Mule Deer, Elk and Western Big Game Hunting - MonsterMuleys.com

Post Deadly Winter, 2017 Hunting Season

 
Previous Topic | Next Topic 
Forums 2017 Hunt Adventure Challenge
Original Message

HalfAce
(847 posts)
Click to EMail HalfAce Click to send private message to HalfAce Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
May-19-17, 
05:56 AM (MST)
"Post Deadly Winter, 2017 Hunting Season"

Hi everybody, my name is Alek. I come from a non-hunting family, so with no one to learn from in regards to anything to do with hunting, I turned to MonsterMuleys. Since I was a teenager, this website and all of its users has taught me SO much over the years, I donít know where I would be today without it. So because of that, I want to return the favor by participating in this yearís HAC. Maybe a person coming from a family that doesnít hunt can learn something through what I post here, and if not, at least I hope to provide some good entertainment for the rest of you who may very well have had a hand in teaching me something.

I am not much of a picture taker, and I regret not making any journal entries of my hunts throughout the years. The only thing I have done is write myself an end of season re-cap, but by the end of the season I have forgot many of the smaller details which make journal entries so fun to read one day down the line. So in return for creating this HAC thread, I hope it teaches/forces me to take more pictures of my outings, helps me start chronicling my hunts, and just maybe puts a little more pressure on me to stay out longer and try even harder!

I'm sure life and work will do a very good job of getting in the way of my scouting & hunting trips as well as posting here, but ill try and keep up with it the best I can. So follow along and lets see what the West has to offer after the deadly winter of 2016-2017.

Thanks for looking and good luck with your 2017 hunts.

  Alert Edit | Reply | Reply With Quote | Top


  Table of Contents  

 Subject   Author   Message Date   ID 
 RE: Post Deadl...  HalfAce      Oct-08-17   1 
 RE: Post Deadl...  HalfAce      Oct-11-17   2 
 RE: Post Deadl...  HalfAce      Oct-12-17   3 
  RE: Post Deadl...  HalfAce      Oct-14-17   4 
  RE: Post Deadl...  HalfAce      Oct-14-17   5 
   RE: Post Deadl...  HalfAce      Oct-20-17   6 

Lobby | Topics | Previous Topic | Next Topic

  Messages in this topic  

HalfAce
(847 posts)
Click to EMail HalfAce Click to send private message to HalfAce Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Oct-08-17, 
07:48 AM (MST)
1. "RE: Post Deadly Winter, 2017 Hunting Season"

Hi Everyone. I'll spare you all the details, but life and work did an EXTREMELY good job of getting in the way of my planned scouting trips and hunts this year.

With such a busy schedule since my initial posting I chose not to put in for any of the earlier season hunts because I knew I would be too busy to make it out. I had no luck in drawing any of the mid & late season draw tags. At first I was a little dis-heartened about not drawing anything, but its all for the better with how little time I have had.

So with that said, I do have 2 tags this season: One Idaho OTC General Season Deer tag, and one Colorado 3rd Season Mule Deer tag that took zero points to "draw". I may pick up one more OTC tag somewhere.

The Idaho season opener is coming up this Tuesday the 10th, and I have been scrambling to get my gear together and head out. I am about to hit the road from CA, but I wanted to make my post here before I leave.

My plan is to hunt some of the country I have hunted in years past as well as check out some new country which I have wanted to look at for quite some time. I will be hunting alone and I plan to hike in and spike camp for 2 to 3 days at a time. I will do my best to report back each time I get to an area with some internet connection.

While I have not done any scouting this year, I am optimistic and very eager to finally get out. I am no trophy hunter by any means, but I plan to look for a mature buck in the great sate of Idaho. Ill check back in with you all later.

See ya, and goodluck out there everyone!


  Remove | Alert Edit | Reply | Reply With Quote | Top

HalfAce
(847 posts)
Click to EMail HalfAce Click to send private message to HalfAce Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Oct-11-17, 
01:27 PM (MST)
2. "RE: Post Deadly Winter, 2017 Hunting Season"

*Founder, may you please check why my post from a few days ago didn't post? It shows in the rep column but not in the thread. Maybe just my phone and bad reception?*

Well, I made it up to Idaho. It took me longer than I expected, a sand storm and a bad car accident on the I-15 North of Vegas held me back about 3.5 hours.

The first evening before the opener I only got about an hour to look around before it got dark. I only put eyes on 5 elk, one of which was a decent 6pt bull, but I don't have an elk tag. Saw no deer that evening.

Morning of the opener I spent some time down in the transition range and saw a few deer. I saw 17 deer in total that morning, only 3 of which were bucks. One 2 pt. and two 3pts, I don't think any of them were older than 1.5 years. Those bucks get to live another day or make someone else happy.

For the evening I hiked into one of my favorite places, about a 3 mile hike one way into some pretty dang rugged country. Only saw 4 does. Didn't see any bucks but did see a pair of pretty fresh tracks left by a larger bodied buck. I decided I'll try some different country on day 2 and come back into the area where I found the buck tracks in a couple days. I stayed in there until dark and didn't see anything in any of the spots where I have seen deer in the past. Didn't feel to lively in there. Maybe a predator had come through there? I'll give it a couple days and let it recharge.

  Remove | Alert Edit | Reply | Reply With Quote | Top

HalfAce
(847 posts)
Click to EMail HalfAce Click to send private message to HalfAce Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Oct-12-17, 
01:27 PM (MST)
3. "RE: Post Deadly Winter, 2017 Hunting Season"

Day 2
I made a pretty decent hike today, trying to get to the area I wanted to check out. I made close to a 2,000 foot elevation gain to get up to a glassing point I wanted to look at the country from. During the off season I love to day dream about hunting deer, sitting up on a high point and scanning the country until a big buck fills up my glass. But the reality of the situation is much different when your sitting high in the rocks, listening to the howling wind making noises as it blows past the edge of your hood, getting wind burn, freezing your butt off, navigating loose scree fields and not seeing a single mature buck to show for it. But, all of those things make it so damn exciting when you do finally see one and get it done. The saying, "If it were easy, then it wouldn't be great" can't be any more true.

Anyway, the story of the day was smoke, Mule Deer Does and Elk.

I don't know the full extent of what's going on with the fires in California, but smoke started to filter into the area late this morning. It made long range spotting conditions tough, but still doable to glass about 1/3 of a mile or so.

In total I saw 23 deer today, but only one was a buck, a young 2 pt. The bigger bucks have to be here somewhere, but for now I'm thinking they are holding tight in thick cover, not showing themselves until they start getting interested in the does. Or last years winter got them? I find that hard to believe, but I am seeing a lot less bucks this season than I did last season. But I won't get one if I don't try.

On a positive note, the elk, man the elk! I didn't draw an elk permit, but I wish I did! Today I saw probably 60-70 elk. Most of which were on public land. Atleast 5 of them were decent Bulls, with two of them being good 6 points and both of those bulls were in kill-able locations. I saw one of the better Bulls when I was very slowly making my way back to the truck for the night after the sun had already set. I was skirting just below the edge of the top of a ridge. About every 15 steps I would glass down into the canyons and aspen below. I glassed up 5 mulie does working the hillside inside an area of burned pine about 120 yards below me. I stayed still for a few minutes just watching them when all of a sudden all of them took off simultaneously. I knew they didn't detect me because the wind was blowing 20 mph in the opposite direction, and I stayed still the whole time I watched them. I didn't know what scared them off so I thought I would stay still for 5 more minutes to see what may come out, hoping it was a buck, but secretly thinking it was a predator of some kind. After about 3 minutes a few cow elk came into view. Then 2 minutes later the rest of the herd and the herd bull made their way out. Eventually they get to about 80 or 90 yards of me. I tried making a cow call with my mouth, but it came out sounding more like a hen turkey. Didn't matter, he turned and bugled in my direction anyways! I would have loved to tag him. Just a perfectly symmetrical 6 point bull, one I would be proud to have. But no elk tag, so what's a guy to do? I wish I took some pictures but I think they would have detected me pulling off my pack trying to get my spotting scope and phone skope put together.

Tomorrow is a new day, and with that always comes the potential opportunity to stumble into Mr. Big or another cool experience... I can't wait!

  Remove | Alert Edit | Reply | Reply With Quote | Top

HalfAce
(847 posts)
Click to EMail HalfAce Click to send private message to HalfAce Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Oct-14-17, 
09:37 AM (MST)
4. "RE: Post Deadly Winter, 2017 Hunting Season"

Hey everyone, I am back home in California.

Day 3 started off on a sour note. I got an email saying I had to return to California, basically because of an emergency issue. But I wont get into it here. Luckily I did have the whole third day (Thursday) to hunt, but would have to be back Friday night.

My plan going into the hunt was to check out various spots throughout the unit ranging from low sage country, to transition country with sage and aspen and on up into the high and steep dark timber country with some open slopes. Once I would check out a spot or two in each, I would focus where I saw more deer or focus on an area where I had seen a bigger buck or some sort of sign and spike out. I did in fact get to check a spot or two in each one of those habitat type areas, but I saw deer in each of them, so that didnít really help narrow down the area I wanted to concentrate on.

So with only the day to hunt, I wanted to split it and check out the aspen and sage country and take a look in the higher country area where I saw the one big set of buck tracks. I spent the first half of the day in the lower aspen / sage and saw 9 deer, all does. I did not cut any large buck tracks; only saw doe tracks all over the place. The area had a lot of side x side and ATV traffic on the opener, but I had the place to myself on day 3 of the season, so that was pretty nice.

For the second half of the day I checked out the spot where I found the one set of big buck tracks. Obviously I cant tell how big his antlers are from his tracks alone, but judging by the size of the track he left he seems like a mature deer. His track is long, splays out about 2 inches apart and the dew claw was imprinted into the dirt just as much as the front portion. I couldnít judge his stride length because he was moving at a decent clip. I think he is still somewhere in that area because I found another set of his tracks (or maybe another mature buck, but I doubt it) which were not there on day 1 of the season, but again, splayed track so he was moving quickly. I set up on a different point to be able to look into nearly all directions from the area where his track was and never saw him. I also did not see any other deer in the immediate area, only 5 deer about 1.5 miles away, 4 does and another year and half old 2 point buck. I stayed until dark and never saw any deer movement in the area of the tracks.

I did glass up more Elk, probably 2 miles away. There was 30+ head spread out over a pretty steep North facing hillside. I did not pay too much attention to them, but did glass over and look at them every time I started feeling bored not seeing any deer. One time I looked over at the Elk again and I noticed a much bigger bull than the small 5 point I originally saw in there. He was really far away, so I wasnít able to judge exactly how big he was, but surely he was over 330. I tried taking a picture but the distance he was at coupled with it starting to get dark and constant wind, I couldnít get a good picture. Gorgeous bull though.

After that, I made my hike out in the dark. I hate hiking down rocky slopes and dark timber in the dark. Doing it solo is spooky. I had my bear spray on my side as I did encounter a bear in there at dusk last season, but luckily didnít see one this year. I made it out safe, packed my stuff in the truck, knocked out in my sleeping bag in the truck bed for about 4 hours, and made the 1,000+ mile drive back home Friday.

Some concluding thoughts about the hunt: I knew the winter of 2016-2017 was bad going into the hunt, but I think it was worse than I even expected. Over 3 full days of hunting I only saw 5 bucks. All of the bucks were 1.5 year old deer. Last season I hunted for only 2 days in the same time frame with worse (warmer) conditions than this year and I saw more bucks each and every day than I did in 3 days combined this year, as well as a few better buck seen last year and not this season.

I will still make it back up there this season, but I am still unsure for how many days and when that would be exactly. I will again hunt the spot where I saw the tracks as well as some other spots. But I am not as optimistic as I was originally, and may look into hunting another general unit as well.

  Remove | Alert Edit | Reply | Reply With Quote | Top

HalfAce
(847 posts)
Click to EMail HalfAce Click to send private message to HalfAce Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Oct-14-17, 
09:37 AM (MST)
5. "RE: Post Deadly Winter, 2017 Hunting Season"


Aspen/Sage zone.


Atleast there are a few doe groups around. Great decision made by Idaho F&G for discontinuing some of the doe hunts. They will be vital for the deer to make a comeback.


This is the kind of country where I found that one good set of buck tracks.


Elk Shed on a suuuper steep slope.


Bear den?


Some Elk wandering around on the mountain side.


Itís a really bad pic, but this is the best one I could get of that large bull on day 3. He was still bugling and pushing a cow around. He was the king of the mountain and definitely knew it. When he moved it looked like he was moving in slow motion.


Another shot of him.


Nice Idaho Antelope buck.


Same buck, looking up.


Different buck, pretty wide guy.


  Remove | Alert Edit | Reply | Reply With Quote | Top

HalfAce
(847 posts)
Click to EMail HalfAce Click to send private message to HalfAce Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Oct-20-17, 
06:04 PM (MST)
6. "RE: Post Deadly Winter, 2017 Hunting Season"

It's Friday afternoon and I'm hitting the road headed for Idaho guys! I got most of the things I needed to take care of here back at home. I got a bunch of work done and I finally got the truck loaded up and ready to go. I will check out some of the places I hunted on my first 3 day trip, as well as look in 2 other units. Hopefully nothing comes up back here at home so I can get some more days to stay up there and focus on the hunt and enjoy my free time in the mountains, looking at the beautiful countryside, breathing some fresh air and go on a few good armed nature hikes. I sure am excited for this trip! Looks like some cooler weather and moisture up there today. I can NOT wait to get up there!!! Going solo again. I have a 14 hour drive ahead of me, got the coffee brewing, my lord I love hunting season! Wish me luck, and good luck to all you guys hitting the hills this week.

  Remove | Alert Edit | Reply | Reply With Quote | Top


Lock | Archive | Remove

Lobby | Topics | Previous Topic | Next Topic