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Archive for September, 2010

Pathfinder

Fall fishing has arrived.  It is a little slower this time of year, but we stuck with it and were able to catch our limit today.  We will be smoking these fine trout tomorrow!!

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Elk 2010 2nd weekend

We spent last weekend antelope hunting and things sure have changed with the elk! The rut is most definitely on and these bulls are now screaming all day long.

Our friend Paul had Friday off and offered to come with us and do some calling to help with the hunt. We separately checked out a couple ridges on Thursday night and met at camp after dark. Friday morning was beautiful! There was a soft breeze and the temperature was perfect. As soon as we parked the 4 wheelers and hiked to the top of the first ridge we were in the elk. Within moments of topping the mountain Paul was able to call in two nice bulls, one huge 5 and one 6 point, that were near the top. They came in on ether side of us. Michelle had no opportunity at the 6 to our north, but the bull to the south came in and stopped about 40 yards in front of her. She pulled back and stepped around the tree as the bull looked toward Paul. As she was sighting down, Michelle inadvertently shot! Who knows if her finger hit the trigger or her trigger hit her hat, the arrow hit several feet in front of the bull. 1st lesson learned: keep your finger behind the trigger. Within an hour and a half we had two other bulls in the next drainage over flying up to Paul. Michelle didn’t even have time to pull back on the first bull they were coming in so fast, but the bigger of the two was second, so she had a good chance at him. As he was coming into view Michelle drew back and when he stopped in front of tree she had ranged at 35 yards, she put the 30 pin on his chest and pulled- missed. Lesson #2: let the animal get past you before you draw and shoot. Another hour passes and we moved to the next drainage and a cow and bull are already heading in our direction when Paul started calling. The bull starts bugling and making grunting, gurgling noises as he heads right toward us. As the two neared us the cow turned and headed into the trees, we thought this chance to be over until the bull walked into the trees just far enough to shield his eyes from Michelle and left his chest clear for a shot. Erik ranged him at 32 yards, Michelle shot—–too high. 3rd lesson: when you are shooting downhill, aim low.

As we ate lunch and rested for a while we sat on top of a ridge overlooking another rim-rocked ridge. In the basin below we watched and listened to several bulls calling and milling around 15 or 20 cows. It was incredible to listen to the different sounds and pitches the bulls make when they are bugling. Anywhere from high pitched screeches to low guttural grunts! It went on for a good half hour or 45 minutes before we decided to move on.

We headed to the end of the mountain and noticed a few bulls wallowing in a creek at the bottom of the canyon. We stayed and watched for a while and noticed that the bulls and cows we had been watching just a half hour ago were slowly migrating to this area. Ones and twos started coming over the ridge and they stopped to drink, feed, wallow and rest. With so many bulls in the same area it is inevitable you will see some sparing. However, we got to witness a full on 10+ minute fight between two massive bulls! It was an incredible sight with clashing, pushing and grunting. All around these bulls others were bugling and sparing, as well as trying to herd up the cows to make them their own. After watching this action, Paul mentioned watching hunting shows where the hunters walk right into herds during this type of action. So, that is what we did. The elk were hyped up, cooled off and wallowed up. They noticed us, but didn’t seem too worried. We were able to get into the sage brush adjacent to the creek without blowing out the herd. Some elk just moved up the opposite ridge and continued feeding or lounging, others didn’t even notice we were there! After reaching the cover near the creek we waited to see if any bulls would make their way by us, as they were continually moving up and down the drainage. After some time, we realized we could sit there all night or make a move on a 6 point bull that was lying in a wallow bugling, and hadn’t moved in quite a while. We all worked our way into the middle of the creek bed and made our way in the bull’s direction. there was enough tall brush to keep us hidden as we crept toward him. As we approached the 50 yard mark, Paul and Erik hung back as Michelle began to crawl closer to the bull. All along, Paul was making cow calls hoping to entice the bull upstream and the bull continued to bugle. Michelle made it to within 20 yard of the 6 point when he finally decided to stand up. He stayed in the wallow a little longer and then he must have decided to check out this insistent cow. As he crossed in front of Michelle his entire body past behind a huge sage brush giving her the chance not only to draw, but stand and get in a comfortable shooting position! As she drew the bull must have herd something because he jumped sideways and trotted a few feet forward. As he stopped Michelle put her 30 yard pin on his chest. The bull was looking in the direction of Paul’s last call. She shot and the arrow buzzed through the air and buried itself just behind his shoulder. The 6 point darted forward and almost ran Paul over! As Paul leapt to safety the bull made his way up the ridge and died about 100 yards from where he was shot.

What a truly magical day of elk hunting! Seeing so many elk, witnessing all the rutting activity, and then getting not just one shot opportunity but 4 in one day WOW what an experience 🙂

click here to watch the video!!!

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Antelope hunting

Two great things about antelope hunting:  not to difficult to fill the freezer and it is a simple hunt for bringing kids along!  We grabbed a pizza on our way out of town Friday night and made it to the area by 7:30.  Michelle and the kids worked on setting up camp and making a fire pit while Chad and Erik headed out for a quick look around on the Ranger.  The weather was very nice, yes we had a windy Saturday, but both evenings the wind calmed off and the stars shone bright.

Saturday morning we piled into the Ranger and headed out looking for our first buck.   After not finding the buck that had been spotted near camp the night before we headed up the road to a favorite place in the area. On the way in we spotted a good looking buck and decided to make a move on him.  Erik and Chad stalked in on one side of the buck while Michelle, Kaitlyn, and Max moved around to a distant ridge to watch and video the stalk.  After a perfect stalk Chad made a one shot kill on the buck at about 150+ yards!

After skinning Chad’s buck and getting it into the cooler, we had sandwiches back at the camper.  We then set out looking for a buck for Erik. This year Erik decided to use Michelle’s new Encore Pistol to hunt his Antelope.  Within minutes of leaving camp the buck that had been spotted the previous night was found lying down. Another perfect stalk was made on the buck but with a stiff 30 mph. crosswind Erik’s shot didn’t find the mark on the great buck.  We continued searching for a good buck finding several other candidates but getting into a range of 100 yds. or less was proving to be difficult with their amazing eyes.  Just before heading back to camp for dinner a last ditch effort was made and a nice buck was found!  We made a stalk to within 80 yds. and the shot rang true ending a great day of hunting!

That night we listened to coyotes howl near camp while sharing stories around the campfire and watching the amazing stars overhead.  What a Wonderful Wyoming Weekend!!!!!!!!    WATCH THE HUNT HERE

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Elk 2010 1st weekend

Michelle has drawn a bull elk tag for the first time in NINE YEARS!!! We will avoid ranting about how asinine it is that Wyoming offers a preference point system to non-residents but fails to see the validity in offering them to residents…

We spent our Labor Day weekend bow hunting the Bighorn Mountains north of Casper. We saw several small herds and a couple bachelor groups. The first night we were in the mountains by 5:30 and immediately upon entering the meat of the hunting area we saw a nice group of 6 bulls, two of which were good 6 points. That evening we were able to find a pair of bulls sparing, one just having wallowed was black with mud. Michelle found a tree in the path of the bulls where she could set up and Erik was behind her calling. The mud laden bull, a nice 6 point, was game and began working his way right toward Michelle. He had moved within 90 yards or closer when all of a sudden Michelle felt the breeze on the back of her neck. The bull wheeled and started galloping away. We, unfortunately for the viewer, worry more about the hunt than the video. We have footage of the sparing but not of the stalk.

The next morning we were in the general area Erik had killed a bull last year when we got into a herd of a few cows/calves, a couple rag horn bulls and spikes with velvet. This herd had a very nice herd bull which would be well worth shooting with a rifle or a bow! We had no opportunity to get within range of this bull but got a couple minutes of good video. After a coyote and an antelope both moved though sounding alarms the herd grew weary and decided to move on around to a farther ridge. We began to make our way in a similar direction figuring on finding a lone bull or a smaller herd higher in the hills. Within minutes we found a rag-horn feeding up the mountain and decided to make a move. Michelle waited for him to bed down and then slowly crept toward him keeping a dead tree in between. This would not be a smart play on a bull you really wanted to take, because as you will see in the film, he definitely was not fooled by this stalk and stood up just before Michelle had a chance to draw. She drew anyway and the bull ran off about 60 yards and stopped to see what just happened. Within moments of this incident Erik spotted a small herd with a very nice 6 point just up the ridge. They were making their way, it seemed, to the trees to bed down for the day. We high tailed it up the hill to get in front of them. We lucked out and made it to a spot where we could duck in a tree just as the first cow was passing by (here is another no-film). As we waited for the bull to pass by, we ranged a couple spots and Michelle was completely ready for the kill. We then realized the rag-horn we had just bumped a few minutes ago had jumped in line with this herd. He passed in front of us and followed the cows. We waited for the bull…..Then all of a sudden the cows and rag-horn came barreling back toward us! The wind was moving from our left to right- the same direction they were moving. If only the bull were a couple steps closer… In the evening we came upon a bachelor group of 5 bulls. There was not really a bull that Michelle was excited about shooting, so we sat and watched them for a time. We then dropped off the mountain after we spotted another nice sized herd feeding in a spring bog. We really expected this herd to move up as the evening wore on and there was a great bull in with the leading cows. We set up in a patch of large sagebrush, but realized the wind was swirling constantly. Not good. At one point a herd was coming from above to join the herd we were watching, but they smelled us before they dropped off the mountain. We decided not to spook the herd and got out of there to leave them for another day. On the way back to the 4 wheeler we intercepted another herd with a good sized 6 point. They were coming to the bog that had the pair from the night before. We got to enjoy watching the bull wallow in the mud and bugle back and forth with another smaller bull in the area.

The next morning we were back at it as the sky was getting light. We found a lone bull feeding in the same meadow as the rag-horn Michelle had counted coup on the morning before. This was a nice bull and worth getting a shot at. Michelle set up behind a tree and when the bull moved downhill, she backed out and went back to work out another plan with Erik. Big mistake. The bull ended up moving back uphill again and within a perfect shooting distance IF Michelle had still been in position…

In the end Michelle had 4 solid opportunities, 3 where she was 38 yards or closer, but they just didn’t pan out. That’s the name of the game though and there are still a couple more weekends we will try during bow season.

WATCH IT HERE!!!

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Pathfinder with Kylee

We actually started the trip at Boysen, but we quickly realized if we wanted Kylee to catch a fish we’d better head to our old go to…Pathfinder!!

Watch it here

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