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2016 Trifecta

 
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highcountryfever
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Jun-14-16, 
09:38 PM (MST)
"2016 Trifecta"

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So 2016 started off good for me with the draws. I drew an archery antelope tag last year, but after hurting my shoulder I turned it in. I figured I would draw it this year again. I also put in for general season deer with several points.

The big surprise this year was the bear draw. I always put in for a hunt instead of just a point, because you never know. Well once again this year was one of those years. I got lucky in the draw and drew the summer bait tag with only 5 points.

So after alot of google earth scouting and talking with several friends that have hunted this unit I decided on a few spots to try out. I ditched work one morning and hiked in to check out the main bait site. After wandering around for a while I finally found the main trail and made my way up to the bait location. I found the spot I wanted to be and marked it on the gps. I checked my actual location with the coordinates of the COR and was off by 75 ft. Not too bad!

Anyway, I located where I will set my blind and where I will set the bait. I walked 10 ft behind the blind spot and found a fairly fresh pile of scat. Nice to know there are bears in the area already!

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  Table of Contents  

 Subject   Author   Message Date   ID 
 RE: 2016 Trife...  highcountry...      Jun-15-16   1 
 RE: 2016 Trife...  highcountry...      Jun-17-16   2 
 RE: 2016 Trife...  highcountry...      Jun-17-16   3 
 RE: 2016 Trife...  highcountry...      Jun-21-16   4 
 RE: 2016 Trife...  highcountry...      Jun-21-16   5 
 RE: 2016 Trife...  highcountry...      Jun-21-16   6 
 RE: 2016 Trife...  highcountry...      Jun-21-16   7 
 RE: 2016 Trife...  highcountry...      Jun-22-16   8 
 RE: 2016 Trife...  highcountry...      Jun-28-16   9 
 RE: 2016 Trife...  highcountry...      Jun-30-16   10 
 RE: 2016 Trife...  highcountry...      Jul-18-16   11 

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highcountryfever
(267 posts)
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Jun-15-16, 
01:13 PM (MST)
1. "RE: 2016 Trifecta"

Setup 05/21/2016

Friday night the prep began. I was up way too late making sure the trail cams were working, getting the bait loaded in the truck and my pack setup. I found myself standing there and trying to think of what I was forgetting or what I wish I would have when we got up there. Before I knew it, it was waay past midnight.
Before long 5:00 rolled around and I crawled out of bed. I made myself a sandwich and loaded the last few things in the truck to meet the other guys at the mouth of the canyon. About half way up the rain started. So far not bad, just a little but I was the only one that brought a rain coat. Sucks to be the other guys! By 6:30 we had the packs loaded and heading up the hill. Packing bait sucks!


After about an hour uphill climb we made it to the bait site. By that time the rain was pretty steady. We gathered a bunch of logs and set up the bait area. For bait we had two 5 gal buckets of grease, a bucket of old nasty food, and 5 garbage bags of bread. We piled a bunch of bread, dumped some grease on top and then repeated until we were out of bread. After that we dumped the rest of the grease on top of the pile and all over the logs. Last we cooked up some bear crack and dumped that on the pile as well.




By that time we were all soaked and cold so we quickly set up the cameras and headed for the truck. The hike down was a lot easier without a heavy pack. (Go figure!)

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highcountryfever
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Jun-17-16, 
09:05 AM (MST)
2. "RE: 2016 Trifecta"

Setting the Blind 05/24/2016

After setting the bait a few days before, I realized I didn’t set up my blind. (Rookie mistake, I know) Me and my cousin headed out early before work to get it set up and check the cameras and see if there was any activity at the bait site.

On the way up we found a huge track in the mud. This thing walked several hundred yards up the trail with no other tracks other than deer.



Walking up to the bait nothing had changed from a few days ago. Not a big surprise. A quick check of the camera to confirm and a few adjustments and we headed back down.


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highcountryfever
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Jun-17-16, 
09:05 AM (MST)
3. "RE: 2016 Trifecta"

Here is a clip of our bait trip.


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highcountryfever
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Jun-21-16, 
10:32 AM (MST)
4. "RE: 2016 Trifecta"

Checking Cameras and Disneyland 05/29/2016

A family vacation to Disneyland had been scheduled since before Christmas, so when I drew the tag I knew it was going to be a conflict. We left for Disney on Friday May 27 and would not be back until June 5. That meant that I would miss the first 2 days of the hunt. I made arrangements at work and took of the 6th as well so that I could hunt as soon as I got home.

While at Disney, my brothers in law were going to check on the bait from time to time. The first time they were able to go up was Sunday, the 29th. My BIL and his wife headed up in the afternoon just to check the cameras and bait.

While watching a show at Disneyland I get a text from him that says “Call me ASAP” so I duck out and they tell me there is a bear on the camera! It had come in the day after we set the blind.



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highcountryfever
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Jun-21-16, 
10:32 AM (MST)
5. "RE: 2016 Trifecta"

DONUTS! 06/03/2016

While still at Disneyland, I get a text from my cousin. He has made some calls and found a supply of donuts. He was told to take a bin and leave it by the dumpster and they would fill it.

A few days later it was filled.



They headed back up in the afternoon on the 3rd to restock. They found that the little bear has been coming in every day, and some days multiple times. Pictures were showing that he was coming in early morning around 4-5 am and again in the evenings anywhere from 5:30 to 8:30. No sign of the big boys yet.






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highcountryfever
(267 posts)
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Jun-21-16, 
10:32 AM (MST)
6. "RE: 2016 Trifecta"

First day hunting 06/06/2016

On Sunday June 5th we finally got home from the Disneyland trip. While it was nice to be home there was a lot of work to be done. After we got the van unpacked and the kids settled I was able to start to get all my gear ready for the morning. After a few phone calls and arrangements made for who was going with me and I hit the sack.

From the trailcam pics we had we knew that the little bear has been coming in every day. We also knew that getting up there early to hunt was not worth it because he wasn’t coming in until evening, at least during daylight hours. And besides that, it was not a bear I wanted to shoot.

The plan was to focus on restocking the bait pile, possibly setting up a second site and then hunting the evening. We first hiked in to check on everything and see if anything new had been coming in. This was my first time back into the site since we set up the blind right before we left for Disneyland. Checking the cameras showed that it was still the little bear coming in every day. He was there that morning at 5 am.

While it was not one that I was wanting to shoot (at least not yet) it was still very exciting. We decided to bag setting up the second site and sit the first bait site for the evening and hope something comes in. We quickly made another run to the truck and loaded up with new bait to stock the pile. We made pretty good time and before long were sitting in the blind for the evening.
This is a new type of hunting for me. I have never sat in a blind waiting for something to come in. I have sat and waited and watched, but never focused on one small area. Every little sound we heard was a giant bear coming in. In reality, it was some stupid squirrel running around. We thought they were going to jump in the blind with us.

Then it happened. A bunch of sticks snapping that was either the biggest squirrel known to man or a bear was coming in. We were right in the prime time of when the bear has been coming in every night. This had to be him! We waited, then 5 minutes later another snap! Had to be him! 10 min went by and nothing. Was it just our imaginations? Then suddenly a flash of blond hair appeared behind the bait. BEAR! He circled the bait site and appeared to the left of the pile. Almost every pic had him coming and going from the right side of the bait.

He came in but never committed to the bait. He must have known something was different. He kept smelling the air. At one point we must have made a noise at got his attention. He still had no idea what we were. He ran off about 50 yards, stopped and looked back still trying to figure it out. We gathered our gear and quietly headed out as it was starting to get dark. We could still hear him groaning in the trees as we snuck out of the area.
What a cool experience! Now to wait for a bigger bear.

here is a longer version of the same thing with my handheld video camera:


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highcountryfever
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Jun-21-16, 
11:43 AM (MST)
7. "RE: 2016 Trifecta"

Catchup Post 6-7 to 6-18

So I have been terrible at keeping up with posts, so let me catch up the last 2 weeks of hunting. Due to work and family schedules I have been able to go up a couple nights during the week and then Saturdays. We have been getting tons of pics on the cameras! I had to upgrade my google drive account to store them all. The first week was pretty uneventful. The little bear has been coming in everyday, with most days coming in 2 or 3 times. But never when we were there. On the 10th we decided it was time to set up the 2nd site and see if we could turn up anything else.

We headed out in the afternoon to get the new site set up. This site we set up in a stand of aspens with open meadows all around. It looks to be a great spot to try to find deer or elk this fall as well. This hike in is not as bad as the 1st site, and definitely not as steep. We set up and headed to the 1st site for the rest of the evening.

The next few trips were more of the same. Haul in new bait, change the cards in the camera and sit until dark. Finally on the 14th we got a new bear on the second site. The new bear was bigger than the first, but still not huge. Our plan on the 14th was to restock and check the camera then head to the 1st site. When we saw the new bear on the camera we decided to stay there. Big mistake!

Boar:

Sow:

The next time we were able to make it to the 1st site was the 16th. We got set up, switched the cards to see what was coming in. Big surprise that while we were sitting at the 2nd site we had new bears come into the 1st site. We had 2 new bears on the camera. A black sow, and a huge brown boar. Reviewing the camera they had come in on the 14th, 15th and the 16th. The original small bear had disappeared from the camera. The last picture of him was from the 13th. We sat the 1st site until dark hoping they would be back. Every squirrel that was running around had us on edge hoping it was the happy couple coming in for a snack.

Saturday the 18th we headed back up after some family activities. We decided to check and restock the 2nd site first and then go sit the 1st for the evening. When we got to the 2nd site we found the blind had blown away and was tangled up in some trees. Luckily there was no damage to it and we got it back into place. The bait was completely gone. A quick check of the camera and we found that the smaller bear was still coming in. There was also a new sow with 2 small cubs on the camera. The cubs had been climbing the trees all around the bait. Pretty cool to see. (I haven’t downloaded these pics yet, so watch for them on my nest post)

When we got to the 1st site we quickly got set up and checked the memory cards. The couple was still coming in regularly and had devoured the bait. Last trip up we decided to put one of the cameras to video mode. That has made some cool clips. I will get them uploaded at some point. Normally the most activity has been in the evening, within the last hour of daylight. It was discouraging to see that they had come in that day at noon, and we were sitting at home eating lunch. Freaking bears!
We are going to try to switch it up a little this week and hit the sites in the morning a few times. It’s only a matter of time before they make a mistake!
More to come!

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highcountryfever
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Jun-22-16, 
09:40 AM (MST)
8. "RE: 2016 Trifecta"

quick clip from one of the trail cams:

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highcountryfever
(267 posts)
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Jun-28-16, 
09:48 PM (MST)
9. "RE: 2016 Trifecta"

Catchup Post 6-19 to 6-23

Again time to catch up on the hunt during the last few days. The big bears have been coming in to bait #1 everyday, multiple times a day. Their schedule is not consistent at all. They are there at all times of the day/night.

First a little recap: The boar and sow first showed up on the 14th (Tuesday) while we were sitting at bait #2. On the 16th we came back to restock/hunt bait #1 and was the first night we saw the pics of them, and made the plan to focus on the boar and hunt bait #1 every night to try and take him. On the 18th (Saturday) the plan was to restock bait #2 and then head back to bait #1. When we checked the camera at bait #2, we saw that on the 16th while we were sitting at bait #1 the boar and sow had found bait #2 and were on camera at 5 pm! This was depressing that we had missed them, again. But at the same time it was pretty cool that they were hitting both sites. Going through the rest of the pics they were only there the one time. There is no question it is the same 2 bears.



Fast forward to Monday the 20th. My brother-in-law wasn’t able to go with, so as a big surprise to me my wife said that she was coming with. We dropped the kids off at the in-laws and headed up the mountain. She was pretty nervous on the hike in, but once we got in the blind she was fine. I was really hopeful that we would see something that night, but it wasn’t meant to be.



We hunted bait #1 every day that week. When we came back the next day we saw that they had come in 30 min after we left the night before. Dang bears! This was also the beginning of the decline. Normally the bears were coming in multiple times a day, but the last time they were there was 30 after we left the night before. Normally they would come in at least once during the night, most times twice, during the morning and then in the evening. The only pic it had taken in almost 24 hours was of the small bear returning during the afternoon of the 21st. My heart sank. With little bear coming back in I was afraid that the pair had run off.


Hunting bait #1 the next few days confirmed what we were afraid of. Thursday evening when we returned the bait pile was completely untouched. I was sick. I missed my chance a giant bear. We thought about hiking out and going to bait #2, but decided to stay hoping that we were wrong and they would be back. Soon darkness came and we hiked out with pretty low spirits.

All said and done they were at bait #1 for a total of 7 days. We hunted them for 5 of the 7 days they were there with no luck. It was decided that we would check bait #1 every couple of days and focus on bait #2 for the remainder of the hunt.

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highcountryfever
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Jun-30-16, 
08:16 AM (MST)
10. "RE: 2016 Trifecta"

The End 06/24/2016
Thursday night/Friday morning was pretty depressing. I was convinced that I would never see the boar and sow again. We figured that she was in heat while they were together and was no longer in heat and drove the boar off. It felt like I got sucker punched in the gut.

I didn’t want to even head up to bait #1 because I knew they wouldn’t be up there. My brother in law that had been coming with me almost every time wasn’t going to be able to go with on Friday (the 24th) so I was scrambling last min to find someone else to go. My cousin cleared his schedule and we headed up to bait #2. The plan was to haul in new bait as we hadn’t been there for several days. I was a little worried because I had people telling me if the bait ran out the bears would disappear. We got to the trail head and I honestly didn’t expect to see anything on the camera. I decided to load extra bait on my pack and leave my bow in the truck and only take the rifle.

In a way it was good my cousin was with me. His level of excitement really helped to boost my mood. Hiking in we decided that if there were any bears on this camera we would stay for the evening and not return to bait #1 as we were planning.

We got up to the bait site and no big surprise everything was gone. It looked like the ground was dug up a little bit so I was hopeful that there were still a few bears coming in. we pulled the card from the camera and started scanning. There were hundreds of new pics! The sow with 2 cubs were coming in every night after dark. The majority of pics were of them. The sow would dig at the ground and the cubs were climbing the trees around the site. We saw claw marks 15-20 feet up the trees. There was also a new bear on the camera that we had not seen before. It was either a young boar or a sow. Hard to tell from the few pics.



I wasn’t ready for the next set of pics…

Suddenly there was a giant bear on the camera. A few more pics and it wasn’t just one bear, it was 2! Looking closer it was the sow and the boar from bait #1! HOLY CRAP!!!!! Looking at the dates and I couldn’t believe it. We had pics of them on bait #1 at 8:30 pm Monday night, and then a pic of the sow on bait #2 at 10:50 pm THE SAME NIGHT!!!! Then another set of pics with both of them at 4:30 am Tuesday. There was only the one set of pics, but it was encouraging for sure! We decided there was no way we were leaving. We quickly got set up and waited.



The wait until dark took forever. Bait 2 had the crappy chairs and the sun was right in our face. We had a couple turkeys wander through the meadow and a funky little buck that we got some video of. Finally the sun set and darkness started setting in. We had heard some noises in the thick timber but was never able to see what was causing it. 9:00 came, then 9:15, then 9:20 and still nothing. At this point it was too dark for the camera to see anything so I slowly started to get things put away. As my back was turned, suddenly there was a SNAP! I turn around as my cousin is yelling (whispering) BEAR! BEAR! SHOOT IT!

I turn to see a bear standing right on the edge of the clearing, right below where we had been hearing the noises. The bear looks around for a second and then starts heading in. Luckily the wind was in our favor, blowing in our face and blocking our scent. As I was grabbing my rifle the bear started circling the meadow to come into the bait from the downwind side. I was scrambling to get a solid rest. I tried the top of the tripod, too tall, tried to hold the legs but not steady enough. Finally I gave up on the rest and just decided I would take the shot free hand. I gave my cousin the signal I was ready and he gave a quick whistle. The bear immediately stopped and looked right at us. I center the crosshairs right on his chest and the next thing I see is the muzzle flash. Once I recovered from the recoil all I could see in the scope was his back legs in the air. He dropped right where he stood. No recovery required. BEAR DOWN!!! It all happened in less than a min. it was right at 9:25 when he stepped out of the trees. We quickly ran down to him to make sure he was down. HOLY CRAP I JUST SHOT A BEAR!!!!!!! After he was down for sure, we took a min to come back to reality. My cousin looked at me and said “now what?”

Walking up to a bear is a different experience. I watched him drop, and he hadn’t moved at all and I knew he was down, but it still was very nerve racking to approach. His head wasn’t initially visible, buried in the tall grass. His body looked big, but we didn’t know what we had yet. I grabbed his head and lifted him up and knew immediately IT WAS HIM!!!! I can’t explain that feeling at all other than it was a roller coaster of emotions.



We snapped a few pics and then ran down to the truck to make some calls to get everyone up there! I was not going to wait until morning. Everyone needed to be there now! A few miles up the road we had service. My first call was to my wife of course. She answered and all I said was don’t wait up! She replied with “what the He!! Does that mean?” BEAR DOWN!!!! I don’t think she really believed me. After convincing her it was real I made more phone calls. They all seemed to go about the same. Soon everyone was on their way. To my surprise my wife called last min and said she was coming too. Her mom came to stay with the kids and she was on her way.

At 11:30 the troops were assembled and we head up the trail. By midnight we were back up to the bear. After a million pics we started to break down the bear. What a surreal experience. We got the bear done and the blind packed up and headed for the truck. We left the carcass in the grass and set the trail cam on it. We will head back up in a few weeks and see what came in to feed off it. The hike down was quick. The hide was heavy, no doubt about it, but it was not near as heavy as some of the loads of bait we had been hiking in for the last month. I had to slow down and wait for everyone a few times. We got home about 4 am and I crawled in bed for a few hours trying to get some sleep.


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highcountryfever
(267 posts)
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Jul-18-16, 
08:47 AM (MST)
11. "RE: 2016 Trifecta"

been doing a little work on the skull. Still have to degrease and bleach.

And yes, I do have all the teeth.

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