Captured some of the regulars my own trailcam. My property has a great little deer sanctuary on an undeveloped half acre. A deer trail rises from the creek to a little flat clearing with a nice willow tree with a great horizontal branch for rubs or does to bed under.
This month I captured a big non typical that has a nice tall 3 on his right and an abnormal mass for a left along with great eye guards. A crab front 3×2 with super tall G2 on his left and a nice 3×2 that likes to rub the willow branch. Also a nice stare down between a doe and coyote.
Here is the big non-typical back in July still in velvet and now in end of September.
My brother Tim is an avid fisherman, has his own boat, and I’ve had lot of fun over the years fishing with him and learning about fishing. Each year he does a guided salmon fishing trip with guide Mike Bogue on the Sacramento river. This year he invited me to join him. I knew this would be a great time and we had a chance at catching a big salmon but had no idea just how exciting and how great we would do.
We headed up to Anderson Sunday night for an early meet up with Mike at a nearby lot and then off to the boat ramp. In the water before sun up and started at a popular spot where Battle Creek joins the river. Already there were probably 10 boats working the spot. We set up not too close to the armada and back trolled our T155 lures into position. It took me a while to learn how to make sure the lure was working and to feel the bottom and then gently bounce the lead round ball sinker to keep the baits moving as the boat slowly worked them down the river current.
Hooking them is a definite skill as they first may gently pull on the bait and the second stronger pull is when you set the hook. I felt a few bites but I never managed to hook one. Mike however is a master and minutes into our first day he yanks his rod back into a deep bend, turns and hands it to me! After my initial surprise I got to work and reeled in a beautiful female salmon. I was amazed and I think the rest of the fleet were too as they watched us come late and just hook up and land our first fish.
Then it just kept getting better!
First fish of the trip
We would fish a while and then Mike would have us reel in. Mike would freshen up our baits, adding a filet of sardine to the big lures. We fished a while and then moved down the river to a scenic spot all to ourselves. Soon Tim hooked his first fish and it was a big one. Tim has the drill down and lands his like a pro.
Tim hooks a big Salmon
My second fish of the day turned out to be a big male and it was a fight to get him landed. I would reel him in close to the boat, up to the sinker, lift up for Mike to net him only to hear my line going out as he makes another run. Finally I got him up and in position for Mike to net him. Incredible fight and the biggest fish I’ve ever caught!
Tim would finish the day with a nice female. Another big fish to cap of an incredible day with us both getting limits of salmon.
After catching our limit we headed back to the hotel, enjoyed some time in the pool and then a great dinner at the Woodside Grill. The Gaia Hotel in Anderson is very nice, super convenient and the grill just a short walk away.
We’re back to meet Mike first thing in the morning. This time we didn’t fish for long with the crowd but headed back to some other spots that had been so productive our first day. Shortly after dawn Mike yanks back his rod and once again hands it to me. I get to start day two landing a nice male.
Day two would be even better with us landing fish after fish. Tim and I both land a male and female each with some big ones. We had our limit by 10:30. Mike ties up in a nice shady spot and fillets the catch for us. Tim and I are heading back to his house in Walnut Creek where we put his vacuum packer to great use packaging some for his smoker and many many dinners.
Tim’s first fish day two
Sean’s second fish day two
I’ve had lots of great memories fishing with Tim. Pulling in trout after trout in some host spot on the lake or landing catfish in the summer. Nothing compares to landing these huge salmon. Definitely the high point of my fishing experience. Makes me want to pack some rods next time I head out on the kayak and maybe do some line fishing after I’ve collected some abalone!
August finally arrived for my annual hunt at the Diamond C Ranch in Humboldt, California. Arrived Friday August 12th and sat a blind the first night hoping for a bow shot at a big 4×4 seen on trail cams and dubbed ‘Q-Tip’. The sit was fairly uneventful with only some does and a small buck seen at the periphery of the woods adjoining the field that the trial feeds into.
Second night I moved to a new blind that had been more active hoping for a shot at a large non-typical that was called ‘Kong’. This time around 7:30 in full daylight Kong and a younger 3×3 emerged from the woods and came down the trail towards the blind without a care in the world. For the longest time Kong was behind the younger buck but eventually he presented a broadside at just under 20 yards. This whole time my heart was pounding. I couldn’t believe this had even happened. I drew my bow, was a little shaky, tried to settle my top pin on him, released, MISS! Not just a close one but by a mile like a yard high left. They run off. I can’t believe it. I must have been just white knuckling my bow.
Large non-typical Blacktail buck
I continued to sit the blind and then with about 5 minutes left of legal shooting light a 3×3 came in. Dylan had mentioned a 3×3 with one eye guard that was on the list. I decided he would be good bow buck, drew on him, relaxed, focused on my pin, released, and heard a good hit with my Nockturnal passing through him landing in the grass behind. I didn’t think he would go very far. We waiting about 45 minutes. Dylan arrived, we checked my arrow and it looked great. It wasn’t hard to find him, he went not 30 yards. Unfortunately he was not the buck we wanted to kill but a younger 3×3! Not a great day for me, missing a giant and then shooting a young buck.
The next day we drove around looking for a buck dubbed ‘The Whitetail’ with a rack on one side similar to one. We never did see him and a hunter would take him with a rifle shortly after I left. The next night we decided I would sit for Kong again. Not much going on this time, a doe and fawns, a spike. Kong is probably not going to take the trail for a while, so disappointed with my showing this year.
Monday I need to get back home but we decide to drive to a different area on the ranch. Early in the morning we spotted a wide 3×3 on a hill top. We decide he’s a good buck and as he disappears over the top we plan a stalk around the side. We get to a point where we can see his rack just above the tall grass. I quickly get prone with my new Browning A-Bolt Medallion, on the bi-pod, I can just make out his neck below the grass. I squeeze off a shot and he turns and moves off, not fast and I’m surprised I didn’t drop him. I work the bolt and put another in him from behind. We wait about 30 minutes and start to explore the area. Not finding any blood but I am positive he’s killed. We look a long time and finally find him, he was in a depression in the grass and hidden from view. I’m please with this book, he’s fully 20″ wide. I’ll be thinking about Kong all year and if he survives I’ll hope I get the gift of another shot at him and can pull myself together and get it done!
The view of the shot for my 2016 blacktail rifle buck
I attended the Boone & Crockett Big Game Awards in Springfield, Missouri this past weekend. What a great time. Much smaller than SCI but all of the invited trophies were on display at the BassPro Shop. Was incredible to see. This is a huge BassPro that also features an NRA Firearms Museum and the Archery Hall of Fame museum. I was able to spend much of Saturday taking in all the trophies and touring the exhibits.
Craig Boddington served as the host of the awards ceremony and read a short summary of each hunt as the award was presented. This was a really nice touch. While my buck ‘Lightning Four’ was not the top scoring Blacktail when submitted, after the panel scoring I ended up taking First Award. What a great honor for my buck. So grateful for this experience.
I was able to meet some wonderful people and hear great stories of their incredible hunts. I also met several of the measurers and wonderful people that are the Boone & Crockett organization.
I took pictures of most all the trophy submissions and have them in a Flickr Album here
My annual turkey hunt was looking like a bust. Usually I wait for a nice sunny weekend but this late April Saturday was cold and a little damp. The Toms were not talking. We couldn’t get a gobble anywhere out of the shock calls and started to use a hen call to see if that might work. At one stand we started to get a lot of hens talking back quite loudly but no gobbles. We waited a long while and finally moved on. Well the new spot was no better but walking back towards where we were, sure enough there is a Tom coming to our old stand through the woods. I took a bead on his bobbing head and when I had a lane between the trees took my shot. That did it, nice Tom in the bag yet again. 100% last four years. Then it was looking for pigs. Seemed like great weather for the pigs to be out but no luck there.
My second mission was to retrieve my 2010 trophy bucks that I had been keeping at the cabin. The first huge non-typical buck I took in August that year and the second in November, a typical 4×4 that make the Boone & Crockett all time book. I finally moved my elk head and other smaller bucks to storage and am going to display my 4 Boone & Crockett bucks in my study.
I added two upgrades to my Glock 21 in and am very pleased with the results. First, I had it Magnaported. I have a couple other guns ported and I didn’t realize they do Glocks. The effect is noticeable in the reduction of muzzle flip. The .45 is not that bad to begin with, the porting just makes it better.
The second mod is the addition of a Trijicon RMR red dot sight. I had it done with Suarez International. They mill your slide to mount the RMR for best fit and performance. They also add fixed sights, I ordered the night sights, and then co-witness the red dot with your iron sights. The result is a very natural adaptation to draw and sight acquisition. With practice it is very fast.
Red dot sights are definitely the fastest way for most humans to shoot a handgun. When a red dot was first used at the Bianchi Cup it was a winner and no one has won it since without using one. There is a good review on the Trijicon RMR on the Truth about Guns blog.
I tried it out at my local indoor range and it was not disappointed. At 10 yards I could put most through the same big hole. I’m looking forward to taking it to an IPSC practice session where I can try shooting fast. It won’t turn me into an open class shooter but I have no doubt I’ll be a lot faster than shooting my Production 34.
My big archery blacktail from 2014 was awarded Fourth Place for North American Archery by the Safari Club International. I attended the incredible convention for the first time this year. The Night of the Hunter awards dinner was hosted by Eva Shockey and Tom Miranda.
Kari and I stayed the The Four Seasons hotel in Mandalay Bay right where the convention was held. Kari managed to capture my award presentation on her iphone. It was yet another great consequence of taking the buck of my lifetime. ‘Lightning Four‘ as we called him is the new SCI number two archery Blacktail.
I spent the next couple days roaming the incredible showroom floor. ( Photos ) This was bigger than any tech convention I have attended at Mandalay including Oracle. Everywhere incredible taxidermy exhibits, acres of gorgeous high end rifles, all the optics manufacturers, and outfitters from all over the world.
I enjoyed meeting many of the celebrities and writers from the Hunting industry including Diana Rupp editor of Sport’s Afield, my favorite hunting magazine. I ran into Jim Shockey and he was gracious as always. Safari Press and Trophy Room Books had great displays. I was barely able to cover the showroom floor in two days. My good fortune continued with a poker tournament win.
Back to Diamond C Outfitters for my second California tag. Lots of great bucks taken this year. I’m hoping for a big 3×3 but am ready for anything. I almost shoot a 4×3 with my bow the first night when an opportunity presents itself at 35 yards. I decide to pass on the young buck. Saturday morning comes and we find a great buck ‘Scarface Junior’ bedded on a grassy hill with a doe. Named for his dad, this buck has no scars and looks like an absolute monarch. He’s very close to where I shot my August buck. Dylan and I sneak up to a ranged 328 yards until he starts to appear a little concerned. I’m using the Browning .300 WSM again which I have complete faith in. Clayton manages to capture the shot from back in the truck. He is a great buck, the biggest body buck I have ever taken. 167 pounds field dressed. Beautiful cape and just a great old buck.
Back to Twin Buttes Recreation again to hunt mule deer. I’m hunting with Scott Robertson. Had lots of great stalks on some huge bucks. On the fourth day we came on some deer just within the tree line. There was a good 4×4 in the bunch so we decided to try a stalk. We got to about 67 yards but there was a young buck in front of the 4×4. Eventually the separated and I moved up to see him broadside looking at me at 53 yards. I drew back and shot and saw my lighted knock leaving with him. We found my arrow with about five inches broken off and ten inches of good blood on it. After a couple hours we tracked him about 75 yards passing an old lion kill. A good 4×4 with just the skull left and horns eaten down by rodents. Then when we find my buck he’s actually a 5×4 with a branch on his right main beam. He’s also got fresh lion claw marks on his hind quarters and his tail has been bitten off.
What a great hunt. We saw some huge bucks and had many exciting stalks before this one came through for me. So happy to have made a perfect shot at 53 yards. The Robertson’s are a wonderful family and the food, hospitality, and hunting are the best. Will definitely be back possibly trying the rifle. It’s hard to stop bow hunting though when you are two for two on archery mule deer. Still waiting to see if any of my friends connected after I left. Hoping one of them nailed the big non-typical we had been seeing.
One of the many bucks on the hit list was one with a deformed left front and three tines in back that was dubbed ‘The Freak’ I had him on my mind along with a big 3 called ‘Stickers’ Lots of great bucks on the ranch as always. The weather called for high nineties so was not looking forward to the heat and with all the fires the area was thick with smoke. We didn’t have a lot of luck Friday evening. Saturday we thought we had The Freak pinned down in a draw but after a couple hours realized he had slipped away. Sunday morning the smoke was almost as thick as fog and Dylan suggested we tour around and try and ‘get lucky’. Well as usual we do, he spots a big rack just above the tall grass on a hill top near some grazing does. We make a stalk down the hills, we crawl up to a crest and he spots him at 271 yards. I can clearly see his ears and believe I can kill him right there. I’m using Dylan’s Browning A-Bolt custom gun which he has completely dialed in with a CDS turret. I hold just enough below his head to get a neck or body shot and at the shot his head just falls.