By: Bears Butt

As in all sports, archery has its rules and names, just like baseball has bases, innings, outs etc., in archery, when you shoot an arrow at a target it is called an “end”, and ends can be one arrow or a thousand or more. There is no limit to the total number of arrows you shoot before you go down range and collect them, but there is a minimum….one.

A one arrow end is not a bad way to practice shooting. Some say it’s the only way to practice to become proficient, because you must concentrate on that ONE arrow to make it hit where you wish it to hit. After the shot, you have to walk down range to retrieve your arrow, which give you time to think about the shot you just made and how to adjust to improve it, or to congratulate yourself on how well you shot.

Well, Weasel and I shoot 6 arrow ends in our practice sessions and we practice nearly every day, shooting anywhere from 10 to 20 ends. The arrows we shoot are heavy in today’s standards, his are upwards of 700 grains, while mine are nearly 600 grains. Both of us have most of the weight in the front of the arrow, which is coined “Front of Center”, or FOC for short. Both of our arrow setups are over 30% FOC. The reasoning is that the heavy weight up front pulls the arrow through the air as is flys toward the target, it also helps in penetration once it hits the target, an added benefit is it makes the bow quieter when it is shot.

Weasel shoots a long bow he made, I shoot a recurve bow. Neither of our bows have sights in which to aim the arrow, but we both have developed our way of getting the arrow to the desired target without much problem. We just have to be fairly close to the target to get it done. We practice at 20 yards. Do we always hit the target or where we desire to hit? Hardly. But we keep trying and that is what is most important.

The goal here is to be able to put the arrow where we want when we are hunting big game. A properly placed arrow will humanely kill a big game animal in less than 30 seconds. To some this doesn’t seem like a humane thing at all, but trust me, the animal does not know it’s dying until it’s dead.

Practice, practice and more practice, leads the shooter’s muscles to consistently follow a given pattern in the process of drawing, aiming (if you will), releasing and follow through. The more consistent the shooter is in this process, the more the arrows go where they are intended. Sometimes, a follow up arrow will hit exactly where the preceding arrow hit and will bury itself inside the preceding arrow, when this happens it’s called a “Robin Hood”. We both have a few of those behind us over the years. To avoid this from happening, I have converted to what is called “Pin nocks”, which tend to deflect the second arrow from punching into the preceding one.

Thousands of arrows have been shot by the two of us over the course of several years, maybe even approaching a million. An onlooker, would most likely expect us to hit what we intended every time, but they would be sadly mistaken. We do take our sport seriously, but we keep it fun at the same time, often betting beers on a shot’s outcome. Archery IS fun, unless you are a pro trying to eak out a living, then it’s a job.

When we are after a big game animal, like we are at this time of the year, we practice about an hour just before we head to our blinds on the Wasatch Extended Archery season boundary. The practice gives our muscles a bit of a warm up workout and tells our brains, “You’ve got this”. Last night was no different and we ended our last end with all 12 arrows in the “kill zone”.

Sitting in the blind just before dark, the sun just having gone out of sight behind the Promontory mountain to the West, I caught motion to my far left side. An antler tip! I raised slightly to verify what I saw and sure enough a two point buck was standing on the edge of the field. It stood there long enough for me to text Weasel, “deer”….My heart began to pound harder and harder in my chest as the buck began to walk in my direction. I had some decisions to make. I was sitting and would have to stand in order to shoot. My timing had to be perfect or the deer would see me and bolt. As the buck came on the other side of a cottonwood tree, I stood and turned slightly to give me a ninety degree shot toward the deer when the time came. My bow was raised slightly, but not in shooting position, that move would have to be one at the same time as I drew back the string.

Movement and smell will give a hunter away quicker than anything and this buck was on high alert as it walked slowly in my direction. The light breeze that was blowing was more from him toward me which gave me a lot of confidence, as long as I didn’t move he should continue his course and offer me a good broadside shot. My standing silhouette was up and down like the tree trunks that surrounded me and my leafy suit camouflage would keep me from being detected. The sun had gone down and I was not concerned with any glare that might otherwise occur off the limbs of my bow or the sharpened broadhead at the tip of the arrow. The stage was set perfectly for liver and onions at supper tomorrow night.

The buck continued to close the distance toward me and was nearly perfectly broadside at 10 yards when it turned it head and focus away from me and out into the field to its left. In one movement, I lifted the bow and drew the string back to “full draw”, the arrow tip settled on the shoulder of the buck and the string left the tab of my drawing fingers like always at practice.

Anytime I have shot an animal, target or whatever, when shooting a bow or a rifle, I always remember my sight picture. With a rifle or pistol, it’s rear sight, front sight, placement on the target, squeeze, boom, dead! With the bow, it’s full draw, draw hand against my lower jaw, string against the end of my nose, arrow tip placement, smooth release, boom, dead.

Last night, as the arrow left the bow, the nock was lighted a pretty green as it hurled its way toward the buck, and landed underneath its belly safely in the grass of the field. My mind raced as I watched the buck turn and run off away through the field and then stopped and started to come back toward the glowing green of the arrow nock laying there. It had a curious sense about it and for a moment I thought I might get a second chance at this buck. I pulled another arrow from my quiver and readied myself to round two. That didn’t happen however and the buck ran off never to be seen again.

Back to what I remembered of my shot, Yes I drew the string back, but I did not anchor with my drawing hand under my jaw, I did not bring the string to the tip of my nose. I accomplished what is commonly called, “a short draw”. And as the sunset was at its peak of beauty, I had tears in my eyes as I sat back down on my seat and recounted the beautiful buck and what had just transpired. The buck is the 4th I have seen since hunting this years extended archery season, he is a unique two point with a club like antler protruding from the base of his right side antler. Maybe I’ll get to show you a picture of him later in the season with me and my bow holding him up.

Until then, more practice is needed, including some mental practice. Trust me when I say, “The rush is real, and in the moment of truth, the shooter must have all his faculties together”.

October 15, 2020

Bears Butt

EDIT: Weasel has a trail camera set up right where the action took place the night of this event: He reviewed the video of the event and this is how things played out: Background: His video recorder takes a recording at 30 frames per second. In the video you see the buck come into view and look away from me. At that moment is when I drew my bow back, then the buck looks at me again, by this moment I have released the string. The lighted nock comes into the view heading for the buck. The buck drops nearly to the ground and spins to his left and runs off, my lighted nock is laying on the ground as it bounds away.

Now, slowing the video down and playing it one frame at a time. From the moment the buck turns to look back at me, he is on high alert. He begins to drop down, from frame one to frame 13 the buck turns 90 degrees and is about to take its first bound away. You see the lighted nock and arrow as it bounces off the right side shoulder of the buck and falls to the ground.

13 / 30’s of one second for the buck to turn 90 degrees to get out of Dodge! That’s less than 1/2 second. Amazing animals, but you see, my confidence level is much greater knowing that I did all I could do to tag him and because of his lightning fast reaction, he saved his own skin!

Bears Butt

Leave A Comment, Written on October 15th, 2020 , Uncategorized
By: Bears Butt

In Utah there is what is called, “The Extended Wasatch Archery Hunt”, which in essence is a very large area encompassing mostly cities along the Wasatch Front, basically from the summit of the front, down to Interstate 15 and roughly from Springville on the South to Brigham City on the North. You can see the map by viewing the DWR site at: if you are interested.

Anyway, we have a small acreage of farm that is included in this area that we can hunt. It’s all private and like a private reserve just for us. There aren’t a lot of deer that inhabit or use the farm, but it only takes one, right?

Weasel has placed two trail cameras on the place and captured three buck deer using it. So, we have spent the last three nights haunting that area, hoping for a shot. The deer live in a wetland area that contains a very thick, dense stand of cattails, willows, wild plums and cottonwood trees.

He likes to set up his blind on one end of a grove of cottonwoods, while I chose the other end. His on the North, mine the South.

We each sit on three legged stools during our sits and we hunt toward the end of the day, expecting just a brief timeframe when the bucks (deer) might appear, and that is oftentimes just before the end of legal shooting light (1/2 hour after sunset).

Our first two nights sitting there were pretty much uneventful, hardly any bird sounds and with the sound of the traffic on the Interstate, it’s hard to hear much of anything else. With my hearing aids I get a mix of garblygoop and wind noises. So I’m pretty much useless in the sound business and am almost strictly stuck to visual or nothing. While Weasel can often hear subtle cracks, snorts and assorted other deer noises going on around us.

Last night the sun had dipped behind the Promontory mountains and the air was cooling down quickly.

I had not heard or seen anything when suddenly out of the corner of my left eye I spotted movement. I turned my head slowly in the direction and there stood a nice 3X3 buck, his head was down and he was feeding in my direction. There was a smaller 2 point buck standing a bit farther out into the meadow as well, I slowly reached with my left hand for my recurve bow, which was propped against a tree ahead and slightly to my left. Feeling the grip in the riser, I lightly took hold of it and then reached with my right hand and placed my tabbed fingers on the string, just under the nocked arrow. I pulled the whole bow toward me as I sat there watching the unbelievable happening before my eyes. The buck was feeding toward me at quite a quick rate. I first spotted him about 15 yards away, by the time I had the bow in my hand he was less than 10 yards away and closing fast. I had picked my position in the trees as I thought any deer coming out would go out into the meadow but not down the tree line toward me. I was helpless where I was to take any kind of a shot. He kept coming, feeding and walking, feeding and walking. With my head turned to my left as far as I could turn it and my eyes cranked as far left as possible, the deer stopped. He was directly behind me about 5 feet away.

He must not have caught my scent, as he bolted away and out into the meadow (where he should have been in the first place), but it wasn’t a bolt as if he was scared, more like “I don’t like being here and that bush wasn’t there yesterday, I best move out a bit”. He stopped briefly about 30 yards out and then began to follow the tree line in front of my position and heading towards where Weasel was hid up. He didn’t go to far before the wind, which was at my back, brought my scent to him and he stopped his forward progression and he turned and ran back to the south and out into the meadow.

The smaller buck followed him a short distance, not knowing what the bigger buck knew. Suddenly, I saw both of these bucks turn their full attention toward the main entry gate to the farm. I looked over to see what it might be that had their attention (last year it was two trespassers who were climbing over the gate). I saw a third buck standing in the road by the gates! WOW! 3 bucks! While they were watching buck number 3, I had time to range the distances to the two bucks standing in the meadow. The biggest I call “Basket head”, because the 3 points on each side come nearly together above his head forming almost a complete circle of antlers, the smaller one is little guy and the third is a nice sized 2 point. So Basket head is ranged at 40 yards, twice the distance I’ve been practicing at all year while Little guy is 26 yards….just 6 yards outside my practice distance. Believe me those 6 yards don’t look that much farther than the 20 yards I had been practicing at and it was a struggle to keep myself under control and not to take the shot.

I wish now, I had tried it. Tonight at practice I will try a 26 yard shot just to see whether I can hit the target or not. During my dreams last night I killed that buck 50 or more times.

Well, the story doesn’t end there. It didn’t take long before the two bucks in the meadow decided they had had enough and took off on a dead run for the neighbors fence and down toward the railroad tracks.

My focus turned to the one by the main gate. He moved over to next to the tree line and began coming toward me, following the trees. My mind raced again….will I get a chance at him before it’s past shooting hours? Time was running out. I could still see very well, and I didn’t have time to look at my watch to see what time it was. I just knew I had to get into a position for a shot, should he suddenly appear where I first saw Basket head. I moved out away from the trees that hid my position, and standing in my usual fashion and at the ready to draw, aim and fire. I waited and waited. It was beginning to get dark quickly and still no sign of the buck. Maybe he ducked into the swamp, maybe he is still coming but is slow about it. I looked West and out in the meadow stood Weasel, waiting for me to leave my blind and walk with him to the truck. Again, I struggled with leaving where I was, knowing that the buck could show up at any second and Weasel didn’t have a clue as to what had been going on the last half hour. Reluctantly, I gave into the fact that even if the buck came around the corner it would see Weasel standing there and would bolt out into the meadow and I’d not get a shot anyway. So I picked up my stuff and walked out to join him. Weasel pointed at the buck as I walked up to him, it had seen him and ran out into the meadow. We watched as it ran here and there not knowing where it should go and then it ran in the same direction as the other two bucks.

That’s hunting! And that’s why we do it. It’s not necessarily the kill, it’s all the events leading up to the “chance for a shot”. All the practice, all the planning, all the trials and errors along the way. The comradery, preparation, stories etc. etc. etc. I love it!

Bears Butt

Sept. 17, 2020

1 Comment, Written on September 17th, 2020 , Hunting Stories, Uncategorized
By: Bears Butt

I was stationed in Germany, just outside of Weisbaden, a town of relative size, say, about the size of Ogden, Utah. The USAF sent me there after my tour was up in Viet Nam….seems the folks on the other side of the Berlin Wall needed to be looked at. You see I was in Aerial Reconnaissance…Spy stuff. The date was around 1970 when I got there and two years later I split and came home to go to college.

I guess the people I worked with liked me, so they threw a couple of going away parties for me. One was held at the Rod and Gun Club meeting building and was hunting/fishing themed. All the parties we had involved LOTS and LOTS of beer! Of course Germany is noted for their beer and I tried my very best to support the economy in every way I could.

Makes me thirsty just thinking about it…I’ll be back in a minute. Gotta git me a cold one.

I’m back! So at this particular party, they had all chipped in and bought me a special beer stein. They presented it to me full to the brim with ice cold beer! My favorite. The stein was a special one, in that not only did it have a fancy picture of a Red Stag on it with gold trimmed leaves and a tree bark decor about the whole thing, but it also had holes all around the upper portion of the mug itself! Specially made for pouring the contents all down the front of the one enjoying the contents!

The beautiful Stein

Please notice the holes all around the top portion of the mug. Those are real holes and not just pictures of holes!

Well, being full of ice cold beer, I tipped it up and got a frontal barrage of cold beer running down my hairy chest! I continued to drink it up, as it was a custom to finish the drink that you started. By the end of that drink, my crotch was tasting the beer as well, but the stein was empty and that was the whole intent! Right? Let’s fill it back up! BUT WAIT….let’s examine this beautiful piece of art a little closer!

The Secret to drinking from this stein!

So, you can see the artistry that went into this stein is very nice! Gold leaf, a barkey look about the whole thing, as if it were made from a tree trunk with a bent limb for a handle!

On closer examination, you can also see a “limb” looking edge along the top of the stein! It too has holes strategically placed as if limbs had been cut off the bigger limb that makes up the upper rim of the mug and holes drilled into them! Pretty cool!

Well, as it turns out, one of those holes around the upper edge, acts as a straw, down through the handle, allowing you to drink the beer without having to tip up the mug and get drenched! But you have to cover the little hole under the top part of the handle with your finger! This stein was designed for a person who holds the stein in their right hand. No other holes around the top edge are connected to the “straw” except the first one to the left of the handle itself! Sneaky craftsman who build it!

Well, if that wasn’t enough of a cool thing about this stein, there is one more really cool thing about it. Once you have finished drinking the contents, you get to enjoy a view only the consumer can see! Look down inside the mug and hold it up to a lighted background! Now there is a view to behold!

Ah yes! The goddess of goodness! Isn’t that a cleaver idea? I have loved this stein for many reasons and have safe guarded it for all these years. Maybe the next person in possession of it will enjoy it as much as I have, or more!

And to the squad of people who gifted it to me, once again, I THANK YOU WILL ALL MY HEART!!! You guys are wonderful!

Bears Butt

August 1, 2019

2 Comments, Written on August 1st, 2019 , Just more stories, Uncategorized
By: Bears Butt

To some of you the title of this makes you think I’ve lost my mind completely and bought a horse and now I’m looking to put a saddle on it. Not so fast! I admit my mind is slipping from what it was even a year ago, but I have not lost it completely. I don’t anticipate ever wanting to own a “God Dammit”, as we call them down on the farm. The horses down there are all owned by other people, and when we move them from one pasture to the other to keep things eaten down, sure as heck, when you go down to check on them a day or two later, they aren’t where you put them. The first thing you say is “God Dammit”!!!! So there is that.

No Saddle Hunting is a way to hunt while elevated in a tree, much like hunting out of a tree stand, the only difference is the hunter is suspended and sitting in a hammock style seat and capable of moving 360 degrees around the tree for a shot. The hunter is very mobile in that he can climb up a tree, sit for awhile and if that doesn’t seem like the right spot, he can climb down, hike over to a better spot and climb up a tree over there. Unlike the tree stand, that takes a lot of effort to take down, pack up, move, climb back up and reset. Tree stands are heavy too. A saddle hunter will have less than 5 pounds of gear and as technology gets better and better, the weight will start dropping on that gear as well.

As an example, let’s look at rope. Back in the day, a rope that had the carrying capacity to be classified as a rescue rope, had to be able to carry the weight of at least two full grown men. One doing the rescuing and the one being rescued. Those ropes were very thick in diameter, long and heavy. The material the rope was made out of stretched a great deal as well, frayed easily when scraped across rocks and trees and on a lot of occasions were only able to be used once and then deemed unsafe for a second recovery job.

Today, there are many ropes made from materials that are light weight, thin diameter and strong enough to pull a truck stuck in the mud out. In fact, a rope I bought just the other day, is made to replace the steel cable found on most winches! It is only 1/4 inches in diameter and has a breaking strength of 8600 pounds! Check out Amsteel blue!!!! If you have ever been on a winch recovery job, and hooked up the winch cable and watched it begin to pull out the truck, it stretches and starts to “sing” as it gets tighter and tighter. If the truck doesn’t start to move out of its stuck place, the cable could break and if it does, someone is going to be hurt real bad. The cable retains energy and when it suddenly breaks, both sides of the break go flying back toward the end on its side of the break. Whatever gets hit by that cable is going to get cut, break or something else bad. However with this new Amsteel product, there is absolutely no retained energy in the rope. If it breaks it simply falls to the ground, safe and harmless! Amsteel isn’t the only product that is made to do the same thing, but you can look them up. The reason I’m bringing it up here is to let you know that a lot of Saddle Hunters are replacing the “bridge” on their climbing harness’ with Amsteel, it’s light weight and extreme breaking point being the reasons.

Saddle hunting began a few years back as a way to replace sitting in a chair on a platform waiting for a deer to come by. Some guy got to thinking, why am I sitting here, when I could be hanging here? Well, I’m sure that wasn’t the way is began, but I had to introduce it some how. So, here is my take on how it got started. Hunters are pretty good at making stuff out of necessity. Some guy liked the idea of being able to sit out in the woods while he was hunting, but he didn’t want to strap a chair to a tree, so he devised a way to tie up a hammock between two trees and then sit on that. A pretty good idea. Then another guy thought, hey, if I could make a hammock that wasn’t so dang big so I could sleep on it, I could tie one end of a rope to a dead deer, sling the hammock portion over my shoulder and drag that deer out of the woods. A dang good idea for a double duty item, a seat and a deer drag. And so it was invented…”The Sit-Drag”….Pretty cleaver huh?

Well, after showing his new invention off at the local sportsmen shows across the country and selling them for a really reasonable price, he had hundreds of them being used all over the place. Well, one day, a hunter was sitting there in his Sit-Drag seat and decided he needed to see a little farther out into the woods and if he could put his seat higher in the tree he would be able to do just that. So he climbed up in the tree and hung his Sit-Drag and sat back down. Man was he cool! Sitting there elevated and sure enough here came a big old buck and because he was sitting high enough, the buck didn’t see him and the rest is history, at least for that buck. When word got around as to what old “Hank” had done and how he fooled the biggest buck in the county, more of his buddies started buying the Sit-Drags and climbing up in trees. Thus came the name “Saddle” Hunting.

As you can imagine, as time goes on, more and more inventions are thought up that make hunting from a Saddle better…wider seats, softer materials, warmers to toast your cold butt, antenna boosters for your cell phone service, foot rests etc. etc. etc. It hasn’t stopped yet. Go on a website called “Saddle Hunter dot Com”, join up and read all about what these guys are doing. It’s a real eye opener.

OK, so I’m afraid of heights and I’ll admit it. I inherited it from my mom, we would go down to Moab and inch out to the edge of one of the mesa’s and look over the edge (the edge was at least 10 feet back from the actual edge, but it was the edge of my edge for sure)…down, down, down to the bottom, 2,000 feet or more wound the Colorado River. She would pull us back away from the edge, which we all knew was just about to break off and send us plummeting all those thousands of feet down to our death. My feet would ache from trying to wrap my toes around the imaginary edge to keep from falling off.

Well, after looking at several (hundred) youtube videos on Saddle Hunting, it seems quite safe once you are up in the tree and safely secured to your saddle and the tree. What can go wrong? As long as your rope doesn’t break, or your carabiner doesn’t give way or come undone, or your saddle doesn’t slip off your butt and slide up your back, or a swarm of yellow jackets doesn’t realize you are too close to their nest. Well, as with most things that are “worth it”, there comes a little risk. But as far as I’m concerned it beats the heck out of sitting in a tree stand. I won’t do that.

Check out some of what I’ve watched by going to and searching for G2-Outdoors. He has a lot of entry level videos out that are very informative and actually convincing to give it a try. He sold me on it.

So, what are some of the advantages of Saddle Hunting? I guess the main one for me is getting off the ground and sitting safely in a very comfortable seat, hooked to a rope that doesn’t make me feel sea sick when the wind blows the tree around. AND, the ability to shoot anywhere in a 360 degree area around the tree. I can shoot my bow, rifle, bb gun, whatever from a saddle. Another advantage is being able to see a cougar or bear coming before it gets to me. AND, I will be able to drop pine cones down on top of squirrels! YES!

So, I have invested in a Sit-Drag and I have modified it with a 1/4 inch Amsteel Blue bridge, sewed on some “hook loops” to the back for attaching “stuff”, even sewed on a snap buckle to keep the saddle around my waste to help with the sliding off the butt scene, that actually sounds quite scary especially if I’m 20 or more feet off the ground. I still have to purchase some “climbing” rated rope to attach to the tree once I’m at hunting height, a linemans’ belt and a couple of climbers locking carabiners. I have already learned a few new knots to tie and some jargon commonly used by rock climbers (Have I told you that rock climbers and horse owners have the same mentality? Just sayin).

Here are some of my newly learned stuff: Saddle, Bridge, Prussic knot, Locking carabiner, Girth hitch, Gri-Gri, Ascension pully, Figure 8 rappelling Tool, Aider, Naider, Climbing Stick , Locked Bremmel, (I’ll think of more).

OH YA! Remember way back when Bears Butt dot Com first started to hit the world wide web. I did a short story on “Ever wanna climb a tree really fast”? It’s a story on here. Anyway, it was a story about a man named Stepp, who invented a way to climb a tree with a way cool looking metal step. Well, these Saddle Hunting guys use those steps a LOT! Cool to think I had read and seen a video produced by Mr. Stepp himself and introduced it to you guys WAY BACK THEN!!!! Cool huh?

Leave A Comment, Written on February 18th, 2019 , Hunting Stories
By: Bears Butt

Looking back at 2018, it started like all the rest, with great expectations and hope. Always is the hope to hit a big jackpot in the lottery game so that money is never going to be any kind of issue in the future. To go where we want to go, whenever the mood strikes us. Well, that didn’t happen last year. Maybe it will in 2019.

My bucket list includes a lot of things, but one of those was, and has been for quite some time, to shoot a pronghorn antelope with my muzzleloader. That has been on the list for several years, ever since the DWR approved the antelope hunt in the Randolph area during the muzzleloader deer hunt. A hunt I spearheaded several years back. Well, after the draw results were in from the big game drawing this year (2018), I was awarded one of those coveted tags!

I wasn’t as stoked up as I thought I would be however. Why? I’m not sure, perhaps some of my disappointment in having the tag was that I was the only one with the tag. I spent the summer and early fall, searching for articles on How to hunt Antelope, how to care for the meat once it was on the ground. When NOT to shoot an antelope in order to have the best table faire possible. What to look for in a “large antelope specimen”, trophy book stuff you know.

Once I figured I had researched all I needed to know about what to look for in an antelope and all the other things associated with antelope hunting, I settled into the fact that the hurd in the Randolph area is not as populated as it once was and that I might just be facing a tag that wasn’t attached to an animal at the end of the season. Also, to tag a record buck, would probably not even be possible. After all, they are a very wary animal, capable of seeing you a LONG way off, long before you even know they are in the country. Shooting a muzzleloader meant I would have to be well within 200 yards in order to tag one, and I’m just not that comfortable shooting over 100 yards, especially with open sights.

So, my mind settled on a picture of one, with typical looking antelope horns, maybe even shaped like a heart when viewed straight on from the front. We all dream of the record book, but I settled early on a typical, non-book type, even though I had not scouted the area or anything. I figured I’d just go up, camp with the boys and girls for the muzz deer hunt and do my hunting around those guys and their hunt. Oh sure, I could have made my own camp and done my own thing for the entire season, but that just isn’t my style. I like the camp, the camaraderie, the cutting up and all the other stuff that goes along with hunting. AND, should I not get my tag filled, well, that would be OK too.

My buddy, “Crock” Riley, drew a very nice Limited Entry buck deer tag down in the Book Cliff area of Utah and to go along with a tradition, he had shirts printed up for he and his other lucky draw people, that showed a very nice buck and the words “2018, Book Cliffs..Chosen One”, along with that tradition, I made each of them up a rear view mirror dangle dream catcher with 2018 Book Cliffs written on a bead. Crock saw that my hunt was going to be a solo ordeal and he had a shirt printed for me, showing a nice buck antelope picture and the words Speedgoat Cache 2018, …chosen one. I was extremely pleased and humbled that he would think of me and my hunt the way he did. Thank you Crock.

With the attitude I had, there was no need for me to break up my routine of living, to start a rigorous training program to lose weight, tone up and be ready for a 3 mile, uphill pack out. Antelope, even big ones, seldom top out weighing over 100 pounds, besides my plan was to shoot one close to a road, which is typical of antelope country here in Utah. So, instead, I just got fat.

When the time for the hunt finally arrived, I had already spent a few weeks hunting deer with my bow, during which time I did spot out a pretty nice antelope buck I told Weasel I would shoot in a heart beat, should the opportunity present itself. We had set up our typical muzz deer camp with the usual characters involved, which is a very fun time for all of us. I spent the first few days hunting with them for their deer with an occasional break off to go see about finding an antelope. I saw antelope alright, but I just could not get close enough for a shot.

I also discovered “new to me” hunting country, new water holes and a myriad of other places of opportunity for future hunting, mostly for deer and elk. So, the short hunts I went on were not wasted, even though the antelope were much smarter than me and avoided any close encounters. I discovered where many deer and elk had recently visited a couple of very nice watering holes, but for some reason the “deer hunters” I was hunting with were not interested in a “chance” encounter at any of them, they had their reasons for sticking to their plans and it worked for a couple of them quite well.

By the end of the time allotted for our typical muzz deer season camp and hunt to be over, mostly because the hunting age kids had to return to school, we pulled up the camp and went home. My antelope tag still firmly stuck in my wallet. I had not given up hope of tagging out, but in my own mind, I knew my available hunting time was becoming very limited.

After a very good nights rest, I was catching up on a week away from Facebook, when one of my friends made a comment about seeing a nice buck antelope out his window. He has a female friend in the Randolph area that he visits on occasion and he just happened to be visiting her this particular morning. I messaged him and he invited me up to give it a shot at trying to bag it. No guarantees. I quickly took him up on the offer and then I contacted Weasel and asked if he would like to go with me. Of course, he did.

We jumped in the truck and high balled it for the area. Arriving at his ranch about 1 1/2 hours later! A faster trip I don’t think is possible in a pickup truck. Pulling into his yard, he came out, we greeted, as we had never officially met until this moment. Facebook friends most often never meet, just call each other friends on the social media pages. This guy is a genuine guy, kind, caring and down to earth. He pointed out the buck laying in a field a few hundred yards away. A very nice typical antelope, one that would look good on my wall at home! He had devised a game plan for us to get the buck and the plan had Weasel and I hiking to a spot above the field the buck was in, but it would not be easy for us to stay hidden from the animal as it lay in the field. In fact, by the time Weasel and I were in position, I’m certain the buck had already seen us working our way to the ambush spot. My friend, rode a 4 wheeler out and around the buck. Even though the buck had become accustomed to humans on tractors, 4 wheelers, horses and even on foot, it was still very nervous to have a human get very close to it. Besides there were also some doe antelope in that same field as short distance from where the buck was laying and they jumped up and proceeded to get “out of Dodge” as quickly as they could. The buck tried to keep up with them, but they out maneuvered him to a point he lost contact with the direction they had gone.

His search for them and his avoidance of my friend on the 4 wheeler, caused him to travel in our direction. We had some hope he would continue toward us and give me a shot. He was too wise and circled around us. With that plan not working in our favor, Weasel and I decided we should go to another spot we had seen a buck antelope during the muzz deer hunt. Maybe we could get on him. We said our Thank You’s and Good Bye’s to my friend and headed out. It took us awhile to get over to where we had last seen him, with very little hope that we would actually see the buck and that the buck would not be on private property, where it liked to hang out.

Well, low and behold, we did spot the antelope with a couple of does, up on the hill side, in an area I could actually shoot it, if I could get close enough. A trick that had not proved to be an easy one in the recent past, but if you don’t try, you will never succeed.

My first attempt was to “go straight at him” and hope he stuck around, after all, I only had to go about 200 yards and I’d be within 150 yards of him. The does had other plans for their male friend and lead him up and over the ridge! Back at the truck, we decided to continue our drive along the dirt two track that followed the private property fence and hope to cut him off as he came down to jump over the fence and onto safety. Well, we didn’t really know where the antelope had gone, so we took another side road that lead to the top of the hill a bit South of where we had last seen them going. Sure enough, there they were. Still too far for a shot, so we continued up the two track to the top of the hill. Meanwhile the antelope went down the other side, heading in the direction of the private property.

My thoughts were that maybe with them being down in a “safe zone”, in the sage and out of our sight, they would settle down and maybe, just maybe, I could sneak over the ridge, spot them before they spotted me and I’d get a longer than I like shot at him. It would be worth a try.

Leaving the truck up on top, I slowly made my way over to the edge of the ridge line, where I could look over and down the hill, hoping I’d see him before he saw me. I went as slowly and quietly as I knew how to do. Meanwhile, Weasel, headed in a different direction hoping to see a buck deer we had seen on the same hill we spotted the antelope on when we first arrived in this area.

As my footsteps lead me to the edge, I was trying my best to see below me, hoping to catch the slightest of movement, shape, or anything that would mean I was looking at an antelope, buck or doe did not matter to me, as right now I was just trying to see where they were. I was getting quite close to the edge, where I would be able to see the entire hillside below me, when I finally spotted the tan and white body of an antelope. It was broadside to me, looking off to my right. The way it was standing was as if it was focused on some far off object to the south of us. It had no idea I was just above it on the ridge. Through my 12X50 binocs I could easily see it was my buck, the same buck I had seen during the bow hunt and the muzz deer hunt, the one I had told Weasel I would shoot in a heartbeat should I get the chance. I put my rangefinder on him and hit the button….180 yards! Oh my heck! That is a LOT farther than I am used to shooting! In fact, I don’t think I have ever taken a shot that far on a big game animal, with my muzzleloader.

I made my mind up to take the shot and settled into a kneeling position, being especially careful not to kneel on a cactus or to make any unnecessary noises. I did not want him to look up in my direction. In fact his posture was perfect for a shot like this. Taking as careful aim as I could, I settled the sights on his shoulder, he was facing to my right. I took a deep breath, then exhaled, I was calm, not anxious at all. My mind raced through the aiming/shooting sequence I have been through thousands of times in the past and even though it was nearly a 200 yard shot, I rationalized it was quite a steep downhill shot and the bullet should naturally climb higher than my aim point. I should aim as if he was 30 yards away, no compensation what so ever. As the sights settled on his shoulder, I clicked the set trigger, and then moved my finger up to the front trigger, once again the sight picture was very clearly settled on his shoulder and with ever so slight pressure on the trigger the roar of the powder sent the bullet racing toward the buck. I heard the bullet strike the buck, but I wasn’t sure just where it hit him. The smoke was still hanging over the edge of the ridge below me when the buck took off running in the direction it had been looking. I could see its rear leg bouncing to the side as it ran. My shot was not a good one, as it hit the rear leg, breaking it just below the hip. The buck ran like that for about 50 yards and then settled into a pocket of sage, where it laid down. I was not happy with the shot, but I was pleased to think I had hit it and for sure would recover it, it would be just a matter of time before it died where it was laying in the sage. I didn’t reload until after I saw it lay down, then I stood up and reloaded. By then Weasel had made it to where I was, he heard the shot and came as quickly as he could. I pointed out where the buck was laying and he verified it in his binocs.

Weasel was quick to say, he would take the truck down to the two track that followed the private property fence and that I should carefully and quietly sneak down off the ridge and over to where the antelope was laying. All the while being ready for a kill shot should it jump up. The main issue here was not that I wouldn’t harvest this wounded animal, but that I needed to make sure it didn’t get across the fence and onto the private ground. We had our plan and so we separated. The truck parked along side the fence should deter any thoughts by the antelope to go in that direction should it decide to try and escape.

I worked slowly and quietly down off the ridge keeping a very close eye on where the buck was laying. About 50 yards away from the buck, it got up and took a couple of bounds away from me. I had no shot. It laid down again in a place I could not see it, and I get closer the terrain forced me into a depression where I could not see the sage brush anywhere near the animal. I would be hidden from the animal, but also, unable to see the animal should it get up and run. 5 steps is about what it took to be back up high enough to see where the animal was laying, however when I came up to this point, I wasn’t exactly sure where that spot was. I knew the “general” area is all, and to me that is not a good feeling.

Knowing the antelope was not stiffened up, was also a little un-nerving to me, as it could move quickly and get across the fence probably before I could get a shot off and should that happen, my shot would have to be perfectly placed.

Weasel and the truck came down the two track off the side of the hill and down to the fence. He turned the truck in my direction and slowly came in the direction of the antelope. He did not know the animal had moved from its original position. As he got closer, I stopped him by raising my hand when I figured he was in a spot closest to the antelope and between the antelope and the fence.

Weasel and I have been hunting long enough to almost think alike. He got out of the truck, carefully and quietly closed the door and started a slow and deliberate hike in the direction of the antelope, even though he did not know the exact location. Suddenly the antelope was up and coming directly at me! I raised my rifle and the animal stopped, showing me only its face. At about 50 yards that was all I could see and I settled the sights on it and pulled the trigger! The animal was down and very much dead.

My bucket list animal was tagged, in the cooler and on its way home in less than an hour! Thank you Weasel for the support, and to Jeremy Holm for convincing me to get up there and try one more time!

The buck is close to a heart shape, and somewhat like the picture on my shirt! I want to thank everyone for the support I was given in scratching this one off my bucket list. Oh, and by the way, it tastes VERY GOOD! I’d shoot another for the meat ANY DAY!

Leave A Comment, Written on January 1st, 2019 , Hunting Stories
By: Bears Butt

The following recipe was given to me from one of my cousins, Evelyn Zundel, it says to use 3 lbs. of almonds and even though almonds are very good, try it with macadamia nuts! Any nut for that matter, and they turn out wonderful!

Leave A Comment, Written on December 23rd, 2018 , Recipes
By: Bears Butt

As some of you know, several years ago, I went on a crusade to convince the Utah DWR to allow hunting antelope in the Randolph, Woodruff area during the same time as the muzzleloader deer hunt was going on.  My reasoning was two fold.  One, we didn’t have a Limited Entry muzz antelope hunt in Northern Utah and Two, I had seen several nice buck antelope during previous muzz deer hunts and thought it would be nice to be able to take one home, should the occasion arise.  I spent the best part of 3 years gathering information, preparing speeches and going to RAC meetings etc.  And finally ending up at a Wildlife Board meeting where I presented one last time, my arguments for having such a hunt.  Eventually the Wildlife Board had the DWR create a Limited Entry Antelope hunt in this area.  In fact they made the area such a large expanse that it would be hard to cover it all in one day.

Sadly, the total number of tags for this area is only about 17 or so.  Last year, 2017, the success rate for the hunt was only 80%.

At any rate, I drew a tag this year!  2018 and my friend, Johnny “Crock” Riley had a shirt made for me to wear during the hunt.  The shirt is a take off from when a group of us drew the coveted Crawford Mountain Limited Entry Mule deer tag several years ago.

It’s hard to read, but at the bottom of the picture of the antelope it reads, “I was chosen”!  Thank you Crock!  I love it!

So my goal this year and for this hunt was to tag a buck antelope that looked at or near to the same as the one printed on the shirt!

As you can guess, I trained hard for this hunt.  I studied the internet, watched Youtube videos on how to field judge antelope horns and such.  I learned that they were not easy to bag at close distances and of course all my study gave me new appreciation for those bow hunters who actually bag and tag an antelope with their bows.  I’m not sure I want to attempt that and think I would be a total failure in trying to accomplish a task of that magnitude.

Well, the  hunt began as usual, mostly being one for hunting muley bucks and not necessarily antelope.  I knew going into it, I would be on my own for a good portion of the hunt and I was OK with that.  After  all, the other guys and gals had deer tags.  I was the only one with an antelope tag.  And so, when the hunt began, I would choose to drive the guys around who wanted to go with me and I would split my time in areas known to hold antelope, but mostly deer.  Again, it was alright with me.  At least I was with others having a good time and trying to fill tags.

We camped in our normal area where it would be very much possible to see a buck deer right out of camp at any time of the day.  Not so with antelope, however.  But a short drive down the canyon would put me into antelope country and still give the muley deer hunters a chance to see their buck.  After all, sometimes, you will find that BIG OLD BUCK where nobody else is looking and what better place than in antelope country?   We were up early every morning, hitting the spots we thought the critters would be holding.  We saw tons of deer, even a few antelope, but I couldn’t get close enough for a shot on the antelope.  Most of the deer we were seeing were does and fawns as well, but occasionally we would see a small buck.  Enough times that it kept the interest up for the hunters with deer tags.

We did keep seeing one antelope buck in a specific area, just off of private ground and I told more than one in the group I’d shoot that one if I had the chance.  He wasn’t a “Booner”, but he wasn’t that bad.

I think it was on day 3, I decided I would go off on my own looking for just antelope.  Of course none of the deer hunters wanted to waste their evening hunt going with me, which was just fine.  This way I could go where I wanted and not worry about them.  I found myself miles from anything that remotely looked like mule deer country.  I even found a buck antelope that looked like a good one.  Again, not a Booner, but still nice.  I put my best “in the vehicle” sneak on him and when I crested the hill where I knew he would be standing, he was no where to be found.  I looked and looked to no avail!  OK, maybe tomorrow I said and off I went to make a circle in my route back to camp.

As I came down a well know road to another well known road, a split in my route back to camp, I saw a side by side vehicle blocking the road ahead.  I was up hill from it and so I stopped and began to glass.  Soon I saw a young man with a muzz in his hand, followed by another guy.  I assumed it was his father.  They were sneaking over a small hill from where they had stopped their side by side.  I glassed and soon picked up a small buck in my binoculars.  That was the buck they were after.  It didn’t take the young man long to finally see the buck and pull up the rifle.  I watched intently as the young man carefully aimed his rifle and soon, I saw and heard the distinctive “bark” of a muzz rifle going off.  The smoke rose in the calm evening air and then I heard the “Whack” of the bullet striking the buck.  All of this was in my view through my binoculars and I saw the buck jump and head down the hill away from the young man and his father.  I continued to watch the buck as it went down hill and finally where it laid down.

I stayed in my spot until I was sure the buck was not going to get back up and run off and then I moseyed down the road to the side by side.  The father (Dan), came over to move the rig out of the road.  I told him it was just fine, I was not in any hurry and he had a deer to deal with, but he moved it anyway.  While we were together we talked about the shot his boy had made and neither of us were sure it was a killing shot or not.  We decided I would drive down below the buck and get ready to shoot it should it jump up and run.  And he and his son would slowly go to where it was laying, hopefully to find it deceased.  So, that is what we did.  I drove down about 50 yards beyond where the deer was laying and go my gun ready to shoot the deer should it try to escape.  They made the slow decent down to  where they thought the deer was laying.  After awhile, it was way too dark for me to see my sights and so, I put my rifle back into the truck and drove back up the road to a spot closer to where the buck was supposed to be laying.

Dad and son had not found the buck by this time and so, using my flashlight, I helped direct them to where it was laying.  The young hunter had to put a killing shot into the buck at close range, but still, it ended happily for the young hunter and his father!  To say I was anything but elated would have been an understatement.  I was beside myself to witness such a wonderful site as a first time hunter, with his father, tagging out on a fine buck deer.  The young man introduced himself as “Hunter”, to me as his father went back to move the side by side closer.  I took a “not so good picture” of him with his buck and then we dragged it down toward the road.

Down at the road, his Dad, Dan, insisted that Hunter, gut the animal.  Again, I was very pleased to be a witness to this and watch his dad walk the boy through the process.  They even gave me the liver!  Thank you guys!  I can’t believe people don’t consume deer liver, to me it’s almost the best part of the animal.  But what tickled me the most was how great-full this young man was to think I would stick around and help them get it ready to transport back to their camp.  Dan, you have a true sportsman on your hands!

Thank you for letting me be a part of all of it and again THANK YOU FOR THE DEER LIVER!!!

I arrived back at my camp rather late, actually later than I wanted to be, and I thought they might be worried about me.  I even travelled the “long way” back in case they were looking…but…they knew I’d be ok and were enjoying themselves in normal fashion around the camp.

Of course this picture was taken before dark, so you can surmise it wasn’t taken after I got back to camp.  Actually, it was past bedtime when I got back, so it was nighty-night for me once I arrived.  (I guess I’m getting too old, I used to stay up till after midnight at deer camp and still get up at 5 a.m. and be ready to hit it again…day after day after day.  Now it’s a late night if I see 10 pm).

Well, April and the Kids came up on Thursday evening and joined in the festivities.  I even fried up some Chicken Skins….WHAT?  You have never heard of fried chicken skins????  Do you like Chick-er-ones?  I don’t know how to spell it…Mexican fried pig skin.  Well, these are Chicken-rones.

Cut the chicken skin up in 1 inch wide strips, and deep fry in oil.  Nothing special, just fry until they are crispy and brown.  Then salt them, put them on a paper towel to drain a bit and enjoy them.  Once you try them, I think you might give up on Pork Rinds.

They are quite tastey!

Well, with April and the kids in camp, things changed quite a bit.  Some had to settled down a bit, but not so much they couldn’t still have a very good time, but not quite like they were before women and children came into camp.  It’s all good folks!  Right Gattlin?

And of course it wouldn’t be the muzz hunt if Dry Dog didn’t send up some “Apple Pie”.  Well, at least one in the camp enjoyed it.  Thanks Dog!



The sequence of pictures if for you Dry Dog!  Salute, Swig, Kiss!  OH MY!

Well, as the hunt progressed, we did have an official naming.  You see, Gattlin and Shawn went off hunting in Shawns rig one evening.  Gattlin started calling Shawn his Chauffeur and of course a chauffeur is usually of English descent.  Over the course of the evening (and a few imbidements) Gattlin started calling Shawn, James.  You know…”Home James!”  Which interprets as “Take me home, James”..when James, the driver would take his “master” home.  Before long, he was calling him “Sir James”.  A good Englishman must have a proper sir name, we all know this and by the time the evening was done, we had to have an official re-naming of Shawn…From now on, wherever mountain men shall meet, you shall be named, “Sir James”!

AND, not to make light of the fact that Gattlin shot a buck this evening, his first in probably 15 years, I present you with Gattlin and his buck!

The camp was very happy to see this and the story that went with it!  To say Frank “Gattlin” was a happy boy is an understatement!  Congratulations Frank!  Nice buck!

Frank even gutted it…as you can see by his watch!

What time is it Frank?

The kids had a pretty good time as well, and I regret not being with them more and taking more pictures, but my head was on antelope by the time they got to camp.  We did manage to pass by Kenzie Tree.

And our game plan was to make another tree carving dedicated to  Squirrel and Flash Pan (Conner), but neither of them happened this year….let’s do this next year folks!

Our last full day of hunting was decided to head on over to “Big Creek”, an area between Randolph and Woodruff.  There is a whole lot of “nothing” between the beginning of the trip and the end of the trip, but to me there is a whole lot of promise.  Both for deer and antelope.  So, Robert, Conner, Kenzie, Addie and I headed that direction.  It would be a long drive with not a whole lot of action… however, we did see a couple of bucks and it was a great time.  Here is what happened in part of the trip.  I spotted a couple of deer down in a draw as we proceeded up the road.  We stopped and glassed.  I thought I saw antlers on one of them.  So we drove a bit farther to a point we could be closer to them.  Sure enough a buck was in the group.  But they ran over the hill.  We continued up the road and got out to check.  Some went left, some went right.  We  hadn’t gone far, when we heard a shot farther up the road.  I thought that maybe Conner or Robert had shot.  So back to the truck we went.  Well, neither of them had shot.  So we continued up the road.  Just over the rise, we came to a truck plugging up the road with his truck and 4 wheeler trailer.  To our left was a father and son next to the buck his son had just harvested!

The young man had just taken his first ever buck deer!  YES!  Again, I was excited!  We pulled over as far as we could even though I knew nobody could get past us and parked the rig.  Let’s go help them, I said!  And the truck emptied out.  Everyone was excited to go help them gut and drag the deer to the rig.  Well, maybe not Addie.  She nearly lost “it” as they pulled the internal organs from the animal.  They father and son were happy we were willing to help them as it was a pretty good climb up out of the draw the animal was in.  Actually, Ricochet was helping with the front quarters, along side the young man who shot the animal, while Dad and I dealt with the rear quarters.  It didn’t take long to get it to the truck and loaded up on the trailer with the 4 wheelers.

This was Tony’s first deer and his father Theron was very happy!  What a great day!  Heading home from a great, but unsuccessful hunt and suddenly…God presented Tony with a great buck!  Congratulations Tony!  Nice buck!

You know, it doesn’t get much better than that!  Seeing successful hunters and getting to help them with their harvest!  Thanks to Addie, Kenzie, Robert and Conner for the help getting this buck to its home!

SO!  That was pretty much the end of the “regular muzz hunt”.  We did see more bucks, but only April got a shot and missed.  DANG!  Another dollar donated to the biggest buck contest.  Why Conner and Kenzie didn’t shoot is beyond me.  I wasn’t there, so I can’t say, but that pretty much ended the hunt.  We packed up the camp and came on home after Sunday morning hunt.  Everyone in a great mood.

The next day, Monday, I was on Facebook, thanking one of my facebook friends for telling me where to look for a great antelope buck.  I looked during the hunt but didn’t find it.  He wrote back immediately and said, If I could get back up there, he was watching a nice buck laying out in his meadow.  It would be easy to tag him, as he had never been hunted before and that today was the only day he could give me permission to hunt.  His future father in law owns the land and as long as he was there, he could grant permission, but that he had to leave later that day and could not give me permission to hunt after this day.  I quickly called Weasel to see if he would like to go back to maybe bag this antelope.  Of course he wanted to go!  We were back in the area within 2 hours!  There is something about hunting that drives a hunter to do what he has to do to get things done!

Well, at the ranch, we made a plan, none of us had a clue as to how to approach this buck.  He was laying out in an open meadow, with 6 does just a few yards from him.  If we were to get to a hiding spot to the south, and my facebook friend could move the animals with the 4 wheeler, they might just come close enough for a shot.  Well, that was the plan.  As soon as Weasel and I were in position we messaged my friend and he started the 4 wheeler and made a big circle to the other side of the buck.  All the antelope got up and moved toward us.  BUT…as antelope will do, they knew something was amiss, because we had spooked some cows off the hill we were hiding on when we arrived.  They would not have anything to do with the hill we were hiding on.  They came a ways and then turned and high tailed it straight away and jumped the fence to the other land owners property.  Meanwhile the buck came as if he would be right in our lap, suddenly he too turned and went straight away to our right, and circled us…his route took him far beyond the ranch and then down among the cattle and back to where he was laying when we jumped him.  I quickly ran to the end of a fence and found a nice hiding spot, but the buck suspected foul play and ran straight away and over onto BLM land, never to be seen again!  DANG!  (I’m saying that alot).

By  now it was about 3 pm, only a couple or 3 hours until dark.  We decided to take a long route back to where we had been seeing the “smallish” antelope buck during the muzz deer hunt.  Weasel saw some country he had not seen before, but it was all antelope country and not anywhere any respectable muley buck would visit.  Upon arrival at “the place”, we immediately spotted a sizable muley buck on the ridge.  The buck went into some brush and layed down.  But what was that just below there?  Sure enough that same antelope buck and two does we had seen several times before during the muzz hunt.  We decided to put a sneak on them.  My plan was to go straight at them and see what they would do.  Sure enough, I was about 300 yards from them when they ran up over the top of the hill and out of sight.

Back at the truck, Weasel suggested we go up a 2 track road up toward where we last saw the antelope.  Good plan.  Up we went.


As we approached the top, we spotted the buck and two doe.  He was busy trying to keep the two does close but they had other plans and ran over the top.  We continued up to the top and then decided I should grab my gun and walk over to the edge and look down the hill.  Maybe, just maybe they would be within range just down the hill.  So, with that plan, I slowly walked forward, constantly looking down for any sign of an antelope.  When I was in a position to see almost to the bottom of the hill, I spotted one of the does.  Then the other.  Where was the buck?    They were about 250 yards down hill from me and I scanned the valley looking for the buck.  Just like spotting the does, suddenly, there he was standing looking toward the does.  I don’t know for sure, why the does had not spotted me, but I suspect because I had my full “leafy suit, with head gear and mask” on, that maybe they just didn’t see my outline, maybe it was the sun at my back, and perhaps a combination of both of those, but they didn’t even know I was there.

I ranged the buck…194 yards!  Dang!  Thats almost twice the distance I like to shoot.  I thought seriously about the whole hunt…the distances I had been to this same buck several times before.  This was the closest I had been.  I thought, my friend Dry Dog shoots this distance all the time at deer and he brings them back to camp a lot of times.  Yes a few wounded ones as well, but am I better than him at these ranges?  I just don’t know.  I’ve never taken this long a shot before.  After battling it out in my own head for a few minutes, I decided, If I could get to this “one spot” and sit down, with a good rest, I would take the shot.  I inched forward to a point where I could sit, and rest my rifle on my knee.  Neither the buck nor the does moved as I sat down and readied for the shot.  I pulled my binoculars up one more time to verify it was the buck.  And then the range finder to verify the distance.  194 yards on a 19 degree slope.  My mind raced, should I aim right where I want to hit?  Do I aim high?  Do I aim low?  I’ve not been in this situation before.  The distance had me really thinking.  Well, I finally decided the angle would compensate for the distance and I should just aim where I wanted to hit and let it fly.  So, with the most careful shots I’ve ever taken with a muzzleloader, I put my open sights on his front shoulder and squeezed the trigger carefully.  The hammer falling actually surprised me and the gun going off was a smooth transition.  I heard the bullet strike the buck, but it wasn’t where I wanted it to hit him.  Quite a bad shot actually, and I hit him in the right hip, breaking his leg.

He ran about 100 yards, his leg flopping side to side…I was sick and stood there watching him through the binoculars and praying to God he would drop.  He stopped and laid down.  I stood there with binoculars to my face, not believing what was happening.  He should have gone right down with that shot.  But the shot was not where it should have been.  Then thinking back to when I went to the range and tried the Powerbelt bullets.  I was left about 3 inches at 100 yards with all 3 shots.  Sure, 200 yards would put the bullet at least  6 inches left at 200 yards and that is about where it hit.  Damn!!!

Weasel came down to where I was at and asked if I had hit him.  I said yes, but it was not a good shot and that the animal was laying “right over there”…he looked with his binos and saw it laying there.  I began to reload at that time.  Something I would  have done immediately on any other shot.  I was in shock.  And my mind was in unbelief  that I didn’t just plain out and out kill him with that shot.

We made a plan that Weasel would go back to the truck and work down toward the buck, while I inched, quietly down the hill toward where it laid and should it get up, I’d shoot it again.  That was the plan and as Weasel came down the hill with the truck the buck did eventually stand back up and I placed a finishing round between its eyes.  Again, I thank God for giving me this opportunity and providing me with this fine animal.  Thank you to  All those who helped me harvest this animal and the DWR for allowing this hunt to take place.


Almost like the picture on my shirt!  I’ll take it!  Thank you EVERYONE, who supported my hunt!  I love you guys!

Bears Butt

October 18, 2018

2 Comments, Written on October 18th, 2018 , Hunting Stories
By: Bears Butt

2018 is a year to remember, especially the hunting seasons.  Let’s start with the archery hunt.  As usual it takes 365 days to arrive, but seems like 2 days to end.  Even though I spent 27 days in the woods hunting between the archery hunt and the muzz hunt, the time slipped by so dang quickly it wasn’t even funny.  My poor puppy at home would have another thought on that, but I digress.  As the year progressed, Utah’s weather just wasn’t normal.  I think we had a total of 1 inch or rain from April through September and then the rains made up for the rest of the year.  But, the archery hunt begins in August around here and so it was very dry and dusty in the mountains, as you are about to see.

Weasel and I had made our plan to take Cody “Squirrel” and Kenzie “Ricochet” up and hopefully get them some shooting and maybe even a buck or two.  They certainly had earned the right to be there and had been practicing hard all summer long.  Both of them very capable of a 20 yard shot with their bows.  Even possibly out to 25 yards if needed.  Unfortunately for me (and ultimately, you), I was trying to free up some space on my iphone and deleted all the pictures I had taken during this “first bow hunt” of the season.  I lost some very good pictures of the two of them in various pictures and situations.  I am sad.  Since then I have created a permanent  backup system to prevent that from ever happening again!  Here are all the pictures I have of the two of them during the hunt.

We had seen a two point cross through this area and they were in hot pursuit.  The deer was never seen again, however.

I can share with you a couple of stories that happened during the hunt:  Weasel and I had decided to split up, one to take Squirrel with him and the other to take Ricochet.  I ended up on Ricochet’s team.  Being as August is the month the Archery hunt begins in Utah, it is also the month School begins for the year and Ricochet had to come off the mountain to attend some important school function.  She missed a couple of days of hunting because of that.  As a result, the weather was showing signs of maybe raining, a welcome thought and if it was to actually happen we would be most appreciative.  I think the animals thought the same.  I had to leave the mountain and travel down to pick up Ricochet at the Hardware Ranch one evening as the storm front was approaching.  It would not rain until the next day, however, but at least we had clouds and cooler temps.  As I was driving down the dirt road to pick her up, I had two different groups of deer cross the road in front of me.  Both groups had bucks in them.  I was running late however and only stopped to take a couple of pictures of the deer.  I could have shot them, as they were not scared and only about 15 yards away.  I hurried down to get her and hoping the bucks would still be in the area when we went back up the road past where they were.  No such luck.

It was a good hour long drive from the Hardware back up to our camp and I was pushing it to get to our chosen water hole before it got too dark.  As we proceeded up the road, we were seeing a lot of wildlife, just no bucks.  Arriving at our water hole and the blind we had prepared earlier, there were two small bucks on the hillside above the water.  Ricochet got out and made a play on them, as I continued down the road to hide the truck.   As I walked back up toward the blind, I could see Ricochet working her way out of the trees and coming down toward the blind.  We both got to the blind about the same time.  She told me she had a really close encounter with one of the bucks and almost got a shot, but it didn’t work out.  We settled into the blind and had about 45 minutes until it would be too dark to shoot.

I wear hearing aids and turned them up full blast (max reception).  With a cow elk tag in my pocket, I was hoping a cow would come down the trail to the water hole and I’d punch my tag.  There was lots of sign of elk in the area, as well as buck deer and other critters, some I hoped would not show their faces (cougars/bears).  Suddenly I could hear something coming down the trail behind us and to my left…could it be an elk?  As the noise of its foot steps got closer and closer, I could tell it was a sizable animal, but most likely not the size of an elk or moose.  Suddenly it snorted and spun around and bounded back up the trail the way it had come.  I spun around, bow being drawn as I did only to see a nice sized buck deer bounding off into the trees behind us.  It had been only about 10 or 20 feet behind us when it smelled us.  I highly doubt it saw us, just the way the blind was set up.  It continued up into the trees and then started making a circle around to our right.  At one point it was skylined and we could see it was a nice buck, maybe a 3X4, with tall tines.  When it got to the point of the trail on the hill, it turned and started down our way!  I was excited and I’m sure Ricochet was too, as it came closer and closer.  It was less than 20 yards from us when it stopped and stood in the trail, looking toward the water hole.  The water was down hill from us and to our left.  Suddenly a doe, came running out of the trees behind us and straight down to the buck.  The two stood there a minute conversing (or whatever wild animals do to let each other know what is going on).  Then she sniffed around and looked our direction.  Then she bounded back to where she had come from.  The buck then looked down the hill to his right, which was straight ahead of us.  There stood another buck, not as big as the one on the trail, but still a buck.  The bigger buck, then decided to leave and go where the doe had gone.  As he did that, the smaller buck came up and stood on the trail where the other had just been.  I just knew, he would continue to the water for a drink and it would give Kenzie (Ricochet) a perfect broadside shot at 10 yards.  The buck stood on that trail until it was too dark to shoot.  When she knew there was no way she would be able to see her sights, she leaned over and whispered to me that she would not be able to shoot.  So we stood up and that buck almost turned itself inside out getting out of there!

We walked the 500 or so yards back to the truck and proceeded back to camp.  A fine evening hunt under our belts.

Meanwhile, Team Squirrel was sitting on their favorite water hole and had a 4X4 buck coming in.  The animal had to do almost what Ricochet’s buck had to do and that is, cross in front of the blind as it went to water.  Squirrel would have about a 10 yard shot if the buck continued on the trail it was on.  The problem they had was a domestic cow was also getting a drink from that water hole and thought she owned it!  Long story short, it ran that big buck off, 4 times.  It never got any closer than 40 yards and Weasel told Squirrel, “If it comes back a 4th time I’m going to shoot it”!  Squirrel agreed and encouraged his dad to do just that!  It never came back.

And so, was the fact that there were so many animals out and about this particular evening because of the barometric pressure of the upcoming storm?  Was it just because we had a day of cooler, cloudy weather?  A combination of the two?  I don’t have the answer, but it sure was exciting to see critters so very close and almost getting shots!  Those were the two closest encounters for these young hunters during their season.  As their grandfather, it was exciting to be with them in camp and in the blinds.  They are troopers and good hunters.  I hope I have MANY more days in the field with them.

Well, we call that archery hunt number one.  We had a family/friends rendezvous back home, so we packed up and headed down the mountain for a week to enjoy that happening.

Archery hunt number two, began the following Thursday, and Weasel and I had two more evenings before the elk hunt ended.  Both of us hoping we could at least fill one of the tags we had.  Elk is SOOOO good eating!  We checked trail cameras and made our plans to hunt a particular water hole the first of the two evenings.  We chose the one where the 4 point had come in just in case it came back.  It was a good plan, but nothing came in that evening.  A couple of does and fawns is all, but it was still a good evening to be out.  Clear and cool, with a slight breeze (however it was blowing in a direction that didn’t help our cause and actually chased off the animals coming in).  We heard them snorting and stomping as they went up and around us.  That’s hunting.

The last evening, had me sitting on a water hole where I had found a “new to us” trail coming in from a dense stand of pines, so thick you can’t see 10 feet inside of.  The trail was tore up with fresh elk track.  I donned my “leafy suit” and made myself at home watching that trail.  Anything coming out of that stand of pines would be about a 20 yard shot.  I even took a selfie of myself being so sneaky.

As Gattlin would say…”I can see you, but you can’t see me”!!!!

It was getting dark, but I could still see quite well to put an arrow in a critter out to 20 yards, when suddenly down that trail came the sounds of several elk.  My heart rushed into my chest especially when I saw the movement of a cow elk coming my direction!  OH boy!  I readied my tab under the nock of the arrow and tightened up on the string a bit!  The cow came to the edge of the timber and then turned and went down the edge just inside the tree line, down and to my left.  She had two calves with her that came to the edge and stood looking down her way.  The calves had done what I needed the cow to do.  I could have shot the calves, but I was in no mind set to do that.  Besides, had I tried to get one, I’m sure a pass through would have gotten the second one which was standing broadside along side the closest one.  She went down and stopped and it was then that I noticed the breeze was taking my scent directly in her direction.  She suddenly snorted and turned, ran up through the trees the way she had gone, ripped past the calves and they joined her up and over the top to wherever scared elk go, never to be seen again.  DANG!


No action for this VAP .166 tonight!

Just as suddenly as she had bolted out of there, the sounds of a very irate bull elk on the hill to my far left, began to ring out into the very late evening air!  He was snorting, bellowing and tearing up some trees and bushes with his antlers.  He was not acting very friendly at all.  He wasn’t bugling, but almost to that high pitched sound.  He continued to raise hell for several minutes, maybe even a half hour.  I decided I might as well make my way to the truck, as it was getting darker and darker.  I had about 500 yards to go to the truck.  I put my pack on and slowly made my way down through the pines toward the road.  I was almost to the road, when suddenly I saw the outlines of 6 cow elk standing on the other side of the road, about 40 yards away from me.  They were all looking up toward the bull elk still tearing up the hillside.  I froze, like a dummy, instead of trying to close the distance and getting a shot.  My thought at the time was, why wasn’t Weasel with me, he could have taken this shot!  40 yards is nothing for him.  I’ve seen him hit the bottom of a beer can, consistently out to 60 yards!

And so ended our archery elk hunt for 2018 !  Exciting, but no meat for the freezer.

You know, it isn’t about the harvesting of animals, it’s more about just being out in nature.  Being with friends and family and enjoying time away from the every day and the modern stuff.  Even though we still rely on trail cameras, iphones, gps, 2 way radios.  We also get to see the beauty of this world and what God has created.  The animals in their natural environments, doing what they need to do to survive. 



Seeing what was left behind as they traveled the trails trying to survive.



The clear sky’s filled with stars that city people just don’t get to see unless they leave that environment to see it. 



The dust that accumulates because of the lack of rain 

The sounds of coyotes howling in the night that sometimes keeps you awake and sometimes acts like a yoga chant that lulls you to sleep.

The sights of animals a lot of people will never see in their entire lives, and we take it for granted all too often.

Just being there!  Getting dirty along the way and then cleaning up as best as you can, given what you have.

YES!  I sure hope I have a lot more days like these!  And let’s not forget why we get up early!

And if that isn’t enough!  Sometimes, God smiles down on you with the bounty of the land that insures you can share with your friends and family.  I thank God each and every day for this success!

And Yes, it is the biggest the mountain had to offer.  One shot, that’s all any of us can ask for!

Bears Butt

October 18, 2018

2 Comments, Written on October 18th, 2018 , Hunting Stories
By: Bears Butt

This year’s festival was wonderful!  The morning air was a brisk 9 degrees according to my truck thermometer and there was not a cloud in the sky.  You could see a bunch of elk off and up on the hillside above the ranch feeding area and the guys were moving bales of hay out as I arrived!  It was going to be a great day!  When it was all said and done and at the end of the day, I was told there were over 1,100 people who came to the event!  Us mountain men and women had a great time!  I was not able to get pictures of every group that came through for pictures but here are a few!  Feel free to download them for your own personal use!  Regrettably, some of the images did not turn out to be sharp.  I’m very sorry for that, especially if you were counting on my abilities.  Maybe next year!







Leave A Comment, Written on December 10th, 2017 , Uncategorized
By: Bears Butt

This week, Sherry and I made a little trip up along the trail that Brigham Young sent a small group of LDS missionaries to look into settling the Salmon River area of what is now called Idaho.  Back then it was called the Oregon Territory.  Brigham Young was actually scouting out another escape route from the US Government, should they decide to come after the Mormons again.  Among the small group, some 25 to 30 young men of LDS faith, was my Great Grandfather, Abraham Zundel.  This trail is followed pretty closely by the current road systems through this same area and so, our trip was especially interesting to me.  The country side has not changed much at all since 1855.   Abraham was designated the mail carrier for the mission and so he made several trips from the mission at Limhi to Salt Lake City and back again.  All alone, on horseback, with only a pistol and a rifle as his company.  The area was home to the Shoshone tribes with the Blackfeet tribes just over the mountains to the East.  The missionaries were met by the Shoshone as they arrived at what is now called “Tendoy”, but they called their mission “Fort Limhi”.  There is a book written that explains all about it, “Fort Limhi”, by David L. Bigler.  You would enjoy reading it, trust me.

Now, back to why I’m writing this:  Along the path, is a stream named “Birch Creek” and in this desolate area any water found is an oasis and is where all the animals of the area come for food, drink etc.  The mountains to the East are vertical rocks with caves and washes carved out of them from millions of years of wind and rain erosion.  Very few trees and not much to look at except for the carved out caves.

Sorry about the picture being blurry, 

This area of Idaho, is called the Birch Creek Recreational area and there is a whole lot more to it than this small stream.   The red area is the camping areas alongside the stream while the blue areas on the map are other atv trails etc. in this area.  The camping is free, but they like to have people donate to the cause and there is a dropbox as you leave the campground.  We found a nice little spot about a third of the way up from the bottom of the red area on the map and made it our home for the night.  The stream flows pretty good considering the desert like area it flows through.

There are some trout in the stream as well and a lot of people fish it.  We chose not to get fishing licenses and so, I could only watch the fish swim in the water.  The water is very cold which makes swimming and/or wading uncomfortable, at least to old people like me.  But can you imagine riding your horse through a virtual desert and how welcoming this stream would have been?  I figure my Grandfather camped exactly in this spot and even peed against the same tree I peed against.  That’s my story anyway.

So, after a very quiet evening and a great nights sleep, I was up drinking a cup of coffee and decided to take MaPa’s out for his morning ritual and relief exercise.  He is a small dog, but can really put you to the test of holding him back while he is on his leash.   When he gets on the trail of a “critter” it is all you can do to hold him back, this walk was not exception.  We went down stream from our camp and when we were about 400 yards down, He had led us over to the stream edge and through another camp.

Looking down I saw some fresh tracks in the dust around a fire pit and held him back from his pulling long enough to study the prints left in the dirt.









As I’m holding him back, he is trying is darndest to pull me over.  But I was studying these tracks and finally I decided it was a big coyote and so I stood back up and headed towards MaPas.  He was nose to the ground pulling like the dickens along the edge of the shadow in the above picture.  As he started to round the left edge of the bush, I pulled him very hard and said out loud, “Come on fella, let’s get back to camp”, reluctantly he turned to come my direction and as he did, a cougar ran out from the other side of the bush and went straight away from us.  MaPas just sat down on his butt and watched as the cat ran off.  I’m sure my mouth was wide open as I watched it too.  It didn’t take it long to get down stream and run into some bushes at the next camp.  My heart was racing like crazy as we quickly walked back to our camp and I kept looking over my shoulder at where the cat was last seen.  Back at the camp, I couldn’t wait to tell Sherry what we had just experienced and it took at least 15 minutes before my heart pounding subsided.  What would have happened had I let MaPa’s continue around the end of that bush?  Was the cat laying in wait for a little puppy on a string?  Had it already decided to get out of there before I pulled him away from his pursuit?  We will never know, but he is now nicknamed Cougar Bait.  I’m very glad that the cat decided to run away.  Why MaPa’s didn’t try to chase after it, I’ll never know, because he loves to chase cats back at home.  He just sat down on his butt and watched it run away.  Maybe because of it’s size it intimidated him, I don’t know.  This is my second encounter with a cougar this year (remember the one in the early morning darkness on my turkey hunt?).

August 4, 2017

Bears Butt

5 Comments, Written on August 4th, 2017 , Uncategorized, Vacation Time | Stories, Ramblings & Random Stuff From an Old Mountain Man is proudly powered by WordPress and the Theme Adventure by Eric Schwarz
Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS). | Stories, Ramblings & Random Stuff From an Old Mountain Man

Just some of my old stories, new stories, and in general what is going on in my life.