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Buschy's 2021 Season Review (Pic Heavy)

Buschy

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 1, 2001
Messages
1,559
Location
Colorado
The theme of 2021 seemed to be quality, not quantity.

We started off the year with a lot of fishing. Kathy and I traveled to Louisiana in March to fish with a friend and explore New Orleans a bit. It was too rough to get out to the offshore drilling rigs, but the inshore fishing was good for black drum, redfish and sheepshead. We learned about grilling fish on the half shell and crawfish boils, both amazing and people in NOLA know good food!



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Colorado crappies cooperated in May to the point it was ridiculous. Limits were easy and fish frys were tasty. June and July found us dragging the boat across Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico chasing walleyes and kokanee salmon.

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Fishing wrapped up in August with a trip to Prince of Wales Island in Alaska. We rented a boat for the week and hit the water. This year it was more catching than fishing, as everything was biting! Kathy also caught her personal best halibut at 109# on this trip.

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Colorado was kind enough to give me a nanny mountain goat tag in May and I was thrilled. We spent weekends between fishing trips scouting the unit and locating goats over the summer. Three weeks before season, Kathy got a call from Colorado Parks and Wildlife saying the other tag holder had turned in their tag. She was next in line and it was hers if she wanted it. It was an easy decision!

We scouted for two more days before season started and kept tabs on a couple different groups of goats. It was during this time I decided I was going to provide a public safety announcement for any Hunt Talkers who may get future information from Dinkshooter and Khunter. When these two tell you a trail “may be a little hairy”, what you are really hearing is “make sure your life insurance premiums are current and the pucker factor is going to be epic”. More than a couple times Kathy looked at me and questioned how good of friends Joe and Kirby really were.

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Opening day we bedded down a nice nanny and started hiking up, up and up. As we got closer, my wife stopped, sat down, and said she wasn’t going any further. It wasn’t that she couldn’t keep going physically, but it had gotten so steep it was getting seriously dangerous. After looking downhill, I agreed. We are getting a little wiser and making better decisions in our old age.

That evening we watched a group of nannies pick their way down the cliffs into a more “reasonable” area to feed. We started working our way up to them and got set up. The goats came to within 200 yards, we double checked they were nannies, and I told Kathy to get behind the rifle. There were so many jagged rocks and it was such a steep uphill angle that she did not feel comfortable shooting. One of the nannies was standing on a boulder looking at us head on. I shot, she folded up, and started tumbling toward us. This caused another nanny to walk down the mountain looking for her fallen sister. She also jumped up on a boulder at 170 Yards and looked at us head on. Kathy decided to try a shot, put one right in the center of the nanny’s chest, and down she came as well. It all happened in 30 seconds and when we walked up to them they were laying 45 feet from one another. It is really crazy the way this hunt came together and we were very thankful to fill both tags in such stunning country!

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Two weeks after Mt. Goat hunting I was off to Utah for an elk hunt I waited 23 years for. It was absolutely worth the wait and exceeded every expectation I had. Kathy and I had driven to the unit during a long weekend in July to learn access points and hike into some areas we had been told about. Again, I showed up a few days before season opened to scout and there were elk almost everywhere I went.
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I was seeing lots of nice bulls and twice opening morning resisted the urge to pull the trigger on 320ish bulls. I was fairly happy with myself, as I have a weakness for shooting nice critters and not waiting for big critters. What helped is I had located what looked to be a great bull and watched him both evenings before opening day in the same spot. Right at dark he would push his cows over a saddle and out of sight. The issue was he was a LONG ways off and in a terrible spot. I passed the evening hunt on opening day to see if I could locate the bull again. I did and he pushed his cows through the same saddle again that evening.

Private land issues made accessing this bull a tremendous challenge. My friend Rob and I made a plan to hike around the extensive private land early the next morning and see if we could get set up on the back side of the saddle we had seen him disappear over the last three nights. We got to what we thought was the right spot and while we were double checking OnX, we heard a bugle from the north facing slope over the hill. I was really hoping it was the bull we had been watching!

We backed off a bit, ate lunch, and listened to the bull bugle a once or twice an hour. Later that afternoon, we found a spot where we had a good view of the saddle and began waiting. We knew the bull was still there as he kept talking to us. Every once in a rare while, the animals we hunt seem to read the script. This was one of those days and the bull pushed his cows through the saddle in front of us about 30 minutes before dark, just like he was supposed to. He was bigger than I expected and I really focused on staying calm! He was moving his 16 cows down the mountain and gave me a beautiful, standing broadside shot at 235 yards. Two shots behind the shoulder and he was down.


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I have been blessed to shoot some really nice bulls over the years and am thankful for every one of them. As Rob and I walked up to this bull, I knew again I was blessed far more than I deserve. He was a dream bull in every way possible. We took lots of pictures, broke the bull down, had a long hike back in the dark, and it was 3:30 am before we got back to camp.

Some mountain lion hunting buddies who live in the area told me to shoot a bull anywhere in the unit. No matter where I got one, they said they would help pack it out or bring horses, if necessary. I slept for a few hours, called them and told them to bring the horses, as this bull was a long way from everywhere there was access. As the crow flies on OnX, the bull was just a hair under four miles from the trailhead, with a lot of elevation gain and loss. They were as good as their word and pulled up to the wall tent with horses by 9:30. I have never been so thankful for help like this, as I would not have gotten the bull out, even with Rob’s help!

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To be continued...
 
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Buschy

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 1, 2001
Messages
1,559
Location
Colorado
Two weeks later I had a Colorado pronghorn tag for a unit where I had seen the biggest buck of my life the previous fall while elk hunting. I only had two days to hunt and hiked/glassed everywhere I thought he might be. I did turn up a beautiful buck with some does in the same draw both days but decided to pass him each time. I ended up going home with no antelope and no regrets.

The end of October my dad drove out to tag along while I hunted elk in Colorado. We had the shortest elk hunt of my life. On opening day, we parked the truck and hiked into one of my favorite glassing areas. In the first 30 seconds of glassing, I saw a 6x6 bull and 11 cows below the hill we were glassing from. I left my dad on top of the hill, blasted down the backside to get the wind in my favor, and set up to shoot from 320 yards. Just after I slid the rifle’s safety to fire, the bull and a couple of cows lifted their heads from feeding and looked south. I put the rifle on safe and decided to wait a moment to see what they were looking at. I didn’t have to wait long to see a tan body and antlers walking through the junipers. A larger 6x6 bull was walking in with his ears laid back and didn’t seem to be in a very good mood. If he was looking for a fight, he never got the chance. I put him down the first time he stopped in an opening between the trees. It was less than five minutes from first seeing the elk to having a bull on the ground. Better to be lucky than good!

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The last trip of the year was spent glassing for Khunter and his brother during their mule deer hunt. We did see some good bucks and beautiful country, but no deer were harmed. I am convinced they were just “let’em grow up a little more”.

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I am thankful to have had another year of health and the ability to enjoy public lands across the country. I hope you and your family are blessed in 2022 and the draw gods smile on you in the next few months!
 
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noharleyyet

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 15, 2004
Messages
32,269
Location
TEXAS
Congrats Greg, happy for you and your wife. Thanks for an awesome share. What a year!

That Utah bull!
 

JLDemo

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 28, 2016
Messages
846
Location
Kansas
Awesome year for sure! How'd the nanny do for table fare?

Thanks for sharing, I love elk but buckets full of crappie and walleye get me wound up. You've got a few surf and turf meals ahead of you. Thanks for sharing.
 

huntoneagain

New member
Joined
Aug 16, 2017
Messages
14
What a blessed season of seasons! Congrats on living such a wonderful and successful experience.
 

Huntnut60

Active member
Joined
May 26, 2020
Messages
125
Unbelievable year!! Great fishing, fantastic hunting, a golden retriever and a wife that enjoys it also. It truly doesn’t get any better.
 

huntin24/7

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 25, 2010
Messages
1,085
Location
Eastern Montana
Congrats Buschy and to your wife also! You guys had a heck of a year. This is one of the threads I always look forward to.
 
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