BCBOY's 2011 Family Adventures

BCBOY

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With the 2011 British Columbia Limited Entry draws finally complete, I figure I should document what should turn out to be an incredible season for the Dana clan. The last few years I've shared my family's success' here on MM and many of you already know the passion I have when it comes to raising my kids in the outdoor heritage. While I am a trophy muley addict, that addiction takes the backseat to hunting with my family. I've been fortunate to have killed some smoker bucks over the years and I cherish the memories of those hunts, but....those are nothing compared to the memories I have from the countless trips I have had with my family as we share a passion for the outdoors. This is what it is all about for me.

Our 2011 season is already well under way. Last spring, my 15 year old son, Cody, had to sit on his hands as we spent the vast majority of the season trying to get his younger sister her first bear. So with no bears for Cody last year, this spring he just wanted to get out hunting and shoot any respectable bear for his first 2011 bear. British Columbia has a 2 black bear yearly baglimit, so Cody could hold out for a big bear with his second tag. The spring melt was long overdue this year, with winter dragging on and on. Bears came out of the dens late and had very little green to eat. While the season starts on April 1st, we didn't start seeing bears in any numbers until mid- May. After passing on several smaller bears, Cody decided to take this bear. With one shot from his Model 99 300 Savage at about 75 yards, the bear didn't go more than 20 yards. We call these bald faced bears 'Monkey Bears'. I don't know what causes them to have no hair on their face, maybe from rubbing in the den, but they are pretty cool looking. Turns out this is Cody's second monkey bear, as he shot one in '08 that was 7 foot ol' Warrior.
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Here Cody is packing the deboned bear out.
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The next weekend both the kids were away, so I decided to go out bear hunting by myself. It felt really strange hunting bears on my own as I've been so focused on my kids for the last several years. Things were starting to green up and after passing on several bears, I decided to stalk this bear to have a closer look. When I first spotted the bear, it was feeding at about 300 yards. I slowly closed the gap to under 40 yards, moving only when it had its head down feeding. I could tell the bear had a limp but I never would have guessed it was missing a front foot. The injury was old and well healed over, even had hair on the underside. There was a stump instead of a foot. Figure the name 'Stumpy' suits this bear. I love spot and stalk bear hunting because it is so much fun closing the distance and seeing how close you can get.
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Here's a close up of the stump.
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The following weekend it was my 13 year old daughter, Jesse's turn. She too just wanted to shoot a respectable bear for her first bear of 2011 and was willing to hold out for a bigger bear for her second. Throughout the weekend she passed on several smaller bears. On the Sunday afternoon we found this bear chowing down on a nice green landing and decided put the stalk on. We crawled to within 20 yards with the bear feeding contentedly unaware of our presence. One shot from her Model 99 300 Savage and the bear dropped.
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Jesse has no problem getting to work and helping with the skinning.
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With spring bear season winding down, I have seen well over 150 different bears and a bunch of other spring critters as well. Here are some pictures I was able to capture of this spring's adventures.
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BCBOY

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With a ton of options under GOS here in BC, the Limited Entry draws are just a bonus. Where I live the south central part of the province, the only GOS on moose is a month long spike/fork season. Meaning you can only shoot a bull that is a spike or fork on one side. This targets the yearling bulls and a vast majority of them are bigger than a spike/fork in their 1st year of antler growth. Sooo, the spike/fork GOS is a tough tough hunt. I've only ever killed 2 spike/fork bulls in almost 20 years of hunting them. So with this in mind, we put in for Any Bull LEH's yearly. This year we hit paydirt in the moose draws. Both my daughter and my son drew individual Oct bull moose tags for the same unit my mom and dad drew a shared bull tag. Only 6 tags are handed out for this unit and we drew 3 of those 6 tags. I had that draw in 09. In BC when you are lucky in the moose draw, you are then put on decreased odds for the 3 years following. So still on decreased odds, I put in for a low odds late hunt in another unit this year. I drew it. As did 2 of my hunting partners. So with 6 moose tags, we should see a few bulls hitting the ground.

The unit my kids and my parents drew has a good population of moose, but it is very tough ground. Steep and thick. I've spent close to 20 years doing forestry work in the unit and I know it very very well. As a rut hunt, they'll have an advantage since we should be able to call bulls out of the thick stuff. Being a southern BC unit, the size of the Canada moose are smaller than what the northern part of the province produces, but every year I see a few bigger bulls that are exceptional for southern Canadas. Here are a couple of pics of one of those bigger bulls. I took these during the fall of 09 right before the season opener. Had a close call with him during the hunt as well. It would be awesome if we could find this bull again and seal the deal on him. But....moose meat is amazing table fair and it fills the freezer fast. Our family really depends on wild game to seriously suplement our grocery budget, so any bull with bone will do. We don't care if it is a spike or a bull of this size. Regardless, having fun with the family will be our #1 goal. Watching the kids harvest their first moose would be a real treat.
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The unit I drew is an easy unit to draw but a tough tough unit to kill a bull in. There is very low access and the vast majority of the moose live in the high country and don't come down low until the snow is belly deep or deeper. I've had 2 tags for this unit in the past. Both times I didn't have the nasty weather that is needed to make this bulls move. With my tag being a late tag, hopefully we'll see some serious weather this year. If the kids fill their moose tags in Oct, I'll probably trophy hunt during my hunt. There is one bull in particular I would love to find. My buddy picked up a brown shed off of him last year. I was fortunate to find the white match this spring. The bull is old but there is a good chance he still is alive. His 09/10 set is 60 inches wide and would score darn close to 200 inches. An absolute giant southern Canada. Here are some pics of his sheds.

This spring's find, white ATL.
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The brown match from last year.
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BCBOY

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Here in BC, mule deer bucks are entirely OTC GOS. We have the privilege of hunting muleys for over 3 solid months. The youth season starts on Sept 1st. I'm really hoping to get the kids on some decent bucks that first weekend. I'm getting a little anxious to get up into the highcountry and start scouting for early season muleys. Currently, the highcountry is still getting snow. We are having one of the coldest and wettest summers on record. Rain, rain and more rain and I've never seen so much veg growth. My expectation is, given this wet year, a lot of bucks won't even bother to head high this summer. This will make scouting really difficult as the bucks will stay low key and hang out in the heavy timber. My only hope is, as the summer progresses, the bugs will push the bucks up high. This is one of the worst bug years on record and in past bug years I've found the big boys seek out the wind in the highcountry to find peace and solitude from their hungry tormentors. The last few years my summer scouting has been dismal, but we've found success in the late season regardless. I personally love the late season, the snow, the cold and the rut. I'll focus on getting the kids deer and moose for the months of September and October, but November and December I'll focus on big ol' muleys for myself. I'm really excited about the 2011 late season. 2010 was very dismal in the early season, but was spectacular for us during the late season. Our group saw 3 big bucks drop in 1 week with the biggest being a 195 gross, 189 5/8 official net typical. We saw several monsters before the end of the season and located several more post season this winter. I sure wish I could have found some of these buck's sheds, but the brown tine eluded me this spring. I'm sure I will find them next spring chewed to pieces by the rodents. Here are some pics I was able to get of a few of the bucks I saw this winter. I expect exceptional antler growth this summer with how wet it is. Some of these bucks will be on our target list this fall.

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This buck we call 'Broken Buck'. We've watched him for the past 4 years and he's always broke up. Must be a real scrapper. He's got some great character. These pics really don't do him any justice.

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While the fresh brown sheds alluded me this year, I did find some sweet deadheads. In January we were travelling to work and had a big tom lion cross the road in front of us. I bailed out and ran after him and bayed like a hound. I almost treed the tom on my own, as he started up a big fir and then changed his mind. The next morning, I took the day off of work and had my hound with me. The tom had made another move over night and I had my hound on lead trying to freshen up the track. Then suddenly chaos, as we jumped a pack of six wolves from their beds. I was thankful I hadn't turned out yet as the hound would have been ripped to pieces by the wolves. With no way of sorting out the tracks between the lion and the wolves, I figured all hope was lost at treein' the tom. I could here a bunch of ravens squawking and I knew something must be dead in the area. The shed hunter in me went on the search to see what it was. Turned out to be a real nice 6 point bull elk. The wolves had stole it from the lion that night.

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In the spring I went back to the same area and found this deadhead muley only a few hundred metres from where the elk was. It was just under a cliff face that I had cut the tom's tracks on.
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BCBOY

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This summer has certainly been one for the record books. While the rest of the continent has been experiencing drought from an all out scorcher, British Columbia has seen one of the wettest summers in recorded history! We've had rain practically everyday. Not just showers, but all out downpours! And the bugs, OH MY GOD! Absolutely insane!

I've been seeing lots of game this summer, especially going to and from my various forestry job sites. Haven't been fortunate to capture any decent wildlife pics though. I haven't hit the highcountry yet, as the snow is pretty much only gone from the south faces.

This weekend, I did a coyote backpack trip into some lower backcountry. Was hoping to see a few big boys hanging low. No such luck. All I saw was a lone doe and a decent black bear. Was a good grind in and out and got absolutely chewed on by hoards of mosquitos, black flies and noseeems. All in all another great BC Day weekend. :) Here's some pics.

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BCBOY

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In August I made a few more scouting trips but never did see any monster muleys lurkin about. Did locate some young bucks that would be perfect for the kids though. Here are some pics from the rest of my summer scouting.
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BCBOY

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Finally opening weekend of the early youth deer season has arrived. On Saturday morning we decided to hunt very close to home and hit some ground that has been very good to the Dana clan in the past.

As the sun was rising, I spotted what I thought was a range cow. I was shocked when I put my binos on it to see it was a very very large bear. And not a black bear, it was a grizzly. In almost 20 years of living here, this is closet I've ever seen a grizz from my house. As the crow flys, this is only a hop, skip and jump from my backdoor. While I rushed to get my spotter set up, Jesse watched the bear move down into a patch of thick alder. He never came out of it to give me the oportunity to take his pics through the spotter. I hope I can see him again this fall with camera in hand so I can document him.

Only about 10 minutes after we gave up on seeing the grizz again, we spotted a group of 4 young muley bucks. The distance was too far for a shot so we decided to creap closer. As we stalked, we lost sight of them and I wasn't sure if the bucks had dropped over a ridge or if they were in some thick brush right in front of us. Turned out they were right in front of us and they were onto us once we got about 25 yards from them. As they were moving for the ridge I tried to get Jesse on them. She was having a hard time getting a solid view of vitals through the brush, so she held off pulling the trigger. Cody said he had one clear so I told him to take it. He made a perfect shot and the buck didn't go more than 20 yards. A couple of the other bucks hestitated after the shot but Jesse still had no clear shooting lane of vitals before they walked off. Almost a double header but that's hunting for ya. Cody's buck couldn't have come at a better time as the freezer is pretty much empty. Now we can spend the rest of the muley season focusing on Jesse.

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Cody packin out his buck in his Eberlestock J105. Cody did the gutless method on the buck with his dad giving him pointers along the way.

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That evening we went back to the same area hoping we could find the other 3 bucks again. As we started glassing for them a bunch of wolves started howling above us and below us. We howled back to them hoping we could draw them closer and possibly get a shot a them. Sounded like the ones above us were younger, possibly pups. When we started howling, they stopped. There were 2 mature sounding wolves under us and they answered our howls repeatedly. They just never came into view. With a pack working the area, we figure the bucks probably hit the heavier timber to hide.

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The rest of the weekend was pretty non eventful. We did see a couple of black bears, one of which Jesse and I put a stalk on. The bear ended up winding us and bailed. Here are some more pics from opening weekend.

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BCBOY

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Here's some more pictures from our family hunting adventures this past month.
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BCBOY

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While this next story isn't from my hunting adventures, I figured it fits well into this thread.

On friday I had a very very close encounter with a large cougar while I was doing forestry work. I was measuring the diameters of some trees in my recce plot and turned around to find a big tom crouched less than 10 yards from me and ready to pounce. I raised my arms and started yelling at him and he didn't shy away but rather made a movement closer. You know how a house cat pats the ground and twitches his tail before he pounces on a mouse? Well that is exactly what this tom was doing towards me. He was looking at me as if I was food!!! I've seen this same look before in a few bear encounters that I've had in the past. Yelling didn't seem to snap him out of that look. I had to get aggressive and charge him while I yelled. I almost treed him but he chose to run away instead. I called my work partner on the two way radio and told him we better get out of the area now. I then started working my way back towards the truck. I was making lots of noise and watching my backtrail constantly. I stopped several times to listen for any snapping twigs behind me. About 200 yards from the first encounter I glanced behind me to see nothing but I did a quick second glance and there was the big tom only 5 yards away. I yelled at him and waved my arms but to no avail. He was staring at me just waiting for me to run. I instead ran towards him and bayed like a hound and that got his attention. I chased after him for a good 50 yards with him high tailing it out of there. I then worked the opposite dirrection back to the truck, baying as I went. This isn't what I would call normal activity of a mature lion. This kind of behavior is what you would expect from juvinelles. This tom was 150+ pounds and 7 foot plus in length. Having a good look at his face he wasn't ripped up with scars and didn't have torn ears so I'd estimate him to be about a 4 year old. Needless to say my partner and I vacated the area and went to another block to work several kms away. The photographer in me wishes I would have had a camera in my cruiser's vest. Being so close to a beautiful tom like that would have made for a great photo shoot. Then they would have at least known what killed me when they found my body. :)
 

BCBOY

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We've given it a real good go when it comes to my son's and daughter's moose hunt. We just can't seem to find a moose. This is the peak of the rut and they just ain't moving nor are they responding to calling. I'm beginning to think that the moose numbers are really down in this unit. I recall in the past seeing as many a 17 different bulls in this unit during Oct and countless cows and calves. But now we can't even turn up a sighting or even hear one talking. I had this same draw in 2009 and only saw the one bull that I posted pics in an above post. I thought it was just an off year that year and was hoping for much better hunting conditions this year, but the reality is starting to hit home. This unit is home to a small herd of mountain caribou. Mountain caribou have been really struggling and are actually on the verge of extinction in the southern part of the province. The Ministry of Environment came up with a Mountain Caribou Recovery Strategy a few years back in a effort to save the caribou. Part of this strategy was to drop the number in the moose herd in an effort to get the wolves to move on to greener pastures so to speak. They figure if there is less for the wolves to eat when it comes to moose, then maybe they won't eat the remaining caribou and will start hunting deer to the south. They have handed out significantly higher bull moose tags in the area the last few years and a significant number of cow moose tags for the adjacent units. After having poor hunting conditions in 2009 and now in 2011, I think the Ministry is acheiving their goals. I don't think I'll be putting the family in for this draw again in the near future. I think we'll focus on deer for the rest of the month and hope that I will have better moose success in my late draw unit.

While the moose hunting has been dismal, the kids did get a double header on fall bears yesterday, harvesting their second bears of the year.

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Here are some more pics from the Canadian Thanksgiving Weekend.
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Callin for moose
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Having a lunch break
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Gotta love smores.
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The wolves are still hanging around.
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As is a fairly large grizz. Don't know if I've ever seen a berry pile as big as this one. :)
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A family photo in the mountains.
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BCBOY

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Figure I should tell a little about the kid's 2011 Fall Black Bears. Cody had shot his bear in the morning further back in the drainage. After calling for moose up a side drainage (the one the grizzly berry pile was in) we came out to go up the main drainge when we saw his bear. Cody had his Ipod earphones in and we had to yell at him to see if he wanted the bear. When he saw it, he imediately decided it was good enough for his second bear of the year. The boar was 50 yards away moving through a cutblock. It was blocked by brush but when it finally cleared, he hammered it with his Model 99 300 Savage.

Here is a bit of footage of Jesse's 2011 Fall Bear. The area was recently hydro grass seeded this past spring and with all the moisture we've had this year, the grass is already tall and thick. The bears are hitting it hard. As we were coming out that evening, I timed it so we would be on the grass seeded section close to last light. We saw 3 different bears in a matter of minutes. This one didn't see us and we were able to crawl in nice and close with the bear unaware. The grass was so tall I found it hard to judge the size. Jesse didn't want to shoot a runt and I assured her that the face and ears were that of a mature bear. With the bears close to denning up and time pretty much running out for much more of the fall season, she decided that this one would do for her second bear of the year. One shot with her Model 99 300 Savage and the bear tumbled down the hill. Cody panned the video back to Jesse just as she shot but still a good little video regardless of missing the killshot. :)

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BCBOY

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Here are some pics of this past week. Not much for big game spotted but the kids did get some spruce grouse.
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I've heard many a wive's tale that sprucy's don't taste very good. I guess those people have never had deep fried popcorn grouse before. One of our family's favorite fall meals.
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Here are some Indian Pictographs that we encountered. As far as I can tell they are of hunters/fishermen, deer and salmon.
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In another area we were in, Jesse was able to find this fossil.
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Some October scenery.
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And again we ran into more signs of wolves.
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BCBOY

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Well I'm finally starting to see some moose. Not in the unit that the kid's have drawn, but in an area that is general season on spike/fork bulls or what we like to call 'immys'. I've seen 6 cows and 1 calf in the last couple days of work. One of the advantages of forestry is I can hunt while I work. While I wasn't able to grow spikes on the cows, it definately did the heart good seeing some moose. My work partner and I did happen to see 2 immys on a hanging pole in one camp. We stopped in and talked to the old timers that happened to shoot them that morning. These guys had to be in their 70's. They dropped the 2 ellusive immys side by side, twin bulls still hanging out together. One of the ol' timers said these 2 bulls made it number 59 and number 60 for the amount of bulls he has been in on during his lifetime. IMO that right there is pretty darn impressive. We congratulated them on their success and then went on with our work day. Here are some pics from the last few days at work.
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BCBOY

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Today, Jesse and I went out looking for deer. It currently is a General open season on whitetail does and we were hoping to find some. In the area we live they aren't plentiful but if you know where to look you can find them in pockets. We spent all morning covering some public ground behind private. Seemed they didn't want to come off that private as we saw 3 does feeding on the edge of one field. Oh well, that's hunting.
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Here are some more pics from our day.

Jesse found this 4 point muley shed when she was retrieving her ruffies.
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Saw lots of bear tracks in the stand of aspen we were hunting. ;)
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A moose shed I found a couple years ago and hung in a tree. Amazing how fast they turn green.
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Looking down on where I live.
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Tonight's sunset
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BCBOY

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Here are some tracks that I betcha the vast majority of MMer's don't see too often. Jumped a wolverine while I was working last week. He didn't stick around long enough to get his picture taken but I did get some pics of his tracks. Hard to tell from the pics but the front pads look like a wolf track and the rear pads look like a small bear track. Cool creatures. I've had the pleasure of seeing a fair amount of them over the years while doing forestry work. They never seem to let me take their pics though. They are one critter still on my photography bucket list.
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Here are some more pics from work last week.
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BCBOY

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This weekend was the last kick at the can for the kid's moose tags. Cody decided to take the weekend off so it was just Jesse and me. We gave er a valiant effort but didn't turn up a moose. If fact, we didn't even turn up a moose track. Even though this is a low odds draw, it still is a little disheartening to see this unit at its top and now at its low. Over the years between family and friends we have taken several bulls in this unit. The one thing I have learned though is good spots are never good forever and things change. Could be a combination of events that have caused there to be a lack of moose in this unit. Higher tag numbers, high wolf numbers, lack of logging in this unit and yet a vast increase of logging in the units to the south due to mountain pine beetle salvage. There is no doubt though, the moose numbers aren't there for me to put in for that draw again any time in the near future.

Regardless of the lack of moose, Jesse and I still had a great day together in the mountains. Here are some pics of the day.
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BCBOY

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In the afternoon we headed to the north end of the unit to check some lower elevation meadows.
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Then we ventured further north into another unit for an evening whitetail hunt. Only whiteys we saw were right in town. Ain't that the way it always works. Pulled out of the gas station and had to stop in the middle of the highway to let 2 whitetails cross. :)

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Saw this fellow sittin' in a tree over looking a nice creek.
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This is what he was there for. The creek was full of spawning Kokannee.
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The sound of honkin' in the air always sends chills down my spine as I know the late season is almost upon us.
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Another ruffie for Jesse. Can't wait for yet another deepfried meal.
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The first snowfall has cleaned all the leaves out the trees. It is now turning the corner to my favorite time of hunting season. The muley rut is almost upon us.
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BCBOY

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It might be a good time to now give a little history on the unit my kid's had their moose draw. My wife's great grandparents homesteaded the area. Her grandmother was raised in a logging camp just off the lake in the early morning pics in the above post. Here she is as a child.
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Grandma told me that growing up in this area they survived on caribou meat. Then came the forest fires of the late 20's and 30's all over the southern end of the province. She said that in a matter of a few years, their diet changed from caribou to moose. You see, moose were never known to be south of Prince George until those fires. The smell of all that new growth caused the moose to travel following their noses like a hound. One fire in this area happened in 1926. Then in 1928 the first moose was sighted. The local First Nation had no name for moose in their language. When they had their first sighting, they thought it was the Devil. As the moose moved in and flurished, so did the wolves. This hit the caribou hard as the wolves found the caribou an easier prey target. The forests changed from the Old Growth that the caribou depended on, to new growth post fire. The vast herds declined and declined to currently there are less than 200 mountain caribou in this area which is unsustainable in an area so vast and large. The Ministry of Environment is trying to get them back to a more sustainable number. The biggest problem to doing that is predation. We have high wolf numbers but an wolf cull is out of the question given the eco-freak granola cruncher mindset of the people of Vancouver, who are the voting majority. Any politician that would approve of a wolf cull would be commiting political suicide. So instead, they came up with a plan to cut the moose population so that the wolves won't have so much to eat, thus then moving on. And that is one of the reasons the moose numbers are down in this unit. Another reason in my opinion goes right back to why they came here in the first place. The fires are now long overgrown and because of the protection of the caribou, vast areas are now off limits to new logging. Logging is like a burn to a moose. Lots of fresh new veg that moose love. In many units to the south, the mountain pine beetle has devastated the forests and we are salvage logging those stands with large clearcuts which act like a burn attracting the moose. I believe the moose have moved on. Nature changes. It reacts to new conditions. My childern's great great grandparents experienced this when the moose first showed up. Now we are experiencing the end of that era.
I posted a picture of a snowy moose meadow in an above post. This meadow was a favorite moose hunting spot for my kid's great great grandfather. It was while hunting moose in this meadow that he actually passed on.

Here he is in his early years.
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And here is the moose meadow he loved to hunt.
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BCBOY

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After several close calls on bucks this fall, this morning was our first opportunity to hunt for Jesse's Limited Entry Mule Deer Doe, which opened on Nov 1st. Less than 1 hour into the morning, we came upon a doe that initially gave us the slip. We worked the direction she went and I 'burped' like a buck because the frosty morning had the conditions very noisy in the timber. It was 'snap, crackle, and pop' as we walked. We peeked through some fir trees and there the doe was, about 50 yards away, standing with a couple more deer bedded around her. I got the shooting sticks set up and Jesse took aim with her Model 99 300 Savage and squeezed the trigger. Jesse made a great shot, taking out lungs and opposite shoulder. The doe dropped on the spot. This is Jesse's first deer and she is very very happy with it. Nothing beats the feeling you get as you watch your kids harvest their first critters. I will cherish today's hunt for the rest of my life.
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I did the gutless method and packed the quarters in the Mystery Ranch pack.
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BCBOY

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Fresh venison on the barbeque after yesterday's success. Yummmm!
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We figured we needed to include a picture of the only bull moose we saw thus far this season. This is Jerry The Moose. He lives in our little town.
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I went out today hoping I might be able to fill my Limited Entry Mule Deer doe tag as well. It was a very frosty morning at -10 degrees celcius. The bush was very very noisy and it is no wonder I didn't see a deer. Here are some pictures from today's adventure.
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A moose rub from last winter. Was hoping there would be a shed under it but no such luck.
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BCBOY

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I've had numerous MMer's over the years ask me about what I call rakin' and burpin'. Here's a video clip of what I do to call in muleys during the rut. This method has been very effective for me over the years while I still hunt through the timber. If I bump up deer I'll burp and calm them right down. If I have really noisy conditions, ie cruchy snow or frosty leaves, I burp as I walk to make myself sound like a big buck on the prowl for does. If I jump a big buck and he bails on me, I'll grab my rakin' antler and beat brush and a lot of times it turns them on a dime and they come with ears pinned back ready for a fight. This gives me an opportunity to field judge a little longer than the usual 2 second glance. A larger antler is definately a must. It has a bulkier sound to it than a little antler. A big buck could care less about a little rat buck beatin' trees, but he really gets worked up if he thinks you are another dominate buck.

http://www.monsterhuntclips.com/video/1684/Rakin-and-Burpin-Demo
 

BCBOY

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Most store bought man-made scents only seem to work as cover up scents when it comes to hunting during the muley rut. And it can be a challenge finding a scent formulated for mule deer as they all seem to be whitetail focused. Here's what I do to get the Real Thing. Find where a doe has urinated and knee down and rub your pant legs in it. Some might call me a little twisted but it really works to crawl up on the big boys, especially when combined with rakin' and burpin'. Too bad Monster Hunt Clips didn't have smell-o-vision. ;)

http://www.monsterhuntclips.com/video/1685/The-Real-Thing
 

BCBOY

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I took the opportunity to fill my Limited Entry Mule Deer doe tag on this nice sized doe.
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BCBOY

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Here's my 2011 dinky dog rat deer. Just doing my part to help out the muleys and try to keep the whitey invasion at bay. Killed this buck on the way to work with the boss. 5 minutes later it was in the truck and we carried on to work. Gotta love getting paid to hunt. ;) This little guy should taste delicious too.
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BCBOY

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With deer season 2011 wrapped up, I now have some time to post up more pics of my adventures from the late season.

Here's some pics from yesterday morning. Deer season ended on Saturday and I was tired of playing in snow so I figured I put the hiking boots on and do a photo tour an hour and half south. Had a good time and saw 30 California Bighorn Rams.

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BCBOY

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The late muley season was a little quiet this year. We had a full moon on Nov 10th and a full moon on Dec 10th. Traditionally Nov 10th is the start of the rut up here. With bright skies at night it means most of the serious rutting action is nocturnal. Did see sparatic rutting action throughout much of the end of the season, but not the intense rutting action that really can draw the big boys out of the woodwork. The biggest buck I saw during the rut was a big 3 point mainframe buck with huge droppers on both sides. We glassed him up chasing a doe in the fading shooting light one evening. Even though this buck would have scored worth crap, he was a definate shooter in my mind. The droppers were the kind that most dream about. Heavy, long and big balls on the ends. Given where we saw him, I'm pretty sure we had some serious history with this particular buck as well. I picked up a set of sheds in 2008 from a young dropper buck with a ton of potential. Then one my hunting partners filmed a big dropper buck on the second last day of the season in 2009. We tried in vain to locate him again on the last day that year. Then in 2010 another hunting partner was tracking a big hawg track and caught a glimpse of the buck making the track, a big ol' double dropper. So I'm pretty sure this 3 point mainframe double dropper is the same buck, just showing serious signs of getting old. After watching him in the last light, I was hoping we would find him in the morning. The next morning the does were still there and a few other 4 points that needed a closer look. I decided I needed to climb that mountain and get in there and see what I could get close to. I soon found out those deer picked a good spot to hang out in. Dense birch and aspen on about a 90% slope with cliff bands all around them. With the snow on frozen soils, it was a crazy hike slippin' and sliddin', making a ton of noise just trying to keep my feet on the ground. Numerous falls where I slid down on my a$$ too. Needless to say, the deer had me pegged. :)

Here are the sheds I found in 2008. Hope I can pick up a few more sets off this buck.

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I was hoping for more snow in Dec to push some of the bigger bucks down lower. But the snows never came. In fact it's been a good month since we had any new snow. That makes for some crunchy or should I say squeeky snow conditions when the cold clear nights of another full moon comes in. Had some fun stalking a few decent bucks, but never did see an absolute gagger that I was hoping to see. Here are some pics from the late muley season.

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A cougar killed yearling doe I found. I cut 5 different lion tracks in this area, one female with 2 small kits and 1 female with 2 subs and 1 big tom.
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Here is a buck my buddy killed and I helped with the pack out.
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BCBOY

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I had mentioned in an earlier post that my two buddies and I drew late season moose tags. While the early season was a bust with my kid's moose hunt, our late hunt was quite the opposite. We went 3 for 3. We had a unbelievably fun time hunting and put some serious meat in our freezers. Backpackin' moose out of the bush on your backs isn't too bad when you have lots of help from friends that love to have fun.

Harley's bull
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My son, Cody, packin' out a front quarter.
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My bull, a monster 3x2 (one point isn't as long as it is wide). Funny how I looked all GOS for one of these elusive spike/forks (immy) and I found one during my Limited Entry hunt. Was great to have my son right next to me when I pulled the trigger. Was a hunt the both of us will remember for a long time coming. And the freezer is now officially full of lots of yummy.
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Steve packin' out a quarter.
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Matt and Bruno draggin' out a quarter.
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Matt's bull.
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Surpise! :)
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BCBOY

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With the year drawing to a close, I'll finish up my 2011 HAC with a few more pics from the last month. I hope you all have enjoyed my HAC just as much as I have doing it. Best of luck in the new year and hope to see your hunts posted up in the 2012 HAC.

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