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.
My big blacktail from August we called The Lightning Four is starting to get officially recognized by several of the record keeping organizations. He is officially the new number 2 typical Columbia Blacktail taken by bow for Safari Club International. They scored him at 154 3/8 ranking him 23rd overall.
Here is the display from the SCI site showing his new ranking.
The Boone & Crockett Club has also officially recognized Lightning Four as scoring 156″ which will crack their top 100 list in their all time record book. Should he still be in the top five at the end of this three year scoring period I’ll need to submit him for a panel judging. That would be exciting and he could receive an award for his species in that scoring period.
And lastly, Pope & Young, the bowhunting organization has asked that I ship the horns for their panel judging in Arizona preceding their Convention in April. Unfortunately I can’t attend the convention however he may end up in their Top Ten all time list for Columbia Blacktail Deer. It will be interesting to see what the panel scores him as there was a big difference between SCI and B&C. So exciting to have taken such a great buck with my bow and to receive the distinction such a great animal deserves.
Five days on a late archery elk hunt in southwest Washington with Mike Jenkin’s Upfront Outfitters. This was a wet and challenging hunt. I didn’t end up taking one but had a great time trying. We alternated spot in stalk in lush mossy fern carpeted rain forest and then hiking and even mountain biking logging roads into timber land. Old growth, new reprod and clear cuts. On Wednesday, in the middle of the hunt, while hiking through a dense forest I was thinking it would be crazy to find an elk in here. An instant later Mike whispers to get down, there’s an elk across a stream in the distance. That was probably the most exciting moment. We tried to move tree to tree and gain the edge of the stream for a 40 yard shot but the cow busted us at 60. We did see elk in the distance several times later days hunting the timber land, never able to get close. Several stands were sat that looked very promising and we were seldom hiking without seeing lots of sign, fresh droppings, rubs, and beds. The week proved a much needed workout and if I ever do take a Roosevelt elk with my bow it will be that much sweeter. The hunt has me considering the benefits of doing a little mountain biking in the off season.
After the mandatory 60 day drying period of my huge August bow blacktail buck we called ‘The Lightning Four’, I made the trip to Redding, CA to have Steve Boero score several bucks for both Pope & Young and Boone & Crockett. Steve is part owner of the local JS Ranch so we arranged a pig hunt the night before. My guide Eric Gould ( also my excellent taxidermist ) took me out in search of a pig that evening.
I was hunting with my Custom Remington rifle, created out of my first hunting rifle, a bargain basement ADL, now with fully customized pacnor barrel, jewel trigger, glass bedded in a bell & carlson stock, and Roguard and NP3 coatings, to make it my CA go to rifle. Topped with a Leupold VX3 4.5-14 scope and their excellent Compensation Drop System (CDS) it is tuned to my hand load of 140gr Nosler Accubonds in .270 Winchester.
As the sun set, pigs started to make their appearance. We settled on a group that was mingling with some cattle and I set up for a long shot with Eric as spotter. We picked a boar that finally settled broadside, Eric gave me the range as 376 yards. Adjusted my turret, settled in, safety off, and touched off the shot. The sound of the bullet whistles as it traces the distance and we hear it hit. Eric confirms the boar is down.
The CDS system has proved to be so accurate across several of my rifles and gives you the confidence that you can make longer shots both effectively and ethically.
The long awaited Diamond C Outfitters promo video is finally done! Set to ‘Thunderstruck’ by AC/DC, it is pretty fast paced encapsulation of what looks like ten years of hunting seasons. Several of my deer shots are recorded including my 2007 3×4 shot prone in the upper ranch. Also both my 2009 bucks, Twin Towers that drops like a rock and my late season 5×4 buck that kicks out at the shot. Both the pig hunting bow shots are mine, my first pig kill with a bow the same day I shot Twin Towers. Also a 60 yard ( lucky ) shot on a grey boar that was heading up the rear on the group of pigs when I shot the black sow. One thing you notice is just how many women hunters the Carr’s take each year. Lots of capable women hunting out there. So many great bucks and great memories!
Was able to get away for Turkey again this year. Met Dylan Sunday morning and he and his son Clayton and I headed out to try and locate some Toms. Our first stand proved unsuccessful as the tom would answer us back but must have been with hens as he never came in. Our next spot some toms answered and came so fast we barely had time to set up. I propped the ole Mossberg on a rotting stump while Dylan and Clayton set up behind me. It wasn’t long before three toms came straight towards the hen decoy. They were all in a tight group. As they came closer one separated back and fanned out. I shot him but he just flew off. I think I shot over him. The other two trotted back and forth so I shot the larger of the two dropping him. We had fun chasing a band of five pigs that night and the next morning. We would locate them far off but could never find them once we got in position to make a stalk. All the while hearing turkeys gobbling. I took a second turkey Monday afternoon.
Headed out to western Colorado to do a combo archery hunt for trophy mule deer and elk near Rangely, Co at Twin Buttes Ranch. The six day hunt ran 8/31 to 9/5. Hunting with my friends Dylan & Holly Carr, Rodney, Jim, and Eric. I’m driving out in hopes of bringing back coolers of elk meat. We all connect at Cabela’s in Reno and caravan from there to spend the night in Tooele, UT. We make Rangely early the next morning. Our tags are waiting for us in town and we get all our licenses in order and head up to the ranch.
During the course of the hunt we seem many great bucks. Some I just can’t get close enough for a shot. Early in the hunt I get within 55 yards of a pretty nice 4×4 but end up passing on that shot. It ends up being the buck I take on the fourth day. They had some scouting footage of him from earlier that they sent me below.
Eric draws first blood on the third day with a tall 2×3. I end up getting a shot the morning of the fourth day at the same 4×4. I shoot from just under 40 yards. It’s a good shot but we’re concerned he’s headed off a pretty steep drop. I put another into him from behind at 32 and he beds down on the steep slope. We see his head go down and then he rolls another 75 yards down but stops before the drop. It makes for a challenging recovery and messed up the velvet. Luckily we have lots of help. Dylan and Owen dress and quarter him right there on the hill side. I’m super happy to have taken my first mule deer with a bow.
Jim shoots a very nice tall 4×4 on day five and Dylan shoots a great buck that night. The last day Rodney scores on another great buck and we watch the drama from a adjoining ridge. After taking my deer I sat on water in a blind for elk but no luck. It was beautiful country, great accommodations, food, lodge and wonderful hospitality from the Robertson’s family.
August and I’m back to the Diamond C Ranch for a blacktail bow hunt. I’m after several bucks, some we’ve seen previous years. Moose, a big non-typical, Johnny a nice 4×3, Stubby a thick based 4×3, and AP a super wide symmetrical 4×4. Moose is the primary target. Friday I’m in a blind looking for him to come in. At dusk a super tall buck appears. I’m thinking of taking him but further scrutiny shows he’s aptly named ‘Off-Limits’ a big 4×3 that’s too young. Saturday night while heading to the Herf blind we spot a big buck walking in the woods below us to our right. It’s ‘Johnny’. Dylan and I are after him, walking above him parallel to his path searching for a good shooting lane. Finally one develops. Dylan ranges him at 38 yards. I hold my 40 pin on his body, he’s quartering away, I release. I hear my arrow impact a branch on the way. It deflects my shot but we hear it impact. He’s off and we decide to cross the creek bed and see if we can head him off. While on the opposite side I can hear him walking through the woods. We cross back and at the creek bed we can see him bed down above us on the side I shot from. We recover him there. My arrow went through both back legs and hit an artery. He’s a great buck! Nice 4×3 with his velvet intact. My best bow buck by far.
With so many great bucks on the ranch I decide to sit the Herf blind Sunday night in hopes of seeing AP. While I’m getting into the blind a tall 4×3 stands up from under an oak tree and slowly walks off. I thought it was Off-Limits again but Dylan texts me that it was Stubby and I can take him if I want. He looked pretty good but I’m thinking of holding out for AP the huge 4×4. Around 6:30 a doe walks in. She’s pretty spooky, starting at the slightest noise from the blind and staring in. She leaves eventually. Later another doe comes in and same thing, slightest noise has her full alert. Sunset is 8:18 and at 8:20 a young fork horn walks in. Around 8:30 Stubby is back as well. I give him a good look with the binos. He looks pretty good. Taller than Johnny but not wide. Super thick bases. Finally at 8:40 he stands broadside at 23 yards looking my direction. I decide to take him. I draw and can make out his back line. Lower the green 20 pin below and slowly release. I hear the arrow impact and the black silhouette of a buck walking out and away to the left. I grab the binos but not in time to identify which. I think I see movement in the grass. I call Dylan and tell him I shot Stubby. I think the shot is good. Possibly he’s ‘dead right there’. We give him 30 minutes and then the truck pulls up. I’m out of the blind. Stow my gear in the truck and then go look for my arrow. There is Stubby lying dead where he was standing. Too good to be true. He’s a super buck with 6″ plus bases and patches of white velvet. A great double for the weekend and my two best bow bucks by far.
Back to try turkey hunting again with Dylan Carr at the Diamond C Ranch. I stopped at Rio Dell on my way to pick up my Remington ADL custom rifle Fred at Grundmans had been putting together for me. My original first hunting rifle, a bargain basement ADL, now transformed with pacnor stainless fluted barrel, jewel trigger, robar coated with NP3 on the bolt, and topped off with a 4.4-14×40 Leupold VX3 with CDS turret. Looking forward to sighting it in. My inspiration was an article from Hardcore Outdoor where he gave his 30.06 a similar treatment.
Friday we tried calling in some Toms with Harley and Dylan doing the calling but the wind made it difficult and the birds weren’t moving. Saturday morning Dylan and I drove back down to where we’d been hearing them and immediately got a gobble back to our crow call. We found a good position behind a rock above them and proceeded to call them in.
We had expected some birds to come up on our right but before we knew it two toms arrived off to our left. I had to re postion the gun over Dylan to be ready. Dylan saw the first and told me to take the second one. Waited for them to get into range. Finally the second arrives and I shoot him. The other bird immediately comes over and starts tearing him up, standing over him. Eventually slipped off my gloves and got my iPhone out for a little video. We then slipped out there not wanting to spook them so that Dylan’s daughter Ashley could try for them later.
Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning we hunted with Ashley, Dylan’s 10 year old daughter to try and get her first turkey. We had several stands and toms come in but it was never quite right or too far to shoot. She was shooting off of sticks. She did great though exhibiting great patience and not taking a bad shot. I’m sure she’ll have her bird later this month. Was so fun seeing different hunts unfold and the toms coming in to the calls. Really enjoying turkey hunting and looking forward to doing it again each Spring.
Back to the Diamond C Ranch for my late season November blacktail deer hunt. I had hoped to take a better buck with my bow this time but issues with my bow had me revert to the rifle yet again. I had my Sako 85M in 30.06 which has been my go to deer rifle while the ADL is being customized. It was still a great time, especially to sit and watch so many bucks this time of year. We saw some from last year like Moose, Splay, and assorted management bucks. I ended up taking a very old 3×3 management buck that Dylan wanted taken. The highlight of this hunt was seeing a buck called Slider up close at 100 yards chasing some does around. He’s a huge straight 4×4, maybe bigger than my B&C buck right now. We hope he breeds does all across the ranch. I’ll be dreaming of him for the rest of the year. Hopefully to take him with my bow early August.
Slider’s sheds are below, the set from last year and on the right one from two years ago already a 4×4.