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2008 Deer Hunt - pics

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/29/2008 at 16:01
lucznik View Drop Down
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Well it’s back to work again after a very nice backcountry trip after mule deer.  I had to cut this year’s trip down to just the weekend because we’ve been having some major drama at work this year part of which involved me being promoted (a good thing) but has also meant that I have had to either cut short or even totally cancel three separate trips that I had been planning for this year (a bad thing).

 

My good friend Curtis and I took off on Friday about 2:30 PM and drove the two hours to the trailhead.  Our camp site is located only 2 miles in but, the terrain is so steep and rugged that it takes about 2 ½ hours to cover the distance.

 

When we arrived we found that our buddy Phil (who had been at camp with three other guys since Wednesday) had just that morning shot a nice 6x6 bull elk.  It was going to be dark within a half hour so; there was no point in trying to go find anything that night.  We spent the evening talking about what they had seen so far and eating elk steak and potatoes – a definite step up from the freeze-dried options we had brought with us.

 

Saturday morning Phil, Curtis, and I were up early to hike another ½ mile in to the spot from which we like to glass. The other guys stayed in bed because they had flat wore themselves out over the previous three days.  We found deer almost immediately and the best part was that there appeared to be a couple of decent sized bucks.  They were another mile and a half away feeding in an avalanche chute.

 

 

 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/29/2008 at 16:01
lucznik View Drop Down
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We packed up our gear and closed the distance.  When we got to about the spot where this next picture was taken, we watched the two bigger deer bed down in the little grove of trees marked “A.”  The rest of the deer moved off to the East.

 

Our game plan was to have Phil hike up to a point just east of the stand of trees where we had watched the bucks bed down and to try to push that stand of trees.  In the mean time, I would hike to a spot somewhat lower where I could glass all around the trees in hopes of catching them if/when they busted out.   Curtis went lower toward the East side in case they were to attempt an escape in that direction.

 

When Phil and I reached the spot marked “B” to our great dismay, a couple of hunters who we had seen earlier came walking across the mountain face and passed just below the stand of trees where the bucks were bedded.   These hunters never stopped, never glassed anything, and consequently they never knew they were within 25-30 yards of the deer.   We were not happy, thinking they had just blown our chance.  Having seen them a little before we did, Curtis started climbing up to meet us.

 

As we discussed what to do next Phil got thoughtful for a second and said, “You know, I’ve been on the other side of this mountain and the back side is unbelievably steep.  I don’t think the deer would go that way unless they were really pushed hard.  Do you think maybe they just sat where they were and watched those two guys walk past?”

 

I answered that I had always been told that bucks would do that very thing.  So, we decided that since we had already come this far, we might as well go ahead and give our plan a try.

 

We waited until the other two hunters had moved on out of sight and then I walked over to the spot marked “C” and sat down on a log to wait while Phil moved up and to the right to begin making his push. By this time Curtis was about 150 yards to the south of me and was glassing a couple of new bucks.  

 

All of a sudden, the two bucks came busting out of their beds running toward the West.  I grabbed my rifle, ran forward about twenty yards to keep them in view and whistled at them hoping they would stop.  They did, at the spot marked “D.”  I raised my rifle and found that I was just too tired to hold steady enough for an off-hand shot.  I sprinted about 10 feet forward where there was a fallen log with a little branch sticking up, laid down prone and rested my rifle on the branch – much steadier.  I put the crosshairs on the bigger of the two deer and fired.  At the shot the deer crumpled down, but then with his last bit of life left he kicked himself up and then slid about 200 or so yards down a horribly steep avalanche chute before (thankfully) coming to rest (at “E”).  This entire final sequence happened in something like 30 seconds.

 

 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/29/2008 at 16:02
lucznik View Drop Down
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In the end he is not the 30” monster buck that everyone dreams of and sees in magazine pictures. Nonetheless, he’s a nice buck with a 25” outside spread.  I went into this hunt with an expectation of shooting “nothing less than a 4-point” and he qualifies. Considering I had only one day to pull it together, I’m happy.

 

 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/29/2008 at 16:02
lucznik View Drop Down
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Because of the steepness of the terrain, it took us about 3 hours to bone out the meat and get ready to leave. Just before lugging on our packs we each drank the last bit of water we were carrying.  That meant a 2+ hour, 2 mile hike back to our camp with nothing to drink.  To say we were parched by the time we arrived would be a gross understatement.  Arriving at camp I absolutely slammed 3 quarts of water and would have drank more except that I wanted to have some left for the hike out to the trucks.

 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/29/2008 at 16:03
lucznik View Drop Down
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Between us we had one elk and one deer and six guys to pack it all out.  I’m pretty sure I had the lightest pack of the group and mine was at least 80 lbs. With my rifle, binoculars, etc. added to the total, I was carrying about 90+ lbs. (Remember, I only weigh 130 so that’s 69% of my body weight.)  Phil’s pack, with those heavy elk antlers, was pushing 130#.

 

 

When we finally made it to the trucks, I had three blisters on my feet and four of my toenails have blood blisters formed underneath them from slamming into the front of my boots on the steep hike down.  But it was worth it.  Give me a few days to recover and I’ll be going right back.  I’ve still got an elk tag to fill.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/29/2008 at 16:12
lucznik View Drop Down
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Some random thoughts:

Boots

  • The ones I have I bought a few years ago and they have served pretty well.  They were however, woefully inadequate to the terrain encountered on this trip.  This is one of two major upgrades that will be needed before next year.  Also better socks will go with these boots.  I thought I had purchased some good ones but, I was wrong.

 

Backpacks

  • I used a medium-sized, internal-frame Wenzel pack that I have had for about 15 years.  It is a nice pack and is great for hiking trips; big enough to carry what you need, yet small enough to discourage taking “extras.” My brother-in-law even used it for a backpacking-across-Europe trip that he took not long after my wife and I were married. It is not however, designed for carrying heavy loads and my shoulders took a beating once it was loaded up with meat.   This is the second major upgrade needed for next year. I need a pack that’s big enough to carry what I need, small enough to keep me from packing too much, and designed to support heavy loads of meat.

 

Optics

  • My 8x42 Leupold Golden Ring was more than up to the task of hunting the high country.  One of the guys we were with borrowed them to compare to his 10x42 Swarovski SLC and when he handed them back he said he thought the Leupold was better.  I think this was because his was a 10x42 and so it was a bit dimmer.  I told him so as well. All told we had an 8x42 Leupold Golden Ring, a 10x42 Nikon Monarch, a 10x42 Swarovski SLC, a 10x32 Swarovski EL, an 8-22x50 Nikon Action, and a 10x42 Barska something-or-other.  Almost all of the glass proved capable of seeing and evaluating animals, lending credence to the notion that it the hunter that really makes the difference. Glass is a secondary issue.  I said “almost all” because the Barska binocular was absolute crap.  I couldn’t get a clear image from them at any range regardless of how hard I tried.  It was like looking through my eyeglasses after having coated the lenses with Vaseline.
  • My 15-30x50 Leupold Golden Ring spotting scope proved an ideal high-country glass. We originally saw the deer from about 2 miles away and were able to clearly see that they met our expectations for “shooters.” The only problem was my choice of stabilizer.  Thinking I would be smart, I took a monopod that weighs only 6.5 ounces instead of a tripod.  After all, I use a monopod all the time to get great pictures with my DSLR.  This was a big mistake.  You just can’t easily position nor adequately hold a monopod for glassing.  In the end I had to prop the whole unit up against a tree to get a stable image.   So, I guess I have three big upgrades for next year, ‘cause I don’t currently have a tripod that’s light enough for carrying into the backcountry.

 

Food

  • I definitely like the freeze-dried Mountain House-style meals better than MREs or self-packaged meals that I’ve tried in the past.  They are far lighter (even considering the need for a stove/fuel canister), taste better, and pack smaller than any other options.  They don’t quite totally reconstitute so, you do get a bit of a crunch with each mouthful but, that’s no problem.

 

 

 



Edited by lucznik - September/29/2008 at 16:14
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/29/2008 at 16:12
supertool73 View Drop Down
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Great pics and hunting story, thanks for sharing. 

That is a dandy buck as well, I glad you had good success. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/29/2008 at 17:04
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Nice!!!  Thunbs%20Up
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/29/2008 at 17:21
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Man, I am Green!!!!!

Good for you Bro.    Beautiful country, good hunting, friends what more could you ask for.   
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/29/2008 at 20:09
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Excellent....thanks for taking us there,

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/29/2008 at 21:09
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Great Pics and story!  You were in God's Country for sure!

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/30/2008 at 05:13
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Thank you for a great story. Sounds like a nice hunt and a plan that came together. The hard work allways makes it more memorable.
Your comment on the scopes are exactly what I believe. On average glass is very difficult to separate with the naked eye test. Other factors such as repeatability, adjustment etc play a far more important role in the mid to upper priced scopes then quality of glass for the average hunter.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/30/2008 at 12:41
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Great story and pics, love the countryside
 
Regards Chris
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/30/2008 at 18:17
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Fantastic story and pics and John Madden-type diagrams!!!   Bandito  Thanks!!   Great deer!!!   Long walk........Sad
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/30/2008 at 18:19
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Man, that's great!!!!!! I am happy for you. Envious, but happy.
 
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/01/2008 at 00:04
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This is a good story accompanied with Arlo Guthrie type photos from Alice's Restaurant with circles and arrows and a story on the back describing the scene of the crime. EXCELLENT!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/01/2008 at 12:40
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Great posts, lucznik!Thunbs%20Up  Thanks for sharing your hunt with us and for diagramming the sequence of events so thoroughly! 
 
I couldn't agree more with the equipment observation, especially dealing with boots and socks.  I think if you don't take care of your feet first and foremost, everything else matters little.
 
Congratulations on a nice buck!  I hope you get your bull.
 
I will be heading out for my Colorado elk hunt on Oct. 15th.  Being public land, it is very hard to bag a respectable bull in most places, but it's still fun to go, and I love being in the beautiful high country!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/01/2008 at 21:16
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Great story lucznik.
 
Best of success on your hunt, Ted.  No luck needed, just good hunting. 
 
"In hunting, the finding and taking of game is after all but a part of the whole. The free, self reliant, adventerous life, with it's rugged and stalwart democracy: the wild surroundings, the grand beauty of the scenery, the chance to study the habits of the woodland creatures- all these unite to give the career of the wilderness hunter it's peculiar charm. The chase is among the best of all national pastimes."  Theodore Roosevelt
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/07/2008 at 12:47
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Thanks, can't wait to hear about the Elk hunt!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/09/2008 at 12:11
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yes.....about feet and boots.....I always get boots that are one size too big....then I just wear two pairs of socks so when I walk downhill my toes do not touch my shoe leather.  I have been doing that for thirty years....it works.  Also the more laces one has ( down toward the toe ) the better ankle-twisting protection you have, and the boots don't get so "bent-up" from regular old walking movement.  Bucky     Again, a superb post with great OUTDOOR LIFE type photos!!!  
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