Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving weekend adventures

It was an unusual occurrence this weekend for Leah and I, we both had a four day weekend and we didn't have anything planned. Usually have some grand plans of leaving town or doing something exciting. This weekend though we just took life slow. Leah made candy with my family and Dave and I went to the woods to just see what we could see and then just did a lot of high quality relaxing with friends and family.
In the course of Dave and I driving out to the woods to look for Coues deer, we saw 14 elk, a lion and 10 Bighorn sheep including 3 rams, and of course zero Coues....
We couldn't get a shot of at the lion but we did get a cool pic of one of the rams. Well its a cool pic considering that we were several miles away looking through the spotting scope.

I'm leaving Thursday this week to go sheep hunting with a good friend of mine. I am so excited I can barely stand it, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Weston's First Hunt.

This year my wife, her dad, Greg and her brother, Weston all put in for deer for the first time. With all of their beginners luck they all three managed to draw northern Arizona October Coues Whitetail deer tags. I have been looking forward to this hunt since the day draw results came out. We have been practicing shooting, scouting and preparing for this hunt for months and this last weekend it all came together.

Greg lives in California so making the trek out here and putting his business on hold wasn't easy. Weston is on the NAU D3 Ice hockey team, (GO ICEJACKS!!)and he has hockey practice like 9 nights a week and plays 2 or 3 games each weekend. Hunting didn't look like it was going to fit into either one of their schedules. It all came down to the wire but we had a plan. Leah, Greg, my dad and I would hunt Friday and Saturday and then Weston would come join us in the wee hours of the morning on Sunday. We were all bummed that he would only get one day of hunting in, but in the end, the experience isn't just in the time spent in the woods. All of the days scouting, target shooting and prepping for the hunt are part of the experience too, especially for someone who is new to this lifestyle.

Greg got into town Thursday night and we were packed up in my truck and out of town by o-early-thirty and in to Coues land by daylight. My dad met us on the glassing hill and we went to work scouring the hillsides for Coues deer. Coues deer are already a challenge to find as many of you know, but we had a special treat of 600 mule deer hunters to dodge and get away from! The further from the roads we got the more deer we spotted. That first day went by as being just a good day in the woods with nothing spectacular to report. Leah came out to camp to hunt with us on Saturday and we had way better luck once she was there. First thing in the morning we had several groups of deer spotted and two groups had bucks. We devoted the rest of the day to waiting out the bigger buck. Regardless of our efforts to stake out and wait for him to stand up form his bed, he managed to slip out un-seen. We were able to find several other groups of deer before evening. I was confidant that we could find another buck in the same basin in the morning.

 Wes made it back to Flag from his hockey game in Phoenix about 1:30am, took a nap and then got up and drove to camp and we were all glassing by first light. About at the exact same time Greg and I both looked at Wes, and said, "DEER!" I switched up to the spotting scope and there were two bucks. It was the last day of the season and we had three tags to fill. Things are looking good. We quickly named these bucks, big buck and little buck. I ranged them at 680 yards and Wes and Greg both laid down and got in shooting position, dialed the scope and waited. It took the deer about 20 min to come out in the open and present a shot. Wes and Greg both took a shot at the bucks but none of us could confirm hit or miss, the buck just took one step and was behind the bushes again. We repeated this process again, same result.

 After about an hour of waiting both bucks just walked out of the trees like nothing was wrong. They were just feeding along when something behind them made them spook and split up. The big buck just ran and ran and ran, the little buck trotted into some trees slightly closer to us. Leah was like a hawk with her binos and she managed to keep track of where the little buck was going. Wes re-situated and when that buck walked out.. it was lights out! Wes shot his first deer at 420 yard! We made the long trek around to make sure there was no blood from the first shots (there wasn't, Dang)and then we climbed down to put hands on Wes's trophy! Pretty much one of the greatest weekend of hunting I have ever had.