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  1. #351

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    sn.outdoors - awesome photos! As concerns the fish, those red ones you see are Kokanee Salmon. I see one real nice cutthroat in there, but they're spring spawners.

  2. #352

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    Quote Originally Posted by vanish View Post
    sn.outdoors - awesome photos! As concerns the fish, those red ones you see are Kokanee Salmon. I see one real nice cutthroat in there, but they're spring spawners.
    That's what I thought too, but a local fisherman had me convinced me they were cutthroats. The facts just weren't lining up in my mind. Haha. I was very much concerned about other things at the time, so I just took him at his word.
    "Never follow your passion, but always bring it with you." ~ Mike Rowe

  3. #353

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    Despite my optimism that the weather would improve, mother nature had other plans. I woke up to the sounds of strong winds, and a mix of rain, snow, and slush beating against my tent. Great… another day of wonderful weather. There was a significant drop in temperature and a crusty but wet layer of snow on everything, and to my dissatisfaction, my boots hadn't completely dried the night before. Nonetheless, I saddled up, and headed down the trail to The Hill.

    I knew I was in for a treat when the wind died down and the sun took forever to welcome in the day. Just for fun, I ranged everything I could see…. Everything was 50yds away according to my rangefinder. At least I wouldn't have much time to get excited by spotting a bull from outside my comfortable shooting range.



    I did a little wandering to check out why there were a million crows hanging out in a few spots and I found this nice bull carcass.



    It's a shame they left so much neck meat on the animal. I know it's not required by law to take it, but there are a few meals worth of meat there and I hate to see it go to waste. What made it even harder for me to understand was the fact it was only 30yds off the trail and less than 2 miles of easy walking back to the road.


    Since the weather wasn't looking like it was going to get much better, I made a little nest of boughs under a giant fir tree. As the weather got worse, I slowly moved my nest further and further under the tree.





    I got text from my buddy, Cory, around 1400 that he was headed my way. I told him where to meet me, and I patiently waited for him to arrive. He promised to bring clear skies and warmth, but that's the exact opposite of what happened.



    Cory got to my camp and started down the trail. He would have made it to my spot with plenty of daylight, but the snow knocked all of the slash alder down over the trail. That made for a much tougher hike than I described to him. I also told him he would easily see me, and if not, I would definitely see him. Well, that was before the snow rolled in. I could no longer see the trail.



    Just before the sunset, I spotted a dark object enter the trees along the trail heading my direction. I had no idea what it was, but I definitely knew it was something. I figured it was either Cory, a bear, or a moose. So I waited for it to come out, but it never did. Before the snow could cover up the tracks and the light was completely gone, I ran over to the trail to investigate. Sure enough, it was Cory. He walked out to the edge of the trees and couldn't see me so he turned around.

    It was a long, lonely, and wet walk back to camp that night, but I was great to know a good buddy was back there waiting for me. Despite the bad weather, and being cold and wet for the first three days, I found solace in knowing I would no longer be suffering alone. My buddy was there, and we would suffer together.
    Last edited by sn.outdoors; 10-09-2017 at 05:18 PM.
    "Never follow your passion, but always bring it with you." ~ Mike Rowe

  4. #354

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    I'll keep day 4 short since it was basically the same as day 3, but with nicer weather and more opportunities to pull the camera out. It was also great to have Cory there to fend off the boredom. We didn't see any animals until we were packing up our stuff to head back to camp. A group of 5 elk came to join us on the meadow, one of them was a really nice bull, but it was too dark for photos. Finally! Some animals.










    If there's one photo that sums up what it felt like to be out there the first few days, this is it. Cold, lonely, and bored.


    At least the weather finally cleared and there would be a high pressure system overhead for the next 3-4 days. Things were looking up.
    "Never follow your passion, but always bring it with you." ~ Mike Rowe

  5. #355

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    Day five, curiosity got the better of me. I needed a change of scenery.

    We hiked out to The Hill for a morning sit. Just before we got to our spot, we saw 2 does and 2 fawns feeding in the drainage below our tree, and one fawn nibbling on the branches from my nest under the fir tree. In less than 12hrs my animal sightings increased tenfold.

    We sat under the tree until 10 before we'd had enough. I wanted to go down to the creek and see if we could find any fresh tracks.

    No more than 1/2 a mile down the road from camp we came across the 3rd set of moose tracks I'd seen so far on the trip.



    There are a few flat, swampy areas along the main creek that looked like ideal moose habitat, so I had to check them out.



    Not surprisingly, there was moose sign just about everywhere, but nothing fresh enough to really scream at me that moose were there at the time. But it was very clear moose had been there and were coming and going at random. In addition to the moose sign, it was also very aesthetically pleasing.



    While down on the creek I also wanted to gain some intel from some of the fly fisherman. One of the gentleman I spoke with had been fishing the creek every fall for the last thirty plus years and helped point us to where he'd seen the most moose and bear sign. We thanked him for his insight and watched jealously as he fished all day without a worry in the world. Cory and I made several comments about how we couldn't wait to retire and have the opportunity to hunt and fish all the time. But then I kind of realized how fortunate I've been to actually be able to spend so much time in the field both at work and on my own time. I've been blessed.

    This will be me someday...


    No more than 10 minutes after the fisherman was around the bend in the creek, I spotted what I thought was a bear along the edge of the willows. But when I pulled my binos up to my eyes, the dark spot was gone... Hmmm, must have been a stump. So I put down my binos and continued taking pictures of the beautiful place we were in.

    A few minutes later, as we were debating whether or not to keep walking down the trail or head back to the truck to go sit on The Hill, Cory confirmed my hunch and spotted a bear eating elderberries down along the creek.



    So I grabbed my rifle and ran down the trail to get closer, but when I got around the corner the bear was gone. He was no longer standing up, and he disappeared into the thick brush. I decided to spend the rest of the afternoon waiting him out, but I never saw him again.

    Even though we didn't see any animals that night, it was one of those afternoon sits you dream of. It was quiet but not still, and there was a cool, crisp feeling to the air. With the sound of the creek calmly flowing past us, the sight and smell of fall filling the air I couldn't help but think of how lucky I was to be living the life I was.



    Our plan for the morning was to get back to this spot and maybe relocate the bear.
    Last edited by sn.outdoors; 10-09-2017 at 11:52 PM.
    "Never follow your passion, but always bring it with you." ~ Mike Rowe

  6. #356

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    Cory and I were feeling pretty good about day six since we'd already seen more animals in the last 24hrs than I'd seen the first 72 combined. I also decided to make a rifle change. I switched to my old, trusty .257wby. The rifle I carried the first few days had gotten soaked and I just wasn't positive how well the bore had been protected. Plus my weatherby has been nothing but a killing machine. It's never let me down, and I wasn't expecting any far shot opportunities.

    We set the alarms extra early, and ended up beating the sun to our spot by more than an hour. I let out a few long cow calls in hopes a bull somewhere nearby in the thick woods would hear us and step out for a peak, but by the time 11 o'clock rolled around we'd seen zero animals. We decided to head back to camp for lunch and go to The Hill for the evening sit.

    As we were eating lunch and talking about the plan, we had a change of heart. We figured our best bet of seeing some action would be to sit along the creek for a few more days. There was more fresh bear sign down there and more moose sign all together. I would have gladly shot any bear that decided to step out. So we loaded into the truck and drove the increasingly sloppy road back down to the bottom.

    When we got to the bottom we saw Dan Everson, the outfitter I spoke with in June, tending his horses and mules. So I figured I would say hi and let him know how things were going. He was glad to see I hadn't given up on the unit. It's not everyday that a guide or outfitter offers free advice on an area, but he basically reaffirmed what I had already known. The unit was tough, the moose were in very few numbers, and that I was hunting in the best spots the unit had to offer... (That didn't mean they were "good" spots)

    According to Dan, (and all of the physical sign) The Hill was a better late season spot, since it's a wintering area for the moose. He said they'll pass through there through all year, but it gets better later in the season. The tips and insight Dan and his guide Jeff gave me were extremely helpful in solidifying my expectations. I knew I had to continue to be patient, and keep putting in my time. It would happen eventually, and if it didn't I could always put in for a tag again next year.

    After shooting the breeze for a little while, Dan offered to let us come down to his camp for a hot meal, and a shower... I don't know if it was because we smelled bad enough for him to feel bad for us or if he thought we were genuinely nice guys, but we gladly accepted his invite and told him we'd see him later that night.

    ---

    We headed down the trail and decided to head further down than we had the night before just to explore some new country. The further up the creek we went, the less sign there was. The terrain choked in on the creek, and visibility through the brush decreased to just a few yards. We decided to head back to the spot we saw the bear.

    It was turning out to be just like all of the days before... uneventful. The wind was picking up and it didn't seem like things were moving much. So we started making our plans for the next day. Just as the sun was hitting the top of the mountain, Cory pointed and said, "what's that?"

    I turned and saw what appeared to be a large log poking out of the grass and overhanging a small bog. I didn't remember seeing that particular log before. So I stared at it for a few seconds baffled, before I pulled up my binos.

    HOLY CRAP!!! It was a bull moose... just standing there! 200yds away!!! I imagined a moose would have been easier to pick out in that grass, but he was tough to see even with binos.

    Just like on my mule deer hunt last year with Cory, I looked at him and said, "it's a bull. I'm shooting it."

    At this point all logical thought left my mind. Remember after my elk hunt how I said I do a really good job of keeping a cool and level head in the heat of the moment? Well that all went out the window in this moment. I grabbed my weatherby and beat feet down to the bull. I don't know why I ran, or really why I did any of what I did, but the next thing I remember is looking through the scope at the bull and seeing a droptine.

    It was happening! It felt like my mind was in some kind of third person state of being. I was in the moment, but it felt as though I had no control over my body.

    The bull turned broadside and came up out of the bog, and all I remember was thinking I needed to shoot for the lungs because I was shooting a small caliber rifle. As soon as my crosshair found its mark, the rifle went off. I nailed him! I'll never forget the huge shockwave of water that sprayed off his hide after my tiny little bullet, going somewhere in the neighborhood of 3400fps, struck the side of that massive beast. Since he was still on his feet, quartered to me, I racked another round into the chamber and put in into his onside shoulder. After the second shot, he did a backflip and landed in the beaver pond he just come out of. After all of the commotion of me running, and the massive animal splashing into the water, the woods fell silent.

    HE WAS DEAD!
    Last edited by sn.outdoors; 10-10-2017 at 12:01 AM.
    "Never follow your passion, but always bring it with you." ~ Mike Rowe

  7. #357

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    We wouldn't be making it to Dan's camp for dinner. Cory and I had our work cut out for us.



    I'm glad I had a mule along to help get the moose out of the water.











    It was an amazing moment. I couldn't have been more happy to punch my once in a lifetime tag and put it on this bull, and not because he's a unique bull, but because of the entire experience. Having Cory there to share the moment was very special.



    The last time I was this excited was probably after I killed my first deer. I couldn't stop smiling.... Still can't.
    "Never follow your passion, but always bring it with you." ~ Mike Rowe

  8. #358

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    We hardly noticed that our legs and feet were completely soaked and covered in a mixture of mud and blood, nor did we care that the temps were dropping and it was getting late. We took our time and did our best to enjoy every part of the experience. I told Cory, "I can't believe it happened," "I can't stop smiling," and "I just killed a bull moose!" about a million times.

    We had the bull de-boned, caped, and our first load packed out and back to camp by midnight. We ate a double portion of Mountain House and slept like kings. We didn't set any alarms. It didn't matter when we woke up.

    ----

    My excitement had me awake at 630, but I forced myself to get a little more sleep. Cory didn't have the same problem. He was sawing logs like his life depended on it. When 830 rolled around I heard a truck coming up to the saddle, so I threw on my blood covered pants and my camp shoes.

    The truck belonged to Dan and he stopped to say hey. I apologized for not making dinner last night and told him we got a little busy and had a bull down. He was genuinely excited for me and said, "well... Let's see some pictures!"

    I shared the story with him and he congratulated me on killing a nice bull in a tough unit.

    As luck would have it, his guides Jeff and Dave were packing some feed to an elk camp that day, and they'd be passing by where we had the moose down. Dan offered to pack out the meat for me, and Cory and I enthusiastically accepted. I may not be a smart man, but I do know a good deal when I see it. Cory and I could have packed the moose out ourselves without too much trouble, but since we both jump out of airplanes and have a history of back problems we were very happy to save our backs for another hunt.

    Although, they were willing to pick the meat up down by the creek, Cory and I felt obligated to bring everything up to the trail so Jeff wouldn't be too inconvenienced by us.

    The weather was beautiful and made for some awesome pictures.













    "Never follow your passion, but always bring it with you." ~ Mike Rowe

  9. #359

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    We brought one of my favorite snacks along for when we waited for the mules.

    "Never follow your passion, but always bring it with you." ~ Mike Rowe

  10. #360

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    Way to stick at it! That is a great bull even if it were a unit with lots of animals!

  11. #361

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    Congrats on a great moose hunting experience!

  12. #362
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    1000 islands area
    Posts
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    You guy call yourselves average joes, but there is nothing average about your drive and desire in taking a nice animal on your trips! Every time I read one of your stories I try to picture myself doing that, and I know in my heart im too fat and out of shape to even think about it. The cool thing is I can see it through your eyes and experiences which in my case are the next best thing. Keep the stories coming guys!!!!

  13. #363
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    Coloado Springs
    Posts
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    Drop tines on anything are always a plus. congrats!!
    "Never apologize for being a Patriot!"

  14. #364

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crossbowguy View Post
    You guy call yourselves average joes, but there is nothing average about your drive and desire in taking a nice animal on your trips! Every time I read one of your stories I try to picture myself doing that, and I know in my heart im too fat and out of shape to even think about it. The cool thing is I can see it through your eyes and experiences which in my case are the next best thing. Keep the stories coming guys!!!!
    Haha. Dan and I were talking on my way back from the moose hunt about the"average Joe" title and how the successes we've had this year aren't really 'average.' We chose to use that title because we feel like we're two normal dudes who have the same sort of obligations as the average working middle class dude.

    Like you said, our passion and drive to hunt and be successful is far above 'average.' That high level of drive combined with a lot of mental toughness can help anyone achieve success. Fitness is part of the equation, but I firmly believe mental toughness is more important... It's THE MOST important aspect.
    "Never follow your passion, but always bring it with you." ~ Mike Rowe

  15. #365

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    There is no break for this guy after the moose hunt. I still have a few days of leave, so I'm going to take advantage of them.

    I promised my daughter that I'd take her deer hunting, so this morning I got her up and out of the house way before her normal wake up time.

    I got to one of the spots I'd find last winter and scouted a little this summer just as the sun was rising. We ended up seeing 11 deer total; 10 does/fawns and 1 legal spike/fork. I chose to pass on the little fella since he was smaller than most of the does.







    I was going to hunt hard for deer over the next few days, but then a light switched in my head... I need to get my antelope and moose down to the taxidermist in NM this week, so I figured I'd tag on a Barbary Sheep hunt while I'm down there.

    The wife's Subaru is packed, and I'm on my way shortly. (My pack is still drying from washing the smell of death off of it. I didn't notice with it in the bed of my truck. )


    "Never follow your passion, but always bring it with you." ~ Mike Rowe

  16. #366

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    Oh, and I also submitted an application for AZ javelina with my buddy Ryan. We're going to try to kill then with wood longbows his dad made. It's going to be a blast.
    "Never follow your passion, but always bring it with you." ~ Mike Rowe

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crossbowguy View Post
    You guy call yourselves average joes, but there is nothing average about your drive and desire in taking a nice animal on your trips! Every time I read one of your stories I try to picture myself doing that, and I know in my heart im too fat and out of shape to even think about it. The cool thing is I can see it through your eyes and experiences which in my case are the next best thing. Keep the stories coming guys!!!!
    I bet you'd surprise yourself out west is you ever gave it a shot.
    The sights and experiences are so amazing that they will push people to go harder than they imagined!
    Even if you don't want to chase elk in the mountains, maybe consider an antelope hunting. Driving from NY out to WY would be breath taking! You would get to see lots of cool areas. Might be a good retirement gift to yourself

    How are your trail cameras doing? Are the big bucks still staying around?

  18. #368

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    Congrats on the moose!

  19. #369
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    North Dakota
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    Way to go and thanks for sharing your hunts with us.

    Most impressive efforts gents!

  20. #370

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    Look what I found at the Taxidermist...

    Somebody dropped off a messed up, old buck with ivory tips. Probably shoulda passed on him and shot a normal looking one.





    Now it's a few hours on the road and I'll be in Barbary Sheep country.
    "Never follow your passion, but always bring it with you." ~ Mike Rowe

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    Quote Originally Posted by sn.outdoors View Post
    Look what I found at the Taxidermist...

    Somebody dropped off a messed up, old buck with ivory tips. Probably shoulda passed on him and shot a normal looking one.





    Now it's a few hours on the road and I'll be in Barbary Sheep country.
    It's crazy to think that what, 36 hours ago I was there?
    In about 48 hours we've driven a combined 3+K miles!


    Sweet picture!!! The cool thing is he will probably finish both of ours around the same time....
    Guess we will need to meet there in exactly 1 year to pick up our heads and Barbary sheep hunt!!!

  22. #372

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    Deal. My wife might kill me if I have another taxidermy bill like this one though... Watch, she shoots a frickin giant muley and I have to make another trip. Fingers crossed...

    This time you'll need to be ready to shoot 600+ at a 30+ degree slope... Good luck practicing that in Florida
    "Never follow your passion, but always bring it with you." ~ Mike Rowe

  23. #373
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    1000 islands area
    Posts
    169

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    Still getting bucks on camera, haven't had my target buck on camera but that will all change during the rut, ill see bucks that I didn't know existed. The other night called a buck into 40 yards, released an arrow just to watch the luminock get half way to him deflect on a limb and sail just high over his back. The limb turned up missing the next day. I will be going out west long before my ten yrs to retirement, the passion to see the west is too strong. I get a minute and some WiFi I will post some pics from some of my stands.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lostinthewoods View Post
    I bet you'd surprise yourself out west is you ever gave it a shot.
    The sights and experiences are so amazing that they will push people to go harder than they imagined!
    Even if you don't want to chase elk in the mountains, maybe consider an antelope hunting. Driving from NY out to WY would be breath taking! You would get to see lots of cool areas. Might be a good retirement gift to yourself

    How are your trail cameras doing? Are the big bucks still staying around?

  24. #374
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    1000 islands area
    Posts
    169

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    If your wife does kill a giant muley, I cant wait to hear that story and pics!!!!

  25. #375

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    Found a good... Now I just need to figure out how to get to him without killing myself.

    "Never follow your passion, but always bring it with you." ~ Mike Rowe

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