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Here's another short video from my recent trip. Here's a link to that initial thread: http://www.coueswhitetail.com/forums/topic/55562-knockin-out-the-bucket-list/ So basically, while waiting in the stand hoping for a big buck to show up I kept having these pigs come in and stick around which I figured made the deer uneasy. I didn't want to disturb everything by shooting the pigs but after watching some does come in and then run off because of them I figured it didn't matter! I had the camera sitting in my lap so it's not the best video but it is cool watching the lighted nocks fly!
Howdy all, I don't have much time as I'm turning right around and heading north again, but wanted to share this with ya. Ever since I was a little kid chasing Elk with my dad I dreamed of the day I would walk up to a big bull with my arrow sticking out of him! It's been 28 years since my first Bull tag and I've had several since but that dream didn't come true until yesterday morning!!! My hunt lasted only 45 minutes but when I stopped this bull in an opening at 55 yards I knew I couldn't pass him up! The bull then gave me a second opportunity at 78 yards so I put a second arrow in em' just for for insurance and It's all on video! I've lived vicariously though others over the years and it's always exciting but nothing compared to wrapping your own tag on that huge rack!!! Thanks all, congrats to the successful hunters already and best of luck to those still hunting! Take care, JIM>
So miraculously, after only spending 1 bonus point on it, I drew a coveted Kaibab muzzy tag! What made it better was a bunch of friends and family had also drawn archery and rifle tags for the same unit as well so I would have a ton of scouting knowledge prior to my hunt! The bad thing with everyone drawing tags is they wouldn't have any vacation time to spend on my hunt, so I would be doing my hunt solo. The first couple hunts came and went and the outlook wasn't as good as I had hoped. The antler growth wasn't great, deer were scattered and there was very little activity. The only thing going for me for my hunt was a dark moon and several areas that supposedly held a big buck. What i didn't anticipate was 60mph winds!!! And to make it more interesting I planned to spend my first couple days in the burn with all those dead trees! I had my first camp set up in the middle transition to make travel easier while hunting between there and the top. I had been running cams for several days and was disappointed in the results. Even though it was a dark moon, most of the deer were nocturnal and I wasn't seeing the mature bucks at all. My first day started off with a huge hike planned in a roadless section of the burn. The winds were incredible and I heard later that they were around 60mph! What made it more fun was all the dead trees that were falling and it sounded like bombs going off! Anytime I stopped to glass I had to make sure I wasn't in line with a tree! My plan was to hike up and down all the fingers glassing tight into the un-windy sides and cuts. This turned a mile long section of rim into 5 miles because of the zig zagging but in theory it was the best way to find the giant that supposedly lived in there. I did this for the entire day and unbelievably found only 2 does!!! I couldn't believe it and that's when the frustrations of the hunt kicked into high gear! I did find a broken arrowhead on that hike so it was just a little highlight to the day.. My biggest problem with the wind, other than the crazy cold and falling trees, was that my camp consisted of only a Jumpin' Jack trailer and it's not exactly designed for high winds! I'd lay awake all night listening and watching as the beds lifted up and the frame twisted and creaked. I actually had to brace the inside with tripods and a walking stick in hopes it would take pressure off the beating it was getting. Plus, every morning I'd have to drop it down and put frozen 5 gallon water containers on it so I wouldn't have to worry about it all day! That's basically how the first handful of days went. I transitioned into less hiking and more glassing trying to cover more ground and still couldn't find a decent buck, actually, nothing bigger than a forkie! Most everyone else I saw or talked to road hunted and stayed warm and I heard most of them were seeing way more deer than I was! I just kept at it thinking any second I'm gonna find the giant buried up under a tree but that never happened. I did get to fully enjoy the upper elevations of the unit for the first half of my hunt. I have never spent much time up top so a lot of it was new to me and it's a beautiful place! So now, after a little bit of snow fell and still no sighting of any decent bucks, I decide it's time to move my camp for a 3rd time and hit the country that I'm familiar with. I was excited to hunt the low country and after making a mid day run down there I saw enough sign to know there were mature bucks down there and it would be my last move. The temps were in the low teens and it was crazy cold! I swear Jumpin' Jacks are the worst trailer to have in cold weather!!!! It's gotta be because of the air that circulates under them, but this is how I spent most of my time at night while outside of my coveted Butler Bag! If it was 15 degrees outside, I guarantee without the heater on, it was single digits IN the trailer!!! BUT, I was fine with it because the winds had finally subsided! First thing on the first morning of glassing down low I finally found a true Kaibab beast! This buck was moving and acting rutty which was bad because he was way up high in the wilderness area and I knew it would take me several hours to hike in there. I watched this buck walk nonstop up and over the highest peak and could only hope he stopped to bed. I could tell that he had a huge frame and possibly an extra inline on one side, a definite 190" plus deer even if he didn't have the inline! I sent a text out to my family and friends letting them know where I was headed and to come help if they didn't hear from me by nightfall. I spent several hours hiking up there and just like I'd expected he was nowhere to be found. The views were awesome and yet again I was seeing country I hadn't seen before so there was a silver lining to the adventure. So now it's the 5th day of the hunt and the 8th day of the adventure. I set up glassing the same country where the beast was the day before. I never found him but I did find a small group of does with a forkie and a small 4x4 in tow. I watched them feed for a while and then drop into a cut where i figured they would bed. These deer were yet again way up in the nasty stuff and it would be a long and difficult stalk. I texted my family and friends again and told them I've had an incredible experience but I'm tired of the cold and I'm sore from the previous days hike. I told them that if I could pull off this stalk, I'll be excited to smoke this 4x4. It would be a huge effort getting to him and an even bigger effort packing him out of there by myself! That effort, plus the fact I'm using a muzzleloader, would make this a great trophy in my book.. so off I went! It took me almost 2 hours to get where I planned to do the final stalk. I basically was just guessing that they had bedded in the cut and picked a tree out on the rim to sneak to. As I got closer I realized that my adrenaline was starting to get a little crazy! I kept laughing to myself because this wasn't a big buck but I was losing it!! I actually had to stop about 20 yards short of the rim to try and compose myself! I figured with all the planning, effort and frustrations leading up to and during this hunt, it had just built up to this point. I knew then that it didn't matter how big this buck was, I'm killin' em! So, after calming myself down I moved up to the tree. As soon as I rounded the tree deer started blowing out below me. I dropped the pack, threw the gun on it, found and ranged an opening ahead of the trotting buck at 135 yards, waited for him to get there and then I yelled to stop him.....Snap.......BOOM...Whop! I knew I hit him but for some reason my muzzleloader delay fired and I knew I pulled the crosshairs off him a little. I noticed he was humped up and still standing and that's when I REALLY lost it!!! I had reloading stuff flying EVERYWHERE! My primers went flying, I spilled half the first speedloader that i used, it was crazy! I finally got the gun loaded again, ranged the buck and lined up....Snap.......BOOM...Whop! I hit him again and he went down but again there was a delay fire and I pulled the crosshairs off. I saw he needed another round and this time, after frantically getting it loaded again, I shoved shooting sticks under the butt of the gun and made sure to get much steadier in case of another delay but finally the last shot was a BOOM..WHOP! Here's where the circus took place.... And here's my hard earned trophy!! I completely boned him out and was able to get it all into the Outdoorsmans frame pack. I don't know what that pack weighed but carrying it out physically sucked while emotionally it was very gratifying and I kept thinking the whole time that it will always be one of my most memorable hunts and cherished trophies! No doubt, the harder you work for something, the more it'll mean to you! My favorite part was realizing that I still get all worked up like when I was a kid, even when it's not a giant! I had cell service right where I shot from so the first thing I did was call my dad and he thought it was just as funny that I lost my composure and was having to pick up reloading items that had flown all over the place! Great times! Thanks if you read thru it all! JIM> .