"There is a passion for hunting something deeply implanted in the human breast." Charles Dickens

For those of you that share my passion... sit back, put your feet up and enjoy!

Craig S Bonham

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

2015 was a great year for my family!

I have been in the mountains more this year then in the past.  That sounds crazy to some of those that know me and have been apart of some of the hunts that I have been on  in 2013 and 2014 but its true! Just to recap the year.

 To start the 2015 hunting season off I headed to British Columbia.  My Dad was on a quest to harvest the 4th and final North American Sheep.  His Grand Slam!  That was a highly eventful hunt and one that I will talk about in a separate article.  It was a 3 week hunt from SLC to B.C. and back to SLC. 

I was very anxious to get back home from B.C because I had a good elk tag that really needed some effort put into it.  This elk hunt was a very memorable hunt that really pushed me to the limit.  I was able to have my Dad on this hunt for almost every bit of it as well as brothers and bro in laws.  Nothing is better then sharing a hunt with family!  I will share some pics as well as talk a little about this hunt in another article.  I did end up killing a great bull and it was a hunt that may never be topped!

My next hunt involved my little family and my Daughters first deer hunt.  I would do some things different.  the main thing being buying a nicer big tent that was guaranteed to keep water out.  Cold, Wet, and Windy but successful!  She connected on a smoker first buck and I was so happy for her!  Just wish my younger kids and wife didn't have such a miserable experience.  Pics and stories to come.

And last but not least, my wife didn't know that she put in for a Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep tag.   Surprise!!!!   We got all the other hunts behind us and focused on her sheep hunt pretty hard.  This was not a hunt for wimps and my wife proved that she is not a wimp!  Between the beautiful country, great people and amazing animals that we hunted, it was a hunt that will go down in the books as nothing less then simply amazing. 

Now the season is over.  I am always sad when it is over.  One less hunting season in my life.  One less hunting season with my Dad, who is getting a little older.  No great tags in my pocket.  No looking at maps and doing the necessary research to fulfill those great tags.  No more talking with friends, outfitters, and other hunters that you met along the way.  It's all over!

 Except now the next year starts to get a little closer.  The game changes from the field to the office.  Information I've gathered on every state that I am interested in hunting starts to consume my thoughts.  It's time to make this upcoming year as eventful as the last.  It's time to think wisely and put together a fall full of great events from August to December.  I am excited for what is up ahead.  This is one of my favorite times of the year!  I love it.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Most of the draws are out.  My inner circle (mostly family members)  drew some incredible tags this year.  We have a Wasatch Moose tag, several Wasatch archery deer tags, a Colorado late season deer hunt, 2 Utah limited entry Elk tags, and I personally drew a region G deer tag in the great state of Wyoming.  We are excited to say the least but I am a little out of shape.  This is the time of year that I start thinking about hiking in these steep rugged mountains.  The older I get the tougher the mountains get.  Hunting the way we do is not for the faint of heart.  All this being said, I am starting a diet and I am trying to be more active.  I want to drop 25 pounds.  I want to spend two hours a day working out, or prepping in some way for what's ahead.  Hate to give up the junk food but I have to try harder every year to keep on par with the past!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Big Bull Down

I went hunting this last fall with my dad, brother in law and son.  All three are some of my favorite people in the world.  But one thing that was unique about this experience was my son was part of this hunt.  He has been on hunts before but none where we were hunting for a true trophy animal.  We ended this hunt of a very positive note.  He was able to watch as we cut up the meat and prepared it for the butcher.  Yes he thought it was gross and awesome at the same time.  He was there and he loved it.  I love the fact that I can show him the great outdoors and also show him the correct and ethical way to hunt.  We need to have more youth brought up in the sport and we need them to be good representatives of the sport!  I loved having my hunting buddy along!

Monday, August 16, 2010

This picture is taken thru my spotting scope. It leaves a lot to the imagination. I wish that I could find a buck like this during hunting season. He is in the mid 30's with cheaters on both sides. Really pretty buck!
Hunting season is here. Are you ready for your hunts. I am not. I have been so focused on getting caught up at work that I haven't been out much yet. If your a trophy hunter like me and you haven't been out much, well shame on you. Get out there, get in shape and get ready. The hunt is almost on for that big buck, bull, ram or whatever.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


So I have been looking at new tripods and quite honestly, I can't find one that I feel is perfect. I talked to my brother-in-law and he thinks that the perfect tripod is made by the Outdoorsman. I helped him find a tripod last time he was in town (three years ago) and he has never liked it. I believe that it is a Bogen tripod with a Manfrotto pistol grip. I believe those two companies are now one. His complaints are that it is to heavy and the pistol grip is not easy to use. I have been using a Cabela's carbon fiber tripod for the last three years. I have loved it. It is average in weight but for one that will extend much higher then I need it to on flat ground, it has been great. The tripod that I bought three years ago started to lose peices and come apart so I took Cabelas up on there once great warranty. I bought what I was hoping to be the new and improved carbon fiber tripod and to my dismay, it fell apart on the very first trip out. I took it back and now I am tripodless. I have looked at many of the sporting good stores locally. I have not found anything that I feel is good enough to drop my hard earned money on. Some things that I feel are important are as follows; I would like to keep the price under $350.00, I would like to have it extend high enough for me to stand tall and I want it to weigh close to or less then 5lbs. Does anybody have any ideas or suggestions for me? I would like to purchase a new one as soon as I can. A tripod is very much an essential piece of equipment when it comes to hunting in the West. Your suggestions are wanted. Thanks

Sunday, January 17, 2010

In 2006 my Dad, brothers, James and Rob, and I had a great year. We shot these bucks in three different states. Two are from Utah, two from Colorado and one from Wyoming. I killed my buck in Colorado on a great hunt with my Dad. He shot the one that is on the bottom right. Pictures don't do it justice but its mass and long points are great. On each one of these bucks I can think of something that I learned. It could be something as little as what you should carry on your four wheeler to help you haul a deer of the mountain to hand signals you use on the mountain. The more that your out, the more you learn and that makes you a better hunter. There is so much to love about hunting. When your in the middle of summer you are either thinking about the great season or seasons that you have had or anticipating the opportunities that await you in the upcoming ones. Good luck in the draws.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Arizona Elk and Antelope draw

It is time to put in for Arizona. The deadline is Feb. 9Th. They don't have an online service so you have to do it the old school way. Also you have to front the entire tag fee. If you are like me, you are applying for the very elite hunts and your money is basically buying a point for several species. If you've never applied in Arizona and are not willing to drop money consistently year after year, don't apply. If you want to get in the game, it is a great state and some of my most memorable hunts have taken place in the desert state. I have a good amount of points in Arizona and I am in it for the long haul. Good luck!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

This bull was one that my brother-in-law, Mark Robinson killed in Utah in 2009. I am preparing a story on it and will post it soon. We had some great experiences on this hunt. I wish that we could have put some of them on video. We honestly had so much fun calling in big bulls that we forgot about the cameras sitting in our packs. We do have some video of me hitting a bull in the antler with a rock. I don't think I have had more fun hunting ever. O.K. that isn't true, I say that after half the trips that I go on. But it was great!

A Couple of Loners

This is my 2009 Wyoming Buck. It was a solo backpacking hunt that I'll always remember. I have a few regrets on this trip. One is that I don't have very many good pictures at the kill site. The other is that I didn't call my brother, Doug, to let him know that I was going hunting. He was engaged and I didn't think that he would want to part from his fiance for a few days. I could have used his help hauling this buck and my camp off the mountain. His company wouldn't have been bad either. Story on this buck is as follows:

I left my home in Utah very early Saturday morning. I knew that I had a lot of work to do to get up on the mountain before the deer came back out to feed that night. Several hours later I was working hard, pushing myself to the perch that would become my vantage point of two great canyons. From this spot I have seen some incredible bucks.

This location was full of nice bucks but I was looking for something nicer. I had told myself that I would not shoot anything under 180". After setting up camp I was ready for my final descent to my glassing point. Like clock work, I started to see an occasional group of does emerge from the trees, then a small buck or two. I got anxious the closer it got to dark and I began to glass hard. I knew that the biggest bucks would only come out at the last moment of light. I only saw small bucks. A little discouraged, I went back to camp and ate my dinner... a Cliff bar and some fruit snacks. I was quiet and didn't light a fire to keep my presence undetected. Nothing is more lonely than lying alone in the back country with black surrounding you and the only sound for miles being your own breathe.

The next morning I woke early enough to break camp and get to my glassing spot before light. As I peered through the darkness I began to see shapes on the distant hills. Still too dark to pick out horns, I searched for anything that I could possibly find and made mental notes. When it was light enough to see through my Swarovski Spotting Scope, I set it up on the first deer I saw and was happy with the view. It was a good buck; all alone about a mile across and down the canyon. It was about 26" wide and had some trash on its right side. I kept an eye on him while I kept looking.

There was a good amount of deer that morning including a three point that had more mass than I had ever seen on a deer. He was not wide nor tall but had a distinct look. Meanwhile I was keeping an eye on the loner buck across the canyon. I watched him as he bedded down in a heavy but relatively small patch of pines. I decided he was worth a closer look. I studied his location and the landmarks that would help me with my orientation. I put my pack on with all my gear loaded and headed out. When I got closer I took off my pack and made sure the wind was in my favor then proceeded down to my mark. The noise of walking in rocks and dry vegetation led me to ditch the shoes. This made a world of difference. With the wind in my face and a quite stock I got within forty yards of the group of pines and sat down in some clover. I wasn't there for more than twenty minutes when the buck stood up and sauntered away. He had no clue I was there. When I threw up my binocs I knew that he was worth hanging my tag on.

Stalking my buck to his new bed, I carefully began to move around the patch when all of the sudden he burst out of the pines and away from me. I pulled up my gun and squeezed the trigger. I saw him fall and roll out of site. He was out of view but I could hear him rolling for a good while. Each time I heard his horns smack the rocks I cringed. Finally he stopped and I rushed to get to him. He'd fallen off a cliff and rolled a total distance of 400 yards. By the time I reached him I could see he had broken off his entire back fork on his right side.

I was sick and decided to follow his path back up the mountain in search for his broken antler. I looked, for what seamed like hours, with no luck. I will never know exactly what he looked like on that back fork, although my imagination can tell a story of its own.

I didn't get any great pictures, which I regret. This was another time when I got back to the truck and almost cried. My buck would have scored in the mid 180" with his antlers intact. That experience will be embedded in my mind forever. I love to hunt big bucks. Its in my blood.

Alaska Fishing Trip Yakutak

I have been to Alaska five times and three have been fishing trips. Each trip has been very unique. The first trip was with my Dad, Mom and Wife. It was at Doc Warners fishing camp in the Excursion Inlet. You get to it by flying into Juneau and taking a good size boat to his lodge. It was perfect for the girls. They had a lot of fun as well as my Dad and I. We caught a lot of fish and ate some very good food. We were treated very well on this trip and I would recommend it.

The next trip was to Yakutat. It was a do-it-yourself trip. We booked a little bed and breakfast or at least it was called that. Out of the ten days we where there we got a small breakfast once. So we ended up buying our own and paying some where around ten bucks for a gallon of milk. Just a quick note, we bought our breakfast (milk and cereal) and went home to eat it. Well we loaded every bodys bowls up with ten dollar cereal and the ten dollar milk and when everybody started to eat we found out that the milk was rotten. What a waste of twenty bucks. Well we got the grocery store owner to get us new milk but he didn't budge on the cereal. Anyway back to the fishing. The fishing in Yakutat can be nothing short of phenominal if you hit the spawn right and we were pretty close to perfect.

You have a wide variety of fishing. From flyfishing, to small three man boat fishing to a chartered boat to take you out deeper into sea. We did it all. The flyfishing was great. Even an average flyfisherman like me could ware out his arm. The small boats were fun to. We were told that you couldn't catch big halibut in those boats mainly due to not getting out to see far enough. Well we had more fun catching them out of the littel boat then when we paid the big bucks to go out with a guide in his beautiful boat with all the technoligy. I caught a halibut that was over one hundred pounds and that was about the craziest thirty minutes of my life. I caught it on 17lb test with a, smaller then I should have had, pole. Getting it into the boat was a challenge and my brother-in-law ripped the crotch out of his pants trying to get out of the way of a big flopping halibut. On one of our charters the waves where really bad. We travelled for what seemed like forever and finally set anchor and everybody excluding my dad, myself and the captain got sick. We had people throwing up and using the little bucket in the cabin until all the sick guys said we are done with this. Needless to say we did not get our monies worth that day. We did have a great trip. We caught many different type of fish including; King, Silver, and Pink Salmon, Halibut, Ling Cod, Skates, and some other weird looking fish we never knew the name of. Oh and we also caught a ton of these sharks. They were like two to three feet long and looked like a minature Jaws. It was a great trip and I can't wait to go back to Alaska either fishing or hunting once again.

I am having someone put together a video of my third fishing trip on the Kobuk River. I hope that will come soon. That trip was really an extreme trip and I will cover that in more detail later.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Beating The Blues

After hunting season is over I get really bummed out. I can't wait for fall to come but it seems so far away. One thing that I have learned over the past few years is that you don't have to sit and wait for next season. You can widen your season out with other hobbies or events.

One such hobby that I picked up last year with my Dad and brothers was shed hunting.
Shed hunting is a different experience, for sure. We decided to go out and roam the hills for three days looking for big mule deer sheds. We went where we knew there was a good amount of deer and several phenomenal bucks. It was towards the end of March. The weather was cold and windy. Day one had us walking around looking for sheds. We walked and we walked and we walked. I thought to myself, "This is ridiculous. How can you walk for six to eight hours and not find one shed." There was four of us! That was equivalent to 32 hours of hunting and provided 0 results. Just before I gave up that day, as everyone else was meeting back at the vehicle, I stumbled on my first shed. I stood there amazed as I looked at it on the ground. It was not a huge shed. Just a heavy three point. I was elated. I can't explain how I felt but I knew I was much too happy for such a little prize. I radioed to the others and although I was high up on the mountain they decided to walk all the way back up to my position, hoping I found the antler mother-load location. For now, I was the master bone finder.

We didn't find another one the rest of the evening. We went back to camp and cooked our canned chili over a camp stove and tried to stay tucked away from the nasty wind that had tormented us all day long. This was my first day shed hunting and I thought, "Crap. We have two more days of this."

The following two days got better. We found three or four more sheds on Day Two and on Day Three we found about six or eight. We found one side of a buck that would have pushed 200" and another that would hit in the high 170"s to low 180"s. We hunted hard and didn't want to stop scouring the land. The rush you get when you find an antler is exhilirating. You can go for hours and wonder, "What is all about?" and then all of the sudden you find a two point shed and your suddenly rejuvinated.

This is a now a yearly tradition for us. In fact, some have said that they are more excited to go shed hunting than to go hunting on opening day of the deer hunt! So, to beat the off-season blues, give shed hunting a try. If you're like me you just want to get out. Here is your excuse...and you might just get hooked.

Hunting Gear

One of the most frequently asked "Gear" questions that I hear asked is what kind of boots do you recommend or wear. I have to be honest, a few years ago I would be able to tell you my top three favorite pair of boots. Now it is not quite as easy. The reason being is, once you find a great thing don't mess it up. I have found that out of all the boots that I have worn only one has kept me free of complaints. The boot I love is the Danner Pronghorn. I have told many people about the Danner Pronghorn. Many have bought this boot on my recommendation. I have not had one person come back to me and tell me that they regret there decision. I think that a good pair of boots would be put on or near the top of the list when it comes to important gear. I guess if your a road hunter or hunting in easy, dry warm terrain then it is not a big deal. If your on a backpack hunt or a cold, wet, or extraneous hunt, these are the ticket. For the money you won't find a better boot.
Short Story of My Last Non-Danner Boot

Four years ago I wore a boot that was popular, comfortable and extremely good looking. It boasted a guaranteed 100% waterproof warranty. I always wear my boots around town for several weeks before hunting season. They were great on the sidewalks and around town but when I got to the mountains it was a different story. The foot support was terrible but I just kept wearing them trip after trip. My arches began to hurt and they got gradually worse as the season went on. The more that I wore them the more strained my arches became. I was walking around the mountains in a lot of discomfort. The last trip that I wore them on was a big day hike in Wyoming. It was cold, but not cold enough for snow so we dealt with sleet. This was the first time that I wore these boots in any amount of moisture. We hiked a ton that day beginning a couple hours before light and ending a couple hours after dark. I can still remember the hike out. My feet were so cold and they hurt bad. They were both soaking wet. After arriving back at the truck I took of my boots and soaked socks. My feet where like prunes. When I got home I took my boots back to where I bought them and decided to spend $30.00 to $40.00 more on some boots that I normally wouldn't buy. They were Danner Pronghorns. Four years later I can tell you that they are worth the hefty price tag. For the money they are as good as you will find. I am still wearing that same pair of boots. They are about done for but I have another pair that I bought to rotate with. I noticed that the price on these boots is now $169.99. They haven't gone up in price over the last four years in fact, I think they have gone down in price by $20.00. If your looking for a great pair of boots, look at these.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

This is a buck that my brother Aaron shot in 2008 down in Southern Utah. Aaron hunted hard and found this buck. The buck was suffering from some sort of infection as you can tell from his body. Good looking buck! Congratulations Aaron!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Utah buffalo hunt

This was my buffalo hunt with some of my favorite hunting buddies. I studied the odds for drawing a bull buffalo tag and with only eight points I would have had to wait forever. I want to hunt sheep in Utah some day so I gave up on my bull buffalo dream and drew a cow tag. It was on the Henry Mountains in Utah. This is a very unique hunt and we sure had fun. Camp was great. Food was great with the dutch oven producing some great meals. The highlight of the trip was seeing a good amount of mule deer in the rut. It doesn't get any better than this!

In this picture you will notice us scouring the area. We were entertained for several hours. There was a ton of deer on the hillside we were viewing. One that we saw was shot by the sportsman's tag holder right before our eyes. It scored in the mid 200".

Home for the trip. The wall tent gets used too little but it sure is nice!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

My 2010 hunting season has already started. That sounds crazy but I have learned that to be successful in the fall you have to start planning in January. I will talk about longer term hunting plans in another entry but for now, 2010.

So what am I doing today? I have some decisions to make in several states. I have been applying in several western states for some time now. If I wanted, I could draw several coveted tags in multiple states. This would not be wise. It would hurt me down the road. I have found that if I can draw one or two really good tags a year, I will be happy.

To fill in the rest of my year, I will end up going out with others in my hunting circle that have drawn great tags. Then I will have hunts in several great units whether I pull the trigger or not. It is important to plan with those you hunt with so that hunts don't overlap. I don't mind hunting by myself, but to have a brother or friend tag along makes for more fun, more eyes and more help hauling meat.

So planning my 2010 hunting season has started by studying odds, studying proclamations, reviewing season dates, planning with hunting group and deciding how much room you have on the wall and in your pocket book. Then applying for that great tag.

Good luck!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

One of the most important things I have learned while hunting is that the gear you have can make or break your hunt. It not only can take away the fun of being in the great outdoors, but it can ruin your chance at a record book animal. When I was younger I hunted a lot. I look back at the pictures of me hunting and remember some of the gear that I hunted with (or the lack thereof.) Granted, I grew up with five little brothers. It would have cost a fortune for my dad to buy us all the latest and greatest gear. Hunting gear has come a long way in the last few years. From time to time I am going to go over some things that I feel make me a better hunter. The things I list are going to be things that I have that have made my list. Lets call it Craig's list, oh wait that one is taken. We will call it the wbg list. Look forward to this and if you are wanting my opinion on anything else, gear wise, leave a comment box below.