Well Guys, the season is in full swing but not many stories posted. I for one will not be going afield this year and would love to hear your stories. They will either make me feel more homesick or better, that there is always next year... I am hoping better as you guys got plenty to share...
Please post some more stories, others have echoed this thought too... [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]
(Can you tell I am stuck in unfamilar territory a long ways from hunting buddies, family land, & my freezer is in N. Dakota + I am just generally feeling sorry for myself).
O.K., but this isn't long range! While climbing some mountains today out in the snow, its coming down the size of silver dollars, and I mean the old fashioned ones not the new quarter sized ones! I get to my hunting spot early, before anyone else gets there. I find a likely spot that was scouted earlier in the season, and sit below an old ponderosa. Semi protected from the snow by its old heavy branches. After sitting for around 30 minutes I hear some crunching coming down the trail. I ease my rifle around in the direction of the noise and soon enough here comes three of the orangest hunters you ever did see! So I scoot my rifle around where its pointed in a safer direction and when they are at a point where they can finaly see me they come on over and say, "Hey, sorry for spoiling your hunt" I tell them its O.K., then tell them about some rubs and scrapes that they will find up the trail that they are following. They thank me and head out. So, figuring the hunt is ruined here, I put my pack back on, and climb the ridge behind me. I get to a leveled off spot on the mountain and look over to the far ridge to see how those three are doing, they're spread out over there, so I start casting around for sign. Sure enough with the fallen snow there are some huge tracks partly filled with the falling snow. I figure to follow them, thinking I might be able to catch up with this animal seeing how's its just wondering around. I start around the mountain, and come to a place where the darn thing shoots off down the canyon where I just came from. So, feeling kind of disgusted, I give a call or two and notice out of the corner of my eye somthing flicker. I look over, and sure enough there's a nice deer wandering in my direction. About that time he looks over and sees me, so I freeze. I wisper to him softly, damn it! don't see me! don't see me! and when he "head bobs" I kneel as fast as I can. I get him in the cross hairs and think, well, nice body but kinda small rack. Ah, what the heck, BOOM! I jack another round just in case, but he ain't gettin' up. I figured it to be just over 200 yards, so I outs with the rang finder, and it shows 231 yards. I walk over, and here it is- nice 4 point for the freezer! (4X4, for you eastern folks) No record book rack, but a very big body. Like I said, not long range, but huntin' never the less! That was this morning, Sunday, Nov. 9, or is it the 10th?
Portate bien o te lleva el cucuy
I just got back from Jackman Maine. Waited for months for this guided hunt!
WHAT A WASTE!
This guide was a real A-hole. Saw three sets of deer tracks in four days...in snow!!!!!
First day he picks me up with two other hunters. Drives us 3 miles from the canadian border, then we walk down a road to our stands. Sound ok, except he tell me to follow a trail through the woods to my stand....WHAT TRAIL????? What Frigin Stand!!!
Then he comes back with 15 minutes left in the hunting day!
Next day he says to go into the woods about 100 yards and I'll see a clear cut. I'm still looking! Hard to see the clear cut through the heavy woods!...
Ok, one more chance....again, he picks me up with two other hunters. Drops me off by a logging road and tells me it 1.5 miles long and I should "walk up and down the road and look for deer". Again fresh snow and not one track. I hang out for about an hour, go back to the camp. (guess what, the guide is in his house!) I pack my stuff and go back to new york to hunt my land. Its still archery season so I shot a doe at 46 yards.....I call it long range archery hunting!!!!
...anyway, the camp to avoid is "Long Pond Camps" stay away!!!!!
He doesn't even guide, he just drops all the guys that are stupid enough to pay him into the woods, and he either goes home or goes and hunts by himself.....
Well.. Long season for me.. Not much Hunting due to the Outfitter who leases our Ranch is well.... lets just say he ain't gonna be here next year... anyway here's how things went....
The alarm soundfs like a giant bumble bee in my ear... ugghhh 3:30 a.m. already.... ok ..ok coffee coffee....
I stumble around the lodge trying to focus on my intent.. I have one day to find a buck that will tickle my fancy.. I have shot hundreds of rounds this year and anything inside of 750 is in my trophy book....
Ok off to the mountain behind my house.. gonna be a long walk today.... walking through the foothills I see movement all around me on my long walk.. hmmmm.. deer moving from the fields already.. seems almost like they waited for me this year...
I start the climb to my setup... takes a while and sometimes I wonder why I climb as high up these cliffs as I do... but my questions are answered as soon asn the sun begins to pour here life giving rays over the mountians and canyons... WOW what a view... ( see pics under other post )
It doesn't take long for me to see movement on the hills.. I quick check my temps, bar. pressure, winds, altitude, Humidity levels and enter all the data in to the handspring visor A1trag.... I start to quckly laser objects in the areas I usually see bucks in and commit them to memory .. once I see him I'll get specific distances... I set up the Nighthawk fill her full of the loads I practiced with all year... ( same loads that dusted PD's out to 1200 yards )
As I scan the hills I see alot of does in the morning light... no bucks yet but I didn't expect to see the bucks this morning...seems as this year they travel under the blanket of darkness.....
It then hits me.... this day has already been successful.. just look at the view.. look where I am... The morning passes and I see about 50 or so deer mostly does and small bucks 2 points (4 point eastern ) and som e small 3 points ( 6 point eastern )
I take about an hour nap and arise about 12:30 p.m. I'm greeted by a band of Bighorn Sheep... I watch them nibble on play on the East slope... kind of amuzing how easily they handle the steep cliffs...
OK now back to the Mule deer thngs.. I glass the hills and see that several of the does are now out feeding again and the move ment begins to pick up as time passes more and more deer are now headed back to the foothills and pastures.. it's about 3:30 p.m. the bucks should start to move soon.. I re-check all my data an find the humidity levels and Bar. pressure have changed some... I re-enter the data into the A1trag software....
there he is a nice buck slipping thtought the timber .. damn not what I want only about 26-27 inches...big heavy bodied though.. several smaller bucks follow his route and dissapear in the canyon....
I have about an hour till dark now.. its 5:00 pm.. I catch some movement across the canyon and pick up the bino's for a closer look .. I see 3 does slip in to a patch of timber.. and.. OH Man there he is.. hot on their trail.. I only got a glimps but he was big... I wait patiently for them to exit the timber.. the does quietly slipped out the east side.. where's the big boy.... with about 20 min. of light left I see him moving out the back side of the timber.. MAN is he huge... after about 10. min of glassing him .. I estimate he's about 29- 31 inches.. deffinitly what I want. He has dark heavy horns with alot of mass.. he's about 22-24" high too.... he's starts to feed along the back slope.. my rig is already set up so I range him.... to make the final calculations.. 856 yards.. DAMN... he's father than what I have paracticed at... he's also farther than my ballistic performance will quickly kill a deer of his size... all I can do is watch and hope he wanders inside of 750 yards... with the light quickly fading .. things look dim....
for then next 15 min. I watched the majestic monster feed along the ridge.... he then dissapeared into the balnket darkness of called night...
Sheep Hunt (long)
My Father-In-Law (FIL) drew a rocky mountain bighorn sheep tag this year. These tags are very hard to come by and highly regarded. We are both classified as sheep nuts as we will use about any excuse to go on a sheep hunt, and his drawing a tag was like winning lotto to us.
Although we were already familiar with the area and the sheep herds in it, we spent much of out summer scouting. The sheep changed their migration habits this year due to the drought, and it made things a bit challenging. We had not seen anything worth shooting at a month before season opened.
Three weeks before season opened, my FIL was busy so I decided to take my dad up to the mountains with me to scout. We loaded up the ponies (2 riding and 1 pack horse) for a long weekend trip. The ride in was about 6 miles and it was one of those beautiful days for riding. Recent rain had caused the high country to try and wake up and everything - including the foxtrotters were working well. We chased a small group of elk out of the basin where we camped, set up the tent and picketed the ponies.
We decided to climb a nearby ridge to get in some good glassing before the sun went down. As I got close to the top of the ridgeline I bumped some more elk, and sat down to wait for my dad. I did a quick glass toward the north and there they were! Eleven rams skylined about a mile away. I whipped out the spotting scope and started judging... Two really nice rams (shooters) some decent ones, and some little ones. We watched them until dark and then went back to camp. We decided to cut this scouting trip short so we did not spook them too much. We watched them the next morning and then headed out until the next weekend. It was a great scouting trip with lots of quality time spent with my dad.
The next weekend, I rode in with my FIL and we spotted a different group of rams. After a long hike, we were able to get above them at about 400 yards. One of the rams was a monster! He was wide, deep and had a natural flair. There was a big chunk out of his left horn at the quarter mark, and he was a beautiful old bruiser. I told my FIL that he is the one and my FIL says "I wonder if there is a bigger one in the unit?" I was stunned - they just do not come bigger than this guy was. I tried to age him and came up with about 11 years old. We started calling him Broken Left, my FIL shortened it to BL and I said we should just call him "Bill". The name stuck and he became the object of our obsession.
My FIL, brother and I came in and set up camp four days before season opened. We watched the group of rams with Bill in it from a knob about a mile away. We had him in our scopes from sunup til sundown every day before season started.
We knew there would be other hunters in the area on opening morning, and that my FIL had to be on top of Bill at first light opening morning. We formulated a game plan where my FIL would go to the mountainside we had been seeing them on under the cover of darkness, while my brother and I would go to the knob we had been watching them from. Once we spotted the sheep, we would wave an orange hat to give a general direction to my FIL. It was hard to sleep that night knowing what could happen the next day.
Morning found my brother and I sitting on top of the knob fighting a cold wind and trying to glass the mountainside between shivers of cold and excitment. Just before sunrise my brother loudly whispers "There they are, on the skyline!" I spotted them and saw where they were in relation to my FIL on the hill... 12 O' clock. I started waving the hat while my brother watched. My FIL was not paying attention to us. Finally I whipped out my bright red space blanket and started waving it and that got his attention. He started climbing straight up the mountain and all we could do was watch.
He crept from one small bunch of scrub brush that you find at timberline to another until he was just below them, but still out of sight. We did not know if he could go any further without spooking them, but he continued up to the edge of the last piece of scrub. In our scopes it looked like he was right on top of them! He crawled on his hands an knees until he was peering around the edge of the scrub and he froze! The sheep were still grazing around and had no idea he was there yet. He took off his daypack and eased his gun around. We kept watching him and the sheep just waiting to see what would happen. A small ram came up close to him and locked up on him. We thought it was going to get bad. We kept watching Bill, and could not figure out why he did not shoot. We kept speculating on what was going on over there. Suddenly, the sheep all turned and started running off the mountain with Bill in the lead. I said the my brother, "What the heck?" then we heard the rifle shot. The sheep ran through a burn area and Bill was not with them! We loaded up out packs and started running toward the area we had last seen him. When we were within a quarter mile, we heard another shot. We go closer and there was my FIL with a big grin on his face and Bill at his feet.
Bill is a beautiful 15 year old 39 1/2" full curl ram. He has not been meausered for B&C and will not be. He has broomed off at least 8 inches and his 3/4 measurement is as big as his bases.
We could not see it from our point of view, but the only shot Bill presented was from the rear, and my FIL said he respected him too much to do a Texas head shot on him. Just before he grazed over the ridge, he turned slightly and my FIL shot. The 120 gr 25-06 bullet went into the lungs. Bill ran about 200 yards before he piled up. The second shot was through the heart/lungs as he was laying down.
My FIL has been on over 30 sheep hunts (3 of his own) and this is the biggest ram ever harvested. The burn area Bill died in was one my FIL helped with when he was with the Division of Wildlife creating sheep and elk habitat.
Is and always will be one of my favorite hunts.
After all the trips to the hills looking for sheep this year, the ponies were in great shape. We decided to try a new area for elk and the day before season started, found us at the trailhead getting everything loaded up and ready.
There were four of us going in, and we had seven horses. We got things loaded up and began the 7 mile trek up to where we wanted to be. After riding up a long valley and crossing a couple of streams we began zig-zagging up the steep hill to the pass that would take us to where we wanted to camp.
We setup the sheepherders tent in a bowl just below timberline with a meadow nearby that had plenty of food and water for the horses. There was some snow and sleet aqualls coming through as we were setting up camp and the sheepherders stove was a welcome thing.
We did not have much of a chance to glass that evening due to the bad weather and setting up camp. After darkness had set in, we could hear a bull bugling on the mountainside above us. He kept us awake all night. We decided to split up for the morning hunt with my brother and a fried going up toward the basin with the bull that caused us to lose sleep, and my FIL and I going to a different area in the opposite direction.
As the sun began to come up over the 14,000 foot peaks in the distance, I was sitting on the edge of a meadow that held the promise of lots of elk traffic. My FIL had gone to check out another area about a half mile away that looked good for elk. When the sun hit me and I began to get nice and warm, all the sleep I had missed the night before caught up with me. I was startled awake by the sound of twigs breaking behind me. I eased around and saw the vague outline of elk passing through the trees. If they continued in the direction they were going, they would break into the meadow about 80 yards to my right. All I had to do was ease around the tree I was next to, and I would have a shot. I eased around the tree, and the elk seemed to stop. They then changed direction and started coming straight toward me! I was all decked out in orange and sitting in the sunshine at that point, and I could not move. The lead cow passed by 20 yards away and the rest of the herd followed suit. I figured that if a bull came by I could try a quick snap shot at that range. As the lead cow moved on, she got downwind of me and nailed me to the ground with her eyes. I could not move. The rest of the elk started trotting off quickly and she kept me down. Finally a bull stepped out, but he was a very small raghorn. squinting out of the side of my eye, I could not even verify he was legal in the 4 point or bigger area. As they trotted off over the hill, I thought how much fun that had been.
I settled down to wait for my FIL to get back and was visited by a friendly group og camp robber jays. I started to share the danish I had for breakfast with them and eventually had one sitting on my shoulder, one on my head, and one on the end of the muzzleloader as it sat in my lap. I kept playing with them, for a while and then saw my FIL on the other side of the meadow. The birds flew off as I gathered up my gear. I began trekking over to where my FIL had sat down to wait for me and he was complaining about how all these darn jays had come over and started landing on him and pecking at his fingers. I guess I trained them right.
We did some exploring of the area we were in, ate some lunch, took a nice long nap and made plans for our evening hunt. The meadow area looked really good and we decided it was where we wanted to be for our evening hunt. We were sitting there discussing what is wrong with the world, and what is right about us when I caught a flash of movement. I said "elk!" and pointed as a suicide kid (spike bull) came sauntering past about 50 yards away. After he went past, I said there has to be more. We eased up to the edge of the meadow and there were two decent sized raghorn bulls wallowing in the mud. We then started to cirle around in an attempt to be closer to them if they started to leave the meadow. I caught a glimpse of them through the trees and it looked like they were headed to the trees at a point about 100 yards away. We hustled around a small group of trees and sat down to see what was going on. My FIL was right behind me and I was the outline of one of the bulls as it was coming across our path. I got my gun up, pulled the hammer and hit the set trigger. The bull stepped through an opening about 60 yards away. I waited until he took one more step and his shoulder cleared, put the peep on him and let her rip. Before the smoke cleared we were sprinting toward the meadow to cut off his escape. I was trying to use a speed loader as I was running and stopped at the edge of the meadow. One bull was half way across the meadow and headed out. I heard a crash about 30 yards away in some timber at the edge fo the meadow. I eased up and saw the 5x5 bull down. I unloaded my gun through his head and began to celebrate. The .54 had done the trick going through both lungs. He had ran about 80 yards.
That evening, I bugled in a couple elk to within muzzle range, but my FIL suddenly went from meat to trophy hunter as soon I mine hit the ground. The next night, I brought a beautiful 6x6 to withing 100 yards, but my FIL missed him (old eyes and iron sites).
Our friend killed the elk that had kept us awake the first night. It was a pretty 5x3.
On the third day in, the weather hit hard. I hauled out and decided to save some vacation days for deer season.
All in all, another awesome experience.
Really short one
Got up 0 dark thirty
Got dressed borrowed buddys truck took his son to his spot got to mine parked truck just off dirt road walked 600 yards to stand before I got to the stand saw what looked to be two large dark spots.
It was still about 35 minutes before sun rise, dropped backpack off brougth up my 7mm STW focused scope and scanned for lumps, brown bushes nice going Dave you sniped a bush. Got stuff back on pack headed to stand.
Sat in stand wind came up from the east blowing the mist in the woods right over me wooo what a cold front that was.
Looked to my left, right and center caught something off of the left eye and its a buck (white tail).
County I was hunting in has QDM, deer antlers must be past the ears, lucky him hes a small 6 pointer. I watched him, ranging him with my mildot and checkin out the way he was acting trying to insert into the ole hardrive for later on.
Sat for another couple of hours see two does, ranged them 2 mils high hmm thougth about the math and damit forgot my range estimation card if it had been an MOA recticle Id have been fine.
I figure they are about 310 yards forgot to switch the 16 inches averange deer chest size in this area (Georgia) to .444 of a yard, polish math crap, and instead used 16 times the number of mills devided by 1000 didnt have a pen so scratched it on my stand came out to be 310 yards or so,
Set up the gun I'm to short this seat doenst allow me to hold the gun still enough the rail is to high dang, I set the gun back down put backpack under butt and reaquire targets. Ahhh thats better, wait their tails are up and their looking towards the direction of the woods a possible buck hell no some redneck bahain through the woods scares the deer off.
Got back to camp thought about MILDOT formula and remembered the conversion to decimal form figured it out 16 inches is .444 I was way off they were only 222 yards or so, not a problem as i sighted in for 200 and form 200 to 300 I would have hit a kill zone area.
Oh well I didnt get skunked I got to see deer that I couldnt shoot at and a turkey, and time spent with mother nature and learned more about the sounds of the woods, big 4X4 trucks make bad deer attractants.
Got back home sent premier recticles an email and have price quote for changing recticle to MOA instead of assbackwards MILDOT crap requiring at least a pen 11 450 MHX to compute math or dedicated brain memory to insert complete mildot list, or better yet just dont forget them damn thing next time Dave.
Oh well it was an experience that has taught me a lesson, as usual my lesson are always the hardest lol.
Good hutnig and good luck.