2019 looks like another good year!

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Thanks for the new topic Brian. I think a lot of us really enjoy posting, and I know others sure enjoy reading the threads about new areas and experiences.

It hasn't been a really busy year so far, but we will catch up a little. Started off with a winter trip to Florida and some fishing and relative time. Got to take the boats out a couple days and see all the manatees and dolphins in the springs of Crystal River.

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On down to Lake Havasu for a month with the toys and UTV. The Lake never fails to produce some big bass and the girls had a blast! Followed up with some disbursed camping in the National Forest around Williams on the way home (with a little snow to remind us it was still EARLY Spring) .

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Texas fishing provided some fun times for redfish in the salt, and catfish in fresh water for a change of pace!

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Drew a second season turkey tag here in Idaho, but couldn't get in the higher country for the snow, and got drowned out for the first two weeks by rain, and only managed a few good days at the end. I saw turkeys a bunch, but the best longboards were tough to call in, and never got within 60-80 yards for a shot. My son and his girl friend got it done in Florida on a monster Eastern tho.

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Got tired of fighting the wind in our big toy hauler travel trailer, so we traded it off on a new Class C motorhome. The layout is similar, but this is much easier to drive and the wife loves driving it too! That's a plus in my book! We can pull the Teryx on the flatbed trailer behind it easier.

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The Utah draw was a huge disappointment for me as I did not draw the Paunsagunt tag again, but did get the new hunt at South Slope/Diamond Mt/Bonanza for buck antelope with my muzzleloader. Wow, that will be fun. No luck on the Vernon Deer Voucher this week, so waiting for Idaho, Arizona, and Wyoming draws. The Texas booklet comes out in July, so we will see if we can get something there also.

My son is transferring back from the Chicago area Hot Shot crew he is on, to take a position in Craig Colorado with those BLM guys. Mama is happy because son and daughter-in-law are now two days closer!! Yea. The town of Craig has an amazing number of town deer wandering around, so you can get a good feel for antler growth by looking out your window.

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I think that catches us up to present, and we will try to do our best to stay updated as time goes on. We have trips to the Madison and Hebgen Lake in Montana, scouting all summer long here at home, and watching the computer screen for another tag or two in surrounding states. Good luck to everyone, and hope to see you on the mountain!
 

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Well, the Idaho-Wyoming-Arizona draws are completed. A little luck in some and struck out in others. Here at home I have a late muzzy deer tag, an extra whitetail doe, and the wife and I have late cow elk tags on the winter range.

Over in Wyoming, I drew a late 128-3 whitetail tag. Guess I'll be taking pictures of all the nice mule deer again. One MM'er was lucky enough to draw the Unit 22 sheep tag, so maybe he can take that monster ram from last year. That would be something special!!

No luck down in AZ this year, so will have to enjoy my friends bull bison hunt next week thru Facebook pics, and then hope a couple other friends get big Coues deer on a late hunt.

Took off in the new RV to Montana, and had a great time with lots of friends and family. We do a huge get together each year on the Madison River and had a blast. There were plenty of animals to see, and even some more grizzlies. Saw two the first day while out gathering some firewood, and bear scat every day on the roads.

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These pics were on the first day of summer, just your typical horizontal rain/sleet/snow storm. Left about 2 inches overnight. At least it kept the mosquitos down and somewhat under control.

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Had about 20 mountain goats above us every day, at the Hebgen Lake Dam. The little kids were cute as heck.

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I think the eagle was really hoping to get one of the little ones, because it didn't focus on us a lot, but sure did like watching the babies.

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Got up to about 9000' and ran into a bunch of Hoary Marmots. Those things are huge, definitely bigger that our small rockchucks!!!!!!!

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Saw quite a few deer and moose, with the antler growth looking good so far.

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While cruising around on the UTV, the wife yelled STOP, and I did. She had seen something red up on the hillside, and wondered what it was. I hiked up to check it out, and was amazed at what I had found. A 2014 gravesite for someone, all properly constructed and covered in both silk and original fresh flowers.

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Holy cow, where has the summer gone? Things have been so busy that it seems it was just starting, and now it is cooling off, elk are bugling and early hunts are starting to ramp up. Just today, Texas completed its draws for most of the gun hunts and we were totally unsuccessful. That's a first for this boy. Will have to find another trip for the Dec/Jan time frame.

I got to deliver some Nissan trucks for my son, and spent the last week in Denver. Driving a giant jacked up Overlander pickup inside the Convention Center was a new one for me! With a five day layover, I was able to do a lot of sightseeing and take in Rocky Mt. National Park for the first time. It truly is as beautiful as people claim, and was chock full of wildlife. They have the same typical elk jams as we do here in Yellowstone or Teton Parks too.

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My two hunting partners got the opportunity to go to Alaska for a moose hunt. One to hunt, and the other to enjoy the trip and help pack. Dave was able to take a beautiful 60" bull, even tho they struggled with bad weather and bears for the entire trip.

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Now I need to get cranked up for antelope seasons. The first one to open is my Idaho muzzleloader hunt here close to home. that is this Thursday, and then on to Utah next week. I drew that Bonanza/Diamond Mt. tag which opens the 25th. We will pack up the motorhome and UTV and have a fun week chasing speed goats in a new area.

There will be a bunch of regular and late season deer, some with the muzzleloader again, then late desert cow hunts here in Nov. Another whitetail is scheduled to hit the dirt in Dubois on the 128 hunt, and I hope to find some sheep and mule deer pics for your enjoyment too.

That catches us up, now have to try not to be so distracted in the future! :)
 

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Seasons are all starting now, so time to catch up on some antelope hunting. Our muzzy antelope hunt opened first, so I took my hunting partner out to some agricultural ground I have permission on. Managed to get himself a very nice buck, which is right around 14".

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We loaded up the motor home and my Kawasaki Teryx for the Utah Diamond Mt./Bonanza hunt. Got down a couple days early to continue scouting and learn more of the roads in the unit. Big country, we managed to put about 650 miles on it in 6 days! Predator (Lisa) showed up the next day and we started making our plans. The company traffic is so bad that the roads get pounded into inches (or even FEET ) of flour dust and sometimes it's impossible to breathe. Full clothing, dust masks, sand glasses were called for each ride. Shooting the new CVA Accura with Blackhorn 209 and Barnes 290 gr. TMZ bullets. 3" high at 100 yards seems perfect for very accurate shots out to 250 yards. I felt guilty about getting the gun so dirty with dust!!

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We had a nice camping area for the first few days that was at a historical marker, and we were about 400 yards from a windmill filled water hole. Really fun to watch all the antelope and wild horses come in, and out presence didn't bother them at all. One day, the wife had the horses all around the coach for 2.5 hours.

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We got a lot of contacts from interested oil field workers about antelope, and we found that they don't know what "big" bucks really are. They see them so much that they just think and mature ones are shooters. Here's a few of the ones we kept getting in range of. The early morning and late evening shots are pretty, and we ended up seeing about 100 different bucks before taking one.

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Packed my Leupold 12-40X spotting scope along, and would get out anytime we saw a good buck, glass with bins, and then set up the spotter. That eliminated a bunch of wasted walks or drives! The weather finally changed from high 80's to low and mid 70's with a little rain to quench the dust. It was just like you had flipped a light switch that evening, and the next morning, the rut was on!! Where we hadn't seen and sparring or territory marking to speak of, the next morning it was all out battles and mile long chases.

Had a tall one, and a heavy one picked out and the mass finally won out. There were actually 7 bucks having a rut fest with 4 does. Has really good bases, prongs and tips with an inch or two broken off to boot. Hurts the length a little, but I'm happy with him.

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Once we were done hunting, we had our kids come over from Craig Colorado and we all went sightseeing in Dinosaur Monument. Beautiful area we had never been in, and the scenery was amazing.

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Got to go back to Craig with them and saw more of the Steamboat Springs area and Hahn Peak. Gorgeous views and the colors are changing fast.

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When we got home and cleaned everything up, I was able to go out again for my Idaho muzzy antelope. Saw a lot, but no real big ones so will hold off for a while. I did find a huge badger digging a hole in the middle of one of the farm roads, so eliminated him. They make huge holes that damage the farm equipment and can actually break axles and springs. The farmers loves it that I leave coyotes alone, and remove the badgers!!!

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Well that should keep us up to date, and now I can get serious about fishing and hunting again. Good luck everyone.
 

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Knocking them right down, one after another. My partners drew Wyoming antelope tags and tried to get it done during archery season, but no luck there. Don't know what happened but it was either too cold or wet or something during horn growth period. Just like my Utah hunt, they saw lots of bucks but no real size to them. Went back over for a quick "search and destroy" and looked at over 150 bucks in two days; these were the best they found so they harvested and came home.

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Got a high wind warning and winter storm forecast for this evening, so the wife told to get my butt out in the desert and look for an antelope here in Idaho. Predator (Lisa) should be arriving in a couple days for her tag and fishing, so tried to get another on the ground. Found a nice herd with 5 bucks and 20 does in it, and managed to make a good stalk and successful shot. Very pretty horn shape! Love the extra challenge of muzzleloader hunting!!!

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Now I have to turn serious attention to the fishing on the South Fork, as browns are starting to stage for spawning, and we know how much Lisa loves to fish.
 

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Love the Fall seasons, as there is so much to see and do when you get the chance to get out. First tho, a little deer hunting humor! Have to love it when the farmers start to get into the season!

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Got Predator up for her muzzy antelope hunt, and the weather and animals cooperated once again. The farmers kept us hopping around from field to field with all the haying activities, but we managed to get the antelope to cooperate eventually. Good sized herds on the desert, properly placed and colored blind to keep from spooking them, and eventually the plan comes together. You'll notice from the attire in the pictures that she gets cold easily. I haven't figured out if she looks like the Michelin Man or the Pillsbury DoughBoy, with the ice fishing coveralls, but it works and keeps her in the blind! :)

Couple a target rich environment with a capable huntress, and present them at a reasonable range and it equals success again this year.

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Once we had everything taken care of back at the house, we celebrated with some home made dinners or pizza, and snuck away for a day of fishing. Some small browns and cut throats made volunteers of themselves, and she caught a really nice mackinaw that escaped from Palisades Reservoir thru the turbines, into the Snake River.

Little better picture of the two. has to be one of my favorite hunting partners. Who would have thought a non-resident moose hunt 17 years ago would turn out so well for us. Now a couple days to clean up guns and gear, switch everything around for new seasons and states, and we will be off again.

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Packing the truck with guns and gear right now for the trip over to Dubois for the 128 late hunt. Another whitetail tag in my pocket, and taking pictures of mule deer and sheep. With a few more tags to fill in both Idaho and Wyoming, we might just have to start updating this HAC weekly now. Just hoping the weather warms some, so I don't freeze to death.

My son has been working his tail off to try and get his girl friend an elk over in Wyoming. They tried all of September and had lots of opportunities at cows with a bow, but the bulls just wouldn't cooperate. Fast forward to October rifle season and real nasty elk hunting weather, and they got it all to come together. A few simple hikes, deeper and deeper into the mountains and canyons, and pretty soon they found the honey hole. There is great sharpshooter here, and the new Browning in 30 Nosler really put the smack down on this bull. She never avoided the hikes and work that came with it, and now realizes why people either love or hate elk hunting!!

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When two shoulders in a pack isn't enough, you shift into beast mode and throw another over the top!! Gonna change his nick name to "One Trip Wonder". I used to be able to run with these two sons, but not any more!!! There's a reason they go to the gym all the time. :)

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Just returned from Dubois Wyoming in Unit 128, and had a great time as usual. Met some new friends and saw a lot of my old ones again. The weather has been on and off for a few days, and coming thru Jackson Hole I don't think I have ever seen this much snow in October. No elk to see in the National Elk Refuge yet, but it won't be long now.

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The deer and sheep have made it to the wintering grounds after the general season closed. There seem to be the same amount as normal, so they apparently came thru the last winter in pretty good shape. Dubois must have lived up to its name as "Valley of Warm Winds". Saw some really nice four point bucks already, and expect it to just get better. Whitetail are much tougher to find and certainly hard to get pictures of, as they like that first and last 10 minutes of the day for sure. Here's a few bucks to look at.

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There are so many deer in all of the fields that you are almost in overload looking at them. I know how hard it has been to find them in Idaho and Utah, that this is an amazing sight. The first day I probably looked at 1000 deer, 50 bucks, and maybe 10 that would be shooters anywhere else. Saw a few whitetails, and only 3 small bucks. Sheep, antelope, and moose topped off the list.

One gentleman I met from out of state (back East) had finally drawn this tag, and was excited to hunt mulies. He had a grand plan to get in there super early, wade the river in the dark, and climb the mountain on the other side before daylight to be ready. I had to chuckle as his best laid plans were de-railed by a really nice big 4-point buck that literally walked by his truck in the parking lot and stayed there with his does until daylight!!! The hunting gods can be fickle sometimes; congrats to the lucky hunter on a really nice buck.

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The last morning, I switched to another area for whitetails and found a pretty good one. Got in to 100 yards, then the age old dilemma raised it ugly head. "Rifle or camera, rifle or camera"? The camera won out, but he sure did look good walking away. The more I whistled at him to turn around, the faster he walked. One last look going over the hill, and he was out of there. Did I make a mistake? Only time will tell, as the season is open until November 20th. :)

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The guy building the National Military Vehicle Museum is getting close, and the Grand Opening is scheduled for May 2020. He is starting to stage a lot more equipment there and even has an awesome jet!!

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Got a bunch of local tags to hunt here in Idaho, then company for a week, so no trip back to Wyoming until the 16th. Will spend the last five days of the season hunting and update buck pictures then. Good luck to everyone.
 

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Just got back from my final trip over to Dubois for the 128 Type 1 and 3 (whitetail) hunts. Weather has been amazing, and really hard to get excited about the rut with temp in the 60's. Lots of hopeful people out there tho, so just go with the flow and try your best. There were some nice deer seen and taken, from the first day up until the last hour of the last day. I heard a couple of the outfitters were hunting up in the high country trying to find bucks which hadn't even thought about migrating down yet. There were still nice bucks which hit the hayfields before the bull elk season even finished. I saw bucks in the 160-170 range that walked right by parked pickups in the glow of opening morning.

I helped a guy last night drag his buck out to the road. He had hunted for about a week and seen numerous "almost" shooters every day. By holding out he finished the season with a solid 30"+ buck, good forks and brows, and unique character devil tines all around the bases. An easy 180" mature buck. Saw a couple other bucks taken that had special character for the hunter. One not very wide, but massively heavy and a nice 10" drop tine off a beam. Here is an opening morning buck taken by a mid-West whitetail hunter, looks pretty great to him!! Towards the end of the season, they are rutting so many hours of the day that you can often sneak up on them sleeping in the bottoms, out of the wind. This one buck nearly had a heart attack, when I hit him with a stick!! :)

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The whitetail hunt was about average or maybe a little less, with no weather to make spotting them easy, and the rut greatly hampered by the warm temps. Some good ones were seen and a couple taken. The harvest reports say they average about 60% on WT bucks, so lots of 1-2 year olds are taken each year. I hunted Nov. 1-3, 15-17, and 19-20. Saw a lot and passed up 20 small bucks, but never saw a 10 point this year. Had a pretty scary issue with a 20 inch blood clot in my leg, which forced my back home to the emergency room and a doctor visit, but I survived the ordeal with no damage, and even got permission to go back the last two days, if I promised to take my wife, take it easy, and walk a lot!!! Does sugar help or hurt a blood clot???

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As for the mule deer hunters with the Type 1 tags, it was frustrating for them. Some came out for the opener, some skipped it and waited for weather to show up the last week, and some die hards just hunted the entire season. The lucky residents with tags hunted the first and last hour of the day, then went to work and talked about what they had seen or stories that got reported. Several of the normal fields had been plowed to bare dirt, and held no deer this year. A new center pivot irrigation system disrupted the staging of another area. A land swap between the Dept and a big ranch resulted in the loss of hundreds of acres of previously accessible property.

All in all, I saw some nice deer, a couple really nice deer, and 4 that would challenge any unit, anywhere in Wyoming. My buddy got his back from the hunt 3 years ago, and he is pretty darn happy with a 210" mule deer. There are still about 60 NR people with max points, putting in for this hunt with only 7-10 getting drawn each year. No guarantees when you draw, but the numbers and quality still appear to be good. I'm hoping to draw my Pauns tag next year with 23 points, and I hope it is even half as good as this.

Here is a really nice deer that we unfortunately lost. It was laying dead in the field, it wasn't there but a day or two, and appears to have been gored and suffered a fatal wound. I saw two taken better than this and a couple more that survived the season to breed again so it may have been one of them.

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My hunting partner still had an Idaho Whitetail tag left, so I took him up to a spot he had never hunted, drew a map and turned him loose this week while I was gone. This is the phone call and picture I got this morning from the guy. I think I would be bubbling over with a nice 10 point like that!

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I know a couple of you would be mad at me if I did not include a little ram porn. The super nice weather just has them hung ip in the badlands, and only about half as many are there as usual. Very little rutting activity yet, waiting for the bigger rams to show.

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The view coming back from Western Wyoming is always worth the trip. this is on Togwatee Pass about 8000 ft. elevation, and you can see there just isn't any winter yet. Sure are a lot of unhappy cow elk hunters in the Jackson area too.

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