A great day out hunting and a lot of fun being involved in someone's first Mule Deer. And if I didn't have the problem with the Achilles, we might have been back just a bit earlier, to minimize the disruption to Halloween Trick or Treating. And the worst part about Trick or Treating late last night, was that at 6pm, Mt. Home was starting to get Cooooooooold.
Ovis' own Private Idaho is a bit crowded, at least at the trail head. I could sense a bit of the dissappointment when we arrived, and found 3 rigs already there, some with empty ATV trailers. We had a bit of a discussion about alternatives, but we decided to go ahead with the original plan.
In Idaho, if you are willing to get 1/4 mile from the road/ATV trail, you will start seeing critters, and you won't see hunters. The first mile or so was up the ATV trail, thru one of the prettiest meadows/abandon homesteads you could imagine. If there were not ATVs in there, it would actually be awesome hunting much lower than we had to do.
After we smelled the smoke from a Wall Tent, we crossed the creek, and slipped past another tent. No sign of activity in either camp. Appearntly the hunters were resting up from the ATV ride in...
A bit more than a 1/4 mile from their camps, we started glassing a couple of hill sides. It took a bit, but soon we found a single Mule Deer. And then another. We kept looking, but even using quality glass (Leica 10x and Zeiss 10x binocs), we were still too far to see antlers.
We then found another 8 Mule Deer over a ridge, but headed to the first two. We looked for closer ones, but could not find anything, so we figured the ones we saw were worth getting a better look.
We closed the distance about 1/2 way, staying hidden under a ridge, and began a relatively easy ascent. Under some Fir trees, we started glassing again, and could not find anything. Glassing....glassing...glassing. Eventually we located the first two, and confirmed them to be both Does. Finally we spotted a Buck across where the 8 had been, and he was moving toward the two.
We dropped back down, and made another ascent up 1/2 way, in order to see if we could get him to close a 100 yards, and us to close a 100 yards, for a shot. We did our part, but again, we could not find him.
Then we found a buck over where we had seen the first buck leave, and he was headed below us. We glassed him, but could not convince ourselves that it was the same buck. He just seemed smaller, and in the wrong place. This smaller buck eventually got spooked, and moved back up out of the bottom, and was crossing over the ridge line, when he found a doe, and that was the last we saw him.
Still looking for the original buck, I looked to the ridge on my right, and found 6 does at about 150 yards, heading away. I was afraid they were the orginal 8, but it turned out they weren't.
Finally we started seeing the original 8, where we expected them to be. They started coming out, 1 by 1... We kept looking, and all does. And then we finally saw the Trick or Treat buck, up in the bushes. No shot presented, so we kept waiting, and he started moving, checking out the Does.
Eventually we got to a spot where a shot was available, and the gunplay started.
After the first volley, the Buck headed down out of our sight, so Ovis then went to cut the distance in 1/2. The country is rugged, and brushy, so it took a loooooooooong time, or so it seemed to me, as I had my binoculars pressed into my eyebrows, looking for the buck. If he came out, I was going to give him another volley. If he stayed, Ovis would be on top of him.
After what seemed an eternity, the Buck showed himself, and he was on the next ridge, above Ovis. I thought about lobbing a shot at him, but given that Ovis was under the line of fire, I decided not to...
I could see both the Buck and Ovis, but neither could see the other. Finally Ovis crested the intermediate ridge, and dissappeared. The buck was still out in the open. He soon became alert, and I knew he had busted Ovis. I hoped the shot would come soon, but it didn't. I kept glassing, but still no shot. Again, another eternity, or so it seemed.
Finally the roar of the .300 filled the hillside, and there was no doubt as to the outcome. A few stumbles, a few tumbles, and it was Game Over.
I went back down and grabbed both backpacks, and then spent about an hour trying to get over to Ovis and the Trick or Treat Buck.
A quick PB&J lunch, and then some picture taking. I appreciate hunting with Ovis, as he actually takes more pictures than I do. That is the first time I have hunted with someone, who will spend that much time with the camera. We all could use lessons in photography from Ovis.
A bunch of de-boning, and the packs were loaded. (Mine was quite a bit lighter than Ovis', but this morning I am sore). We made the best time out we could, considering the load and the lameness. Met the ATV guys, and they asked questions about the Buck, and off we went.
A great day of hunting, seeing lots of Mule Deer is fun. All total, 2 big bucks, and 1 or 2 Forked Horns, plus a dozen or better does.
Elkgunner and I did a short notice hunt together today. The only exception to the hunt was I HAD (repeat...HAD) to be back home by 6pm, so I could take my daughter around the neighborhood for some tricking and treating.
Met EG in town about 6a.m. and we scaddadled off down the road. We were going to "my own private Idaho" (I found this place the week before) as opposed to "EG's own private Idaho" since it made better sense for me to get home on time.
Arrived at day break, only to find three other rigs parked at the trailhead. After some consideration, we decided we would go ahead and hunt the area, although I wasn't thrilled about being around other hunters.
Let me say up front, anyone with a bum Achilles tendon that does a 5 mile roundtrip hunt is one dedicated dude.
After about two miles in, we (or rather EG) started seeing the critters. No elk on this trip, but once again, muleys by the dozens.
It wasn't long before we found a buck that was sweet for the picken's. Prime rut is still a few weeks away, but this buck was already love crazed. Does were dotted all along the hillside, and it seemed they all were given special attention by this hunka-hunka buck.
We closed in the gap to 400 yards, and set up for the shot. In short, it just wasn't happening for me. Over the back my bullets zinged, kicking up clouds of snow and dirt.
In all his kindness and generosity, EG gave me the verbal "go" to get after him, as he stayed in place making sure our muley didn't escape.
At a lil over 200 yds, I was once again set up for the shot. It only took me 10 minutes to find our love sick friend, but I finally had him in my crosshairs. One thump from the .300 winnie and I rolled him over (or rather down the hill).
By 3:30 EG and I were burning up boot rubber making our way for the truck. With a full pack and the sore Achilles, EG shot across the drainage in record time.
The time was 5:30 when we hit the truck, and I knew I wasn't gonna make my curfew. What would my wife say? What would she do? My visions were not pretty.
As we dropped into the Snake River Valley, I borrowed EG's cell and called the wife to inform her it would be about 15 minutes before I'd get home.
Just as my "lovely" lady attempted to bite my head off, the phone went dead. It couldn't of happend at a better time (thank you EG).
We made it to my truck at 6:20. Transferred the load of meat, shook hands, and I hurried off.
I pulled into the driveway at 6:35, grabbed the kid-o and was off. Nothing like carrying the little one around a mile block because she is too cold to walk after a full day of work in the field.
By the time we made it back home, my daughter was loving me, my feet were loving me
, and my wife must of forgave me, as I find myself fortunate enough to be sitting here on HT sharing the story.
Thanks again for a great day of hunting Elkgunner!
Ovis.. The first time I went Bear baiting with 'Gunner... HE claimed to have the Flu... Then I went Elk hunting with him nad he "CLAIMED" to have twisted his Ankle.. NOW, He is playing the Achili's tendon card with you. I think He's a Pansy in Clowns cloths with more excuses then me
All that being said I'd go hunting with him again in a fuggin heartbeat. Glad you two did some Damage to the Idaho population. And WTG on that buck. He's kind of a goofy looking one, Just like your hunting partner
I agree Moosie. There was a little chatter about a September moose hunt in Alaska, and he kept hinting he may be having some complications with his back about that time. Nothing preventing him from pulling a trigger, but he wasn't so convincing he would be able to pack a load.
Just testing you boys.... I know what I can pack, I just wanna know what you all can carry
I have always thought it was more important for my partners to know First Aid and CPR than for me to know it...
Here is the list of excuses...
Flu -- Direct result of 6 trips to Japan in the first 1/2 of the year. I don't know what happens, but too much international Airline flights makes me sick. (Benefit -- 320k miles in my UAL Mileage Plus account, enough for a BIG adventure...
Twisted Ankle -- Running down the road to take pictures of a Cow Elk in the river, that Moosie wanted, to put on his Forum board... 3 weeks later, I have a sore ankle, and we have no pictures on the Forum..
Torn Achilles -- Injured at a soccer game... (Problem was, I was a spectator, not a participant!!!
) Dr. said it was because I am old..
I can't wait until YOU get old... I did still go Elk hunting, so I kept the flexibility up. Friday is another trip to the Dr., and about the 2nd week of December, I can start running again....
But I assure you, my Trigger finger remains undamaged, and got very little wear and tear this year....