Saturday, September 29, 2012

2012 Trail Cam Pics

Things are looking pretty good for this deer season. The bucks in Nebraska are looking about as good as they get in the area where we spend our time hunting. Once in a while they get a real bruiser to come through, but a P&Y buck is a real trophy around there. Not that any of us are trophy hunters, but it adds a little something to the hunt when you know a nice buck is somewhere out there.

Nebraska Deer:


Danny and I also drew a decent Colorado tag. We had a camera up for just a few days when a huge windstorm came through and caused our camera to take pictures of nothing but the dirt for close to three weeks. In the few days it was up we got pics of at least one great buck though.

Colorado Deer:

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Danny's 2012 Elk

Danny continued on his elk killing ways this year. Unfortunately he could not shoot his recurve because of a  injured shoulder. But it would take a lot more than that to keep him out of the elk woods in September. Neither Danny or I have shot a compound in our lives. But when the option was to either not hunt, or tote around a compound, it was an easy decision for Danny. Though, with his shoulder, he could barely even pull a lightweight compound.

Danny and Kelly hit the motherload the Thursday before the season ended. They worked their way in to a basin with, no lie, at least 30 bulls bugling. Elk were going absolutely nuts, and racing towards every call they made. Kelly let Danny slip in to position while he grabbed a couple of logs and raked a tree, mimicking the sound of a bull elk rubbing his antlers. Kelly mixed in a few bugles to the process. 

Danny looked up the hill towards the sound of a bunch of crashing and saw two bull elk racing towards him. It looked as if one was chasing the other. At 17 yards the smaller of the two stood in the wide open. The bigger stood with only his head exposed. Even though the bigger of the two was an absolute bruiser, Danny opted to take the bird in hand. A perfect shot resulted in a short tracking job.

This was the first time in Danny's life that he killed an elk that somebody else called in for him. He is usually on the other side of the call.

Even though I had other obligations Danny talked me in to hunting the final weekend with him. He said that the conditions were just perfect, and that the big bulls were just starting to look for cows. It's hard to hit those conditions, so I did what any irresponsible hunter would do, and went hunting. 

Unfortunately for me I missed the magical few days. By the time I got up there all the bulls had their cows, and they DID NOT want anything to do with another bull. We managed to slip in front of an absolutely beautiful bull, only to be screwed by the swirling wind. I had several other close calls, but luck was not on my side this year. Still, what a fun season. I cannot wait for the next one!

Here are a few more pictures from throughout the year:

I drew a pretty nice whitetail tag this year. I'll be hanging stands tomorrow. Hopefully in a little over a month we'll have some good whitetail stories and pictures. Good luck to everybody this fall!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Gordies Muzzy Bull

I met Gordie Larsen at a Wisconsin Badgers wrestling match. He was a huge wrestling fan, and our shared love of hunting made us fast friends. Actually it was a really nice distraction for me to have somebody to talk hunting with after a wrestling match. Gordie was always there, even though he lived in South Dakota. 

Every year I see Gordie at the NCAA tournament, and we keep up throughout the hunting seasons to check in on the other's progress. About five years ago we got to talking about elk hunting. I told Gordie that if he wanted to shoot a nice bull then getting a muzzleloader take would be the way to go. We had become such good friends, that I told Gordie I would be happy to take him hunting when he drew the tag. 

Five years later, with a tag in his pocket, Gordie made the drive to Colorado. He brought along his son, Gordon, who had never been elk hunting. Gordon had made three tours in the Army, and is one hell of a man.

The evening before season we drove around so I could show him the country that we would be hunting. On our drive we saw a herd of elk with a dandy herd bull. It really got our hopes up. Later that night, in the dark, we threw a couple of bugles towards a really nice aspen ridge. We got an immediate response, and the bull sounded like one of the big boys that frequent this area!

Opening morning found us on a hot bull, responding to every call I made. We were making our move, but the bull was making his move as well. I am a pusher, and if I am going to strike out, I'm going to strike out swinging. That means that sometimes I try to get a little closer than I should. And that's what happened opening morning. We needed to cross one more opening (I thought) before we would be in good position to set up. I underestimated the bull's interest because he was coming towards us, and half way across that last opening the bull spotted us and took off.

The next few days gave Gordie and his son Gordon and real treat when it comes to elk hunting. The bulls were absolutely bugling their heads off! And we saw two real dandies, one was too far away, and one came in after shooting hours. 

Monday morning we returned to the same basin we hunted on opening morning. It was a real windy day, and my hopes were not too high. An hour after shooting light we had yet to hear a thing as we slowly snuck through this basin. We came to a nice spot where I know elk like to hang out late in to the morning. I decided it would be a good place to set up and do a little blind calling.

Ten minutes after I started calling a bull ripped off a bugle less than 100 yards away. He sounded HOT! I quickly motioned to Gordie to switch positions so he was facing the direction the bull was coming from. Over the next hundred yards the bull bugled 6 or 7 times, every time making the hair on our necks stand straight up! It was like we were on a Primos video.

At 35 yards the bull got a little nervous and started to veer away. BOOOOM! A cloud of smoke and thundering hoofs was all I saw and heard for a few seconds. I quickly moved over to Gordie who was shaking with excitement. I asked him if he hit him, and Gordie said he thought the hit was a little high. The bull was quartering away and Gordie was confident that he made a lethal shot.

Well I have NEVER seen a more impressive bloodtrail. We followed at a fast walk and found the bull about 100 yards away. 

 After some hugs, high-fives and pictures the real work began.

I've got one last hoorah this weekend. Hopefully I can close the deal for myself before the season is over. Check back, because the best elk hunting is yet to be had, and hopefully I'll have more pictures and stories in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

2012 Elk Season update

Danny and I backpacked in to a very remote basin this past weekend. We really expected the elk to be talking, but they were not. We still had several close encounters and enjoyed our time.

Why couldn't this spike have had a few more points? You can see me on the left hand side of the picture, I was about ten yards from the elk when this picture was taken. He never even looked at me. 

Danny and I made a calling set up in this burn on our first afternoon in the area. A small bull was making his way to me. I thought he was too small to be legal so I sat back to just enjoy the show and watch the elk. Of course when I see that he was indeed legal I was totally out of position, and he was way too close to move. At one point, when the elk was a mere five steps away, he relieved himself, almost splashing me in the process. I was pretty upset with myself for not taking that elk seriously and costing myself a shooting opportunity.
Wallows like this were everywhere
One of the prettiest waterfalls I've ever seen in the woods.
Meanwhile a good friend of mine had some success just the other day. Derrick is more like a brother than a friend. A few years ago, when we got him in to bowhunting, Derrick went an entire season and only saw one elk as it was walking away. Now he has killed three bulls in the last three seasons, two of them over the 300" mark. Nice going Derrick!

This bull got in a massive fight with another bull right before Derrick shot him. They were both bugling their heads off. The rut is underway! At least in that part of the state.