collapse
Quality Hunts for over 30 Years

Author Topic: Hirshey's Idaho Hunt 2017  (Read 5350 times)

Offline hirshey

  • Global Moderator
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Sourdough
  • *****
  • Join Date: Nov 2009
  • Posts: 2157
  • Location: Central Washington
Re: Hirshey's Idaho Hunt 2017
« Reply #30 on: March 31, 2018, 04:27:39 PM »
We started the day with a high level of confidence that we'd be boning out an animal on a steep slope sometime that morning; the weather had calmed down, we were all feeling physically rested, and we had seen that 3x3 nearly every day of the hunt. Our confidence turned out to be ill-earned, because noon came and left with no sightings of our intended prey. We found smaller bucks and scattered does, but many of the familiar animals were nowhere to be found. Eventually, Jeff and my mother left to gain the high ridgeline and get a different perspective, while Derrick and I pushed towards the far basin to gain access to the hidden bench I mentioned the day my mother harvested her buck. We were working our way up an open ridge, spotting small groups of animals above us and in each valley, but still not that 3x3. A younger deer we photographed earlier (many of you looked at that photo :chuckle:) with a few fun extras stood up and started traversing towards a few does. As much as we were trying to let him age out a few more years, we hadn't seen much else and temptation won. I offered the idea that perhaps Derrick should pursue that buck. We talked about the benefits/drawbacks of that idea for a few moments before he consented. We were coming up with a game plan, watching as that buck started interacting with those does, when our game plan went out the window; that buck expressing interest in those does was all it took to get the 3x3 to materialize from a fold in the snow and defend his turf... the two postured at each other in a never-ending standoff.

"Want to get into position and 1,2,3 shoot? You can have your 3 and I'll take the sticker buck..."

We abandoned our packs at our perch. Our pace increased, even with the unforgiving slope as we tried to gain another 800 feet in elevation and close the distance to under 250. We wanted to get to a small bench in a rock outcropping and assess the situation from there. We lost sight of the two competitors as we worked our way up the rocks, out of sight from the unsuspecting animals. Derrick later admitted to having a HUGE rush of buck fever, especially with the notion of both filling our tags together, but even the most exciting plans are sometimes not meant to be... whatever happened while we were out of sight, the 3x3 had asserted his dominance, and the sticker buck was 700 yards and retreating up the hill and out of sight. The 3x3 was bedded with his does, and within proficient distance for Derrick. I assured him I did NOT mind whatsoever that he tagged out solo, and he set up for a shot. Even though it worked out well for my mom, I advised Derrick NOT to try to shoot the buck in the bedded position; I told him I'd howl and get them to stand up. I had my optics on them, not wanting to miss a moment when I let out a howl. All eyes were our direction, but nobody decided to stand. I waited 15 seconds and tried again. Same. I decided to transition from a laying position to a crouched position so the animals could see my silhouette... in the process, I took my optics off of the deer.

***BOOM***

I jumped, in shock at the sound I wasn't anticipating yet again, and scrambled to get my bearings back and my binoculars up on the deer. I got the buck in my view just in time to watch him do a forward cartwheel in the snow.

"Should I shoot him again??"

"No, he's down for good! Congrats love!!!"

We made a game plan and I snapped a quick photo through my scope of his prize (empty chamber with safety on). Derrick was going to stay and watch for another moment until he felt confident the deer was not mobile. I was going to ascend for our gear and meet him at the deer.
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Offline hirshey

  • Global Moderator
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Sourdough
  • *****
  • Join Date: Nov 2009
  • Posts: 2157
  • Location: Central Washington
Re: Hirshey's Idaho Hunt 2017
« Reply #31 on: March 31, 2018, 05:05:00 PM »
I was so excited to get up to him that the weight of a couple packs and deep snow hardly seemed an obstacle, but I did snap a few photos as an excuse to take a breather on the way up.  :chuckle:
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Offline hirshey

  • Global Moderator
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Sourdough
  • *****
  • Join Date: Nov 2009
  • Posts: 2157
  • Location: Central Washington
Re: Hirshey's Idaho Hunt 2017
« Reply #32 on: March 31, 2018, 05:10:58 PM »
We decided to use terrain and gravity to our advantage; we performed a controlled slide with the deer until we ran out of snow and were able to find something resembling flat ground to work on for processing the animal. My mom and Jeff quickly arrived and we took some more photos and got to work.
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Offline hirshey

  • Global Moderator
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Sourdough
  • *****
  • Join Date: Nov 2009
  • Posts: 2157
  • Location: Central Washington
Re: Hirshey's Idaho Hunt 2017
« Reply #33 on: March 31, 2018, 05:24:13 PM »
We made it back to spike with heavy packs and light hearts, knowing half the tags had been filled. Coming up with a game plan on how to find animals for the last two tags seemed a heavier task, though. My mom had left the site of Derrick's deer a little early to ensure some daylight hours to pack up her belongings from spike camp. She was hoping to stick around to see most of the tags filled, but some of the big days early on coupled with the grand plans and schemes to come brought her to the decision that she was ready to head for home.. the snow added another element of fatigue, and she knew herself well enough to know she was ready to call it while she was still having fun. After our brief stop at spike for a few belongings, we hit the hills with the heavy load of Derrick's deer accompanying us to base camp. We discussed over warm beverages and venison chili what the next few days' adventures looked like, and shared our last evening in the hills with my mom for this trip.
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Offline hirshey

  • Global Moderator
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Sourdough
  • *****
  • Join Date: Nov 2009
  • Posts: 2157
  • Location: Central Washington
Re: Hirshey's Idaho Hunt 2017
« Reply #34 on: March 31, 2018, 05:37:58 PM »
We were all a little slow getting out of sleeping bags by this point in the trip, but managed to help my mom pack some of her belongings before hitting the hills for a big day of exploring new ground. We headed off in a new direction, intent on putting in a sizeable loop for the day. As time would reveal, we spotted a handful of decent bucks well into rut behaviors, but just none of those older class animals we had our hearts set on. We witnessed plenty of predator activity in the form of additional wolf tracks, two hunter kills they had claimed similar to my mother's carcass, and tracks following fresh elk tracks. Jeff's heart ached once more when he photographed a bull elk Michael would have been lucky to have an opportunity to pursue. We made it back to base camp again that evening with an appreciation for the new ground we'd covered, and little in the way of a game plan for the morning. We decided to see how our feet felt as we climbed in my 12 man tipi, only 3 strong at this juncture.

Now, to divert from the main storyline here... if anyone has been reading my adventures for long, you may have recalled that my buddy Jeff has an ongoing war with the mice in Washington AND Idaho alike... for some reason, he wakes up to them crawling across his face, pooping in his coffee cup (organic grounds??  :chuckle: ), and chewing on his snacks. He's karate chopped a few to their demise in the nights... but their brethren always come back to avenge them. Usually, it is only Jeff they bother. But we came back to base camp that evening to find "treasures" over all of our belongings, and clothing chewed to pieces. It was decided the little buggers had to pay, so with a few of the buckets we'd brought, we fashioned water traps: fill the bucket 1/3 with water, put peanut butter 3 inches below the rim, provide a ramp to the rim, and the little guys try to snag the peanut butter and fall in. Derrick and I were welcomed back out of sleep in the dead of the night to Jeff's triumphant celebration and the sound of splashing not once, but twice. Shirts stayed intact and droppings seemed to cease showing up down at base camp after that.
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Offline hirshey

  • Global Moderator
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Sourdough
  • *****
  • Join Date: Nov 2009
  • Posts: 2157
  • Location: Central Washington
Re: Hirshey's Idaho Hunt 2017
« Reply #35 on: March 31, 2018, 05:53:54 PM »
In the morning, our tired feet dictated that we probably trek familiar terrain. We agreed to gain a well-traveled ridge, glass a few basins, descend into a drainage and conquer another peak we had found some good animals on in years past. The plan didn't get put too far into motion, because as we ascended the first 700 feet of elevation I paused to glass a hillside across the drainage from us.

Apparently I have a certain posturing and tone I get when I find an animal I'm excited about, because without having put glass on the animal, Jeff and Derrick both knew my initial reaction was positive. I guided them in to the buck's location, and Jeff started to take photos. We reviewed them, and it reinforced my enthusiasm for pursuing that buck. I asked Jeff to stay put and watch the buck, who was on the move pushing a few does across the steep, rocky terrain. Derrick and I would drop back down in elevation and ascend the ridge adjacent to him, hoping for an opportunity to catch him moving across the terrain, or move in on him. I flew to the bottom and started unpacking my bag with the exception of the essentials. We had planned on staying up at spike for a handful of days so I was carrying a lot of extra weight. Derrick was slower navigating the frozen terrain, so he was still halfway up the hill when I crossed the stream and attacked the same slope the buck had been navigating.
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Offline hirshey

  • Global Moderator
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Sourdough
  • *****
  • Join Date: Nov 2009
  • Posts: 2157
  • Location: Central Washington
Re: Hirshey's Idaho Hunt 2017
« Reply #36 on: March 31, 2018, 05:59:20 PM »
I kept climbing, keeping an eye on a rock feature the buck had been below when I had last seen him. Up, up, up. I slowed as my ascent brought me into position where I thought the buck might be able to see me. I communicated with Jeff on the InReach as Derrick caught up.

I can't recall the precise words exchanged, but the gist of the conversation was that as Jeff looked down to message me, he had lost sight of the buck. He couldn't find him on the hillside anymore, and I did not have eyes on him either. All actions to move across the hill paused as we all searched for him... we could all see the doe he had expressed the most interest in, but none of us could turn up the buck. I told Derrick I was going to use the terrain and a small tree to my advantage to get a different angle. He stayed put.
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Offline hirshey

  • Global Moderator
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Sourdough
  • *****
  • Join Date: Nov 2009
  • Posts: 2157
  • Location: Central Washington
Re: Hirshey's Idaho Hunt 2017
« Reply #37 on: March 31, 2018, 06:02:40 PM »
The minutes crept into hours as I painstakingly crawled across the hillside using any cover I could find to change views while keeping my eye on the buck's doe. He HAD to be close, but every time my mind accused a branch of being an antler tip, or a log of being a small view of his body, I was able to recuse the notions. Where was he?
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Offline hirshey

  • Global Moderator
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Sourdough
  • *****
  • Join Date: Nov 2009
  • Posts: 2157
  • Location: Central Washington
Re: Hirshey's Idaho Hunt 2017
« Reply #38 on: March 31, 2018, 06:08:53 PM »
Jeff continued to search the hillside from his viewpoint, assuring me the buck HAD to be there someplace, but also unable to turn him up.

I decided to plan on the buck eventually wanting to tend to his doe, so I scooted slowly into position, crab-walking down a sandy slope with the aim of making it to a small fir tree for cover. Thrice I paused as the doe heard the hillside loose pebbles down the frozen slope. All three times, she eventually lost interest and looked away. I made it to the fir tree and continued to scan the hill... I was rewarded with an abrupt end to my waiting; the buck was working through a small stringer of timber headed right for his babe. I flipped my scope covers up, propped the stock on a small branch of the fir tree, and tracked the buck with my crosshairs.
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Offline hirshey

  • Global Moderator
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Sourdough
  • *****
  • Join Date: Nov 2009
  • Posts: 2157
  • Location: Central Washington
Re: Hirshey's Idaho Hunt 2017
« Reply #39 on: March 31, 2018, 06:15:31 PM »
He was on the move: not running, but intent on getting to his doe. All he had to do was pause for a moment, and I knew he'd be mine. I anticipated that moment coming after he disappeared behind a boulder and met up with the doe on the other side, but he stopped, perfectly broadside with his head behind the rock but his vitals exposed. I squeezed the trigger. The recoil didn't even take him out of my scope; I watched him kick and furiously sprint up the hillside after the doe. I knew he wouldn't make it far as I witnessed the crimson coloration right behind his shoulder grow to the size of a dinner plate. He switched directions and I briefly second-guessed myself and wondered if I should take a follow-up shot, but he was out of sight on the steep slope more quickly than the thought had emerged. At last glance, I saw him stumble. YES.
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Offline hirshey

  • Global Moderator
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Sourdough
  • *****
  • Join Date: Nov 2009
  • Posts: 2157
  • Location: Central Washington
Re: Hirshey's Idaho Hunt 2017
« Reply #40 on: March 31, 2018, 06:21:56 PM »
I gathered my composure and my belongings and headed across the frozen, rocky drainage in pursuit. I pulled out my InReach and my heart sank.

"I see him!" "He's moving through the trees" .... all things I considered were prior to the shot.

"Get ready for a shot!""He got up!"

...what??  :yike:

I stumbled around the ridge, looking downhill of the last location I saw him, and scanning the hillsides around. I pulled out my InReach to ask if the buck really was still on the move when the messages: "You smoked him!" "he's down! congrats, friend!" arrived. Those previous messages had been sent prior to my shot... but the wording definitely had my heart going. I scanned the hillside and found my buck caught in the brush less than 10 yards from where I stood. All that stress for nothing!
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Offline hirshey

  • Global Moderator
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Sourdough
  • *****
  • Join Date: Nov 2009
  • Posts: 2157
  • Location: Central Washington
Re: Hirshey's Idaho Hunt 2017
« Reply #41 on: March 31, 2018, 06:22:23 PM »
I took a moment to marvel at him before Derrick arrived.
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Offline hirshey

  • Global Moderator
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Sourdough
  • *****
  • Join Date: Nov 2009
  • Posts: 2157
  • Location: Central Washington
Re: Hirshey's Idaho Hunt 2017
« Reply #42 on: March 31, 2018, 06:25:05 PM »
 :tup:

((Jeff's video of the shot: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bb0M3VID-8e/ ))
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Offline hirshey

  • Global Moderator
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Sourdough
  • *****
  • Join Date: Nov 2009
  • Posts: 2157
  • Location: Central Washington
Re: Hirshey's Idaho Hunt 2017
« Reply #43 on: March 31, 2018, 06:31:06 PM »
Jeff hustled off of his slope and arrived at our location much faster than I imagined, and we hauled that beautiful buck to a small saddle and commenced caping/boning operations. Aces at this point in the season, we arrived back at base camp with plenty of light to spare. We celebrated, ate extremely well, and looked forward to having 3 days to get Jeff into a beauty of his own. 
« Last Edit: March 31, 2018, 06:37:37 PM by hirshey »
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Offline hirshey

  • Global Moderator
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Sourdough
  • *****
  • Join Date: Nov 2009
  • Posts: 2157
  • Location: Central Washington
Re: Hirshey's Idaho Hunt 2017
« Reply #44 on: March 31, 2018, 06:46:38 PM »
The following day brought us back up to spike camp, with a few encounters with new bucks, but still no king of the mountain in areas of good genetics in previous years. We found ourselves arriving back at spike camp after a blustery day to a foul surprise: the mice had found us up at spike camp in the snow, too! The casualties were high: collapsible coffee cups were chewed through, pants were sodden with feces and urine, another shirt was scattered with holes, bivy sacks were compromised... and they even put a hole in the boxed wine bladder, which then soaked items in wine.... those RATS! ...err.. mice!! Jeff concocted yet another mouse trap... he put some peanut butter in a gallon ziplock bag. When the mice crawled in to enjoy the snack, he commenced his signature karate chop. Two mice found their demise that night, and again evidence of tampering ceased. Our plan for the next day found us exploring the peak we had intended to navigate the day I harvested my buck. Intermittent snow storms made glassing a little difficult, but we gained a good vantage point about the time the weather decided to cooperate.
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

 

* Recent Topics

Field ESS Or Field EC Puppy by Schmalzfam
[Today at 01:38:03 PM]


Carport Ribs by rasbo
[Today at 01:28:52 PM]


Dead 2 point mulies by Jonathan_S
[Today at 01:13:24 PM]


Easrern wa Fisher by ThomMedic
[Today at 01:08:28 PM]


Seeking Someone to Help Fill a Bear Tag *You can have the bear meat. by Bango skank
[Today at 01:00:41 PM]


Benchmark barrels by b23
[Today at 12:56:33 PM]


Good luck to all! by CascadeKid
[Today at 12:38:51 PM]


For Sale- 285/70R17 BFG KO2 by Salmonmoocher12
[Today at 12:19:32 PM]


2018 Deer, post them here by wheels
[Today at 11:59:05 AM]


Looks like a wet opener by HoofsandWings
[Today at 11:56:37 AM]


wolf? by Rubenation1981
[Today at 11:45:05 AM]


fs corney kegs by brew
[Today at 11:43:01 AM]


2018, ELK, Post them here! by Antlershed
[Today at 11:32:30 AM]


Palisades disabled hunt by Gsp90
[Today at 10:39:16 AM]


Winchester Model 70 30-06 w/ Leupold Scope by bobcat
[Today at 10:29:02 AM]


WTB Marlin 1894C by Bango skank
[Today at 10:20:10 AM]


according to steve rinella by PlateauNDN
[Today at 10:16:40 AM]


Montana 2019 ? by vandeman17
[Today at 10:13:37 AM]


blacktail deer pre-rut by BigGoonTuna
[Today at 10:04:41 AM]


Gamo Swarm Magnum .22 airgun by LEN
[Today at 09:56:59 AM]