Mule Deer, Elk and Western Big Game Hunting -

Gonna be a great 2017 hunting year!

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02:49 PM (MST)
"Gonna be a great 2017 hunting year!"

Hard to believe it is 2017. Time to get cranked up for another fun year of hunting and fishing in Idaho and surrounding states (if lucky in some draws). Since the wife and I retired last August, we have been fortunate to get to travel around seeing our friends and family in different areas of the country.

The year started off amazing by getting notified of winning a guided hunt from Texas Parks and Wildlife on the Mason Mt. WMA for Scimitar Horned Oryx the last week of January. It turned out to be a great trip and I was successful on a 40" bull. Made some wonderful new friends too.

When I got back from a couple weeks in the Lone Star state the better half decided we needed to upgrade the house a little. We enjoy watching HGTV shows, and it looks so simple when they do it! Tore out a few walls, put in new tile, lights, fireplace, floors and kitchen, Quartz counter tops instead of laminate, and its beautiful. If I get to apply for a few more tags by keeping her happy, it's worth it!

Because of the month long renovation I wasn't able to go back to West Texas with my hunting partners on an awesome aoudad sheep hunt, but they had a great time and got a couple beauties. Dave's looked like it had been to the beauty parlor to have his chaps blow dried for the picture!

We made our 4 week timeline on the house remodel and celebrated by going to Las Vegas and Lake Havasu for our anniversary. Hooked up with our friends there, and managed to get out on the lake for some great bass fishing. Got both smallmouth and largemouth and had a ball with the pontoon boats in the weedy coves.

The wife and I have never had this much time in our careers (both working 12-14 hour days) to be together as much, but since retiring we have been playing a lot. Got to spend some time down at Moab Utah, and watching all the fun that people had in the side-by-side UTV's convinced us that I should stop beating up the truck, and get one to use in hunting also. We can ride around together in it, and she loves the outdoors in it.

I bought a utility trailer from Lisa (Predator), and since it was empty we decided to fill it up! Found a great new 2016 Kawasaki Teryx 800, with a winch to keep me out of trouble, added a roof and windshield to keep the wife comfy and we were ready to go.

Tried to use it the other day and even though we put 70 miles on it, we were still blocked out of all my bear hunting areas by snow drifts. Maybe another week will see the last of the roads open up. June is a perfect time for calling bears on the elk calving grounds with the muzzleloader anyway.

Haven't had any luck in the western states draws so far, but looking at the Kansas site it appears that I may have drawn a WT tag. We will see when the official results are posted next week. Finished getting my Idaho, Wyoming, and Arizona applications in so now it just a waiting game again for the final states. Oh well, OTC in Idaho isn't a bad way to go if you don't get any love from other states.

Good luck to everyone who has drawn a tag, or is still waiting like me. There will be more updates to this HAC to follow in the weeks to come.

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 Subject   Author   Message Date   ID 
 RE: Gonna be a...  Blank      May-31-17   1 
  RE: Gonna be a...  Blank      Jun-04-17   2 
   RE: Gonna be a...  Blank      Jul-07-17   3 
    RE: Gonna be a...  Blank      Aug-18-17   4 
     RE: Gonna be a...  Blank      Oct-11-17   5 

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(1747 posts)
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03:40 PM (MST)
1. "RE: Gonna be a great 2017 hunting year!"

Had a quick email and photo from our friends in Texas and was happy to know there is a new deer lease in our future. This one is over by the area of Brackettville and has lots of exotics in addition to deer and hogs. Shouldbe a fun Fall trip down to visit, and maybe get some excellent axis deer meat for the freezer too.

Got around to uploading our pictures from the trip to southern Utah last week. It was the first time down there for either of us, and was absolutely beautiful! People who live in the area are so lucky to see those immense expanses of open canyon country. Hiking around really makes you feel small in comparison.

Checked on the Kansas home page this morning, and the official results are up and available for NR deer applications. Looks like the wife and I will be going camping and hunting in northwest Kansas for a big whitetail buck and an extra doe in Unit 1/2. No luck on the mule deer upgrade, but that was a long shot chance anyway. Time for a lot of research now, for some DIY areas and likely public land.

Now the waiting begins for all the other states application results......

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(1747 posts)
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11:11 PM (MST)
2. "RE: Gonna be a great 2017 hunting year!"

We didn't have a lot going on this weekend, so Friday we got the Kawasaki Teryx 2 out and headed into the wild lands of Birch Creek and Gilmore Summit area. Managed to ride about 50 miles, and continued with the break-in period on the unit. We managed to get up to 8000' in several areas, but always got turned around because of snow. Can't get to the Meadow Lake Campground yet. Man, the high country got dumped on this year. I am really worried because we have yet to see a deer in any of the areas we have been to.

Here's the new machine with my favorite riding partner along. She packs a mean lunch too!

Went back out today for another long ride. Covered 60 miles of roads and trails in the Swan Valley/Palisades area. Found the same problems with access restricted by snow in the upper country. Found some steep rocky trails that required the use of low-range and locked differential and I was impressed with the little Teryx. I think I'm gonna love it, and I know my pickup will appreciate it too!!!! Should be perfect for the desert southwest rocky roads in AZ.

Any of you guys that have hunted Unit 66 and Little Elk Mt. for deer and elk may remember this shot from the road going up. I think there's more snow now than is usually there in Nov/Dec.

Settled back in at home now, and patiently waiting for the next draw results. Man, I hate waiting. This is worse than X-Mas! Hopefully there is a present waiting for all of us.

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07:30 PM (MST)
3. "RE: Gonna be a great 2017 hunting year!"

Man oh man, we have been swamped with friends, family, and fun camping trips for the last month. Continuing to enjoy the Teryx side by side and the snow is finally melting enough in the high country to get to the mountains. Seeing some beautiful country but wow, are the mosquitoes ever bad with all the greenery!

Idaho and Wyoming were pretty good to me in the draws. Got a whitetail deer tag in Unit 128 that I hunted last year for mule deer at Dubois. Have general OTC deer and elk here at home, but managed to score a muzzy antelope tag and also extra antlerless tags for a WT doe and a cow elk.

Got to go up to the Madison River in Montana last week with friends from AZ, CA, OR, and Wash. Weather and comraderie was fabulous. The trout fly hatch was on pretty good, and the river was packed with out-of-state fly fishermen. Geez, some of these guys really take it serious!!! Couple told me they take the entire summer off and just travel the West fishing.

In between all the company, my hunting partner and I managed to get my scimitar horned oryx from the January Texas hunt mounted and up on the wall. Came out really nice, and I love the form.

My grandson has been away from home for a year in Ecuador, on a student exchange program. He returned this past weekend so we had a big welcome home party at the house. His biggest requests were for American foods-steak, fish, vegetables, deserts, and every kind of chips we had. Seems that rice, beans, corn, and chicken every day was not not enough when you are a growing teenager!!!!!

With AZ starting to charge credit cards today, I will have something to check in the next couple days. The Texas Public Hunting draws just got posted too, so if you do those then now is the time. Good luck to everyone and hope to run into you up on the mountain.

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(1747 posts)
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08:10 AM (MST)
4. "RE: Gonna be a great 2017 hunting year!"

Hasn't been a lot going on the last six weeks but time for an update anyway. The weather has been hot, hot, hot. When it is in the high 90's and even 100 in the foothills, there is just no animal movement except for first and last 1/2 hour of the day. Pretty slim pickings for scouting and photos.

There was no love in Arizona for me or my partners this year. There have been some really nice buck antelope being followed tho, and hunting season will be great for someone!!!

Glad I have plenty of Idaho hunts lined up this Fall, and they (partners) are scheduled for an awesome Coues deer hunt in Mexico in January. The wife and I made a quick trip to Kansas scouting for my upcoming whitetail hunt, and located the various WMA's and Walk-In areas. The best part of the trip was returning to Idaho with a full cooler of BLUEBELL ice cream. Yummy! We will be there the 11th-24th of Sept. Then we will head down to Texas to see friends, fish a lot for redfish, and maybe hunt some exotics on the lease at Brackettville.

My son has been fully engaged with fighting fires out here in the West this summer. Some of them have definitely been hair-raising affairs!!! You can follow them on the US Wildland Fire website on Facebook.

Took the Teryx out for a 100 mile ride in the mountains north of Idaho Falls, and had a great time on a lot of new roads and trails for my wife. Saw quite a few antelope in the desert and lots of deer up in the forests. This has to be one of the biggest does I have ever seen.

Texas drew their Public Land Drawn Hunts this week, and I was lucky enough to get a coveted archery deer tag for Choke Canyon-North Shore in the first week of January. Should be prime time for the rut, and I hope to score on deer, hogs, and javelina.

If anyone put in for the second chance controlled hunt drawings in Idaho, they should post the results next week. Good luck to all of you who applied. My next chance at drawing tags will be the gun hunts in Texas coming up on 9/15. Can hardly wait.

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(1747 posts)
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01:27 PM (MST)
5. "RE: Gonna be a great 2017 hunting year!"

I'm sorry its been so long since posting last time. We went on a 5 week road trip, traveled thru 9 states and 7000 miles in the truck with the new trailer. Started out heading for Kansas and the early muzzleloader WT hunt from 9/11-9/24, in the NE corner. Settled into the Goodland Kansas KOA area, and it was really good.

After a couple weeks there, we headed down to Texas and then looked at the hurricane Harvey damage in surrounding areas by all of our friends homes. We visited with a lot of people and helped our friends who had survived the storm. One acquaintance couldn't handle all the pressure, and committed suicide in his home. Such a loss, and terrible tragedy for everyone! After that, we circled back to northern AZ and on home up thru Utah.

Here's a picture of the Goodland Kansas sign as you come into town.

We were welcomed to to KOA in Goodland by the staff, and it is really nice. Full hook ups, cable TV and nicely positioned for me to leave and hunt everyday in any direction. It was extremely hot at 95 degrees, and 90% humidity but we managed to survive it. Went up to St. Francis in the NW corner and hunted all of the WMA's and Walk In Hunting Areas (WIHAs).

I saw 2 shooter deer before the season, and on the last day I hunted I saw 2 more. The rest of the time they eluded me. They are buried up in the corn, which had not been harvested yet. They have no reason to leave in Sept and it is very difficult to find them. I did see deer every sit and was happy with the numbers.

The local residents were very nice, and I met some new friends. There were an amazing number of doves, quail, and pheasants to be seen also.

There were turkeys everywhere and they were out all day long. Had a "Black Lives Matters" protest one day, but it was peaceful and they eventually let me cross the bridge!!!

I saved about 70 box turtles from certain death, as they were crossing the road every day. I have never seen 3-10 turtles on the road at any time, so I just put them in the borrow pits, and hoped they stayed safe! Was it because of the temps.?

For all you taxidermists out there, how'd you like to fix that ear???

After leaving, we headed down thru Kansas, into Oklahoma, and then into Texas. The reason they never really settled the "Staked Plains" (LLano Estacado") is it is to damned hot!!! Here's a dashboard pic coming across, I would never do it again except for March or Nov.

Loved the 3 days we spent in the Hill Country, visiting attractions and looking at exotics.

Rest of the trip was uneventful, but coastal Texas around Matagorda is both hot and humid. Killed a small copperhead trying to get into my friends new house thru the front door. They are out in the country, and have to deal with deer-pigs-and all sorts of slithery creatures all the time. The fishing for a few days in West Matagorda Bay was fabulous and we had some wonderful dinners of fresh fish at the Harbour restaurant. Here's a pic of one of the redfish, in a 120 quart cooler!

We finally wore out our welcome,and decided it was time to head to AZ and chase elk bugles in the Flagstaff and Williams areas. The long drive across NM is boring, but man, they have a lot of pecan trees! We just love the Kaibab Forest and it's open, dispersed camping. Nice days and 30 degree mornings were a welcome change from the South!!!

Once in AZ, there were deer/elk/antelope galore and we were enjoying ourselves. Not as many bugles as last year, but twice as many deer this time. There were several hunts in progress, and quite a bit of traffic on the wood roads.

We gave up after 3 days of camping and headed home to Idaho I da a couple tags opening up, and wanted to do them justice too. One was a muzzleloader antelope that had opened while we were gone. Then WT deer for the rest of the month and elk also.

When we finally got home to Idaho Falls, I remembered why we love it so much. Lovely 40 degree temps. and 13% humidity. WOW, what a change in a few weeks!!!

The muzzy antelope season had opened while I was gone, and I was worried how the winter had affected the population numbers. Hunted high and low and spent hours on the spotting scope. I was really disappointed to find less than a third of the numbers I usually see. After 3 hard days of hunting, I shot the best buck I had seen out of about 30 of them. Nice, but not a monster like in years past. Very heavy 13" buck with 4" prongs and 6" mass. We named him Stumpy! Made me really happy to be successful tho, and with a perfect frontal shot at 202 yards, I was satisfied. He was quartering towards me, and stopped for a moment. Entered the front throat and exited the left shoulder. For you eagle eyes, yes, my muzzy now sports a non-magnifying 1X scope here in Idaho. My left eye is 20/10 but I suffer from presbyopia in my dominant right eye. It is 20/100 and I can't focus on either the front/back/or target. The scope at least gives me a visible cross hair, but is worse for shooting than open sights. How did you guys in Utah ever do this?????????

Now on to Idaho WT and cow elk seasons, then back to Kansas for the firearms season in December!!!Hooray, I love hunting season!!!

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