Wyoming Cow, South Dakota Whitetail

SD_Prairie_Goat

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Joined
Mar 18, 2019
Messages
1,404
Location
SE SD
Well, been a busy fall for me, Started a new job so I've been busy with that, haven't been on HT much but sometimes a break from Social Media isn't a bad thing.


Well now onto the fall's recap for me....


Started off the year with an early season hunt in Wyoming on a general elk tag. The general plan was I would go to the unit early, scout the unit for a couple days before the season opened, then shoot a big ole bull. Well it didn't go that smooth.

I did end up finding a decent bull prior to opening morning:
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So the basic plan was to sneak up on this guy opening morning and put him to bed. Well the morning got off to a poor start, got up and to the hiking location a little later than we wanted. Hiking took a little longer than I expected and we ended up in the basin about 30mins after shooting hours. No harm no foal. Got set up and waited, and waited. Nothing was moving besides gun shots in the distance. Started doing a few cow calls and ended up getting a few bugle responses. Now I'm not an expert, so telling human vs elk produced is difficult if not impossible for me, but I continued anyway.


Soon enough I can tell he is getting fairly close, branches breaking and softer bugles. I would say he was about 100 yards into the trees, and I was 200 yards across the opening on the higher ridge. So I'm getting all set up for where he might step out into, and BOOM.

Sure enough, another hunter was able to cut him off and notch his tag. Never bothered to go down and look at the bull in person, but I was pretty demoralized. That was the only bull, beyond a spike, that I had seen.


I start talking with my buddy and we decide to go up higher and watch over the basin and see what we can see. Whole day of nothing, but we started debating and essentially landed on the following thought path. We want an elk more than we want antlers. We haven't see any other bulls in the 4 days of scouting we've done, but we have seen cows. If we wait too long, will we still be able to find cow elk a week down the road? We weigh the options, and me as the tag holder, decide that I would rather fill the freezer with a higher chance of a cow than go home empty handed.

So we get closer to where we have seen cows feeding in the evenings, and sure enough they appear like every other evening. We make a plan and start to hustle over to them. We don't have far to go, and have about 45 mins before shooting hours are over. I get to a shooting spot on a side hill and spot a cow in the open on the hillside. I decide to watch her for a little bit to make sure she's not a young cow or yearling. After I see another smaller cow I decide she's fully mature cow elk. I shoot and she rolls and stands back up at an awkward angle (facing away from me). She doesn't look too steady, but I'm not going to shoot her in the butt, so I wait. Eventually she goes broad side and I send another round her direction. She takes off running down the hill, so I shoot two more times before I lose track of her. I figure at this point, keep on shooting until she's down, or I'm out of rounds in the gun. Walk to where I last see her, and find her on a slightly less steep part of the hill side.

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In the end I have no regrets shooting a cow, she filled the freezer, and my buddy who has never hunted before told me 1. he would come back out to help any time, and 2. that he is even interested in shooting if I'm along to help, huge win if you ask me! I won't talk about how miserable the hike out was (we did it in one trip), but I will say always take the route you know rather than trying to find a shorter unknown way down a mountain. We did end up making it back to camp, at 2AM :sleep:


That was the elk hunt, ended up with just shy of #150 of meat, more like #135 after trimming fat and giving my buddy some meat to take back home with him, with a promise of more once I can make burger and the like.

Oh, almost forgot, look who stopped by the camper! He was pretty neat to watch, but I got nervous when a hunter was chasing him down the valley trying to shoot him when there are nothing but camps all over the valley... Never heard a shot, so I think my little buddy made it!
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Up next was pheasant season (goose and duck were in there, but I have had very poor luck with them this year). I got invited up to my collage roommates grandparents inlaws ranch up near the North Dakota line/Bismarck. Got off to a dang slow start, but by the end of the day I started shooting better and we started bagging birds. Ended up with a full limit for the group, plus I shot two bonus grouse, which was a fun surprise for me! (yes there's too many birds for the three of us, there was another couple shooters who were around at the time of this photo).
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And lastly comes my East River deer tag. My collage roommate farms up by Watertown, so I go hunt his land when I can get a tag, or just ride along on his landowner tag(he gets a tag a year).

This year I decided to set up where I shot my little buck last year, and where we planted a bunch of trees this spring (trees are still twigs in the ground, so they do nothing for deer hunting).

I get set up on an old dugout over looking a slough and a patch of CRP grass. Morning starts out slow and cold, 12 degrees with 30 mph winds and light snow. Brutal. See some deer in the neighbors property, but can't tell much between my cold shaking and the distance. A small buck ends up walking towards me and I eye him up between gaps in the cattails. He's pretty small 3x3 or small 4x4 so I pass on him. He ends up walking with 20 yards of me, and finally notices me when I have to move to get a better look around. He busts out, but nothing comes of it as no other deer were around.

I sit and watch some does playing in the distance, until finally a buck walks down the hillside towards the slough. I don't get a very long look at him, but I can tell he's decent and worth looking at further. The problem is I'm sitting low on the dugout, and he's hiding behind the cattails that are tall enough to completely block him. So after not being able to see him for a couple mins I decide I'll perch up on my knees and see if I can get a better view and see him. Can't spot anything, couple mins go by and I can't spot him. I know he didn't run away, its just a matter of where he is hiding.

Then I figure it out. He walks out of the cattails to my right at about 50 yards and just stares right at me. I'm skylined at the top of the dugout with nowhere to go. I just freeze and he just stares right at me. Eventually he decides to continue walking out into the slough right at me! So here is he 40 yards away and not breaking eye contact with me. Finally he goes broad side at about 30 yards and briefly looks away from me. Now its important to note, that in my younger days I lost a couple of really nice bucks in Idaho with very similar circumstance, I slow played them and they didn't stick around. So this time I already knew I wouldn't try to be sneaky, I would take the initiative.


My gun was right next to me, so I decide to just go for it. I throw the gun up (on 6x zoom because I wasn't expecting him at 30 yards...) and pull the trigger as he starts to bolt away. And he continues to run, so I shoot again free hand, and then he makes it into the cattails. I stand up trying to get an angle on him, and see him running away. I shoot again, and once more as he makes a turn to head south. At this point I have one round left, and I don't feel good about any of my shots. I decide to get comfortable, lay down and use my bipod and take one last shot as he tears across the field. I do that, give him a slight lead and pull the trigger. Nothing happens and he disappears over the hill side.


I'm kicking myself pretty good at this point. How could I screw up 5 shots when he was so close!! I decide to walk to where I last saw him and see I can see him running away in the distance. One thing I noticed is it looked like his right front leg wasn't working right as he ran away.


I get to a higher point on the hill side, and start looking at the corn field, and spot a hump in the middle of the field. I can't tell for sure, but it sure looks like a buck and it looks like the corn is painted red.


My old roommate comes to help, and I ended up bagging my largest whitetail to date. My rough measuring, with HT's help on my mistakes, scores this guy around 140 gross and 137 net. It may have been messy, but in the end it turned out to be a win:

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My last tag I have is a muzzleloader deer tag in SD. We'll see where I end up using that at, but right now I don't have any room in the freezer for extra meat. Not such a bad position to be in.



Anyway, that's been my fall so far, hope you all enjoyed coming along for it!
 

FoodIsMemories

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 26, 2021
Messages
1,715
Location
SW MT
Anyone ever tell you that you bare a resemblance to Danny McBride?


Awesome season! Sorry about the bull! That’s how it goes sometimes… great buck too!

Nice job congrats Kenny Powers!!! 😁
 

Wild Bill

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Joined
Dec 9, 2015
Messages
620
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SD
Awesome fall for you! Muzzleloader doe tag left, or an any deer? You've got to hunt that if its the any deer tag, its too hard to draw to not! You can store some meat in my freezer if you fill it! haha
 

SD_Prairie_Goat

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 18, 2019
Messages
1,404
Location
SE SD
Awesome fall for you! Muzzleloader doe tag left, or an any deer? You've got to hunt that if its the any deer tag, its too hard to draw to not! You can store some meat in my freezer if you fill it! haha
Its the any deer, so I know I gotta hunt it. Haven't even thought about which unit I should use it in... :oops:
 

Lefty315

Active member
Joined
Dec 27, 2010
Messages
263
Location
Pacific NW
You’ve had a good hunting season. Now it’s time to sit back, watch winter unfold and start eating!!! You need room for next years harvest…
 
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