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For last few years I've enjoyed sharing mine and my family's hunting adventures on this forum through many photos and stories and although I am starting a bit late this year, I plan to share our 2015 Hunt Adventure Challenge with all of you again.

First off I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who sent me Personal Messages during last seasons HAC. I greatly appreciate all the feedback, support, and enjoy answering any questions you may have about hunts, gear, tactics, ect...

My family and I are located in Northern New Mexico and we live to hunt the New Mexico Backcountry! This 2015 Season we have many tags to be fill including a late season cow elk tag from a first time hunter... My 11 year old little sister will be hunting for the first time and my family and I are very excited for this hunt. We have many other hunts to share on this forum that range from shed/turkey season to September archery hunts to late season cow elk tags and some predator control. As Always I will share our adventures through many photos and stories.

Stay tuned for more on our 2015 Hunt Adventure Challenge


Note: Find us on instagram @NMBACKCOUNTRY



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Sheds Part I

Every year my family and I shed hunt throughout the spring and early summer. We mainly do all of our shed hunting while we turkey hunt and it kind of turned into an off season hobby of ours.

Although I will post many pictures of sheds on this HAC keep in mind that all of these sheds were found in a time span of 4-5 months with many miles of hiking between them.

Shedhunting has become quite popular throughout the years and it has become more difficult to find them due to all the competition of people looking for them. This is mainly due to the high prices that shed antlers are going for now a days.

Like I have stated before on past HACs we don't shed hunt for the money but rather to get out and enjoy the great outdoors and seeing what kind of bulls/bucks survived the last hunting season.

Just imagine some of the stories these sheds could tell...

Old chalk 6pt. This one has been here a while

Small one I missed last year

Spike bull


ATL set hard whites


chalk deer shed that I almost walked right by

This one was just too far gone

First fresh shed of the year!

Awesome Brownie found by my buddy Manuel


The total finds from that day

Had a little bit of a slow start to the 2015 Shed season but things really picked up around mid April!

Stay tuned for Sheds part II



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Sheds Part II

About Mid April my shed season picked up and I finally started finding more browns!

For some reason I found a lot of chalk this year.

Check this out! Elk and mule deer hanging out together.

One of the best pictures Ive ever taken. I had to pull over for this pic!

First Brown Elk Shed of the 2015 season found by my little bro Saint. No atls on this one

My first brown elk shed of the season



Soon after I fount that 5pt I found my best finds of 2015


Love it when they are side by side






My best set of the season so far! It just goes to show that all the time and the miles pays off despite the crowds of people out there. Still got many more sheds to share on here so stay tuned for Sheds Part III



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Sheds Part III

Shed Season Part III

After I found that brown 6x6 set I decided to focus more on turkey hunting in the high country. I didn't think I was going to find many more sheds for the rest of the spring because I was planning on hunting new country a little closer to home. A whole 30 minutes closer! I think I might concentrate shed hunting here from now on...

Brown 6 point that was in an opening with atv tracks all around


Soon after that I turned up another brown 6 point!


Bloody bases happy faces ;)

When I found the second side at first I thought it was a set but after a closer look... you can see its two different bulls!

Ridge top shed

Long tines on this one!

Another brown that I almost stepped on as I was walking over a fallen tree



One day turkey hunting I was hiking back to the truck I glanced over to my right and something caught my eye. I spotted a tine sticking up between two fallen logs!

I walk over and Im about to pick up this shed and I get surprised with a set laying on top of each other! Coolest ATL I have ever found!

Brown 4 pt

Loaded up on the hike out


The next week a couple friends and got out of class early and decided to go out and kill an evening and go shed hunting. We actually got into a gobbling turkey and as I was closing the distance to the gobbler I stumbled upon this nice brown 6 point.



Did not find the other side even with the search party I had that day


3 point with long tines

Small rag horn out in the open

It was definitely a great spring shed season but its not over yet... Its always shed season so hopefully I will turn up some more during some of the other hunts this year.

As of right now here is my current stash of browns from the 2015 season except for one brown set at the bottom but other than that these are all from the 2015 spring! I have all the whites stacked in the garage and will take a pic of both the piles at the end of the year like I did on last years HAC.


Stay tuned for the next post on the 2015 Turkey season! Had a great season for turkey hunting too!



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Turkey Season

Every year turkey season comes and goes in a blink of an eye. This year was a great year for us. Between my brother, my dad, and I, we harvested 5 mature highcountry Merriams gobblers. In the State of NM you are allowed 2 turkeys per hunter.

This year on my HAC I wont go into all the stories of turkey season because Im a little behind on this years hunts. Instead I will do a bunch of pictures as a photo story.

2015 Turkey Season Enjoy

My brothers 2015 turkey. This one was a stubborn gobbler. after a couple hrs of playing Marco Polo it finally worked out


A little bit of behind the scenes




A week later a snow storm came in and kept us restricted from entering any high country roads. didn't get into any thing other than a couple of high country antelope.






The next weekend of turkey hunting didn't produce any turkes but just a few sheds


The next week we finally got back into the gobblers. My dad got the first one that day right off the bad. A beautiful high country Northern NM Merriams gobbler


9.5" beard






Not long after that we get into another bird. This one was hot and now it was my turn. I set up with my dad calling behind me and the gobbler comes in but the gobbler goes directly to my dad. I told my dad if he had a shot to take it. The gobbler was 15 yards from my dad when he shot. My dad had a double that day.

My dads 2nd bird



The next week we head out to a spot where we know there is a turkey roost and we have known to get into a lot of turkey in the past. Right off the bad we get into a gobbler that gobbled right off the roost. My dad and I get our stuff ready and start heading his way. We set up on the bottom of the little ridge he was on and start calling. He didn't seem too interested in us and he started to head down the other side of the ridge. We decide to get even with him and set up again. My dad sat behind me about 30 yards and called. The gobbler answered every call! He was coming quick! Not very long after he appeared in full strut. He came into 32 yards and I lined up the sight right on the waddles and pulled the trigger. Another beautiful merriams down!






The next week I was supposed to take my buddy out and get him a bird but plans changed and I ended up going out alone. I went to an area where I have hunted with my dad and little brother for years. I got a little bit of a late start that morning but just in time enough where the birds are still on the roost. As I was entering the area I heard 2 gobblers and one was very close. I started getting my stuff ready as the sun was rising. I could hear him fly off the roost so I snuck up a little and found a place to set up. I start calling and he answers right away. He came in quick! I could see the sunlight coming through his fan and before I knew it he was under 30 yards. I pulled the trigger and he flopped his way into the oak brush. Bird #2 is down!




It was a great turkey season for us! One of our best! Now Im a little more up to date and will start to post up what Ive been doing the past couple months... antelope scouting! Hope you guys like lots of pics of speedgoats because I got a bunch to share!

Antelope season is next on the list!



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High Country Summer Fishing

Earlier this summer we took a fishing trip to Gunnison Colorado and fished the Taylor Creek Reservoir and the Spring Creek Reservoir. Here are a few pics from that weekend fly fishing the high county.








Amazing fishing trip that I wont soon forget

This is the last post before the hunts start. Now its antelope season and I have tons and tons of scouting pictures and videos to share! Stay tuned while we scout out a buck for my dad to hunt with the muzzleloader!



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Antelope Scouting (Mr. Big)

This year my dad has a muzzleloader tag for pronghorn antelope. Its the same tag that I had last year when I harvested a decent antelope. We are very lucky to be hunting this tag again this year. In this unit there is no shortage of antelope but they are very skittish. Probably the most skittish antelope Ive ever hunted in NM by far. There are always good goats running around in this unit. Its just a matter of finding them!

The first scouting trip took place July 18th and it didn't take us long to find some good bucks.

Here is the first buck we found on our first scouting trip.


The 2nd buck we found was a decent buck and was very skittish


He didn't stick around long




Later on that day we ran into another buck. This buck is very small but he sure made for some awesome skyline pics



Just as we were about to head out we located to what looked like a great buck. We first saw this buck from a distance and knew he was a good one but could not tell exactly tell how good he was. We decided to get a little bit closer and we were blown away with the size of this buck. This is the first buck on the hit list! This buck was no doubt a shooter!

Meet "MR.BIG"





Sorry Not the best quality video





This buck is a good one! He's not built for score but who cares... hes a giant! He soon became #1 on our hit list and we knew we were going to have to keep tabs on him all the way up leading up to opening morning.

Stay tuned for scouting trip #2



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Antelope Scouting II (Slim Jim)

On our next scouting trip we turned up 2 more great bucks! The first one was a giant we named "Slim Jim". He was a very tall buck that was hanging out with 2 smaller bucks.







This is another great buck that we located on the same scouting trip.









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Last scouting trip before the muzzleloader opener

This is the last scouting trip before the hunt opens. There are lots of good bucks running around but they are very scattered out due the very wet year we have received. The last scouting trip we turned up a few more shooters including a couple bucks that we have had a bit of history with.

Good buck that has almost no prong


Lone feeding doe


This is another buck we found on our scouting trip and he looked like a buck we had scouted out from last year. Sure enough I compared it to pictures from last year and its the same buck!






For some reason he had a little limp in his step

Here is another buck that we found and also realized that he was another buck that we had scouted out before in 2013. Found him in the same exact place from where we last saw him 2 years ago!




Here is the last buck that we had on the hit list. He is a good buck that is very tall. Definitely would like to see him again.







Lots of great bucks running around! Hopefully my pops connects on one of these big guys! The next post will be on the hunt itself! Stay tuned!



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My dad's destiny buck

What and eventful and tough hunt!
My dad got it done this last weekend on his best antelope to date! Super tough hunt with lots of little bucks running around and an equal amount of hunters! Definitely fewer big boys than we have seen on past hunts in this unit!

Opening morning started out hiking at first light and using the cool temperature of morning to work the glass because we knew that once that sun came out, it was going to be hard to glass at long distances with the mirage. It didn't take us long to locate antelope. We first spotted a good sized group of about 20 antelope with 2 good bucks feeding in the bunch. The group was slowly feeding and angling down towards us. We thought that if we tried to cut off the group and if they kept angling our way, that maybe there would be a shot opportunity.



My dad set off alone on the stalk as the rest of us watched from a distance out of sight. A solid hour passed by and as the group grew closer, I could see that one of the bucks looked to be definite shooter. He was tall buck that carried his mass well and his tops slicked back. The group of antelope fed closer and closer to the little dark bump that was my dad set up and ready for a shot. I could tell that they were just out of his range and needed to cover about another 100 yards to be in range. Just as it looked like everything was going to work out perfect, the entire group was on full alert and seemed to be looking towards the direction of my dad. I glass my dad only to see two other hunters with antelope decoys sky lined above my dad. Looked like we were not the only ones who were after these antelope. The group didn't stick around long with those two obvious hunters behind my dad and spooked off running back from where they came. That was the last we saw of that group. We were pretty bummed out that we got messed up but it's alright. It wasn?t the first time that this has happened to us and probably won't be the last. Its public land hunting...




Soon after all that mess of events we spotted another buck getting chased around by other hunters. He was very far out but from what we could tell, he was a monster! My dad decides to try a quick stalk on him before lunch and had a close call on getting him but the spooked buck kept his distance and got away. We named him "Mr.Y" due to the shape of his frame. All you could see was 2 long black horns sticking out in a "Y" shape. He was a huge buck We figured we saw the last of him as he disappeared into the mirage of that hot day.

That evening we were glassing a small herd of little bucks and a bunch of does. Nothing really worth stalking because they were very far out. That's when my dad suddenly says "BIG BUCK! BIG BUCK!" We quickly put the spotting scope on the buck to see what we were looking at more clearly and its "Mr.Y"! My dad grabs his gear and sets out on the long solo stalk as we watched from a distance. A couple miles and 3-4 hours later, the elusive buck outwits my dad and so begins his long hike back to the truck. This is the 2nd time this buck has gotten away from my dad and you could tell that the thought of this buck was haunting him. I distinctly remember my dad saying that this buck was one of the biggest bucks he has ever stalked.







The next day we hunted near where we last saw the elusive "Mr.Y" the evening before. As soon as the sun began to rise and before I could even start glassing, I spot a buck running right to us. It was another big buck! He was very mature, dark faced buck with decent length and great mass! A shooter for sure! My dad and I immediately get down and set up for a shot because this buck was covering ground quick! We suspect that he was chased to us by other hunters but there was no one else to be found for miles. The buck get to within 273 yards but all we could see was the top of his back due to the high grass. My dad had to try a quick off had shot because the buck was not visible when he rested the muzzleloader on the shooting sticks. As soon as the buck stopped my dad sailed a shot right over the bucks back and missed clean. The buck kicked it into overdrive and we never saw him again.




We shook off that missed shot and went back to the original game plan knowing that Mr. Y was still in the area. We began to glass and it didn't take us long to find him. He covered a lot of ground from the night before and it looked like he was slowly feeding our way... Very Slowly.

We decided to stay put and let him close the distance between us. Slowly but surely he was headed our way. About 15-20 minutes pass by and we see a few does and a small buck headed his way. We thought for sure that they were going to take him away. The buck didn't pay much attention to the other antelope and kept feeding our way. All of a sudden about the time the group of antelope met him, we spot another hunter stalking the group from the opposite side. The group was on high alert and they were very aware of the other hunter's presence. It didn't take long for them to get moving. The question would be?Which way would they go???

The group was confused on which way to run. We must of had some luck on our side that day because the lead doe was headed right for us with "Mr.Y" right behind her! We couldn't believe it! We set up for a shot and as soon as the group came to a stop I gave my dad a range of 179 yards. The next sound was a Big BOOM followed by a loud WHACK! The buck hunches up and begins to run full speed. He runs about 70-100 yards before flipping over with his feet straight up in the air.










We couldn't believe the events we just witnessed! Soon after my dad was greeted with congratulatory hugs and high 5s! It really was something out of a dream. His biggest buck to date and he has some dandies under his belt! This buck was definitely meant for my dad... His Destiny Buck! (Mr.Y)



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Scouting Velvet Muleys

Earlier in the month when I was traveling from work I ran into this bachelor herd of muleys. I personally do not have a tag for this unit but my Uncle does the last weekend of October. I was kind of surprised to see kind of residential buck in the area due to this unit for deer is more of a migratory unit.

Here are some pics of these low country velvet muleys





Later on in August another scouting trip produced some more great bucks.






These next deer were in an area where hunting is not allowed. They were some really nice bucks for New Mexico!



Great buck!






Hopefully with some luck I can arrow a mature velvet muley this year! I have the same tag as last year. Should be a fun hunt! Lots of bucks running around and I have a couple trail cameras out. Stay tuned! Have a family antelope hunt coming up next!

Here is a pic I took in Colorado a few weeks back. One of the cooler pics I have taken




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Family antelope hunt 2015

Every year we are fortunate enough to accompany our good friends on a family antelope hunt. We head out on a 4 day hunting trip after 2 mature antelope bucks. This is the same hunt that we were on last year in one of my posts in my 2014 HAC. Its a super fun hunt that involves the whole family. This is the hunt we look forward to every year the most and it seems to go by the quickest. This year there will just be the two buck tags and no doe antelope tags like there were last season.



Like every year we try and find the biggest and most mature antelope in the ranch. Last year we did great and harvested two giant antelope! One of the bucks is the biggest buck I have ever put my hands on. Just a true giant antelope that had it all.

It didn't take us long to find some bucks. We first spotted a great buck right off the bat way out in the distance. He had a group of does with him and were very spooky. We decided to come back later and get a better look at this buck.



As the day went on we found a few more bucks but they were not what we were looking for. Decent sized bucks but we knew that there were bigger ones out there and decided to pass because it was still early in the hunt. For some reason we were not seeing as many antelope as we use to in previous years. The numbers were definitely down. We talked to some of the local ranchers about the low numbers and their theory was due to the very wet year, there was water everywhere so the antelope are scattered out more than normal.











About mid afternoon is when we spotted a good buck. This buck was definitely one of the top 3 we have seen all day and decided to try a stalk on him. Our good friend, Roberto, was first to shoot and he set out on the stalk. The buck was preoccupied with other antelope and with the antelope rut right around the corner, we knew that the other antelope would have his full attention.


As he covered more ground, the buck spotted him and was no longer focused on the other antelope. The buck started getting nervous and was just about ready to spook when we heard a shot. The buck hunched up and ran about 40 yards before falling over. We knew he was a good buck and could wait to get over and take a look at this buck.







Our other good friend Jose was next up to shoot. That evening we decided to go and look for that first big buck we saw earlier in the morning. It didn't take us long for us to find him and he was still with all his does. This was going to be hard group to sneak up to because there are a lot of eyes in the group. We decided to ambush the group and sneak up over the hill that they were feeding under with the idea of being in range of the buck. The plan worked out perfect! We came out a little further than the group than we had thought we would have but in range. The group had no idea that we were there until a doe picked us out and started acting really nervous. She got the whole group on alert and she started to run away, taking the group with her. We knew it was going to be a quick shot. The group stopped to look back at us and Jose squeezed of a shot at the buck. Just as I heard the shot, I saw a could of dirt kick up just above the buck's back. It was a high miss. The buck separates from the group and runs at the incredible speed these antelope are known for. We never saw him again.




The next morning we head out in hopes to see if we could find the buck from the night before. We knew it that there was very small chance turning him up again but we figured we would try because he was the biggest buck we saw the entire hunt. After not being able to find the big buck, we set out to try and find one of the decent bucks from the day before. We look over a few smaller bucks before finding a lone buck that was bedded. We decided to try a stalk on this buck before we head back in before noon. It works out perfect! Jose gets to within 220 yards of the bedded buck and takes his shot. The buck doesn't go far before falling over.






Had an amazing time chasing these speedgoats again! This hunt went by in a flash like it does every year. Stay tuned got a deer hunt to post on here soon.



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Antelope euros

Finished up some antelope euros from this season and figured Id share some pics. Still have a couple more hunts that I need to catch up with and post on here but for now here are some European mounts I just finished for us and our friends that were successful on filling their tags this year.


I like this pic! Which buck would you shoot if you had all of them broadside together and a tag in the pocket? Tough one... But I think I would go with the wide one that my pops got.





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My 2015 Archery Muley

Sorry for the delay on this post but Ive just been so busy with my classes and other hunts that I am just getting around to posting my 2015 archery muledeer hunt.

This is the same hunt that I had last year and harvested the small buck on last years HAC. That was my first archery kill and what started my new addiction.... VELVET MULEYS! I was always the guy who loved nothing more than a nice chocolate antlered, hard-horned muledeer buck but ever since Ive been hunting them with the stick and string, that September fuzz has become my new addiction. I just think September muleys look awesome! Theres only one time of the year where you can see these muledeer bucks when they are starting to get their silver capes with that golden velvet... SEPTEMBER!

This year was I was planning to hunt the same area that I got my deer last season. I felt confident in this area because I saw a lot of deer and hoped that I would have a repeat of last year. The first morning of the hunt we found deer right away. The problem was it was too small of a buck. He stuck around for a few pictures but that was all for opening day.



I was confident that there were more deer in the area so we decided to go back in the same area to see if we could find a mature buck. It didn't take us long for us to find that same little spike buck that we had seen on the first day. We just went on by and saw a few more does. It was turning out to be a slow hunt. It was already day two and I had yet to knock an arrow.



I wasn't able to hunt the next day because I had class all day.

That next day My dad and I were able to get out for an evening hunt. We decided to hunt close to where Ive been hunting but a little more further down the ridge. A storm was coming in and we hoped that it would through these bucks out of their normal patterns. We started off hunting an area that we knew held deer and before we even started hiking we found deer. The problem was it was another spike buck with a few does. We went on our way and hiked up the ridge with only a few doe sightings to show for it. We started making our way down the mountain when we were coming up on this bend on the road. My dad happens to look up on the opposite ridge and there are two bucks standing on top and looking right at us. I quickly knock an arrow and my dad ranges the front buck and tells me 68 yards. Without even hearing my dad, I range the front buck and get 67 yards even though my dad already gave me a range. I guess I was so focused on the bucks that I blocked out what my dad told me. I draw back my bow and put my 70 yard pin a touch low and fling one down range. I follow my arrow until I hear a thwack and it disappears into the bucks vitals. The buck jumps up and kicks up before running off 40 yards and beds down. I quickly knock another arrow and sneak up to 20 yards and put another one in him just incase. the buck sprung up and darts down the hill before crashing under a big spruce. He was done!

The two shots

My big fork 2 x 3







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My 2015 Antelope Part I

We were not expecting another antelope tag for the season until we happened to come across a last minute vacancy for a tag in North Eastern New Mexico. This one ranch that had hunters cancel their hunts at last minute and were trying to sell their tags before the season ended. We didn't want to be guided on this hunt and since we had been on the ranch before the landowner was cool with us being on our own. We met the land owner on the first morning of the hunt so he could give us a detailed description of the ranch boundaries and roads.

As soon as we finished up our meeting with the landowner, we set off to go and get the lay of the land and see what bucks were in the area. Although it was opening day of the hunt, I was going to try and stay off the trigger regardless of how big of buck we saw because my little brother had prior commitments to playing high school football and we wanted him to be there. We were going to treat the first day as scouting day to see what kind of bucks the ranch had. It didn't take us long to find some bucks. The first buck we found was a decent buck that was lacking a little bit of prong. He was mixed in a group of does and smaller bucks and was really skittish.




The next buck we found was one of my top shooter bucks. We first found him feeding by himself in the bottom of this big basin. We knew he was a good buck but we wanted to get closer and get a better look at him. Once I put the spotting scope on him, I knew he was a great buck. He had mass, length, and prongs. He was the #1 buck on the hit list at the time.



We didn't want to pressure this buck too much so after taking these pics from a far distance we decided to keep on looking at the ranch and see if we could find some more bucks. We ran into a few more bucks throughout the day but they were average in size. I took a few more pics with the phoneskope and the camera
but nothing to really get excited about.



Heres a great buck that was also on my top 5



Freak buck



Another Buck

And here is a sneak peek of the buck we saw next


The story of the hunt and more pics to come in the next post



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My 2015 Antelope Part II (Buck Down!)

After a the firs morning (scouting day) we had a pretty good game plan and a pretty good amount of great bucks to choose from. A lot of these bucks score roughly around the same. All in the high 70s but the question was which one would be the one. I had many pics of all these bucks to look through to decide which one to stalk first.

The next day we didn't start hunting until the afternoon because my little brother had practice that morning. Once he got off practice we jumped in the truck and headed down in high hopes to get on one of these bucks.

We knew these bucks were rutting pretty good and probably weren't going to stay put for very long. I decided to go and stalk the buck in the last pic because out of all the bucks we saw from the day before, I thought he looked the coolest. We started glassing for him and he was no longer in the same area from the day before. After glassing into the distance for a good amount of time we decided to go on our way and search for him.



We saw many more mature bucks that were decent but we were determined to find that tall one from the day before. We were seeing bucks that we hadn't seen from our scouting trip the day before. That told us that these antelope are covering a lot of country looking for does. We were getting a little worried that we were not going to be able to find him. We decided to hunt some new country and if we couldn't find another good buck, we were going to go back and see if that tall one came back.



This new country was very hard to hunt for antelope. There was not as much wide open space to glass because the country consisted of many rolling hills that funneled their way into a big drainage. Although this country was tough to hunt, there were no shortage of antelope. It seemed like every pocket had does with rutty bucks chasing them around. Again, these were mature bucks but were not what I was looking for. That was until we saw this one buck. I really couldn't tell how big he was but I did know he was tall with good prongs and he was definitely a lot bigger than what we had been seeing. I tried a stalk on him but every time I would start to get into shooting distance he would run off. He kept about a 500-600 yard distance from me and never offered a shot. I never was able to get a pic of this buck.




As it started to get later in the evening, we decided to go and look for the tall buck we had scouted out from the day before. As we started to crest the hill to get on a good glassing point, we spotted him and all his does right below us about 150-200 yards. I immediately prone out for a steady shot and chamber a round. It was a perfect broadside shot and I felt really steady but the only problem was there was domestic cattle directly behind the buck. I held off from taking the shot and the entire group spooked and took the buck with them. The stalk was on!

The group ran through a big drainage and stopped about 1000 yards and looked back our direction. By this time my dad and I were stashed in the little vegetation that was in that pasture. We could see the buck off to the left of the group feeding by himself. He seemed occupied with another group of does that were feeding nearby and he started to slowly feed their way. At this time my dad and I closing the distance on him and already got into shooting range. The only problem was, every time I tried to set up for a shot, I would lose sight of him in the tall grass. Every time he would pick up his head and look at us, my dad and I would hit the deck until he put his head down again. Finally I was able to stalk with 140 yards before I was able to get a clear shot at his vitals. I fired a round and the buck hunches up and runs 40 yards before falling over.







This was a great hunt! This buck is probably not the best scoring buck in the area but he sure was the boss buck judging by how many does he had. He was very skittish and very smart. True definition of a mature pronghorn antelope buck! Very grateful to have harvested such an awesome buck in such an amazing place!




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Archery Elk Hunt

This year I decided to try and mix things up a bit and hunt with a bow in the unit that has haunted me the most. No other unit has dished out as much frustration to me as this one has. Am I crazy for making it more difficult on my self by hunting with a bow? Maybe, but I didn't view it in such a way. I saw it as an opportunity to try something different and I needed to try some thing different after eating this tag for 3 years in a row. You may remember me talking about this unit in my HAC last year when I had a rifle tag in this unit. I had some close opportunities, the closest I've ever had hunting in this unit, but last year was another win for the elk and another un-notched elk tag.

This year was going to be different. I was sure of it. I went into this hunt with just the goal of getting up close into some elk rut action. That's all I really wanted from this hunt and that's exactly what I got! It took us a few days to finally get into he elk. The first evening of the hunt we decided to hunt off a water hole. It was a quite and frustrating evening. A couple guys decided to cut firewood close by and were being very loud. That first evening was a bust!

The next day I couldn't hunt in the morning due to class but that evening I was able to get out for a few hrs and try another water hole. This water hole was very hard to access and is somewhat of an elk hot spot with the amount elk sign and a lack of people. After the long drive just to get to this area, we only had 2 hours to hunt. We made our way to the tank and it was exactly what I was expecting. The soft soil around the water looked like a barnyard. Tons of elk tracks and rubs. I thought for sure that we were going to get into some action that evening. We decided to hunt off some of the trails that led into this waterhole and it was dead. The elk were not vocal and it just seemed that the elk were not there. I left the area scratching my head because after all the country I covered with my glass, there were no elk to be seen.

Earlier in the summer my boss/great friend found a big shed in the unit so I went back to see if I could find the other side. Long story short I did not match up the shed but when I was looking for the other side I saw lots of elk. I saw over 50 elk in 3 herds that consisted of cows and spike bulls. Nothing really special, but I knew that these elk were residential. I though that with that amount of cows in that area it was only a matter of time (2 months) before the bulls were going to be with them.

That next morning we headed to this new area with high hopes of getting into some action. We arrived with 15 minutes to spare so we started to get our stuff ready in the dark and that is when we herd the first bugle of the hunt. I couldn't get my stuff ready quick enough. We started hiking up the mountain in the direction of the bugles. We decided to not call at him and just get as close as we could to the bull and set up and call him in. Half an hour of playing catch up we finally get close enough to call. The only problem was we chased him into the thickest country you could imagine. I tried to find the most open area to set up in and my dad and little brother set up 40-50 yards behind me. This bull was super hot and was bugling at everything we threw at him. We called him in to under 40 yards but it was so thick I couldn't even see him. In fact I think he wanted to come in but the terrain wouldn't allow him to. I couldn't sneak up and slip an arrow in because the terrain was too thick. We called in one of his cows to 25 of me and although cows are fair game with any archery tag in NM, I decided not to shoot and try for the bull. He stayed there under 40 yards raking a tree and bugling his head off until one of his cows took him back. That was the last we saw of that bull.

Already my hunt was a success but it wasn't enough to keep me satisfied. Getting that close to a bull and not being able to even see him was haunting me. I kept replaying all the different scenarios in my head but there was nothing that I could have done differently. Just one those situations where the luck was on their side. As badly as I wanted to get back on that mountain and hunt him again, I couldn't. My class schedule limited my time and I couldn't make another trip that far. I was stuck to hunting the closer part of the unit to home. The one area of this unit that I dread the most. I hadn't heard a bugle or even seen an elk in this part of the unit in years.

It was the second to the last day of the archery season in New Mexico and the rut should be near full swing. We felt that if there were any bulls in the area that they would definitely be bugling. The night before we got a late start to the hunt so instead of hunting we just decided to try and locate a bull for the next morning. We went to an area that has known to have a lot of elk sign but out of all my years of hunting this unit, I have never seen or heard a bull in that area. We stay unit after dark and throw out some locater bugles to see if we can get anything to answer. After a night full of driving around and trying to get bulls to answer us, we get 2 bulls to respond. They were about 5 miles apart from each other and we decided to hunt the furthest bull because he was more responsive to our calls and he sounded like he was alone.

The next morning we found him right where we left him. He sounded like a young bull from his bugle. Just a real short bugle like what a rag horn bull would sound like. We started out again chasing bugles in the dark and since this bull was really responsive, we thought that he would come in to our calls. We got on top of this small hill and started glassing for him. He last bugled close enough to where we should be able to put our eyes on him. It was still somewhat dark but enough light to make out elk in the bodies of elk. I could see a bull at the edge of a tree line that was walking our way. He stopped about 100 yards from the tree line and began to thrash the ground with his antlers. He let out another bugle and it matched the bugle from the night before. It was the same bull except now I could see a bit better and he was a lot bigger than his bugle portrayed him to be.

He was a solid 6x7 with a dinky bugle. I could see more elk slowly feeding out of the timber. He had cows! He was a herd bull. We usually hunt herd bulls by just sneaking up as close as possible and bugling like an intruder bull coming to take the herd. We couldn't do that with this bull because there was a valley that was 800 yards long with no cover to sneak in close. All we could do was stay put and hopefully call him off his cows. The bull just went back and forth through his herd of cows and bugled at every call we threw at him. We knew he wasn't going to come in on his own. I told my dad about an idea that I wanted to try out. I told him "Lets both just throw a bunch of cow calls at him at the same time and see what happens". We give him an intense round of estrus cow calls and the whole herd stopped feeding and looked our direction. Sure enough here they all come with the bull bringing up the rear.

I got ready and set up off this fence line that they seemed to be following. The bull just went crazy and wouldn't stop bugling. The whole herd came in to under a hundred yards and for some reason they didn't commit. The cows slowly go back to feeding and take the bull back into the timber. He sure looked big as he was bugling away from us as he entered the tree line. We let all the cows disappear into the trees before we followed them in. The bull stopped bugling and we had no idea where they were. We throw some cow calls and the bull half bugled at us. I start to set up when my dad spots the bull less than 80 yards away. He came in quick and caught us off guard and unprepared. Without moving for a solid minute the stare down with this bull ended and he slowly started to feed away. I went in after him and could only see bits and parts of him through the timer.
I lost sight of the bull because I had to get around this big cedar tree and when I looked to he was last standing he was gone. I know he didn't spook because I didn't hear any crashing through the timber so I kept going in the same direction. We finally catch a glimpse of him and although I cant see him, I know he looking right at me from the direction his antlers were facing. He's under 50 yards and I have no shot because he's right being this big pinon tree. The bull bolts and runs into an opening and comes to a complete stop. He looks at me broadside 116 yards away and takes off for good disappearing into the timber.

What a heartbreaking morning of elk hunting. Another close encounter with these ghost bulls of the lowcountry. This unit has gotten the best of me 4 years in a row. This was the closest I have gotten to killing a bull out of this unit and almost killed my biggest bull to date. That 6x7 will haunt me for a while. Although this hunt resulted I another un-notched tag, it was successful because just getting into that much elk action in the hardest unit in Northern NM was a success in itself.



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Elk Country in the NMBC

Again sorry for the late post but here are a few pics and a short video of a scouting trip I went on with my buddy back in October.

I had a free weekend in between hunts so I went out with my good buddy to scout for his rifle hunt. We had this one spot in mind that seemed really promising to look at. We were not planning on calling much because we didn't want to educated any of the bulls in the area so I was just going to let out a few locater bugles to see if there were any of the bulls in this new area.

It wasn't more than 10 seconds before we heard the first bugles of the day. We hiked about half a mile in the direction of the bugles to see what kind of bulls were in the area. We stopped and sat down on this slope that had a great vantage point to glass from. At this point there are at least 4 different bulls bugling. One of which sounded like an old big bull by the gnarly bugle he had. I throw out 2 bugles of my own to see how responsive they would be and a rag horn bull answers me less than a hundred yards away. We called this small 5x5 in on accident.





A very fun day in the elk country of NM! We located many bulls on this scouting trip for my buddy's tag. I still have to share an elk and a deer hunt and then I'll finally be caught up.



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Mike's Elk Hunt

This year I had the great privilege of accompanying my dad and his long-time friend, Mike, one his muzzleloader elk hunt. This was a new unit for all of us and I had absolutely no knowledge of the unit prior to this hunt. Reading about this unit in the forums on this website in the past told us that the unit held a good number of elk and almost an equal number of hunters. Regardless, I was excited to be a part of this hunt to learn new country and lend a hand.

The first morning of the hunt we found ourselves leaving camp without seeing any other vehicles. We had the mountain all to ourselves? or so we thought. It didn't take us long to find other hunters. In fact, to our surprise we found other hunters parked off a forest road right where we were planning to park our truck for the morning hunt. We turned around and started to think about the next game plan with frowns on our faces as we saw headlamps walking up the mountain in our rear view mirrors.

With not much time to come up with another game plan, we decided to park on the next forest road and hunt the other side of the ridge with hopes in locating some bugling bulls. It was dead silent as we were hiking along the ridge with only the faint light of early dawn to guide us along. The first distant bugles broke through right as we arrived to the peak of the ridge. We stopped on the top to take a break and try to pinpoint a bugle when I heard movement through the timber below us. As the sound of twigs snapping and breaking drew closer, we could make out silhouettes of elk running through the timber. Mike immediately picks up his muzzleloader and gets ready for a shot. The group of elk were running right to us and I could see a nice bull coming up the rear. The elk go crashing through the timber breaking every tree limb in their way about 100-150 yards down the ridge. The bull never stopped and offered Mike a shot and disappears into the tick timber with his cows. They must have been spooked to us by other hunters because they never knew we were there.

After all the chaos of elk crashing through the forest, the distant bugles began to fade away as the morning grew later. We decided to just carry on our way and hunt these meadows that all of these canyons fed into. We finally arrived to the opening of this big meadow only to find a heavily traveled forest road and 2 trucks parked at the edge of the timber. We were very green to hunting this area and it showed. We decided to throw out a couple cow calls just to see if we could get a bull to respond. To our surprise a bull sounded off about 200 yards away. We cut across the meadow in pursuit of the bull only for him to shup up due to distant shots and the noise of vehicles driving by. We made a huge loop and hunted on our way back to the truck with tired legs and hopeful thoughts towards the evening hunt.



For the evening hunt we decided to focus in the high country. It was a long drive from camp just to reach the area and we felt confident that we were going to get away from the crowds. Wrong again! We were amazing how much people we ran into that evening. We decided to hunt a ridge that looked really promising and was littered with elk sign. As we were walking along this one ridge we couldn't help but notice a bunch of crows. Only one thing came to mind? Somebody killed an elk there earlier that morning. It didn't take us long to find a de-boned bull elk carcass. We stuck around for a little bit until we heard bugles in the distance. They sounded a bit odd and it didn't take us long to figure out that they were other hunters. We got a bit discouraged and decided to get away from the crowds. We got back in the truck and drove around to try and figure out a game plan for the next morning hunt.

The next morning we decided to hunt around a forest service rain water catchment tank. This area was originally the plan for opening morning but other hunters prevented us from hunting there. We didn't hear any close shots so we figured that it would still be a good plan. After a couple miles of hiking on the road that led to the tank, we were stopped by sudden bugles. Again the bugles sounded like they were hunters so we ignored them and kept on our way. We finally arrived to the tank and took a break. Our break quickly turned into a little power nap. We were exhausted from the past day of covering miles on foot with only sign of other hunters to show for it. We sat at that tank when at the corner of my eye caught movement. It was more hunters that were also checking out the tank. We decided to leave the area and hunt the opposite side of the ridge on the way back to the truck. As we crested the ridge we find 2 more hunters walking to the tank. We were starting to get really discouraged. We talked with the other hunters for a little bit to find out if they have had any luck. Turns out they had seen nothing but other hunters as well. After parting ways we started our hike back to the truck. It was a long and distasteful hike back.

We were back at camp eating lunch when our good friend and his son show up and asks us how the hunt was going. He was hunting for bear in the area and knew unit quite well. We told him about our unfortunate events and he pointed us in a spot where he had harvested a bull on the prior archery hunt. He said that there were still 2 bulls left in the area and to his knowledge that none had hunted it since. It definitely raised spirits to get this new info. He headed into the evening with an extra boost just knowing that there was a slim chance of running into other hunters. Something that we were growing tired of.


That evening we hunted that new area. It seemed really promising with nobody else around for miles. We started our hike earlier than normal so that we could get back to where our friend showed a couple of wallows on the map. We hiked until we reached a fence and stopped for a little break. Nothing had answered our calls prior to us stopping on this thick ridge. I started blowing on my cow call just really experimenting with different sounds when a bull answers across the valley on the top of the opposite ridge. My dad and I both start cow calling at him. We knew he had cows because they would occasionally sound off so we would ever so often bugle back at him. This combination of calls really got him fired up. Finally, the action that we had been hoping for! Before we knew it, he closed the distance and got within archery range. The cool thing about it all was I got it on video! Well kind of. I didn't get the kill shot but I got everything leading up to it.
Not the most ideal spot lol. Made for one heck of a packout!







Mike with his bull

Mike and my Dad (Francisco)


Because of the steep slope we had to tie the bull?s rack to trees using 550 cord so that he wouldn't move during the quartering process


Before the packout



What an incredible hunt! The way everything unfolded leading up to the final moments. It was unreal how quick things changed! From a very discouraging hunt of running into other hunters everywhere to calling in a rut crazed bull into under 15 yards! All I know is that this is a hunt I won't soon forget. Tons of ups and downs with lots of new learned country and an epic ending!



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My Uncle's Buck

Hunting mule deer for us is a family favorite. I don't know why but for some reason we absolutely are addicted to hunting these awesome animals. This year my Uncle Ray drew a mule deer tag and this hunt was kind of special because he hadn't hunted deer in over 25 years. He drew a tag in a unit that was close to home and could be known to hold a lot of deer if the weather brings them down from the high country. We were very anxious to get out and locate some bucks for my uncle.

We were no stranger to hunting deer in this unit so we had a pretty good game plan to find deer on opening morning. There is this great little road that we like to travel that goes into a big basin. Perfect mule deer country. We waited for it to light up and slowly made our way into the basin, stopping and glassing every vantage point we had. My dad immediately spots a buck at the edge of the tree line. It was a small 2x3 with another deer that we could not tell what it was but had a big body. My dad and Uncle set out on the stalk. As Im watching the two deer, I get a glimpse of an antler on the second deer. It was a big fork horn buck that only had one side. I signal to my dad and uncle that there is a bigger buck but they could not see the deer because I was at a higher point than they were. The deer didn't stick around for long and the first stalk of the hunt resulted in no shot opportunities.


Later that morning we saw a few more does and fawns but they didn't have any bucks with them. We were just about to start heading back to the main road when all of a sudden I catch a glimpse of brown flash through the sage. It was a buck! And a big one. He was sneaking through the sage and the only thing you could see of him was the top of his back and his impressive rack. We tried to get on any high ground that we could so that my uncle could set up for a shot but it was completely flat and the buck was moving quickly. The buck definitely knew that we were there and didn't stay long. We lost sight of him just as quickly as we spotted him. I didn't get a great look at him other than his side profile of his great deep forks but if I were to guess on his score to give you guys a reference of his size, I would say high 170s to mid 180s. An outstanding buck for the area.

Here is an example of how high the sage brush was. The doe in this pic is standing along with 2 other that you cant see

After shaking off that missed opportunity of that big buck we decided to hunt the same area and hopefully find that same big buck. We covered a lot of country and glassed every little draw that we thought that this big buck might be hiding in. We only turned up one doe for the evening hunt. We were disappointed the amount of deer from the evening hunt but we know that they still in the area and probably just out of sight.

The next morning we received a great tip from a good family friend that had harvested a 3x3 the day before in the same unit. We arrived in the general area before first light and began to get our gear ready. As soon as the it was getting lighter, I pulled out the spotting scope and started to glass the base of the mountain. There were about 15-20 elk bedded in the grass right at the foot of the mountain. They were on high alert and started to make their way up the mountain. We were a little worried that they were going to bump any deer in the saddle that they went up into. We decided to just carry on and make our way up the mountain and hunt a few draws that we thought would hold deer.

After we gave the mountain a good long glass, we started to slowly make our way up the main saddle, glassing every hundred yards just incase we missed and deer. About half the way up my dad spots a doe on the bottom. We position ourselves to get a better look and just to the left of the doe was a buck. I couldn't tell exactly how big he was but I knew that he had a decent frame. My uncle quickly sets up and takes his shot at roughly 230 yards. I see the bullet impact on the bucks chest and the buck kicks his back legs and disappears into the timber. we knew it was a fatal hit. My little brother and I stay on the top glassing just to make sure that the buck didn't get away while my dad and uncle go down after him and do a follow up shot if needed. At that point deer started to appear from out of everywhere. They were all hidden in the tall sage and small pinion trees. They quickly found the hit buck and for some reason the buck was bedded with his head still up and needed a follow up shot. After further examination of the original shot, the bullet only got one lung and shoulder. The buck must have been more quartering to us than we had thought or the buck suddenly moved right before the shot. Either way my uncle harvested a good buck in a very tough unit. His first deer in over 25 years!










Very Active Member
Couple more euro mounts done

Did a couple euros recently of my Uncle's buck and my velvet buck from earlier this fall. Just need to treat the velvet and it should be ready to put on a stand inside. They came out great... Well other than losing a tooth on my buck... but overall great. I was able to perfectly preserve the nasal bones on both of these bucks.



Still have one more hunt to share on here (My Little sister's elk hunt) and another hunt to still go on!



Very Active Member
My little sister's first elk

The next hunt for the 2015 season is by far our favorite of the year! It was an antlerless elk hunt, but it wasn't the animal we were hunting that made this hunt special... it was the hunter or should I say the Huntress. My little sister was about to go on her first hunt at 11 years old. This was a very special hunt because many of us, especially my dad, had been eagerly waiting for this day for a long time!

Since the majority of our hunting rifles were too high of a caliber or too large for my little sister, my dad decided to get a brand new rifle just for her. He got her a savage youth model 1-11 in 7-mm08. And of course it had to be pink!

Since this was her first hunt, the preparation began very early in the season. Every time we would be watching a hunting show on TV and there were cow elk on the screen, we would pause the TV and have my sister go up to the screen and point to where she thought her shot placement would be just so that she would get familiar with different shot angles.


We took my sister out shooting many different times prior to the hunt. Her first time shooting was a little rough but after the first few shots, she began to get the hang of it. After a few more times getting out and practicing at further ranges every trip, she was definitely improving every time. I was particularly impressed with her shooting on the last trip we took to the range. She was hitting the center of an 8" target at 250+ yards. That's when I knew she was ready for her hunt.




We had a solid game plan for opening morning. We planned on hunting in an area that the elk have been known to cross in the early morning from a series of meadows back into their bedding areas in the thick timber. The idea was to catch them crossing right before they got back into the timber. This place has been good to us in the past but we have also been skunked in this area. We felt that this was the best plan for my little sister to get an opportunity at her first elk.

We started hiking before first light in order to get in position to catch them crossing at the perfect time. The intense fog from the storm that rolled in night before limited our visibility. We couldn't glass very far and were limited to roughly 200 yards of visibility. Everything past that distance was covered by a wall of fog. With no elk sightings and very limited visibility, we kept on our way hunting this old logging road. About half way through our morning hunt we spotted crows to what looked like to be an old gut pile. Someone had killed an elk in this area from the hunt before. This could explain the lack of elk activity that we were seeing.

Lil bro looking for fresh tracks in the snow.

The fog finally lifted so decided to loop back and hunt on our way back to the truck. Just as we started our hike back, some elk started to bust through the timber. We set up my little sister on the shooting sticks and got on the cow calls to try and stop one of these cows for a shot. two cows and a calf stop in a small opening and I pointed them out to my little sister. She set up on them and took her gun off safety. The shot was roughly about 200 yards and I could tell she was having a difficult time getting her rifle steady. The elk run off and we quickly try to stop another elk. My little sister puts her gun back on safety and we move up a little bit to get better view of the herd. There was a few elk in the herd that were running just inside the tree line and were the closest to us. My dad starts cow calling to try and stop one for a shot. my little sister get back on the shooting sticks and right at that moment the lead cow does a head on trot right to us and stops. I point out the elk to my sister but she couldn't find the elk in the scope. I quickly angle my sister in the direction of the elk and she immediately finds her in the scope. It was a straight on shot at 120 yards. My sister squeezes the trigger and fires a shot off. I immediately could tell I was a hit because the elk dips her nose and runs off with her holding her front left leg in the air. The elk runs about 40 yards before falling over. We setup on the downed elk and give her some time just to make sure but she was already done! My little sister made a perfect shot on her first elk that hit the top of the heart.

This was a super exciting hunt for everybody! I'll just let the pictures describe the excitement...





Always give a moment for thanks

My Little sister with her first elk

My little sis and I

Father and Daughter.

How's this for a family portrait. WE ARE A HUNTING FAMILY

We couldn't be more proud of her! Still in shock how it all unfolded so quickly. We couldn't have asked for a better opportunity for my sister to get her first elk. She is definitely hooked now and this is just the beginning of something great.



Very Active Member
Last Hunt of 2015 (12/26/2015)

Every year my little brother chooses to put in for very difficult tags to draw due to his deep commitment to high school sports. In the state of NM, if a youth does not draw an elk tag, they qualify for a youth encouragement elk license during the winter months. My brother is no stranger to hunting this youth encouragement elk hunt with having hunted this same tag 4 times prior to this year. With this awesome opportunity that New Mexico offers for youth, we can always count on my little brother to fill the freezer.

Although the idea behind this hunt was not to conflict with any of my little brother's sports activities, he had basketball practice on the morning of opening day and on top of that he had to leave for a basketball tournament the next day. My little brother had very limited time fill his tag on this hunt.

As soon as my little brother got out of basketball practice, we jumped in the truck and set out to look for an elk. We decided to hunt in the same area that we have had luck on the past hunts. It didn't take us long to find some elk. My little brother and dad set out on the stalk while I stayed back. It didn't take long for to hear a shot ring out. I gave it a few minutes and then I heard on the radio that they had got one. I followed their tracks into the timer to find them standing over an elk. It was all over! One of the quickest elk hunts I have eve been on. I headed back to the truck to go and get the snow sled while they field dress the elk. Luckily there was enough snow to sled the elk out whole. We found a big enough tree to skin the elk and quarter the elk up and got out just in time before the new snow storm came in.

My little bro and his 2015 elk

My little bro and I

My little bro, My dad, and I



This was the last hunt for the 2015 season and concludes my 2015 Hunt Adventure Challenge. I hope all of you who followed on here enjoyed our 2015 family hunts. Thank you everybody for the kind personal messages and wish everyone a Happy New Year!


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