2020-Should be a Very Good Year

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Brian: Thanks for the opportunity to share outdoor experiences again this year. 2020 should be a lot of fun. First, I will turn 70 during hunting season, and am still upright and doing what I love. Haven't drawn any tags yet, but I have high hopes in a couple more states, yet to draw. I missed out on Kansas last year, so with a preference point I should get a tag this year. I am always hoping for the mule deer upgrade too. That would be a muzzleloader hunt with the new CVA I got last year for my Bonanza Utah antelope hunt.

I got a new deer lease down in Texas this year, a lot closer to our friends place in Matagorda. Lots of opportunity to hunt, and fish out on the Bay for redfish and sea trout. Hasn't been hunted in about 10 years and backs up to a big State Park.
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Had hoped to get over to Namibia again this year, and see my friends and do a little hunting. It is the most rain they have had in years and the country is absolutely incredible. This stupid pandemic and travel issue has all that on hold for at least a year. No one knows what the new "normal" will be in the future.
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Here in Idaho I am blessed to be able to hunt OTC deer and elk, so those are a given. Just put in my controlled hunt applications tho, 'cause I would really like to hunt some late hunts with my wife this year.

My oldest son and his partner got to go up to North Idaho and have some turkey success. Great photo and video work, and she was able to finish her turkey slam.
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That sums up this early season start to the year. A little bear hunting, fishing trip to Montana's Madison River next month, and fingers crossed for lucky draws.
 

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Funny how timing is everything, and makes or breaks your attitude and day. Sitting here moping, and watching it snow on Memorial weekend, wishing I was up in the woods bear hunting.
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Then, I decided it might be too wet and ugly.
My phone dings and my hunting partner from Texas sends me a pic from fishing trip in Matagorda. Four person limits of redfish, and some really nice trout. Temps in the 90's already and water was perfect.
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Now I AM depressed. What next???

Phone dings again, and it is an email from Kansas Wildlife and I drew my Unit 1&2 muzzleloader whitetail tag. Now we're talking! Things are looking up again!! Great excuse for a road trip to the land of giants.
 

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Man, where have the last six weeks gone to? Hard to believe that summer is almost half over. So many things still to do. There was a thread about all the things we have been putting off, and how are we gonna catch up? I guess I need to start in a hurry.

The kids were able to get back up to Northern Idaho and take another turkey. We had a great Flag Day here in town, and celebrated all of our freedoms with displays, parades, and general good camaraderie and family togetherness at BBQ's. Some good friends came up from Arizona and we took them around sightseeing and fishing. The trout fly hatch on the Henry's Fork of the Snake was one of the best in years.

I learned one of those "Life Lessons", that no matter how good it sounds, DO NOT microwave a hard boiled egg!! :)

My sister and BIL have been restoring their antique ChrisCraft boat and original motor to display at shows back East, and one of the things she decided to do was restore my Dad's old metal fishing tackle box, and all of the 40's and 50's lures he and my Mom used back in the day. Great job Toots!!

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Catching up in between tasks around the house today. Cleaning up from camping trips is always one of the dreaded things waiting when you return. Scouted a little for local hunts here in Idaho. When the weather is warm and sunny, you sure need to watch where you walk. Mister "No Shoulders" was out, but didn't get me. Got to spend 2 weeks up in Montana on the Madison River in June and over the holiday weekend.

The mountain goats were all over and quite accommodating for pictures. There were some singles, but most were family groups The herd numbers are up there, and one group of eight had Mom's, babies, one yr olds, and a couple two yr olds. No bears this year in the campground (which was good), and the only ones we saw were in Yellowstone on a drive.

We take the UTV with us and like to ride all over the mountain roads, and got a couple hundred miles in this time also. Last year we found a very neat grave site, so decided to check it out again. There were amazing displays of flowers, and the love for this man is evident. He must have been one heck of a Dad!

Had our usual cold rainy weather early, and even two days of snow up high. Cleared up and was really nice for all the celebrations. There were a lot of NR fishermen enjoying the trout fly hatch, and got to meet some neat new friends.

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The Holiday routine was pretty similar as last time for us. Lots of social hours, too much food and drink. Just for that one meal we had Ahi tuna, Mahi Mahi, beef filets, tri-tips, jalapeño poppers, and every side imaginable. We all had great times around the camp fires, and the Grizzly Bar across the river does an amazing fireworks display every year. I may have found my new favorite drink at the Driftwaters Bar and Grill (have to try their Bloody Mary Monday special). The full moon over the mountains just added to their majesty, and made them look even more spectacular. Finally, we got to hear from my grand-daughter, who is serving far far away, in the Land of Sand. She and her besties were rocking it for the Fourth, up on top of their A-10 with the American Flag. :)

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Now back to the fun stuff, and hunting news. Have been hearing from the various States and draws. There were some expected results, and also a couple unexpected ones too. I now have ELEVEN whitetail tags, in Idaho, Wyoming, Kansas, and Texas. Guess I'll be feeding the kids and grandkids deer meat and jerky this year. :)

If anyone drew some awesome tags in areas I have hunted or written about, please feel free to contact me for any info I can help with. I know some of you are in for amazing hunts this year.
 

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My apologies for disappearing for so long. So many hunting trips and opportunities this Fall, and I decided since it was a milestone year ( I turned 70), I would go big or not at all. The kids are gone and don't need the meat, so must of those doe tags would go unfilled and save a few for next year.

The Covid situation has really put a damper on traveling and visiting with friends this year. The mother-in-law got locked down early in the senior living center, and it has been especially tough on her with the isolation. The weather was really nice tho, so I spent a lot of time riding around in my MGA all summer.
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My son with the Craig Hotshots found it especially challenging with all the terrible fires all season, between having to have an emergency plan and protocols for dealing with the virus. Trying to maintain maximum availability was tough, but they stayed as a full crew and got it done.
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My friends in Montana had an amazing elk hunt during the archery season, and proved once again that the harder you work, the luckier you get!
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We were able to go over to Dubois for some early season scouting for whitetails, and I found a bunch of small bucks but also two definite shooters. Hope I can find them in November. It was a good excuse to take the RV, UTV, and wife for a vacation tho,
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Here at home in Idaho, I had an elk tag for a different zone than usual, so didn't hunt the general, but the son and grand-daughter had a great hunt and pack out together with a nice 6x6 bull
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It was during this time period that our much anticipated deer lease in Texas was unraveling, and ended up being a lot of problems with the owner, and a total cancellation. So much for that opportunity, but at least we didn't lose any money buying an expensive license beforehand! Since he had killed a cow elk in archery season, he had time to go to the Hill Country with friends and took a beautiful exotic sheep and have a good time. The came back home and was able to get back out to my area and take a nice muzzy antelope.
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While I was in Wyoming, a nice lady called me from AZGF, and said I was next in line for a turn-in tag for 12B-West early season. Wanted to know if I wanted the tag. It is a bad year for drought, and fires in the area, but you can't score if you don't go! I told her I'd take it and asked when the hunt was. She laughed and said in 3 days! :). She sent me the tag by FedEx, and I zoomed down to Kanab for 6 days. I was able to locate and pass up 30 bucks, but only saw one shooter in that entire period. Between early morning darkness, and lots of does milling around, I chose to pass. Couldn't get the shot off safely and he never cleared. I did have a lot of fun checking waterholes, and being a movie star on everybody's trail camera. What a joke. In talking to the local ranchers, seem that the hot weather and extreme drought had even held up the Pains deer in the mid-range, and they weren't available along the state line either. Oh Well, always next year.
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When I got back, I just had time to unpack warm weather gear, and load up cold weather stuff for the Wyoming Nov. deer opener. Was able to help a couple of our MM friends look for some deer on their 128-1 buck tags. Found a lot of immature 4 and 6-point bucks, but my shooters from a month before had disappeared. Got the opportunity to see some more mule deer bucks and a beautiful moose, and had to head home for a family issue. Crap! Oh, while I was there my friend was able to close the deal on a gorgeous Idaho ram he had waited 30 years to draw. Congrats!!!
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The wife was extremely worried about a bad winter storm that was coming in, so we left for Lake Havasu much earlier than planned, and the bad weather and wind followed us down. Not often that it is 40-60 degrees there, and waves almost big enough to surf!! Decided if it was gonna be crappy, we would just keep on going and head to Texas for some warm redfish on the Gulf and Matagorda Bay. That turned out to be exceptional every day!
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After 3-4 weeks on the road, we were ready to head home. Back to Havasu for a couple days, had to winterize the RV as it was 0-10 degrees at home, and look forward to the last couple seasons that were open already, and close to closing soon.
 

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My buddy was able to get a break in the weather, and get out to punch his tag on a late-season Idaho mule deer. I had to go to Colorado to give the youngest son and daughter-in-law a helping hand on some house remodels, which was cut abruptly short. One of my best friend's and hunting partner of 40 years died unexpectedly, and I had to return for funeral services. Sometimes, life just sucks. :( There were 3 days left in my Kansas deer season (I thought that was a total loss) so I threw the muzzleloader in the truck and drove ahead of the storm to get to western KS. It was a heck of a lot of fun, and passed 6 small bucks in the 3 days, but the weather and wind was horrible and pretty much kept the deer bedded down the entire time. When the last of the corn is cut, the rut's over, and there's no trees they just seem to disappear!!
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This has been one of the most frustrating and disappointing hunting seasons of my experience. From awesome highs, to terrible lows, having friends and relatives get sick with the virus, some dying, and many totally recovering, it's been weird.

The upside right now is promising tho. Idaho F&G sent me a post card in mid-December, letting me know I had drawn a 2021 winter-range cow elk hunt for Jan 1st-Feb 15th. I guess if I'm to salvage any of my season, I should get real mad at them and go get some elk steaks. I'll be sure to let you know how that goes.
 

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