1. Attention: We have put together a thread with tips and a tutorial video to help with using the new software. Please take a moment to check out the thread here: Trapshooters.com Tutorial & Help Video.
    Dismiss Notice

Hunt Stories 2010

Discussion in 'Off Topic Threads' started by Pocatello, Oct 6, 2010.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Pocatello

    Pocatello Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    1,547
    As I mentioned last year, one of my favorite threads each year is where members regale each other with their recent hunting adventures. It's time to start this year's tales.


    [​IMG]


    One of my favorite areas in Idaho is the land along the East Fork of the Salmon River SW of Challis. The land ranges from about 5600' at the river's mouth up to nearly 12,000' at Castle Peak. Huntable big game species include Mule and Whitetail deer, Rocky Mountain Elk, Pronghorn, Bighorn Sheep, Mountain Goat, Black Bear, Cougar, Shiras Moose, and last year, Wolf. A federal judge has suspended wolf hunting this year. Of course some of these are controlled hunts with long drawing odds, and sheep, goats, and moose are a one per lifetime in Idaho. Back around twenty years ago there were a fair number of antelope in the area, but some bad winters and other problems knocked them back to the point where the season was closed around 2000. About 2007 the season was reopened for archery only, but none were harvested for several years. It's tough country to bowhunt antelope, and there are better, easier place for archers to spend their efforts. Last year Fish & Game instituted a hunt restricted to muzzleloaders only with ten permits. There were quite a few applicants since the area hadn't really been hunted for almost ten years. I applied but did not draw. According to IDF&G reports, four hunters were successful with an average horn length of just under 11". This year there were again ten muzzleloader permits available. I applied and drew a tag.

    Back about thirty years ago when I was living in SW Michigan, deer hunting in the southern Lower Peninsula was restricted to archery, shotgun, or muzzleloader. I bought a Thompson Center Hawken kit in .45 caliber and built the rifle. Then I moved to Idaho, where .45 caliber is legal for deer, but anything bigger requires at least .50 caliber. I bought a .54 caliber Green Mountain barrel for my Hawken, and put the .45 barrel away. Over the years many general black powder hunts in Idaho were converted to controlled hunts (i.e. if you choose that and draw, then the controlled hunt is your only opportunity for that animal), so the muzzleloader has pretty much sat in the safe for the last twenty years or so. This year I got it out and practiced a lot. I was using a patched round ball, 110 grains of FFFg black powder, and percussion caps. My sights are a rear peep, front blade. Why not a scope and maxie ball or sabot with Pyrodex you ask? Idaho rules specifically exclude optical sights and sabots for black powder hunts, and the literature that came with my barrel warned against maxie balls, saying the barrel was intended for patched ball only. Also I missed an elk once because of a hangfire with Pyrodex, so have used only black powder since. After much practice I decided to limit my shots to 100 yards or less, and 50 would be better.

    I decided to hunt an area near where I and my sons had shot many antelope years ago. There were several big basins above the river where the antelope used to hang out. In particular one spot had a saddle where the antelope liked to pass between the basin and the slopes down to the river. The only problem is that the saddle is about 1.5 miles as the crow flies from where I could park, and 1600' of elevation gain. According to my calculations that's about a 20% average grade. I do know it is steep. Anyway opening day I got up to the ridge about noon and sat down to glass the basin. I was about 200 yards from the saddle. I saw nothing at first, but after a while five bucks came out from below me and made their way through the saddle. All I could do was sit and watch because there was no cover in between. About an hour later three more antelope came into the top of the basin, about a mile away, and gradually moved down into it. After another hour they started to move towards the saddle, so I got in position and waited. Eventually they came through, and I missed a shot at about 85 yards on the biggest buck. I just blew it, shooting over his back. There I was, sitting in the sage, while the buck moved up to about 40 yards looking me over. I couldn't try to reload because any movement on my part would send them running. They eventually moved off, and I reloaded.

    I spent the next couple of days checking out other parts of the unit without seeing other antelope. I did see a fair number of elk, including two nice branch-antlered bulls.

    Sunday afternoon I drove up to the area again, checking out some other spots. I didn't see antelope, but in one basin where I shot my best Idaho antelope buck years ago I saw another branch-antlered bull just about dusk. Monday morning I started up the ridge for the saddle again. I saw a buck antelope and doe on a parallel ridge a mile or so away, but they were moving too, and with the distance and elevation loss/gain to get to them there was no way I could ever catch up, so I let them go. I was nearly to the top when a rain squall set in, so I hunkered down under a tree to wait it out. When it passed I got up, and almost immediately saw a buck moving through the saddle. He was about 300 yards away, and had the widest horns I have ever seen on a Pronghorn. He looked almost like a Longhorn steer with those horns sticking out to the side. Anyway he saw me too, and eventually moved off down the hill to near the river. When I got to the top at first I saw nothing, but set up in some sage near the saddle to wait. After a while I saw a single antelope moving through the basin. Just about then another rain squall moved in, so I again sat down to wait it out. When it was over I relocated the antelope bedded down in some sage. I left the gun and my pack and moved up a little closer to get a better look through my spotting scope. I determined that it was a small buck and that there was no way to get within range, so decided to go back to my spot and wait him out. As I was walking back I saw some long horns and eyes just clearing the crest of the hill about 80 yards away, so I immediately dropped to the ground and crawled the rest of the way back to my gun. Another antelope was coming through the saddle from behind me. He evidently had caught some motion and was curious as to what it was. He eventually worked his way closer and presented me a shot from about 60 yards away. He was facing me, and the ball took him in the center of the throat, dropping him on the spot.

    His left horn was 13", his right just under 13". All in all it was a pretty good hunt.

    I'll be back in the area this next week for bull elk and deer and hopefully have something more good to report. The week after that I'll be in Montana for antelope again (centerfire this time). Then it will be time for bird hunting with my pup Rocky.
     
  2. Pocatello

    Pocatello Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    1,547
    My wife has a cousin in Oregon, who's son got his first deer the other day. I'll let his Dad tell the story:

    Jarrett got his first buck today! One shot, off hand from 150 yards. We got to our spot at the locked gate at 6:15am this morning only to have two other guys there ahead of us. We went to plan B and drove back down to devil’s canyon and hiked up the north ridge. Spotted three bucks in the back of the canyon about an hour into our hike. It was warm and really windy. We crossed to the opposite side of the canyon and hiked around the bucks to get the wind in our favor. Saw about 18 deer total. Jarrett’s buck got up out of his sage brush bed, I gave him a whistle and he stopped. Jarrett knelt down and shot him perfect. Buck went 30 feet and piled up…… Never saw the original 3 bucks again. Two of them were real big.

    The pack out was about a mile, all down hill. Fortunately I had the pack frame and two bags with me. Got all 4 quarters and the boned meat on the pack. Jarrett carried my pack, the rifle and the deer head. We made it back to the truck by 11:30am.



    Great day!
     
  3. trapshooterjoe7

    trapshooterjoe7 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Messages:
    551
    Pocatello, thanks for sharing the hunt stories,if we can keep the kids involved in hunting and shooting they will stay out of trouble!!
     
  4. TC

    TC TS Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    931
    That is one nice antelope! Any idea how old? Would like to see a picture after you get it mounted. Tony
     
  5. RickN

    RickN Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2008
    Messages:
    3,040
    Location:
    Minnysoda
    Pocatello, when I hear about the Salmon River in Idaho, I think of Elmer Keith.
     
  6. oskerspap12

    oskerspap12 Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2009
    Messages:
    1,235
    Elmer .............the dean of handgunners.........none better!
     
  7. Pocatello

    Pocatello Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    1,547
    Tony, I'm not having him mounted, only the horns on a plaque. I've got a couple considerably bigger, and hope to get a bigger one in MT the week after next. Also his prongs were kinda weird - almost like they were broomed like bighorns do to their horns.

    Rick, I was always in the Jack O'Connor camp, and you know he and Elmer did not get along at all. I knew a guy once who knew them both, and said both were crusty old cusses. When I read Keith's stories of shooting deer at 500 yards with a sixgun, I think he was either full of BS, the luckiest SOB alive, or maybe both.

    How about some more stories and pictures from the rest of you? Somebody must have done some hunting already.
     
  8. wireguy

    wireguy TS Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    3,715
    Dove hunting in California's Imperial Valley was pretty much a bust this year due to storms that preceded opening day. I didn't get many pictures but two notable things happened. Micah, my newest adoptee, a black and white GWP, got real serious about retrieving after his start last year. Also, strangely, Missy, my old shorthair who has never showed any interest in retrieving, suddenly decided she was a retriever this year. The first bird I put down on the West Main Canal Molly Mae, my female GWP, went after in her typical fashion, but Missy was right there with her, and I thought, she looked like she was going after that bird. Turns out she was. Never retrieved a bird in all the years I've had her, last bird on opening day, downed in the middle of the canal, and Missy leaped like she was determined to make that retrieve, swam and made a strong water retrieve, delivered the bird to me and dropped it at my feet on command. Talk about putting a grin on my face.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Pocatello

    Pocatello Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    1,547
    I just got back this afternoon from my Elk and Deer hunt in the White Clouds with White Cloud Outfitters. My guide, Jeff Pederson, and I started from the base camp on the East Fork of the Salmon about 10:30 AM on Saturday. It took about two hours to pack into camp. It was just the two of us plus two saddle horses and two pack horses. After getting our gear stowed away we started out for the ridge overlooking the next basin, and sat down to glass about 2:30 PM (picture of the basin above, with the White Clouds in the background). In just a few minutes we heard bugling from the timber below us, and moved down the slope to get closer. We left the saddle horses tied on the ridge above. There were at least four different bulls bugling. Two sounded small, but the other two sounded respectable. Jeff bugled, and they responded, but remained where they were in the timber. Things remained pretty much the same until about 4 PM, when we saw some cows and the herd bull cross the open patch about 600 yards away, in the middle right of the picture above. The bull looked good, so we hustled after them, hoping to catch him in the open. However they had moved into the timber beyond by the time we got there, so we sat down in a sage clump to await developments. The bull would still respond to bugles, both ours and other bulls, but was staying in the timber with the cows. We did see some cows and two spikes, and heard the big bull thrashing some trees and chasing a spike away. A little after 5:00 two cows moved back out into the opening to feed (at the right end of the opening in the picture), and the herd bull followed shortly after. I had a broadside shot from a little under 100 yards, and the sight picture looked good when the gun went off. The bull ran at the shot, but the cows and two spikes were not unduly alarmed, and moved our way to see what was going on. The other big bull kept bugling from the timber several hundred yards down the slope. We went to where the bull had been, found some tracks, and shortly after some small specks of blood, but it was a tough job to follow it, and I began to doubt whether I'd hit him hard. After about ten minutes and 200 yards I spotted him down near a dead tree. It turned out that I'd hit him about three inches above the center line of his chest, and the sixth rib back. I was shooting my Ruger #1 in .280 Remington, loaded with 140 grain Nosler Partition bullets. The bullet penetrated completely, leaving a hole about the diameter of a pencil in the hide on each side, but a hole over 1" in diameter in each interior chest wall, and through both lungs. When we dressed him there was well over a gallon of blood in the chest cavity.

    Here's the picture:


    [​IMG]


    He was a 6x6 with very good size, and according to my scoring goes a little over 302". He also had a very large body. When we quartered him the next day, we had to take the front shoulders off to get the front quarters in the meat sacks, and it was all we could do to get the front quarters on the pack horse. Jeff said he has had only one comparable in body size in over 20 years of guiding. Anyway we dressed him out, got some limbs under him to get him off the ground, and covered him with evergreen branches to protect him from the birds, and got back to camp well after dark.

    The next morning we came back with pack horses, got him quartered, skinned, and loaded. Because the weather looked to continue to be unseasonably warm during the day we decided to take him out to base camp, and from there I drove the meat to a locker in Challis. All the time we were working on the elk, other elk were bugling nearby.


    [​IMG]


    It would be difficult to overstate the importance of good horses on the hunt. There were several places between base camp and our camp where the trail goes over really nasty rock outcroppings, with a very steep drop of several hundred feet down into a lake if a horse should slip. It is not a place for someone afraid of heights, but the horses handled it with no problem. We rode back to camp Sunday late after I got back from taking the meat to Challis, passing the nasty parts of the trail just before full dark, and arriving back in camp well after dark.

    All day Monday and Tuesday morning we devoted to deer hunting in the area of our camp, but did not see a single deer. We decided to move back to base camp for the remainder of the hunt. Tuesday afternoon we hunted another drainage about ten miles upstream on the Main Salmon from the East Fork. About 5 PM we spotted a fork-horn with a large buck feeding on an open slope about half a mile away. By the time we closed the distance to 220 yards, they had bedded in the sage and all we could see were the antler tips. We waited until nearly dark, when the small buck finally got up, but the big one remained bedded. Jeff finally moved closer in an attempt to get him up, but when he did, he abruptly departed without offering a shot.

    The rest of the trip we saw some other deer, but no bucks big enough to shoot. Other hunters in our camp did take some nice bucks, but they were much higher in the mountains at over 9000' elevation. We did see lots of elk including some other big bulls, some pronghorns, several moose, and a family of otters playing in the lake. I also saw two bighorn ewes while driving into Challis to pick up my meat this afternoon. All in all it was a great trip.

    Next week I'll be going to Montana after another antelope.
     
  10. midalake

    midalake Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    3,662
    Deer season will be cancelled in the UP of Michigan due to an infestation of wolves............oh ya....it is that bad........


    GS
     
  11. hrosik123

    hrosik123 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2009
    Messages:
    695

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Me, my dad and brother out for a morning duck hunt. Had good action but due to a lack of shooting skill we only able to bring down this young woodie. None the less we all had a great time. Gonna give it hell in the afternoon. I think it's me and my bro yhen my pop and bro. You'll figure it out. Good luck Chuck Hrosik
     
  12. hrosik123

    hrosik123 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2009
    Messages:
    695

    [​IMG]
    Me and the fellas went out in the eve and had good times. Heres my bro holding 2 of the 3 woodies we got in the evening. Good luck Chuck Hrosik
     
  13. Pocatello

    Pocatello Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    1,547
    The antelope hunting trip to Montana was pretty much a bust. It was not because there were not plenty of antelope around, or none big enough.

    Like most states, all antelope tags in Montana are dispensed through a drawing. My first choice was antelope district 530 NE of Roundup. After checking the drawing statistics for last year I selected district 510 north of Big Timber as a second choice. Montana has a program called Block Management Access (BMA) where landowners lease property to the State for hunting access. The program is funded by outfitter sponsored tags sales. For instance in district 530 there are numerous BMAs, with the largest listed at almost 75,000 acres. Some BMAs require reservations, while others have a location where hunters can sign in and hunt. In August I found out that I had not drawn a tag for district 530, but had drawn for district 510. I sent off for the BMA book and found that there was only one BMA in the entire district, listed at 1,600 acres. It required written permission to hunt it, and was limited to three parties per day with a maximum of eight hunters. I have a friend who knows the area, and he offered to help me find a place to hunt, and even offered to come along after he was done elk hunting. It turned out that he had a friend who had property adjacent to the BMA, and got permission to another piece adjacent to his, so I thought I was good to go.

    My friend was still chasing his elk, so I headed for Big Timber Tuesday morning alone and arrived there Tuesday afternoon. After getting a motel room for two nights, I drove out to the friend's place - nobody home. I went next door to the BMA - nobody home. I finally reached the owners of the BMA by cell phone and they told me that they were out of town, but their reservations were completely booked for the season. Their neighbor told me the next day that she was probably telling me a white lie, that they just didn't want anybody hunting the place while they were gone. That's OK - their place, their rules. I drove around some and saw a fair number of antelope, including some really nice bucks, with several at least as big as the largest I've ever shot. I knocked on several doors, and was politely told that their hunting rights had been leased for the season. Other places - nobody home. One gentleman with a very large ranch told me there had been a recent Montana Supreme Court decision regarding landowner liability for accidents on their property. His lawyer had told him that he did not have enough insurance, nor could he afford enough, to allow hunter access like he used to do, so he had closed his place.

    The friend of a friend was not home, and other numbers I was given turned out to be no longer in service. I talked to one local who said her sons had a very hard time to find a place to hunt anymore, with the leasing being a prime reason.

    I did find a few sections of State lands open to hunting, but in each case there were no antelope present. Wednesday I did see one band with the largest buck I've ever seen in the wild, but again it was behind a fence on private land. I suspect the penalties for trespass are strict in Montana, so I just watched through my spotting scope and drooled.

    Thursday morning I packed up and headed home.

    The weather was gorgeous and the scenery even better with the fall colors. Driving up I went up the Henrys Fork of the Snake and down the Gallatin canyon. Driving home I went up the Yellowstone from Livingston through Gardiner, Yellowstone and Grand Teton Parks, Jackson Hole, and the South Fork of the Snake. Even though I really didn't get to hunt antelope it was a good trip, and I'll have a freezer full of meat with the Idaho antelope and elk. Now it's time for bird hunting with Rocky.
     
  14. trapshooterjoe7

    trapshooterjoe7 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Messages:
    551
    Hrosik123, i think i was in a shoot off with you at the MD state shoot, at least the guy looked like you.Joe
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.