collapse

Advertisement


Author Topic: Pathfinder's Idaho Deer Hunt  (Read 9903 times)

Offline Pathfinder101

  • The Chosen YAR
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Explorer
  • ******
  • Join Date: Jan 2009
  • Posts: 10307
  • Location: Southeast WA
  • Semper Primus
Re: Pathfinder's Idaho Deer Hunt
« Reply #120 on: November 08, 2019, 03:48:21 PM »
The next morning we got into position and as soon as it got light I could see JR signaling me that he could see a buck.  I set up for a shot and waited for the buck to feed into view.  I was in position between the buck and the treeline, so I knew that he would have to come past me to bed.  The wind was right, and he would not be able to see me.  As the light got brighter, I could see antler tips working my way over the roll of the hill less than 300 yards in front of me.  As he fed into sight, I got him in my scope and waited for my shot.  When he put up his head, my heart sank.  Young buck, no eyeguards.
Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes.  That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

Offline Pathfinder101

  • The Chosen YAR
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Explorer
  • ******
  • Join Date: Jan 2009
  • Posts: 10307
  • Location: Southeast WA
  • Semper Primus
Re: Pathfinder's Idaho Deer Hunt
« Reply #121 on: November 08, 2019, 03:50:19 PM »
I watched as he fed past me at 150 yards and headed to the treeline to bed.  When he was out of sight, I got up and walked to the top of the saddle so I could see the bedding area that these two bucks had been alternately clocking in and out of.  Immediately, I spotted two deer on the side of the mountain across the canyon over a mile away.  Through my binoculars I could tell they were both good bucks.
I set up my spotting scope and had about a minute to look them over before they slipped into the timber to bed.  The smaller buck was at least 26” wide, with a nice frame but crabby forks both front and back.  The bigger buck was beautiful.  At least 170”, about the same width as the other buck but deep forks and heavy antlers. 
Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes.  That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

Offline Pathfinder101

  • The Chosen YAR
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Explorer
  • ******
  • Join Date: Jan 2009
  • Posts: 10307
  • Location: Southeast WA
  • Semper Primus
Re: Pathfinder's Idaho Deer Hunt
« Reply #122 on: November 08, 2019, 03:52:36 PM »
I am a teacher, and I had school starting in just a couple of days, so I knew tomorrow would be my last day to hunt.  Time to go for broke.  I wanted to be at that treeline that night when they came out to feed.  I had talked to a guy a few days before that had harvested a good buck at that treeline.  He had told me how to get in there, but had warned me that because of the tall sage and the roll of the hill it was very difficult to get a view of the hill to get a good shot.  He said that he had gotten lucky that his buck came out in just the right spot.  He had also said that a cliff prevented a hike straight to the spot, and the only route to that mountainside was a 4 mile loop up the steep trail that Little Pathfinder and I had climbed before, then sidehilling the steep hill through the tall sage. 
PathfinderJR had to get back to Walla Walla that night, so we bid him farewell and Little Pathfinder and I packed our rucks and headed up the mountain that afternoon.  After a brutal hike in we made it to a flat spot to camp.  We had the sage hill 500 yards behind us and the treeline 600 yards in front of us, but the guy we had talked to earlier had been correct.  There was just no good place to sit and watch the treeline.  To make matters worse, we had a bad wind.  We sat and glassed that night, but nothing came out.  Not surprising, since I felt that our scent was probably blowing right into their bedding area.  All I could do was hope that the wind would be different in the morning. 
Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes.  That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

Offline Pathfinder101

  • The Chosen YAR
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Explorer
  • ******
  • Join Date: Jan 2009
  • Posts: 10307
  • Location: Southeast WA
  • Semper Primus
Re: Pathfinder's Idaho Deer Hunt
« Reply #123 on: November 08, 2019, 03:56:13 PM »
It wasn’t.  When I woke up, I could tell the wind was exactly the same.  I didn’t even wake up Little Pathfinder, but I dutifully walked the couple of hundred yards to the spot I had been sitting last night and set up, hoping for a miracle.
  About an hour after daylight, I knew nothing was going to come out and I got up to walk back to the tent.  As I rounded the corner, I looked up on the sage covered hill 500 yards behind the tent and saw a white mule deer butt.  I dropped to my belly and fished out my binos.  It was the crabby 4x4.  He was a little over 700 yards, but the wind was gusting.  Too far to try a shot.  I had a single, large pine tree that was next to the tent that I could put between us.  I figured that if I could make it to that tree I could get to within 400 yards, wait for a break in the gusting wind and make the shot. 
I carefully maneuvered to put the tree between us and squat walked as far as the tent.  Little Pathfinder was still asleep inside.  I passed the tent and was within 100 yards of the tree and noticed a movement on the hill.  In plain view, I saw a buck silhouetted on the hill in front of me.  “When did he move that far to my left?” I thought, then suddenly realized that it wasn’t the crabby 4x4.  It was the 170” buck with the deep forks.  And he has seen me.  He was looking intently at me.  I was still about 500 yards from both bucks, and the wind was still stiff and gusting.  I dropped to my belly and pulled out my bipod legs.  I found the deer in my scope, but he was already headed over the hill and all I could see was his head and neck as he trotted over the hill and out of sight.  This of course alerted the crabby buck, and I caught a glimpse of him as he trotted over the hill as well. 
Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes.  That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

Offline Pathfinder101

  • The Chosen YAR
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Explorer
  • ******
  • Join Date: Jan 2009
  • Posts: 10307
  • Location: Southeast WA
  • Semper Primus
Re: Pathfinder's Idaho Deer Hunt
« Reply #124 on: November 08, 2019, 03:59:03 PM »
I had no choice but to be back in Walla Walla the next day, so this would be my last full day to hunt.  Little Pathfinder and I packed up our camp and slowly hiked back out towards the trailhead.  We worked our way to the head of the canyon that was the top of our loop back to the truck.  We had found a much better trail to hike out than the bushwacking we had done to get in there the day before, and found ourselves waking through some broken meadows.  We came around the corner of the trail and spotted a good buck bedded underneath a tree about 300 yards ahead.  Unfortunately, he spotted us the same time as we spotted him and by the time I had my pack off my back and my rifle out he was gone.  We hiked the rest of the way back to the truck and broke down our wall tent camp.  Packing up the truck, I got a message from one of the local guys we had been exchanging notes with.  He knew it was my last day to hunt and suggested that we try a spot where he had seen some bucks the night before.  Nothing great, but he though a couple of them might be over 150” and I thought that would be better than tag soup. 
Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes.  That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

Offline Pathfinder101

  • The Chosen YAR
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Explorer
  • ******
  • Join Date: Jan 2009
  • Posts: 10307
  • Location: Southeast WA
  • Semper Primus
Re: Pathfinder's Idaho Deer Hunt
« Reply #125 on: November 08, 2019, 04:01:13 PM »
We drove to the area and set up in the spot he described.  A few deer came out that night, but nothing bigger than a 3 point, so we passed on them and set up the backpacking tent, hopeful that our final morning would bring a shooter buck grazing on the hillside when we awoke.
I was awoken at about 2:00 am by what sounded like an incoming train.  My heart sank when I realized that it was the wind.  For the rest of the night the mountain (and our tent) got pounded with gusts of wind.  I awoke before light and made my way through the wind to my glassing point, already fearful of the result.  My fears were well founded.  Not a thing.  I suffered through the windstorm for about an hour after daylight broke, but the landscape was barren. 
Little Pathfinder and I packed up camp and headed home.
Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes.  That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

Offline Pathfinder101

  • The Chosen YAR
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Explorer
  • ******
  • Join Date: Jan 2009
  • Posts: 10307
  • Location: Southeast WA
  • Semper Primus
Re: Pathfinder's Idaho Deer Hunt
« Reply #126 on: November 08, 2019, 04:03:57 PM »
In the end, it was a great hunt that I’ll always remember.  I want to thank everyone who came on here and offered advice and those members that PM’ed me with information.  I took every piece of advice to heart and did my best to follow it.  At the end of the day, I ate the first quality tag I have ever drawn in my life, but I came away with a ton of experience and a great time spent with my two boys, especially Little Pathfinder, who was with me every day, hiked every step necessary and gave me advice that I probably should have listened to more often. 
Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes.  That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

Offline Pathfinder101

  • The Chosen YAR
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Explorer
  • ******
  • Join Date: Jan 2009
  • Posts: 10307
  • Location: Southeast WA
  • Semper Primus
Re: Pathfinder's Idaho Deer Hunt
« Reply #127 on: November 08, 2019, 04:09:33 PM »
Statistically, I’ll never draw this tag again, but I hope I do.  It certainly was not a slam-dunk hunt, and a lot of the locals were disappointed in the number and quality of bucks they were seeing.  There was a lot of talk about predator management, and several guys I talked to saw mountain lions during their hunt.  I did see a picture of one deer killed later in the hunt that went over 200”, but most guys (a couple who had drawn the tag before) said the unit wasn’t what it used to be.  I’ll take that with a grain of salt, since none of the units where I hunt are ever “what they used to be”, but I do know that two guys that were holding out for huge bucks killed deer that were less than 170”.     
Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes.  That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

Offline Pathfinder101

  • The Chosen YAR
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Explorer
  • ******
  • Join Date: Jan 2009
  • Posts: 10307
  • Location: Southeast WA
  • Semper Primus
Re: Pathfinder's Idaho Deer Hunt
« Reply #128 on: November 08, 2019, 04:11:42 PM »
One more thing; I met a lot of local Idaho guys that I expected would be annoyed with the one “out of stater” that drew this tag.  Maybe it was the Army Ranger sticker in the back window of my truck, or my retired Army ball cap, but I never got so much as a sideways look from anyone.  Everyone was friendly, helpful and seemed genuinely rooting for me to kill a buck.  I never felt like I was sent on a goose-chase, and a couple of guys kept in contact with me and kept encouraging me to get back down there as the season progressed and the moon and weather improved.  Unfortunately, this proved impossible.  I told one guy about the buck with the stickers and the 170” buck in the tough location and even marked their locations on a map for him.  He did located the stickers buck and he took a bedded neck-shot at him in the wind and missed, but he confirmed for me that the buck was indeed over 160” and had trash on it’s back forks, so PathfinderJR was right about that buck.  Maybe I was just lucky, but I met a lot of guys on this trip, and every one of them seemed like great guys.
Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes.  That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

Offline Pathfinder101

  • The Chosen YAR
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Explorer
  • ******
  • Join Date: Jan 2009
  • Posts: 10307
  • Location: Southeast WA
  • Semper Primus
Re: Pathfinder's Idaho Deer Hunt
« Reply #129 on: November 08, 2019, 04:37:10 PM »
And again, I apologize for waiting so long to get this write up posted.  To make a long story short, CoryTDF is correct.  The colonel that I co-taught with for 8 years moved on last year to start a new ROTC program elsewhere and the school hasn't found a permanent replacement for him yet, so I have been running our 150 student program pretty much alone this year.  That includes me doing "officer-things" that sergeants aren't trained for, like doing budgets and paperwork and the like.  I had surgery yesterday and am off work and recovering today, which is why I had time to get on here and finally tell the story.  Thanks for everyone's patience with me.

... Oh, and if any of you knows a retired Army officer that needs a job and wants to relocate to mule deer country... send me a PM. (I'll even let him in on my honey-holes at this point, if that helps... 8)
Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes.  That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

Offline Brushbuster

  • Non-Hunting Topics
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Longhunter
  • *****
  • Join Date: Aug 2007
  • Posts: 676
Re: Pathfinder's Idaho Deer Hunt
« Reply #130 on: November 08, 2019, 04:42:08 PM »
Thank you for taking the time to writeup your adventure & share pics of the hunt! What an awesome experience & memories made!  :tup:

I also got to hunt SE ID for the first time this yr & still have an unnotched tag! Ugh!!  :bash:  Next time.  :tup:

Offline jjhunter

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Sourdough
  • *****
  • Join Date: Jul 2008
  • Posts: 1760
  • Location: Mule Deer Country
  • Aim small. Miss small.
Re: Pathfinder's Idaho Deer Hunt
« Reply #131 on: November 08, 2019, 04:58:29 PM »
Thanks for posting the story!!  I know I’ve eaten my share of great tags - sometimes it just doesn’t work out.  It’s like an old rancher I worked for used to say “a guy who says he never lost a calf, never had any”.   

 BTW, I think you met my buddy at a cafe who was down hunting with his 11 year old super tag holding kiddo.   They ended their journey last week with a pretty 190” typical.


Offline Pathfinder101

  • The Chosen YAR
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Explorer
  • ******
  • Join Date: Jan 2009
  • Posts: 10307
  • Location: Southeast WA
  • Semper Primus
Re: Pathfinder's Idaho Deer Hunt
« Reply #132 on: November 08, 2019, 09:07:38 PM »
Thanks for posting the story!!  I know I’ve eaten my share of great tags - sometimes it just doesn’t work out.  It’s like an old rancher I worked for used to say “a guy who says he never lost a calf, never had any”.   

 BTW, I think you met my buddy at a cafe who was down hunting with his 11 year old super tag holding kiddo.   They ended their journey last week with a pretty 190” typical.
Yes, I did meet them.  Great guy.  Kid passed on a narrow, tall 170" deer that I could never have had the stones to let go.  We tried finding that buck, but I think he only showed once on opening day and then realized hunting season was on and went nocturnal like the rest of them.
Glad to hear the kid got his buck.  I'd love to see a picture of it.
Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes.  That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

Online boneaddict

  • Site Sponsor
  • Administrator
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Legend
  • *****
  • Join Date: Mar 2007
  • Posts: 45061
  • Location: Selah, Washington
Re: Pathfinder's Idaho Deer Hunt
« Reply #133 on: November 10, 2019, 08:33:28 AM »
I’m just glad you are ok. 

Sounds to me like you had a fantastic trip with your boys (some of them men now).   Shooting a buck would have just been icing, but sadly might have ended your trip early.   I think you got what hunting is about!   Thanks for taking the time to share your hunt.   

Offline EsotericPA

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Pilgrim
  • *
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Posts: 18
  • Location: Riverside, WA
Re: Pathfinder's Idaho Deer Hunt
« Reply #134 on: November 10, 2019, 02:02:41 PM »
Great write up and it was fun to follow along  :tup:

 


* Advertisement

* Recent Topics