2013 - 2014 HUNTING SEASON
Well another hunting season is just around the corner. The rains are starting and football is about to start! It's hard to beat this time of the year! I always considered the late August archery deer hunt the begin of hunting season. So I am ready for the 2013/14 season to begin! I will try and document all the hunts from August of 2013 through hopefully my Gould's turkey hunt in May of 2014. Hopefully it's another great year!
2012/13 Hunting Season Success - Last season was a great one for me. I wasn't doing much trophy hunting but tried to get in the field as much as possible. The first step was to put as many tags in my pocket as possible. I was able to draw an archery spring bear tag in 23 for the first time and bought a left over Mule Deer tag in New Mexico which would be my first out of state hunt. Those were my 2 additions to the typical archery javelina tag, archery deer tag, southern AZ rifle deer tag, archery turkey tag, and archery cow elk tag. With the 2013 season allowing 2 javelina I also bought an OTC metro pig tag. So I was set for 2012/13 with the ability to take 2 deer, 1 bear, 1 elk, 2 javelina, and 1 turkey. Here is how last season broke down....
May 2012 - Summer scouting and a little calling got this fox down.
June 2012 - Again scouting for archery deer with a bear tag in my pocket and a lucky stand got me my first bear ever with a bow!
September 2012- 17+ hours sitting a blind landed me my first archery turkey.
October 2012 - Now I am in full sprint with the fall...a fun archery elk hunt and second to last day lucky shot filled the freezer with this cow.
November 2012 - Next was the toughest hunt of the year and new country. I ended up shooting a buck and spent my last day in New Mexico searching for it but ran out of blood. My cousin took his first rifle buck though and I dropped this yote. Lots of miles on the boots and a great experience.
December 2012 - With little time to hunt for my first Dec. rifle coues tag I was able to shoot this little guy with a couple great buddies and get it on film.
I can't wait to get 2013/14 started! I will start posting some pics soon. Come on August!!! Good luck to everyone!
Sep. 17th (10 days until archery cow elk) Trail Pics - Scouting
I can't wait to get up north for the archery elk season. I only have a cow elk tag but chasing bugles and getting in the middle of bulls is still fun!
Hopefully I get a shot like this. The stand is in the background. Front shoulder forward. I'm not a big fan of the time though.
I don't think the young ones are a big fan of 75 degrees.
Tanks getting low. Recent rains should fix that.
Lots of calves this year. Still dry back in August. Come on rain!
Here comes the rain!
Those were some trail pics I got before the hunt. I pulled the camera 2 days after the last picture so hopefully since that rain the elk are all over the tank! Time keeps dragging by. I will have to sit at work for 8 more days until we are off for the 2013 archery cow elk hunt! Good luck to all those with the early elk hunts!
2013 Archery Elk Hunt September 27th 2013
The Fall is officially kick started! This year I drew an 11M archery cow tag and I was dying to get up for the hunt. Thursday September 26th after work I hurried up north and got to my uncles house just in time for bed. I had the bow and pack ready for the morning and with previous scouting trips a spot picked out to glass.
September 27th 2013 - Opening morning came and Nate and I were up on the hill before light. Before shooting light hit we had elk spotted and were heading down the mountain for the first stalk! We got in close only to have the herd disappear. A few minutes later and the bugles began! We ended up 100 yards from a decent 5 point and some cows. Hours of trying to sneak past the satellite bulls left us headed back to camp with no shots. The evening was fairly uneventful, I spotted a couple herds but could not get in close and no bugles.
Sep. 28th - Day 2 began at the top of the glassing hill with Nate and my Dad. Nate and I had elk spotted and a long walk ahead. My Dad stayed behind to glass. After the long walk and never finding the herd we went back to the house. My Dad ended up on a herd right by the hill Nate and I left and had hit his bino's with his string when he released. Tough morning and the elk weren't talking. That night everyone sat water because it had gotten hot. I decided to leave the tank 5 minutes early to head back. Once I got 70 yards from the truck I look over and 40 yards away is a decent bull with 4 cows on their way to water! I couldn't believe I had left early. It cost me my cow!
Sep. 29th - Day 3....just a few minutes behind schedule and a hike up the hill I receive a text from my cousin, "stuck one in the pump house!". We have a saying, I'd rather be lucky than good. He got his cow driving into town to get gas...I wish I had his luck! This was his second archery elk in back to back years!
Nate and I headed down the hill and drove out to help with his cow. When we get there we decide to walk around and see if we can get in on the herd he shot his elk out of. Shortly after walking up the hill Nate spots a herd way out on a mountain. The race was on! We went a few miles and started the stalk up a thick hill. An hour later and we are 20 to 30 yards off where we had last seen the herd. Next thing we know they bust out and run over the hill. Another hunter had come up from the other side. I take off and try to catch them on the back side of the mountain. Next thing I know a bull lets off a bugle not far from me on a thick hill side. I call back and he turns and is coming! After raking a tree and a couple more bugles he comes into 25 yards and I see a cow behind him. She catches me raking the tree and they are off again. I chased them for a bit and end up meeting Nate back at the top of the mountain. We spotted the herd on the next mountain and decided to try another stalk. That stalk ended up with me on a bedded bull and no cows in sight. Lots of hiking and again no shots. That night we sat water again, but no action.
Sep. 30th - Day 4 comes and after all the hiking and hard work Nate and I decide to drive the road and hope for some luck like my cousin. As soon as we had light Nate spots a cow off the road. I pull over and he worked back into the trees. I got out of the truck to hear a THWACK! We use are whistle system and meet up. He said he couldn't tell where he hit but he knew he had an arrow in the elk. After tracking for a long while we find his elk bedded down and he puts another arrow in it to finish off his first elk! We got a cool pic of him putting the last shot on it!
It was a great tracking job. Persistance paid off! Second elk down! That evening we put in some more hiking and never saw anything until the last light. We headed to the house with a starting point for the morning picked out.
Oct. 1st - Day 5. We drove out to the spot the elk were that past night. Before we even get there we spot elk in the dark. We park and wait for glassing light. Once I heard the cows I decide to run up the mountain to a trail and cut them off. I got 20 yards and they bust out up hill. I get the last elk to stop at 72 yards and take a shot. I shot over the elk because of the angle, I forgot to take off some yardage. From the top of the hill we spot 2 more herds and 2 more unsuccessful stalks later I am worn out from running up and down the hills. We head back to the house and I take a quick nap. 4 and a half days of hunting hard running up and down mountains chasing elk and the only success anyone had has been from driving down the road... I laid there impatient and decide to buzz down the road on my quad. As soon as I get into the forest a bull and cow jump out of there beds and run down a canyon. I hurry up the ridge above them and run to the edge to catch the bull heading my way. He stops in a pocket with a little shooting window. I guessed he was about 50 yards and wait for the cow. As soon as he moves out I draw anticipating the cow would be coming through. She waited a long enough time and walked through the opening. I couldn't get her to stop and let it go. She is hit back and I start thinking how to get another arrow in her. As I watch her walk I notice tons of blood pouring out of her leg. I ran back to the house and got the crew for tracking. We got back to where I had shot and began tracking a very heavy blood trail. 150 yards up the hill I cant find any more blood and my uncle looks at me and says look behind you. I turn and there is my elk laying dead! Sometimes you just have to get lucky I guess? All the hard work hiking and we end up putting 3 elk down road hunting. It was a fun hunt though. Glad we got some elk down and I am looking forward to the rest of the season!
2013 Archery Elk Video (Edited by: Adam McClain)
Here is some footage we got during the elk hunt. Sorry I didn't stay dedicated to filming! Next year I will do a better job. Some times you just have to hunt!
2013 Archery Elk Continued
Oct. 5th - The last weekend of the archery elk hunt I headed back up north with Nate to get our meat. My Dad who also had the tag came along for one last try. We hunted all day Saturday with a few close calls on stalks. No shots though.
Oct. 6th - Sunday morning my Dad decided to sit a blind near where we had seen around 50 elk the night before. Nate and I drove up to the flats and found the heard. After rushing back to get my Dad we got back only to see the bull pushing the cows into the tree line. We decided to hurry around to another road. Just before we got to where the heard was heading a couple spikes ran off the road. Followed closely by a couple cows. My Dad was able to get 35 yards from the last one and made the shot count! She only went maybe 50 yards. It was a great last second hunt and we got to drop off the 4th elk of the hunt at the butcher as we picked up the others. 4 for 4 on the archery elk hunt! Good start to the fall hunts!
This hunt was a blast and I can't wait to hopefully draw a bull tag next year. Hard to beat the cooking of my Uncle Bill's and having this cool hoist for skinning the elk.
Anyone looking for a great butcher up north near Flag check out Bix's Butcher Shop. We took all four elk in to Dan Bix and he did great work. We had our elk back in less than a week and the prices are cheaper than anyone I have been to! He has over 25 years of experience to. I highly reccomend him!
Bix's Butcher Shop
Phone: (928) 699-5557
Now it's time to put in for Spring turkey and Javelina. Next weekend is the junior pig and deer hunt down south. Hopefully we can get some first time kills!
2013 Junior Javelina & Deer Hunt
October 11th 2013 Opening Day - My niece Ariel, and nephews Josh and Tyler drew Javelina tags down south. Josh was the lucky one that also drew an any antlered deer tag for the same unit at the same time. Friday morning October 11th I drove us down at 3 in the morning. By sun up we were in good county. Before even getting to where I wanted to hike up I spot a deer off the road just dropping over the back of a ridge. We hurry up the hill in the truck and jump out. I get the rifle ready and rush to cut off the deer. Once we are close I peek over the ridge and catch a doe feeding away. The kids get down and I noticed a buck right behind her. I had josh set up to shoot but they fed over. Once I grabbed the rifle back to run to the next hill another buck appeared and Josh got off a quick shot at about 170 yards. I wasn't able to see if the buck was hit so we walked down to look for blood. Once we reached the spot the buck was, there were 5 more does and a couple spikes looking at us form the next ridge. I kept us looking for blood but after an hour gave up. He must have missed.
We never could get on any deer or pigs the rest of the morning but it wasn't a bad start. That evening we got farther back into the hills and did some more hiking and glassing. I never could turn up any bucks but we saw 9 more does, and still no pigs. We called it a day and headed back down hill.
Oct. 12th - The next morning Nate and Justin joined us and we headed back to the same area. This time we split up into three groups. Justin took Josh who had the deer tag. They went back to the area he had shot the first morning. Nate took Ariel to a place we had seen pigs the past few years and I took Tyler to a new spot where I thought I could find pigs. Shortly after Nate spots a buck and gets Justin to head his way. Once they met up Justin also spotted pigs. Tyler and I were a long ways away so I stayed put. After tons of hiking all Tyler and I saw were deer. Five of them bucks and two of them were really nice. We all eventually met up back at the truck and nobody was able to get any shots other than Nate who dropped a coyote. The pigs stayed tight on a thick hill and Nate and Justin left them put. We called it a morning and made a game plan to come back to the thick hillside in the evening. After some lunch we were all back at it glassing the hill the pigs should be on. An hour of baking in the sun and nothing but a doe and fawn turned up. With only a few hours of light left I decide to take Josh back where I had seen all the bucks. Nate and Justin worked their way through the thick hill with Tyler and Ariel. Once Josh and I got into the spot I wanted, I had a buck spotted. We decided to work our way down the wash and get closer.
During the stalk we hear shots fired back where the others were hunting. We had hoped someone got a pig. A couple hundred yards later Josh and I are on the edge of the wash and the deer diappeared. We waited about ten minutes and light was fading. I said lets just push into the wash and see if he comes out on the next hill. I take two steps out of the cactus we were hiding behind and see the buck looking at us. We sit down and try getting Josh on the deer. As soon as we get the tripod set and he finds the buck in the scope, I tell him put it on the shoulder and shoot. He squeezes and the gun jerks forward...safety was still on! I help him set back up and get the camera rolling just in time. This time he pulls the trigger and BOOM!!! THE BUCK DROPPED IN HIS TRACKS!!! His first buck was down! If you watch the video you will see I was pretty excited! He had a huge smile on his face too despite me smacking him on the shoulder over and over. I put the camera down and packed up the tripod so we could check out his first big game animal. It was a nice three point coues and was still in velvet! Really cool buck!
We got it cleaned and hurried back to the truck. I of course had to film him packing it out for a bit.
Once we got to the truck we saw the others coming back with Ariel's javelina, her first big game kill ever! Both were shot within five minutes of each other. Once Nate, Justin, Ariel, and Tyler came over the thick hill, they had spotted the pigs just below them on the other side of the wash. Tyler and her both gots shots and she was able to drop a pig! Tyler had just shot over one as well. What an exciting and busy night! We got to bed just before 11 that night with hopes of getting Tyler his pig the next morning.
Oct. 13th - Sunday, the final morning we would be hunting and our last early wake up call. We got out to a new spot I had seen pigs over the past few years. We began our hike up the mountain at first light. Pretty soon we were close to a saddle that I typically saw pigs in. I told Tyler and Josh to be as quiet as they could. Right after that Nate and Justin are calling up to me saying they have pigs spotted across the canyon. We hurry up the hill towards the saddle where they pigs are working. Just before we get there we spot 4 pigs running. I start glassing across trying to locate more and send Tyler up the hill with Nate. Right at the top above the saddle Nate and Tyler jump pigs. Before we know it there are pigs working across the saddle everywhere! Nate tries getting Tyler set up one for a while and Josh tries getting on some down below. After a few minutes and the last of the pigs working out of range Tyler shoots! I find the pigs he shoots at and see one stumbling backwards! Pig down! Josh got a shot off at the last couple of them running away but wasn't able to connect. We marked Tyler's pig and made the walk over. The pig was laying dead right where he had shot it! Another first big game animal down! Three Junior hunters all with their first kills! Pretty tough to beat that! Tyler carried his pig all the way down the mountain and we headed back home with one buck, two pigs, and three very happy and worn out kids! This was one of my favorite hunts ever, you just can't beat passing on the tradition of hunting. I am very impressed and proud of what these kids were able to accomplish. Many thanks to Nate and Justin for making the trip down to help out, we wouldn't have been able to get it done without them! Thanks for reading the long story, hope you enjoyed it.
Ariel's First Javelina
Josh's First BuckAriel & Josh
Tyler's First Javelina
Anyone looking for a great taxidermist down south make sure you look into Weller's Wildlife Studio, Inc. We took the buck in to them and their set up is second to none! The displays there are amazing! I think you should visit their site just to see some of the things they have online. http://www.wellerswildlifestudio.com/
The month of October has been great so far! Opening week of archery elk and we put down 3 cows, the second week my Dad got his cow. The week after we get all the junior hunters their first time kills! Now finally a break this weekend and then the following weekend is our rifle deer hunt! Great year already and there is more to come!!!!
2013 Rifle Coues Hunt
October 25th - Opening morning of the 2013 rifle deer hunt! A buddy of mine, Dan and I, drove down south at 3AM for the quest for coues bucks! This was his first hunt. Already down at camp was Justin with his Dad who had a tag across from our unit and Brad another friend. Nate was in a wedding that Friday night and would head down later. First light Dan and I pull down the canyon we plan on camping and decide to hike up the top of the canyon before setting up camp. As we climb a ridge up we jump a couple does. Shortly after I glass up a little spike at 218 yards. I ask Dan if he wanted to take it and he passed. I was tempted to shoot the little buck so we had fresh back straps for dinner but also passed. As we watch the buck Dan spots a Coati working the next ridge over. I ask if he wants to shot it and once he decided to pass I took the shot. I hit the Coati and it ran into the tree it was in front of! We marked the spot and decided to get to the top of the ridge and come back for it. After hiking to the top and glassing the next canyon over we only found some pigs. We worked over to the ridge the Coati was on and headed down hill to find it. There was good blood where I shot it and it only went about 10 yards. It was a cool start to the hunt and I was excited to take something I had never shot before!
My First Coati
After setting up camp Dan and I headed towards the back of the canyon to try somewhere new. We reached the end of the road and hiked a trail into the back country. Once we hit a water hole a couple does jumped out. I thought that would be a good sign. As we hiked back to a far hill we glassed but couldn't turn up any deer. I decided to head to the edge of another ridge and glass a thick hill side. Once we reached the edge we saw a hunter that had the same idea. That about ended our evening. Not very eventful.
October 26th - Day 2, another warm morning. Dan and I worked up out of camp and tried our luck close by. With the temperature being on the warm side we worked above a water hole thinking the deer would hold close to it. We hiked along the top of the canyon glassing into the bottoms towards water. We turned up 6 does and another Coati. The morning ended quickly and again uneventful. After talking with Justin, Nate and Brad nobody had found many deer.
That evening we all drove up to the other side of the canyon and on the way up found a spike and a couple does leaving water. We tried to close the distance for a shot but never found them again. I hiked around the next canyon over and saw nothing. Nate and Dan glassed the other and had a couple bucks across the canyon but no time to make a move. Justin had found a big buck but it never presented a shot. Brad found more pigs. The second day came to a close and still no shots at bucks. This was becoming a very difficult hunt!
October 27th - Day 3 and morral dropping. Dan and I worked back up the canyon from camp to glass towards where he and Nate had seen bucks that night before. Shortly after glassing I pick up a couple deer way out there. They were feeding over top so we decided not to pursue. After a while of glassing I decide to split up and put in some miles. Dan worked the opposite direction and within 5 minutes of splitting I drop down a ridge and spot deer sneaking out of the revene I'm in. I notice a nice rack on the front deer and drop to the groubd with my rifle ready. The buck is big! The deer stop towards the top and I begin getting set up before they decide to move out. They didn't give me the time and I ended up taking a shot before they left. The shot felt off so I ran up to the top and met Dan. We looked for blood but had no luck. We worked the next few ridges and never found the deer again. I headed back towards camp and on teh way found a couple more deer. Sure enough there was a little spike. I decide to take a shot when he gives me the chance. Once he comes out in the open I fire and completley pulled. Clean miss but he stands there for a minute and I try to put another round in. THE GUN JAMMED! I was pretty upset. I had a great shot opportunity and was unable to take the shot. I guess this guy was meant to live. I had to head back and call the morning. Back at camp Nate and Justin pull up with a buck down! Nate was able to take a 2 point with eye guards. The way the hunt was going this was a great decision! Fresh steaks for dinner! Shortly after getting Nate's deer cleaned up Brad pulls in and has a nice 3 point buck! He shot him at 640 yards! This was his first buck and he did a great job getting him on his own! 2 deer down and the hunt began to feel much better!
Nate's 2013 Coues
Brad's 2013 Coues (First Buck)
That evening Justin and I headed out to the end of the canyon and got back away from everyone. After a while of glassing we have pigs spotted. Shortly after that Justin finds some deer.....way out there!!! With an hour of light I decide to sprint down the mountain and up the next to get on them. Once I get on the deer I make a move to get them up as time isn't on my side. They all bust up hill and I find a spike. I took a shot as he ran out and missed again! The spike stopped at the top of the next hill and I decided to let him walk because I didn't want to pack him out in the dark. I hiked all the back to Justin and we called it a day.
October 28th - My 4th day of hunting and last full day. I left camp by myself and was motivated to hike every possible spot I thought would hold deer. I started at the bottom of the canyon and worked up. Then I worked back down and then back up. After readching the top again I finally turn up deer. I chased them back down only to see it was a couple does so back to the top I go. I worked the back side of water down a long ridge. I followed the ridge and found a couple more does. A couple miles later I am back away from everyone and come across another water hole. Again 2 more does jump out. I walked the ridge all the way to the road and headed back to camp. Way too many miles and NO BUCKS! This hunt has taken a bad turn. Justin had found a small buck and had it bedded so we didn't even take an afternoon break and head out. We were hoping to get Dan on the buck but couldn't turn him up. We decided to split up again. Nate and Dan went out where they had seen a good buck that morning and Juntin and I tried the ridge I had seen the spike the first morning. Once we get there we head to the top. We covered everything we could from the top and started working the canyon top up. After a couple ridges Justin says he saw a deer. I glass the bottom and find it. I said this is just over from where the spike was opening day and so Justin gets the 15's out. After looking the deer over he confirms it's a buck! I get set up and fight the wind for a few minutes as we waited for a shot. Once I felt steady and the buck turned I squeezed....BOOM!!! The buck dropped! This was my last evening to hunt so I didn't care how big the buck was and it's a good thing because this guy was SMALL!!! He sure did taste good though. More frsh steaks that night! Justin was the good luck charm the whole hunt. Good thing too because this hunt was tough! I got the deer cleaned and packed out and the night was done.
My 2013 Coues (First Spike)
Just in case you couldn't see the bone.....
The last morning we tried getting Dan on a buck but couldn't find any. He worked his butt off and I am sure has a new found respect for hunting coues deer in southern Arizona. It can be a very challenging hunt! Wish I had connected on the big buck but it was a good time with good people and I am happy to have the meat!
After heading home on Tuesday October 29th I got sent a picture from Justin who went out to help his Dad. He shot a 107 inch buck on Wednesday the 30th! His first coues! Once I get the picture I will post it. Justin is still down south hunting. Today Thursday the 31st is the last day. Hopefully he gets a treat for Halloween!
Justin's Dad's 2013 Coues (First Coues)
On the last day Justin called it quits and driving out saw a deer off the road. He was able to put horns on it and made the 656 yards shot! This was the 5th deer killed on our hunt!
This was my last tag for the 2013 year. Next on the list is archery deer and pig in January. Results should be out any day. Thanks for following along and hopefully I will be able to add some stories and pictures to start the 2014 season. For now it's time to enjoy the holidays and spend time with the family! Happy Halloween!
My Daughter Marissa Pumpkin Carving
Lots of Fun!
Happy Holidays everyone and good luck to those with tags left!
2014 Rifle Pig Hunt
February 21st Opening Day - After failed attempts during the January archery deer season it was time to get a rifle back in my hands. I hadn't been on a rifle pig hunt since I was 11. 2014 was desperate for success. My Dad and I headed up dark and early Friday morning to try and locate some pigs on our way to pig camp with a bunch of family and friends.
After a few stops and glassing nothing up but a few deer we finally put eyes on some javelina! They were feeding about a quarter of a mile up a ridge. Not much to game plan for but get up there with the wind right and make the shot. Once we closed the distance we had the pigs at 130 yards but in a little thicket. We tried getting 2 pigs in an opening at the same time but it just wasn't happening. We decided to sneak in closer. Eventually we reached right where they had been and found them just down a draw but moving out. I thought they were spooked so I hurried up the hill and was busted! I managed to get a shot off but the sun was in my eyes (it's a valid excuse!) and missed. The pig darted up and over the hill. I hurried another 50 yards or so and caught another pig confused under a juniper. I quickly threw up the .243 and squeezed off a shot! The pig dropped in it's tracks! My Dad got off a couple shots on the run but couldn't connect. We packed out and called Tim. He had also got his pig first thing in the morning. Two down!
February 22nd - The second morning came and our good friend Steven came out trying to get his first ever big game kill. We decided to try a spot along the river where we had had success in the past. After walking a ways we smelled pigs and decided to split up the 2 tag holders. We pushed through some thickets along the river but couldn't turn up the pigs. Tired and thirsty we called it a morning and headed back towards the truck. Just before reaching the truck I heard something run off through the bushes. I took off in it's direction and could smell that it was a pig. I told Steven to run and we were off to the races trying to cut it off at the rivers edge! After coming up the 3rd draw Steven whispers there he is. I peek over a bush and see adifferent pig by himself feeding our way. We dropped behind the bush and waited. Soon the boar was broadside and about to go into a tree. I told him whenever your ready. He lined up the iron sites on his 30/30 and pulled the trigger. The pig took off right at us! He was hit but as he turned again Steven put another in him and dropped him only 30 yards or so away from us! The high fives and yells began! Nothing beats a first kill! Day 2 was about over and 3 pigs down!
Steven and his first pig!
February 23rd - The last morning was here. My Dad, Tim and I headed out early to try a spot Tim had killed his pig. Knowing about where they would be we set up and glassed. After some time and no pigs we decided to push towards the back of the canyon. Eventually we reached the end of the canyon and no pigs. Looking over the edge I noticed a black rock...pigs! We were right on top of them! We moved around to get a shot. Once my Dad was set he squeezed off the shot and dropped the pig!!! Next thing we know there are around 20 pigs running all over the cliffs edge. We waited for them to leave and walked down the edge. The shot was a little off but very effective! He dropped it with a head shot! The hunt was over and we were all tagged out! This was a veryfun hunt, anyone who hasn't tried pig hunting you have to at least try it! One of my favorite hunts to do. Thanks for reading and come on draw results!
My Dad, Tim, and I with my Dad's Pig