Founder's 2021 Hunting Adventures

Founder

Founder Since 1999
Messages
10,566
I'm a little delayed in getting my Hunt Adventure thread going, but better late than never......right? :)
My hunting I suppose began back in January with a little winter scouting, then I did some antler hunting in May in Utah and Wyoming. I'll share a few photos in a later post. I found some good antlers, but nothing giant. Some fun outings.

As for tags this year, I've got a Wyoming tag coming....hopefully. I haven't seen it yet, but it says I drew, so......
I also have a Utah rifle buck tag for a unit I've never hunted before. Can't say I'll actually go hunt, but I have the tag. It'll probably depend on my luck on getting a Colorado tag.

The big hunt for me this year will be Wyoming deer. My goal this year is to put in 20 or so days of scouting, then archery hunt with my hunting buddy for at least a week, and then get after it with a rifle if I can't get it done with my bow. I'm excited to see what I can find!

I began my scouting about 10 days ago for a couple days. Looked at about 30 bucks, but nothing real great and I was glassing from such a long distance, I didn't even get much for video.

My second scouting trip was a few days ago. Spent 3 days covering ground and looked at about 80 bucks. Watch the video to see some of the better bucks. I didn't see anything that jumped out as being real special, but a few of them were pretty good.


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Founder

Founder Since 1999
Messages
10,566
Gotta' love having a little luck in life, huh?
I scored myself a Colorado deer tag today, so in addition to Wyoming and Utah, I've also got Colorado to squeeze in this year. Lucky me! :D
Hopefully it carries over to the hunts. :)
 

Founder

Founder Since 1999
Messages
10,566
I put in 7 days of archery hunting so far this year, saw the buck I was looking for just one time, but no opportunity.
My hunting buddy was able to make a few plays on bucks, but no score for him either.
Headed out for a little rifle hunting in a few days. Hopefully I’ll have something good to share in a week or two or three.
I’m feeling confident, but we’ll see.

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Founder

Founder Since 1999
Messages
10,566
Made a mistake! Last Sunday night, 5 days into the hunt, the buck finally showed himself after rain and snow. I reached for my rangefinder, but it wasn’t there. I had left it in my tent!!!!! I wanted to puke.
I guessed him at 440 yards, but without knowing, I just didn’t dare chance it. The last thing I want is to wound him. I tried shaving off a 100 yards or so, but just didn’t get a shot.
Haven’t seen him since. I’m taking a couple days off to rest the area, then getting back after it.
I’m so pissed and disappointed in myself for such a foolish screw up. I always have the rangefinder, except that evening! That might have been my only chance.

BTW - After actually ranging it, the buck was at 400 down a steep hill. With angle compensation, it would be 385 or so. I probably would have hit the buck very high, if at all, had I taken the shot with a guess of 440.
 

Founder

Founder Since 1999
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10,566
FINALLY!!!!
A little video from August 11th. I’ve kept this quiet as I knew others knew where this buck lived. I had hoped he’d survive 2020 and he did. It took a few days of looking before I got a look at him in August. Here’s a little video. More to come…..

 

Founder

Founder Since 1999
Messages
10,566
I believe I first saw this buck in 2017 the first time I’d ever walked out this particular ridge. It was a younger looking small buck, but had multiple extras. Each year thereafter I would walk out the ridge scouting to see if I could get another look.
In 2019 I got a look at him while scouting. He had the fun stuff, but wasn’t big enough, nor did I have a tag that year.
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I also have an antler I picked up in 2019 that I’m awfully sure is from the same buck from 2018.
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Founder

Founder Since 1999
Messages
10,566
In 2020, I spent 7 days archery hunting him and never seen him. In fact I spent several days in there prior to both the archery and rifle and never laid eyes on him. Opening day of the rifle hunting, I crossed paths with a different stud buck that I didn’t know was even living in there, even after scouting and archery hunting many days in the area. What a surprise!!!!
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Founder

Founder Since 1999
Messages
10,566
My first 2 day scouting trip in 2021 was looking for this buck. I spotted from a mile away where I could see the most of his home area, but no buck.

A month later I returned to the area, and still didn’t see him…..UNTIL my walk out. How lucky am I? It was late morning, I was hiking out, likely with no return, when there he was feeding right out there in the sunshineWOW, did he look good!!!

I can’t tell you how excited I was to see him again and to see how big he was. But of course, I immediately began thinking about the other hunters and guides that I assumed would also find and be hunting him.

A couple weeks later I did another 2 day scouting trip in the area, but didn’t see him. He proved in 2020 that he was a tough buck to get a look at, and was proving it again in 2021.

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Founder

Founder Since 1999
Messages
10,566
Because I was so sure that other guys would find him, I felt my only hope of getting him would be with my bow.
I had also located a couple other great bucks about a mile or so from where I’d be hunting, so my hunting partner, Gus, and I packed in and camped between the two areas. Each day we’d go our separate directions.

Where I was hunting I had two options, a lower point where I’d seen him in the summer in both 2020 and 2021, and a more remote ridgeline where I saw him in 2017 and 2019.

I spent the first 4 days archery hunting spotting the lower area in the mornings and walking the ridge in the evenings. No buck! It was so frustrating!!! “Where is he?” is what I kept asking myself.
On the 5th day of hunting, I decided to go out the ridge in the morning and that decision was rewarded as I found him on an east facing slope, and he still looked good!
There was no shot opportunity presented, but it felt good to finally see him. From that day forward I began going out that ridge almost every morning and evening.
I had seen no other hunters looking for or hunting this buck, which shocked me. How could no one else be after him??? Because no one else was after him, I decided that he must likely spend most of his time on that east facing slope and others who I’m sure scouted the area, never saw him. I think now that the only reason I ever saw him in that lower area is because I caught him coming from water. He didn’t live down there, he lived out that ridge.

In total, I archery hunted 7 days, saw him just the one time. Originally I had plan on much more archer hunting, but because I just wasn’t seeing him much and I had no competition, I only archery hunted the 7 days. I was nervous about pushing him around too much because if I pushed him back to the west towards the lower area, someone else might see him. I needed him to stay out to the east on that ridge where he’s near impossible to see unless one goes out there.

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Founder

Founder Since 1999
Messages
10,566
I packed in for my rifle hunt 2 days before the opener. I was sure nervous about other people hunting in there because there were 5 outfits at the trailhead when I got there!!

The morning before opening day the guide was up there spotting from that lower point, which made me a little nervous, but I was confident they didn’t know about the big buck.

My plan for the rifle hunt was to go out that ridge every morning and evening. It’s a tough place to hunt because I couldn’t see a whole lot of country and the wind is always at my back!

The first 4 days was again frustrating…..no buck. Luckily, no other hunters really either. I saw a couple guys make their way to the ridge on day 4, but they were hours late.

On evening of day 5, after some heavy rain that turned to snow, there he was!!!! I was so excited. Finally! BUT, I reached for my rangefinder and it wasn’t in my pocket. “Crap!” I had left it in my tent.
I was guessing he was about 440 down a steep slope, and I thought about taking a shot, but ultimately decided I’d be sick if I were to wound him and lose him. I tried shaving off a 100 yards, figuring if I could get the distance down then if my yardage guess was wrong, I’d still have a flat enough flying bullet to get him. But no luck. I shaved the 100 yards, but he just didn’t present a shot.

I walked back to camp so disappointed in myself. What a major screw up!!!!! All my time and effort is put in and I make the mistake of leaving my rangefinder in the tent. So stupid!!!

For the next 4 days of hunting, no buck and my screw up really weighed on me. I couldn’t get it off my mind. I did the numbers and I realized that on average, I was only seeing the buck once every 6-7 days of looking.

On the 8th day of the hunt, I decided to give the area a rest. All the does and fawns were aware of my presence and so I assumed he was as well. The area needed a rest, so I returned home for 3 days.



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Founder

Founder Since 1999
Messages
10,566
On the second Sunday of the hunt I drove up and packed in for another 4 days of hunting. When I got to my tent, I found it had been shredded by a bear. Monday was no good, no sighting of the buck. That night after rigging my tent together to at least stand up, I slept with my rifle right by my side in case the bear returned.

Tuesday though was my day. FINALLY, there he was, right where I’d been waiting for him to show himself again. This was just the 5th sighting of him in the past 2 years out of 37 days scouting and hunting the area. 5 times over 37 days!!!!

He caught me moving along the ridge, so I’m actually lucky that he didn’t quite know what I was I guess. He should’ve got out of there, but he just watched me as I quickly hit the dirt, laid down, ranged him at 380ish and put my second dot right on his shoulder. I was sure it was him, but waited a moment for him to turn his head so I could be dead certain. I needed to shoot before I lost another opportunity, so I sent one. Perfect hit and he dropped and was dead within moments, my favorite kind of shot.

This one here has got to be my greatest trophy. So much time and effort went into hunting this buck down. Lots of frustrating days looking for him. I’ll be honest, it was not all fun.

He’s a 9x10, 28 wide cheater to cheater with a gross score of 211-5/8. I had guessed 210ish, but when I walked up on him he didn’t look 210ish. I was actually then thinking 200 or a hair better. But he end up with a 185 frame and over 26 inches of extra stuff. He’s a neat buck for sure.

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