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About Code3

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  • Location
    Mesa, AZ
  • Interests
    Wildlife. Flyfishing. Mountain camping. Ranger rides. Homebrew. Smoked game. Occasionally work to support the Interests!

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  1. Code3

    What's your favorite Burger Joint?

    I like to support the independent restaurants whenever possible. Here are a couple of my ‘go to’ burger stops around the state when hunting & on family vacations: Mothers Bar & Grill - west Phx Haunted Hamburger - Jerome Matty G’s Steakburger - Flagstaff The House - Show Low Lucy’s Bar & Grill - Chino Valley Grand Canyon Lodge - N Rim (bison) James Ranch - Durango (locally sourced beef) Black Hills Burger & Bun - Custer, SD
  2. Code3

    First Javelina (Warning long read)

    That’s awesome your first was up close and personal! Often the reward of success after days of “almost happened” is sweeter than getting the harvest during opening hour. Thanks for sharing! 🐗
  3. Code3

    2022 35a Goulds Turkey

    In the past I had extraordinary Turkey taxidermy done by Tim Brown / Bill and Beak Taxidermy. He is no longer in AZ. A week ago I took last month’s Merriam harvest to Sven Eberson (Glendale, AZ). Pick up the wrapped & frozen meat today. Super friendly dude. He has Turkeys, ducks, quail, and other exotic birds from around the world in various stages within a shop attached to his house. Sven has been a subcontractor to many high profile taxidermists throughout AZ, but has recently cut the subcontractor work and is only doing direct work with hunters now. I can’t grade his final taxidermy work yet, but so far… his honesty, meat prep, cost, intended leadtime = pretty happy. He uses freeze dried heads. You should go see him and make your own decision, but I’ll bet he treats you right.
  4. Code3

    Taxidermist: Friend or Foe?

    “Characterize people by their actions and you will never be fooled by their words.” I like to use this anonymous quote when dealing with people you have built little background with. (Actions speak louder than words.) A Taxidermist can preserve your fantastic hunt memories or mutilate your efforts to recall those mental snapshots that we try to retain in tangible possessions. Luckily, I have more positive experiences with these animal stuffers than negative. I feel those Taxidermists I’ve had poor outcomes with were due to choices based on price and convenience… and it usually didn’t pay out mutually beneficial. A Forum allows participants a medium where ideas and views can be exchanged to help / learn from each other. I hope sharing my experience will assist others in comparing & choosing reliable Taxidermists. I enjoy giving credit where credit is due (Authentic Taxidermy in Chino Valley!) and usually let lesser people get what they deserve without criticism. But today’s taxidermy dialog got me writing this to expose terrible business practices so others don’t fall to the same poor customer service I received. Especially when these “professionals” subcontract their work out at a 33% profit margin and just collect the cash. Specifically I’m calling out Southwest Wildlife Taxidermy- Jim Hartsock. A brick and mortar, long established, well advertised company who forgot about customer service. You can say all you want about how Jim may have treated you well in the past (Or) maybe he just had a bad day today. But that was then and this is now. No matter what business your in and feat you have served… you will only be remembered for your last action. Regardless of Covid setbacks! Dropped hide on 2/25/21, paid 1/3 down payment, and was promised 10mo for a “simple” javelina rug; At 12mo I made a phone call to inquire about the progress only to hear Jim’s business phone message stating, “We are not answering the phone because it takes away from working on your project.”; At 12mo I sent a documented email to Jim asking for info on the completion. I got the general response of how tanneries are backlogged 11mo and suppliers backlogged 2-3mo. All taxidermy completion is now expected 16-18mo from time of drop off; 4/5/22 I called Jim’s rug subcontractor and was told they did not have my javelina; 5/2/22 Jim actually answered his business phone and proceeded to tell me that he delivered my javelina tanned hide to the subcontractor over “last weekend”. But after hearing my feedback on the completion delay and how other reputable taxidermists were turning out half mounts in 6mo, Jim said he will get the hide back from the subcontractor and “mail” it to me. Furthermore telling me calling him was, “wasting his time”. Jim was essentially washing his hands of any commitment to completion. Even after 1/3 down payment provided 14mo ago; I called his rug subcontractor and was emphatically informed that the javelina was not at their establishment; Jim learned that I called the rug contractor and called me to advise the hide was still at his shop. So who knows when the hide was sent to the tannery and when it was received back in Scottsdale?; After confirming I owed no further money for work or supplies, I picked up the tanned hide today from Jim. Biting my tongue to a bloody lump of flesh so I wouldn’t regret any off color statements about his ethics; I then dropped off a frozen Turkey to a bird Taxidermist & proceeded to deliver the tanned Javelina and a second frozen Javelina to the rug Specialist. Pure satisfaction while executing choices to whom I choose to do business with! Never again with Southwest Wildlife Taxidermy LLC. I hope my negative experience and illustration of Jim’s “IDC” attitude guides you to a positive selection to materialize those memories we Hunters seek through taxidermy. It’s too early to endorse my choices of Bird Specialist and Rug Specialist, but I will continue this forum after seeing their work. Yet their Customer Service over the phone and in person leads me to believe it was essential to cut ties with Jim Hartsock.
  5. Code3

    5B Merriam - Love it!

    Each year I look forward to a Merriam Turkey tag… sentimentally it’s because this species was my first “Big Game” harvest back in 2017. Yesterday marked my 4th solo shotgun harvest. I like to walk the woods and cold call 2 days prior to opening day for a first morning success, but I’ve never shot a Longbeard opening day! I usually go through the highs and lows of hunting before earning these big birds. This year was no exception. The wind was down right awful to hear or be heard. This year’s Tom was memorable because of how long we danced before pulling the trigger. I saw him walking the woods before he saw me so I quickly sat down without any real structure to blend into. He liked my slate scratching enough to fan out and strut at 55yrd, but there were brushy limbs between us. I kept that call close to my chest without any movement except the wrist. Little did I know, his Hen was behind me and walked past me to group up with the Tom. Once the two reunited, he wasn’t about to leave her and walk uphill into my shooting lane. After 50min of him fanning / strutting / feeding, I realized I had to move in. Slowly removed my vest and all other non essentials that would drag during the creep in. When he fanned facing the opposite direction, I balanced the 12ga on my lap and crab crawled in with the slate call. Occasionally throwing out some clucks and purrs to keep his attention. Took him at 09:45 35yrd puffed up in full fan. What a show!
  6. Code3

    Artificial turf

    East Valley: Mike Lund 480-406-4463. All other Valley areas: Chris Ottersberg 602-291-2965 Let him know referred by L214A.
  7. Code3

    17B & 19B

    Do not return that tag! You WILL get a Lope. How big, or unique, will be dependent on your scouting and how fast you are able to move from area to area for your target Lopes ranked #1-#5 on opening day. I just took a great Lope in 19A, which is more condensed by AZGFD‘s huntable boundaries and private land owners wanting stupid amounts of cash for land access fee. I did all my scouting/hunting on public land by corner crossing with the use of OnX; my OnX map looks like a paint ball war occurred with how many waypoints I revealed by walking the land. Your hunt success is totally doable without land access fees & without guide service. Just put the time in 3mo before the hunt to know every road, every water tank, private land boundary, and range practice for that long shot. Good hunting!
  8. Code3

    19A 2021 General Antelope tag

    Here he is… Troy Smith-Authentic Taxidermy, Chino Valley.
  9. Idea searching for javelina when I came across this forum thread. Here is a pic of my mounts that may spur creativeness for your own hunt memories. The open mouth was taken 2018, then passive pose was taken 2019; the two fiberglass pieces fit together like a jig saw puzzle to appear as one rock cave.
  10. Code3

    Daughter's first Tom

    Anticipation on 2022 Spring Draw led me digging around the Turkey forums months after this happened and I felt like I was there last April! Sweet story. I truly like the way you got her involved with the prep, right down to the nail polish crimp cap. Memories for both of you to last forever! Nice job Dad!
  11. Code3

    Nash’s first buck

    Nash, stellar character both in the classroom & the field! Next year’s straight A’s negotiation may be worthy of Dad’s tag transfer to Youth!!! Keep up your passion for excellence and time in the field with family.
  12. Code3

    Wife's first hunt ever! Wyoming Antelope

    Sweet success story! Often, that success is more rewarding to see someone else earn their “first” than ourselves. Nice job, Coach.
  13. Code3

    19A 2021 General Antelope tag

    Thank you for all the supportive & congratulatory comments before/after the hunt. I will post a 1/2 size taxidermy when Authentic Taxidermy, LLC is done. Troy Smith, owner, seems easy to work with and showed me pictures of his own 1/2 size Pronghorn before deciding to take it to him, plus he was local. Additionally, he was recommended by a friend in the hunt video as competently skilled with big game. On to more AZ Spring Turkeys...🍻
  14. Code3

    19A 2021 General Antelope tag

    NEWBIE 19A PRONGHORN SUCCESS This hunt touched all 3 bases and then slid into home plate like a .300RUM! We all know how lucky I was to draw 19A General Pronghorn with only 9 points, so I won’t bore you with testimony to the months of scouting and time invested learning from other hunters. In short, I did the homework & it paid dividends! Some of you had asked for “the story”, so I’ll fast forward to 12hrs before Opening Hour. I had a target list of 4 bucks spanning 3 different areas of State Trusts & National Forest from Prescott Valley to Chino Valley. I had observed each of these bucks just hours earlier—defending their does, breeding their does, and raking desert flora. At one point I was pinned down behind tall Deer Grass just 100yrd away, thinking this chaos was better than any Outdoor Channel show I’ve ever seen. My target list had been established. Then, a curve ball was introduced. My hunting partner for Opening Day suggested I come put eyes on a buck he thought was “pretty good”. We then both glassed “Tall Boy” for over an hour. He chased off 2 other competing bucks to defend his 3 does the entire watching. Often times cresting a hill to provide a silhouette of his tall horns. This sealed the deal: the silhouette of his tall horns. All other negative features became a moot point, as this animal was impressively tall. “Tall Boy” just became the #1 on my target list. 04:00 we left camp to arrive before sunlight in hopes of taking him where we last saw him. As it often turns out, he wasn’t anywhere to be found. We hiked several hours & miles before spotting him on TOP of a rolling hill, some 1200yrd away, again silhouetting his horns. There were no other hunters this deep off the road, so we patiently watched him work those does down the hill, chase off 2 coyotes several times, frequently pass along his genes, and close the distance to around 600yrd. When the opportunity allowed, we used flora to hide our advancement as we belly crawled/boot scooted to a vantage point on a downward slope just 480yrd from his grass grazing on the prairie. 09:20, Boom Boom (hit him twice), .300RUM, 480yrd, smiles from ear to ear on 3 dudes. AZGFD Draw, No paid professional guides, No paid private ranch access, No cheating. Earned it the hard way! Special thank you to Mark B (coueswhitetail.com acquaintance) & Jake M (fellow FF who decided a day of hunting is better than any day at work). Both made my ‘once in a life-time tag’ more memorable than each will ever know, and even documented it (YouTube: Craigs 2021 AZ Antelope Hunt). BTW, I named my trophy “Tall Boy” as a play on words; A “Tall Boy beer” is 16oz… This buck’s beams are over 16”. Conservatively scored 80.25”. This was one for the books… or at least a campfire ring and some beer.
  15. Code3

    19A 2021 General Antelope tag

    Thank you Markleo21377. I sent you an email with my name/#. Let's meet up.