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Discussion in 'Member Hunting Journals' started by iccyman001, Apr 1, 2017.
No pictures with your on the mountain post. Thats not unusual with weak signal.
How about this?
If the pic is a nice bull takin a nap, he showed up. Congrats
Yes. That showed up. Nice bull and congrats.
If you select full size from the menu before posting it will show your photo full size and not thumbnail.
I'll be sure to post a bunch more when I get home. I just wanted to give you all a preview of what's coming!
Ok everyone..... both my tags are filled.... driving 18 hours back to Florida and then I'll write up some trip reports!
Oh man that's awesome! Great job Iceman!
Safe travels. I look forward to hearing the story.
I've got a lot of husband time, dad time, and cleaning/unpacking to catch up on, but during my breaks I will start doing my trip report.
So let's get right down to it!
Elk hunt 2017.
I hit the road August 31st after a full day's work and started my 27 hour road trip.
IMG_2193 by Daniel Porter, on Flickr
Nothing is ever easy or smooth, so from the get go I started with my first hurdle, a tropical depression named Harvey who decided he wanted to spend some time right on my route to New Mexico. I made some quick adjustments to my route for safety, but Harvey still weighed in heavy on the trip. I noticed a $0.30 on average increase on diesel prices starting from Florida and ending in Texas. That along added approximately $200 more to the trip costs. I'm a budgeter to the max and always over-budget for that exact reason.
IMG_2183 by Daniel Porter, on Flickr
IMG_2201 by Daniel Porter, on Flickr
After many hours of driving, cups of coffee (if you drive through Texas, grab a cup of their Texas pecan coffee... YUM), I finally arrived to my area in New Mexico. I pulled in around 5PM and didn't even bother setting up camp, I wanted to get an evening hunt in. So I grabbed a mesh ghille suit top, through on some boots that were barely tied, and ran to my spot. I was super excited, I battled Harvey, drove straight to NM, and was able to get an evening hunt in. At 5:15 the mountains decided to welcome me with a large storm....
I'm stubborn as can be, but after a 20 degree drop in temps, ice cold rain & hail, lack of clothing because I was rushing, I decided to call the evening short and go set up camp.
The rain cleared up after about 90 minutes and camp was ready to go!
IMG_2229 by Daniel Porter, on Flickr
IMG_2235 by Daniel Porter, on Flickr
Camp and our view from camp.
So I should probably give you some camp details:
Three elk hunters: Two buddies from Iowa and myself
Mule deer hunter: Good buddy who is in the Army stationed in New Mexico
Extras: My good buddy came up with his entire family for labor day weekend. They love camping and I wanted to show them how amazing early season archery elk hunting can be. This family grew up in Alabama and only hunted whitetail their whole life. When they moved to NM they became homesick and thought that it was going to stink. Then I introduced them to the New Mexico mountains and elk hunting. (this backstory plays into my trip report, so it's relevant) I am a sucker for helping people get into hunting or being a successful hunter. It's bit me in the butt many of times with people not respecting my spots, but at the end of the day the good moments outweigh the bad.
Anyway.... let's get the party started.
CJ mentioned that I like to do things different and I think that was him in a nice way saying that I like to shoot myself in the foot for fun.
The first morning we worked a burn that I killed my cow on the year prior. I have a secret bench that I dubbed the "kill bench". It's a great spot where lots of elk like to cross from the burn into the timber to bed.
That morning I took up my buddy Ricky and two of his boys... yep, 4 people total to sit on a small bench and try to kill an elk.
I set the two boys up in a location where they could watch me work the bench and gave them my DSLR camera because they could probably work it better than I could. Then my buddy Ricky came with me as a mobile camera man. We have ZERO experience with filming hunts and it doesn't matter, we just wanted to have some fun. Not 5 minutes after legal light broke, we heard some rocks falling from above and a bulge kick off! SWEET! Time for me to get set up.
I run up the ridge a little to a large bush and a few trees.
When I got up to the trees I had a cow sitting 15 yards in front of me feeding and I could hear the bull bugling and ripping up trees a little bit above her.
If you watch this video you will see the bull come into the picture on the left side of the screen. The cow is out of the picture, but she is RIGHT on the other side of the trees. The wind was perfect so I wanted to sneak around the opposite side of the bush and wait for the bull to emerge.
Everything was working out so well until........
There is a heavy trail that goes left and right behind the bush, I figured they were going to hit one of those trails and give me a shot. NOPE....
The cow decided to continue down straight towards Rickey..... who was in the open, filming, and free handing the heavy camera
I bet you can't guess what happens next.....
As I was sneaking around the other side of the bush the cow saw Rickey..... you can even see him move a little to get a better picture of her LOL
She barked, everyone ran off, and laughter was shared by all.
I didn't even remotely care. The boys and their father just saw first hand a super fun encounter. That bull was ripping up trees and chuckling the whole time. If I would have been solo I could have possibly tagged out the first day and WHERE IS THE FUN IN THAT?
At the end of the morning hunt we had great stories, footages, and look what I found on the walk down!
This is a win on it's own, I love sheds!
IMG_2202 by Daniel Porter, on Flickr
The evening was less eventful, but equally as fun for Rickey and two of his other boys. Prior to this hunt I had them practicing their calling so they could be my "back ups".
During the evening hunt Rickey had his youngest on the bugle tube ripping off locators and you know what? The bulls were talking back.
Needless to say, Day 2 of hunting was a HUGE success. Rickey and his boys had a ball, I had a ball, we created some great memories, and that is what it's all about.
Rickey, two of his boys, and I started on the burn again.
We heard plenty of bugles, but it's hard to run and gun with 4 people..... I love chasing bugles in the morning and being aggressive, but again... 4 people's scent streams and movement make it tough for stalking in!
During the afternoon I took one of Ricky's boys out to my shed hunting spot and we struck gold!
IMG_2203 by Daniel Porter, on Flickr
IMG_2204 by Daniel Porter, on Flickr
I was pumped when I found this one!
Found this guy too.
IMG_2210 by Daniel Porter, on Flickr
This trip was full of ups and downs (which makes trips great) so on the way back I had a little truck mishap
IMG_2214 by Daniel Porter, on Flickr
A few of the spots we hit.....
IMG_2216 by Daniel Porter, on Flickr
IMG_2295 by Daniel Porter, on Flickr
IMG_2282 by Daniel Porter, on Flickr
Here is a video of us talking to the cows.
After about 4 minutes of talking to them I look over at the other boy calling and his eyes light up. He puts his hands above his head and makes a rack and whispers "bull".
Now my adrenaline started kicking into overload. We were on the side of a very steep ridge with lots of blow downs. I couldnt see the bull, but the other called was out on a little point and had a perfect eyes view. This is where stuff started kicking in that I never even knew I had in me.
I checked the wind... it was perfect. I looked behind me and whispered to two of the boys to go get in the brush behind us about 40 yards and walk around. I told them to "sound like cows." The bull couldn't see up top so I figured if he heard noise, heard cow calls, it would be enough to draw him up. We continued calling, we had two boys walking around like elk up top, and two more filming with their phones. The other caller on the point kept looking at me and saying "HE'S RIGHT THERE" as soft as he could. I still couldn't see the bull.... every time I looked back at him it was as if he thought I was crazy because I couldn't see it.
I took three steps to my left and my heart dropped.... tall beams.... behind a blow down.... he was close.... and coming up our way....
I was on a rush like I never had been before. Normally I would transition right into a kill mode, but I couldn't stop thinking about how amazing this experience was so far and how excited the boys must be. A few more calls, he presented himself, I drew back.....and....
I hit my release and watched my arrow fly straight over the back of a beautiful 6 point bull that stood no more than 17 yards away broadside.....
For a second I had an awkward pause.... why wasn't I mad? I just missed a chip shot at the biggest bull I'd ever had in bow range. Why wasn't I throwing my bow?
Because if you could have seen the faces of those 5 boys (ages 8 to 16) you'd understand why that was the most amazing experience I've had in a long time.
I could sit here and talk to you for hours about how I should have ranged, picked my spot, etc, but I'd rather tell you about the excitement that took over every single person out there at that moment. Here is a gaggle of kids and an average joe hunter out for an afternoon "hunt". That moment right there will be cemented into their brains for the rest of their lives. We high fived, we cheered, we fist pumped.... it didn't matter if we killed or not, this band of misfits just called in a gagger of a bull and everyone played a part in the whole thing.
My buddy Rickey has texted me almost every single day to tell me how the boys are still talking about it, how amped up they are for elk hunting, and how much they love New Mexico. This folks..... is what it's all about.
You would think that after that encounter that there was not really any way that you could top the situation, well let me tell you about Sept 6th.... the day I shot my bull.
My buddy Travis and I got up to the top of this ridge nice and early. It was the perfect morning, super cool and crisp.
The bulls were mostly already in their safe zones and beds due to the full moon, but they were ripping off like crazy.
One bull specifically stood out and would not stop talking. From about 6:30 until 7, this bull was bugling every 3-5 minutes.
This bull was yelling from way across a canyon.... I looked at Travis and asked if he wanted to go chase him.
IMG_9909 by Daniel Porter, on Flickr
He said no and I told him "Ok, I'm going to go kill that bull."
I said it out loud, but in my head I was unsure. I've never done anything like it, but how am I going to learn if I don't try.
The canyon I had to cross was very steep and I followed what seemed to be goat like trails all around it. I got above where the wind was right and dropped down to where I thought the bull was.
IMG_2247 by Daniel Porter, on Flickr
IMG_2243 by Daniel Porter, on Flickr
IMG_2242 by Daniel Porter, on Flickr
It had taken me almost two hours to get around the canyon and through all the blow downs. As I started to climb down I found this beautiful little bench. It was thick with green grass, cover, and shade. I figured that it had to be where the bull was. It didn't take long for him to bugle again and I knew I was within 100 yards from him......
The wind was right and I began my tippy toe stalk in on him. It felt like an eternity, but I kept closing the gap down. Every time he would bugle I'd run a few extra steps to cut the distance.
I got to a point where I had a giant blow down coming up about 15 yards ahead and wasn't sure how to get around it. I knelt down to access it better and there he was..... standing 40 yards away from me feeding on grass and announcing to the entire canyon his presence......
I ranged him, drew, picked my spot, and the rest was history.
IMG_2255 by Daniel Porter, on Flickr
IMG_2260 by Daniel Porter, on Flickr
IMG_2263 by Daniel Porter, on Flickr
I saw the hit and my body went into an emotional surge, it flashed back to the top of the ridge where I told Travis "I'm going to go kill that bull."
It happened.... I couldnt believe what had just happened.
Being able to sneak into the sanctuary of a bull and arrow him at 40 yards is something that I've always dreamed about, read about, and I finally did it.
This was by far the most special bull I'd ever taken.
After getting the elk out, drove quite a ways south to my favorite general store and got a post elk, post elk, victory snack!
IMG_2265 by Daniel Porter, on Flickr
IMG_2267 by Daniel Porter, on Flickr
These breakfast burritos are unmatched!
I got the elk on ice and for the first time in the trip I was able to sit down and really enjoy myself.
I took a shower, built me a campfire, and sipped on a tiny glass of victory scotch.... I didn't move from that spot for hours and it was the most relaxed I've been in a LONG time!
IMG_2293 by Daniel Porter, on Flickr
The fun doesn't stop here though. The next morning I woke up early and took my buddy Ross out. We got set up on a bunch of different elk, but the wind that day was extremely swirly. We had some elk come in close and then of course the wind would shift...
Around 9AM we got a text...."bull down"! My buddy Travis had shot a nice 5x5 that he bugled in!
So bull #2 was down in 2 days!
IMG_2270 by Daniel Porter, on Flickr
IMG_9899 by Daniel Porter, on Flickr
IMG_2277 by Daniel Porter, on Flickr
IMG_2280 by Daniel Porter, on Flickr
With elk on the ground the meals started!
IMG_2299 by Daniel Porter, on Flickr
IMG_2302 by Daniel Porter, on Flickr
IMG_2305 by Daniel Porter, on Flickr
IMG_2306 by Daniel Porter, on Flickr
First meal was tenderloins, potatoes, and onions!
IMG_2308 by Daniel Porter, on Flickr
Second meal was tenderloins, green chili & garlic mashed potatoes, and bread sticks!
IMG_2310 by Daniel Porter, on Flickr
Final meal was flour tortillas, green chili eggs with pepper jack cheese, and diced up brats. YUM!!!
With Irma heating up and my family being in Florida, I decided to get out of the mountains so I could be reached if anything happened.
My wife told me they said our town wouldn't get hit, so she told me to go to Oklahoma and still hunt my antelope opener. If anything happened we could meet half way in Louisiana.
I packed up and left the beautiful mountains....
IMG_2311 by Daniel Porter, on Flickr
IMG_2312 by Daniel Porter, on Flickr
I'll miss you NM.... see you next month! Onward to Oklahoma!
Oklahoma Antelope hunt
I got out to Oklahoma late Sunday night and met up with my buddy Matt who had the same antelope doe tag that I had.
This was Matt's first western hunt and the first time he's chased anything other than whitetail. He had put a giant herd of antelope to bed on some private land that was surrounded by public.
We woke up early, got into place, and our day began!
When the herd started standing up we were maybe 100-130 yards away from them.
IMG_2317 by Daniel Porter, on Flickr
They were all calm at first, but then the does started playing around, bucks started pushing them, and does were going everywhere.
I spotted one running our way and prepped Matt for the shot..... the doe entered public and Matt dropped her in place with an 80 yard shot!
IMG_2321 by Daniel Porter, on Flickr
We celebrated, gutted her, and Matt got his first lesson on deboning an animal!
IMG_2327 by Daniel Porter, on Flickr
We had to drive an hour away to check the animal in, so on the way there we grabbed a celebration treat and something to cool us down
IMG_2329 by Daniel Porter, on Flickr
After we were all checked in we got back to it. We hit another piece of property and we found an antelope doe bedded down!
It was VERY VERY VERY flat with no cover, so I decided to get as close as I could. If she let me get within an effective shooting range then I was going to shoot her.
I got in and she stood up at 300 yards. Set up my sticks, picked my spot, and the rest was history!!!
IMG_2335 by Daniel Porter, on Flickr
IMG_2366 by Daniel Porter, on Flickr
Just like that we had both successfully tagged out on Oklahoma's opener!
We ate antelope tenderloins for dinner, got a quick nap, and then I drove 18 hours home with coolers full of meat.
To say this wasn't an amazing trip would be an understatement.....
End mileage and end of trip.....
IMG_2345 by Daniel Porter, on Flickr
That's freaking awesome! Love all the details, and pics!
Story and pics, make a guy jealous. Congrats on some great memories and fine eats