By: Bears Butt
My obsession with one buck started during the bow hunt while accompanying Weasel, Conner and Squirrel. We saw a very nice 3 point but could not get on it for a shot with the bow and it ran around the bend in the mountain. Later on we were way across the canyon and took a moment to glass in the direction that 3 point had gone. I saw it in a hollow filled with buck brush and tall sage but it wasn’t alone! With it was a very big buck that dwarfed that 3 point. How many points it had I will never know as my optics are not that good nor powerful. But I knew it was a very big buck…wide and tall.
Later in the hunt we saw another big buck that in my mind was the same one we had seen days earlier. It was running with two nice 4 point bucks and the size of its body and massive antlers again dwarfed the other two bucks. The haunting began in my mind….I will be on that spot come the opening day of the muzz hunt. My dreams were filled with the vision of that one buck as it crossed the hill ahead of us and lead those other two bucks away.
On a later bow hunt Weasel and I were in town gassing up before heading up to the camp for one last attempt to fill his tag and I spoke to a camo clad young man who was in the store buying his breakfast….How is your hunt going? Fine. Where you camped? Up on Monte. Are you seeing anything worth taking? Ya, but nothing like the one we took out of New Canyon a week or so ago. One of the guys tagged a 31 incher…………..
My heart sank. That was most likely the buck that has been haunting me in my dreams. Could there be two such bucks in existence in that canyon? I sort of doubt it, but I maintained my position that I will be at that spot come opening day of the muzz season.
So, Weasel and I took his trailer up to the camp the Friday before the hunt. Dry Dog had some issues with his camp trailer and even though he was going to convoy with us that day, he had to delay until later in the day to take his trailer up. That delay on his part was actually a good thing for us as we had been working on a gag to pull on him for about a year. Here is the gag:
We saved the skin of Weasels deer from last year, acquired a very badly damaged 3D archery deer target, placed a heavy piece of metal swinging in the kill zone of that target, I cut off the antlers from Edjukateers deer and attached them to the 3D deer to add reality to its appearance and then we put the saved skin over the body and decided we would place it strategically on the hill just outside of camp. Our thoughts were on road hunters coming and going down the road. They would spot the fake animal on the hill and then take a shot at it. Hitting the “gong” would cause it to ring loudly and with us sitting in camp we would jump and yell with joy. With Dry Dog coming up later, we had time to set the phony deer up. From our camp below
the deer really looked “BAD”…and by that I mean it didn’t look real at all, but from a small window between two quaky
trees next to the road it looked somewhat believable.
This is going to be fun!
Before we left the mountain we laid the fake deer down and left it on the mountain. We will set it back up on Wednesday (opening day) afternoon and hope Dry Dog sees it and takes a shot.
Tuesday was slow to come and of course my list of things to take on the hunt were not without some concern. Had I packed that crossed off item in the trailer we took up last Friday? Always a bit of doubt that I had actually put it in the trailer, and still I had a lot of stuff to take up this day.
Weasel will have a similar load of stuff to take as well and what about Hot Spark and Squirrel? They too will have stuff to take. Will we have room for it all in Weasels truck?
Well we did and we found ourselves at camp about 2 p.m. and I transferred my sleeping stuff from Weasels camper into Dry Dogs…my home away from home for the next 5 days. The excitement of the hunt is always there much like that found in a child’s eye on Christmas Day. The camp filled up quickly with other hunters and their rigs, everyone sharing that same excitement.
I don’t always get around to taking pictures as people arrive and this year was no exception even though I took nearly 200 pictures. These two ya-hoos always get a picture taken! Gatlin and his son Gunner! Two regulars at the hunt and always ready to cook up the first evenings meal…Jambalaya! This year they had a little help! Weasel and Squirrel jumped in to assist!
And as usual the meal was WONDERFUL! We even had left overs that we ate a couple days later for lunch! Even better after is sits a day or so!
Well, we hit the rack about 9 that evening and my mind was racing with the chance at that BIG BOY in the morning. My internal alarm went off about 4 a.m. and I laid there dreaming about that buck until the actual alarm went off at 4:30! I was up and ready! Magpie and Dry Dog were not sharing in my excitement but put up with my rumbling and clanking and finally got up about 5.
In the mountains at this time of year it gets light enough to see your sights just before 7 a.m. and I wanted to be at my spot and hiding well before that minute. I left camp on my atv (toy) at 6 a.m. and travelled the 4 miles in the dark.
Sitting at my spot waiting for the light, I had lots of time to think about this tradition we call hunting. About how I was taught to hunt and to utilize the animals taken. Trophy hunting never has been a big deal in my family, we are all opportunists…if it’s within ethical range…is legal to take…it is in trouble! This morning will be no different. The first legal animal that comes within my range, I’ll be shooting (at).
What a wonderful start to a great day and a great hunt. No matter what comes or doesn’t come along this scene can not be taken away. And the beautiful sunrise that followed!
We could not have asked for a better day to hunt! Not too warm and absolutely no rain in the forecast! We can handle that.
One thing that was different this year was the fact that a substantial number of our group had put in for and drawn the LaSal unit down in the Moab area…Wapiti Dung, No Grimace, Edjukateer, Sackless, Baby Boy, Softball, Tracker and Bones…so far from our camp, but in their own doing exactly what we were doing….enjoying the day and the season!
Moab…235 miles South!
But even though they went South and we stayed up North, we still had a bet going as to which group would bag the most points. This bet was for 30 beers and on Friday morning when Weasel and I took his camp trailer into the mountain we found this sign waiting for us down at the bottom of the road, just out of town.
Well, as the morning got brighter and brighter my eyes were scanning the area around me for any sign of that big buck that had filled my dreams for all these weeks. I did manage to see 6 buck deer that morning while I sat there, but none close enough for a shot. As I sat there I decided that my next morning’s stand would be over to the South of where I was about 500 yards. I had seen a line of 5 small bucks go up the ridge and even though I tried to get ahead of them by going around the hill behind me, I never saw them again. About 10 a.m., it was getting pretty warm and I had decided I might as well go on back toward camp. Most likely the deer were bedded down by now and to continue to sit there would be a total waste of time. My big buck dream wasn’t going to happen this day, at least not in this spot. I hiked back to the toy and headed down the road back toward camp.
In my travel I decided to go down a two track road I had never been on before. Today would be a good day to drive down it and have a look around. It’s in an area of nothing but tall sage brush and even though in the past we had seen a deer or two in this area from a distance we just didn’t think it looked like it would hold any buck deer. That is why we never went down that road. I was spending a lot of time behind my binoculars on this trip because I figured the sage was definitely tall enough to hide a deer laying down and besides, once I’m back at camp there would not be any chance to shoot a buck. At one point I came upon a lone cedar tree out among the sage and I thought I could see a deer’s neck sticking out from the base of it. It just didn’t look right to me.
I thought to myself, You know Butt, you might as well walk over there and take a closer look! I gathered up my stuff, put a cap on my nipple and started a slow and deliberate quiet walk toward that lone cedar. About a 200 yard walk through the noisy dry sage. I did my best to use the cover of the land to keep me somewhat hidden and did my utmost best to be as quiet as I could. Soon I was within 50 yards of the tree and I hadn’t seen anything move. I pulled the hammer back to half cock and slowly moved toward the tree. Now I was without any cover at all, just short sage and yellow grass. About 40 yards out three deer suddenly appeared out of nowhere….doe…doe…BUCK! There stood a very nice 4X4 staring right at me! I cocked the hammer and took aim. I was going to plunk him right in the head if need be and then he turned and started to run, quartering from my left to my right and climbing up a slight hill. Two more bounds and he would go over the rise and disappear! I had my bead on his shoulder and I touched off the round! BOOM! I saw the disheartening puff of dust come from the opposite hill behind him….my round went high! I said a few off colored words at this point and reloaded. I never saw that buck again!
Meanwhile, back at camp:
It just wouldn’t be right not to put some kidding on the Dog! He has a fine “shelf” of a belly that allows him to keep both hands free! Free for talking and waiving his hands whether telling a story while eating or drinking a cold one!
THAT is funny stuff right there!
Back to the story:
Well, here I am on the morning of the second day, once again enjoying a very fine morning. I’m set up just under the ridge awaiting the bucks that went past that way yesterday morning.
And the view I was watching after the sun came up:
I hunted this area every day of the hunt, either in the morning or the evening (or both) and only one time did I not see at least one buck. It’s funny how we have gone some 15 years hunting in this area and NEVER bothered going into there to hunt. Goes to show you just how little we know (or think we know) about deer hunting!
Another interesting thing I observed on this hunt was the increasing population of moose. Bulls, cows and calves! Some of them in my pictures might be the same ones being seen in different areas, but I’m not entirely sure of that. The bulls look too much different to me.
This is a very good sign. Years ago we used to see many moose and then a disease went through the hurd and killed a bunch of them. The come back is more than welcome in my eyes.
And as with all our hunts the fun we have is why we keep coming back. Traditions like handing out mementoes to hang off our beaver sharns showing the year of the hunt…silver forks, kill jugs, pennies and the list goes on. Dry Dog and Half Cocked handed out kill jugs and Cancer awareness mementoes:
We shared our camp with everyone who wanted to stop by and swap stories and lies. 30 inch bucks seemed to be everywhere over in the Temple Flat area, according to one guy I won’t mention his name! (input smiley face here) We saw bucks hanging in nearly every camp around and one very nice impressive buck hung in one camp (still not the buck of my dreams), but impressive none the less.
We talked to people who were having just as much fun as us, but you know what….Nobody stopped and shot at our fake deer up on the hill. We won’t do that again, but in Weasel and my minds it should have been a very fun happening for the road hunters. OH! Muzzleloader people don’t road hunt….They Spot and Stock! Bow hunters “Spot and Stalk” because they need to get close. Muzzy guys “Spot and Stock”….see the buck, jump out and put the stock to your shoulder and fire!
And when someone shot a buck and brought it back to camp, they got to “enjoy” the taste of the kill jug!
No kill jug for 3 Guns, but I think someone gave him a Spicey V-8!
The kids seemed to have a great time on this hunt as well. Squirrel was trying to fill his quota of grouse but was unsuccessful. Grouse are not that easy for a beginning shotgunner!
But not all of the grouse got away! Kenzie tagged her first one while we were working our way back toward camp after picking her and Conner up at Hardware Ranch on Friday evening.
How sweet is that! And she took care of the dirty work back at camp too! Great job Kenzie!
This is a little trick on taking care of grouse taught to us by Hunter several years ago! And now I’d like to show you all the difference between the size of the breast of Kenzies Blue Grouse and one of Weasels Ruff Grouse:
But not all the critters that could have been shot were shot, or even shot at! Here are a couple that were too cute!
Up on a peak I won’t name because it would spoil it for you if you were Geo-caching, the kids found a geo-cache. We signed our names in the book and left a few tokens for the next folks who find it.
And on that same spot we couldn’t help but take a few pictures of the scenery around us.
Times like these just don’t get much better! It seems like the more you see the more you want to see! And see we did! Deer by the hundreds! Moose, Antelope, Badgers, Squirrels galore, Grouse, Eagles, Hawks, Elk, and people! Here is an overhead view of the first evenings road hunters below us!
It’s hard to see, but there are 5 trucks down there in the road! And that was just the little section of road I could see from where I was. Lots of people are out for the muzz hunt these days. It wasn’t long back we would go hunting and never see a muzzy hunter that wasn’t from our camp. Times are changing!
Again, some things might be changing, but some things still remain the same! Good times, Good people and Good food!
Gatlin and Gunner enjoying a BUNCH of hot sauce on their pork chops and Milo enjoying liver and onions for the first time! Again no pictures, but Milo got to taste Sweet Breads for his first time too and kept getting back into line until they were all gone!
And so it goes. You wait and wait 365 days for the hunt to finally get here and it is over before you know it! You can’t wait to get back home for that long awaited shower and a good nights rest. It is then you realize just how much you have abused your body for the last 5 days! But you will be back next year to DO IT AGAIN!
So, the Northern Boys (girl too) had a team of shooters competing against the Southern Boys shooting team. Northern hunters were: Crock, Gatlin, Gunner, Jessica and Bears Butt…..between us 5 hunters we killed a total of ZERO bucks and our score of ZERO shows that!
The Southern hunters were: No Grimace, Wapiti Dung, Edjukateer, Baby Boy and Sackless. They killed 3 bucks!
No Grimace and his buck: 2X3 (5 points)
Sackless’ Buck: 1X1 (2 points)
Edjukateers Buck: 4X3 (9 points counting eye guards)
So, for the North VS South Bet, the South beat the North by 16 big fat points! Congratulations guys! WE OWE THEM 30 BEERS! Name your poison boys!
When you think about it, that bet kept both camps together in a way via social media (it just seemed the “streaming” was coming mostly from the south). It was fun to see the pictures once we hit an area where we got coverage! Just another way to have fun and even for the folks back at home!
We had another year of safe hunting, good food and lots of laughs! I got a chuckle out of seeing this:
Just one of those things, “You should have been there” to really appreciate it. Clankity, Bangity, Bongity! But they made it!
When the main hunt ended about noon on Sunday, Weasel and Dry Dog decided they would leave their trailers in the mountains until the following Wednesday and would come up and get them at that time. Crock and his gang were going to keep hunting until the hunt ended on Thursday and so we headed down the mountain. Weasel and I made a plan to come back up before daylight on Wednesday morning and hunt the day, stay that night, hunt Thursday morning and then pull the trailer home. An extended day trip if you will!
So, Wednesday morning found us in the mountains at the perfect light time of 7 a.m., it didn’t take long to spot a nice little 2 point high on a ridge and I took a short hike to try and close the distance. I was about to shoot it about 80 yards ahead when it had other things on its mind and took off. Later on, we saw another buck and it didn’t take but a thousandth of a second to see antlers on it! High, wide and massive! I was on it at about 80 yards, as it was moving fast across a sage brush flat seeking heavier cover. I was on my knee with a good solid rest when I shot and I truly expected the buck to drop. My sights were solid and pointed at his quartering away rib cage. Where the ball hit is anyones guess, but I cleanly missed it. Another very nice 4X4! We stayed with it for the next hour and had one more chance for a shot. Again about 80 yards out as it stood broadside on a ridge, but the tops of some quaky trees kept me from shooting. The last time we saw it, it was standing just inside the tree line about 300 yards away. We made a move with the vehicle and closed that distance to about 100 yards. My job was to get out of the truck and sneak to a place for a shot, while Weasel drove the truck down the road. I stopped my sneak to watch an opening I felt the buck would walk through but never saw it again.
On the last morning of the hunt we counted 46 does and fawns and not one buck could be seen!
Meanwhile, in Cocks company they were killing bucks!
Chris tagged his first with a muzzy! Nice 2 point! I hate to say it Chris, but with that one antler shot off it looks like a close call from one of Dry Dogs bullets that almost got him ahead of you.
And Terry bagged number 2 for himself! Another fine 2 point!
When you put it all together I’d say we had one heck of a successful hunt! I can’t help but think about all the 2 points I saw, which was well over 30 and did not get a chance for a shot and yet to run into 2 bucks that were at least 4 points and to get a shot at both of them is amazing. Edjukateer should be happy about my poor shooting because that second buck would have de-throned him quickly from the biggest buck contest!
As a parting story: Muskrat would put a hat into the pot for the winner of the camp biggest buck contest and so we did it this year too. We decided we needed everyone who was in camp or came into camp needed to sign it as well. These are pictures of that hat after it was awarded to Dry Dog for having the biggest buck.
The funnest signature on it spells : Squrrial (Squirrel) Only a 9 year old would figure that one out.
Congrats to all on your fine kills!
October 4, 2015