Busy fall, good year overall

schmalts

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Aug 22, 2002
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Getting time to unwind. Just spent the weekend cutting, grinding and dehydrating. First was a good buck with my archery tag in WI. It has been a couple years since I have taken a bow buck and now the deer are starting to rebound after a bad winter . Not much of a story, deer came, deer left, deer came back after I grunted, deer died.

Then off to Montana for a deer hunt for a couple days before I met Randy for a WY elk hunt. I hit some new areas this year and it paid off. I managed to find a good buck bedded in a sage flat and after looking him over with the spotter i started the mad dash towards him and his does now walking away. After a couple hundred yards I popped out of a big dry creek bed and there was 3 guys standing there looking at me! I figured they did not see the deer as he would be now way off to the side of them and kept going on the mad dash. They looked at me and waved me on but I did not know if they were just motioning me to keep going on my way or that they knew I was after a deer. I caught up to the buck and now at 100 yards and very tall sage and weeds I had to try an offhand shot. It worked out and he dropped. The 3 guys came walking up and I apologized for not stopping to say hi and figured they had not seen the deer. It turns out they saw me looking at it with my spotter and knew I had seen it first and was on a stalk already. I have to give those guys mucho credit because a lot of a-holes I have seen in the past would have done the opposite. Those guys were true sportsman.

So the next day I slipped across the state line to meet Randy for a wild ride of an elk hunt. Never have I been in such a hunt that had ups and downs like this. Literally saw over 500 elk the first day, passed on a couple 310 class bulls hoping the 340 class bull would wander our way before dark. We waited, watched and plotted only to see them go the other way. We did get good video that day though that's for sure. Then the next day we saw 1, yes one elk. Then ZERO the next. Then the 4th day we knew it was the last day because of a blizzard warning for the 5th day. 3 bulls were spotted off a few miles away on top of a ridge and we reversed directions and made a stalk. Things got crazy and long story short I blew it and the now 6 bulls headed for the next county. Well, we thought so and after we drove 3 miles to try and relocate the fresh tracks in the snow we got out of the truck, got our gear ready, and ran a little video explaining what our next plan was. Mid-interview I looked over Randy's shoulder and started stuttering...... Right F'in there!!! we got photo bombed by elk. But as luck goes the bigger of the 6 bulls that were in the group had already made it past. Randy called out the 330 yards, I threw down my pack and dialed in the CDS on the Leupold. so I took the bigger of the 2 that were kind enough to feel sorry for me at this point and made a perfect shot. We took care of my bull and glassed the rest of the day for Randy but could not come up with any elk.

Now, back to Montana to pick up my 14 year old Son Garrett at the airport for his first Montana deer hunt. After seeing a huge muley the first night that gave us the slip I now proceeded to do what I told myself I wouldn't do and walked my poor kid nearly to death. At noon we saw 3 dinks pushing a doe and headed back to the truck. The next day I promised a much shorter walk. We walked 3/4 mile into an area to set up for Mule deer coming into bedding hills and I spotted a different kind of deer pushing some doe. I had Garrett look in the spotter and he said "oh yeah I will shoot him" The rest is history. Garrett got a great first whitey. could it get better?? Yes, it did. A few hours later he not only got his first pheasant but he got a limit of them. Then a little while later he got his first duck! Life is good. I do a lot of solo hunts but this year most of my hunts were spent with friends and family and I want to keep it that way as I get older.
 

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JLS

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Mar 26, 2012
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Where the Wild Things Are
Nice photos! Sounds like you had an outstanding fall. I agree on transitioning from solo hunts to hunting more with family and friends.
 

Oak

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Dec 23, 2000
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13,588
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Colorado
That's a great fall there. Nobody going hungry in the Schmalts household.
 

fishing4sanity

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Mar 9, 2011
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eastern Washington
That looks like a perfect fall. Some very nice animals and memories for sure, plus being there for your son's first whitey and pheasants. Great photos too. Congrats!
 

Big Fin

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Dec 27, 2000
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Bozeman, MT
Great road trip for you and Garrett.

I wish video would do justice to just how hard that elk hunt was under those conditions. We've done dozens of elk hunts on the show and I think that was at the top of tough conditions among the hunts we have done. Sometimes the conditions deal you a straight flush and sometimes it deals you a stiff. For you to get an elk on that hunt, given the time constraints, cameras, weather, wind, and general lack of elk on public land was an amazing feat. You made one of the best shots ever made on this show, under pretty adverse conditions, with a rifle you had never shot. Bravo.

You probably wondered why me and the crew were doing flips after your shot. Because it was worthy of all the excitement and applause it created.
 

schmalts

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Aug 22, 2002
Messages
8,834
Location
WI
Great road trip for you and Garrett.
You probably wondered why me and the crew were doing flips after your shot. Because it was worthy of all the excitement and applause it created.

I was just hunting. Even the bad days were fun. :) If I came home empty handed It still would have been a darn good hunt. The experience of that first day made the hunt well worth it. I wish audio would do it justice to share what we heard. I heard noises come from elk I never knew were possible. I will never forget when we started laughing after that one bull made a noise that can best be described as a bugle with his head in a toilet bowl drowning:confused: Crazy stuff.
 

Fire_9

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Joined
Mar 25, 2015
Messages
846
Location
Lewistown, MT
That picture of your mule deer turned out pretty good. We joked that it was going to be the best buck we saw all week and it almost turned out to be true statement. I appreciate the kudos and am glad you had a great year. Let me know if you need a place to stay next time you come through
 
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