Iccyman001's 2015 adventure

iccyman001

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596
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Welcome all to my 2015 hunting journal.

I may be late to the game, but I assure you that I have an all star year set up ahead of me.

This year I drew a New Mexico elk hunt, mule deer hunt, and Oryx.
I also have plenty of NM dove and quail to take down.


On top of that I have plenty of Oklahoma whitetail to chase, fall turkey, and Ill possibly be heading out to Missouri too......

So all in all, this will be a great year!!!!!


I hope you enjoy.
 

iccyman001

Active Member
Messages
596
Before we roll right into 2015, I want to show you how great of a season 2014 was.

The motto or slogan that best suites 2014 is "you get what you put in."

A little about myself so I can bring you more into this picture.
I've always been a whitetail hunter. I grew up in New England and used to gun hunt the North Maine woods every year.
Now I live out in NM and just recently started bow hunting AKA became addicted to bow hunting.

2014 was my second season ever of it and boy was it a great experience.

My first hunt of 2014 was an elk hunt. It was my first elk hunt ever and it was bow. On top of all of that, it was a solo hunt.

Well, day 1 of my first hunt ever, I was able to shoot an elk!!!!
So now I am not only addicted to bow hunting..... but elk have taken my life over. I am a full blown whitetail addict, but there is just something really special about hunting elk.




He may not be the biggest elk in the world, but I guarantee that I was just excited, if not more than a seasoned vet shooting a 400" bull.


Did I mention how tasty he was :D


After that I had a phenomenal whitetail season.
I was able to shoot two very nice bucks from public land. On top of that I was able to shoot them from the ground. Something completely new to me.

I grew up using tree stands (I killed my elk from a tree stand)

Well where I whitetail hunt, the brush and trees are too small and low for stands. SO I hunted exclusively from natural ground blinds.


The first buck I shot was hot on a doe.

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This is him before the season opened.

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Then we have my next buck and this story was a great one....
Something that I will never forget.
 

iccyman001

Active Member
Messages
596
This next buck was one of my greatest experiences that I've had so far.

I was able to scout, follow, pattern, and then harvest a very mature buck.

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After carefully following him all year, I finally narrowed him down to a very tiny section of land. I knew he bedded in the area because it was close to food, water, and his does.

Fast forward to Nov 28th. I had just finished up helping my father in law put up Christmas decorations and I decided I wanted to head out for a weekend hunt.

I hooked up my trailer and made my way out to the woods.
I got into my spot very late in the afternoon and only had about 50 minutes to an hour left of shooting light.

I wanted to check the game camera over my hot spot, so I unhitched my trailer and just went straight into the woods without changing.

I swapped SD cards and sat down in my homemade blind and reviewed my pictures. I was very satisfied with what I found and still have some shooting light left, so I decided to just see what came in.

Well not 2-3 minutes after I was done reviewing my camera, I saw a deer. First thing I noticed was a rack, then very large tines, then the curved brows.....

I almost puked because I knew it was my big buck and he was coming right into me.

He came up to me quartering to, then started going broadside.....
at 15 yards......

This is what happened....

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No one would believe me about this story if I wouldn't have had these pictures.

In blue jeans and a white T shirt, I harvested the biggest buck of my life on public land.

All of my hard work had finally paid off.
Sometimes hard work with some luck, makes for a good story. :D


He scored 158 1/8 and was just an absolute beautiful buck.

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I was so blessed with my 2014 season.
 

iccyman001

Active Member
Messages
596
So now with my 2015 season.

So far New Mexico's and Oklahoma's rainfall has been stellar this year, so I am expecting extremely healthy animals and great antler growth.


My first priority this year will be elk.

I've been out scouting there so much more and running cameras.
Being it's only my second season, I will be a little more picky, but not too much.

The meat is amazing the I love a full freezer.
I do have 14 days though and plenty of nice animals running around.

SO I think the first few days will be picky, then the rest will be anything to fill the freezer, minus a calf.


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I have TONS more pictures of nice rags, cows, and some other nice bulls.
This will be such a great year!
 

iccyman001

Active Member
Messages
596
So I am getting pretty excited, time is just ticking down!!!!


This weekend I am heading out to do some more scouting, pick my ground blind spots and build them. (They will all be natural)

I'll also add the final 3 cameras and then the countdown begins.


I am 19 days away from heading up to the mountains.
I am 21 days and 13 hours away from open day.


Luckily next weekend I am taking my buddy on an antelope hunt.
He has never been before and he drew a unit I hunted last year, so I'll help him as much as I can.

Should be kind of cool, I will try to record the hunt!!!!

This year has kind of a theme.

First off it's an all star year for me, but I am also taking a lot of my friends on first time hunts.

I have a first time antelope hunt.
First time elk hunt.
First time mule deer hunt.
First time whitetail hunts.


The elk hunt and mule deer hunt will be really exciting because I am taking a father and his two boys. They will have a ball.



Until then, I am just shooting as much as I can, working out, and going through my gear.
 

iccyman001

Active Member
Messages
596
Just got back from another scouting trip and I have lots of great pictures.


Again, this is my only second elk hunt ever and I will be so happy shooting anything, but I am tracking about 3 different 6x6s and some nice 5x5s too.


Here are some pictures.

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iccyman001

Active Member
Messages
596
I am all packed up, got 12 more arrows today, some noctunals, and had my bow looked over.


I have to suffer through two more workdays and I am heading out to the mountains Saturday. The idea is to get camp set up, pull cameras one last time, and shoot a little. I'll also do some walking around dirt roads to get acclimated.

Then come Tuesday, it's game on!
 

iccyman001

Active Member
Messages
596
This will be a lot of posting so be patient!

Elk trip 2015 started Saturday afternoon on August 29th. We wanted to get up there nice and early to check cameras, get acclimated to the higher elevation and do some final scouting, and camp set up.

We got to camp, set up, and went on our way. Right from the get go, something seemed off.
All the elk had seemed to disappear around August 26th. I knew some would be disappearing, but not everything.
After some more investigating and talking with the local rangers, we found out cats had been pretty active in the area.

That paired with elk breaking up from their groups and starting to find cows, it was a hot mess.

No worries though, we got right into scout mode and started putting on some miles.



Camp

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Secret cameras hidden around camp (2 total) Just in case...

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Me leaving Clovis....

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Few more around camp...

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iccyman001

Active Member
Messages
596
So day 1 opens and it was just game on.


The bulls were not very vocal, but there were a few that would talk in the morning and respond to my calls.
I had many of encounters, many close calls, many new lessons or experiences and so much fun.

Between calling stuff in, stalking in on stuff, or setting up on them, I was able to see and get into a lot of elk.


The first few days the dots would just never connect. I have a max of a 50 yard bow shot and even with that, I won't shoot it half the time (Prefer 40 or less).

So I cannot tell you how many elk I had at 59 yards, 55 yards, 52 yards, etc and they had to get the pass.



There were lots of new experiences for me out there too. Being from the east, I never had to deal with cats before....
I'll tell you what, I was a little nervous on this day, but I made the best of it.

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Notice the time difference. About an hour.....

The time on the camera was wrong, so it was 5 the cat came in and 6 is when I came in....

Never the less, I still hunted my tail off and didn't let the cats stop me. I would still go in well before sun up and hunt until well after the sun was down.

After many of days of hard hunting, a few failed connections and some rough patches, I was finally able to make it happen.


Day 9.


I was up in the burn area bordering the timber that leads to a few water holes. I knew bulls were heading there in the morning to go bed down, so I wanted to try to cut them off.

When I got to my spot and first light started showing, the bulls were already on their way. Most of them were cutting up the mountain a few hundred yards before my timber pocket, so I watched them crest the ridge.

When I thought all of them had gone over, I took a few steps forward and froze. I saw a great bull about 300-400 yards ahead of me feeding.
I looked at the route ahead of me and started stalking in. After about 30 minutes I had cut myself down to 59 yards.

He stood there perfectly calm, in a great lane, at 59 yards with his head hidden behind a tree... only issue is I ran out of coverage to stalk in straight.
My only option was to cut left of him a bit in hopes of him continuing forward and giving me a 40 yard shot in a lane I found.

Well, hunting being hunting.... he cut directly up the mountain where he was. Wind was partially in my favor so I followed him for a while maintaining about 100 yards between us. Finally around 830 he decided it was time to lay down. I marked the spot on my GPS and pulled out.

When I got to my truck I realized he was bedding above a water hole I had some action at the night before (3 or 4 bulls, 2 cows, and 1 ape crazy bull in the woods screaming his head off)

So my plan of action was to sit on the waterhole that night and see if he would come in.


I got in at 530 and started my wait. Sundown was at 7:26 and that meant legal shooting hours was until 7:56.

At 7:23 I had some stupid road hunter drive in, park about 400 yards away from me and make the most pathetic bugle i've ever heard. He waited 57 seconds and left....

I was livid, but it's public land, so that's that.


At 7:35 I saw movement. Low and behold, I see rack.... "IT'S MY BULL"

He came into the waterhole, got into the water in front of me, 40 yards broadside.....

This is where it got a little frustrating, but I am constantly reminded that no matter how much your prepare or practice, its still bowhunting...


I had plenty of time to watch him come in and I was perfectly calm while I started going through my motions....

Draw, picked the hair I want to hit, sight is level, finger on release trigger, elbow back....arrow flies.....
and the bull drops in his place....... :problem:

I am not sure if he was dropping down to roll in the water or cool his belly, but the arrow spined him....
I've had the buck fever before, but I know I was calm for this, so it drives me nuts.

I sent another arrow down at him right away hitting a lung and he died out quick, I was not about to have this thing suffer in front of me.


I got over to him and sure enough. The arrow I shot was right in line with where I wanted behind his shoulder crease, but somehow he had dropped 5-7 inches and it hit spine....


I hate it, but it happened and I assure you I did not let him suffer.


This is when the happiness began. 2nd elk hunt ever....with a bow.... and I have my second elk down. He is certainly a great upgrade from my spike last year and once again it just goes to show that hard work and determination pays off. I scouted my tail off all summer, prepared physically, mentally, and spiritually and was able to make it happen.

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With a few hundred lbs of elk in the freezer and a new rack for the wall, I would say I am off to a good start for 2015.
 

iccyman001

Active Member
Messages
596
Some random final pictures.....

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Drive home^

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Arriving back in town :( ^

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Victory snack ^ Ice cream and candy...

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This is my 9 am pick me up pack :D


I should also mention my bear encounters.... this will get me for a long time....


New Mexico is an OTC quota bear state. It opens Sept 1-22 for archery and then goes into rifle.


Well I purchased a bear tag, just in case.

Sept 6th I am hunting a water hole and have a 300lb black bear come in on my.... 36 yards..... He or she sat there for about 15 minutes drinking water.

This was all while I was playing horrible mind games with myself.
I've never hunted the bears here before and had no idea when the quota usually filled. So to prevent a large fine or jail time, I did not shoot.


I went into town for lunch and made a phone call to game and fish. They sort of laughed at me....."Sir, bear has never, ever been closed or hit the quota in archery season...."




Oh well, I am glad I did what I did, but that would have been my first bear, and with a bow....


I went back that evening and went into a new spot. I walk in 10 minutes and catch movement up on a rock above me..... it's the most beautiful chocolate bear I have ever seen in my life......

62 yards away.....
There was no way I could scale the cliff in time to cut the ground and I won't shoot past 50... so no bears for me this trip....

Maybe next time.



So where we stand now:


Oct 1st-Jan 15th'16 Oklahoma Deer and Turkey.
Oct 9-12th I'll be back up in the mountains taking a father and his two teenage sons on their first elk hunt ever. He is a guy from my base and grew up in Alabama, so this will be a TOTALLY different hunt from what he is used to.
Oct 31-Nov 4th I will be in the mountains for a mule deer hunt.
Feb 19th-21st'16 Oryx hunt.

There will be quite a few weekend hunts in Oklahoma, but the main focus will be in Nov.

Then I may run off to either Missouri, Nebraska, Arkansas or other places for more hunting.
 

iccyman001

Active Member
Messages
596
Once we started additional scouting I started finding some really good areas.

Stuff that just screamed elk to me.
Fresh rubs, crap, beds, water, food, etc

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There was another area that seemed to be hot too.
It was a large area spread throughout a few ridges, cliffs, valleys, that was recently was burnt.
It had great timber thickets bordering the burn, great vegetation growing in the burn area, and it was located well above a few watering holes.

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iccyman001

Active Member
Messages
596
Well, I aided two guys on their first elk hunts ever.

One guy was able to get his first elk ever on opening day....

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The other guy...... not so much....
I got him into 6 different bulls.... one was the biggest bull I've ever seen in my life.
Bigger than any of the pics I got, including them in velvet.... I called the bull into 30 yards.. TWICE! He was SO FIRED UP, but so was the shooter and he ended up not being able to do anything.


Here is me getting the bull fired up before we started our stalk ^


and some additional pics from the trip:

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iccyman001

Active Member
Messages
596
This weekend I am helping a buddy on a mule deer hunt.


Then the following weekend I have my mule deer hunt Oct 31- Nov 4th.


Then I'll be hunting whitetail/mule deer in Oklahoma from Nov 6th until maybe the 23rd?


I still don't have too many MONSTERS running around, but I have a few decent 4x4 whitetail running around that will score close to pope and young.

Plus a good mule deer that is GREAT for Oklahoma.

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So in a nutshell I have plenty of hunting left.... NM mule deer tag, 6 Oklahoma deer tags and my ORYX!!!!
 

iccyman001

Active Member
Messages
596
I just found a random SD card today and it turns out that it was from my elk hunt.

Well, I hung a camera or two around our camp for security reasons.


I finally went through the pictures today and it brought me right back to Sept 9th, the day I killed my bull.
I figured I would share if with you.


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^ this is a picture of a ford ranger driving by my camp. He had stopped 5 minutes before this right near where I was to let out a "bugle".....
It sounded like a donkey, but... yeah.... I was glad he left.




At 1930 my bull came in and I put him down.

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^ This was me getting back to camp all amped up. I had to wait for my camp mate to go back and start the retrieval.

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^ here we go!!!!


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^ after dragging my elk out of the muddy wallow and water, we decided it would be best for dinner to calm down and then get back to the elk to butcher.


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^ off we go again!

and finally....



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^ hey, what is that in the bed of my truck? :D
 

iccyman001

Active Member
Messages
596
Well, this weekend had its ups and downs, but it was deer hunting, so I was obviously happy.


Remember how I didn't have my honey hole camera on? Well I turned it on and in the 6 days I was gone I had does and a NEW TARGET BUCK show up.
He will make me lose sleep :D

One camera had died, and another had nothing on it.... October lull.... YUCK!


Anyways, Saturday morning I found some new areas that I really like and a new water source that was getting hit hard.
So I put a camera up over that.

Then I went to hang another camera and came real close to two bucks. One was a little guy and the other was a bit bigger. Both would get shot after the rut, but not before. I also saw a mule deer doe, but she was too far out.


I went to another spot that evening and had a DOE come in at 23 yards.... she came in at a blind spot and me being a dumby sent a message on my phone when I looked up, she was looking right at me broadside.....




This morning I it was nice and cool.... FIRST FROST!
I need need need this time change to happen asap.

I had two does come in at 705.... legal shooting time was 724....
Another reason is the big buck I found comes in at 630.....


After my morning sit I went into another area that I wanted to investigate and I saw 2 does up ahead. They didn't see me, so I put in a tiny stalk.
I got within 45 yards and.... turns out.... there were 3 does.... mama was watching me and they ran off.... GRRRRR


On my way out I ran into about 40-50 turkeys. I once again was drawn at 17 yards on a monster tom, but he was surrounded by hens.
NO ethical shot.... BOOOO

I went back to the trailer, replaced batteries in my final camera and went into an area I always see a bunch of does at.
I was silently sneaking in and looked over to the left down a ravine that caught my eye.... I SHOULD HAVE LOOKED RIGHT.
3 does were bedded by me at 20 yards..... GRRRR

Again they saw me before I saw them.




All in all it was a great trip and I am so excited for cold weather, time change, and the RUT!





Next up I hunt Northern NM for a mule deer hunt. Oct 31- Nov 4th.
Then I come back and roll right into Oklahoma rut hunting :D
 

iccyman001

Active Member
Messages
596
I leave this Friday afternoon for my Northern NM mountain mule deer hunt.
The terrain is crazy, the weather will be crazy, and people tell me that I am crazy for attempting to hunt this place without a horse..... game on!
This is a very difficult unit. Last year there were 30 tags sold between two 5 day seasons.... only 1 tag was punched the first hunt and only 3 the second.....
I am excited to make something happen.

My mule deer hunt is from Oct 31st until Nov 4th.
Then I come back for a few days and leave again the 6th for Oklahoma.


I am thinking of hunting Oklahoma maybe Nov 6th until...... Nov 20th?
Should be seeing some hero pictures here soon, hopefully!



Otherwise I will just be posting lots of pictures of beautiful country.



On a good note, the unit I am deer hunting is still open for bears.... which I have a tag for. This will be fun.
 

iccyman001

Active Member
Messages
596
RE: RE: RE: RE: Iccyman001's 2015 adventure

I've been slacking on this, so it's time for some catch up.


My mule deer hunt was a bust, however this was one of the most rewarding and peaceful hunts I've been on in a long time.

Solo hunts are my favorite and this was one of my first one in ages.

Spending time in the mountains in some of the most beautiful country makes everything better!


TOTAL DEER SEEN: 57..... DOES. ALL DOES....
They were all in bow range and I had one in clubbing range....

I treated every encounter as if I had my bow and practiced "drawing" on them.
So I definitely got some good experience.


Anyways, I averaged 13 miles a day, found some great treasures, and saw lots of.....does.




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iccyman001

Active Member
Messages
596
After my mule deer hunt I was ready to chase some deer in Oklahoma!

I had a fun time and was "successfulish" so far.

I killed a little mule deer doe for some more freezer meat and I have passed on 16 bucks so far this season. Waiting for the bigger ones!!!!


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I also had a bad encounter with a nice mature deer I dubbed the "pee buck".

I hunt natural ground blinds and sit on a little chair in them. Well, it's definitely time to upgrade because I stood up to pee after a quick scan and hear a noise up ahead. I didn't see anything, but I heard something that sounded large. I started to pee and then looked up and a mature 5x4 that I was chasing walked by my lane at 40 yards and disappeared behind a cedar tree. If I wouldn't have made that noise was walking right up to me and would give offered a 20 yard broadside shot..... OH WELL....



 

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