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Archive for category hunting

Good (great) Friday!

This time of year we focus on our Savior’s sacrifice and what that means to our salvation. Ever think of what it means for our daily life? TIME. No more tedious preparation for time consuming rituals. We can truly take advantage of the beautiful world our Lord created for us!!!!!
We went with our good friend Jeff Harmsen to the Black Hills. His wonderful parents put us up and took very good care of us!
Jeff and Erik put some birds to bed Thursday night Friday morning we got going early and got within 60 yards of the roosting tree and set up to wait for light. Samantha nodded off with mommy while we listened to the gobblers sounding off in the twilight. Jeff and Erik each made a couple soft calls to let the birds know they had company. The toms, fortunately, were alone and when they left their bed they came right to us!! Erik was set up closer than Jeff and shot one tom which dropped like a rock. The other started in the direction of Jeff and didn’t make it but a few yards before Jeff took him. It was all over in a flash and Samantha, startled from the shots, opened her eyes to see two birds on the ground.

Double

Posing with the guys

But it wasn’t over yet! One tag to go, so Samantha hopped on board with daddy and off we went again. We were taking a snack break at the top of a hill and listening for gobbles when Jeff prompted us to get moving. Before we took a step Erik stopped us. There was a flock of hens with a couple toms just inside the tree line in front of us. We were able to back down the hill and skirt around where we assumed the birds were heading. We topped in a spot perfectly in the path of the oncoming birds. Michelle had an open shot at one of the toms but did not get him on the ground before all the birds headed for the hills. Feeling defeated on that attempt, and not having any vocal birds in the area, we headed back to town to get a bite and wait for evening. After a delicious meal (Joyce always cooks the best food!) we headed back to the hills. The birds were so quiet, we weren’t sure if we would have another chance that day. We happened upon a lone tom, but he spied us right away. More hiking, calling and listening ensued. The crazy thing about hunting, all hunting, is it can all change in a flash! For more than an hour we walked with nothing and then not far uphill from us a gobbler sounded off and the chase was on. We worked our way in the direction of the gobble and he sounded off again. We got in position and the gobbler came and went. He was with some hens and a ghost hen was not going to draw him away. We needed to get in their path for a chance. We were in some thick oaks which helped conceal our movement but also made a clear shot difficult. The birds were milling around one small area and we moved well within shooting range, but the cover was so thick it seemed a chance to shoot would never come. Thanks to Jeff and his engaging conversation with the hens, they stuck around long enough that an open shot finally presented itself. It was a narrow one, but that’s all it takes sometimes.

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Gearing up for Turkey Season

Yes we know its already here….

new camo

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Thanksgiving Deer

Sometimes you wait all day for it and other times it happens too fast to comprehend. We really thought we messed up this morning when we miscalculated sunrise and then didn’t even hear the alarm! Upon exiting the truck seeing light in the sky, we knew we needed to race down the mountain to have a chance at an early morning stroller.
We left the truck (Chad went north and we headed south) and moved as quickly as possible down the mountain to the area where we expected some good movement this mild breezy morning. No time for taking it easy or for bathroom breaks, we arrived at the spot just after first shooting light. We had no sooner sat down on a ridge looking into a patch of oaks when Erik spotted a deer moving through left to right. Michelle had only put out a seat cushion and was opening the pack for some essential gear. She grabbed her shooting sticks and got in position, looking for an opening that the buck might pass through. There are only a few spots that allow for an open shooting lane in this area and one must be ready when a deer enters. As soon as the buck moved through one of these spots, Erik softly blew the grunt tube. The buck paused and that was all it took. As the shot rang out the buck kicked like a bronc and took off down hill into another patch of oaks. Trailing him was no issue, at the spot of impact there was a crimson trail that would have been traceable in the dark of night.

Later in the day, as Michelle lounged in the camper, Chad was also successful in tagging a buck. He had seen quite a few does and fawns and finally had a buck present a shot worth the taking.

One of the fun parts of hunting the Hills is placing trail cameras up for the duration of the season. It is amazing the wildlife that we DON’T see when we are out hunting!

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Black Hills 2011 2nd weekend

What a gorgeous weekend! It was more than 40º when each one of us got out of the truck at 5am and the wind was very slight. Back to the same spots to await and see what was in store for the day. Within a half hour of shooting light a shot rang out through the hills and Erik was sure not to miss this day! A flock of turkeys was heard fighting amongst themselves a short distance from where Erik was hunting. Within a few seconds of hearing the rucus, a herd of whitetails came running past Erik a mere 60 yards away. When the buck stopped and presented a shot Erik didn’t hesitate endind his string of misses! We were on the way home before noon with a buck in tow.

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Black Hills 2011 1st weekend

We went to the Hills on opening weekend. We often have good luck early in the season and the weather tends to be a bit more stable. This was the change from daylight savings, which always makes one nervous to wake up too late or too early to beat the light. As always in the Black Hills for whitetails, Erik and Michelle went opposite directions from the truck. Each has a great spot that always has deer moving through to cross to other feeding and bedding grounds. About a half hour after light, Michelle saw movement straight ahead about 90 yards. Instantly it was obvious it couldn’t be a deer or even a canine. The way the animal moved it was almost like it was gliding across the ridge. It was a mature (probably female) mountain lion out for an early morning hunt or heading to bed for the day. Not 5 minutes after the lioness floated by, a decent buck followed almost in her tracks- if he only knew…. The deer refused to stop in an opening when Michelle blew the grunt tube and he continued on unaware.
Within a few minutes of telling Erik about the incounter it was time for Erik to have some action. A nice buck walked into range and gave a good shot. After squeezing off a shot the buck jumped and then started walking stiff leggedly. From the trees below the buck another buck walked out and the two bucks started sizing each other up. Another shot opportunity came and another shot was taken. After the two bucks ran out of the clearing Erik made his way over to look for the buck. Nothing was found after coursing through the area for over an hour! The rest of the day was fairly uneventful for both hunters with only one other buck seen just before dark but not giving a shot opportunity. Sunday morning Erik hiked into his area and had another shot at a good buck just after daylight. After looking for sighn of a hit in the fresh snow Erik determined another miss!!!

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Gordon’s Elk

Once again Gordon shows us determination and the love of the outdoors superceded age. We were unable to find accessable elk in the snow covered hills on opening day and decided to let them cool off for the next weekend before giving it another try. So, on the third weekend of the season we headed to an area where Gordon and Erik have bagged several elk in hopes of finding a nice bull. The moring was calm and cool and we were fortunate to be in an area with no competiion to hasten our progress. We took our time working to a bowled out canyon and spent the last moments of twilight listening. Of course the rut is mostly over and bulls aren’t very vocal this time of year and we heard nothing but morning song birds, so we started still hunting down the ridge in order to work towards a nice place to have Gordon sit and watch for elk to feed out of the woods. However, before we could drop in all the way Erik spotted two bachelor bulls feeding on a ridge that had burned a few years earlier. We were unnoticed by the elk, so we had plenty of time to set up and get Gordon sighted in on the bulls. He made a great 270 yard shot and mortally wounded the larger of the two. Not knowing the exent of the damage, Gordon put one more shot in the elk that sent him to the ground. It was a hunt guided by God; we were able to get in, find the elk, take one swiftly and pack him out without straining the hunter.

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Antelope, twice

Mike and Kate both picked up tags for antelope to hunt just east of town. It took us a few weeks to get a date where we all could meet and Thursday was the one! Our good friend Jeff met us at the house and we all headed out after a filling breakfast and fancy coffee. The area is at the base of the mountain and close enough to town to make an easy day hunt and we took full advantage of the leisure. We were in no rush to get a goat on the ground, so we took our time glassing the area before making a plan of attack. Our first venture brought us right up on an old buck that we hadn’t seen earlier. Mike hurried to get in a good position, however, this wiley goat was not interested in sticking around to see just exactly what we were up to. He headed over a hill and we tried to get on him one more time, but again he out manuevered us. We then turned our attention to a small herd just over the next ridge. They were working their way right to left in front of us toward the mountain. Jeff was spying a nice buck and double checked with

Mike about his confidence at 300 yards. Mike set up on the antelope and got on him just as the herd decided they didn’t like what was going on. He squeezed off on the buck at 330 yards and nailed him behind the shoulder. The buck ran a few yards along with the herd and just as he went out of site around the ridge, dropped. The camera man unfortunately was focused on the wrong buck, so the action was not recorded 🙁
After taking care of the carcass and having a quick snack it was time to look for a suitable (in-range) antelope for Kate. We jumped in the Ranger and headed toward where we had seen antelope when we were first glassing and stopped in a ravine to stay out of sight. Jeff found a wandering buck right away to our east and we started sneeking to a spot where Kate could set up behind some brush to take aim. She got set up lying down and found the buck in her sights. Her first couple of shots missed, but the antelope didn’t seem to know anything was amiss and continued feeding toward us. She hit him two shots in a row and stopped him in his tracks! He would have likely laid down soon after, but Erik had her put another in him that sent him down hard.


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Green Mountain Elk

The hardest part of getting a good elk is drawing a good permit.  It is not a guarantee that a hunter will bag a big bull in a limited quota area, but it sure makes the chances a heck of a lot greater.  We went to Green mountain with our good friends Chuck and Vicki on Saturday morning long before light.  Chuck drew a bull tag and we have been excited about this trip since July.  We have hunted this mountain several times before and had a pretty good idea where we wanted to be opening morning.  Of course a hunt also depends on the other people who draw the permit and we were not surprised to see two other groups near the drop off point where we planned on hunting.  One group in particular was parked a hundred yards to our right, but after we pulled up they walked all the way over toward us and made it clear they were going where we thought of going.  No matter, as they settled in to wait for a little light a bull bugled back toward their 4 wheeler- so, we went the way they came :).  If you watch the time stamp on the video you will see that we were blessed with a not-too-difficult morning of stalk and shoot.  It was an amazing morning and one we will never forget!

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late season turkey blues

I expect the birds to come my way

as I sit near their roost at the break of day.

 

I call, they answer in my direction you see

indicating they might just come toward me.

 

Toms and hens fly out of the trees

landing on the ground they begin to feed.

 

Their heads are turned, the decision is made

sometimes those darn birds just go the other way!

 

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Katelyn’s first turkey

She did it!!!  Katelyn got a chance at a very nice tom today and she shot him!  It was a crazy situation.  The birds were constantly all around us  chirping, gobbling and strutting; yet they wouldn’t come in. After a couple hours Erik decided he needed to move away from the blind and call the toms past Katelyn.  He began to crawl and sneak downhill when all of a sudden a tom  putted.  Erik hit the ground and looked as if he was napping.  It turned out the tom was spooked by a house cat, not Erik.  The cat was giving the tom the runaround (which you can hear on the video, but not see).  Finally the cat scented Erik and decided to move away far enough that the tom and his buddies felt comfortable moving toward an open shot for Kate.  As the tom passed the tree to the right of the clearing, Kate shot and nailed him!  He went down hard, but when we rose he took off straight up in the air and then to the east.  This is why you always have another shell ready and you jump and run as soon as you take a shot at a turkey.  Erik and Kate ran after the bird who went down about one hundred yards away from the blind.  Erik jacked another shell in and handed the gun to Katelyn, who made an incredible offhand headshot to finish the bird off.  It was a great hunt to say the least.  THANK YOU to our friends Steve and Cindy who were generous enough to let Katelyn hunt on their land!

 

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