ElkSniper's NM Hunting Adventures of 2014


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The 2014 HAC is underway and I'm very excited to see what this year has in store for us. Already this year is turning out on a great start! On my HAC I will be documenting all the hunts I am a part of for the 2014 season. All of these hunts will be DIY public land!

The first hunt of the 2014 season was a January archery deer hunt my Uncle had in the Gila National Forest of New Mexico. Note: (The majority of the hunts I will document will take place in the state of New Mexico)

This hunt was pretty cool because I have never been hunting in the Gila before and it was a great experience to be a part of. The road trip down there was very long being from Northern NM but it was entertaining with all the stories my Uncle was telling us about the previous weekends of this hunt. The night before we came up with a solid game plan according to the most deer activity my Uncle had been seeing. We decided to hunt these rolling foothills where my Uncle had got into a great buck the weekend before. The rutting buck was a wide 4x4 estimated to be about 28in wide.


Opening morning found us waking up with high hopes of locating the big buck from the weekend before. We started off glassing canyons and looking for the most recent sign. We hiked and hiked up and down ridges, glassing every chance we could get. All we could turn up was elk way off in the distance. With no fresh sign and sore eyes, we decided to call it a morning.





After a much needed nap and a quick lunch we came up with another game plan for the evening hunt. We decided to find the highest point possible and put our optics to work. We tore apart every little nook and cranny where we thought a buck might be hiding. Again all we could turn up were more elk. That night there was only one question we had on our minds? Where were all the deer at?





The next morning was our last day to hunt. We decided to hunt the same foothills we hunted on the first morning hoping to run into the same buck. It was very cold that morning compared to the day before. At first we thought we had spotted a group of deer until I pulled out the spotting scope?Nope! Just more elk.
Finally we ran into some deer later that morning. It was a group of 4 deer with one small buck. Unfortunately the little buck was too small. He was only a spike. Too bad he wasn?t the wide 4x4 because it would have been an easy 40 yard shot. On the way back to camp we spotted another small group of deer. This group didn't have buck with them but there was this fawn that was missing entire hind quarter. Amazing how that little one was still alive. It seemed fine too. It was running around like it was normal. My guess is that the little guy was born without it.



A more zoomed in pic

We decided to call it a hunt and packed up camp for the long haul home. On the way out a tall 4x4 crossed the road right in front of us. What Luck! We?ve been hunting hard all weekend only to have a buck cross the highway right in front of us. We were still in the unit so we pulled over and my Uncle followed him into the timber. 9 out of 10 times these situations never work out and unfortunately we never saw him again.


Although we did not harvest a deer this hunt, in my opinion was a successful hunt. I got to learn new country and had a great time hunting the Gila for the first time. More importantly it was fun hunting with my Uncle and Grandpa. The memories will last a lifetime and that's what its all about.

Predator Control

Predator control is a very important part of hunting. A lot of people do not realize the impact that coyotes make on wild game populations. That is why every chance that I get to kill one, I'm going to take it. It is very challenging to hunt a predator and it is very fun! Here are a few pics of our predator hunting outings during the off season.




This next picture is pretty cool because one evening we went out to do a few stands and we were walking across a sage flat when we came across these two skulls. Not only is it rare to find a bobcat skull but the coyote skull was laying less than 10 feet from it. Some of the things you find when youre out and about.

Note: It is illegal to just take skulls from the wild because they are state property in the state of NM so we left these ones there. Still made for a great picture with the Turbo Dog game call.


Like I said above we will take any chance we can to kill a coyote so I will post predator hunting pics all season long.

Sheds Part 1

One of my favorite things to do in the spring is shed hunting. I love this stuff. I love this sport probably more than I do regular hunting. A lot of guys out there like to shed hunt for the $$$ but that's not the case with me. I just like getting out to enjoy picking up sheds of bucks and bulls that survived the hunting season. I like picking up their sheds because these elk and deer have either out smarted hunters/predators or have just been lucky. I'm always out and about in the spring with friends and family collecting some bone. I know everyone says that you can shed hunt all year long and you can but there is only a few golden months to get out and get hem while they're brown.






The totals from the first shed trip of 2014


Small 5x5 I took a pic of through the spotter on the way out

Would have been a nice shed

Another old one

Chewed up

Sweet elk single


On this trip we could not turn up a fresh shed but did good on the hard whites



Totals from the second shedding trip of 2014

Another one that got by us last year

We decided to walk over the drift rather than around it and did not realize it was that deep. There was not that much snowfall last year so all the animals were up higher than where we would normally look.


Some of the elk were down low but in very few numbers

The shed season was turning out to a great start. It took us a while to finally find some fresh sheds. For some reason we were only finding old ones. We finally started to find the freshies around late March. I will post the other half of our shed season with all the browns in my next post so stay tuned.

Sheds Part 2

The second half of our shed season brought many fresh sheds. The excitement I get from picking up a brown shed is unmatched! I even got a few pics of a few bucks that had already shed using my phoneskope. For those of you who don't know what a phoneskope is, it's a case and adapter that connects your smart phone to any optic of choice to take pics or video. I love it!
This first pic may be a little hard to see but there are 2 deer. The one on the right is a big 3 that shed one side and the other is a buck that had already shed both sides.


Here is a better pic of the left buck that has both sides shed.


Here is the right buck that only has one side. Sorry not the best quality pics because there photos were taken clear over 1,000 yards away


We ended up not finding any of their sheds that day but did come home with more white sheds.
Later on that week I had some spare time before class to go for a solo quick cruise in the morning. Some of the benefits of being a college student in your home town. There was one place where I wanted to check where the elk have been known to hang around quite often and I have had luck finding sheds in past years. I turned up the first brown of the year and man was it a nice one! The first pic does not do it much justice.




Unfortunately as much as I wanted to stay and match him up I needed to go to class and I was already running late. Very hard to walk away knowing the other side was close by. In the units that I go shed hunting in there is a lot of competition and I was very confident that no one would find the other side due to this isolated area I was in. I knew I would be back soon.
A few days later my buddy and I went out before class to try and match this bull up. The morning started out with a couple redbulls and much excitement to find some freshies! Right away we started seeing elk everywhere. They were all small bulls and cows. All the bulls were still packing which was expected because the small bulls normally don't shed until late April ?May but some do.
We were so distracted with all the elk I was not really looking on the road and I nearly ran over a fresh shed. Literally 2 feet from me running it over. It was right on the road. I backed up my truck and got down to check it out. We were definitely the first ones in there that day. What Luck!


This little bull stuck around for a few phoneskope pics


Finally after all the commotion of the roadside shed and taking pictures of elk it was time to start looking for the other side to that big bull. As luck would have it a huge snowstorm rolled in and created a whiteout. Not good shed hunting conditions but we were pressed for time so we sucked it up and went out in our winter gear in the blizzard hoping it would let up. After a solid hour of going in circles from where I found the first side we came up with nothing. The snow finally started melting and it made it a little easier to start glassing. We were cold and just about to call it quits for the day. I started walking to where my best guess the bull came from. I was also just about to turn around. I told myself I'll walk 100 more yards and then that's it. I went only about 60 yards and I found what I was looking for.

The second side was 600-700 yards away from the first side.




Back together again




The next we got out again and went to one of my honey holes. We hiked up and down ridges in the snow drifts just to get to it. We couldn't help but notice that there were not as many elk tracks in the area. We decided to give it a try anyway. After a long day and very long hike we came out with a small set of elk sheds. Sometimes you just get lucky and find them this close to each other. 5x6 As they lay.



Big or small I'm happy with them all


Gotta love those chocolate sheds


Finally a fresh deer shed! Found this one while turkey hunting.


I know it looks a little bleached out but its this years


Few more oldies


This one has been here a while

Sweet Brown single! We were out turkey hunting and looked all over for the other side but no luck.





Sweet little hard white I the pines!


Looking at this shed a little closer I thought it looked a little familiar. I was right. It was a match to a brownie I found the year before. I must have walked right by it.

Here are our totals 1 ? years worth of shed hunting. (Most were found this year)



2 of my best sets! Found the big set last fall and the brown one this year. The big one scores around 350?-360? and the smaller one scores 300?-310?

I threw these pic in just to show you how big the big set is.


Very sad to part ways with my sheds but I had to sell some of the stash! Cant keep them all! lol
(Yes I kept the big set)

Shed hunting for us a big thing! We love it! There isn't a spring where you won't catch us out roaming the hills looking for bone. We shed hunt pretty hard until the start of turkey season. We still shed hunt while turkey hunting but our main focus is directed to those love sick gobblers when the season starts. Regardless we are always out in the spring. We still find our last bit of sheds while turkey hunting. Next year I plan on hitting it even harder than I did this year! Nothing better for a college student to do that time of year! My next post will be on our turkey season and we had a great one!
Until Next shed season!


Turkey Season

Hunting turkeys can teach you a lot about hunting. They are a very sharp animal and in my opinion one of the hardest that we hunt. With turkey hunting whether it be with a shotgun or a bow, you cant get away with a lot. They are constantly looking for danger due to being very vocal that time of year. The turkey hunter must remain sharp and know what moves to make and must have patients. Most of all what makes a good turkey hunter is experience.

I love turkey season! If I were to compare it to anything it would be elk season. In my opinion its like a second elk season. We use the same techniques as we would for elk hunting. Something about hearing that gobble echo off the canyons gives me the same sensation as hearing a bugle in September. Its also a great way to stay in shape in the off season! We hunt the beautiful white tipped merriams turkey in the backcountry of Northern New Mexico. My favorite subspecies of turkey for many reasons. They are high country mountain birds!

In New Mexico turkey season starts on the 15th of April and expands all the way to the 10th of May. Gives us a lot of time to hunt but for the main part we are weekend warriors. The youth season is the weekend before the 15th. The dates vary each year. My little brother still being a youth, we decided to take advantage of the opportunity of him being the first to hunt before the main season.

The first place we decided to hunt was a place where we had never been turkey hunting before. We were accompanied by a good friend of ours who had been successful in the past in this particular area. The first morning was full of hiking treacherous country until we finally heard a gobble. We tried our best to close the distance until we could find a good place to set up. We were a bit rusty and ended up spooking these two gobblers that were coming in hot. We didn't spook them too hard for them to stop gobbling but just enough for them to keep their distance. After following them for what seemed to be an eternity, we lost them in an area where I believe was their roost site. This place was a drop off, cliff like structure where there were these cool rock formations.




Kept hearing rocks shuffling this this cave. Didn?t stick around to see what it was.

In total we hiked 8 miles that day in the backcountry. We decided to call it a hunt until the regular season started up.
We were not able to hunt the opener on that Tuesday but we did make it out that Thursday morning. We went to our favorite spot where we have taken many turkeys in the past hoping to hear one gobble from the roost site as they have many times before. Sure enough just like clockwork there was a gobble. While he was still in the roost we quietly made our way closer to him. Once it started to light up we started looking for the best place to set up. We set up in a little clearing and set up a lone hen decoy where the gobbler would be sure to see it. My little brother would be the first gunner on this one so he set up in front of my dad and I. My dad started calling at him and this hot gobbler gobbled 2-3 times at each call my dad threw at him. It didn't take him long to come into the clearing we set up in. As soon as he saw that hen decoy he knew something wasn?t right and freaked out! He started to make a run for it but before he could get away my little brother shot him at 40 yards. These set ups normally don't work that well but this one did.



Not long after that on our way out we ran into another hot gobbler. This time it was my turn! We set up and started calling but this guy had hens and was very stubborn. After waiting and calling for 30 minutes I decided to get up and run and gun on him. He was just around the bend out of sight but right there. Sure enough as soon as I poked my head out and there he was strutting up a storm! He saw me and started to run but it was too late. I shot him at 45 and he went rolling down the hill. Luckily he didn't mess up his fan too bad.





Love the color on their heads this time of year. Just a little edit I did.

It got a little slow for us the next few weekends. A couple weeks of hard hunting without even one gobble! Still found a few sheds but other than that it was pretty quiet.



The next week it was just my dad and I that made it out one Sunday morning. We heard a lone gobbler sounding off so we decided to head after him. We had no idea he was right on top of us and he busted us hard crossing a meadow. We never saw him again? That was until the next weekend.
We decided to hunt the same area where we busted this gobbler the weekend before. The cold April morning started off quiet. We hiked over to the ridge where we thought the bird from the weekend before was roosted and couldn't turn up a sign of a turkey.


Finally we heard a gobble off in the distance! It was him! We knew it was him! Without throwing one call we closed as much distance as possible. After cutting the distance between us and the gobbler we set up and started calling. He was HOT and gobbling his head off! Finally we could see him strutting through the aspens. He came running in! My dad let him get to about 30 yards before he took his shot!... BOOM! The turkey dropped instantly!








In the state of NM you are allowed 2 turkeys per year and they sell you 2 tags right away. The next Friday I had some spare time before class. This Friday was the second to last day of turkey season. My dad nor my little brother could come so I invited one of my buddies to come with me. It was his first time turkey hunting ever. We decided to hunt a whole new area that I have never turkey hunted before. Right away we heard a gobbler sounding off at first light from the truck! Without making a single call at him, we decided to be quiet and get as close as possible. We finally got on the ridge even with him and his hens. I threw a call to locate him and he was right on top of us. I looked around to see if there was a place to set up but couldn't find one due to the thickness of the trees/brush. We moved up about 30 yards and set up. This whole time he is gobbling his head off while his hens are calling back at me. I started calling again and called in a hen to 15 yards. She caught movement and started to move off. In the corner of my eye I caught movement to my left. It was him full strut. I had a small pine obstructing my shot so I slowly moved up, put the beads on his head, and dropped the hammer on the T/C Encore. He didn't even flop! It was pretty cool because my buddy had never witnessed turkey hunting like that before in person.




Turkey season is always a great time of year! I live for those high country merriams gobblers!
Until Next Turkey Season?


Little bit of fishing

Late spring I heard on the news that there was going to be a special blood moon that night. I pulled out my phoneskope and the spotting scope to see if I could capture some good pics.

Before the bloodmoon

The Blood Moon at 2am

Now that it is the off season I figured I would share some fishing pictures...




My dad fighting with a monster rainbow


Fishing with the big horn sheep





Now were getting close to some summer scouting. Got an antelope tag that is less than a month away and a archery deer tag starting the 1st of September. So stay tuned for some scouting pics coming soon.


Scouting for Antelope

Went scouting this past weekend for an antelope hunt I have in less than two weeks. We were able to turn up some good bucks and got some pics through the phoneskope.

These ones were way out there so the pics are pretty blurry


Here is a really good buck that I good some good pics of through the spotting scope. Again this buck was way out there so I zoomed in on these photos to get a better picture.







A smaller buck with a doe




A funky looking buck with a group of does







Though The phoneskope


These are going to be a very long 2 weeks. Cant wait to get out there and chase these speedgoats!

First Big Game Hunt of 2014 - Antelope

The preparation for this hunt or any muzzleloader hunt can be extremely difficult. All the muzzleloading equipment can swallow you up alone. Even the ballistics of a muzzleloader are heavily exaggerated compared to that of a rifle. To get into range of a mature antelope buck is a whole other challenge in itself. In this unit there is a lot of potential for that true trophy antelope. You just need to hold off on the smaller bucks to get a crack at the big ones. This year I came filled with the fear of the unknown.

Just as every hunt we partake in, it's always an unexpected experience and last year was a wakeup call for us. My younger brother was the one behind the muzzleloader last year and it was extremely difficult for him to get a shot at buck. After a long and agonizing hunt he finally connected on a great buck on the second to the last day. Last year?s hunt truly made me realize that your opportunities are slim and you need to make them count even if that means lowering your standards a bit. Although this is one of the most stressful hunts we've been a part of, we couldn't help but anticipate our return.

Our scouting trips from a week prior to the hunt turned up some good bucks and a really great buck. We weren't too focused on the big buck due to the fact of his location. I'm sure every other hunter scouting knew about that buck. A few days before the hunt I constantly found myself mentally preparing for situations that have we've been dealt with in the past and studying muzzleloader ballistics. After a sleepless night opening morning came in a flash. We arrived to our hunting location as the sun was cresting over the distant mountains and started making our way to where we had seen a big group of antelope the week before on our scouting trip. Before we could make a stalk on anything we spotted 2 bucks headed our direction. I pulled out the spotting scope to see if they were big enough to shoot. Unfortunately these bucks were not what we were looking for. Well not on the first day anyway. It was hard to stay off the trigger when I had the 2 bucks under 200 yards but I elected to pass on the shot.


Good buck out in the distance


The 2 younger bucks I passed on



Through the scope


Just as the 2 younger bucks spotted us and ran off we spotted a big group that seemed to come out of nowhere and they were headed in our general direction. We decided to stay put and wait to see if they came our way. We had time to put the spotting scope on the group and the first thing we noticed was there was a lot of bucks in the group with 4 possible shooters. We lost visual on the group as they went down into a dip and we knew that once they came up out of the dip they would be in range. We debated to move from our location and cut off the group but decided to stay put to prevent from being spotted. We were alert looking and for horn tips coming over the lip. I kept imaging where the bigger bucks would come out and visualizing possible shots that may present themselves. Finally one by one they started to appear. It seemed like forever for the bigger bucks to show but when they did they all came out.
The first bucks immediately spotted us a started getting nervous. We couldn't decide which buck was the biggest out of the 10-15 bucks. I kept moving the gun back and forth on the group trying to pick one. None of them seemed big enough and yet again all of them were big! It was chaotic!!! My dad told me to look at this heavy buck to our left and that was all it took! He looked too good in the scope and couldn't resist staying off the trigger! As soon as I shot, he instantly dropped! It was all over! All that preparation came down this one shot, this one moment! The hunt was now over. It was all said and done before 7am! We couldn't help but have this bitter sweet feeling inside us. We were happy that the hunt was a success but sad that it was over so quickly. Can?t wait to be back hunting these speed goats with the Muzzy!

My 2014 Antelope







Dad and I

The whole crew

Another little edit I did



Found a nice shed on the way out


Although this was a super quick hunt I wouldn't change a thing! Had an awesome time out hunting with friends and family and wouldn't trade it for anything. Will be headed out on another antelope hunt soon so stay tuned for that! Should be fun!


Till Next Time

Antelope Euro

Had some time yesterday to do the euro for my antelope and I think it came out great! Here are some pics




Scouting for last antelope hunt

Headed out for the last antelope hunt of the 2014 season. We will have 4 tags between my family this weekend. 2 buck tags and 2 doe tags! Here are a few scouting pics from yesterday.

On the way we ran into some really good deer and I got a chance to photograph one of the coolest muley I've ever seen!

Not him but another cool one he was with

Here he is but this pic does not do him justice



Here are some good pics of this beast



Too bad I don't have a tag for this unit because this guy is a beast of a buck!!!

Later that day we ran into some rattlesnakes! Going to have to keep an eye out on this weekends hunt!



Here is a good buck




Another bucks





Should be a fun weekend! Stay tuned!

Last Antelope Hunt for 2014

Every year we take this antelope hunting trip with our closest friends and family. This year our two lifelong closest friends, Roberto and Jose, had buck tags and my little brother and my grandfather had doe tags. This is the one hunt every year that seems to take forever to arrive and always flashes by in an instant. We finally arrived and soon as we set up camp we headed out to see if we could turn up some good bucks and put together a hit list. It didn't take us long for us to find a monster. This buck was way out from where we first spotted him and all we could see was black on top of his head. I immediately pulled out the spotting scope to get a better look. I couldn't believe what I was seeing! Not only was this buck huge but he had some character! On his left horn he had a little drop prong coming off the original prong! I pulled out the phoneskope and set it right on him so the whole group could see this buck. They were also quite amazed at the size of this buck.

Sorry about the quality of pics. This buck was very far.

The moon through the spotting scope at camp

That same night my little brother had a game halfway across the state with an antelope hunt starting the next morning. They didn't roll into camp until late that night. Luckily we weren't camped more than 5 minutes away from where we were going to be hunting so we didn't have to wake up super early. That next morning we headed out to see if we could turn up that monster antelope from the night before. It didn't take us long for us to find him. He was almost in the exact same spot from the night before. We glassed him for a while and tried to think of the best way to stalk this buck without being spotted. We all stayed back while my dad, Roberto, and Jose attempted the stalk.






As they were getting closer in range of this buck I could them playing ?Rock, Paper, Scissors? to see who gets the first shot. The buck at this time is already onto them and is on high alert. They close 100 more yards and the buck spooks! I immediately see Jose put the rifle up and fire a round off. The buck dropped in his tracks! We couldn't wait to get over there and see this amazing antelope. There was no ground shrinkage on this goat. He had it all! And that prong was unbelievable! Jose had just harvested his biggest antelope to date.






I thought this edit was cool

The whole crew

We still had 3 tags to fill and didn't waste any time after we took care of Jose?s buck. Right away we found an awesome buck with one of his horns that went straight out with no curl whatsoever. A freak buck! This buck was way out in the distance so we decided to look over some more country to see what we could find. We found a few good bucks but not what we were looking for.





After a few hours of looking at many antelope we decided to try and find that freak buck. Right where we first spotted the straight horned buck there was another nice buck. Since there was no sight we decided to try for this one. We made a game plan to go around this buck and ambush him from the back.



On the way we found the freak buck again and he was closer. Roberto went for the stalk and not long after buck #2 was down. This buck was just too awesome. We had never seen a buck like this one in all our years of antelope hunting! This freak buck brought the end of Day 1 and we were excited to get after it with 2 doe tags to fill in the morning.












It was now the morning of Day #2 and my little brother was going to be the first shooter because he had football practice the next day. Right away we spotted a lone bedded doe in a really good area for a stalk. My dad and my little bro didn't waste any time and snuck within 200 yards of the doe. The doe stood up, trotted 30 yards, and stood broadside. My brother steadied the crosshairs perfectly and made a great shot on the doe. My grandfather was up to bat and now we only had one more tag to fill.



After we took my little brothers antelope back to camp, we headed out to see if we could find my grandfather a doe. Its hard to believe but the does were harder than the bucks. The bucks were everywhere and easy to find while the does were few and far between. Every group we encountered the does would split while the bucks would just stand there and look at us. Its like they knew we were hunting them. As the day went on we finally caught a break. We spotted a group of about 15 does and a buck. They were in a very good place for a stalk, behind a water hole berm and completely unaware that we saw them. After sneaking up to the berm we were in range. There was this one doe off to the right of the group at 260 yards. My grandfather moved into position and made the shot. The doe ran off and fell over. My grandfather had just harvested his first antelope.



This is probably one of the best years we have had antelope hunting. That's a wrap for the antelope hunts in 2014. Just like every year this hunt/weekend went by in a flash. We?ve made great memories here and hopefully more in years to come.


Until Next time

Couple mounts back and update

Got a couple mounts back from the taxidermist and they came out great. The top buck is my mom/s buck and the bottom buck is my uncle's. The stories and field photos are in my 2012 Hunt Adventure Challenge http://www.monstermuleys.info/dcforum/DCForumID55/4.html#.VBTYcSx0zIU



I harvested my first archery mule deer in the first week of September. I haven't had time to write up a story but my next post will be on that. Its not my biggest buck or my smallest buck but probably my most favorite deer I've harvested because it was with the stick and string. I'll try to get it up and running ASAP.

Lately I've been trying to help a buddy harvest an elk in the same unit I got my deer in. It started off slow but now things have picked up and the rut is going strong. Hopefully we can get an elk down here soon so I can start scouting for my rifle elk tag that starts Oct 4.

My 2014 Archery Muley

I was pretty excited when I put in for my first archery tag last spring. I have harvest 5 mule deer in my lifetime but never one with the stick and string. I knew it was going to be a lot tougher then what I was use to but I was up for the challenge. Once I found out that I drew my first choice, I immediately broke out the bow and started shooting. The bow I was going to be using was the bow my dad gave to me and the bow he had been hunting with the last few years. It was a Bowtech Destroyer 340. Without messing with my dad?s setup I started shooting the bow a lot. I was fairly accurate with it couldn't put it down. You could say I was addicted to shooting it. I took it to my friend who owns a bow shop in my town and got it tuned into me. Once I got it re-sighted in, I started shooting it very accurately out to 80 yards.

It started getting closer and closer to the hunt when I started messing with broad heads. I started out trying the G5 montech. I didn't like them. The next broad head I tried was a regular muzzy 3 blade 100 gr. I liked them and they grouped well but some of them didn't fly well and I had to move my whole sight in order to be sighted in again. The next broad head I tried was the muzzy trocar. I really didn't mess around with these ones too much but the little bit that I did, I liked them a lot. I ended up going with an expandable broad head. The trophy taker Ulmer Edge. This head was way too cool not to try out. It has so many features like pivoting blades that go around bones for extra penetration and the practice mode set up they have. They shot just like my field points! They were the broad head of choice!





I wasn?t going to be able to make the opening day of the hunt because we had a family antelope hunt. I was a little bummed out but it was a 22 day hunt knew I would have a lot of time to get out. I also didn't get a chance to scout the unit because we were busy with antelope hunts. I was just going to play it by hunting areas I knew held a lot of deer in the past and learning new areas as the hunt went on. I had some spare time one evening on the third day of the hunt. My dad and my little brother couldn't make it so I called up my buddy and headed out for the first time of this hunt. Soon after we entered the area I was planning to hunt, we spotted a really small buck right away. I was looking at him through my binos when all of a sudden a bigger buck passed in front of the little fork horn. It was a good framed 3x3. That was definitely the type of buck I was looking for. I quietly closed the distance and got to within 54 yards of the buck. At this time they both were on to me and started getting nervous. I drew back and flung and arrow at the 3x3. I sailed it right over his back. Looking back at that shot, I probably rushed it. I followed the 2 deer as they ran off. They stopped again and the 3x3 offered a broadside shot but my line of sight to the vitals were obstructed by small pine trees. It was too thick to attempt a shot. They eventually took off and never saw them again. I wasn?t too disappointed because it was still early in the hunt but I was a little disappointed that I messed up a good opportunity. I shook it off, picked up my arrow, and decided to keep heading up the mountain.

An hour passes by and my buddy spots buck. This buck was completely unaware of us and was feeding with his head behind a big stump. I get closer this feeding buck and glass him to see how big he was. He was a basket buck fork with a crab claw 3 on one side. Big enough for me! He was still feeding so I pulled out the range finder and ranged him right at 39 yards. The buck was slightly quartering away and looking right at me. I take one step back because I was hidden behind a big aspen tree and draw my bow. I steady my 40 yard pin on him and release my arrow. The shot felt good and I see the arrow hit right where I last saw my pin. The buck jump high in the air and did a ?mule kick?. He started to run at full speed and very low to the ground as he disappeared into the timber. I knew the shot was very good and knew the buck didn't go far so I stared tracking the blood trail right away. I found the deer piled up no more than 70 yards from where I shot him. The ulmer edge zipped right through him for a double lung shot.



Huge entrance hole


Exit hole


My 2014 Archery Muley




My buddy and Me



Another awesome hunt down for 2014!!! Ive learned a lot about the sport of bow hunting and I think its safe to say Im hooked on it! Im already looking forward to next year!

Till Next Time

Archery Elk Hunting in the High Country

Not long after I harvested my deer I went hunting in the same unit with a close buddy of mine to see if we could fill his elk tag.

The hunt started out kind of slow but that was expected for the early part of September. All we found were other hunters that had the same idea.

We went further into the backcountry and didn't hear a peep. We found a good amount of fresh sign with a few wallows but the elk didn't seem to be rutting yet.




About a week later into the hunt the rut really picked up! It was like someone hit a light switch. We got into 6-8 different bulls that morning. We were working this one bull that responded a lot to our calls when all of a sudden we heard a bugle not far behind us. We called in another bull and he was coming I hot. The bull was a big 5x5 and he came into 30 yards. It was way too thick for my buddy to attempt a shot and the bull knew something was wrong and spooked. We tried to call him in again but he didn't buy it anymore.

A little bit later in the morning as the non-stop bugle fest was going on, we called in another bull. While we were working that bull another different bull came in from behind us and again no shots were offered and they both spooked. Both of them were smaller 5x5s. It was an awesome morning in the elk woods and the best part was we didn't run into any other hunters. Probably due to the hike we took miles into the back country.







We decided to leave the area and come back the next weekend to see if we could get back into the same bulls we were hunting. We felt very confident heading back there because it would be prime rut! We could help but be excited to get back into the elk action.

A week passed by and there we were walking in the pitch black with our headlamps at 5:00am into the backcountry. After a couple miles of hiking in we started hearing bugles again. We really couldn't decide which bull was closer and just decided to stay put and start calling. The bulls were not as vocal as the previous week. Nothing wanted to respond to our calls but every so often we would hear a bugle in the distance. My guess was that a lot of the bulls had cows and didn't really want anything to do with other elk.




As the morning went on it got windy. We really couldn't hear anything and decided to call it a day and start making our way back to the truck. On our way back to the truck we decided to head down this old logging road that paralleled a canyon on the other side of the mountain. There was no wind there so we started calling to hopefully locate a bull. One bugle from the mouth of the canyon answered our call. We decided to set up and start calling. My buddy and I headed down the road to find a place to set up. The bull came in quiet and suddenly appeared on the same road. He froze in his tracks as soon as he saw us. We were busted! The bull did a 180 and spooked down the canyon.


Although my buddy didn't get an elk on this hunt, it was a really fun experience in the elk woods. We got into a lot of elk and had some really close calls. It was also really fun hunting this unit for the first time and learning new country. We're already looking forward to hunting the Bulls od September next year.

Until Next time

Tag soup for me (Elk Hunt)

For some odd reason Im fond of this unit even though Im hardly ever successful in it. Every year I put in for this tag and I draw it on a third choice. I guess its always a tag in my pocket when I don't draw my 1st and 2nd choices. But is this guaranteed tag worth it??? Its it worth the Crowds of people and minimal elk sightings??? I still haven't decided yet. By no means is this unit a quality unit. The number of elk you would see the entire hunt would be in the single digits if any. I have been successful in this unit before... In fact Ive taken my biggest bull from this unit and had a chance at what would have been the biggest elk Ive ever had a chance at. Maybe that's why I keep coming back...

Prior to this hunt we took a scouting trip out to the unit. To our surprise we saw a decent amount of elk including a really nice 6x6 herd bull with 18 cows. It looked really promising for opening morning and we felt confident that we would be away from the crowds and into all the elk action... Or so we thought!

On this hunt I will be using my dads most favorite rifle. The .300 weatherby Mark V. I was also going to be shooting the barnes TSX bullet coming out of the barrel at 3217 fps. 180 grains of awesomeness!

A cow in the timber through the spotting scope

A small bull with his 3 cows


A lone small 5x6 bull



Opening morning came with high hopes of tagging out early. We arrived to the location where we scouted the weekend before and to our amazement there was a pop-up camper trailer right where we were planning to hunt! We were very disappointed because these people just wrecked our game plan! There was absolutely now way that these elk were going to be in that area anymore.

While it started to light up a little more you could see the line of truck headlights entering the area. It was a mess! Truck after truck... all road hunters! We decided to go and look for that big 6x6 herd bull and his 18 cows but they were no where to be found. Probably due to the high amounts of activity in that area. We saw lots of people breaking the law and just freestyle driving off the roads in the sage flats chasing elk. We couldn't believe it. It seemed like we were the only ones following the rules but what can you do...Very disappointed with the first morning hunt.

We did manage to help out the deer and antelope herds and took out a couple coyotes!



That evening was really slow. We planned on hunting around a water hole but the tank was dry and the elk were just not in the area.

That next morning we were having a hard time deciding where to go. After a lot of debating on areas to hunt we decided to try and find that herd bull from the week before despite all the mess of people. Again there was a long road full of truck headlights entering the area. We decided to try and get to a high point and start glassing. Not long after glassing we spot a group of about 20 elk. Its the same group and that nice 6x6 was still with them! We decided to begin that stalk right away, hoping that no one else has seen them yet. We were getting closer and closer to the group. All we had to do was get over this little hill and we would be in shooting range. Just as we were about to crest the hill and get into what seemed to be about a 400 yard shot, we heard a solid shot right from where the herd was. Another hunter had just shot the bull. Our hearts sank as we glassed the lucky hunter lay his rifle on the bulls wide rack and began to take pictures.


Once the weekend had ended I knew that I was not going to be able to hunt much due to all my classes during the week. We did get out a couple more times and did see a few cows and spikes but had no luck on locating a mature bull. Although I ate this tag I still feel I have unfinished business in this unit.


Until Next Time

Moms Combo Hunt (Elk & Deer)

We're headed out again...

Super excited to head back into the high country of northern New Mexico. My mom lucked out this year and drew and elk and deer tag in the same unit during the same hunt. We will definitely have our work cut out for us on this hunt. Just like all the other rifle hunts in NM, this hunt will last 5 days and we plan to be out there the entire time. I just hope I'm in shape to be packing out an elk and deer within days of each other. Well... that's the plan anyway. My knee has also been giving me a bit of trouble from an old baseball injury I got my senior year of high school. Regardless we're going to give it our all on this hunt. Already have camp set up but we will not spend the first night there due to the fact that my little brother has a late football game. We will have to leave from our house super, super early in the morning for the first day.

Although there is a lot of elk in this unit, it can become quite difficult. This is the last bull hunt in the unit and the majority of the elk have been pressured by the past hunts. We plan to hunt away from the crowds which means walking miles into the backcountry. I don't mind it. Its some of the most beautiful country Ive ever seen. We're hoping on having a repeat of last year's hunt when my mom first drew this elk tag. She harvested a big 4x4 bull. It was basically an average 5x5 but was missing the 2nd eye guards on each antler. They were still bugling pretty good for it being so late in the year. We saw many elk and she had chances at other smaller bulls but could not connect. We also saw a few good bucks last year too. I don't think we'll be trophy hunting due to the fact that there is just not that much trophy potential in this unit for deer or elk... I just don't want to be packing out a fork horn miles and miles back in there but that will be her choice to make.

Got my pack loaded up with all the necessities. Game bags, bone saw, extra blades for my havalon knife, head lamps, deboning tarps, vortex spotting scope/ tripod, ect. Everything we need while in the backcountry. I always carry our huge Vortex Razor 20-60x85 spotting scope in my pack. That thing is a beast but I love it!!! Although its heavier than anything I have in my pack, I think its worth the extra weight. Also works the best with my phoneskope.

We have not scouted the unit at all (Other than google earth) because its so far away and we just haven't had the time so we'll be going in blind on this hunt. My mom has been shooting her most favorite rifle which is her browning A-bolt 30-06 pretty well out to 400 yards. She will be shooting a 165 grain Trophy bonded tip bullet. A very good bullet that we have had very impressive mushroom recoveries from past hunts.

Super stoked to get back out there chasing the bucks and bulls of the high country. It should be a fun hunt!
Moms 2014 Bull

Coming back to this same unit for the second year in a row, we thought that we had it more or less figured out. Boy were we wrong. If there is one lesson that we can take from this hunt, it would be everything changes from year to year. We thought that there was a good chance that it would be a repeat of last year?s hunt. We thought that we would be right smack in all the elk action and have tons of opportunity like last year. NOPE?


Opening morning came with high hopes on filling the elk tag early that way we could focus on finding some deer the rest of the hunt. We didn't think that anyone else was going to be back where we were going to be hunting because we were in a really secluded area miles away from any road. As we started walking in the pitch black cover of darkness in the early morning, we noticed we were not alone. There were 2 lights following us. We hoped that they would change their direction and leave us to have the place to ourselves. As it became closer to dawn, we could still see the 2 lights and couldn't help but face the fact that these other hunters were headed right to where we wanted to be. We decided to separate from the other hunters and head in a different direction to see if we could stir up some elk. We didn't find anything. It was really disappointing. All of our high hopes were quickly destroyed by absents of elk activity and the presence of other hunters in the area.






That evening was also very slow and frustrating. We decided to focus on hunting deer and wanted to hunt an area where we have seen deer in the past. We wanted to hike down a canyon and hopefully find a mature buck. All the hunting camps made that impossible. People were camped right in prime deer hunting areas. While we were trying to get away from all the camps we spotted 2 cows in a small opening off the road. We snuck around the opening toward to 2 cows hoping that there would be a bull with them. Once we finally got into range my mom set up and waited for a bull. The 2 elk kept looking back into the timber like they were waiting for another elk to come out. It got dark on us and nothing did ever come out.



On day 2 we decided to hunt an area where we were most likely to find both elk and deer. We started our hike right at daybreak and decided to focus on finding elk before the deer because the elk would only be active in the early morning. We had the gameplan of hunting these meadows where we thought the elk would be crossing. The first meadow was really promising but there were no elk to be seen and there were no fresh tracks. We decided to check out another close meadow that separated by narrow strip of trees. Just as we could start to see the other meadow my younger brother stops and tells us ?Right There!? and points to the center of the meadow. At first glance I thought it was a big muley but once I pulled up my binos I saw that it was a lone bull. My dad sets up the shooting sticks for my mom and the next sound I hear is a big BOOM followed by a WHACK! The bull tenses up but I couldn't tell where she hit him. The bull slowly walks about 15-20 yards and beds down. We thought that the bull was going to need another shot so we snuck up to 100 yards and set up the sticks for my mom but the bull had his head down. He was dead. After walking up to the bull we could see that she made a good shot on him. A little back but enough to hit lung. She made a great shot at 357 yards! It was a very respectable 4x4. This bull was almost identical to the bull my mom harvested last year in the same unit. We had a long packout ahead of us. We quartered the bull and loaded up the gamecart. The terrain would only allow us to cart the bull so far and we had to finish the last bit on our backs with the pack frames.




My Mom with her 2014 bull




Mom and Dad


Family portrait


Dad and I with the game cart



Epic pic of my lil bro packing the head and some backstraps




We took the day off to recover a little bit from the packout and decided to rest up.


On the next day we decided to hunt a promising area for deer. In this area there were these awesome aspen canyon pockets that had been known to hold some good bucks. We hunted hard and walked a few miles but all we could find were fresh tracks. It seemed like we were just missing them. Came across a few good buck tracks but no bucks. That morning had no deer sightings and left the area as the wind really picked up.
That evening we hunted up high. We saw a few does but didn't come across a single buck. We covered a lot of country but ran into hunters everywhere. Some weather rolled in and ended the evening short.


The weather system was still in the area and it was still really cold and windy. We figured that all the deer were hunkered down and inactive. Finally about mid-morning the weather mellowed out and we decided to check out one last spot before we called it a hunt. There was this one aspen grove where we have seen some good bucks in the past. There were deer tracks everywhere but again there were no deer to be found.


Cool aspen that got struck by lightning



Although the deer hunting was really slow for this hunt we still had a great time. My mom did not get a deer on this hunt but she got a good public land bull that will put some meat in the freezer.


Until next time

Off to Colorado!

The next hunt for our family is a 3rd season Colorado mule deer tag for my little brother. He saved up a few points and drew a sweet deer tag. Had an epic time chasing Colorado muleys again and I will post up the story and a lot of pics soon. I just need to find some time to write up the events of that epic day. It was very quick hunt full of ups and downs but my little brother put down an awesome buck about mid day of opening morning. For now I will post a short story with a few pics on the NM forum if you guys want to check it out until I get the full story and all the pics up and running on the HAC. Stay tuned

P.S. We are headed out this weekend for my uncles cow elk hunt in our home state of NM. A little worried that we haven't had a substantial snow fall and that it will be a tough hunt because all the elk will more than likely be hard to find. Still will be a fun hunt with the family regardless.

Little Bros Colorado Muley

Out of all the big game animals to hunt, the mule deer is by far my favorite. Something about a mule deer buck sparks a fire into me that no other animal can. The way a mature mule deer buck can disappear and stash closely resembles that of a ghost. Im always haunted by the images of the bucks that always get away. Being from the state of New Mexico it's harder to find these big mule deer. Don?t get me wrong there is still a lot of potential to come across a nice buck but not like the state of Colorado. Home of the Mule Deer.

My little brother was able to save up some points and draw a non- resident youth deer tag in one of our favorite units. We have hunted this unit before and had good luck on past hunts with some good bucks and now it was my little brothers turn to notch his tag on a Colorado muley.

A storm system rolled in the day before opening morning and rained all night. It seemed like we have had nothing but bad weather on all of our hunts this year. We were restricted to the cover of the truck for the first hour of the hunt. We parked on a point where we could glass the valleys and hopefully turn up some deer. Although all the cloud cover made it really dark to see, we still turned up a few deer. The rain wasn?t bothering them whatsoever. I put the spotting scope on them to see if there were any good bucks worth getting a closer look at. There was only a fork horn and a spike buck with all the does we spotted. We figured that since the rain wasn?t affecting the deer activity that we would just throw on the rain gear and tough it out for the morning hunt.


We decided to park the truck on the top of the highest ridge and work our way down and hunt the rolling hills/canyons. It was going to be a pretty long hike and would most likely last all day. Before we found a spot to park the truck, my dad hits the break and immediately grabs his binos. He said ?You?re not going to believe this but there is a nice bull elk on top of that ridge about 500 yards away?. Sure enough there was a great 6x6 bull just standing there. We were all in shock because this is the first year that we didn't buy an over the counter elk tag in Colorado. All we could do is take a few pictures through the spotting scope and carry on our way.




As soon as we started our hike, it didn't take long to turn up deer. Every little draw we looked into had a few does and small bucks in it. Where were all the mature bucks? We knew that it was pretty close to the rut and these bucks should be with the does. A little more into the hike, I glassed up a nice deer shed across the canyon.


I separated from my dad and little brother to go get it and when I was walking up the hill back to them I saw some deer across the canyon. As soon as I put my binos on them I could see that there was a good buck in the group. I didn't get a good look at the buck because I was rushing back to tell them but I distinctly saw a wide frame on the buck about 26-28 inches wide. A definite shooter! The deer were already onto us and I could see my dad and little brother already on the stalk. By the time I caught up to my dad and little brother, the deer had already went up and over the hill. It turns out that there was another good buck in the group that I didn't see. A shooter 3x3 with good top forks.

Doe and a fawn

Little guy that wanted his pic taken




We decided to continue on our hike and stick to the original game plan and save that big framed buck for the evening hunt. I felt confident that we would find more deer the deeper we went into our hike. It also gave us a chance to explore new country. Later that morning we were walking along this fence line when I glanced to my left and saw deer scattered I the timber on the edge of a meadow. After further examining the group I could see a buck in the back. All I could see were horns and I got a little excited and made the buck sound bigger than what he actually was. We all immediately got down and my little brother set up for a shot. After we had time to get a good look at the buck we decided that it wasn?t something we were looking for. It was a big fork that had about 8 does with him. He was showing signs of rut activity so I pulled out the spotting scope and took a few pictures of the rutting buck.

A very beautiful buck that we would be more than happy to take on a general season hunt in NM but we knew we could do better if we held out.






Found another nice shed

Not long after I found the shed I found this. A skull of a buck that had shed.

I recognized this shed and it turns out that it was the other side to one I found 2 years ago on the same ridge while hunting deer. Im thinking its the sheds to the shed buck skull.

After my brother passed up that buck we decided to start hunting our way back to the truck. There was this one small canyon that had a bunch of aspen and for some reason we were drawn there. Just as we were about to go into the canyon my dad froze in his tracks. I glanced to the left and saw what made him froze. It was a buck! It had to be with that body size! I could see a good rack and without hesitation I told my brother to shoot that buck! My brother didn't get a good look at the buck and didn't know how big he was so it took him a little longer than usual to set up. He finally saw that this buck was a shooter 4x4 with eyeguards but it was too late. Just as he was about mid-squeeze on the trigger he saw the buck bound off like all spooked muleys do. As I saw the buck bounce off through my binos I saw him join up with another similar sized body deer but could not see the head. It was definitely another buck but couldn't tell how big he was.

The pursuit was on! We followed the bucks through the timber until we stumbled upon a camp. We figured that the bucks also saw the camp and changed their direction into a deep canyon. We were right. Not long after entering the canyon we caught a glimpse of the deer running away. It was the same two bucks but again it was a really quick sighting of only the back 4x4 with no shot opportunities. We followed them as they continued up the canyon. We double-timed our pace because these bucks had a good jump on us and we knew that they would follow this canyon up. We kept on and on until exhaustion got the best of us. We were sucking air pretty good when I spotted deer running through the pines a little further down the same canyon. This time there were more than just two. We figured that two bucks must have joined up with the previous group with the big fork.

We kept on going chasing the deer until the canyon finally ended into a ridge. We got on top of the ridge hoping the deer would be just on the other side. Sure enough there they were! They all spooked and all of the deer took off running through the pines. There were a lot of deer and it became chaotic. My little brother kneeled down and rested the rifle on his knee hoping that one of the shooter bucks would stop in an opening for a shot. As all the deer were running through the tall pines all we could see were small forks and does. No sign of the 4x4 until my dad said ?There he is! The 4x4! ? The buck never stopped and never gave a clear shot. We figured that if we stayed on top of the ridge the buck might offer a clear shot. The buck didn't follow the rest of the group. We were just about to call it quits and head back to the truck when all of a sudden the buck appears on the opposite ridge. My little brother sets up on the sticks and takes his shot. The buck dropped in his tracks! He made a great 277 yard shot across the canyon and the buck we've been after all day is finally down!

Pic through the spotter

This buck grew more and more as we walked up to him.


Little bro with his 2014 muley




The packout with the gamecart




On the way out this buck crossed the road and stuck around for a few pics.




This hunt was a pretty awesome experience for us. Getting away from all the roads and the crowds really paid off. Not only did we not run into any other hunters but the quality and quantity of the deer got way better. We had a blast and we can't wait to be back chasing the muleys of the backcountry.
Family Cow Hunt

This year for my Uncles mobility impaired cow hunt we were a little worried due to the lack of snowfall we had received in the high country. Without a good snowfall all the elk would still be up high and difficult to locate. Last year we were in the same situation until a snowstorm fell the night before opening morning. This year another snowstorm fell the night before which brought us 6-8 inches of snow in the high country.

The first day consisted of very brutal weather that brought heavy winds and snow storms that lasted the entire day. We covered a good amount of country and did not see any sign of elk or any indication of migrating elk.


That night another bigger snowstorm fell which brought even more snow to the high country. We thought that the elk would definitely be moving with this storm. We decided to chain up the two rear tires for the morning hunt. Again the heavy winds played a big factor for the first few hours of the morning hunt. We figured that the elk were hung up in the cover of the timber out of the weather.



Finally around mid-day the storm finally broke. We decided to get back on the highway and take a ride up to the high country to see if there was any sign of migrating elk tracks in the fresh snowfall. Not long into our ride we parked the truck on a good glassing point and started to glass. My dad spotted 4 sets of fresh elk tracks across the canyon that headed into a timber patch and did not come out. After further examination we spotted 4 cow elk bedded and feeding in the timber patch. The stalk was on!

After closing a good amount of distance we finally got my uncle into shooting range. We moved from tree to tree trying to work a shot between the aspens. Finally the lead cow offered a shot. My Uncle fired off a round and missed low. The elk had no idea where the shot came from and offered another shot. My uncle fired off another round and the elk dropped and slid down to the bottom of the mountain.






This hunt was a super fun family hunt that made for some great memories. We had a great time hunting and filled the freezer with a bunch of awesome elk meat.

A Bit of Big Horn Sheep Wildlife Photography

Took these pics back in mid-November of a rutting big horn ram in Northern NM off the Rio Grande. Always seen them and have been able to get a few pics before but never of this quality. Pics taken with an iphone 5 through a phoneskope and vortex razor spotting scope.







Never seen a big horn rub a tree before



Last Big Game hunt of 2014

My little brother had the last big game tag of our 2014 hunting season! It was a late season cow elk tag that took place Dec 26 2014. The night before we received a snow storm that brought a couple inches of fresh snow. All the elk were already down in the winter range so it wasn't going to be hard trying to locate them.

Right at first light we spotted a group of 6 elk crossing a valley bottom heading toward to the timber. The stalk was on! The elk were already on to my little brother and my dad and started to pick up their pace. Finally they got into shooting range and my little brother set up for his shot. The elk went down soon after the first shot and the hunt was over by 7:00am.

Little bro with his 2014 cow elk



Last post of 2014 HAC (Predator Control)

Before my little brothers cow elk hunt we decided to go out for a little bit of coyote hunting. We went out early on Christmas eve morning to do a couple stands and see if we could help out the local deer herds. We found a good spot to set up on a high point and see the whole valley. We set up the caller and within 15 minutes of using the jackrabbit distress call we decided to change it up. I then put a pup distress call on and not long into the call I spotted a white face looking at us about 3/4 mile away in the sage. Slowly but surly the coyote made its way closer to us. The coyote finally made it to within 500 yards and hung up. I then decided to lower the call to half the volume level it was originally on. That really got things going! He still very cautiously came in to the call but it was already too late for him. The coyote was already under 350 yards at this point and I decided to take my shot the next time he stopped. The next sound was a big boom followed by a whack! It was defiantly good to help out the local deer herd.


Check out the size of this dog! definitely saved some deer from this big ol male!

Young Buck from that morning chasing does

The next week I went coyote hunting with a good friend of mine and after a long morning of unsuccessful stands finally on the last stand we called in 2 but only got the one. 400 yard shot on this one my buddy took.




2014 has been good to us! Very fortunate to be able to hunt every year in such a great place as New Mexico. I hope everyone enjoyed following us on our 2014 hunting adventures on my HAC and now the cycle begins again for a whole new year. Cant wait to see what new adventures 2015 will bring us.

Until next time

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