Adventures of a Modern Day, Middle-Aged Hero, on the Glory Road(to family security)


10 Years!?!?!?

Turns out I was so not ready to go hunting that I didn't even have spare time to type up an 'I'm outie!' post. 

My first 48 hours up on the hill were no good.  I hunt in wide-open sage brush country, and Friday afternoon, we had a front pass through...temperature didn't change much, but we did get some scattered rain, and wind....25 sustained with 40 gusts.  Truthfully, I'm impressed that my little tent didn't blow away. 

Even though it didn't blow away, it was not a pleasant place to spend the night.  The shaking and wildly whipping sides of the tent made it a loud home.  Add in the fact that my air mattress had a leak in it, so, after two hours I was sleeping on a rock...well, I think I got about three hours of sleep Friday night.

Saturday, opening day of the season, was anti-climatic. I hunted the same are where I saw two bucks and a few does consistently last year...but this year, nothing.  One doe for 13 hours in the field.  And it was still a breezy, drying out kind of day.  Sucked the moisture out of you with a steady breeze and highs around 80.

Sunday was better.  Had a full nights sleep with a new mattress I ran into town to buy. And I saw 4 does in the morning.  In the afternoon, I went and kind of checked out a new area.  It's a place I had been to before, I just went 'one more ridge' over...and it was worth it.  I found a draw that is actually a creek for a few weeks each year, and might even have a little natural 'seepage'.  Enough that there were actually green trees growing. Which, as you can tell from the picture above, is not common. 

One of the frustrations with muzzle loader hunting is that unless you sit down on a specific game trail, you can usually see more area than you can hunt.  In this case, I picked a position that let me see several draws and ridges, so I could get a good idea of animal traffic around the hole. 

I was pleased.  Within half an hour, I had seen 4 does leave the area.  Then 2 spike bulls(all I am allowed to shoot), came in together, loitering about 250 yards down the creek bed from where I was. After about 40 minutes they headed off.  Then about a half-hour before the sun stated setting, another group of elk, 5 cows and a nice 6x6 bull showed up. 

So...I'm excited to try to get back in there, picking a better spot I where I can hopefully get a shot.  200 yards is just too far for me and my muzzle loader.

I haven't gone back in yet because I came home Monday for a break.  Needed to refill the cooler, and shower...and wish my daughter a happy birthday.  It is my younger daughters bad luck that her birthday ends up being early in elk season. I have missed 5 of them in a row...so this time, I decided I would come home for it. 

It was a good decision(even if Sterling's is her favorite restaurant.)

Worst case, I get back into that hole and find a boned out elk carcass...but, I didn't see any other hunters on the ground within a mile or two of where I was hunting, so, it was a chance worth taking. My little girl isn't going to turn 10 again.


So not ready.

ARGGHHHHH!  The opening morning of muzzle loader deer and elk season is 48 hours away, and I am so not ready.  I've only made one real scouting trip this fall, hiding behind the rationalization that I am heading right back into same area I hunted last year, where I actually saw more animals than I thought I would...I just couldn't get close enough for a shot.

Anyway, where I feel not ready is my organization.  Usually I have all of my rubber made totes of gear all sorted out and packed by now, ready to throw them in the bed of the truck.  This year, I'm still cycling stuff through the laundry and counting out pairs of socks and underwear. 

My expectations are tempered this year.  I didn't draw any special tags this year, and this is the first year that deer and elk overlap in this area.  I am limited to shooting either a spike elk, or a 3 point or better buck.  The first day or two, I'm planning on focusing on deer.  Based on what I saw last year, AND historical reported success rates, the chances of getting a legal buck are 25%, vs. 6% for a spike bull.

Then there is the weather, which is going to be 'unseasonably warm'.  Day time highs 75-78, overnight lows in the mid 40's.  From the 'camping' side...that's nice.  From the go out and spend all afternoon walking...well, I see a lot of still hunting on the shady side of the draw.  Also means you can't dilly dally on getting an animal broken down and out of the woods.

Still, either way, it's always nice to get out in the woods.