always nice to be packing out, the sun setting behind you, and see the shadows of big antlers bracketing your image. Love this game we play!

As I got out of the canyon, I realized I was getting close to a trail and some flatter ground. Took the time for a "selfie", and then walked on to the trail head and the truck. First time I have ever kissed a Toyota and liked it. Chugged two bottles of Gatorade after loading all my gear in, and began the long trip back to town. What a happy hunter.

More to follow:

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Dec-18-15, 
09:49 AM (MST)
18. "RE: Looks Like A Slow Year Ahead"

A little bit more to the "rest of the story". The buck was one of the largest I have taken, and I estimated him to be around 130# live weight. The ones we have taken in both 24B and on the San Carlos Reservation seem to average more along the lines of 100-110#. A real toad, and looking at his front teeth and jaw-bone molars I figured him to be 5-6 years old. Got about 40# of meat and 15# for the head and cape, so 55 total for a Coues deer packout was a pretty good load. The drive back into town was uneventful, except for dodging all the elk running across the road. The cow hunt had ended the Thursday before, and I hope the success rate was good. They were bunched up in groups from 3-4 up to about 20. Only saw one big bull in the trees with them, but several raghorns and lots of spikes. The mule deer just seem to mosey all around in the pines, and I'm not really sure how you would hunt them in there.

Got back to the room and decided even tho I was pretty tired, I would start the drive home in the morning. There was a large storm coming in and it was supposed to stretch the entire 768 miles home to Idaho. Started breaking down all the tripods and gear, loading up all the wet and dirty clothes, and ran into an interesting issue. Who would have thought the cooler wouldn't be big enough for the rack and wouldn't close? Oh well, at 20 degrees all the way home, it wasn't a problem.

Finally arrived home safe and sound, and was glad to make it. Turned out the storm hit Salt Lake with a vengence and it put down a foot or more in some areas. Worked on cleaning everything and putting away get the next day. Finished off the cape and got on my drying and salting rack, so I cam get it to the tannery. Here's a photo of the finished and cleaned antlers to look at.

Got out all the pencils, paper, masking tape, and 1/4" flexible tape to measure the rack. For all of you guys that were trying to add it up from the pictures, here is the accurate score. Interesting enough, there were quite a few deductions on both sides which ended up knocking it down more than I expected.

Gross score - 109 7/8"
Net score - 105 6/8"
Deductions - 4 1/8"

I like I said earlier, truly a world class buck, and beautiful. Can't wait to get him up on the wall to remember the great northern Arizona hunt in the canyons.

Now I have 12 days to get my butt out in the desert and find a cow elk for my daughter-in-law's freezer!!!!!!!!!

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Dec-28-15, 
05:03 PM (MST)
19. "RE: Looks Like A Slow Year Ahead"

The family get together is coming to a close, people are starting to return to work following the X-Mas break, and I got a rare opportunity to take my eleven year old grand-daughter from SLC hunting with me on the desert for antlerless elk. She has been my fishing companion for a number of years, but has yet to go hunting with me until this week. She has always shown an intense interest in the how's and why's of hunting tho, and is always the first in the shop to watch the gutting, caping, or butchering.

We went out on Saturday morning and although we found plenty of elk, we also found plenty of people lined up on the highway and shooting instead of hunting. It turned into a teaching and learning experience for her in how not to conduct yourself, and we never even got out of the truck! There were people shooting from, along, and across the highway which is the boundary. The herds of elk were in the fog, and people were even shooting back and forth in each other's direction. I fully expected the Sheriff and many game wardens to be there so we left.

Now that the crazy's went back to work, I figured we would try again. Still wanted to show her the right way to do it. Found a huge herd of about 140 in the dark, and 100 crossed in the dark but about 40 stayed in the BLM sagebrush on the open side. The Sheriff was there this morning, and IDFG was on their way so we just talked for a while, I introduced him to my little partner, and we waited for daylight. The people were just as stupid, and he had quite a time with shooting and trespassing infractions. We finally isolated a group by ourselves a long way away from the crowds. A single one-shot kill with the 300 Ultra-Mag put her down and we were done.

What a huge cow! Her teeth only show her to be 4-5 years old, but I am seriously thinking she might have gone 600# on the hoof. Jenna was a big help to hold the legs for me when I neede, and we had quite the biology lesson during the gutting process. The sheriff and his deputy came by and congratulated us on doing it correctly, checked my written permission to be on the landowners ground, and asked if they could help load it whole to speed up the loading. That's an off you can't refuse

Back in the shop, we got her hunt from the rafters, skinned and taken care of. She is 5 1/2 feet from tailbone to brisket and 24" deep in the chest! WOW!

Hope everyone has a great New Year's Eve and a super 2016. This concludes this years HAC, and we will be ready to start another, just as soon as I can get a new license and the right tags.

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