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Author Topic: Hirshey's Idaho Hunt 2017  (Read 3848 times)

Offline hirshey

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Re: Hirshey's Idaho Hunt 2017
« Reply #15 on: March 31, 2018, 02:28:09 PM »
The day prior... a little less snow when we explored right outta spike.
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Offline hirshey

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Re: Hirshey's Idaho Hunt 2017
« Reply #16 on: March 31, 2018, 02:41:23 PM »
Still working on how to get the photos how I want, but we will continue since at least we have a visual on the snow we were working with...

My mother and I continued to hammer away at the elevation we needed to gain... 27 or 54 steps at a time. When I hit a big hill, for some reason counting is therapeutic... I've found depending on the angle I take at a big hill like the one we were on, 27 steps allows me to keep my breath well enough to glass without fogging up my optics, or take a shot should the right situation present itself. (I hike with my firearm in my backpack similar to how my mom's is presented in that last photo, so obviously I'm not one to take uncalculated shots...) 54 steps pushes me a little, but knocks off a little distance if I don't think any new terrain is becoming exposed. Either way, we knocked out that many steps, and glassed and continued that regimen. The skyline seemed to become more obtainable each time we rested, but I could tell my mom was getting tired. "When we get to the top, we can glass all those basins and ridgelines for an hour or so. We're almost there." I reassured her. As we crested the ridge, evidence of ungulates became obvious; ceanothus was encircled with tracks, even though we were hip deep in snow. We found a good rock to nestle up to, and dug out spaces to sit, grab some sustenance, and glass for our targets. 500 yards below us on a sweet hidden bench we watched a few up-and-comers posture at each other before deciding to save their energy for the right situation. They settled into knee-deep snow in hiatus from activity for the afternoon. Each nook we glassed revealed more deer, but few were bucks large enough to cause us to pause. Snickers in hand, I pressed my back into the rock behind me and reveled in a small bit of sunshine for my own pause.
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Offline hirshey

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Re: Hirshey's Idaho Hunt 2017
« Reply #17 on: March 31, 2018, 02:56:55 PM »
Feeling a little revived from my afternoon treat, I picked up the binoculars again. Confident in my assessment of the upper drainages, I started to carefully scan the lower slopes.

"Mom. I think I found one you might be interested in!"

"Where?"

After a few moments of explaining landmarks and zeroing in on the buck's location, my mom agreed: she would at least like to look at it a little closer. We still had plenty of days left to make it happen, but if she wanted that buck, now was as good of a time as any to put a stalk on it. We packed up, and started the mile or so journey and 3,000 feet in elevation loss to get into position. At first, we made great progress: going downhill in waist-deep snow is actually pretty easy... you just kinda lean forward and keep your feet moving. As it thins out, you almost ski down... but when it thins out enough and the ground beneath it is frozen solid, it ends up being downright hazardous. We picked our route to close the last 500 yards carefully, not only for detection's sake, but for the health of our knees and ankles. The buck had bedded with a doe down a small drainage from us: I ranged them at 250 yards. Wielding my .243, my mom had never shot at an animal at that distance, so she wanted to get closer. I asked her to look at the buck one more time and make sure it was one she wanted. She confirmed, and I stayed put as she tried to use what little terrain we had left between us and the deer to her advantage to close the distance to a comfortable range.

« Last Edit: April 01, 2018, 12:12:45 AM by hirshey »
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Offline hirshey

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Re: Hirshey's Idaho Hunt 2017
« Reply #18 on: March 31, 2018, 03:06:46 PM »
She had dropped her pack at my rock, and did the "boot scoot and boogie" down the small fold in the hillside, with the intention of making it to a small rock about 50-75 yards in front of us. The trek there went better than expected (we had thought in the least she would stand the pair up) and she put the buck in her scope. A 200 yard shot, and a laying shot were new territory for her. I tried to make some noise to get the pair to stand as I started to film. The video I was taking shook violently, as I did NOT expect a shot while the two were laying down. When I got the lens back into position, the doe was staring at the buck, chewing her cud, as he lay completely lifeless next to her. She had taken advantage of the opportunity for a neck shot, and had placed it right where it was needed. She looked back at me and gave me a thumbs up as I ended the video. I grabbed our packs and worked down to her. In amazement, we both commented on the fact that the doe was STILL bedded next to the buck. I couldn't help myself: half curious, half in morbid fascination I videoed while my mom worked down to examine her prize. The doe looked from my mom back to the buck several times before finally standing when my mom was less than 100 yards away. The doe finally relented to the fact that her fella wasn't going to follow her when my mom closed the distance to about 50 yards. My commentary in that video will probably only be shared with family and friends.  :chuckle: :chuckle: :chuckle:
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Offline hirshey

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Re: Hirshey's Idaho Hunt 2017
« Reply #19 on: March 31, 2018, 03:08:38 PM »
I sent Derrick and Jeff a message on the InReach letting them know of my mother's success and glided/stumbled down the frozen slope to share in the moment.

(video of the packout: https://www.instagram.com/p/BbyG-tdjqt3/ )
« Last Edit: March 31, 2018, 03:22:02 PM by hirshey »
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Offline hirshey

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Re: Hirshey's Idaho Hunt 2017
« Reply #20 on: March 31, 2018, 03:20:44 PM »
Derrick and Jeff arrived to our location just as dark set in (and just in time for sherpa duties!). They celebrated in my mom's success, and on our hike back to spike camp they recounted the struggles of their day; heavy, heavy snow with little to no animals seen. Overall, a good lesson in not spending any more of our energy trying to go that direction. We enjoyed evening beverages in the comfort of our 8 man tipi and discussed the game plan for tomorrow: it was decided to take a quick peek in our target drainages in the morning... if we didn't see anything of interest, we would take my mom's deer back to base camp and gain another ridgeline with the intent of ending the day's adventures back at spike camp. We all slept soundly, aided by long day's work and a little whiskey or wine.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2018, 12:16:12 AM by hirshey »
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Offline hirshey

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Re: Hirshey's Idaho Hunt 2017
« Reply #21 on: March 31, 2018, 03:26:46 PM »
The next morning, we trekked up the steep slopes fueled by coffee and oatmeal. Our target basins revealed the same bucks we'd encountered in previous days, as well as an interesting surprise; my mother's carcass was completely consumed. Everything aside from the rumen and a pile of hair had been consumed overnight. The culprits were easy to determine in the snow above our prep site even if the characteristics of the scene had not been obvious...
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Offline hirshey

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Re: Hirshey's Idaho Hunt 2017
« Reply #22 on: March 31, 2018, 03:30:29 PM »
Since our basins hadn't yielded the caliber of buck we were seeking (that mature age class was our goal moreso than antler configuration) we packed up my mother's deer and headed back to base camp.
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Offline hirshey

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Re: Hirshey's Idaho Hunt 2017
« Reply #23 on: March 31, 2018, 03:37:00 PM »
We decided to stay the night at base camp and enjoy the comforts of loftier sleeping bags and one of our "fresh meals". The target area for the next morning would remain the same as we had previously discussed, but we'd have more time to comb over every nook and cranny for the bucks we were seeking. I wouldn't say we sprung out of bed the next morning, as the previous few days had created a few aches and pains, but we were all packed and ready for the day's adventures and starting to gain the slopes as a mixture of freezing fog and low-passing clouds shrouded our trek.
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Offline hirshey

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Re: Hirshey's Idaho Hunt 2017
« Reply #24 on: March 31, 2018, 03:44:48 PM »
The sun waged war against the fog and clouds, and provided us with solid windows of visibility to glass the areas we were most interested in seeing. It started to become apparent to us that the older age class of bucks we were accustomed to being able to find were going to be more difficult to obtain this season. In the last 3-4 hours of the day we glassed up that same career 3x3 we had seen on multiple occasions before... he was still the dominant buck in his basin... no big boys were coming to usurp him. Derrick decided that he would be very happy at an opportunity at that buck, so with my mother and Jeff watching, we picked our way across the terrain to try to close the gap.

I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Offline hirshey

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Re: Hirshey's Idaho Hunt 2017
« Reply #25 on: March 31, 2018, 03:51:03 PM »
The day simply wasn't meant to be ours, as was evidenced by the barrage of snow, freezing fog, and wind that met us halfway through our stalk. In a break in the weather we were able to see the buck still bedded. We planned on using the next wave of fog to gain our final position, but shivering and impatient, we moved a moment too soon. When the next window of visibility arrived, the buck had worked his way up the open hillside. I ranged him at an inconsistent 340-380 yards depending on what the instrument could pick up, and we decided not to push him anymore that day. We watched him crest a ridgeline, pushing his harem in front of him.

 
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Offline hirshey

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Re: Hirshey's Idaho Hunt 2017
« Reply #26 on: March 31, 2018, 03:57:08 PM »
By the time we had worked our way to spike camp in the last moments of visibility, it was confirmed: Derrick had a bone to pick with that 3x3, and over any other animal on the hillside, that was the one he wanted to come home with. We made a good game plan for the next day based on the typical behavior of that animal as well as his last known location, with the intention of getting Derrick his second ever deer... one I was set on SEEING go down this time! I had a difficult time sleeping that night out of excitement... personally watching Derrick go from curious observer, to participant, to active hunter had been a very proud moment for me... it had slayed me in Washington to not be there for his first harvest, so I was excited to make amends here in Idaho. The wind shook the sides of our tipi, the glow of the stove slowly waned, and the morning EVER so slowly arrived. 
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Offline Oh Mah

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Re: Hirshey's Idaho Hunt 2017
« Reply #27 on: March 31, 2018, 03:59:40 PM »
great pics. what is it that you are using on the muzzle of the rifle?
"Boss of the woods"

Offline hirshey

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Re: Hirshey's Idaho Hunt 2017
« Reply #28 on: March 31, 2018, 04:03:13 PM »
great pics. what is it that you are using on the muzzle of the rifle?

There are these really cool things I'm pretty sure are called "gun condoms" we used to keep debris/moisture out of the barrel of the rifle. They are SUPER handy for muzzleloaders, especially when we used to hunt the west side. We found its actually a lot cheaper and just as effective to just cut the fingers off of latex gloves and tape it on with electrical tape. You can shoot right through it, no worries and it adds that peace of mind that you don't have any debris in your barrel when you're hiking through timber and brush all day.
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Offline Oh Mah

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Re: Hirshey's Idaho Hunt 2017
« Reply #29 on: March 31, 2018, 04:18:05 PM »
Awesome thanks for the tip.
"Boss of the woods"

 

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