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Oct/Nov 2011 Issue of EHJ

Nine Days of Mule Deer Bliss by Chuck Mesitich

Nine Days of Mule Deer Bliss

Chuck Mesitich

October/November 2011 EHJ (Issue 127) - I hobbled to my computer with a cup of coffee and my ankle wrapped in ice packs. I had badly sprained my left ankle a couple days before and I was hoping that the grapefruitsized swelling was not a fracture. My first email was the results for the 2010 Arizona deer draw. I entered my data expecting to see the "not drawn” that I had become so familiar with over the past 12 years.

I called my wife to verify that my vision had not been distorted by any pain medication. She confirmed that not only had I been drawn for Arizona unit 13B, but also that I had pulled permit number one! She reminded me that I’ve always been very lucky in drawings but I was not feeling the luck as I gazed at my purple ankle. We celebrated the long awaited tag as much as I could on crutches and then I called my hunting partner, Bill Kirkpatrick, to share the good news. Bill and I had burned all of our vacation days hunting the entire season in Nevada Unit 231 the previous year. I knew that neither one of us had enough vacation days to scout and hunt like this zone deserved. Bill regrettably informed me that he would not be able join me for the first time in 15 years and he felt that my best bet was to hire an outfitter. Bill’s help this year came in the form of a recommendation. "Call Chad Smith at Vaquero Outfitters.”

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No Time to Take a Knee by Travis Bomengen

No Time to Take a Knee

Travis Bomengen

Crack! Waves of nausea poured over me as I found myself suddenly sitting down, the excruciating pain in my left knee overwhelming my senses. As the fog started to lift and my brain cleared, my anger and frustration mounted. This day was quickly climbing the charts as one of my worst. Two hours earlier I had missed a chance at a monster sevenpoint bull, and shortly thereafter I was on the receiving end of a kick from my buddy’s mule. 

I stood up and turned to go help Dan finish packing the quarters from his bull. As I started up the hill with my knee throbbing, I realized things were not right - my knee wasn’t stable. As I swung my leg to go around the sagebrush, my foot and lower leg went places they weren’t supposed to go, like a pendulum on a grandfather clock. 

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By the Little Green Tree by Brian Patterson

By the Little Green Tree

Brian Patterson

"By the little green tree.” That’s sort of been a standard response of mine over the years. Whenever I’m telling a hunting story and someone asks where I was when I shot a particular deer or elk, I always just say, "Right by the little green tree.”

In 2009 I helped my hunting partner, Nelson Stone, on his lateseason deer hunt here in Nevada. We only hunted two days, but I saw some new country and got glimpses of a few good bucks. Nelson didn’t fill his tag, but I knew this unit would be one of my choices in 2010. When applications were due, I shuffled my choices a few times and at the last minute, I put that unit as my first choice.

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Not Willing to Settle by Kevin Burns

Not Willing to Settle

Kevin Burns

As I watched the huge pronghorn through my riflescope, I knew this was a special buck. He turned to face me at 275 yards, and as I aimed the crosshairs on his chest, I couldn’t help but recall the haunting memory of 17 years ago when, in this same unit, a monster buck - one that I knew would score in the high 80s, did the same thing. I missed that buck clean and never saw him again…

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Just a "Four-Point" by Matt Haggerty

Just a "Four-Point"

Matt Haggerty

Every fall I anticipate the upcoming elk season. Being an opportunist, I look for ways to hunt elk, whether it’s over-the-counter archery in Idaho, preference points in other states, or guided. This year I had set up a guided hunt in Oregon with Blue Mountain Adventures.

Growing up in eastern Oregon, I knew this hunt area was rough country, so it was time to step up my workout routine to help make my upcoming hunt more enjoyable and hopefully successful. I started jogging at first and then after a few months I was running in the hills. I also set up some backpacking trips on the weekend to scout for elk in my home state of Washington. I spent hours at the range, shooting in all positions out to 500 yards.

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Stone Castles, Mountain Lakes, & Bull Moose by Scott Hergesheimer

Stone Castles, Mountain Lakes, & Bull Moose

Scott Hergesheimer

The cold mountain air felt good in my lungs as I crept along the lakeshore. At 8,300 feet elevation on a special draw moose hunt, everything feels good! There were pockets of two-day-old snow scattered about the timber along the lake. In the patch of snow before me were the tracks of what appeared to be a bull and cow moose.

I had drawn a bull moose tag for an area in southwestern Montana. I live 250 miles away, but am somewhat familiar with the area due to the fact I have family near there. Finally, 14 years of waiting were over!

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Down to the Wire by Rich Tillotson

Down to the Wire

Rich Tillotson

From the time I was a young boy, I’ve been fascinated with big mule deer. Although I’ve been fortunate to harvest a few 170 to 180-class bucks, I’ve had a goal to connect on a 200-incher for some time. During the ritual of checking the internet for Idaho’s controlled hunt draw results, I was elated to learn that I had drawn a late-season buck permit for an area that has produced some monster mulies over the years! I immediately scheduled time off work and started making plans. I was stoked!

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Technical Difficulties by Bob Molder

Technical Difficulties

Bob Molder

Bison once roamed the West in the tens of millions. After nearly going extinct, there are now a few select places across the entire continent where you can still hunt free-ranging bison. It’s truly a unique opportunity, and one I was glad to have been able to experience. However, my story is not your typical hunting story; it’s more of a "truck story” with a hunting trip in the middle.

After applying for the tag, I found out later I had drawn #45 on the bull bison list. I was excited, to say the least. Along with the bison tag, you are assigned a time period to hunt on the National Elk Refuge. My time period was mid October.

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The Next Time Around by Kyle Paxman

The Next Time Around

Kyle Paxman

The year was 1992. I was a 15-yearold and had beaten ridiculous odds in drawing a Monroe elk permit in my home state of Utah. After several missed chances at what were considered very big bulls in those days, we discovered a loose scope mount. Once we had that rectified, I took a nice 300-class 6x6.

Ever since that hunt, I have wanted a chance at "redemption”. The years slowly passed and each year came with the same results - the dreaded "Unsuccessful” letter. During these years, I was able to hunt elk in several states and assist many friends and family members with their highly coveted tags.

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Building Memories by Connor Kowalski

Building Memories

Connor Kowalski

With the click of a mouse, I became a bighorn sheep guide. This took place when I checked the drawing results and realized my 11-year-old son, Connor, was the lucky recipient of a coveted ram tag. When I called him to tell him the news, I could hardly get the words out - I was a bit choked up. Connor joined me in a slight stage of shock when he finally comprehended what I was trying to tell him. I had applied for the same tag, and I can honestly say I was happier that he drew it than if I had. I try my best to raise my kids so that they have a desire and appreciation for what hunting and the outdoors has to offer. This experience was about to test my efforts.

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Change of Plans by Scott Willard

Change of Plans

Scott Willard

After a long 15 years of accumulating preference points for a deer tag here in my home state of Colorado, I finally decided it was time to cash them in for a once-in-a-lifetime chance for that special hunt we all dream about. Because I knew I wouldn’t have time to scout any of the premier units, I had selected a Ranching for Wildlife hunt in southeastern Colorado with high hopes for a successful hunt. 

Southeastern Colorado provides its own kind of scenic beauty, with seemingly endless tracks of rolling buffalo grass and working farms. It’s also home to deep redrock canyons cut into the earth by endless years of gentle erosion - an ideal location to support good populations of whitetail and mule deer. 

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A Good Start by Augustin Ruiz

A Good Start

Augustin Ruiz

The day the 2010 New Mexico regulations became available, the call came in. It was a college buddy of mine, Ismael Cisneros (a.k.a. Smiley). Smiley and I played college baseball together and have remained good friends. The topic of conversation was hunt choices for the fall season. We discussed our possible choices for elk and proceeded to our deer selections. Smiley quickly suggested the Gila for Coues’ deer. To be perfectly honest, I had no idea what a Coues’ deer was.

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Hardcore Field Test

SKB Rifle/Bow Case by Adam Bender

SKB Rifle/Bow Case

Prior to leaving for the first hunt of the year, we found ourselves in quite a quandary. We had ordered a new rifle/ bow case several weeks before our trip, but alas, it never showed up in time. So, there we were, mere hours before leaving and we had no way to get all of our rifles and bows to Quebec. This was a problem.

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