We saw a break in the snow coming for Friday evening and Eli and I hurried to a "close to home" glassing spot, put on our water-proofs and gaiters and went for a walk. We saw a few sets of tracks in the fresh snow, that was encouraging They were buck tracks on top of doe tracks, indicating that we had good hope for rut action to get the big bucks moving. The rest of the evening of glassing offered zero deer and a few dozen elk. We ran back home to pack for the rest of the weekend and have dinner with our families.
Saturday morning Eli and Nate were planning on being at my place to head out at o'dark thirty. But instead I woke to a text telling me to look at the radar, so I looked at the radar, the whole state of Arizona was covered by the blob of precipitation on the radar screen. I should probably take a minute to point out that I'm really not trying to complain, we need the moisture, snow will help move the deer and start the rut, about 600 other December deer tag holders all over AZ are in the same boat, and snow or no snow we were going on an adventure!
We held off till daylight to let the freeway be cleared and we were off like a herd of turtles 30-40 mph all the way down the freeway! We decided to go to a glassing spot where we could retreat to the trucks easily when we got to frozen. However, the visibility was gone long before our will to glass was gone. The whole day was spent looking at the radar on our phones, napping in the truck, snacking in the truck and every so often when a short break in the clouds came by, we would pile out and glass. Then back to the truck when the snow commenced again!
When I tell people what we did, they look at me as if I a should be in the nut house. "You thought it was a good idea to go camping in the snow?" And truthfully, yeah, we did think it was a good idea and we had a blast sitting under the awning stretched between the tent and the truck camper with the propane heater between all of us just sitting around a having a great time catching up on everything under the sun!
The forecast for Sunday morning was great, crisp, cold and mostly clear; but when Sunday morning came, it was snowing. I poked my head out of my bed roll and asked Eli if he could hear it snowing, "No, all I can hear is Fog!" What a smart ass! Well it turns out we were both right! We picked a camp site lower than we originally planed so we wouldn't be in FEET of snow an only a few inches. That back fired when we woke up in the middle of the cloud bank! We hiked out to our destination glassing point in a little over a foot of snow and had about 20 minutes of good glassing before the fog rolled in and stayed for two hours.
In that 20 minutes though we spotted several groups of deer and one with a good buck. Between the fog, the distance, migrating beef cows and our cold toes, we were able to do nothing better than come up with excuses why we didn't get a shot fired.
The rest of the day we were finding deer very regularly, just no good bucks. Nate had come down with some stomach trouble by mid morning and after toughing it out till mid afternoon, he left us to make the hike back to the truck and go home to get better.
Eli and I finished out the day with several more lesser bucks being spotted and the spot of the weekend when Eli said, "Hey Sam, um there's a Ram over here." And not even kidding, several miles away from where the bighorns live in this unit, was a lone 4 or 5 year old ram just walking along! As you can see in the picture below, we got some pretty cool digiscope pics of him!
Eli, Nate and I are headed back out for a few days tomorrow so stay tuned. Big bucks are gonna be moving about. I'm holding all of Eli's bullets for him and I'm only going to give them back if it's a big enough buck! We know how his buck fever gets!
I think he was excited to get out and start his hunt!
Our home for the weekend be just before the heavy snow got there!
I tell ya this guy was really happy to be here
When the fog cleared it was GAME ON!
Our crew taking advantage of the clear and sunny afternoon.
As always here are the pics to enjoy from December Coues: weekend one