Buschy's 2021 Season Review (Pic Heavy)

Elknr

Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2022
Messages
26
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...
Congrats
 

maxracx

Active member
Joined
Jun 20, 2020
Messages
134
Location
Mosinee WI
Damn, that is a lifetime of hunting/fishing trips all rolled into one year!!! Congrats on all your success!!!!
 
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