I know there are alot of you that are interested in what happened over the week I spent in Idaho with Shawn Carlock hunting whitetails. As all of you know, I generally tell you everything that happens on the hunt and this story will be no different, the good, the bad and the ugly. This will be a long story so if you have to read it in steps thats fine, I feel the entire story is worth telling.
I do not have most of the pics or any video yet from the hunt but Shawn did get me one pic of the final result, more will come soon.
The hunt started off by taking a 6 1/2 hour drive west from my place and I met Shawn in Orofino Tuesday afternoon last week. We ran out to the Nightforce shop but Jeff was not in to meet him.
We then headed out to the property we would be staying on which is owned by Travis Reggear and his family. Travis is an outfitter that owns and runs Reggear Outfitters and he specializes in bear and mountain lion hunts. If your interested in either of these, run a search under Reggear Outfitters and book a hunt, the quality of animals Travis has taken is awsome for lack of a better word.
Anyway, Shawn and I got set up packing gear into the bunk house and the next morning Shawn, Travis and I headed down to a spot that they knew of that would be great for dialing in the rifles to get ready for the hunt.
It took a little tweaking to get the rifles hitting where they should be as the humidity and Bar pressure were quite different then here at home. The rifles were easily adjusted and we shot several rounds out of my two 7mm AMs, Travis's 300 RUM(built by Shawn) and also Shawns personal 338 Edge that we stretched out to a mile!!! All rifles shot very well and we were ready for the hunt.
After lunch Shawn and I headed out to an area they called the razor back. Travis had some stand hunters he had to place and was not able to hunt with us that evening. Basically this is a tall sharp mountain that runs for several hundred yards. You can see for literally miles off both sides of the Razorback.
We hicked up to the top of it and I will admit it was a bit of a climb for this flatlander!!! With a 30 lb pack and 16 lb rifle I am sure Shawn was wondering if I was going to make it that first day or not!!! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]
We were not on the hill set up for more than a minute or so and we started spotting deer on a large open side hill across from us. There were several does and a couple young bucks feeding on the huge open face and then we spotted a very nice buck lower on the face. He looked a bit odd through the Swari rangefinder so we gave him a better look through the spotter. He was a VERY large 5 point on one side and only had a very short and small fork on the other. At first glancf, he looked like he had broken off his antler just after the eyeguard but with several closer looks it was clear this was just a genetic flaw. Same as well, he would have easily been in the 160" range if he had been even close to even with his 5 point side.
He gave us several hours to look over him and I will admit I thought about it very hard and at one point I even decided I would set up to shoot this buck but he eventually followed a doe into the timber and the temptation was over. We set there till dark and then packed out and headed back to the house for a great dinner made by Travis's mom who is the camp cook, damn good one as well.
The next morning we headed out with Travis to set a couple stand hunters and then went out and set up over a clear cut opening for the morning. Nothing showed except for four does but the scenery was amazing.
This is not your typical whitetail hunting area. Imagine relatively rough mule deer and elk country and then put whitetails in it!!! Big heavy timbered canyons with clear cuts and some open faces here and there. For a whitetail hunting nut used to setting up on farm land, this was a serious challange to hunt in these areas. Shawn tells me his elk hunting country is much steeper then this area, DAMN!!! is all I have to say!!
That afternoon we again headed back to the Razorback. Travis could not go with us from the start but said he would meet us up there if he could.
As Shawn and I drove out to the area to start the hike up to the razorback, we spotted a young 4x4 buck chasing several does across an open faced hillside, good sign!!!
We got all the gear up to our lookout point and began glassing and almost instantly we located two deer in the canyon around 750 yards away. One was a very nice and heavy 4x4 so I decided he was plenty old for me to try to take him.
We set up for the shot. The wind at our location was relatively calm so we made the proper adjustments for what we felt the conditions were. I set the heavy 7mm AM up on the buck and settled in and waited for him to turn and offer us a clean broadside shot.
After several minutes he finally turned, head to the left and I let the big rifle bark. TO the sheer amazement of both of us, the ground erupted in mud splatter just over the tail of the buck????
The buck jumped and then walked up the hill several yards but then quickly began feeding again. We set up again, reevaluated the wind and made a slight correction. Again after a couple minutes the buck turned, this time, head to the right side. I centered on his shoulders looking to break both of them and drop the buck in his tracks. At the shot, again to my suprise, the mud flew from just behind the buck!!???
The first shot had flown to the left, the second to the right of where they were supposed to go!!! This made the buck a bit more jumpy and he ran up under a large pine tree and then dropped down out of sight into the heavy timber. It appeared that I had perhaps hit the buck on the offside back leg on the last shot and I was feeling a bit sick that I may have wounded this deer.
We talked it over and watched the video and only thing we could come to was that down in the bottom of the canyon, the wind had totally fooled us. We were shooting up into the canyon and the winds must have been very inconsistant and swirling to cause the shots to stray from side to side as they did.
Shawn did not think I hit the buck, I did so he decided it would be best to go down and take a look and offered to walk around and check things out while I set on the rifle in case the buck came out. As Shawn hiked off the razorback, he met Travis at the truck who was heading up to sit with us for the night.
Travis made his way up to where I was and Shawn headed over to where the buck was when I shot. Using 2-way radios we walked him to the exact spot the deer was standing at both shots. Where he was on the second shot, Shawn found a very small amount of very short white hair but no sign at all of a solid hit so we figured the second shot just clipped some hair but Shawn tracked his tracks far down into the canyon just to be sure but there was no additional sign of a hit.
He made his way back up to where we were and we started glassing as we had at least another hour before dark. I was a bit unimpressed with my shooting but I did realize I was in a totally different shooting enviornment and had been fooled by the winds.
Where I hunt, the winds are strong, but for the most part consistant directionally. Down there, the winds are relatively calm but come at you from several directions even over a relatively short distance!!! THis would be a challange for sure.
We walked down to the other end of the razorback and set up the spotters. Just as the sun was getting close to setting, a buck was spotted bedded down on an open face. His back was to us and he was quartering away slightly.
Shawn and I both ranged him at 1194 yards exactly for several range measurements. I will admit I was a bit rattled from the misses earlier in the evening but I knew I could make this shot and the breezes had calmed down much more then even earlier in the evening so I set up for the shot.
The hold was dead on the -4 mil hashline for this range and I held about 3 minutes into the wind and let the big 200 gr ULD RBBT fly. At the shot, the buck started flopping around like a fish up on the bank. For several seconds this happened and then to all of our suprise, the buck got up and ran over to the brushline. He stopped, partially hidden behind the slope of the hill but I could clearly see from his chest up. I shot again and the bullet impacted a rock just inches below the bucks heart area and he dove off the rim into the brush from the impact on the rock spooking him.
We all knew he had been hit hard, at least we thought he had been but Travis said there was no way we could get to that area before total darkness so we decided to pull out and come back in the morning and he should be just under the hill when we got there in the morning.
It was a long night. The buck was not a huge buck but he had very heavy main beams, just short on top and I replayed that shot over and over again in my mind most of the night until we headed out the next morning.
We drove the quads to within a few hundred yards of where the buck was at the first shot and when we hiked down to there we found no sign at all of any hit on the buck. No cut hair, no blood, nothing at all!!!
Where the buck was laying there was a spring making the side of the hill wet and muddy. We followed his tracks off the hill and a full 1/4 mile down into the heavy brush and there was no sign of any hit, he never stumbled, fell or even stood around, just got out of the area!!!
After seeing this We really have no idea what happened. My theory is that he was laying there relaxed and when that 200 gr ULD RBBT zipped close to him it startled him and in a paniced attemped to get up quickly, he was slipping in the slippery muddy hill side.
After this I was pretty much like a whooped pup. I was beginning to wonder if I was up to this challange or not and what in the hell was going wrong with my shooting. You begin to wonder and question your gear, scope, drop chart, everything and most importantly your shooting ability.
It was not like I was moping around, but I do not like to miss at all and was more angry with my performance then anything else. Shawn and Travis were great at preventing me from getting to down on myself and kept me mentally in the game.
That day was not good for me mentally but I did my best to forget the missed as I knew the rifle was good, the load was proven and the drop was on, just had to shoot better next time and hoped there would be a next time!!
That afternoon Shawn and I headed back to the Razorback in hopes that either the heavy 4x4 I had missed would show again or maybe that odd 5x2 would show again and I would probably take him. Nothing showed though except a yound 4x4 that was in the 3 year old range and I just was not going to shoot a young buck just to fill a tag. Nothing else showed that night.
The next morning we headed back up to our lookout point but we had a patch of fog come and sit up us like a fat elephant. About all we could do was take a nap until the fog lifted around 11:00 in the morning and by that time the deer movement was long past.
That afternoon we again headed back out and watched the same young 4x4 walk across the face of the mountain as if he knew he was safe from us. I will admit I gave him a second thought but in the end he was in no real danger.
That evening at dinner we dicussed how the temps were getting really warm and the mature bucks were just not moving. There was hardly any rut activity by the mature bucks at all and I could tell this was weighing heavily on Travis as he tried to think where we could go to run into a mature buck.
It was decided we would head out to a new area much farther away then the razorback we had been hunting. This area was better when the snow hit the ground but we were running out of options.
We got up early the next morning, had breakfast and headed out to the trail head and then took the quads in from there and got set up overlooking a large canyon.
Nothing really moved until we spotted several head of elk up in a clearing across the canyon. Anytime you can see elk its a good day so its hard to complain about that!!!
We were just getting a bit ready to think it would be a bust in this canyon as well when Shawn spotted a buck in the timber across the canyon. Travis turned his spotter on the buck and both said he was a good shooter buck. My rifle was to low to get a look at the buck so we all ran up across the trail and up onto the other side which was around 10 feet higher. Just in time to see the buck disappear behind a large pine tree. The good thing is that he was on a well defined trail and if he followed it he would reappear farther up the mountain face.
I set the rifle up for that area, leveled the rifle and waited. Shawn in the mean time set the video camera up and took some range measurments for me as well. 825 yards was the reading. Wind was calm, which made me a bit nervous!!
After several minutes, the buck reappeared on the trail. I could clearly see it was a buck but could not tell any detail as a light fog began to drop. It was also just enough to kill the rangefinders as well!!!
We knew the buck was at 825 just when he appeared on the trail but he had walked up the face nearly 100 yards since then. He was standing directly away from us and I was waiting for him to turn. Finally after what seemed like several minutes he turned to his right. Shawn hit him with the rangefinder and luckily he got one reading of 850 yards, all we needed.
My drop chart called for a hold of -1.25 mils but with the very high humidity I decided to add a 1/4 mil to that hold and settled on the -1.5 mil line centered on his shoulders. The buck was slightly quartering away as the trigger broke and it was clear when the bullet landed. It looked like it landed right at the last rib on the right side. With that angle, Travis called out a liver hit and the buck jumped several steps to his right and then stopped. It was obvious this buck was hit hard but after the earlier shooting volleys I raked in another round. This time he was severely quartering away from me. The shot landed just off the right edge of him and the impact turned the buck away to the left. He took a couple steps and stopped. At the third shot we all thought we saw hair fly off the top of the bucks shoulders and called a high high in the chest just behind the shoulders. Again, the buck took a couple steps to his left and stopped. The big 7mm AM barked again and the offside shoulder colapsed as the bullet impacted again but still the buck retained his feet and slowly walked to a small patch of brush. Just as the buck entered the brush I let another round fly at him but this was a miss best we could tell and he was out of sight!!!
We knew we had three bullets in that buck ranging from his shoulder to the back of his rib cage!!! We were all very confident he would not leave that small clump of brush but to make sure we set there on full alert for an hour to make sure but there was no sign of him coming out or moving at all.
This whole time I had no idea what I was shooting at as far as the quality of buck he was. I just could not pick out antler detail and to be honest never once looked at his rack while shooting. Travis and Shawn said he as a good buck but I asked that they not talk about it to much just in case there was still some bad joojo messing with me!!!
After an hour Travis took one of the quads with his son Walker over to where the buck was as Shawn and I set there on the rifle just in case something moved. It took a pretty good spell for Travis to get around to the buck but eventually we spotted the bike winding down the old trail under where the buck should have been dead at.
It was a few hundred yard hike up the hill and Travis disappeared behind the brush. The radio crackled to life and Travis reported,"Right horn, one, two, three, four." as he counted the points. "left horn, one, two, three, four, five!!, six!!, seven!!!!"
Damn I thought to myself, I wonder what he looks like!!! He said he was a heavier buck then we had thought so that really got me excited. Shawn and I packed up and walked out to the second quad and rode out to the truck. By the time we got over to the trail head Travis was on he had already gotten the buck out to the road and when we came around the corner, I was a little shocked to see the bucks rack setting up in the air over the rack on the bike!!! He was ALOT heavier then I expected and his eye guards were huge and extremely heavy.
We gave the buck a look over and inspected the hits. The first one was called right on the money by Shawn and Travis being a dead center liver hit. The buck was dead on his feet but I was not having any of that!!! The bullets kept a flyin!!!
The other hits were as reported as well and the offside shoulder was severely broken up by a direct hit.
We took alot of pics and some video and headed back to Travis's place where Shawn and Travis skinned and caped the buck while I packed my gear. It was only around 11:30 in the morning and I was going to try to make it home for my 2 year old neices birthday party if possible. We packed everything up, I thanked Shawn for his hard work and great guiding and Travis as well. I drove up and said goodbye and thanks to Travis's mom for all her hard work and fine cooking and I was on the road by 12:30.
I made it home just in time for the birthday party and after all the party events, the boys headed out to check out the buck and hang the meat. Everyone was very impressed with the buck as am I still.
I got the head caped off and cut the horns off while I told my wife about the advantures and storys I had heard from Shawn and Travis, I could post non stop for a day just with the stories I heard this past week!!!
WHen I got the rack off the head I put the tape to him. The buck has 40" of circumference measurements. Largest being 6 3/8" at his third left measurement. His bases are both right at 5 2/8" and he has no circumference under 4" and only one under 4 4/8". A very heavy solid mass of bone.
His eyeguards are the longest and heaviest of any buck I have shot yet. His right eyeguard is right at 9" in length and his left is 7 4/8" and even more impressive is that both of his eyeguards are over 4" in circumference at the bases.
His main beams are 23" on the right and 24" on the left. His right antler is just a basic clean 4 point. The left is a typical 5 point with a 3 4/8" kicker off the main beam between the G-2 and G-3 tines and the G-2 has a 1" kicker off of it.
Total score for the buck added up to 160 2/8" which makes him my second highest scoring buck second only to last years Canadian buck which scored 161".
The left antler has a total score of 77 7/8". Just to give you an idea how big that is, had he been even on both sides and with his 19" inside spread he would have scored 175" B&C!!!!!
This pic give you an idea of the amount of bone on that left antler!
This pic shows off the kicker points a bit better and also shows the mass of the eyeguards as well.
Even as is I could hardly be happier with the buck. It was a hard hunt with several roller coaster highs and lows. I would have loved to have gotten a 1200 yard kill but it was not ment to be and luckily it appears that buck will be around for another year which makes me feel even better.
As far as the hunt goes, if anyone is looking to book a quality whitetail hunt and are up to the challange of this type of hunting, I could think of no better outfit to get ahold of.
So there is no confusion, the whitetail hunts are set up through Idaho Whitetail Adventures run by outfitter Mike Stockton. His contact information is 208-476-7074
If you want a lion or bear hunt get ahold of Travis at Reggear Outfitters at phone number 208-476-5638.
The two outfitters work together to offer you the best hunt for all species that they can and its a hell of a time.
This is not for the novice LR hunter though. In some cases you will have plenty of time to set up for a shot, range, dial in, test the wind and take the shot, in other times you have litteraly only seconds to get a shot off or not at a big whitetail. Challanging is hardly the word I would use to discribe it. The country is amazing, and the people are even better.
I have been around alot of guys hunting, most would tell you they know alot about hunting and long range shooting, there is no doubt with Shawn and Travis. Had they not been there the hunt would have not been near as enjoyable and more then likely not successful.
This is truely a team effort type of hunt, Shawn was doing everything for me when it was just the two of us on the hill. Any data I asked for was reported in seconds and as accurately as we could get from one point.
When it was all three of us, Shawn would read out conditions, and Travis was tracking the target while I set up and they both called hits or misses when I shot.
As far as working to make my hunt a success, they both worked there asses off for me and I greatly appreciate it. I can hardly remember a time when I looked at Shawn in the field and did not see him either looking through his spotter or binos. He just never stopped trying to find that mature buck I wanted to harvest and he found it.
Its funny, after the two bucks I muffed the shots on, Shawn told me things always happen for a reason. I do believe that but its hard to think that at the time, he was right!!!
I had the upmost professional respect for Shawn before this hunt as a fellow rifle builder and hunter but I am very honored to be able to call him my friend now.
So directly to you Shawn, thank you for your hard work and busting your ass for me for four days straight. You hunted with me more as a partner then a guide and that amazed me every day so once again thank you and I hope this gets to happen again in the not to distant future!!!
Between hunting here at home, or up in Canada with Richard or down in Idaho with you guys, I think I have things pretty damn easy as far as hunting big whitetails and better yet hanging out with great guys.
TO Travis, thanks for all your scouting and hospitality. Your a hell of a hunter in every aspect and I thank you for allowing me to spend some time with your great family and share in your hunting area!!! It was a blast and turned out even better then I had hoped.
No worries on the rear bag either!!! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]
Thats an inside story, that damn bag is probably still rolling down hill!!!
To thats it, I will get more pics when Shawn and Travis send me the ones they got along with the video Shawn took of the hunt.
The TV crew never did show so I guess that was not ment to be. Thats fine, I seem to be a bit camera shy anyway!!
So simply put, if you want one challanging whitetail hunt with the potential to have a very good shot at a 130-150 class deer and decent shot at a true hog, get ahold of these guys, they are legit and offer a hunt well worth the money!!!
Now its time to get my rear back to work. I have several rifles nearly completed that customers have been patiently waiting for and I need to get them out the door so I may be a bit scarce the next couple weeks trying to get those rifles out the door, thanks for your patients and I assure you their coming!!!!
Good Shooting and good luck on your hunts to come!!
Thank you Shawn one more time!!