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Everything posted by MULEPACKHUNTER



    All time favorite lunch after a long day hunting is sliced summer sausage, slices of bacon, pepper jack cheese, and spicy mustard all vacuum packed up on a fresh bagel. Hard to beat but the super bacon peanut butter burrito sounds like my new one!!!


    Agreed on the water, I carry mre as well depending on where I am. I know my areas and where water is so I carry freeze dried when there is water in deep. No water source and its mre. I have tried going lighter like matty but ended up bonking on the 3rd day. Lots of calories for me. Nice when the mules are along I will bring frozen steak precooked and set it in the sun. Yum 5 hrs later
  3. 12-14-12 Archery Couse Hunt The weeks before opening morning were filled with the normal working and home routines, early mornings feeding the mules at 3am and chores around the house with the occasional errand on the way home. Not a lot of time for planning or packing for a backpack hunt. This hunting season there were also some exciting new developments with multiple Javalina tags showing up in the mail as well as some new gear for testing. The weekend before the hunt was spent in the woods 200 miles from my deer unit helping out on an elk hunt with some new found friends. The time to plan for this hunt came from quick peaks on Google Earth on breaks at work and reliving past hunts in the area. 2 other partners I backpack hunt with had plenty of story time from long ago and more recently last year when we really got to know the unit. Last year while on the December and January hunts with my bow I put a great stock in on a small spike and got to within 40 yards before the wind blew it for me. My son and I went back in the next weekend with only sightings and no stock attempts. More recently we went in on a rifle hunt in Early November, the hunt went well but the one good opportunity ended with a missed shot. That shot is detailed in another story to be told later. So taking in to account all the available knowledge and some of the usual figuring I keyed in on about a square mile of basin at 5000 foot elevation. There was a saddle on the top of one of the peaks in this basin that had about a 300 degree view without moving very far. In this saddle there was a large tree and somewhat flat area, flat as in the satellite view was flat. So this was it, now we just had to worry about the weather which so far we had known was going to be rough on Friday. The forecast was getting worse as the week went on but still most reports were stating Friday rain and a dip in temperature with some rain on Saturday but nothing solid through that time frame. So we planned ahead for bad weather and figured we would push the 8 miles in on Friday, get camp set up, and be out in the clear behind the spotting scopes by noon on Saturday. This plan of course would only work if the sun would push the clouds away as we figured it would, leaving us with a great evening hunt Saturday and then a beautiful Sunday. The temperature drop was looked forward too for several reasons 1 of which was the long hot hikes we had endured in the last few hunts which usually left us with low water supplies and an extra sleeping companion named Stink, another would be the cold fronts usually get the deer moving from what I hear on TV and CWT. Nothing left but to fill the packs and truck and make it through the last days of work before the morning of day 1 where we would make the usual drive into the canyon under the cover of darkness. Trip log 1:30 am Friday Dec 14th my alarm goes off with my phone on vibrate, needless to say I did not get out of bed as planned for my 2 am departure but woke instead at 4:00am just in time to send the apology text to let my partner know I will be late. The return text tells me it’s been raining cats and dogs all night and he is relieved I am not on time. He obviously knows I would have made him hike in anyway rain or not. So the threat of a punch in the arm for oversleeping averted I take care of the morning feeding routine, get some coffee and head down the road with a banana and an egg sandwich. A short hour and a half drive later I arrive at the base of the mountain and my partners humble abode. The weather is holding in a steady off and on sprinkle pattern. A sprinkle and a breeze is all it takes to put the chill in us as we transfer my gear into my partners truck and take off for the final hour of driving into the canyon. During the drive we optimistically discus the weather and make adjustments to our game plan accommodating my tardiness. We had intended to be in a certain spot when the sun came up but we would now be going in with sunlight so we agreed on the changes to the plan and enjoyed the quiet drive. As we topped the highest point on the road to the trail head and began the decent into the canyon between two sprawling plateaus. Without warning the drainages that were cut into the rock wall many feet above us opened up to give us a show of waterfalls and running creeks. We were blessed with the sight of the very beginning of the run off from the storm and watched as several of these drainages dropped their load into the creeks hundreds of feet below. As we rounded one curve the dry pipes running under the roadway began spewing water as if a switch had been turned on. This has happened two times in my life and I hope I get to see it many more. We arrived at the trail head a short while later still reeling from the display of power put on by mother nature and our hearts sank when we noticed the dreaded “other vehicle” in the parking lot. With gear on our backs we head over to investigate not only the “intruder” but the sign in box as well. Our suspicions were verified when we read the note in the window of the truck that read “where they were”. In hunting speak that means meet me where the deer were when we were scouting last week. Not the end of the world but the reason we hunt so far off the trail and beat up our bodies with heavy loads and depredation of sleep and comfort is so we don’t have to deal with the public in any way. It is 8 miles to where we would set up camp for the night so we shouldn’t have to worry about running into anyone. The country here is so big and remote, the chances of anyone being in “our” spot are next to none. The hike in started off normal but shortly after a mile in we became consumed by clouds and couldn’t see more than 50 ft. The entire 2 mile wide basin was gone to our eyes and a small amount of intermittent hail and snow began to fall. The temps were in the 40 degree range but we were hiking with loads on our backs so we were still comfortably warm. Mile 2 through 4 were more of the same with the muddy trail now sticking to our boots and giving us more of a workout than we would have liked. The clouds came and went from basin to basin revealing each one like pulling back the curtains. I was actually loving the whole deal, alive is how I feel at times like this. Mile 5 brought out a new type of torture in the form of 20 mile an hour winds coupled with the snow and hail since the state of Arizona couldn’t make up its mind what type of storm it wanted to have. I mean really pick one already! Luckily we were coming up to a point where the mountain blocks all weather coming from the west for the next 2 miles. This section is rocky enough that the mud dropped of our boots and made the going easier. So mile 7 or so we hit the actual end of our uphill climb where there is a low saddle and one large tree with of course the wind ripping through. Knowing this spot well I threw up the glasses and sent a look toward our destination. As I spun the focus knob to clear the blurry view right away my heart sinks,,,,a human silhouette on top of “our Mountain”. After all of the scouting, research, Google earth, paper maps, hours of daydreaming, and endless discussions with hunting buddies I managed to find, in a 95,000 acre wilderness, 8 miles in on a hiking or horseback only trail, through the rain, snow, hail, the one lone tree chosen by the only other pair of hunters within 20 miles. Their tent was also bigger than mine, very lame. Now in disbelief our plan takes a left turn and we head for our alternative camp to drop our gear and get a fire going to warm up a bit. Camp 2 is very nice with only 2 inches of snow on it by now and enough drainage slope that we won’t slide off while sleeping but the water won’t pool under us either. After tent duties and clothes changing we spend the next 45 minutes not getting a fire going. The wood was just not going to give up its moisture enough for any substantial flames to rise up so we give up and head out for some scouting on the plan B side of “our basin”. Really it’s not so bad because we are now just hunting “our” basin from the opposite side and not really having to change much other than our camp spot. The end of day one brings good news with deer spotted and fresh track all around camp. With night fall approaching we head back to camp to make up some dinner just in time to crawl away from the incoming snow and hail and into our new home away from home for the next 2 days. I’m sorry, did you not get that last part, 2 days, yes the storm was slightly bigger and more intense than we had been led to believe from internet and television reports. From Friday at 5:30pm to Sunday morning at 5:30am I left my tent one time. Keep in mind my tent is a one man unit not much large than my sleeping bag. I got out in a lull in rain and snow and hail to make a fresh log cabin in the woods only to dive back in to my little yellow cave of a tent just in time for the next 18 plus hours of….. Well let’s just summarize quickly, I had water, food, hot coffee, a good book, my journal, a warm sleeping bag, and my old friend the ground to pass the time with. I can say now that I am a stronger and wiser person due to this experience but I would not wish it upon anyone. I wanted winter survival camping in my resume for this year and man did I get it. So after hours on end of wind, rain, snow, and hail all was finally quiet at about 5:00 am on Sunday morning. Just to keep our sense of humor up, nature let one last puff of snow go. This time it was the last cloud of the weekend and the sun started to peek over the eastern range, bringing on the beautiful last day of this trip. Fully loaded down with packs and bows we made the short hike to our new glassing point and set up the tripod. Right off I spotted our buddies up on “our spot” just glassing away and I thought, man those guys are just as hard core as we are. They must be ok so It was then that I forgave them for being where they were. One of my favorite things is to sip a cold one and hear someone’s story and it would have been nice to say hello to these guys but I have a rule not to approach any other people in the field because you just never know. Pulling the scope view off of the crowd of other hunters I moved to my usual tree line and ridges and found several deer, some feeding and some rubbing trees. A little earlier in the rut then expected but a good sign. We had 2 or 4 bucks located within the hour and were already on the move to intercept at least 1 of them. Down off the hill we went only to be caught in a stare down by a buck we didn’t notice before. He was traveling on an intercepting angle to the same place on the trail we were moving toward and he spotted our movement. A few motionless moments later we were moving at a snail’s pace stopping each time the deer pulled his head up. At this point I decided to hold back with the camera and let my partner go alone so I wouldn’t hurt his chances. Some very tense moments followed with the deer finally crossing the trail 50 yards broadside in front of an unprepared stalker. He was very nervous as this was only the second time in his life he had released an arrow towards an animal and he rushed the shot and missing low. All I could see in the camera was the deer heading back away from where the arrow missed him and he simply stopped 50 yards back in the trees and looked back to see what had buzzed by him. A moment later he headed up the hill and out of sight. When I reach the spot where the miss occurred the mood is all smiles and we make a plan to split up for the remainder of the day and meet about half way out of the wilderness later in the afternoon. My partner stays to work on the other buck that we originally spotted and I head off after a view of some new country and a Fork I glassed from the hill earlier. I know this animal from last January so I know right where he will hang out when the sun is all the way up. On the way to the hill I need to climb I fill my water supply and sort some of my gear better. What that really means is I misplace one needed item and I tore through my pack only to find it at the bottom of my sleeping bag. I had quite the yard sale going on when I thought to look inside the bag. Finally repacked its up the hill I go and I find a nice antler shed and some bedding areas with fresh tracks and scat everywhere. This will be a good sitting spot at a later date for sure. The wind was blowing now and the sun was up so I knew my little spike would be beaded down and I decided to finish my fueling for the day before going after him. Under the shade of a large juniper tree I polished off my last summer sausage bagel and wash it down with some fresh rain water collected only minutes before. 9:30am rolls around and I once again sling my pack on and head off to put in a stock on my friend from last season. Using the contours of the hillside I make my way west with the wind in my face and I peak slowly over the rise in front of me, Yep there they are, 80 yards off at the base of the same tree I snuck up to last January. Everything was right except they were facing me and the only other way to get on them was to go around behind them which would put the wind at my back and that never works. So I make the decision to let them be and I click off some good video and start my trek back to the trail to head to our meeting spot and maybe one last stock opportunity. I did find some more deer where I could work on them next trip but nothing I could use this time. My partner showed up on time and we spent the next 3 hours hiking, glassing, and reliving the excitement of the morning. Funny how we forgot all about the other 2 days in isolation. I was home by 7:00pm and eating a nice hot meal with my family. Next trip December 26th. Weather report “Light storms”

    Javelina or Snipe????

    Point taken, I will be packing the tripod next year and I have a new plan of attack as well.

    Javelina or Snipe????

    So archery Javelina comes to an end for me. I am new to hunting and this is my first year hunting pigs. I put in 15 full days scouting and hunting in unit 20B and never saw one pig. Somehow I still had a good time but I am wondering if the numbers are too low to justify hunting or if they are just living somewhere I wasn't at. I did see 2 pigs hanging from trees so I couldn't be far off. I also saw tons of sign and some hot sign on more than one occasion. Oh well its close to home and its my first year so we will see next year.

    Questioning the afterlife

    TRUST THAT THE MOMENT YOU GET TO THE EDGE OF ALL YOU CAN DO,,, THAT WHICH IS GREATER THAN YOU WILL BE WITHIN YOU TO DO MORE. I use this quote to get me through many things. I am not a religeous person and I was brought up with nothing or no one in my life who was. To this day I don't believe I have ever been around anyone who is. Over the years I have just kept it simple,,,live life every day the best you can. Honor those who came before you. Honor the life your given (where ever you believe it came from). Just be a good part of the world. If you have a bad day just work hard to make the next one a little better. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't but it keeps me moving forward always. A quick note on something my family did to better their lives::: A few years ago we removed television from our lives. Simple like I said but I can tell you I know for a fact that we are better people for it. Every aspect of our lives became better. The other simple thing is we don't own a microwave. We spend alot of time in the kitchen together as a family and of course we eat alot better. My kids know how to cook, clean, carry a conversation. Its amazing. One last thought, Common sense will get you vary far in life. Simple common sense every day. And never forget that the glass is "always" half full.

    Phoenix Marathon

    Ragnar rocks. +1 was palnning oon doing the lost dutchmans half but didn't work out. Let us know how the phoenix race goes for future reference

    Elk Foundation Dinner

    Going to my first banquet next month. Anyone have comment on how these things are? Just wondering if It will be worth the hour drive one way and the cash? I support always but just never made it to a banquet.

    Elk Foundation Dinner

    It is the Red mountain chapter and its at the shrine Feb 16th.

    Elk Foundation Dinner

    Its Feb 16th in Mesa. It was an invitation and I wasn't aware of others?

    Pics From The Year Part 3

    Looking back now it was a great year. Here's to everyone in 2013. Cheers!

    Pics From The Year Part 2/2

    Looking back now it was a great year. Here's to everyone in 2013. Cheers!

    Pics From the Year

    No kills for me or my partners but here are a few pics form the season. Do some day dreaming. More to come.

    How do you carry your bow???

    Look on horse outfitters web ppage , they have soft scabards for bows that mightt work. A friend used one on his muule and it was safe.

    Javelina or Snipe????

    ah nice one, very true. I will remember that one.

    Javelina or Snipe????

    Thanks very much for the info, I spent abut half my time glassing and half hiking or in the saddle just looking for sign. I only spent about 2 days on the hot spot I found due to the fact that there was pressure on some of the others. I felt like I worked hard on the glass these last 2 days but boy was it quiet. I found an area with a spring, mesquite trees, prickly pears and I found one major hot bedding area. I set up Saturday and Sunday morning glassing the bedding area and an east facing slope full of pears close by it but they never showed. One issue I am thinking is that I am in a canyon area and it is very rough so they could get by in some areas under cover. Nobody will say I dont put in the work so it will come soon enough.


    Man bummer, I too did this ounce but went back for it and found it. In a rush after spotting some bucks I threw on my pack and took off after them when about 5 minutes later my partner asked me if I planned on throwing rocks at the deer? Hope someone see this and finds the owner.

    Small tomato looking fruits

    I know where there's lots of berries . Why would you want to know where they are? Just stop at frys

    Pack animals??

    I am kind of set on the mules myself. Great for scouting, packing, and freindship alone in the hills. Pack camp in, drop mules off at home, backpack in, kill, and hang meat, then grab mules and pack it all out the next dAy. No tag drawn and I have a lot of freinds to help out. I havnt yet but I may try taking one mule and leading him with my gear like the goat and lama guys do it. Honestly its almost too much work packing yourself and hunting. Much easier packing for someone else.

    20b pig down

    So jealous, I have 10 lbs of pork shoulder waiting for some wild pig to cut into it. Congrats

    Pig in a blanket . .

    Took wife and daughter out last weekend and they froze. LOL every patch of water we found was 2 inches thick ice. No pigs for us yet. Congrats

    Matt and I got it done this weekend

    Jealous here, I cant seem to find more than good sign. Working hard again this weekend

    Pigs in 37B - numbers low?

    Not in your unit but I have found 3 sites in mine with hot sign and I have yet to spot the little guys. Lots of sign but they are not moving around much. Back at it again this weekend. Tuff to spot if they are not moving. Suggest finding hot sign then keep at that area with glass.

    Is Anyone else like me?

    This only my second year hunting anything but from last year I have seen the does taking longer to get in cycle it seems. I see alot of loan bucks and does with no bucks on them. Last year the last 2 weeks of Jan they were done rutting but this year it should be on.

    Over counter elk tags

    I have seen elk in the winslow hunt area. Not hard to scout it either. Never hunted it though