Gonna be a great 2017 hunting year!


Long Time Member
Hard to believe it is 2017. Time to get cranked up for another fun year of hunting and fishing in Idaho and surrounding states (if lucky in some draws). Since the wife and I retired last August, we have been fortunate to get to travel around seeing our friends and family in different areas of the country.

The year started off amazing by getting notified of winning a guided hunt from Texas Parks and Wildlife on the Mason Mt. WMA for Scimitar Horned Oryx the last week of January. It turned out to be a great trip and I was successful on a 40" bull. Made some wonderful new friends too.



When I got back from a couple weeks in the Lone Star state the better half decided we needed to upgrade the house a little. We enjoy watching HGTV shows, and it looks so simple when they do it! Tore out a few walls, put in new tile, lights, fireplace, floors and kitchen, Quartz counter tops instead of laminate, and its beautiful. If I get to apply for a few more tags by keeping her happy, it's worth it! :)


Because of the month long renovation I wasn't able to go back to West Texas with my hunting partners on an awesome aoudad sheep hunt, but they had a great time and got a couple beauties. Dave's looked like it had been to the beauty parlor to have his chaps blow dried for the picture!



We made our 4 week timeline on the house remodel and celebrated by going to Las Vegas and Lake Havasu for our anniversary. Hooked up with our friends there, and managed to get out on the lake for some great bass fishing. Got both smallmouth and largemouth and had a ball with the pontoon boats in the weedy coves.


The wife and I have never had this much time in our careers (both working 12-14 hour days) to be together as much, but since retiring we have been playing a lot. Got to spend some time down at Moab Utah, and watching all the fun that people had in the side-by-side UTV's convinced us that I should stop beating up the truck, and get one to use in hunting also. We can ride around together in it, and she loves the outdoors in it.

I bought a utility trailer from Lisa (Predator), and since it was empty we decided to fill it up! :) Found a great new 2016 Kawasaki Teryx 800, with a winch to keep me out of trouble, added a roof and windshield to keep the wife comfy and we were ready to go.



Tried to use it the other day and even though we put 70 miles on it, we were still blocked out of all my bear hunting areas by snow drifts. Maybe another week will see the last of the roads open up. June is a perfect time for calling bears on the elk calving grounds with the muzzleloader anyway.

Haven't had any luck in the western states draws so far, but looking at the Kansas site it appears that I may have drawn a WT tag. We will see when the official results are posted next week. Finished getting my Idaho, Wyoming, and Arizona applications in so now it just a waiting game again for the final states. Oh well, OTC in Idaho isn't a bad way to go if you don't get any love from other states.

Good luck to everyone who has drawn a tag, or is still waiting like me. There will be more updates to this HAC to follow in the weeks to come.


Long Time Member
Had a quick email and photo from our friends in Texas and was happy to know there is a new deer lease in our future. This one is over by the area of Brackettville and has lots of exotics in addition to deer and hogs. Shouldbe a fun Fall trip down to visit, and maybe get some excellent axis deer meat for the freezer too.


Got around to uploading our pictures from the trip to southern Utah last week. It was the first time down there for either of us, and was absolutely beautiful! People who live in the area are so lucky to see those immense expanses of open canyon country. Hiking around really makes you feel small in comparison.




Checked on the Kansas home page this morning, and the official results are up and available for NR deer applications. Looks like the wife and I will be going camping and hunting in northwest Kansas for a big whitetail buck and an extra doe in Unit 1/2. No luck on the mule deer upgrade, but that was a long shot chance anyway. Time for a lot of research now, for some DIY areas and likely public land.


Now the waiting begins for all the other states application results......


Long Time Member
We didn't have a lot going on this weekend, so Friday we got the Kawasaki Teryx 2 out and headed into the wild lands of Birch Creek and Gilmore Summit area. Managed to ride about 50 miles, and continued with the break-in period on the unit. We managed to get up to 8000' in several areas, but always got turned around because of snow. Can't get to the Meadow Lake Campground yet. Man, the high country got dumped on this year. I am really worried because we have yet to see a deer in any of the areas we have been to.

Here's the new machine with my favorite riding partner along. She packs a mean lunch too! :)



Went back out today for another long ride. Covered 60 miles of roads and trails in the Swan Valley/Palisades area. Found the same problems with access restricted by snow in the upper country. Found some steep rocky trails that required the use of low-range and locked differential and I was impressed with the little Teryx. I think I'm gonna love it, and I know my pickup will appreciate it too!!!! Should be perfect for the desert southwest rocky roads in AZ.

Any of you guys that have hunted Unit 66 and Little Elk Mt. for deer and elk may remember this shot from the road going up. I think there's more snow now than is usually there in Nov/Dec.


Settled back in at home now, and patiently waiting for the next draw results. Man, I hate waiting. This is worse than X-Mas! Hopefully there is a present waiting for all of us.


Long Time Member
Man oh man, we have been swamped with friends, family, and fun camping trips for the last month. Continuing to enjoy the Teryx side by side and the snow is finally melting enough in the high country to get to the mountains. Seeing some beautiful country but wow, are the mosquitoes ever bad with all the greenery!

Idaho and Wyoming were pretty good to me in the draws. Got a whitetail deer tag in Unit 128 that I hunted last year for mule deer at Dubois. Have general OTC deer and elk here at home, but managed to score a muzzy antelope tag and also extra antlerless tags for a WT doe and a cow elk.

Got to go up to the Madison River in Montana last week with friends from AZ, CA, OR, and Wash. Weather and comraderie was fabulous. The trout fly hatch was on pretty good, and the river was packed with out-of-state fly fishermen. Geez, some of these guys really take it serious!!! Couple told me they take the entire summer off and just travel the West fishing.

In between all the company, my hunting partner and I managed to get my scimitar horned oryx from the January Texas hunt mounted and up on the wall. Came out really nice, and I love the form.




My grandson has been away from home for a year in Ecuador, on a student exchange program. He returned this past weekend so we had a big welcome home party at the house. His biggest requests were for American foods-steak, fish, vegetables, deserts, and every kind of chips we had. Seems that rice, beans, corn, and chicken every day was not not enough when you are a growing teenager!!!!!

With AZ starting to charge credit cards today, I will have something to check in the next couple days. The Texas Public Hunting draws just got posted too, so if you do those then now is the time. Good luck to everyone and hope to run into you up on the mountain.


Long Time Member
Hasn't been a lot going on the last six weeks but time for an update anyway. The weather has been hot, hot, hot. When it is in the high 90's and even 100 in the foothills, there is just no animal movement except for first and last 1/2 hour of the day. Pretty slim pickings for scouting and photos.

There was no love in Arizona for me or my partners this year. There have been some really nice buck antelope being followed tho, and hunting season will be great for someone!!!


Glad I have plenty of Idaho hunts lined up this Fall, and they (partners) are scheduled for an awesome Coues deer hunt in Mexico in January. The wife and I made a quick trip to Kansas scouting for my upcoming whitetail hunt, and located the various WMA's and Walk-In areas. The best part of the trip was returning to Idaho with a full cooler of BLUEBELL ice cream. Yummy! We will be there the 11th-24th of Sept. Then we will head down to Texas to see friends, fish a lot for redfish, and maybe hunt some exotics on the lease at Brackettville.

My son has been fully engaged with fighting fires out here in the West this summer. Some of them have definitely been hair-raising affairs!!! You can follow them on the US Wildland Fire website on Facebook.


Took the Teryx out for a 100 mile ride in the mountains north of Idaho Falls, and had a great time on a lot of new roads and trails for my wife. Saw quite a few antelope in the desert and lots of deer up in the forests. This has to be one of the biggest does I have ever seen.


Texas drew their Public Land Drawn Hunts this week, and I was lucky enough to get a coveted archery deer tag for Choke Canyon-North Shore in the first week of January. Should be prime time for the rut, and I hope to score on deer, hogs, and javelina.

If anyone put in for the second chance controlled hunt drawings in Idaho, they should post the results next week. Good luck to all of you who applied. My next chance at drawing tags will be the gun hunts in Texas coming up on 9/15. Can hardly wait.


Long Time Member
I'm sorry its been so long since posting last time. We went on a 5 week road trip, traveled thru 9 states and 7000 miles in the truck with the new trailer. Started out heading for Kansas and the early muzzleloader WT hunt from 9/11-9/24, in the NE corner. Settled into the Goodland Kansas KOA area, and it was really good.

After a couple weeks there, we headed down to Texas and then looked at the hurricane Harvey damage in surrounding areas by all of our friends homes. We visited with a lot of people and helped our friends who had survived the storm. One acquaintance couldn't handle all the pressure, and committed suicide in his home. Such a loss, and terrible tragedy for everyone! After that, we circled back to northern AZ and on home up thru Utah.

Here's a picture of the Goodland Kansas sign as you come into town.


We were welcomed to to KOA in Goodland by the staff, and it is really nice. Full hook ups, cable TV and nicely positioned for me to leave and hunt everyday in any direction. It was extremely hot at 95 degrees, and 90% humidity but we managed to survive it. Went up to St. Francis in the NW corner and hunted all of the WMA's and Walk In Hunting Areas (WIHAs).

I saw 2 shooter deer before the season, and on the last day I hunted I saw 2 more. The rest of the time they eluded me. They are buried up in the corn, which had not been harvested yet. They have no reason to leave in Sept and it is very difficult to find them. I did see deer every sit and was happy with the numbers.


The local residents were very nice, and I met some new friends. There were an amazing number of doves, quail, and pheasants to be seen also.

There were turkeys everywhere and they were out all day long. Had a "Black Lives Matters" protest one day, but it was peaceful and they eventually let me cross the bridge!!!

I saved about 70 box turtles from certain death, as they were crossing the road every day. I have never seen 3-10 turtles on the road at any time, so I just put them in the borrow pits, and hoped they stayed safe! Was it because of the temps.?


For all you taxidermists out there, how'd you like to fix that ear???


After leaving, we headed down thru Kansas, into Oklahoma, and then into Texas. The reason they never really settled the "Staked Plains" (LLano Estacado") is it is to damned hot!!! Here's a dashboard pic coming across, I would never do it again except for March or Nov.


Loved the 3 days we spent in the Hill Country, visiting attractions and looking at exotics.



Rest of the trip was uneventful, but coastal Texas around Matagorda is both hot and humid. Killed a small copperhead trying to get into my friends new house thru the front door. They are out in the country, and have to deal with deer-pigs-and all sorts of slithery creatures all the time. The fishing for a few days in West Matagorda Bay was fabulous and we had some wonderful dinners of fresh fish at the Harbour restaurant. Here's a pic of one of the redfish, in a 120 quart cooler!


We finally wore out our welcome,and decided it was time to head to AZ and chase elk bugles in the Flagstaff and Williams areas. The long drive across NM is boring, but man, they have a lot of pecan trees! We just love the Kaibab Forest and it's open, dispersed camping. Nice days and 30 degree mornings were a welcome change from the South!!!

Once in AZ, there were deer/elk/antelope galore and we were enjoying ourselves. Not as many bugles as last year, but twice as many deer this time. There were several hunts in progress, and quite a bit of traffic on the wood roads.


We gave up after 3 days of camping and headed home to Idaho I da a couple tags opening up, and wanted to do them justice too. One was a muzzleloader antelope that had opened while we were gone. Then WT deer for the rest of the month and elk also.

When we finally got home to Idaho Falls, I remembered why we love it so much. Lovely 40 degree temps. and 13% humidity. WOW, what a change in a few weeks!!!

The muzzy antelope season had opened while I was gone, and I was worried how the winter had affected the population numbers. Hunted high and low and spent hours on the spotting scope. I was really disappointed to find less than a third of the numbers I usually see. After 3 hard days of hunting, I shot the best buck I had seen out of about 30 of them. Nice, but not a monster like in years past. Very heavy 13" buck with 4" prongs and 6" mass. We named him Stumpy! Made me really happy to be successful tho, and with a perfect frontal shot at 202 yards, I was satisfied. He was quartering towards me, and stopped for a moment. Entered the front throat and exited the left shoulder. For you eagle eyes, yes, my muzzy now sports a non-magnifying 1X scope here in Idaho. My left eye is 20/10 but I suffer from presbyopia in my dominant right eye. It is 20/100 and I can't focus on either the front/back/or target. The scope at least gives me a visible cross hair, but is worse for shooting than open sights. How did you guys in Utah ever do this?????????




Now on to Idaho WT and cow elk seasons, then back to Kansas for the firearms season in December!!!Hooray, I love hunting season!!!


Long Time Member
Just a quick update before leaving for Whitetails in WY 128 tomorrow. We have been working, playing, and fishing a lot. My wife left me unsupervised for a weekend, and after a few Capt. Morgans and Coke, the wall in my basement seemed to fall down. Guess I'm doing another open-concept remodel right after hunting season finishes. I love to stay busy around the house, and it helps the re-sale value also.



The previous homeowner fancied himself quite the carpenter, unfortunately, he did things illegally and unsafely. Here's an example of how he framed in the high-temperature gas fireplace with combustible 2x4's. I think I will re-do it with steel studs and cement board.


No luck on WT bucks or cow elk yet, but really didn't expect to with all this nice weather. The South Fork of the Snake has been amazing for Fall fishing, and I talked Predator (Lisa) into coming up for a couple days. Had a ball, ate too many breakfast burritos, and got to spend time with many friends. Here's some pics of our successes.

Pretty acrobatic rainbow.


A really nice rainbow/cutthroat hybrid.


A gorgeous cutthtoat about 22" in its pretty Fall colors.


Hope everyone is having a good Fall hunting, and have lots of tags left to chase. Best of luck to everyone out there. Maybe my next update will be all hunting trophies. :)


Long Time Member
Had an email from a good friend in AZ with a October Coues Deer tag in the unit I like. She had scored on a nice spot/stalk buck down in the bad canyons.


Got back home from a couple quick trips over to Wyoming on our whitetail hunts. Had a great time and the weather cooperated with a little snow and colder weather. The mule deer are down in the hay fields by the hundreds, and there are a lot of sheep coming in out of the badlands right now. saw some decent rams, but none of the really big ones yet.



My hunting partner killed a pretty nice 8 point WT the second day, and one of our other fiends (2 other tag holders besides us) missed one. The rut is very close for both MD and WT. We left after a couple days, and I came back the following Monday.


Saw quite a few more deer down in the fields than before, and looks like the rut is right there. Lots of lip curling and following the herds. A mature buck is close to every group of does. I hope I can get some of the WT does to stand around in Kansas next month like these were doing.


Went out checking my usual spots and located a bunch of whitetails, but very few mature bucks, mostly little 4-6 point yearlings and two year old. Just have to stay patient and hunt right up until dark. The bigger ones are really skittish, and don't like to show themselves very long or often. In the morning, they are usually back into cover of the river bottom before daylight. Finally found two potential victims tho, and the sneak was on.

Was able to get in to about 600-800 yards with the truck, and had to be careful because the field was filling with mule deer. There was one really nice 4x4 buck that we had looked at several times among them. I snuck out into the weedy field and got proned out with a rolled up jacket for a rest. DAMN! Not tall enough, so had to go back for the backpack too, and then it was just right. The 3 does and a small 6 point were at 356 yards, and a much better 8 and a 10 came out of the willow river bottoms at 460. They circled around, pushed and shoved each other a bit, and made their way in to 402 yards. It was getting darker, and I decided which ever one turned broadside first was going to get hammered.

Another truck drove up, but they were nice enough to stop several hundred yards away to watch the show. They thought I was going to shoot the mule deer buck, and were going to give me crap about having to prone out to make a 100 yard shot. At the report, the one guy said the mule deer didn't even flinch, but he saw the WT buck go ass over tea kettle and make a death run for the bottoms. He admitted it was a heck of a poke!!!



Went down to the willows and found him piled up under a bush after a short run. He had run with his head down on the ground, both shoulders broke, and was plowing snow and his legs looked like a wake out either side. I do love my Rem 700 in 7 Mag, affectionately nicknamed "Black death". Loaded him up in the sled and began the long drag back to where I could get a truck close to an access. Walked back to get the truck from where I left it, and came back to the deer.

Back to the motel in the late darkness, quick meal at the Cafe and time to turn in. Temperature really dropped overnight, and was zero when I got up. Got an early start in the morning, and it plummeted to -7 degrees while going back over Togwatee Pass at 9600 feet.

Coming into Jackson, I got a short call from friends at home, saying "On your way home, could you please stop by and help retrieve a moose?". Man, I love hunting season!!!


Want to go back and video deer for a couple days. My Idaho WT hunt opens on this Friday (the 10th), that cow elk out on the desert is calling my name too. After finishing Thanksgiving with the family, I get to head over to Kansas. Get a whole month off, then back down to Texas for my trophy archery hunt.

Did I mention how much I love hunting season???????????


Long Time Member
Had a quick two day break after returning from Wyoming, and decided that time was wasting, so I'd better go hunt again. The wife said it was gonna be crappy and rain and snow, so she had no interest in going out. I think she just doesn't like being miserable anymore :). I have a regular whitetail tag and an extra doe, so grabbed the 12 ga. slug gun and off I went to one of our short-range units a couple hours up north...

Drove thru a blizzard once I got above 5500 feet, and soon was over the pass and into a new valley. The early excitement was a full 360 degree spin out, around 40 mph. Yep, better slow it down! Got in position to glass from the truck before sunrise and started seeing deer and elk in the various fields. Nothing cooperated early so I went to another few spots without success. After an hour of searching, I decided to full-camo up and sit under a cedar tree in the sage brush, out of the wind and rain as much as possible. That helped a lot, and kept the tripod for the spotter stable.

Started my sit at 0800 and around 0930 the deer started moving out of the fields and into the sagebrush bottoms, to go up on the benches to lay up for the day. A small bunch of whitetail does lined out across in front of me, followed by a pretty nice buck. They crossed at 206 yards, which is well within the range of the fast 300 grain sabot round in the gun. They got out quite a ways in front of the buck, and he started a jog to catch back up with them. When the buck came into the clear and stopped, the shot rang out and he was down for the count. Just dropped in his tracks, and took a little looking to find in the high sage. An energetic little retrieve back to the truck soon had me loaded up and heading home about noon.




The best decision I ever made was to put a Hastings rifled-slug barrel on my Rem 870 to take advantage of our short-range weapons seasons for whitetails here in eastern Idaho. They are fun to hunt, great to eat, and provide a different opportunity to hunt deer when our mule deer seem to be struggling. With a low power scope, it is a deadly combination out to about 250 yards. The 300 grain bullet smashes them when it connects.



Guess I'll have to start roaming the vast sagebrush flats in the desert for cow elk now. They should be starting down out of the mountains to hit the alfalfa fields soon. The farmers don't like feeding them, and are nice to let us hunt around their properties. Deer sure are fun to hunt for trophies, but elk is what fills the freezer around our house. Yummy!


Long Time Member
Well, I headed back to the Goodland Kansas area a couple days early to scout and to get ready for the November 29th opener of the regular firearms season there. I was allowed to hunt again, but was restricted to using my muzzleloader instead of a centerfire rifle. The rut had peaked between the 8th and 16th, but we were still plenty close timing wise, and maybe a doe would come into second estrous. It's about a 780 mile drive from my house, but it can be done in one long day. Settled in for the evening at the motel with a gin and tonic, and a Tylenol for the headache that was developing from driving tension. Getting up the next morning at the butt-crack of dawn to go scout was tough, but I got it done. Big thermos of coffee and enough junk food to feed Patton's army , and I was good to go.

I got a great deal at Cabela's on a new Bushnell 14MP trail camera, and brought it along with me to do some before-the- hunt scouting. Found a perfect tree where I had seen deer in the past (for 10 days in Sept.) and got it set up. Was supposed to be really windy that day and into the night, so I set it down in the bottoms, hoping to be more protected. There is some beautiful country there for deer.

Cottonwood River Bottom

Fresh rubs on willow cover

Fence post rubs

The Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is set up nicely for both upland birds and big game. I saw a few skunks and raccoons also, and it is loaded with pheasant. They run from 500 to 1500 acres in size, and the Walk-In-Hunt-Area (WIHA) totals another 10,000 acres in those units I could hunt. Lots of food plots, developed cover patches and sunflower fields, and nice clean water sources.

Solar powered well pump and waterhole.

While driving around, I was amazed by all the historical information signs and postings. They like to paint up old plow disks, and display them for tourists. Here is one that was particularly interesting. As an old prayer site to native Americans, I decided to offer up some prayers of my own for a safe, enjoyable, and successful hunt.

Prayer site

Opening morning I got into the bottoms a half hour before daylight, and was surprised to never see another hunter in there that day. Totally different from what we would experience in Idaho! In Kansas you have to have an orange hat and several hundred square inches of hunter orange on both your front and back. I felt like a neon pumpkin, but it didn't seem to bother the deer if you didn't move. I pulled up my facemask and they walked right on by, many times within 50 yards!


After sitting still for about an hour, I decided to go collect my camera and see how successful I had been. Boy, was that a funny joke when I opened it up to check the card. 3756 pictures, and the message on the screen said "OUT OF MEMORY". Seems I had set the sensitivity too high and also angled the focus point right at some close weeds that blew in the wind all night long. Did get beautiful photos of the changing shadows but no animals. Hunted out the rest of the day, still hunting some cat tail swamps, and saw quite a few does and small bucks. I saw one fairly nice 8 point, working his way from private land back into public river bottoms. I do not need the meat with a couple cow elk tags left to fill, so I had already made the decision not to shoot any does at all, and to only shoot a buck if it was better than the ones I had already taken this year. That would prove to be a little difficult in the long run.

Deer in Corn

Cornfield at WMA


Corn Cob out in the winter wheat

Throughout the entire time of my hunt, I was amazed by the sheer number of turkeys I saw in the bottoms. It appears they gang up and move closer to town for the winter. I saw literally hundreds of birds in several large bunches; i managed to get a few minutes of video where about 300 of them were stretched out in a line for 500 yards!!! Huge groups of hens, but respectable numbers of toms also. There is a Fall turkey season, but it closes the day before deer season opens, and re-opens the day after deer closes. :)

Turkeys in Field.

There are more mule deer than whitetails in this part of Kansas (Unit 1 and 2), and you can only hunt them if you are successful in the lottery draw for an either-species,either-sex tag. For non-residents, you can only apply for that tag is the muzzleloader only season. Most are your typical 3 and 4 point bucks, but I saw a few in Sept. that were monsters!!! There was one 28" typical who made frustrating me a nightly event. I will definitely try for the MD tag again next year.

Mule deer at dusk

Mule deer in bottom

After I learned the correct way to locate some of the bigger bucks (binos first in the dark, then spotting scope the fresh cut corn fields) I got much better at finding big bucks. You would have to wait until all the deer bedded, then get into the standing corn and start to crawl!!! Bend over 4 stalks so you could fit thru, advance 16 inches, and repeat the process for the next 2468 times. This would eventually get you across these mile-wide pivot irrigated fields, and hopefully to within 200 yards of your quarry. I missed both a 140"+ eight point and a 150"+ ten point on two different occasions, because they would either jump and run, or the does would just decide that was the right time to get up and wander away, taking your buck with her. :)

Here I am, trying to cover rifle distances with a short-range muzzleloader. I have a lot of confidence out to 200 yards with my Whites, whether they have open sights or low power scopes. Because of the excessive drops of typical muzzy bullets, this would be a perfect situation for a Remington Ultimate or CVA/Traditions Long Rage rifle with Blackhorn powder and stream-lined bullets.

Covering rifle distances with a muzzleloader

The final evening I had to hunt, I went to a usual spot but there was another NR from Michigan there first. Not being able to locate him, and not wanting to blow someone elses hunt, I moved on to a different area. Set up at the top of a hill with a mile view, I glassed for about an hour with no success. There was a huge sunflower field, between two cut corn fields and just a couple of trees on a levee. Suddenly we went from no deer to does/fawns popping up all over out of the sunflowers. With 5 minutes left of shooting light, these 3 bucks stood up and one of them was a true Kansas giant. The image of those massive white antlers appearing out of the cover will haunt me until next year. I flew down the hill in the truck, caught the county road up to the next parking space and ran my guts out trying to cover the mile to them. Before I got there, darkness descended like a cloak and they all moved into the middle of the corn. From none to 17 deer in a manner of minutes!!!

I had another great time, made some new friends and learned so much from this trip that I am sure I could start out correctly and kill a nice deer. The one million acres of WIHA that land owners enroll provides a great resource to all hunters. The early Sept trip for me was a bust with the 95 degree heat, and this one was also unseasonably warm at 60 degrees in the day times. Think the normal should be more about 20 at night and 40 during the day, that would be pleasant.

I definitely will be trying for this tag again, and either WT-only or Either-species upgrade will be just fine. Then when I found out the Nebraska mule deer tag is OTC, it just increased my determination to check out these areas in the future.

Now I just have find one of those pesky cow elk so that I can pack up and leave for my Choke Canyon archery deer hunt in Texas. That hunt is Jan. 2-5 so myNew Years resolution will be to shoot straight if given an opportunity and make the most of the hunt. That might be the start of the 2018 HAC!!!!!!!!


Long Time Member
Gave it a good try for my desert cow elk hunt this year, but it just wasn't to be. The weather has been so mild that the winter range and alfalfa fields have been bare and dry for all of Nov. and Dec. There has been no reason to come down off the foothills up in the Medicine Lodge country yet. Have seen a few small herds of bulls roaming around, but that is all. I have a very limited cow elk permit good from Jan. 1st to Feb. 15th, so hopefully we can fill the freezer with that one.

The kids and grandkids all congregated at the house for a couple days at Christmas, then they scattered to the winds for trips of their own. The wife and mother-in-law went to Reno for a musical show and I packed for my Texas whitetail trip. Last one of the year, and a long 1700 mile drive down to Three Rivers in South Texas.


Long Time Member
Hopefully my previous update will post, before this one gets reviewed and posts also. That would keep the chronology straight anyway for you readers. Left for my South Texas deer hunt on Dec. 30th and got in late the 31st. Long drives each day but the mighty Nissan Titan drives like a charm, so time goes by quickly. New Years Eve was watching it on TV, and having a toddy by myself.

Started to do the South Texas drizzle that night, and temps dropped to around 35 degrees. Just what the bucks needed, in order to kick off a little secondary rut action. The peak of the rut in that area is almost always Dec. 15th, but it can slide one way or the other with some different weather patterns. I couldn't get on the WMA on New Years Day, so I spent my time going all around the area looking at high fence, low fence, and no fence areas. I even went down to Freer, the home town of the Muy Grande contest. Deer were out everywhere and with the fog and rain they stayed out all day long. Little did I know that temps were going to continue falling, and my success would be affected by it.

Here's a bunch of deer and area pictures from that first day.



Hunting behind high fence just isn't the same, when you can see the tags in their ear!!


They run hunts out of this WMA, and coordinate them in the WMA, Calliham Unit of the state park, and on the un-accessed portion of the North Shore of the park. The dam was created to provide a water supply for all of Corpus Christi and the surrounding area.





Here's a pic of the dam and the access gates for it. You must drive across it every day, and are given an electronic key card to use.I cannot believe in this day and age they would still allow un-escorted private vehicles to drive across, but they do. Over in the dark at 0600 each morning, and back out at dark usually. Because the WMA is a long ways to go, they allow you to check out by phone call.



While driving around on the back roads, there were numerous coyotes, raccoons, armadillos etc. that crossed in front of the truck. This time a momma bobcat and her kittens came across. She didn't want any part of the truck and stayed in the brush, but when I honked the horn one of the kittens just sat down and let me get a picture. Mama cat really started screeching then, and they took off after her.



Heading into my compartment to hunt, on the first day. I only saw this buck two times in four days, and never where a shot was possible. Each permit holder had between 400-700 acres assigned to them. I was in Compartment#1 and this picture was right above where I ended up setting my pop up blind, in a creek bottom and prickly pear flat. You were allowed to bait, and yes, I did broadcast the little golden pellets for good luck. :)


They have large numbers of hogs here, but because of the low temps, they weren't very active. I saw one huge black boar at about 200 yards but this was an archery hunt, and not a rifle in sight!!! Like I said, this was in a creek bottom and it looked like you had root plowed up acres of the bottom land by a pond. They are the kings of destruction. Instead of normal small senderos, I had a power line right-of-way to look at and visibility was super.


Set up in a pear flat about 60 yards across. Good direction with the sun at my back in the afternoon, wind direction was good all 4 days, and I constantly had does and cull bucks within 40 yards. The big shooter bucks I was looking for stayed elusive tho, and only one came in to 70 yards, and the others about 100. Too far for an ethical shot for me, with either the compound or the crossbow!!! Sure was nice to block the cold winds with the pop-up, but could have used a portable heater too!



Most of my day time sits were spent looking at young bucks, birds, quail, or rabbits. I got in some paperback book time, and actually had pretty good cell coverage. The 18-20 degrees each morning were way too cold for the javelina to move around, so never got a shot at one of them either.




After my hunt concluded I was going to head straight home, but my friend from Matagorda called and said I just "had" to come to the new deer lease in Bracketville. Always up for an interesting visit with him, I said "See ya tomorrow then". It really was an authentic old South Texas deer camp, and quite comfortable. The main heater for the place is the oven, with the door open. Hey, it worked well. The main purpose for his trip out was to try and find some big Axis bucks, but this proved to be tough to hunt. They have a 3-day hunt every weekend on the next property over, so things were kinda spooked up. Even the does and younger ones have learned to hide in the thickest cover they can find!!!




As I headed North out of Bracketville in the direction of Rock Springs and eventually Junction, I decided to checkout the no fence canyons of the area just out of town. Wow, was that some awesome country and I know I want to go back and line up an exotic hunt for sure. I think you could have a blast hunting here for some trophies, and probably not to expensive either.



Another long two days drive home, in a torrential Pineapple Express rain storm, which set records for Las Vegas. Slow and steady tho and eventually I was back in Idaho. Returned to finish the remodeling of the house, and now dreaming of another hunting year ahead. Thanks again to Founder for providing us a place to chat about hunting, and good luck to anyone still out there.

Arizona regs are out, Utah will be soon, banquets will get some of our money for the next 3 months, and the Expo is coming up. My friends and Predator had an awesome Coues deer hunt in Mexico. My 2018 license is purchased, the Jan/Feb elk tag is in my pocket, and there are always wolves and lions to chase until bear season opens in the Spring.

Did I mention "I LOVE HUNTING"...


Long Time Member
Last post of this hunting year for me here on the HAC. I was so excited when I drew this very limited 2018 cow elk tag, which ran 1/1-2/15. Surely it would be a slam dunk, right??? Well, today was the final day and they (cows) kicked my butt!!!!

This has been the weirdest winter ever out on the desert. No snow at all for the entire year. Saw 4 herds of antelope today that never even thought about leaving the hay fields. The horn growth is really looking good tho. The coyotes are having a ball feasting on all the mice that are still running around in the stubble, and having an easy time of running them down. It is so funny to watch-the whitetail jackrabbits don't know what to do in their winter white coats, hiding in the brown grass.

First group of elk I found this morning had 17 branch antlered bulls, and they could care less about the truck. Let me drive up to about 150 yards, and just kept eating. At least the next group of bulls had the courtesy to be out in the sagebrush, but they were still lounging in the sunshine. Got up on top of the hills with the big eye, and glassed for miles. All told, I found 4 groups of bulls today totaling about 50 animals. Will be good hunting for next year I guess.



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