Monday, August 16, 2010
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
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.
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
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.
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
Friday, January 8, 2010
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".
Thursday, January 7, 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.
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.