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Showing content with the highest reputation since 11/28/2019 in all areas

  1. 46 points
    Spent all summer scouting turning up a lot of good bucks. Went up for the hunt and was able to take this heavy buck opening morning. Big thanks to everyone who came up to scout and help out on the hunt
  2. 43 points
    My son and I scouted hard all summer, he named a buck that was coming in regular “eye guards”. After some tough misses on opening day, Saturday about 2:00 pm eye guards came strolling in and Tanner capitalized on him with one 50 yard shot, the buck ran 100 yards and piled up. He is still on cloud nine, I’m super proud of him. For those that care he rough green scored 111”.
  3. 36 points
    Had another frustrating, feet killing, back aching, hot, cold, rainy, dusty, fun-filled pronghorn hunt with Taylor last week. Had just about every thing that could go wrong on a hunt (as far as animals) happen. Had great times and success too. Drove out Friday AM early, on the road by 3:30AM. Got out to our hunt area by about 2:00PM. Drove around, and found a good buck that would be our #1 hit list buck for opening morning for Taylor. We watched him for a couple hours from about 1.2 miles away, making sure he stayed put. Met up with Brandon and Kyle (see Zeke's report), they got a look at the buck we were watching, and we went over game plans for each other's hunts. Hard to tell from the photos, nut he is tall, and pretty wide. Cutters are average, and so is mass, but a pretty good buck. At dusk, we headed for the hotel, and stopped on the way out, and glassed up Brandon's buck "Unicorn". I tested Brandon telling him, "You have got to kill that buck! He is cool!" Day 1: Opening morning found us back in the same spot we put the buck to bed the night before. And, the buck and his harem of 16 does were nowhere to be found. But I glassed up another harem of 18 does. Figuring there had to be a buck with them, I kept glass on them. Eventually, a very good buck (better than our #1 hit list buck by quite a bit) appeared briefly @ 1750. We got a plan together to get within about 400 yards, and were gearing up, when a truck came barreling down the road and spooked them over a couple small rolling hills. We put together a new plan to go after them, and started our first multi-mile trek of the hunt. Seemed like every time we closed to 600 or so, the does would be up and feeding over the top of the next hill. At 3/4 mile into our stalk, Taylor says to me, "I can hear mom talking." (My wife's voice carries a long way, not loud, just something in the frequency or tone). I turned around and glassed, and NMGFD was parked behind the 4Runner. I called her on the cell, and actually talked with the NMGFD officer. Super nice guy, I texted him photos our licenses, tags, and landowner written permission. He wished us luck, and back at it. After about 4 hours, we finally crept to the backside of the last hill, and glassed up does about 200 yards ahead and below us. Pulses quickened, as we started looking for the big buck. And looked. And looked. For about an hour, I glassed everything, the buck was gone. Eventually, the does spotted us, and trotted off, with one circling us and coming in behind us to 87 yards, before blowing out. A couple mile hike back to the truck. Stalk one failed. Drove over to the west side of the ranch, and glassed up a couple bucks. One at about 1300, and one a few miles out. Passed on the closer, smaller buck. Drove within a mile of the bigger buck, and got out to start stalk #2. Dropped down in a small wash, and got within 530 yards of the bedded buck. He was a good one, a shooter....but was about 100 yards onto public land, and we had private land only tags. Sat on him for a couple hours, hoping he would get thirsty and come to the water tank behind us on private, and give us a shot when he stepped onto private land at 400 yards. After a couple hours, he got up, and walked further onto public land to his does. Stalk #2 failed. Backed out down the wash so we didn't spook the herd. Spotted another smaller buck, and was within 450 for about 10 minutes, and Taylor kept asking if he was good, and since I kept saying "he is OK", she opted to pass on him too. Drove down to another spot I have seen good bucks, and spotted this guy just on public, but heading for private. Had him at 400ish, and he walked right up to the fence we had crept along for a few hundred yards trying to cut the distance. He had us pegged, and finally turned and hauled but, just 3' from being legal. Stalk #3 failed....or is that 4? Went back to about the only spot that the big buck that disappeared that morning could have gone. I stopped at a good glassing spot, and glassed miles of flat ground, and saw a bachelor herd of bucks up on the mesa. The group had 2 good, one average, and two smaller bucks. They were above where we wanted to check, so we drove around the hills to get closer to the valley they were above. As I pulled off the 2-track once we got closer to glass, literally, within 3 seconds, I see a puff of dust, and then hear a "boom" from a long ways away. The big buck is 360 yards away! And someone who did not want us to get a shot at him took a 1200ish yard shot at him in a desperate attempt at him. Needless to say, that buck took off with me being close, and some fool shooting at him from the next County. It would be the last time we saw him during the hunt. He stopped at 1455 from us, on public land, as the other guy just walked back to his truck. Probably 2500 yards from him now. Not really a stalk, but what could have been a great opportunity at the big buck failed. Found a few other bucks that evening, but nothing we wanted to go after on day #1. Heard from Brandon that Kyle had killed too. At the end of the day, we stopped by Brandon's hotel, and I got to lay hands on "Unicorn". Really unique buck. I would have shot him in a heartbeat too. Glad Brandon got the smoke his #1 buck on opening day. A bit jealous. Day #2: Started off passing quite a few bucks, nothing big. Went back to look for the #1 hit buck and glassed up 9 of his 16 does in the same valley they were in before opening day. Thinking the buck and other does might be further up the valley, we drove around and parked about 800 yards to the south. Geared up, and snuck around the back side to 233 yards of the herd. Glassed for about 2 hours looking for the buck, to no avail. Could not locate him, or the other does. Backed out very slowly, and stalk #1 for the day failed. Stopped and glassed the area the big buck was last seen, and also looking for the bachelor bucks. Saw 4 of the bachelors on the edge of the mesa, so we got in closer to within 600ish, and waited. One of the better ones was coming down to private, and we were ready to take a shot, but he would not quit moving, and eventually went back up top onto public. 3 others were working their way down, so we sat and waited. One good one, one small one, and the average buck. They literally got to the property line (according to OnX), and stopped. I willed them to take 5 more steps, but they turned back around, and eventually went back up top too. Stalk #2 failed. A storm was rolling in, and it got really windy. Windier than I figured. Driving to another part of the ranch, we saw the herd of does off the road, looking like they really wanted to cross, so we stopped to let them go across. Well, they eventually turned around and walked back into their valley. So we drove on........and there he was! 551 yards away. Jumped out of the truck, and got Taylor behind my 6.5 SS. I made a terrible wind call, and first shot "Hold .8MIL right......pew.....You are just left!" "Shoot again, hold 1.2MIL right....pew......just over him, shoot again." By now, he knew something was up and was moving out. Flat ground, no features, adrenalin, and shaky hands make ranging difficult. 770, one more shot by Taylor, "just left!". At this point, Taylor was pissed. She says, "You shoot him!" I jump behind the gun, and try and range him. 800? Pew. She says, "just under him!" 920 now? Pew. "Just left!" Over a rise he goes. Now I am pissed....and determined. Stupid wind, Taylor should have had him in the bag. I figured 10-15mph. Was probably more like 35mph. We run back to the truck, and instead of grabbing ammo, we grabbed Taylor's 6.5SLR. Drove up to the hill he went over, I jumped out with my 15s, her rifle, and hustled up the hill. As we topped out, he was standing right there at 200ish? He bolts L to R like shot from a cannon. Taylor yells, "Shoot him!!!" I threw up the rifle (thank goodness the 3-20 was set on 7X) and snapped off a quick shot that I saw kick up dust right in front of him. Spun him around, and he hit mach 2 instantly. I think my wingshooting and varmint hunting instincts kicked in. I worked the bolt while looking through the scope, led him, saw shot #2 kick up dust right behind him, worked the bolt as I followed him, said "this is stupid" as I touched of shot #3, hearing the "whop" and he never broke stride. Worked the bolt again while keeping him in the scope, touched off shot #4 hoping to anchor him, and saw the puff of dust right in front of him. Then.......huge cloud of dust as he cartwheeled. About 10 seconds, 4 shots, and one down pronghorn buck. I have never be a "shoot at a running big game animal" guy. Not sure what happened, heat of the moment I think. But, at 250 yards on a 50mph run, I had a buck down. I also felt bad about shooting a buck that was supposed to be Taylor's. But looking at Taylor, she said one of the coolest things I have heard from her. "I always knew you were an awesome hunter, but I think you may be the best hunter alive! No one is going to believe that shot." I think shot placement was spot on. You can see the entrance below. And the 6.5mm 130 AR Hyb sure do work amazingly well. The storm was rolling in, and lightning was getting CLOSE. I quartered him up and caped him out in about 15 minutes, just as the lightning got too close for comfort. Last strike as I was closing the back hatch was "Flash.....one one thousand, BOOM". We drove to the west side of the ranch hoping to get ahead of the storm and maybe get a chance at another buck, but Mother Nature chased us down and off the ranch early, about 4:00PM as the rain started to dump and lightning was closing in again. We opted to make a run for the hotel. Day #3: Taylor has stated, "I am shooting the first mature buck I see, I don't care if it is big, average, or even small." OK, should be easy, right? Right??? Wrong. First legal light, I stop at a small rise as we approach the ranch to glass. Taylor says, "There is a buck right there. I am going to shoot him right now." Get out, getting set up for a 600 yard shot, and he ducks under the fence and off property. So we watch him, and he crosses further down the fence line back onto property! Up and on top of a small hill looking to circle back around. So we drove up to the property fence, and get out and get ready. The buck picked up another buck, a bit smaller, and we try and get set up for a shot, but they crossed the road. So we get up, cross the road, and Taylor is prone, and the bucks stop at 431 yards, staring right at us. She dials, and I tell her, "the one on the right, wait fr him to turn, and put one in him" No wind. Staring contest lasts for about 3 minutes. Then, the bucks looks behind us as a truck drives down the road. Now, the 4Runner is stopped in the middle of the road, two doors are wide open, we are laying on a table top flat piece of ground off the road by 10 yards, I am standing behind my 15s on a tripod. You would think, YOU WOULD THINK, that the truck would have stopped as soon as they saw us. You would think. It kept coming. Bucks bolt and run for 27 miles or so. The truck drives up to us and stops, "Are you hunting?" As I turn around, probably with lasers shooting from my eyes as my skin peels back to reveal my bloody skull and flames billowing from my scalp........"Are you kidding me!?!" Needless to say, the truck left in a hurry without waiting for an answer..... Opportunity 1 of the day blown. So we drove up and start glassing at one of our usual spots. I glass up a herd of goats at 1500, and start to make a plan.....when another truck drives up...."Are you hunting?" As the herd runs off.......turns out, it was the ranch owner's Mother. Super nice lady. We talked for a brief moment, me seething under my smiling face. But, it is her ranch. Off she goes. We headed the same direction. Opportunity 2 blown. Drive down to the glassing spot, nothing. But some great mule deer that we had seen the day before too. 3 shooter bucks for sure, one big boy, one older buck on his way down that I have seen for 3 years in a row. All bachelored up together. One guy must like his own company... I drove out to glass the big valley with the bachelor herd of goats, but couldn't find them. But, I did find a good buck bedded all by himself. Called Taylor over, and he was 1650 yards out in the middle of a big valley. We had some cover of a small wash that would put us within about 700. No wind, doable. Well, he got up and moved 200 yards, then bedded back down. New plan, new wash. He got up again, and moved another 200 yards and bedded back down. Now, no cover within 100 yards. Try and form a now plan and come in from a different direction, above him.......and he got up again and started walking, bedded down another 500 or so yards, and totally out in the open, with no cover within 1300+ yards. Is he worth spending 3+ hours to try and get close without bumping him into the next property? Chances: Slim to none. He got a pass. Opportunity #3 kind of passed. THink about the big buck that was on the southwest side, and go look for him next. Glassed up a good buck when we got there. He was 1588 out, with two big cottonwoods between us and him, and they were 1150 yards away. Should put us under 400 yards of the bedded buck. And I mean bedded. He actually kept laying his head down as I watched him. Geared up, and started after him, keeping the trees between us to mask our approach. Halfway there, 500 yards from the trees, 900ish from the buck.........a truck is driving across the meadow he was overlooking. "Oh crap" I said.......same lady. Up goes the buck, and he trots off and beds back down, still on private, but almost off the ranch. So we continued on another 100 yards, and so did the truck........bye bye buck. Stalk #4 blown. Frustrated beyond belief, and having covered most of the ranch, I opt to try the one part of the ranch I have never hunted. It is seriously as flat as a table for MILES. Grass is 3-4" tall. But, I know there are two tanks on the corner of the property out there. OnX shows a 2-track on public land that crosses onto another ranch but runs along the fence line. So, we try it. I don't think a prairie dog can hide out there, and we actually find a small dog town. And a burrowing owl standing on a dog mound. That was cool. So anyway, we keep driving, and my wife is saying, "Do you think there will actually be any antelope up here?" Well, it is above where the bachelor herd was, and I have glassed up pronghorn up here 2 years ago, might as well check it out. I noticed a skull off the road, and got out to check it.....halfway to it, I look over, and a decent buck is staring at me from 300 yards, but on the wrong side of the fence. I say, "Taylor.....(whistle)". She looks over, and I point. She slinks out of the truck with my 25SST. Comes over to me, and I say, "He needs to cross that fence, and he is legal." No kidding, he ducks under the fence, and I see a 2nd decent buck standing looking at me, like he emerged from the dust. They walk off, and over about a 18" high swell. We follow, cross the fence and onto private ranch property. I can see the two bucks right in front of me, Taylor following me as we duck walk towards them in single file. She goes prone, but can only see the horns. I ask, "Do you think you can shoot off my shoulder? They are only 189 yards away." I get on my knees, and she rests the rifle on my shoulder. She says, "Quit breathing and I think I can get a shot." I hold my breath......and the bucks bolt. The bigger of the two never stops. Just off to the races. The other buck runs to 600ish, where a third buck stands up. Last ditch effort, I take my tan/white hat and start to flag him. Holy crap......here they come. I am checking my phone and compass, they are on private, but only by about 50'. Taylor is prone and on him. I am ranging....."Let them keep coming......500.......400......350.....331......they stopped, wait for the one on the right to turn........" 3 minutes of him just standing staring at us....."Shoot him right in the neck. You on him?" Pew (suppressed, so no more BOOM). He books, but I can see blood like pouring out a 5 gallon bucket of red paint pouring out of him. He went about 50 yards, stopped, teetered over without a kick. Blood trail that Helen Keller could have followed. I don't think the hole is actually an exit. I think that 131 Blackjack @ 3238fps MV just hit him so hard, the thin chest cavity could not contain the hydrostatic shock of the temporary wound channel. Blew out 3 separate ribs, hole right through the top of the heart, lungs were liquid, even had stomach content at the hole in his side. Devastating performance. Thank you to my wife for keeping us company, to God for allowing us the opportunity and health to pursue these amazing animals, and to Taylor, for keeping me hard at work. She kept me going, seriously. She is a tough kid (not really a kid anymore), and kept a good attitude, and worked hard for this buck. Couldn't be more proud of the young lady she has become. Thanks to Brandon too.
  4. 36 points
    I was lucky enough to draw a Wyoming bull bison tag last spring. I’ve put in for WY, AZ, and UT for a decade or so and pulled a AZ tag a few years back and was unsuccessful after sitting in a blind for 158 hours. I was really hoping for another chance as I really couldn’t bring myself to shoot a fenced one on a ranch or reservation (I’m 1hr from the Ft peck rez which has bison hunts but they are fenced). The season runs aug 15-dec31 and then they reopen it from jan1-31 if they haven’t had any buffalo migrate down from the park. They shut the hunt down as soon as they start feeding the elk in Jackson Hole which has traditionally been mid jan. I decided to go as late as I thought was comfortable without getting shut out. Turned out it was still early. These hunts used to be easy, the buffalo would show up in nov or dec and they’d be near 100% success. The last 5 years or so the buffalo just don’t come down. The snow was deep when we got there, so much so we needed horses just to get through it at all. The buffalo unfortunately still hadn’t come down. There was a rumor of one bull on the elk refuge, there were about 15 more on the park about 5 miles off and the rest were all way way off in the park and likely won’t be here before they close the season. Well my luck finally turned on wild bison. We picked up tracks in the river bottom first am and caught up to the lone old bull on horseback. I was able to get into about 125 yards. I tucked a 175 swift a frame into his heart with my 7mm STW, then another. He spun around and started heading out. Couldn’t believe it. I put the next two into his low shoulder to break him, which sort of worked. I had time to reload and put two more in the base of his skull before he finally tipped. All shots where lethal. Can’t believe how tough they are!!! We got him gutted and were able to get horses and a sled to him. They’ve got draft horses here to drag them out, I really didn’t think it was possible but they got him drug about a mile to the nearest retrieval road and loaded whole!!! He weighed 958# carcass weight! That puts him at about 1600-1700# on the hoof. Should make Boone and Crockett and we are gonna have a few years of great eating!! Super stoked to have finally ended this quest. We were able to get done early enough to get in a little skiing and are having him butchered and frozen right away so we can haul him home ready to go in the freezer (freezers!). Edit: Sorry about the sideway pics. They all looked the same on my phone.
  5. 36 points
    I was fortunate to take my ram mid day on December 2nd surrounded by friends and family. Special thanks to my dad who scouted for me and burned miles of roads and glassed for hours.......As you all know, it was the hunt of a lifetime. He wasn't the biggest ram out there, but he is perfect to me. Sheep slow motion.xspf
  6. 34 points
    Here are some pics of my sons big horn hunt success, 15ds amazing hunt and memories 165 5/8 Gross 165 3/8 net
  7. 33 points
    I don't post on here much but like most of you I get on just to see cool pics of cool bucks. I feel this is a buck many would enjoy to see. Luck: when preparation meets opportunity. That’s the best way I can describe this hunt. Due to some life events I didn’t not have time to scout much this year. I actually missed the first day of the hunt and the second day committed to helping a friend fill his tag on the one day he had free. We had some luck filling his tag with a nice 90ish buck then it was game on for me and my tag. It would be a solo hunt for the rest of the season which I mostly do and prefer in most ways. I decided I would hunt a spot that I nicked named “The Hole”. It’s a spot I have looked at in previous years, one years was covered with decent buck, then some years I have a hard time turning anything up. I had never taken a deer there but knew it could hold a good one since it was a “hole”. This spot is not hard to access but I knew it’s a spot hunters overlook and I call it “The Hole” because, while it’s not that hard to access and not that far of a hike, it’s a pain in the butt to hike in given the brush and terrain. The only good glassing spot is pretty uncomfortable and with an all-day sit during an early season you WILL get burnt. I get to the glassing spot with a good 30min sit to cool down before its even light enough to start glassing. This is done for a reason as while most of what I glass from here is a good 1000 yards away, one of the better bucks I had seen in years prior was on a small ridge just in from of the glassing point about 350 yards away. As most of you know that darn close to get to Coues especially just to glass so I knew getting in there in the dark was a must. I sat there and set up the glass on the tripod and started glassing before there was much light to even see anything, thinking ‘Well it’s about that time when lots of hunters are just waking up and the deer are the most active’. Through the low light I make out the form of a deer’s body on the ridge just in front of me at 375 yards. I make out some antlers and continued to watch as the light began to make it easier to see. Due to the subdued light I couldn’t tell exactly what he was and being the first deer that morning I began looking around to see what else may be out. For about 15-20 min I looked around for more deer and not seeing any other and I kept going back to the buck I saw. He was slowly feeding uphill as I was getting a better look. I could not see his main beam on one side so I thought he was a big 2 on one side and a 3 on the other. To be honest I still wasn’t sure it was a buck I wanted to shoot to end my hunt so quick. Finally got an angle seeing it was, what I thought, a good 3x3. This look was just after coming back to him and I thought well that looks like a good buck maybe another one showed up. The decision was made at this point to shoot but it took a bit to find a place to set up, the buck only being 350 yards now. While getting the gun set up the deer disappeared on me. It was now maybe 15 min before sunrise, yes that buck was on his feet for just a short while in the daylight. The last spot I saw him was on the edge of a large brushy patch so I figured he was in there somewhere. The wind was howling to and he was on the shaded side from the wind so it made no sense for him to leave, my gut told me hes still there. I watched the brush for about 45 minutes and I catch the buck up for just a few seconds as he shifted in his bed. No shot before a bedded back down, but now I knew where he was and could make out bits of his antlers through the brush. I made sure the gun was ready and got the phone scope set up to film the shot and the wait began. I waited for about 45mins and at was getting back on the gun to make sure it was ready. Well I looked in the scope and there he was standing. He was now looking over his shoulder and looked uneasy. Not knowing if he was about to bolt I decided to bag the filming and take the shot. At 350 yards I felt 100% confident on the hit but watch to see if anything runs off the ridge and nothing showed up. I gather my gear, make the short hike across the small canyon and find this. When I pull him out of the brush he just got bigger. I did not see all the mass, extra points, and thought how stupid I was in thinking I may pass. I was gitty for a while and got to work. The pack-out was heavy and sucked but I loved every minute of it. Yes, luck had a lot to do with it but my preparation, previous knowledge and opportunity all aligned for this hunt. I've had the privileged to take some great buck, working a lot harder to do so, but this is my best. Sorry for the long read that did.
  8. 33 points
    Well, I couldn't hold out for long. My best scouted ram is down. Not the biggest or oldest in the unit, but my lifetime desert bighorn was taken at 8:30AM on my 33rd birthday. Most of my hunting partners, as well as my dad and brother all had a heavy, contributing hand to make this one special. More to come, but for now..
  9. 31 points
    Story of my first deer. (Shortened) After glassing, and stalking other bucks I eventually found myself at the top of a ridge overlooking a wash filled with cattle. As soon as my eyes focused on a calf I saw the white bottom of a 2 point buck jump behind a bush. I briskly started walking to get even with the buck as I was on top of the ridge and he was in the bottom of a wash. I was using an ultimate predator decoy, a silhouette of a doe that I Velcro on my bow, to hopefully lure in the rutting buck. I chased him from ridge to ridge til eventually I cut him off and waited for him to walk right in to me where the wash ended. Seconds after stopping my movement he emerged from behind a bush at about 65 yards. His eyes immediately locked on me, the doe decoy, and began walking right towards me. I ranged the cactus 17 yards in front of me that he would have to go around. I drew my bow without him noticing because of the decoy. When he approached the cactus he turned broadside to go around it and that’s when I let the arrow fly. The Rage broad head penetrated deeply into his vitals from what I could tell at the moment. Instantly blood spurted out of him and he took off down the wash he came from. After waiting an hour I started tracking. After finding little to no blood I eventually made my way back up the wash where I thought he was. I found a large puddle of blood and 10 feet farther there he was; crashed in the wash. I had finally killed my first buck and it was an archery otc hunt. It took a lot of hard days, sleepless nights, and practice to get it done but I did it. Super happy for my first buck. He’s not a monster but for my first deer I can’t complain. Thanks everyone for all the tips and advice. I couldn’t have done it without y’all. 9F8FCEC8-3952-4732-83AF-844D2E2DF364.MOV
  10. 31 points
    Well, our hunting "party" was fortunate to draw 5 tags in the same unit for late bull. Getting two bulls on the ground and taken care of is daunting, five seemed downright crazy. Out of the 5 hunters, 2 of them would be happy to just get bulls on the ground (both guys around 70 years old) and the other 3 were were going to hold out for good bulls. With all the snow on the ground, it made access to some of our spots impossible but it did push a LOT of bulls into some other country that seemed to have basically zero hunting pressure with much more forgiving terrain. The first morning started with spitting snow, fog and wind. My dad called us pretty early and said the two older gentlemen in our party had both knocked down bulls and they needed some help. The rest of the day was spent trying to get two bulls broken down and into the trucks through a blizzard. The storm put down a lot of snow fast. we had to get out of the country soon before the roads were impassible. I didn't take any photos of these bulls because we were in such a hurry to get them taken care of and the amount of snow coming down would have made it tough anyways. One of them was a broken 300" type 6-point, the other was a raghorn 5. Nothing too impressive but they were happy. We woke up to about 8 degrees and around a foot of snow on Saturday. We headed back to the same area the two bulls were taken at the day before and immediately started seeing bulls. We spotted 8 or 10 on a near ridge (500 or so yards away) but nothing too enticing. I swung and started glassing the opposite direction and found a bull that needed a closer look. Just when we were packing up i took another look at the near ridge and suddenly there were a lot more bulls that were standing up. 3 of them would have been shooters. I just got a look at the tops of what i thought was the biggest bull and we decided we need to kill him. He had a 340" type 6-point, and a 350" type BEAUTIFUL, palmated 7x7 with him. I had to talk my brother out of shooting either of them because the one looked to be bigger. It was hard watching those two bulls walk away. The biggest one bedded after all the other bulls left the country and we could just see his tops. We decided to sneak in a little closer and ended up getting to about 410 yards where we'd wait for about an hour for him to stand up. He finally stood and walked through a very narrow shooting lane and my brother was able to knock him down. When we made it up to him, we found out that his eyeguards were extremely short. He probably doesn't score as high as the 7x7 would have but he is an ancient bull with incredible tops and main beams. I've been around a LOT of bulls on the ground and this one was probably the oldest. Hunters throw around the term "past his prime" "he's digressing" or "he wouldn't have made it through winter" FAR too often, but this bull was most likely all of those. He was bony, hips protruding, his spine looked like a razor back and his teeth were in BAD shape. Now that my brother was tagged out, we decided to bring Forest and Heather into the same area the next morning. Right away we found a bunch of bulls including the 7x7 that was running with my brother's bull. they were on the move and Forest had to shoot fast. He hit the bull and it bolted. we figured with the fresh snow it would be easy to locate. 5 miles and just some pin pricks of blood is all we found, until our buddy got on a high knob and was able to glass him up again. He made a giant loop and ended up in the same spot he was when he hit him initially. It looked like he basically just burned him and top of the shoulders, he'll be fine. After relocating him and realizing the wound was extremely superficial, we decided that we needed to get Heather on a bull that we had glassed up while pursuing the wounded one. He was in a great spot. We made our way around to him and got to 475 yards and waited for him to clear the other bulls. Heather made a fantastic shot through the middle of the shoulders. The bull didn't even twitch. He has great main beams, wide and good tine length on everything but his left G-5. Heather was thrilled, as she should have been. We spent the rest of the day taking care of this bull. The next morning we went back at it trying to relocate the 7x7 or find another good one. We glassed up a LOT of bulls again, including the one he killed later that day. We made a move on a 340" type 7x7 but he busted us. On the way back to the truck, I glassed a few bulls that were BIG. There was really no way to get withing shooting distance as they were bedded in a big PJ flat. We decided to try to push them off the thick flat and into the open flats. I made a loop around them so my scent would push into them and they SHOULD have left the country the opposite direction as my scent. Well, they didn't read the script and ran the wrong direction into some country that that would have been impossible to hunt. This was definitely not their first rodeo. There were around 10 bulls in the heard and 5 of them were no-brainers. The biggest at a glance looked to be a 380"ish bull that was busted past his 4th on one side. At this point the day was winding down and we decided to get a better look at a bull that Forest passed earlier that morning. We were able to relocate him and we decided he probably shouldn't have passed him. we worked our way into position and Forest shot, hitting him a little far back. All the bulls in the heard headed north. We looked around for an hour or so and scattered in all directions, not finding any blood or a sign of a hit. The smart old bull button hooked the rest of the heard and headed the opposite direction. Forest glassed him beddded under a rock outcropping about 250 yards away and put him down for good. He had 8-10" busted off his left fourth is why he decided to pass him earlier. This elk hunt was a blast. I've been on a lot of them and i don't think i've ever seen so many good bulls. We probably saw around 150 bulls in four days. Till next time
  11. 30 points
    Some good news in the midst of things - After several of the busiest months I've ever had, I was finally able to bring my oldest out fishing for a daddy-daughter day. Roosevelt didn't disappoint. This angel fished from 8am to 4pm and wasn't the reason we had to come home. We caught and released well over a dozen of the recently stocked black-nose crappie - A few spiny yellows- And kept some slabs - After a decade, the outlook for Roosevelt is finally shaping up in my humble opinion. Stay safe and enjoy what you can, CWT!
  12. 30 points
    With all of the grocery stores being out of food. I decided to take matters into my own hands and challenge the feds on the taking of equines. I decided to go traditional and used my recurve. Perfectly placed behind the shoulder. He didn't go far very short blood trail! I didn't think it would fall that easily. They are truly magical creatures Tension breaker had to be done
  13. 30 points
    Okay guys I went scouting today and I seen something that seemed like I was in a fantasy.... After seeing countless whitetail deer. I spotted some in a pocket really high in a canyon and what I seen next you would not believe......
  14. 30 points
    Third Day Update: TAG FILLED. As I finally have a chance to relax and look back on it, wow what a day it’s been! We decided to go back to the spot I posted about yesterday morning. While we had seen some bulls yesterday, we weren’t entirely sure if they’d be there again since we didn’t scout this area before the season started. (It was a whole new spot because we couldn’t get to the spots we had scouted and wanted to hunt due to all the snow.) We looked at a map last night and decided on an area to sit and glass and wait in the morning to see if the elk would come through that same area. We got up early and hiked in about a mile to sit and glass. About an hour after sunrise, we decided to cross the ridge we were sitting on to get a better view of a tree line and valley that we had seen tracks in yesterday. 30 minutes later, as I’m loudly clearing snow off a log to sit on, my buddy spots the first cow. She was coming from a saddle connected to the little valley we were sitting on about 150 yards from us. He tells me to shut up and look and I see her clear as day. A few more cows follow her and I think to myself “where are the bulls?” After what seemed like forever, but was probably about 30 seconds, we spot a bull following the cows. He’s a decent 4 pointer and being the third day I think “game on, I’m gonna tag my first bull!” All of a sudden 5 more bulls come into view from that same saddle but there’s one (potentially major) problem. The lead cow is now at the bottom of this valley we are sitting right on top of about 80 yards in front of us. She can either keep going down or turn directly towards us. There were tracks all on the hillside we were sitting on, so I’m just praying she doesn’t head straight for us. My prayers went answered and she continued leading the group down the valley. I turn my attention back to the bulls, but I’m starting to get so excited that not only will I get a shot at one, I’ll actually get to PICK the one I want to shoot. And they are only 125 yards away! I quickly look at each bull through my scope and pick out the one that looks the biggest. Honestly, I probably should have looked at each one longer but I was worried that I would miss this awesome opportunity because the group was moving steadily through. The big one stopped and I had a clear shot at about 125 yards. I pulled the trigger. He went about 30 yards and dropped on his side. He was down! I couldn’t believe it. Clean, double lung shot. I was shaking so hard and for some reason my left hand was tingling like crazy. We waited about 10 minutes but he was down and gone. I walked up and he was a beautiful 6 pointer. I honestly couldn’t have dreamed of a more perfect way to fill my first tag. Thank you all again so much for your tips and words of encouragement! I’m really glad I got to finish this thread with a success story and a great bull. Until next time, John
  15. 29 points
    Have always really wanted to take a coues deer with a bow and in velvet. And while I’ve never been able to hunt the early hunt due to baseball, this year was canceled so figured I’d give it a go. Had multiple bucks on camera that were decent. Just wanted a branch antlered coues would be good with me. More than happy with this buck and best of luck to the rest of the hunters out there. Also glasses up a couple mature bucks Beating the heck out of one another. That was pretty cool to see. Cheers to a good start of the 2020 hunting season IMG_2424.MOV
  16. 28 points
    Got out Friday am and found myself in the right place at the right time, called a gobbler off the roost into two decoys and hammered him at 30 yards, done at 530 am and for breakfast and ad fresh turkey nuggets for lunch. Thanks
  17. 28 points
    Filled my 2019 tag yesterday. Glassed him up on a hillside in the afternoon following a doe around. Took him at 350 yards with my 270. To date he's the best buck Ive ever taken. Going to get him mounted for sure. Glad I decided to take Friday off rather than go to work.
  18. 28 points
    Fun hunts this year, we did about 10 days in the field. My arrow found it’s mark yesterday at sunset after spotting a herd 2.2 miles out earlier in the day. Pops was able to harvest his 18th consecutive archery pig this morning. 43rd and 44th pigs killed in this father/son duo team.
  19. 28 points
    Hunted this buck for 8 strait days. I seen him scouting 1 time before my hunt. Never to see him again for 2 strait weeks. The times I did see him he was way out in a completely different location miles away. The buck was always on the move... For the few seconds I did have to see this buck I could tell he was an awesome deer; Deep forks, great mass and height! I called this deer “Ghost” he was unpatternable.. The buck never stayed in a certain area like almost all bucks do. This buck knew that staying in any given area for too long was bad news for him. Super smart deer! To make things even more difficult he was the only buck in the dam area not chasing does😂 Including scouting and my hunt I only seen this deer 3 times and the only time I seen him was at the last 10 minutes of shooting light; completely nocturnal animal. Below is the story on how it went down... I spotted a buck at 1 mile at dawn. When I put the spotting scope on him I could tell it was a shooter buck(not ghost). The buck was herding and rutting these does hardcore. It didn't take me long to pack up all my gear and start closing the distance on them. I get to a half mile of them and these deer rutted over the top of this hill away from me. I didn't wanna run right into them and spook them so I gave It about 30 minutes and just glassed the two drainages that came out from where they dropped into. I did this to make sure that they didn’t escape out of this pocket when I ventured into it. They never did so I headed over to the deer trail and started track them to where they went, I pursued them extremely slow because I knew I could get really close hunting this method. I tracked them for half a mile when I noticed ears walking towards me 100 yards away. I get down on my belly and just watch these deer get 20 yards to me and feed right around me lol they had no clue I was there. So then I see a 3x3 buck about 150 yards away and I grunted at him to try and pull him closer. He came in 20 yards and had a stand off with me and had no clue where the grunting had come from. He was looking around for 10 minutes right in front of me. The buck then started grazing and eventually met up with the does that were right in front of me. It was at that moment that I started hearing grunting and trampling like a stampede lol I just got ready on my belly cuz I knew something was lurking in front of me lol. I pulled my muzzleloader and have it on my side as I'm laying in my back. I then see about 25 deer within 30 yards of me. All I could see was little heads pop up out of nowhere. Then behind the does herding them up is a different buck than what I had seen this morning. An even bigger buck had pushed the big buck I seen this morning out of the group in the span of like an hour. This buck happened to be my target buck. "Ghost" I called this buck ghost because this buck I tried hunting for 7 days with no success. The smartest creature I have hunted lol. He had no pattern to hunt and never showed himself. He was nocturnal. But anyways this buck was pushing the does, nudging them in the rump and grunting like a mad man😂 I got on my knees as he got 50 yards from me and I let him have it. It took me 3 shots to bring that bad boy down. Here he is fellas, an awesome desert mule deer with a muzzleloader🤙🏽
  20. 28 points
    It’s been a minute since I’ve been on here but this forum definitely used to be one of my favorite places for recent success photos and any help I needed when it came to hunting AZ. It’s been tough to find time to hunt for myself lately but I finally had a few days to get out and chase desert bucks with my bow. My buddy glassed this buck up with some does and we put them to bed. I made my way to 45-60 yards of the deer bedded and waited for the buck to stand. Things got a little western but the buck stopped broadside at 65 yards and the arrow found its mark. Grateful for good friends and the opportunity to take this neat buck.
  21. 27 points
    Thought I would post him on the wall.
  22. 27 points
    Since we are now less than 36 hours from seeing card charges for this season’s sheep tags, it is probably time that I finally put pen to paper and share the story of my daughter’s hunt. My father-in-law had never hunted before I married my wife. He has since become a reliable hunting companion and it is something that we enjoy doing together. It has strengthened our relationship and helped us create some great mutual memories. When he drew a sheep tag last year, he was suddenly very interested in signing the tag over to my twelve year old daughter. His rationale was that he would get just as much enjoyment out of watching her fill the tag as he would if he took a ram himself, so why not seize the chance to spread the wealth and create memories for three generations. Seeing as she was the only grandchild old enough to hunt big game at the time, in his mind it was an easy choice. I hesitated for a while, knowing full well that I would never hand over my tag, but I eventually warmed up to the idea. Some may remember that my daughter went through some serious health issues in late 2017. On our way home from her first deer hunt she started complaining of abdominal pain and extreme nausea. Not long after that we discovered that she had a mysterious grown on her pancreas. We eventually learned that it was a softball-sized malignant tumor—a form of cancer so rare that the first specialist refused to believe what she was seeing because she had never encountered it in 30 years of practice. After several months of hospitalization, three major surgeries, and a scary amount of weight loss she seemed to come out of it as strong as ever—and so far she remains cancer free to this day. Given her history, I think her grandfather was also motivated by the chance to do something extra special for her. With the tagholder question decided, I set out to start my research. I knew of someone who had the same tag 10 years earlier and reached out to him. While waiting to hear back, I also did some stalking about on Facebook and was able to identify two other former tag holders. I contacted the first and he was very excited to hear from me. As it turns out, there are five or six former tagholders who have formed a sort of fraternity with each other whose goal is to help future tagholders on the hunt. Over the next couple weeks I started amassing text messages, field photos, maps, stories, tips, all of the helpful information a sheep hunter would want. Within two weeks I had spent time on the phone with six former tagholders. By the end of July we already had five guys I had never met committed to coming to sheep camp. This was a relief for me because literally every single one of my usual hunting buddies had their own elk tags they’d be trying to fill during opening day of sheep season. The wildlife manager for the unit was also very helpful. She gave me the run down on what she was seeing and the status of several of the water catchments. As I scouted throughout the fall, she and I kept in touch on sheep movements and catchment levels. The area didn’t get any monsoon rain at all until the last few days of September, so I had her on camera multiple times as she coordinated water trucks to provide supplemental relief. Outfitter Russ Jacoby also learned about my daughter and her tag. He reached out to me to see how he could help. He spend quite a bit of time on the phone with me answering my questions and filling me in on how he would approach things. He generously loaned us some extra equipment, and we had plans for him to join us in the field once some of the late hunts were over, but her hunt ended too quickly for that. I made several scouting trips in the dead heat of summer. I used those trips to set up and check cameras and to learn the roads because the conditions too miserable to do much else. I soon found that the sheep I would see on those trips were never far from water anyways, so until something changed, I might as well let the cameras do the looking for me. I didn’t want to drag my daughter out there when it was so hot (one of the consequences of only having half of a pancreas is difficulty regulating your body heat), so her hunt preparation was shooting practice and looking over trail camera photos with me. Together we learned what to look for in a quality Class IV ram. She liked “pretty” rams, which I learned meant “lamb tips.” Because of the lack of rain, the sheep stuck to the water, and we were able to identify several rams that she would be happy to tag. The unit is not particularly known for big rams. There have been one or two anomalies to come out of it, but even the biggest rams to come out of the unit lacked mass. The average size of the bases rarely exceeds 14 2/8”. So, if we could find her a high 150s ram that she thought was pretty, then that would be the ram she would take home. The last week of September one of our late monsoon hurricanes finally dropped some water on the northern part of the unit. The catchment with the most sheep traffic overflowed with water, and I never got another photo of a sheep at that spot. Not one. The rain had largely missed the southern part of the unit, however, and I continued to get sheep on camera well into November in that area. We made arrangements to meet up with the 2010 and 2014 tagholders, George and Gabe, in mid-November for a final scouting trip. My daughter couldn’t make it that day due to a regional orchestra competition, but my father-in-law came along. We spent a couple days glassing, checking camera, and hearing their sheep stories. Near the end of the first day my ranger threw a brand new tie rod. The son of a gun just came unscrewed. We were seven miles from pavement and I had forgotten my tool back. We hand-tightened it and limped ourselves out of there. Throughout that trip Gabe kept talking about how much he’d love to find a ram dead head someday, enough so that it became a bit of a running joke. When we pulled up to one catchment he spied a skeleton down in the wash, which got his heart racing, only to discover that it was nothing but a three-point mule deer. Interestingly, I had that buck on camera only a couple days earlier. He looked absolutely horrible, like a back of bones barely alive. By the time Gabe found him, the coyotes and birds had stripped him of everything but bone and antlers. As we drove down the road away from the last catchment at the end of the second day I caught a whiff of something dead. I immediately parked the ranger and we all bailed off into the wash. After about 20 yards I spied a dead ram. He was a broken ram that my daughter and I had followed on camera through most of the summer. His horns weren’t pretty, but he had always looked healthy. He was too far gone to tell what had happened to him, but I offered the find to Gabe if he wanted it. He quickly accepted. We cleared everything with the WM, and now, after some very smelly cleaning, the skull sits at Gabe’s place. Two things happened on that trip that ultimately had a direct impact on the hunt itself. First, we got trail camera photos of a new ram that was by far the best ram that had revealed himself thus far. He was gorgeous in every way. My daughter named him Thor because of his massive body size. He was at the same water every few days for at least five weeks through mid-November. Second, the unit veterans encouraged us to pay more attention to an area that I had largely overlooked previously. That area ended up being where the hunt ended. Thor: After our November trip it was obvious that the sheep were definitely no longer tied to the water. I had expected that, but they also did not seem to be particularly interested in being in any of the areas we looked. We ended the trip having spotted a deadhead and a handful of single sheep: several ewes, a small ram, and a very tight class IV ram. I was worried, but the veteran sheep hunters were 100% confident that we had nothing to fear, that it would all work out. The plan was to leave the day after Thanksgiving to set up camp. We would scout the second half of the day and then all day Saturday and hopefully have some sheep located before opening morning on Sunday. We didn’t get the horrible snow that the late elk hunters got that weekend, but the desert was definitely wet, windy, and quite cold. My buddy and his daughter joined us for Friday and Saturday, but they were going to have to leave Saturday night. George and Gabe came out that day, but opted to stay at the motel in town (can’t say that I blamed them). Damon, a guy I had never met but who had heard about her hunt on a sheep forum, drove in from California to join us that evening too. As we drove out I also learned that Jay (2001 tag) and Rick (2002 tag) were going to postpone an elk hunt due to the weather, so they’d be joining us for a few days too. After setting up camp we set out to do some late day glassing. Not one mile from camp the ranger another tie rod. This time, the rod on the opposite side broke in half. Thankfully, we were on a well-traveled dirt road and were able to get the trailer to it, but it kept us from doing any meaningful scouting before dark. I posted up about the frustration on Facebook and within 15 minutes I had two different friends offering up their machines. One happened to be headed out of town the next day and our camp was “only” going to be 90 minutes out of his way, so he generously offered to haul it out there and leave it for us the next afternoon. It was a frustrating day, but the scenery was nice, the company good, and my daughter was enjoying herself. The next morning we decided to send George and Gabe to the north end of the unit while we concentrated our efforts on the south end near where Thor had been prowling a few weeks earlier. Being down one machine, it made for slow progress in my truck, and I couldn’t get everywhere I wanted to get. We glassed at sunup and then Jay, my daughter, and I went to collect cameras. In the several months I had my cameras out, I very rarely had another person show up on film. I kept a little plastic tag on each camera with my phone number and a note that said it was for a 12 year-old sheep hunter, and the few people who did show up left them alone. Unfortunately, on that day I discovered two of the three cameras in that range had been taken. The one that was left was on a tank that was impossible to access without some pucker factor, so I believe that is the only reason it survived. The WM told me that a woman spending the winter in the area had called her earlier that week and was very concerned about one of the catchments and the welfare of the wildlife in that area, so I highly suspect my cameras went home with a couple of snowbirds. The cameras were cheap. I was upset at the lost data and wasted travel time. We spent the rest of the day glassing, but without much to show. The northern glassers picked up a Class III ram and a single ewe. We saw a few bucks, but no sheep at all. We covered a majority of the accessible portions of the unit, so again, I was worried. The veteran sheep hunters told us to have faith. My daughter’s friend and my buddy left Saturday night, so now she was the only lady in camp. Opening morning came and it was gorgeous. I was a nervous wreck. There had been no hint of Thor, and the area he had frequented didn’t have any fresh sheep sign at all. We decided to focus our efforts on the northern 2/3 of the unit and to split into three groups. I’d take my daughter, father in law, and Damon to the southern part of our focus area, Jay and Rick would go in the middle, and George and Gabe would go far north again. I took our group to a very green basin with a catchment that was not historically known to attract sheep, but two weeks earlier a deer hunter I met on a scouting trip had sent me photos of a great ram in the hills right above it. It was by far the greenest area we had seen the whole trip, but nothing panned out. Next, we drove up to a high point where we could look down into some amazing country. The sheep trails all up and down the mountain proved that the sheep are there some of the time, they just weren’t there at that time. It was at about that time that I got my first text from Jay. They had found a small ram high up in the hills between us. They were moving on to see what else they could turn up. About 45 minutes later Jay messaged me again to tell us that they had found a pretty Class III and a lopsided Class IV ram and were going to keep an eye on them. He sent me some photos and asked if we were interested. The rams were not the high 150s rams we had decided would be her goal, so I told him that we would keep glassing where we were. About that time Damon turned to me and said “don’t sheep in Arizona tend to hang out together like the do everywhere else?” My first reaction was to say “not necessarily, we’ve been seeing solitary sheep on most of our trips,” but then I started thinking back on the advice I’d been soliciting over the past six months and realized that that was, in fact, something that I had heard more than once. "Sheep are social." So at about 11am I finally queued in on Damon’s indirect advice and read between the lines of Jay's texts. We packed up to go find Jay and Rick, who were still sitting on the two rams to see what else might come along. I knew generally where Jay was, but there was zero cell reception there. Our only way to communicate was through the InReach, but the canyon walls where he was were so narrow that he didn’t get a reliable satellite signal either. At some point our groups managed to pass each other without realizing it. After a couple hours I decided to just stop on a high pass where I had a signal and glass from there until I heard from him again. After about an hour I got a message on the InReach and we were able to figure out that we were at opposite ends of the same drainage, and that the rams they had been watching were in the middle. About 30 minutes later we rolled up on Rick watching the two rams. It was now late in the day, and he had been watching them for many hours. No sooner did we pull up then the rams decided it was time to stretch their legs. They moved down the mountain slightly towards us, through the bottom of the canyon, and then up the other side were they decided to feed in the afternoon sunlight. We repositioned to watch the rams from a better angle about the time that Jay made it back to us. About the same time a caravan of razors and quads came up the canyon and passed us. They stopped about 300 yards up the canyon at a make-shift desert bar and started to party. The sheep didn’t seem to mind. As we watched the lopsided Class IV and the pretty Class III my father in law admired the Class III and said something to the effect of “if this were still my tag I would shoot that one right now.” I think we all looked at him in disbelief for a few minutes. I can’t remember if I actually said “well then I’m glad its not your tag anymore” or if I only thought that, but within seconds Damion announced that he “had another ram. A good ram!” Damon was free handing his binoculars and looking 90 degrees to our right. About 400 yards past the party going on up the canyon there was a nice ram skylined in the sunlight. I didn’t have time to judge him, because Jay immediately said “we need to move, let’s go!” I called George and Gabe and told them that we had a shooter and gave them our approximate location. They really wanted to be there for the action, so they packed up and started trying to find a way to our area. We moved up the canyon and past the party, stopping about 100 yards from where they were all gathered. We put together a plan and Jay, my father-in-law, my daughter, and I headed up a ridge that would put us within a couple hundred yards of where we had seen the ram. The remaining guys stayed down low to signal us if the ram moved, but when we were almost in place we looked back to discover that the others hadn’t actually seen the ram at all since we got there. Not more than 10 minutes had passed and he had vanished. We spent the next few moments catching our breath and picking apart the hill in front of us in case he was just out of view behind some brush. Soon we started hearing smacking noises. At first I didn’t pay much attention to it because I thought it was the party below us, but then it happened again and again. Something about the sound seemed familiar. It sounded like two 2x4s being smashed together. Jay looked back the way we had come and sure enough, there was the ram butting heads with the two rams we had just left behind! He had covered 700 yards as the crow flies like you or I would walk across the street. With the ram relocated we started running back down to rejoin our group. As we got near the bottom we started hearing a new sound. The partiers were now shooting .22s into the hillside, and they were between us and the sheep, which were about 400 yards beyond them! Thankfully, the sheep seemed totally accustomed to people partying in this spot, and apparently to target shooting too, because they bedded down completely unphased. We passed the party and made our way to the rams. They were bedded in the sun, and the big ram was in the open, but quartering slightly away. Jay noticed that the party was packing up and made the wise suggestion that we wait for them to clear out. We waited for several minutes as the caravan packed up and slowly moved passed us. None of the partiers had any idea that the sheep were there, and no one seemed to pay much attention to us. The coast was clear, and I had my daughter settle into a prone position. Her bipod was the perfect height. There was a soft spot for her to lay down. He rest was dead steady. I ranged the sheep at 210 yards. She had made this shot dozens of times. She settled in and found the sheep in her scope. She described what she was seeing and we confirmed that she was on the right ram. Jay told her to aim just in front of the back leg because the ram was angled slightly away from us, and she went from collected to totally freaked out. Everything she had killed to that point had offered a perfect broadside shot, and I had apparently been too insistent that she never shoot unless she is 100% comfortable. She pointed out that shooting it just in front of the rear leg was not what she had been taught, and it didn’t seem like I could convince her otherwise. I had her roll away from the rifle so that I could talk to her. I reminded her about the anatomy of the animal and the shot angle she had in front of her. I assured her that this was an appropriate shot in this situation, and that this was something that I knew she could do. At least that’s how I remember the conversation, Jay would probably say that I was not nearly that calm or patient with her. She rolled back behind the rifle and I told her that we were going to do a couple of dry fire practice shots, just to make sure she was calm and ready. She settle in, and click. “Did that feel good?” “Yep.” “Okay, let’s do it again.” Settled in, and click. “Good?” “Yep.” “Okay, it’s time.” Just then all three rams stood up and walked around the top of the hill. There was a two-track that circled the peak the rams were on, so we started walking it trying to get another angle on the rams. After a couple hundred yards we had them in sight again, they were standing, and for the first time seemed uncomfortable with our obsession with them. The vegetation and angle prevented her from setting up for a prone shot, so I set up the gun claw on one of my tripods. Unbeknownst to me, however, the plate on the bottom of the claw was horribly loose, so when she slid in behind it for a standing shot she was really unsteady. The ram we were after stepped out between two stands of ocotillos at about 150 yards. Her rifle was suppressed, so when she shot I heard the impact, but the ram didn’t react at all. At first I worried that maybe she had shot the wrong sheep because it sounded like a hit. I told her to shoot again, and she rushed a shot that clearly missed. Again, had I realized how unsteady her rest was, the hunt would have been over by then, she had never missed before. The group slowly walked to our left, and at that point one of the guys noticed that there was a small blood spot way back on the side of the big ram. He was hurt enough that he only went 20 yards or so before he laid down. His two buddies joined him, happy to follow his lead. She had filled five big game tags up to that point, and every single one of them was a single shot to the high shoulder and it was done. It threw her for a loop to have to shoot more than once, but we had to get in there and finish him before dark. Jay led the way as we slowly went up the slope. The whole time our pockets were buzzing as someone kept trying to call us on the phone. Finally Jay reach down and saw that it was Gabe, and without stopping to listen to what Gabe had to say he forcefully whispered into the phone “we are on a stalk quit calling us!” What we didn’t know at the time was that George and Gabe had given up on finding us. Frustrated, they stopped their truck and decided to glass the last few minutes of light when all of the sudden they saw three sheep bedded on the hillside about 800 yards off. One of the rams was “really big” and being the good friends they are, they wanted to stop us so we could go after that one. Because of the suppressor and the distance, they hadn’t heard the shots and didn’t know that we were already committed to a sheep. They also didn’t know that they were looking at the same three rams we were already stalking. Gabe snapped a photo of the three rams where they lay, moments before the final shot: When we were about 100 yards from the sheep the ram stuck his head up and we could make out the front half of his body. She set up for another standing shot off of the tripod and I told her to just take her time and squeeze, that this was a chip shot for her. My adrenaline was pumping hard and my mouth was so dry that I couldn’t swallow. She took a deep breath, held it, and fired one more time. This time the shot was true and here usual high shoulder shot anchored him. His head immediately dropped, and the crowd cheered below us. A few second later we heard hooting and hollering from across the valley as for the first time we realized that George and Gabe were with us (and when they saw the ram’s head drop they realized that we were with them too). Everyone was excited. My daughter was so much in fact that she cursed with a word that I had never heard come from her mouth (or mine). It shocked me so much that I snapped at her. I blame it on the adrenaline. I immediately felt bad for reacting that way and apologized so we could refocus on the amazing thing that had just happened (a valuable lesson for dad, reprimand in private and removed from the awesome experience). The "Family" - Four former tagholders on the back row. The Dad, Daughter, Grandpa, and Damon on the front row: We hurriedly snapped photos as the sun faded. It was all a blur. With all of the manpower there we decided to gut the ram and then carry him down the mountain whole about 300 yards to the closest two-track. It wasn’t until we had him in the bed of the truck that I realized that the ram was a lot bigger than I had realized. He also was not a ram that I had on camera. He was noticeably larger than the rams she had on her list. Back in camp we caped him out and quartered him. We did a very rough measurement. “Over 172” was the consensus. My daughter went to bed and we stayed up late into the night over a roaring fire telling hunting stories. I was thrilled that she had filled tag, but a little disappointed that it was over so quickly. The months of planning, scouting, driving, stressing, preparing, researching, had all come down to about 45 minutes of intense action. I have never worked so hard to prepare for a hunt, but every second and every penny was worth it. I am incredibly grateful to the sheep hunting community for all of the help and advice we received in preparation for this hunt. We felt like we were all part of a family of sheep hunters. I can see why sheep hunters are so passionate about what they do. I can’t wait to go on another sheep hunt, and I’m not going to sit back and wait for my own tag, I’m going to help out on others’ hunts. Honestly, for most people being a helper is probably the closet we will ever get got having our own tag. But also, drawing a sheep tag is a stressful in its own way. If I can help someone take some of that stress off of their shoulders to help their hunt be all the better, then I want to do that. I understand why the former tagholders were so willing to join us, and why they feel a bond towards each other. Game and Fish aged the ram at 9 years old. They were a little low on the score. After the drying period he was officially scored at 174 1/8”. He’s got great bases and carries mass all the way through. He is sort of the opposite of Thor, and I think very easily outscores him. He doesn’t have the lamb tips that she thought would be pretty, but she is very happy with him nonetheless. Initially I decided not to have any reproductions made, so the taxidermist skull capped him. I later had second thoughts, and thankfully the artist was able to recreate a full skull to go with the horns. They turned out amazing. We can’t wait to get the shoulder mount back in October. Here’s hoping you or someone you love gets a $300 credit card charge on Friday morning!
  23. 27 points
    After eleven years I drew my 12 AW late tag. Due to health issues two of my three doctors said I should not go deer hunting. Fortunately one of my doctors said I could go but not by myself. I knew I had to hire a guide and I decided to hire Duwane Adams. Duwane has been guiding on the Kaibab for 40 years and knows every two track road and ridge to glass from. Usually a hunter gets one guide but I had three, Duwane, Rick Wyler and Johnny Wyler. I had never harvested a mule deer so I was looking forward to a fun hunt. In addition I had spent one day on the Kaibab in the past 35 years so I knew nothing about the unit. Opening day was cool and clear after 3 days of snow. They found a nice buck at first light but I missed the 440 yard shot. I was told the shots would be long and they were right. The rest of the first day were multiple sightings of nice 150 to 170 inch deer. I was looking for something better after waiting more than a decade. Days two and three were much the same seeing multiple bucks but passing on them. Monday, day 4 was clear and bright but the weather forecast was for high winds later in the day with snow for days 5,6,7 and 8. I was concerned about the weather and the possibility of bad and dangerous road conditions so there was some concern in my mind. Mid morning Johnny found a buck bedded in some oak brush. We could see the buck' right side but could not see his left side. We could not tell if he had 4 points on his left side. So we glassed for 40 minutes and finally Duwane said get the gun and shoot that deer. We ranged him at 350 yards and I took the shoot with the 270 WSM. I could not see anything but everyone said he was hit hard. He went behind a tree and we lost sight of him. We waited an hour and found him. The shot was good. I did not know how vast the Kaibab is. It is a tough hunt to scout for because the deer are migrating every day and a person needs to know where the deer are going and how they get there. One thing I wanted in addition to a great deer was to have a fun time with lots of laughs. I got all of that and more. Another thing that was important to me was not to feel any pressure in case I missed a shot, could not keep up with guides, or could not go to certain areas because of my health issues. Having three guides with me caused me some nerves early in the hunt having three people watching me shoot. In addition when I took the shot three of Duwane's friends including a former client were behind me. I was comfortable because we talked about my nerves a bit and they alleviated my concerns. I want to thank Duwane, Rick and Johnny for a great hunt and an enjoyable experience.
  24. 26 points
    I want to give a shout out to Creekhiker (Derek) I had posted about needing help to fix a quad and he gave up his time to come over and help me out. He was super skilled and incredible stand up dude. Its guys like him who give hope that people are still kind and generous in this world. We need to recognize guys like him who go the extra mile not asking for anything but just because they like helping people. Derek is the real deal. appreciate his time, a nice cold beer, and the sound of an atv that purrs .. BTW he is ironworker and welder by trade, he owns his own business. If you are looking for work like that he is an honest dude. Derek...Creekhiker thanks again. In your debt my new friend .
  25. 26 points
    Pops arrived in the unit on Sunday and spotted bucks all week but passed em all up. I was finally able to get off work Thursday and the next day and half was spent chasing nice bucks unsuccessfully. Seems like once we work in shooting range and get set up they decided to boogie out of the area. Finally found this buck bedded and he behaved himself letting us get to 328 yards undetected. Pops waited in shooting position for an hour and half, the sun broke through the clouds and the buck started to get warm. He got up, did a little stretch and pop laid him back down in his bedding spot. I knew the buck was nice but never knew he had giant eyeguards or an 8 inch kicker until 30 minutes before pops shot. When I noticed it I said ****, but I didn’t tell pops anything. After he smoked the buck I told pops about the eyeguards and kicker and that was just a bonus for him.