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Oct/Nov 2012 Issue of EHJ


Babysitter Buck by Shannon Rasmussen

Babysitter Buck

Shannon Rasmussen

October/November 2012 EHJ (Issue 133) - June 16th, 2011 was an incredibly exciting day in our household. The Idaho controlled-hunt results had been posted on line, and after weeks of nailbiting anticipation and years of putting in for these seemingly impossible-todraw hunts, the unimaginable had finally happened. My husband, Shane, son, Tyler, and I had drawn one of the very coveted late mule deer buck tags offered in Idaho. I knew that the next few months were going to seem agonizingly long, but with my husband’s archery hunt for elk that started in August, my son’s antelope hunt in September, and my own bull elk hunt in October, the time swiftly passed and November finally arrived.

On the first Friday of the season, my husband, son, and our close family friend, Brian, woke up around 5:00 a.m., loaded up our camp trailer, and headed up on the mountain. I had to work that day, but we had made a plan that I would drive up and meet them on the mountain after work. That evening I packed up our pickup, our other two sons, Cooper and Mason, and after a snowy drive at dusk we found where my husband had told us to meet them. As night fell I knew that they would be arriving soon to show us where camp was. Finally we saw headlights and new that it must be them.

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Large Reward for a Little Deer by Marcus Flesher

Large Reward for a Little Deer

Marcus Flesher

Coming from the Northwest and having a passion for hunting mule deer my entire life made it hard for me to believe that the feeling of accomplishment would feel so large for such as little of a deer as a Coues’. While spending time at my local sports show I met an outfitter by the name of Matt Woodward who operates Borderland Adventures out of Arizona. I was captivated by the exoticness of the Coues’ deer mounts he had in his booth and the thought of hunting those deer in the arid terrain of southern Arizona was hard to get off my mind. Matt taunted me with stories and photos as my imagination went wild. I left Matt’s booth and started pondering the thoughts of hunting these little deer.

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Stitches for a Trophy by Ernie Bunch

Stitches for a Trophy

Ernie Bunch

With my rifle resting on a small outcropping I settled the crosshairs on the shoulder of my once-in-a-lifetime Arizona desert bighorn ram. My last thought as I slowly squeezed the trigger was, "Man, this is gonna hurt.” It all started July 19, 2011 when I checked the Arizona Game and Fish website and discovered that after 31 years I had finally drawn a desert sheep tag. Unfortunately for me I didn’t have a copy of the regulations handy so I didn’t know which unit hunt, 6016 was in.

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Misfires But Not Misfortune by Jake Grzyb

Misfires But Not Misfortune

Jake Grzyb

After stopping the group of deer with a grunt, I settled the crosshairs high on the bucks shoulder and squeezed the trigger. CLICK! I couldn’t believe it, the gun had misfired. As quickly as I could, I opened the breach of the single-shot slug gun and closed it for another try; again, nothing but a CLICK. In a prone position and in the wide open I didn’t want to make the movement that it would have taken to dig a new bullet out of my pocket.

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High-Country Showdown by Kyle Mann

High-Country Showdown

Kyle Mann

Northern Idaho is famous for thick, steep, nasty country. Throw some world-class hunting pressure in the mix and this is the place I call home. This particular story starts like most limitedquota hunts. A "congratulations” after my name on the draw results for moose, followed by a whole lot of preparation and anticipation. The odds would be in my favor though as my family has hunted elk and mule deer for forty years in the unit I had drawn. I knew the unit well and I had some payback that was in order. The moose and I in this unit have a history. A history of rutting bulls chasing me, as well as the bull elk I was after.

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Predator or Prey by Kari Hirschberger

Predator or Prey

Kari Hirschberger

The beginning of my solo DIY wilderness mule deer hunt probably started similarly to most; with a little grunting and sweating and second thoughts about the items I chose to bring and those I left behind. As I hiked up an unmaintained trail into Washington’s Lake Chelan Recreation Area four days before the season was to open, I had no idea my wilderness hunting experience was about to change significantly from most of my fellow hunting enthusiasts. Sunday night, I had conquered roughly 3,400 vertical feet and 6.6 trail miles to the boundary of the recreation area.

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First and Finest by Steve Bemke

First and Finest

Steve Bemke

Looking down at the temperature gauge in my truck, making my way west through southern Kansas, 100° registered on my dash. A few minutes later, 102°. I had left my home in eastern Missouri earlier that morning, where the first break in the record heat all summer was anticipated. Then came 105°; something is wrong with my temperature gauge, this couldn’t be right. A short time later, I stopped for gas and was blasted by the sweltering heat when I stepped out of my truck.

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Beauty and the Beast by Duane and Lori Darbin

Beauty and the Beast

Duane and Lori Darbin

When I got the phone call that my father-in-law, Duane, drew a lateseason deer tag in one of my favorite areas the excitement was pumping through me like it was opening day. When he told me that my mother-in-law also drew and she had a chance at her very first mule deer in a trophy area, I was in disbelief. Duane and I started planning from that day forward. There is a general hunt in October, which makes it very difficult to scout because the deer are pushed around quite a bit and usually aren’t in their normal areas when November hits.

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The Definition of Tough by Bob Potter

The Definition of Tough

Bob Potter

At first it sounded like a rock rolling down a cliff. Still half asleep, I tried to focus on the sound. When it crashed again, I recognized the rumble… thunder! I poked my head out of my sleeping bag and noticed that the stars overhead were hidden behind a thick layer of clouds. As the raindrops began to fall, I jumped up from my makeshift bed and stuffed everything I could reach into my backpack. In an attempt to save weight, I had left my tent miles below at the trailhead!

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Knee-Deep in Snow Not Bucks by Aeric Reilly

Knee-Deep in Snow Not Bucks

Aeric Reilly

This hunt all started with a plan…well sort of a plan. A few dozen phone calls were made on where we were going to hunt for mule deer, and our plan changed at least seven times. A week later we came to the eventual conclusion on the Rocky Mountain front. I had only been in the area one other time for a sheep hunt that my good friend Guy had drawn a tag. He spent two weeks and many miles on horseback to make sure he found the right ram. He eventually shot a nice 186- inch ram.

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Searching for a Trophy by Brent Poe McCabe

Searching for a Trophy

Brent Poe McCabe

As James and I left Hays, Montana early on the first day of our annual "Veteran’s Week” hunt, we engaged in good conversation. We discussed the previous winter’s harsh conditions, the current hunting season’s unseasonably warm weather and more immediately, the recent full-moon-cycle. How were deer populations affected by an exceptionally difficult winter? Due to the heat, were large bucks actively rutting yet? Would mule deer bed-down earlier than usual today?

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A Buck Named Digger by Candice Smith

A Buck Named Digger

Candice Smith

It was in the middle of July when I joined my husband, Dallas, and our three boys for a routine family-scouting trip. We were glassing for mule deer when something else caught my eye. Standing 25 yards in front of our vehicle stood this antelope. His massive and unique diggers left me speechless. I looked at him, took another glance and said, "Dallas…I would really like to hunt that antelope!”

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