Thursday, January 20, 2011

2010 - Scouting for the Rifle Hunt

We have been scouting a few times for the rifle hunt coming up on Saturday. These scouting trips have provided some fun family outings. The twins love looking for deer with their binoculars. We took them for a short hike which they loved. My girl said on the way down, "Mom, that was a fun time on the hike."

 We saw a few small bucks. They were the same ones I had at 150 yards on the last night of the muzzleloader season.

I love being out with the family in the outdoors. The twins observe and explore nature. It is a great place for early training. We were able to point out some fresh deer beds in the cedars. They thought it was pretty cool.

2010 - Rifle Deer Hunt - My 1st 4 Point

YEEEAAAAHHHHH!!!! So I did it. I killed my first four point. He may be a young, small four point, but he's a solid four point and I'm pretty excited.
I broke down and asked a babysitter to come at 6:00 a.m. and watch the kids so that my husband and I could go out together on opening morning. It says a lot about a 14 year old babysitter to wake up early on Saturday morning to babysit. It was so much fun to share this exciting moment with my hubby.

I was dropped off in a valley below where we had seen some deer. In the dark I started making my way up to where I could glass and see if they were in the same place. The fog was constantly rolling in and out of the valley. My view often looked like this:

It was a beautiful sight to watch the fog come and go.
I crossed the valley and made my way up the opposite ridge. As it got lighter I slowly made my way to where I thought the deer would be. As I was glassing I saw four does with one lone buck at 240 yards. I studied the buck and found that he was a four point. The does were walking away from me and the buck was reluctantly following them. Next thing I know he turns and starts walking down the shallow draw where I'm sitting. I loose sight of him and decide to move to the edge of the trees to get a better look. I pick a fallen tree and crawl my way to it. It was the perfect natural blind. It sat shoulder height while on my knees. I peeked my head over and started glassing with my binos. After a few sweeps of the trees across the draw I found him! I started getting buck fever and the familiar excitement of knowing it's almost time to pull the trigger. I watched him trough my scope and realized he had just enough of his vitals showing to make a clean shot. I tried to relax, and the next time my cross-hairs went over his shoulder I pulled the trigger. I was shooting my .270 Remington youth stock rifle. It kicks like a mule and makes me sore even when using a gun stand sighting in. I didn't even notice the kick or the sound when I shot. There was smoke and I couldn't see him go down. I pulled up my binos and scanned the hillside for the deer. I saw nothing and figured he had dropped in his tracks. I grabbed my gun and made my way toward where I shot. I entered the trees a little lower in the draw than where I shot and started getting worried that he may not be there, but after about 30 yards of walking I found him! I was so happy to see that he had gone down in his tracks.

I called my husband on the radio and told him the good news. He was on top of the hill and quickly made his way down to help me take photos and quarter him. He was really excited for me and was a great help in getting the deer taken care of. He had watched these deer and was amazed that the buck left the does. He did not know where I was and after finding out that the deer came right to me he started calling me the buck whisperer.

The pack-out wasn't too bad. However, it was all up hill and we were happy to see the truck at the end. The fog had lifted and it was a beautiful day.

Days like this make all the disappointments and failures worthwhile. I was excited to get home and tell the kids about my deer. I was greeted with huge hugs and excitement as they looked at the deer horns. At that moment, and many others, I felt bad for the wives that sit at home while their husbands are out hunting. They do not know what they are missing!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Morning on the Mountain

I am lucky to have a husband who supports me with my hunting. When it works out with his work schedule he will take the twins for a couple hours in the morning so I can get in some good hunting time. Yesterday I went up in the mountain on a peak that I hunted a lot last year. I chased a couple huge (one 160ish the other 190ish) bucks. I came within 80 yards of both, but couldn't get any closer. Yesterday didn't turn out as good. I stalked into what sounded like an animal walking over dead-fall and found this guy.

He had a very grumpy face and was not happy that I interrupted his feeding.

Besides this guy I saw five does, a snowshoe hare, and another hunter. I would call it a semi-success. It's always better to be out hunting than home in bed.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Dall Sheep Phase III - Coming Home

Back at the lodge I ran for the sauna, bathed, and enjoyed a great dinner over the fire with roasted wieners, my sheep, salads, and smores.

It was great to see the other hunters and staff. We shared hunting stories and got re-aquainted. Mario shot a stud ram on the first day, 40 in. with 15 in. bases. Bill missed one and was planning on going back out in a few days. Stories were told on the front porch of the boys cabin with the smell of cuban cigars Mario and his guide were enjoying in the fresh night air. The other woman hunter who also won this hunt was still out in the field.

The next day, Sunday, was pretty lax. Johnny and I went for a hike up the river from the lodge and glassed for black bear. It was a slow day and we didn't see anything. It was decided that we would go back to Anchorage the next day. Packing was bitter sweet. Sad goodbyes were given and I was homeward bound.

Part of the Ultima Thule crew.

Paul & I at the drop off site in Chitina
Tuesday was spent as a tourist day in Anchorage. Johnny, Mario, and I did some shopping, checked in our rams with the wildlife office, and ate some great food. Mario dropped of his ram and cape at Knight Taxidermy where we met Russell Knight. He will be hosting The History Channel in his shop for prehistoric restorating. He gave us an extensive tour of his facility he was very friendly.

I flew out of Anchorage at 1:23 a.m. and arrived in Salt Lake at 8:00. I saw my husband first, it was so good to see him. Then I noticed he had our twins with him. Autumn saw me and yelled "Mommy" and came running. It all came spilling out then. Tears flowed as I held my children that I had missed so much. I was home and it felt great. I am an average housewife who was able to go on a hunt I never dared dream of. It has added to my character and increased my confidence. Best of all I have a wonderful family who was so supportive of me and a husband who beams with pride when he talks about my hunting adventure. What could be better than that!?!