WHEN OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS, BE LOADED WITH THE ANSWER. Whether it’s the buck of the season or the trophy of a lifetime, when opportunity knocks Barnes’ Triple-Shock X Bullet® technology delivers superior expansion and weight retention, unsurpassed energy transfer, exceptional accuracy, and devastating results. TM
TRIPLE-SHOCKTM Barnes’ most popular hunting bullet. It has gained worldwide recognition as one of the deadliest, most dependable bullets you can buy.
TIPPED TRIPLE-SHOCK® The proven performance of the TSX bullet with a polymer tip that improves long-range ballistics. Instant expansion and perfect penetration for quicker kills.
LRX®- LONG-RANGE For the long-range shooter who demands pin-point accuracy. Higher B.C. values, ogive and boat tail lengths improve the bullets’ long-range ballistic performance.
european mount kits
etail for elk, mule deer & whit
New for 2011!
Just Add Antlers!
black forest euskr/woalplladiqspulaey de
dipped models available
el & Appar Great ts Online! s Conte
ti posi le stab
rack ay b
no beetles. no boiling. no mess. Mountain Mike’s Reproductions utilizes ground-breaking digitizing techniques and a state of the art injection mold making process to bring you true-to-life, universal reproduction deer & elk skulls, skull plates, and accessories that are cost eﬀective and easy to use.
Hunting Illustrated Magazine Volume 11, Number 4 www.huntingillustrated.com Subscriptions and Questions 1-435-287-7368 firstname.lastname@example.org
s n m u l o C Fresh Sign — Editorial Staff News, Facts and Fun
Celebrity Hunter — Team H.I. Craig Morgan
Product Review — Team H.I. Kenetrek Boot Test
The Dueling Duo — Grange & Spomer Women Hunters Welcome?
Mule Deer — Steve Alderman Motivation
Elk — Steve Chappell
Elk Calls 101 From A to Z
PHOTO: VIC SCHENDEL
8 22 28 34 36 40
44 50 84 86 88 92 96
Predators— Les Johnson
Alaska is So Rewarding
Shooting — Greg Rodriguez
America’s Favorite Magnum
Corporate Interview Kenetrek Boots
Just For Fun
Fun For the Whole Family
Bringing Home the Bacon
Mule Deer Watch — Michael Burrell Mother Nature’s Uppercut
Nuge Factor — Ted Nugent Why Mitt Romney
s e r u t a e F 50 58 64 68 72 76 80
Photo Story — John Mogle
British Columbia Dall Sheep
The Bess Bull Jake Bess
Colorado’s Jurassic Park Eva Shockey
10 Years Paid Off Julius Hostetler
The Blessing of Alaska Jody Marcks
Arizona Dinosaur Corey Knowlton
Some of the photos in this magazine portray action performed by professional hunters or riders under controlled circumstances. We encourage safe practices in all outdoor activities. Hunting Illustrated withholds all liability for any damage or injury sustained while duplicating actions in photos.
Cover photo: Corey Knowlton pg.76, Jody Marck’s Dall Sheep pg.72, Eva Shockey’s Elk Hunt pg.64
Early Fall 2012
EDITORIAL Days of Summer
he 2012 hunting season is upon us. Oh how sweet it is! I am writing this editorial from my first hunting adventure of the year. I am with with my 13-year-old son in pursuit of the mighty spike elk here in Utah with our stick-flippers. This hunt is so invigorating to me. It is the chance I get to spend with family and some of my lifetime friends. This is what hunting traditions are all about; mine started about 26 years ago. Not only is the companionship of these great people so special, but my companionship with the mountain is appreciated as well. This is the same mountain that, as a teenager, I would gaze across some of the most spectacular views in the world and do some of my deepest thinking. I could not help but look within my set goals and plan my future from these lofty mountaintops. There is no question that some of my greatest moments pondering and hoping came from these spectacular places. Every one has their happy place. This is mine. I look across these same mountaintops now and do some of my deepest pondering and planning for my future. As I gaze across the mountain, I can’t help but think of the frequently used term “hope and change”. It is especially popular today with the presidential election upon us. To me it is much deeper than just a political catch phrase. We all reach a time in our lives when we come to a crossroad whether it is in our careers, marriage or any time a difficult decision is placed before us. Hope and Change is what 2012 is all about for me as I take on a new business venture and start down new roads untraveled. These untraveled roads brings fear, doubt, and uncertainty. I truly believe the final reward that lies at the end of these roads brings hope, strength, and the will to succeed. I look forward to the future and I am very eager for the change that I have hoped for. During this hunting season, let’s hope for bigger racks on our wall. Let’s hope for personal progress with our families. Let’s hope for more financial growth in our careers, and for our country. Let’s hope for a new president. 2012 is a year for change and we can all take part by going to the polls this November and letting our voice be heard. Ted Nugent will explain in his article “the Nuge Factor” why it’s so important to vote for Mitt Romney, but hopefully you already know the reasons. Real hope and change comes to us all at some point in our lives personally. In 2012, let’s hope it comes to our country. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, make us proud and give us the confidence we need as Americans to succeed.
Managing Editor: John Mogle Art Director: Matt Mogle Graphic Designer: Matt Smith Columnists: Steve Alderman,Ted Nugent, Scott Grange, Ron Spomer, Greg Rodriguez, Jon Crump, Steve Chappell, Les Johnson, Michael Burrell, Eva Shockey Contributing Writers: Corey Knowlton, Jake Bess, Mack Probst, Jody Marcks, Julius Hostetler Illustrators: Courtney Bjornn, Richard Stubler Advertising: 435-287-7368 email@example.com John Mogle Subscriptions / Questions: 435-287-7368 or 801-368-8374 Submissions: Send your hunting stories and photos, Picture of the Week / Braggin’ Board photo contest and parting shots to: Hunting Illustrated PO Box 1045 Gunnison, UT 84634 firstname.lastname@example.org ©2012 Hunting Illustrated LLC PO Box 1045 Gunnison, UT 84634 Hunting Illustrated is published quarterly with additional bonus issue, $24.95 U.S. /$34.95 Outside U.S. Printed in U.S.A.
SOMEWHERE ON A DISTANT MOUNTAINSIDE A TINY WHITE DOT IS GETTING NERVOUS.
Victory FL Riflescopes Supreme Confidence in Long Range Shooting Designed for the most discriminating hunters and target shooters, the new Victory FL riďŹ‚escopes feature premium FL optics for highest resolution, sharpness and contrast. Combined with RAPID-Z ballistic reticle or bullet drop compensation turret options, itâ€™s how long range hunters turn those tiny white dots into trophies. Begin your adventure at zeiss.com/sports.
FL optics eliminate color fringing and visibly enhance optical performance. Available in: 4-16x50 T* FL, 6-24x56 T* FL, 6-24x72 T* FL
The Latest News and Insights
Arrows on the Rise The World Summer Olympics Increases Awareness of Archery
ow that the Olympics have recently concluded it can be seen that event of archery has become quite a hit, gaining more attention and popularity. Hollywood has been a major factor in the “reinvention” of such an old sport. The sport became an Olympic event in 1900, debuting in Paris. Recent motion pictures such as The Hunger Games and Brave have used archery extensively. This exposure has boosted awareness and interest in the sport; interest in the Olympic events has grown as well. This year the archery Olympic events consisted of 64 men and 64 women all trying to make the perfect shot time and time again. The distance from shooting line to target is 70 meters which is just over 76 yards. Men and women compete separately from each other and compete either as individuals or in groups of three. The targets are 4 feet in diameter with the center, or “10 ring”, just over 13 inches in diameter. The point system works by scoring where the arrow lands on the target. Archers shoot recurve bows with sights as well as various stabilizer configurations to balance the bows and some even help to absorb recoil. The archers use a finger tab to provide a clean release of the string. They also shoot with small diameter arrows which experience less wind drift than a larger diameter arrow would. 8
It is interesting that a good portion of the equipment used in the 2012 games was from American based companies. Names like Hoyt, Easton, and PSE were very common among the Olympic archers. These target bows surprisingly make up the majority of revenue for the bow manufactures, in comparison to the hunting industry. The bows shot in the Olympics are very different from the average hunting bow. The biggest difference is the use of the recurve bow. Currently there is not an Olympic event for compound bows. Another difference is draw weight. Typical draw weights for an Olympic shooter are between 48 to 52 lbs. Keep in mind, target recurve bows do not have a let off at full draw like a compound bow would. This means that the longer the archer holds at full draw the faster the muscles start to fatigue. Most hunting rigs are in the draw weight range of 60 lbs. and up due to the need to pass an arrow through an 800 lb. bull elk at a distance of 40 yards. Another big difference between Olympic target bows and hunting bows are the arrows themselves. The maximum diameter for the Olympic arrows is
9.3 millimeters. They are also very lightweight. A hunting arrow needs to be on the heavy side, usually around 400 grains. The added weight is necessary to generate enough kinetic energy to penetrate through hide, muscle, and even bone of game animals. Another difference is the tip of the arrow. Olympic arrows use a steel pointed field-tip, while hunting arrows are tipped with a broad-head. Hunting broad-heads are design to cut and cause hemorrhage for a quick clean kill. Hopefully all the heightened awareness of the sport it will get more of the younger generation involved in either target archery or archery hunting. The sport requires activity, high focus, and often takes place out of doors. These requirements are good for the body and for the mind. There is also a greater sense of accomplishment shooting a real arrow into a real target versus doing the same thing in a video game. Shooting a bow with friends or family can be a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. Be sure to practice safe and responsible archery at all times.
by Editorial Staff
Army Drops Universal Camouflage N U M B E R S After Spending Billions 12,500,000
fter eight years and billions of dollars spent, the Army has given up on an ambitious effort to clothe its soldiers in a “universal camouflage pattern.” The grey digital camo uniform, widely issued and widely loathed, was supposed to blend in equally well in all environments, from desert sand to green forest to even city streets. “It definitely makes a difference in Afghanistan, because Afghanistan is primarily brown, and there’s no brown in the universal pattern,” said one Army officer who was deployed wearing the universal camo, also called the Advanced Combat Uniform or ACU. Because of pressure from unhappy soldiers and lawmakers the Army had already given up on the pattern in Afghanistan. The troops there now wear a “multi-cam” pattern that blends in to the terrain much better and allows the troops to stay better cloaked as they pursue their missions. Soldiers in other areas of the world still wearing the ACU pattern are trying to make do. The troops will often pull out the old style discontinued woodland patterned camo in Thailand and the Philippines where green is everywhere. In some cases the troops have been known to buy their camo locally or trade their ACU camo in for the locals’ camo so they can blend in better with their environment. As most hunters know, the ACU pattern that the Army was aiming for was nearly an impossible task. A camouflage that will perform well in the Western part of the U.S. with desert browns and tans does not do as well in the deep forests of the Eastern part of the country. This is something the camouflage manufacturers and designers have been trying to do for more than 20 years. It will be interesting to see what the Army comes out with next for their camouflage pattern. Unless they come out with a sci-fi cloaking device or a Harry Potter invisible robe, I don’t think we will see another attempt at a universal one-fix camo any time soon.
Number of people over the age of 16 that hunt in the US
Number of people that archery hunt in the US
Number of days spent hunting by US population
Number spent on hunting expenditures in the US.
Number of jobs created by hunting industry in the US
Early Fall 2012
Paul Ryan’s Opinion on Firearm Issues A Possible VP Who Understands Guns and Hunters
Many politicians pay lip service to “not wanting to infringe on the rights of hunters” often followed by a pronouncement or proposal that would do just that. With Paul Ryan, hunters and all law-abiding gun owners should be reassured that there is someone in Washington with demonstrated levelheadedness on issues of great interest to them. When it comes to these recurring issues, there is no substitute for the knowledge and wisdom born of the personal experience and passion of a true hunter. (National Shooting Sports Foundation. (2012, August 13). Paul Ryan is an Avid Hunter, Has Firm Opinions on Firearms Issues. Retrieved from http://www.opposingviews.com/i/society/guns/ choosing-paul-ryan-romney-picks-hunter-who-has-shown-firmgrasp-firearms-issues)
unters, firearms owners and sportsmen in general across the United States should be truly heartened by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s choice of Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his vice presidential running mate. All politics aside, the reason is clear. Paul Ryan is an avid hunter. He is also the former cochairman of Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC), which is the largest and most bi-partisan caucus in Congress. As a hunter, Rep. Ryan understands and appreciates the issues hunters and sportsmen care about, such as the current effort to ban the on-line and mail order sale of ammunition and President Obama’s support for banning modern sporting rifles (MSRs) that are used for target shooting and increasingly by hunters – just to name just two. Among the highlights of his record in Congress, Rep Ryan: • Voted YES to protect the right of hunters to use traditional ammunition • Voted YES to prohibit suing manufacturers and retailers for the criminal misuse of firearms • Helped sponsor legislation to change the Pittman Robertson excise tax payment schedule helping to financially strengthen our industry and create more jobs for the economy • Voted YES to decrease background check waiting period from 3 days to 1 day for a firearm purchase at a gun show • Was rated A by the NRA for overall voting record • Supported national cross-state standard for concealed carry • Opposed the gun registration & trigger lock law in Washington, DC 10
Brought to you by Boone & Crockett’s On-line Trophy Search www.boone-crockett.org Did You Know...Denny Austad holds the spot for the #1 non-typical elk in the world which he took on Utah’s Monroe Mountain in 2008. His antlers amassed a B&C score of 478 5/8”. That’s a lot of horn!
“Okay, now let’s check your weight.”
Christensen ad:Layout 1
WHATEVER YOU SHOOT, WE CAN MAKE IT SHOOT BETTER. Whatever riﬂe you shoot, we guarantee that our precision handloads will give you tighter, more consistent groups and superior performance in the ﬁeld. Ask about our special “ﬁve-pack” of loads and bullets tailored speciﬁcally to your gun. Call or write for a free catalog.
PUT YOUR RIFLE TO THE TEST. No rifle will shoot all brands of bullets with equal accuracy. Our Sample Packs allow you to test a variety of premium bullets—and get every ounce of performance from your rifle—without having to purchase box after box of expensive ammunition or spending tedious hours handloading. Call for info.
20788 Mossy Oak Place Sturgis, SD 57785 800-677-8737 • fax 605/347-9392 email: email@example.com www.superiorammo.com
From .22 Hornet to .600 Nitro, we craft precision handloads of exceptional quality (at last count, we offer over 230 different calibers). Choose from the world’s ﬁnest custom bullets, too Ask about our Sample Paks that can make arriving at the most accurate, powerful load for your riﬂe quick, easy and inexpensive. Contact us for a free catalog.
20788 Mossy Oak Place Sturgis, SD 57785 800-677-8737 • fax 605/347-9392 email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.superiorammo.com
20788 Mossy Oak Place Sturgis, SD 57785 800-677-8737 • fax 605/347-9392 email: email@example.com www.superiorammo.com
A Available in Superformance® Varmint™ Superformance® Match™ Superformance® ammunition from 222 Rem to 458 Win
Supercharge your rifle’s performance by up to 200 feet per second! Superformance ® ammunition is faster than ANY conventional ammunition without increases in chamber pressure, felt recoil, muzzle blast, temperature sensitivity, fouling or loss of accuracy. • IT IS FAST: 100 to 200 fps FASTER than any conventional ammunition • IT IS ACCURATE: Uncompromising accuracy without increased felt recoil • IT IS CONSISTENT: Unfailing performance in any temperature • IT IS VERSATILE: Safe to use in ALL fi rearms, including semi-autos, lever guns and pump actions
.....rocket science!® IS.....
To see how Superformance® delivers faster speeds, go to hornady.com or scan the QR code. Search your phone’s app store for a QR reader.
800.338.3220 | HORNADY.COM Early Fall 2012
r. Roy Weatherby and Mr. William L Strickland who was employed at the US Army Ballistics lab developed the-.30-378 Weatherby in 1958. Roy Weatherby had a need for speed as is evident from all of his Weatherby cartridges but the .30-378 WBY is the grand daddy of them all, a true speed demon. This cartridge was developed in 1958 for the purpose of helping the military design better armor plating for both vehicles and body armor for the troops and to also aid the military in making their own armor piercing projectiles. The case was not made available to the consumer from Weatherby, Inc until 1996. The .30378 WBY uses the same case as the previously existing .378 WBY magnum and .460 WBY magnum that is necked down to a .30 caliber bullet. Factory
bullet offerings are available from 165-200 grain bullets that give the shooter velocities in excess of 3,500 ft/s and muzzle energy over 4,750 foot-pounds of force. The .30378 WBY when hand loaded with bullets heavier than 200 grains gives similar performance to the popular .338 LaPua. The .30-378 WBY delivers brutal knock down power to what ever is on the receiving end of the bullet. The disadvantage to the cartridge is not only how hard the heavy recoiling caliber hits you in the shoulder but also how hard it hits you in the pocket book as a box of ammunition can cost you over $120. Roy Weatherby passed away in 1988 before he saw this speed demon come to fruition on the open market. I am sure he would be very pleased to see today how many shooters and hunters are enjoying the fruits of his labor from the .30-378 WBY cartridge.
Early Fall 2012
Insight From the Trailhead Guru
he start of the 2012 big game hunting season is only a few short weeks away. Since January, thousands of premium and highly coveted tags and permits have been awarded through the various states’ drawings. Hunters from across the country lucky enough (or patient enough) to draw these permits have been planning and preparing for these highly anticipated hunting opportunities. Many of these hunts will be once in a lifetime experiences, whether the hunters are successful in taking the animal that has been haunting their dreams, or they go home with an unfilled tag. The anticipation and excitement is building and I suspect that by December we will have seen photos of some giant bucks and bulls that were tagged by those fortunate to have drawn the permits. However, for most of us, the drawings were not so kind and we are left to dream about next year and to plan our general season and over-the-counter hunts somewhere less glamorous—though not always less exciting. The years of unlimited tags and the ability to purchase those permits while driving to our favorite hunting areas have all but passed into history. Most hunting trips now require that we begin formulating a plan several months ahead if we expect to have a permit when the leaves start to change or the snow starts to fly. Due to the decline in mule deer numbers across the west, the choices are somewhat limited for the deer hunter. For the elk hunter there are many more options from which to choose. Whenever the discussion of over-the-counter tags comes up, Colorado and Idaho are certainly at the top of the conversation. However, Arizona, Oregon, Utah, and Washington each offer some over-the-counter deer and/ or elk hunting opportunities. Other Western states may also offer some permits over-the-counter, but this will depend on what happens in the state drawings. Typically, any leftover permits will be sold on a first come-first served basis and an availability list can be obtained by contacting the appropriate state Game and Fish department. Although there are a few areas where elk populations are on a decline (due in large part to the impact of wolf predation), generally elk numbers are stable or increasing through most of their range. Colorado is fortunately not seeing negative impacts of wolves and is able to boast the largest elk herd in the country with counts coming in just shy of 300,000. With the abundance of elk roaming the Colorado forests, over-the-counter archery and rifle tags are available and valid throughout most of the state. The archery season will begin in late August and run into late September. By the time this hunt closes for the year, hunters will have been pursuing rut-crazed bulls with bugles echoing through the forest for a few weeks. The second and third rifle seasons, which also offer over-the-counter tags, will begin in late October and early November. Though the rut will have concluded by this time, many of the elk will have begun to herd up for the winter and large groups containing multiple bulls will be possible. 16
Though elk reside throughout most of the state, the largest populations are in the northwestern quarter north of Interstate 70 between Grand Junction and Steamboat Springs. But don’t overlook the abundant population in the southwest corner around Durango. Both of these areas are made up of huge tracts of public land with some vast wilderness areas where a hunter is limited only by hunting methods and desire for adventure. As is usually the case with elk hunting, getting away from the roads and other hunters will provide better hunting and typically increase the chances of success. Only a few of the units in these two areas do not offer over-thecounter licenses, but check the regulations to be sure your tag is valid in the area you want to hunt. Most hunters are aware of the tragedy occurring in the 3 states surrounding Yellowstone National Park. Wolves are ravaging big game herds in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming and areas in each of these states are seeing dramatic declines in elk, moose, and deer populations—some to the point that hunting opportunities have been severely curtailed if not completely eliminated. Idaho is also seeing these declines in the center portion of the state around the Selway and River of No Return Wilderness areas. However, if you get away from these areas, hunting opportunities are quite plentiful. With an estimated population of over 100,000 elk, Idaho still The author rides atop his trusty steed as he strolls through familiar mountainscape, observing hunt conditions.
ÂŠ Kenetrek, LLC 2011
offers some great elk hunting opportunities. Over-the-counter elk tags can be combined with over-the-counter deer and black bear tags making a true combination hunt possible. Idaho also has a rare regulation that allows an elk or deer tag to be legally used on a different species: either of these tags can be used to tag a black bear, cougar, or grey wolf if a season for that particular species is in progress where you are hunting. Even with the wolves, the wilderness areas in the center of the state can still provide a hunting experience difficult to rival anywhere else. Vast roadless areas offer the opportunity to get away from civilization and other hunters. Horses are highly recommended, if not required, to effectively hunt these areas. Hunters should also consider the southeast corner of the state near the Wyoming border, the northeast border near Montana to the south of Salmon, and the western portion north of Boise. Each of these areas offers over-the-counter tags, but each region has a limited number of permits and some will sell out long before the season begins. Public land access in both Colorado and Idaho is excellent in most areas. Forest roads and trails provide the ability to easily move throughout the forest and BLM areas. However, these over-the-counter hunts can be a bit crowded as hunters that were unsuccessful in drawing a special tag utilize these opportunities for their fall hunts. Hunters willing to put forth the effort to backpack into a remote basin or valley will find things less crowded and possibly a higher concentration of elk. Using the experience and knowledge of a professional guide can be a huge asset when hunting a new area or one that cannot be easily hunted from a road. Drop camps can also prove to be very effective in finding better than average hunting opportunities. Outfitters in both states offer pack-in camps where they provide everything except for your food and personal gear. These outfitters will typically check on you at least once throughout the course of your hunt or in some cases you will even have radio contact where you can request game retrieval. While, Colorado and Idaho are certainly the top two states when it comes to over-the-counter hunting opportunities, hunters should
A serious boot for rugged terrain, the Mountain Extreme is made with thick 2.8 mm leather uppers and stiff midsoles with high traction K-Talon outsoles. Sure to become your favorite boot due to itâ€™s support, what will surprise you is how comfortable they are.
HUNTING SOCKS The fit of every boot can be enhanced by the use of high quality socks. Constructed with the perfect blending of fine natural and synthetic fibers, the new Kenetrek Hunting Socks are form fitting with reinforced padding at the toes, heels, and under the ball of the foot to dramatically increase comfort and durability.
HARDSCRABBLE LT The Hardscrabble LT is a sturdy and supportive hiker that is very light in weight. An excellent choice for hiking in warmer weather, early season hunts, or for every day casual wear. They weigh only 3.5 pounds a pair!
Call today for a free catalog or the location of a dealer near you.
Early Fall 2012
3/21/2011, 5:07:49 PM
The author poses with his coveted mountain goat.
not overlook several of the other western states and the opportunities they offer. For the archery deer hunter, Arizona needs to be a consideration. Much of the state is open to deer hunting with an over-the-counter tag for three weeks in late August and early September and then again in mid-December through the end of January. If a hunter needs more incentive to consider an Arizona over-the-counter archery deer tag, add the fact that a buck from either the mule deer or the coues deer species can be taken. In some areas in the late season, left over Javelina tags can be purchased over-the-counter and a javelina can be added to the game bag as well. When you consider that you have two species of deer to pursue, the rut is in full swing, and a javelina can also be taken, it is tough to find a better hunt to wrap up the season before putting the bow away for the winter. Anyone who is playing the drawing game knows that Utah is one of the top destinations for a trophy class bull elk. The management strategy Utah put into place over a decade ago consisting of limited tags and older age class bulls in the harvest has certainly had spectacular results in producing some incredible antler growth. But this strategy of only limited numbers of bulls being taken each year, and those mostly on the top end, has had the unintended consequence of many herds becoming too “bull heavy”. To correct this problem, a general season over-the-counter spike-only hunt was implemented on these trophy producing units. The idea is 18
to remove a significant number of the new bulls coming into the herd each year, leaving those that make it through their first hunting season with the opportunity to grow several years before reaching the intended age class when they will become more attractive to those who have drawn a limited tag. Most hunters will say that they do not want to hunt a spike and I understand that statement. Vacation time is limited and it is tough to have a trophy class bull well within shooting range and then have to watch it walk away. However, consider that someday the drawing is going to work out and a coveted limited-entry tag is going to have your name on it. How beneficial will it be to have hunted the unit before and know the access points, canyon layout, and the location of water sources? Scouting an area for an upcoming hunt can be half the fun. Why not combine that scouting with a “pre-hunt” hunt? That is just something to think about and if hunting a spike is just not going to work for you, Utah does offer a few areas where any bull can be taken with an over-the-counter tag. These areas consist of large wilderness and primitive areas that are difficult to access or have a lot of private land that provide the elk some escape cover. Generally, the bulls taken in these areas are not huge, but very respectable bulls are taken each season. When purchasing your tag, you will have to specify whether you want an any-bull or a spike-only tag. You will also have to choose between an archery season in August or September, the rifle season in early October, or
K R P T E K
TO BACKCOUNTRY” Winter 2012
The authorâ€™s son harvested this fantastic mule deer buck during the general season rifle hunt.
the muzzleloader in early November. These tags go on sale July 17th and there is a limit on the number that will be sold. Any of the limited entry areas will hold a large population of spike bulls, but for the any-bull option, the best areas are in the northeast part of the state, south and west of the Wyoming border. With similar tag allocation programs, Oregon and Washington both offer over-the-counter deer and elk tags. Though neither of these states is well known as a
trophy deer or elk destination, they do offer some hunting opportunities that canâ€™t be found in any other state. Both states hold two species of elk and three species of deer. In addition to the rocky mountain elk, mule deer, and whitetail deer found in most other western states, each one also has huntable populations of Roosevelt elk and black-tail deer. These species are only found in regions along the west coast and can be hunted with a general season tag in both Oregon and Washington. Their habitat is typically thick wet rain forests on the western slope of the Cascades, offering a challenge that is very unique. If adding a new experience to your hunting memories is on your list of things to do this year, consider purchasing a tag valid for the units on the rainy west side of the Cascade Mountains. These permits are valid for either the archery, muzzleloader, or rifle seasons. When purchasing the permits, you will have to specify your weapon choice and zone in which the tag will be valid. Although drawing a premium limited quota tag is what most of us dream about and hope for each year as we are making our applications, reality has proven that is not always going to happen. When our luck runs out and we are left without a limited area tag, there are plenty of over-the-counter opportunities to more than fill our fall hunting seasons. So donâ€™t let the disappointment of the unsuccessful applications keep you at home this fall. Get out there and take advantage of the many over-the-counter hunting opportunities that exist across the west.
Soldier Musician Outdoor Enthusiast
Craig CraigMorgan Morgan
raig Morgan is one of Country music’s best-loved artists. Some of his top hits are: “Bonfire,” “Almost Home,” “Redneck Yacht Club,” and “ International Harvester.” His newest single, “This Ole Boy,” is currently climbing the country music radio charts. He was inducted as a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 2008. Craig’s life is full of high octane and he loves riding dirt bikes and hunting as you can see on his Outdoor T.V. series, “Craig Morgan All Access Outdoors” on the Outdoor Channel. Last season Craig’s show landed him with two golden Moose awards. Craig was a member of the Army for ten years and also spent nine years in the National Guard. Craig has made nine trips to Iraq to perform for our troops and is the recipient of the 2006 USO Merit Award.
My first big break had to be that I was born in Nashville. Although, looking back that may have been a hindrance. I had to leave Nashville to get my first music deal. I spent several years in the military and I would spend many nights writing songs. At that time, I contacted a publisher and got my first contract writing songs. After about three years of writing, I started singing my songs for demo recordings, and that is when a fellow approached me from Atlantic Records. He had heard my demo tapes and liked what he heard and offered me a record deal in 1999.
Craig has an impressive list of credentials and we were excited he was willing to sit down with us and answer a few questions.
The Grand Ole Opry is the mother church of country music. In my opinion, being a member is the pinnacle of any country artist’s career. It is a small group of people around 300 members, and only about 80 of them are still living today. I am honored and blessed to be a member.
How did you get your first big break in the music industry? 22
How did it feel to get inducted as a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 2008?
Tell me about your time serving in the armed Forces. It was ten years, 1985-1996 actually almost 11 years. I was an avid outdoorsman and had a very patriotic up bringing. I tried college, but decided that it wasn’t the life for me, so I joined the army. I thought of it as a way to get “Free” hunting clothes. I enjoyed my time in the armed forces very much. I would still be in the army today, and looking at retirement if it wasn’t for the music industry. I am still involved with various programs in the military. For example, the Wounded Warrior Program. It is very important to me to give back to those that give everything so we can maintain our freedom.
How do you feel about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? Our (U.S. Troops) presence there is giving us more freedom here. What happened on September 11, 2001 was a horrible awakening to this country. Our troops being there has impacted the “bad guys” and the presence they have here in America. I love the troops and I have traveled to Iraq and Afghanistan nine going on ten times to perform for them. I have another trip planned in the next few months to perform for them.
Craig has a real passion for hunting and it’s not limited to any particular game. The artist is pictured with a large gator.
Early Fall 2012
How did your first get into hunting? I actually took my first deer with my mom at the age of thirteen. Hunting for the Morgan’s has always been a family affair. My brother may even be into hunting more so than myself. He has lost multiple wives to the sport. What is your favorite animal to hunt? I grew up hunting whitetail deer and turkeys so that is my passion. There is nothing quite like blowing on a call and having a deer come within 15 yards of you. The same for a gobbler. They get in close and I get tore up over it.
What got you interested in doing your own television show, “Craig Morgan-All Access”? I was involved in a few episodes of the “Bone Collector” and really had fun doing it. A hunting show producer approached me with the idea. I thought it would be fun, and it meant I got to hunt, so how could it go wrong? We were awarded two “Golden Moose” awards last year from the Outdoor Channel, which was an honor for us. How do you keep your T.V. show fun and fresh?
Hunting with a bow and arrow is my favorite. Although, the past five years I have started getting into hunting with a rifle. I enjoy hunting, No matter what weapon I have in my hand.
Having fun is the key to the show. If the show doesn’t come across as fun then we don’t air it. I love what we are doing with the show. We hit on hunting, country music concerts, and motorbike riding. I think the show is bringing new people to the hunting sport, which is one of the things I want to do with the show.
What is the ultimate trophy you would like to harvest in your career?
Tell me something interesting about yourself that our readers would enjoy?
I am not sure that I have given that much thought. Those hunts that you really have to work for feel the most rewarding. I would have to say that I do want to go to Africa someday. That would be on my bucket list. I love to hunt in Hawaii. It is one of the best-kept secrets in the hunting world. Free range Mouflan and wild goats are a blast to hunt.
I use to be a professional break-dancer in Nashville of all places in the late 80’s. As a matter of fact I will display some of these skills in a future episode of my T.V. show. Keep your eyes open for the “Wedding Show” this fall, and you may just see some of my old skills surface.
What is your weapon of choice?
Early Fall 2012
New Products for the Hunter
Swarovski’s new ATX/ STX Spotting Scopes are new for 2012 Mountain Mike’s Reproductions presents the “Dead Rest” Mountain Mike’s has patented a totally new ATV Gun Rack/Pop-up Shooting Rest. It is a gas strut powered gun rack that automatically deploys when released into a stable upright shooting bench with just one touch. With a 360-degree rotation a single rider can shoot from any position right off your ATV, (if local game laws allow). The Dead Rest mounts to any round or square ATV tubing, and the only tool needed to assemble it is a wrench, which makes it nice and easy. The “Dead Rest” will able the hunter or shooter to take his/her weapon from a storage holder to shooting mode fast. When you need to take that quick steady shot while on an ATV the “Dead Rest” is the accessory for you. (Make sure to check if your local game laws allow shooting from an ATV).
These new ATX/STX scopes have a modular flexible ergonomic design and user friendliness to set standards for the next generation of scope. With its new design, the rings for both the zoom and focus are adjacent to each other making it possible to use the scope quickly with just one hand. It offers two eyepiece modules (angled or straight) with diameters of 65, 85 and 95m, to combine and provide a total of six different spotting scopes. These scopes have the highest optical quality with SWAROVISION technology; they feature field flattener lenses with razor sharp clarity without having to refocus. The HD lenses provide exceptional contrast and color fidelity. They also come with specialty coatings, SWARODUR, SWAROTOP, and SWAROCLEAN exclusive to Swarovski. When looking for choices you have never had in a scope before and a viewing experience you have yet to see, try the new ATX/STX Spotting Scopes.
Early Fall 2012
PRODUCT REVIEW A Rigorous Boot Test
ou have a once in a lifetime hunt coming up, or even better, your annual deer hunt with your longtime hunting buddies. No doubt you have plenty to do to get ready for your hunt. Getting your gear ready, your rifle or bow sighted in, and not to mention a little practice with your weapon of choice so you can be somewhat proficient in the field when the moment of truth offers itself up to you. For me, it seems like no matter how much I prepare I am always grabbing last minute items for my hunting adventures. So the last Your feet is one of the most important things to take care of when hiking on your hunt. Kenetrek is one of the most comfortable, durable boots on the market for your feet.
thing I want to do is worry about my hunting boots, especially new hunting boots. When you buy a high-tech pair of hunting boots you are supposed to put them through a vigorous break in cycle. Some manufacturers recommend walking around in them for 40 to 50 miles before you take them on a real hike. Are these guys for real? There may be a few of you readers out there that do this with a new pair of hiking boots but that guy is not me. If I get the chance to wear them around the house or office for a day or two I consider them broken in. You may be thinking that I am begging for punishment and in some cases I am. Let me share with you a story where I learned a lesson the hard way on hunting boots. It was the third weekend in August, which for me meant the opening day of the archery spike elk hunt. I was surrounded by long-time high school buddies I had grown up with and, no matter the outcome of our hunt, we always had a good time together. This particular season I decided it was time for a new pair of boots. I had just received a Cabela’s catalog and had some points to burn, so I ordered my first pair of boots through the mail. When I got them they looked cool enough. When I tried them on they actually fit really well; I was thinking I had made a great decision on the brand I had picked. I wore them around the house for the day and part of the next, they felt nice and I called it good. I noticed the seam going up the back of the boot in the heel area but didn’t think much of it at the time. My buddies and I went on our annual opening day elk marathon. After a few hours of running and gunning for elk though some of the nastiest terrain the mountain had to offer, not only did I notice the seam in the back of my boot, I was reminded of that seam as it sent pain through my feet with every step. Even though I was a good three miles from my four-wheeler I had no choice but to take my boots off and go bare-foot. Taking those boots off felt so good— that was over ten years ago and I can still remember that felling of relief like it was yesterday. I thought about just chucking them in the bushes but they were not cheap so I tied the shoelaces together, flung them over my shoulder, and kept hunting. I found my buddies back at the four-wheelers and they got a good laugh out of their barefooted friend. I learned a lesson that day: not
only do I need to break in my boots more thoroughly, but I also needed to do more research on my next boot purchase. There are some boots that just won’t break in and these boots were that kind. Later on that year I was filming a hunt for a good friend and I was asking some of the hunters in camp what boots they liked. One fellow from Georgia said he loved his Kenetreks. His comment to me was, “They are the most comfortable hunting boot on the planet; when I first put them on it was like putting my foot inside of a big fluffy marshmallow.” Listening to this guy, it wasn’t long before I was ready to drink the Kool-aid. Kenetrek boots quickly moved to the top of my Christmas list. When I first put my Kenetreks on they did kind of feel like sticking my foot in a big marshmallow, comfortable as can be. I knew right away that these boots would not require much break in. This was some ten years ago and since then I have tried about every high-end and mid-level boot out there. There are plenty of boot makers out there. Some are very good while others are just over-priced. Kenetreks are very good. My feet get cold easily so I prefer the Kenetrek Mountain Extreme 400s. Here are some of their key features: Waterproof: When hunting the mountains you will encounter streams and creeks that you will need to cross. Your boots will get wet but the key is that your feet will not. The Mountain Extreme 400s have a breathable waterproof membrane and 400 grams of Thinsulate insulation to keep your feet warm and dry. I have had my boots in the mountains of New Zealand, Alaska, and Northern British Columbia and have yet to get my feet wet. Support: When you are sidehilling the
Miles of hiking in B.C. country has never been more comfortable. My Kenetreks kept my feet warm and comfortable while harvesting this fantastic dall sheep.
mountains with a 100 lb. backpack loaded with game meat and gear, the last thing you need is to roll your ankle. The Mountain Extremes are 10” in height. This height, combined with a one-piece vamp of 2.8 mm topgrain leather on top of stiff nylon midsoles, makes for a very stiff boot that will keep your ankles supported in most any situation. I hauled a mountain caribou out of the steep mountains of British Columbia through rock fields, loose shale, and steep side hills with all the ankle support I needed. The 10” ankle support from the Mountain Extremes ensured I never had any problems with my ankle that has years’ worth of basketball injuries. Comfort: The Mountain Extreme 400s only weigh in at four pounds, making them light weight. If you want to know what sticking your foot inside a big marshmallow feels like try a pair of Kenetreks on for size. If your feet aren’t comfortable, you are not comfortable, and Kenetreks are some of the most comfortable boots on the market. For more information about Kenetrek Boots go to www.kenetrek.com or go to www.huntingillsutrated. com online store to order your Kenetreks today.
Early Fall 2012
ohns yden J
Derek Lucero, UT
Flint Smith, WY
Seth Duncan, North Alberta
sponsored by g
Trophy Rock and Stealth Cam have teamed up to host your amazing trail cam photos! We’re giving away a Stealth Cam trail camera and a gift package from Trophy Rock to the winner of each issue. Send your pics today to: WINNER! Derek Lucero, UT firstname.lastname@example.org. Great pics,readers! Keep ‘em coming!
ASK THE PROS Got a Question for the Hunting Illustrated Team? Q. Does hunting mule deer following the moon phase hunting guides really work? Brody Miner – OR A: This question has been tossed around in the white tail woods for years and, as of late, being reintroduced in the mule deer realm of hunting. Biologist agree to disagree and most people in mule deer country say that it doesn’t play a role. I, however, tend to disagree with most and like to throw caution to the wind. Is it the gravitational pull, the amount of moonlight entering the eye, or is it just that they can see better during the full moon phase so they are more active during the night and less active during the day? It has been my experience that deer are very capable of being nocturnal. So for me, the theory of more moonlight, is the least likely but does play a role. The next theory would be the amount of light entering the eye during a full moon making them act differently than other times of the month. This can play a role in behavior, as it does in the making of the rut. However, if you look at the times the deer are active during the day, it is when the moon has the strongest and the weakest gravitational pull on any given area.
What I can tell you from my personal experience is that deer are more active when the moon is directly above. It doesn’t matter what time of day or night, just as long as the moon is high in the sky. I have also noticed that four to five days after the full moon, the deer activity in the morning peaks longer into the daylight hours and they tend to be active earlier in the evening as well. So now you can see why it is so controversial. There are many unanswered questions and too many variables. What I can tell you is that there is some kind of correlation to it all. My suggestion to you is to try and figure it out on your own. Spending time in the field and keeping a journal with moon phases, weather, deer activity, number of deer, age class of deer, and what time deer are most active. Don’t forget to keep your eye to the sky, because, when that moon is high you will see more deer activity. – Steve Alderman Q. I am looking for a new shooting bi-pod. What kind would you suggest?
The Devil ’s in the Details Jared Young – UT
A: The key to shooting accurately at short range and long range when in the field is your rifle rest. The most rock solid rest for me is the prone position shooting off of a back pack but many times the angle of the ground you are on or the bushes on the ground might not allow you to lay down. In this case a bi-pod is a must. I carry a lightweight bi-pod with me at tall times when I am hunting. Besides the prone position my next favorite shooting position when in the field is sitting on my butt, resting off my bi-pod and then Deluxe I like to get another anchor point by resting my back against something. (Fence post, tree, guide, etc.). There are many good shooting bi-pods out there to choose from. Primo’s makes the Trigger Stick bi-pod which actually adjust in height by a push of the trigger. It is a great system. Another good bi-pod is the Kramer Design Snipepod. It attaches to your sling stud on your rifle. During the heat Light of the battle I have had other bi-pods with me and when I have moved I have either dropped them or been bothered by having to carry another item when I am trying to focus on the game I am after. I like the attachment feature of the Snipepod. When you go to your local sporting goods store there will be plenty of bi-pods to choose from. The key is just get one and make sure it is with you when you are in the field. Don’t forget to get yourself familiar with it and practice off it as well so you can be proficient in the field with it when it Classic matters the most. – John Mogle
BRizzini.com (435)-287-7368 5ASK| THE PROS5 HUNTING ILLUSTRATED.com
1680° 90 minute ﬁre protection · More steel · More security features The most comprehensive warranty in the industry Call today for a complete catalog and price list
1-800-821-5216 — www.ftknox.com SECURIT Y
PRODUCTS Early Fall 2012
THE DUELING DUO Views from both sides of the fence
Female Hunters Welcome?
By Scott Grange
The Annie Oakley Influence.
n the mid to late 70’s and even into the mid 80’s, conservation banquets, in my area anyway, were stag or drake only events. The only women allowed at these male hormone infested functions were those possessing long legs, 23” waists and triple D uppers. Their soul responsibility was to sell raffle tickets to those with more money than brains or who had a few too many drinks, sometimes one in the same, and to strut around dressed in hunting clothing as it was auctioned off…literally. I can tell you that I know guys whose actions at these socials were the straw that broke the camels back in their already strained marriage. Fast forward to today. Now, it is not uncommon to see more women and children at these functions than men. A typical banquet will feature women’s raffles, fish ponds for the youngsters and enough pink products to make Victoria’s Secret jealous. Some even offer special hunts for youth and women which are a big hit. Allowing, or should I say inviting women into the world of wildlife management through the streams of hunting, banquets and most important, policy making has brought civility and acceptance to a segment of our life that was viewed 34
for years as mysterious and savage by women is the right thing to do. After many. all, they are special and deserve and Like the selfish nimrods who appreciate such. criticize the DWR for offering an early youth waterfowl hunt for fear it will negatively impact their opener, those who would complain about a few measly tags set aside for women are thinking By Ron Spomer of themselves only. And the thought that most women who hunt prefer to be thrown into the male melting pot, Welcome all hunters, regardless of sex. I believe that is wrong. I suppose she Well isn’t that special. who rolls her own cigarette, shoes her A girl went hunting. Let’s own horse and quarters out her own elk would beg to differ, but those I’ve polled all cheer and give her a pink ribbon still enjoy and appreciate a little special or something. It recent years the fairer attention. And to many, looking like a sex has become the fastest growing lady while hunting remains a priority. demographic in hunting and shooting, So what does that tell you? Even Annie and manufacturers don’t quite know Oakley wore a skirt while making men how to handle that. look silly at their own game. Women are picking up guns Up until the 80’s, seeing a woman packing a rifle in the field was and bows and gutting deer in record as rare as seeing a 28” four point today. numbers. We see them on magazine In contrast, it is tough finding a hunting covers, DVDs, the internet and TV. camp in today’s world that does not Sometimes we see too much of them. Look, marketers have contain a female license holder. As not to be a flash in the pan, it is important always used pretty women to draw that individual states consider the value attention and sell product, and there of allowing special hunts for the opposite have always been pretty women sex. Doing so is not an insult or a sign willing to put their best face forward of weakness. It is only a show of respect in order to advance careers. But do women in camouflage bikinis and appreciation. The National Shooting Sports holding rifles really increase sales? Foundation (NSSF) points out that the Of firearms? Or just calendars? In average age of hunters in the U.S. is now today’s hunting market the feminine approaching 50 years old and climbing. fluff and stuff threatens to overwhelm Unless we harness and retain women the real message – women love to along with the youth, hunting as we shoot and hunt. And when they do, know it will become but just a memory they make hunting more accessible in our children’s lifetime. Offering a and acceptable to boys and girls and limited number of special hunts for the public at large. The stereotype of
their menfolk. If I remember correctly, way back in the 1890s a tiny gal with a name kind of like a tree – Oak? Oaky? Oakley! That was it. Annie Oakley – was beating men in shooting competitions and setting world records with a .22 rimfire rifle. Five feet tall in stocking feet, little Annie got her gun and at the tender age of eight was already shooting dinner to feed her poor family. And she wasn’t the only one. In 1901 a 9-year old girl beat Oakely in a shooting match. In truth thousands of women over the years have excelled at shooting and hunting. Don’t forget, the Roman goddess of hunting was Diana, not Doug.
These days most of us guys know some darn tough and effective female hunters. My friend Donna McDonald of Upper Canyon Outfitters in Montana, for instance. She saddles the horses, finds the elk, shoots the elk, guts and quarters the elk, packs the meat and hauls it home, all the while guiding her clients and protecting them through harsh Montana mountains and snowstorms. Donna isn’t just a hunter, she’s a certified hunting guide. And she’s hardly a novelty. We know dozens of outstanding women hunters. Some, like Kirstie Pike, have started companies like Prois that build outstanding outdoor clothing just for women. Savage and Kilimanjaro build rifles sized for women. Lowa makes boots to better fit women’s feet. These kinds of special treatments for women hunters make sense. What doesn’t make sense is offering “special hunts” or special seasons for women only like they do for kids. Women don’t need, deserve and, I hope, want that kind of special treatment. They might out-shoot us, outhunt us and intimidate us, but that’s no reason to grant them special favors afield. My point is, let’s welcome women to hunting with open arms, but without treating them as if they’re somehow too ineffective, soft, delicate or dumb to keep up. They don’t need “women only” hunts, ladies only tags, canned hunts behind fences or anything else like that. Give me a break. Welcome women hunters. Drop the condescension. Early Fall 2012
ILLUSTRATION: COURTNEY BJORNN
the cruel, hard, uncaring, bloodthirsty macho hunter falls apart when there’s a woman posing behind that dead elk. Let’s not jeopardize that. Women don’t need to see supermodel babes in boots and bows to fuel their desire to hunt. Just like men, women want to see bucks and bulls, hear whistling wings and watch the sun rise over an alpine mountain basin where elk whistle. Our wives, girlfriends, daughters and mothers don’t want condescension, either. No special treatment required. While some gals apparently do like pink rifles, bows, shotguns, handguns and camouflage, others find these insulting. They aren’t selling blue outdoor gear for the boys, are they? Now, pink colors to raise money for cancer research can work, but I don’t think serious female hunters lust after pink parkas and pistols as adjuncts to an enjoyable hunt. Women can hunt and shoot with the best of us. They don’t need frilly gear, prissy colors and “special breaks” to join us. A few generations back you rarely saw a woman afield and when you did she usually had tales of rejection from the male bastion that was hunting. Same old story. Women weren’t allowed in men’s clubs, couldn’t play men’s sports, couldn’t smoke cigars, drive cars... Societal “norms” in the 1950s dictated women had no place outside the domestic arena, even though we all knew that was hogwash. During WWII our mothers, wives and daughters were riveting P-51 Mustangs and hammering out tanks. Before that, some had set flying records. Down on the farm women like my grandmother and aunts were planting corn, raising hogs and putting up hay right alongside
MULE DEER Motivation Being Ready Mentally and Physically for the Next Big Hunt
otivation, discipline, and dedication to the sport of mule deer hunting are essential to reaching your goals. Your motivation can come from anything, but having the goals set in place to use that motivation is the key to reaching that next level. Being successful in the field has more to do with the “how” you prepare than anything else. Hunting season generally last 7 to 10 days for the average
person. Preparing yourself for those ten days should be a year round job! I spend approximately 150 days a year in the field filming and hunting. The other 215 days I am preparing for those opportunities that aren’t around every corner. My motivation comes easy because I am always striving to succeed. Filming and harvesting big deer starts with year round dedication. Jim Rohn once stated, “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment,” and I agree. A person must set goals and have the discipline and dedication to meet those goals or chance of success in the field will be low. Start small, like with reading a book on hunting mule deer. Then work up to larger goals such as getting in peak condition so you are efficient in the field and have the stamina to use your time wisely. All of these steps lead toward the ultimate goal to be successful when that time comes. Each person has his or her own personal hunting goal. It may be harvesting a 200-inch monster or just beating your own personal record. Define your goal early, so you know what you are aiming for in the fall. Motivation to stick with your goals can and will fade in time, but if you have a real goal in mind you won’t have
The author uses every spare minute to prepare mentally and physically, even at midnight.
to do too much to refocus. I enjoy having something to prove to myself and being faced with challenges that keep me motivated and push me toward my goals. Always remember, as Jim Rohn stated, “Motivation gets you started, but habit keeps you going.” Hunting big mule deer is a full time job on a part time salary. For 215 days of the year, I eat, drink, and sleep mule deer. More than 40 hours each week are dedicated to every aspect of preparing for the hunt. This is in addition to holding down a regular full time job, so my day starts early and ends late and is not without sacrifice. I maintain this kind of discipline in my life so I can keep all things in check. When hunting season finally comes around, it is time to collect the bonus for all the hard work. The rewards can far outweigh the sacrifice when you dedicate yourself to hunting at that “next level”. This reminds me of a plaque of a quote from Vince Lombardi I have hanging in my office. It reads, “Leaders are made, not born. They are made of the hard effort which is the price all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.” Is your goal
worthwhile? From June to January I spend a lot of my time scouting, which is costly and very time consuming, but also imperative for success. During those early months I can spend up to 20 hours a week in search of Mr. Big; I am not only looking to spot a glimpse of the actual deer but am also studying their patterns, habits, and routines. I watch and learn where they eat, drink, and bed down as well as their common escape routes. Instead of getting right on top of the deer, in early June and July I like to bump the deer and focus on how they react and where they hide. This has worked to my advantage on several occasions, including my 213-inch buck and my 225-inch monster from 2010. After bumping them on opening morning I found them both in the same beds they used in the summer scouting months. Putting time in the field during the off-season brings this kind of advantage come time to hunt. Physical fitness is another very important aspect of the pre-season preparation. Not only will exercise keep your body physically fit, it also sharpens your mind. Trust me, a fit body and a sharp mind are what takes
you through an extended season. Mental sharpness is one of the most important equations in hunting. You will find that a year-long work out helps when lugging a 55-pound pack in the hills for over 100 days. The discipline to keep a body fit will
Early Fall 2012
always benefit a hunter in the long run no matter his/her age. My personal goal is to harvest the state record mule deer in either archery or with a muzzleloader. It may take a few seasons but there is just something about a huge, slick, state-record four point. I am currently focused on a 195-200 inch typical buck in Idaho with a short-range weapon. It will take hard work and dedication to achieve this goal which in turn will make it all the more meaningful. I take the same passion and dedication I have for mule deer hunting and carry it over to my other hobbies as well. Even though I have worked extremely hard and have achieved most of my goals there seems to always be another to overcome, like making my productions company a success in 2013. Reaching the â€œnext levelâ€? is going to be different for each individual. These goals are realistic and obtainable but it takes hard
work, motivation, and dedication to a healthy lifestyle. With discipline the success will come. Success is not based on what anyone else thinks: it is about achieving the goals you have set for yourself. Do not underestimate the importance of pre-season preparation in all areas. My passion for hunting and filming mule deer and my
goal to continue pursuing these amazing animals fuels me with the motivation and discipline to continually improve my body and mind. A clear goal is an essential component of any pre-season regimen. What is your goal?
The author walks miles and miles of terrain each season, keeping him in conditioned shape for hunting trophy buck as seen with Rick Merrit and this great muley.
PHOTO: DOYLE MOSS
Early Fall 2012
ELK Elk Calls 101 From A to Z What to Look For in an Elk Call and Why
can still remember well the very first elk call that I purchased over 20 years ago in a small sporting goods store in Arizona. It was a Larry D. Jones mouth reed. I struggled like crazy to learn to use that call, and no doubt it was not the call’s fault—I was the weak link in the equation! It took me about a month to get a sound out of that mouth reed, so I would not consider myself a “natural”, just stubborn and determined! Now that I’ve been calling for a couple of decades, I hope to
share with you some truths and tips about elk calls that I have come across through trial and lots of error! For the sake of this discussion I am going to classify elk calls into these categories: 1) mouth reeds (diaphragm calls), 2) open reed calls, 3) bite and blow calls, 4) external reed calls, and 5) push calls. This may seem a bit abrupt or a cop out to some, but I am going to narrow down these five categories of calls to two right off of the bat to save you lots of time, money, and frustration. But most importantly, to help you become an effective and consistent
The author calls in a monster bull within feet of their location, leading to another trophy harvest. He shares his calling strategy.
elk caller. Here’s why: good mouth reeds and open reed calls posses the qualities necessary to produce better elk tone right out of the package when compared to the other three categories. What I am referring to is full, three-dimensional tone quality which I have found that elk respond incredibly well to. The other three categories of calls are geared toward simplicity and ease of use. If you don’t have the time to practice on mouth reeds or open reeds then this is where these calls come into play. The sacrifice
Mouth Reeds OK, so now that we’ve narrowed down the call selection drastically, what do I specifically look for in a call? If it’s a mouth reed that I am shopping for, I prefer reeds that have a narrow frame width and thus a narrow latex span (width). So as not to confuse, I’m not talking about the tape width, but the frame width only. My reason
for this is because a call with less latex width to deal with is naturally going to be easier to blow and require much less air pressure to achieve elk sounds. This is very important because it gives you the ability to blow the call loudly when desired and also very softly when necessary. Another advantage is that calls that require less air pressure will last longer since you aren’t having to pound on them to get sound. I prefer this narrow frame width even though I have a wide palate. Actually, the tape on the call is what creates the fit and the seal to the roof of your mouth, not the frame of the call. When choosing between calls with the same frame width, the differences will then become latex thickness, type, and latex tension when the call is manufactured. Another factor will be whether the call has a “palate plate” or not. I much prefer palate plate style calls due to their tonal quality and ease of use. In my opinion, Rockie Jacobsen hit it out of the park when he invented this design. It is the most significant and lasting improvement to elk calls since
they were first introduced to the market. My advice would be to start with a palate plate style call and experiment with several different reed designs to determine your preference. Excellent feedback has been coming in about my “Estrus Excited” Orange Palate Plate Reed. That is because it has spot on tonal quality and is easy to blow. At this point let me say that it does not matter what a call is named or what the packaging says it is “intended” for. The only thing that matters is, what does the call sound like when YOU blow it. One person’s favorite bugling reed may very well be another’s best cow calling reed or vice versa! Listen to real elk anytime you get the opportunity, and use the call that you sound the most realistic on. Remember when using a diaphragm call that you don’t want to use your lips to “say” anything into the call. Forget “Eei or Eeo”, etc. Rather, control the tone with varying tongue pressure and position, as well as air volume—that
PHOTO: VIC SCHENDEL
for the ease of use comes in tonal quality. Don’t rely on these types of calls to consistently call in bulls. If you have ever been around a VERY successful elk caller I will guarantee you there’s one constant— they are calling elk in with either a mouth call or an open reed call. I’m talking about guys that call in boat loads of bulls every year on public land, not just the occasional dumb, young bull that will fall for about anything. If you listen to a great caller, their calling will sound threedimensional and “elky” vs. flat, thin, and one-dimensional.
Early Fall 2012
the reed damp, and keep practicing, you will get it! Open Reeds
Chappell’s elk calls should be a part of your gear bag. They produce results again and again.
is the key to mastering the mouth reed, be it bugling or cow sounds. Remember when cow calling with a mouth reed that you should call with an open mouth rather than clenching your teeth together. Keep
When it comes to open reed style calls I am very picky and particular about what I like. Again, it’s not based on fancy names or marketing, but on the tonal quality only. The first thing I have noticed over the years is that a more medium to wide width reed with proper thickness will produce a more nasally, threedimensional tone quality which equates to a much better response from the bulls. So when I look for a quality open reed call I am narrowing it down to those that are designed to sound “full” and nasally vs. squeaky and one-dimensional due to a skinny reed. Skinny reeds sound better for predator calling—not elk calling. I always shy away from open reed calls that have plugs, baffles, convertors, etc. A great call does not need to be muffled! A call’s volume is easily controlled by how much air pressure you apply to the call—don’t be fooled by gimmicks. The other factors of an open reed call that will influence the tonal
quality are the barrel design, barrel material, and the sound board design. Invest in a precious few and pick what sounds the best when compared to real elk. I would highly recommend trying my “Matriarch” Open Reed Cow Call. This call is easy to blow and has excellent tonal quality. As with mouth reeds there are a couple of tips to get you started well on open reed calls. As with a mouth call, you don’t want to “say” anything into the call as you blow. First, wrap your upper and lower lip around your teeth as if you are trying to hold dentures in your mouth. Then, with gentle lip pressure on the reed, bring air up from your stomach onto the reed to get sound out of the call. Once you are able to get sound, simply apply varying lip and air pressure to the call to get different tones and volume. More lip pressure equates to higher tones, less will give you deeper tones. I will say that most people’s struggle with open reed calls comes primarily because they try too hard. If you tense up your facial muscles or put too much lip pressure on the call to start with, you will have a
The Author & Allen “Grizz” Samuelson with a 350” plus bull that the Author called out of the timber, and into the open at close range.
tough time mastering it. Relax, start with gentle lip pressure, and then go from there. One more thing I will add is that I personally do not slide the call in and out when I use it. I get varying tones by changing my lip pressure and air volume only. In contrast to a mouth reed which you want to keep damp, moisture is your enemy with an open reed call. I keep my open reed call under a layer of clothing to keep it warm and do my best to keep saliva off of the call when blowing it. In very cold weather, I’ll even go to the extreme of keeping the call in a pocket with a hand warmer. By doing this, the call sounds better and is much less likely to stick on me when I need it most! Grunt Tubes I don’t consider a grunt or bugle tube as an elk call “type” since it doesn’t produce sound without a mouth reed or your voice added to it. However, your choice of grunt tube will dramatically influence
how your bugling, chuckles, and grunts sound with a mouth reed. After years of trying various types of tubes and some external reed bugle calls, I finally found and now prefer the “Bully Bull” tube by Bugling Bull Game Calls. My reason for this is simple; the tube, when combined with a mouth reed, creates excellent elk like resonance due to its design. By design, this tube creates “back pressure” which is THE MOST important element when bugling with a mouth reed to create three-dimensional elk tones. While the tube may appear to be large and cumbersome, it is actually light and very easy to carry with the included lanyard. If your goal is to sound elk like out there, the Bully Bull should be at the top of your list! Since it is so important I am going to say it again. When picking out elk calls, don’t be fooled or “buy into” the hype of fancy marketing, catchy names, etc. The only criteria that I use to judge a call is how elk-like does it sound. Call companies will release new elk calls every year to try to maximize profits with catchy marketing and cool
names. Just because a call is new does not mean that it is better. A good elk call will work year after year because the tonal quality is spot on—not because it’s got a cool name. Some of the best elk calls out there are over a decade old because bulls don’t care what the name of the call is, only what it sounds like! Calling is just like any other skill, it takes lots of practice and determination to master. I promise you, if you spend your time practicing on mouth reeds and open reeds your dedication and hard work will be rewarded with big bulls coming to your calls. If your wife doesn’t like your “house calling”, go out in the garage or outside to practice! And remember, you don’t have to be a “natural” to become a great elk caller. For more information and elk calling instructional videos, go to: www.ChappellGuideService. com & click on Elk Calls & Products. Good luck on your elk hunts this fall and call em’ in close!
Don’t be a tool when you can buy one! New Zealand hunt
Custom .300 magnum
Missed trophy stag at 850 yds, 35° slope angle...
For the price of a box of your favorite ammo, you could put a Slope Doper in your pocket.
Early Fall 2012
PREDATORS Alaska is So Rewarding A Haven for Opportunist Hunters
rom the time that I was a young boy I would buy any magazine that wrote of the beautiful and majestic animal of the Yukon, the Yukon Moose. For whatever reason, articles that spoke of bemoths that carried massive horns growing in excess of 70 inches wide captivated me. Hunting this animal would be my dream hunt. But the passion that I have followed is calling coyotes. As I age in life experiences and have started to slow down a little bit from that obsessive passion, I’ve come to realize that I really do enjoy other types of hunting. Whitetail deer, mule deer, black bear, and others are all starting to fill voids in my schedule where undoubtedly I would’ve placed calling coyotes in previous years. My whole life growing up I was obsessed with trying to learn as much as I could about coyotes, and I missed out on other big game hunting that I now
wish that I would’ve done more of over the years. Though I do feel like all of my years of pursuing coyotes has actually increased my hunting knowledge and therefore made me a more savvy hunter whenever pursuing other animals. As luck would have it, my chance to go on an Alaskan moose hunt presented itself. I debated: Should I spend the money to go? Would I regret not acting on the opportunity down the road? Considering that a moose hunt was one of my lifelong ambitions, my answer was easy. If it took me several years to pay back what this hunt would cost me, then I was ok with that. I was told while preparing for this hunt that we would be experiencing cool to very cold weather, have the opportunity to see caribou, Dall sheep, grizzlies, wolves, foxes, and even get to fish a little for Arctic char, salmon, and Arctic grayling. This hunt was sounding like it was going to be a lot of fun and a
great experience. Because of my love for calling animals, I was planning on trying to call a moose on this trip as well. Based on watching a few shows on television over the years where moose were called in, I thought that I could learn to call with my voice relatively quickly. The caliber of rifle that I chose to shoot was the .338 Winchester Magnum topped with a Bushnell and fueled by Hornady loads. I wanted a little more knockdown power in case I came face to face with one of the larger local predators. Not only was the moose hunt going to be something that I would never forget, but my plane ride to Anchorage allowed me an opportunity to get my picture taken with Sara Palin. Mrs. Palin had been down in the lower 48 on business and I just happened to be on the same plane going back to Anchorage.
The author poses with Sara Palin while on a flight into Anchorage.
did pack my coyote hat, so my head stayed nice and toasty. I am amazed at how different parts of the country can have such extreme climate differences. The trip upstream was absolutely beautiful. I was able to watch for animals the whole way upstream, looking way off in the distance across the sea of reddishbrown tundra as well as the Brooks Range, a notorious hunting spot for Dall sheep in articles that I have read over the years. We spotted several grizzlies while traveling. I couldn’t quit taking it all in. Various streams and tributaries that ran into the main river were pointed out The author takes to the waters to fish salmon in as we traveled upstream between hunting. as areas where we would hunt in the coming days. Many of them had After arriving in Alaska and nicknames like Moose Cove or Bear taking several other flights to my Alley. I wondered if it was wise to destination, I was picked up and hunt moose in Bear Alley? It took a couple hours to taken up a river via jet boat for about two more hours. I was told make it up to the island that we were to put on warmer gear for the boat camping on. One of the reasons we ride, and boy was that spot on! I were on an island was to try and stay Bears at shore come in for dinner. The author demonstrates the size of their prints placing his foot next to one.
away from the bulk of the bears that were constantly walking the riverbanks looking for a slowswimming salmon. After getting gear situated in camp we found ourselves down on the river taking a brief course in fly-fishing and learning the sounds to mimic while calling for moose. I was going to be in camp for seven full days, so I was fairly certain that I would get to try my hand at some arctic fishing and I was looking forward to it. The next morning came and seemed like it took an eternity. Unlike coyote calling, we didn’t need to be trying our luck at calling a moose just as the country was getting light. We did get up early due to the huge anticipation of the hunt, but took time in camp to prepare a nice breakfast, pack a lunch for the day, and gather all of our gear. Obviously, I was very excited to get out into the bush and try to call a moose, but there were about five other hunters in camp that had been there a few days and none of them had even seen a moose while they had been there. The word on the street was that the caribou were still 40+ miles north of us and that there were hardly any moose in the valley. Lots and lots of bears, but nothing else. Most of the other hunters there had never been moose hunting. They had been having a tough hunt leading up to my arrival and this led me to want to change those results for sure. Generally, whenever there are tough conditions, I find that I have to kick it up a notch and hunt harder: walk further, try harder, and call more! The first day of my hunt I was dropped off on a large rock bar and some of the other hunters were dropped off about a mile downstream. We were told to work our way into the woods and try to call intermittently on our walk. It was very windy, so I didn’t have high expectations due to the soft sounding moose call that I would be making with my voice. I aimed to get back off of the beaten path and was about ½ mile off of the main Early Fall 2012
river channel, sneaking quietly through the trees and approaching a little slough that contained water, when I saw something in the water along the bank on the other side and to the right of me. As I got to where I could see better I could see it was a big grizzly in the water eating salmon and just soaking in the water. His head definitely looked very big. Now mind you, this is my first day of the hunt and I am within 50 yards of a grizzly that is eating salmon, and he is big. I did have water between me and him, and it was a deeper slough, so I was fairly certain that I could get off three rounds at least if needed and possibly get a couple more through the pipe if he decided to eat a cornhusker. I knew that I either needed to spook this bear to make sure that he was as scared of me as I was of him, or quietly back out of the area and say the heck with trying to hunt the bush. I’m always up for a little action and I
wanted to see what kind of a reaction I could get from this bear. I slowly walked into the open and took a stick and smacked another small branch so that it snapped as it broke. The bear instantly looked my way and then went charging up the steep bank and right into the spruce forest. I’m no bear expert, but I have seen quite a few and shot a few and it is safe to say that this behemoth was huge. If I were a bear hunter, he would’ve been a grand trophy! I had just spooked the largest bear that I have ever seen, which was eating other animals, within 50 yards of me. Was I going to go traipsing into that spruce forest mimicking an animal that bears eat? Not only no, but hell no! I found myself trying not to venture too far from the main river just in case something should happen to me. At least they would have a better chance of finding my remains. I was excited to get back to camp to hear the reports from the other hunters in camp, but they were similar to mine, no one had seen a moose or
caribou and some had seen bears. We were hunting upstream from camp this first day, but the plan was to venture downstream the next few days. I didn’t have any luck the second day either, but I was seeing a few old moose tracks along some of the streams. Knowing that there were some moose moving through made me want to explore a little more around the area, even though the bear sign was ridiculous. Finding bear scat and half eaten salmon everywhere kept me on high alert. The toughest part of this hunt for me to comprehend is the fact that I was always around and in brush-alder thickets where these bears would sleep. If I ever would have come upon a sow with cubs, you probably wouldn’t be reading this story. It was that scary. I feel like I am a good judge of predator reactions and their habitat, and there was never a time where I felt like I was safe. It smelled like bears were living right there and I was in their bedroom.
Les got his lens on this approaching bull moose while practicing moose calling with his own voice.
Early Fall 2012
Just before making a cleanwere shotcausing at 20 yards, theonauthor recapscattle. The These three dogs (calf killers) havoc a rancher’s the approach.“I heard some noises to my left and ahead of me. It them. author used his Ruffidawg call to bring them in close and dispatch sounded a lot like the sounds that I was making with my voice and appeared to be coming at me.”
As my hunt continued I felt like I was learning more and more and I felt like my calling for moose would definitely work if a moose could hear me. The third day had me getting dropped off in the same area but up a different stream. Three other hunters were in close proximity with me and we were to try and remain close to each other throughout the day. Two of the hunters, a father and son, were both using bows, while the other hunter and I had rifles. We had our game plan: I was going to try and walk along calling while remaining within 50-100 yards of the other rifle hunter. My goal was to walk along calling while snapping branches, trying to represent a bull that was looking for a fight. Not even an hour into hunting that day I was walking through solid spruce and calling, the other rifle hunter about 70 yards to my right, when I heard some noises to my left and ahead of me. It sounded a lot like the sounds that I was making with my voice and appeared to be coming at me. I couldn’t see very far due to all of the trees so I stopped walking. Soon I saw the legs of 48
a moose heading right for where I would have been. It was going to intercept my path, so I just stood there and got ready. Sure enough, I saw a great bull with a nice rack and I felt it was easily a legal bull. The bull walked to 20 yards in front of me in a tiny clearing; I put the crosshairs on his shoulder and pulled the trigger. He went about five steps and stopped. I put another round in him and he crashed to the ground. It happened so fast that I couldn’t yet believe that I had just called in a moose and shot it. The hunter to my right was hollering to make sure that I wasn’t shooting at a bear and needing help, so I hollered back telling him that I had just shot a moose. He couldn’t believe it; we had just split up after making a game plan and I had given him the option to walk where I was but he opted for the other side of me. We joked about that the rest of the trip, the fact that he would’ve probably gotten that moose. We then had about a 400 yard trek to get the meat and horns out to a smaller stream where the jet boat could pick everything up. Not a very easy task. It took several hours for four of us to get all of the meat just those 400 yards. I could never
thank the other hunters enough for all of their help in getting that bull packed out! After we got the bull to the stream we took a break and had some food while waiting for the jet boat to show up. Our tension increased after we spotted a big sow grizzly come out of the willows upstream from us at about 400 yards, with three year-old cubs. They began working their way down the stream towards us. We were very worried that they would catch the smell of the moose and begin to run our way, but as luck would have it, they turned and went up a different stream when they hit about 100 yards from us. I now had a little time to fish and try to call more moose in for the friends that I had made in camp. I landed numerous fish; I had replica mounts made of some of them. I did manage to call one more bull moose in close, but he was not a legal bull, so the hunter had to pass. The hunter was in total awe that I was able to call the bull across a big clearing to within 20 yards of where we were standing. After that, he did not care one bit about getting to shoot one. The more opportunities I’ve gotten to call in different animals all over the country, the more I’ve found it can be just as rewarding to call in an animal and watch them react to your calling as it is to have a successful hunt. Especially when you are doing the calling for another person’s hunt; this is one of the best ways to test different sounds, so that you can see what sound gets a reaction out of them. Calling can always be a learning experience IF you’re willing to learn. The whole Alaska experience was unbelievably rewarding. I made numerous friendships and got to do things that I had never thought possible. If there is a hunting opportunity staring you in the face but you’re apprehensive about taking the chance, you may want to consider it because it could be the most rewarding hunt of your life! As for now, I’m going to Get to Callin!!!
SHOOTING America’s Favorite Magnum Showing Love for the 7mm Rem. Mag.
bullets that buck the wind and hit with authority. Bullets of 160-grain or more work so well because they are long- and heavy-for-caliber, which gives them a high ballistic coefficient and excellent sectional density. That allows them to drop and drift less at long range while retaining more energy and delivering excellent terminal performance. The 7mm magnums also recoil less than the .300s. That may not sound like a big deal, but in my experience, few hunters shoot their .300s very well. You can tame the .300 magnum’s recoil with a muzzle brake, but the increased muzzle blast brakes cause is, in my opinion, just as likely to cause a flinch as felt recoil. To truly appreciate the 7mm’s virtues, long-range shooters load long,
heavy bullets like Berger’s 168-grain VLD at 3,025 fps. The VLD (Very Low Drag) bullet has the extremely high ballistic coefficient and sectional density required to get the job done down range. You give up some velocity with heavier bullets, but they perform better at longer distances, and their higher sectional density means they also penetrate deeper, on average, at sensible hunting distances. How good is the 7mm Rem. Mag. with a VLD bullet? Well, when compared to another popular long range load, the .30-378 Weatherby with a 165-grain Barnes TSX at 3,450 feetper-second, the 168-grain VLD load performs very well. Though the Barnes load has a trajectory edge all the way out
Greybull Precision uses Berger’s 180-grain VLD in their custom ammunition. They combine their custom ammo with a custom scope turret, a Leupold. scope and their own custom rifles to shoot incredible long range groups.
PHOTO: GREG RODRIGUEZ
ike many hunters, my first magnum rifle was a 7mm Remington Magnum. And, like most of those hunters, my Seven Mag worked well for me at home and abroad. But as I bounced from hunting camp to hunting camp, I was shocked to find that many of the outfitters and hunters I met didn’t share my warm, fuzzy feelings for the cartridge. The more I listened to their complaints, the more convinced I was that the problem was not with the Seven Mag, but with the hunters who used it. I believe the problem lies with the fact that the 7 mm Rem. Mag. is the smallest cartridge many greenhorns consider acceptable for elk. Consequently, many hunters without a lick of magnum experience buy 7mm magnums in preparation for their first western hunt or African plains game safari. Regaled by their local gun store know-it-all’s tales of the Seven Mag’s ability to flip elk over backwards from the next county, guys who had never shot anything bigger than a .270 venture forth with rifles they are flatout terrified of. It’s not surprising that the results aren’t always pretty, and it’s easy to understand why some guides might harbor a strong dislike for the cartridge. Those oft-repeated prejudices combined with American shooter’s perceived need for more and more power have resulted in a tremendous drop-off in the popularity of most of the seven millimeter magnums over the last decade, while the popularity of the .300 magnums has exploded. But thanks to the long range hunting community, Seven Mag sales are growing once again. Long range hunters jumped on the 7mm Rem. Mag. bandwagon for the same reasons hunters like me have flocked to the cartridge since 1962 – manageable recoil and long, heavy
An impressive 800-yard group shot by John Burns of Greybull Precision with his custom 180-grain Berger load out of one of his 7mm Rem. Mags.
to 1,000 yards, the advantage is small. The Berger load carries more energy from 400 yards out to a thousand, and it drifts substantially less in the wind than the .30-378. At 600 yards the 168-grain Berger drifts 19 inches in a 10 mile-per-hour wind, while the .30-378 WBY load drifts 29.3 inches. That nine to ten inch difference is enough to mean the difference between a hit and a miss. At 800 yards the gap widens to almost two feet, and it’s almost four feet at 1,000 yards. Drop is constant, therefore it is easy to compensate for. Wind drift, on the other hand, is much more difficult to judge. The more you can take the wind out of the equation, the better your chances for success. The 7mm VLD load does well against the .30378 Weatherby in the energy department, too. At 500 yards, the 168-grain VLD has 1,982 foot-pounds of energy, while the 165-grain TSX from the .30-378 has 1,789 ft-lbs despite leaving the muzzle 425 fps faster. At 800 yards, the 7mm has 1,379 ft-lbs of energy, or 421 ft-lbs more than the .30-378. Its 1,379 ft-lb figure puts the 7mm Rem. Mag. awful close to my minimum of 1,500 ft-lbs minimum for elk. That means it is, for those who can get the job done, a legitimate 800-yard elk rifle. I’m not suggesting you buy a new Seven Mag and start blasting away at elk from 800 yards. But if you are up to the task and the conditions are right, it will do it with the right bullet. No comparison of these loads would be fair without looking at the VLD option for the .30-378 Weatherby. For our purposes, I chose the 210-grain Berger at 3,170 feet-persecond. It drops nearly two feet less and drifts 4.1 inches less than the best 7mm loads at 1,000 yards. At 500 yards, it carries more energy than the 168-grain VLD load does at 200 yards. Unfortunately, the price of that increased performance is almost double the 7mm’s recoil. So, yes, you can beat those 7mm loads with the same type of bullet in a big .300. But realistically, few shooters are willing or able to log the number of practice rounds it takes to get good when they have to deal with 50 foot-pounds of recoil punching them in the face every time they pull the trigger. As good as those VLD bullets are at long range, many hunters have no need for an 800-yard elk rifle. I sure don’t. But its manageable recoil, elk-dropping energy and bone crushing penetration make the Seven Mag a darn good fit for regular guys like us, too. In fact, in an apples-to-apples comparison, 7mm Rem. Mag. factory loads stand up very well to the .300 Win. Mag.
For example, Federal’s 160-grain Trophy Tip load for the 7mm Rem. Mag. load has a slight advantage in the wind compared to their 180-grain Trophy Tip load for the .300 Win. Mag., while the .300 Win. Mag has a slightly flatter trajectory and a bit more energy. Both have enough oomph to get the job done on elk all the way out to 500 yards. The Seven Mag, however, delivers that performance with 28 percent less recoil. I am not about to replace my .300 WSM for all-around use, but I am seriously considering building a lightweight 7mm Rem. Mag. for mountain hunts. My lightweight .300 WSM is scary accurate, but it beats me to death and I can pretty much count on it giving me a heck of a scope cut on steep, uphill shots. The 7mm’s 28 percent recoil reduction should solve that painful problem. The high sectional density that makes them perform so well at long range also makes those long, heavy-for-caliber 7mm bullets excel in the penetration department. In fact, I’d wager that a heavy 7mm bullet will out penetrate a 165- or 180-grain thirty caliber bullet of the same construction most of the time. I’ve seen some impressive examples of outstanding 7mm penetration over the years, but two really stand out. The first happened on the seventh day of an eight-day safari. I had taken some outstanding trophies, but I had yet to bag the kudu bull I so desperately wanted. Early that morning, we spotted a big bull moving through some thick brush. It saw us at the same time we saw it and immediately started melting into the brush. My PH made it clear that the bull was a big one and implored me to shoot. The angle was steep, but by then I had absolute faith in the penetration of the 175-grain Trophy The author so is pictured readying his shot Bonded Bear Claws I was shooting I tucked one in behind the theeverything Vortex Extreme relay. By kudu’s last rib. The bullet during destroyed in its path before blasting out the off shoulder. The bull stumbled a fewsituations steps and practicing shooting in field then crashed to the groundAndy in a has cloud of dust. it not for learned hisWere limitations. my faith in the deep penetration of those long, heavy seven millimeter bullets, I wouldn’t have taken that steeply angled shot and that grey ghost wouldn’t reside above my fireplace today. John Burns of Greybull Precision took this beautiful elk at 1,102 yards with his 7mm Rem. Mag. The same qualities that make it perform so well at long range make the seven mag excel at more normal hunting distances, too.
Early Fall 2012
range shooting crowd, it looks like its position as America’s favorite magnum is safe for now. But you don’t have to be a card-carrying member of the long range shooting crowd to see eye to eye with them on the seven mag. After all, just about any hunter could benefit from that rare combination of reasonable recoil and impressive ballistics that make the 7mm Rem. Mag. a great choice for anything short of Africa’s most dangerous game. Most shooters can handle the recoil of the 7mm Rem. Mag. from a nine-pound rifle like this one from Greybull Precision, but very few can shoot a nine-pound .300 magnum as accurately.
My Seven Mag also saved my tail one day on a South Texas nilgai hunt. I had followed my client’s wounded bull into some incredibly thick brush where I found it standing in the shade of a big mesquite, just ten steps away. As I raised my rifle to finish it off, the barrel-chested brute charged. I didn’t have the presence of mind to take the brain shot, but the 175-grain Bear Claw I put into its chest drove completely through the bull and dropped it at my feet. The 7mm Rem. Mag. may have hit a rough patch in terms of popularity, but thanks to the long
LET US TAKE THE GUESSWORK OUT OF BOOKING YOUR NEXT ADVENTURE Proven, world-class outfitters · Unsurpassed service
AFRICA • ASIA • AUSTRALIA • NEW ZEALAND • EUROPE • NOR TH AMERICA • SOUTH AMERICA
Global Adventure Outfitters, Inc.
77 Sugar Creek Center Blvd., Suite 400, Sugar Land, TX 77478 Phone (281) 494-4151 Fax (281) 494-4155 www.GAOHunts.com email: Hunt@GAOHunts.com 52
Early Fall 2012
BRITISH COLUMBIA STONE SHEEP
A PRIMOS BLIND IS AWARDED TO EACH PHOTO STORY AUTHOR. SUBMIT YOUR PHOTO STORY TO: EDITOR@HUNTINGILLUSTRATED.COM
John Mogle poses with his incredible British Columbia dall sheep.
Early Fall 2012
BRITISH COLUMBIA STONE SHEEP
A PRIMOS BLIND IS AWARDED TO EACH PHOTO STORY AUTHOR. SUBMIT YOUR PHOTO STORY TO: EDITOR@HUNTINGILLUSTRATED.COM
John and the “Stache Master” aside a great caribou harvest. Do you have a Photo Story to share? Submissions can be sent to: Hunting Illustrated PO Box 1045 • Gunnison, UT 84634 email@example.com
Early Fall 2012
The Bess Bull
BY JAKE BESS
y hunt started in 2010 after drawing an archery tag for elk on one of Utah’s premium elk hunting units. Unfortunately, being a full time outfitter and guide with a full schedule, I was unable to hunt that year and I turned my tag back in to the state. Throughout the season I noted a couple of good bulls that had made it through the hunts in a different unit and decided to put in for this unit for archery in 2011.
I was sure I would draw. Knowing this I left the archery hunt open on my schedule. After weeks of scouting I had only found a few 360” bulls and was getting discouraged, until my brother spotted a nice bull we had seen the year before. He was a big 6x6 with good back tines, in the 375” range. I went up to get a better look at him and still was not sure whether I had found the bull I wanted when another bull stepped out with him. Right away I knew this was my bull. When you see a high
trophy value animal you know it at a glance. With only 18 days left I knew there was a chance he would be there on opening morning. I decided it would be a good time to start shooting my bow. I watched the bull every day until five days before the hunt and suddenly he was gone. I knew the area, knew where to look, but still no bull. Four days into the hunt we spotted him with a different 6x6, both still in velvet. I made my way down into the canyon and set up for the evening, thinking he would feed out where I had seen him feed before. My brother watched as the two bulls changed beds throughout the day and then they both started shedding their velvet and making their way toward me. As they got closer that evening I could hear them coming but the wind was blowing the wrong way and it busted me. On the eighth day in the evening we spotted him again a few miles away from where I thought he would go. With not enough time to make a stalk we watched as the light faded. The morning of the ninth day we found him in the same place but he was feeding and working away from us. As I followed the bulls they disappeared over the ridge into thick timber. I knew this could be the last time I would know were my bull was and I was not letting him get away. With gritted teeth I pushed on, tracking the bulls down into a giant gorge then onto an almost vertical thick pine ridge with gorges on each side. I knew they would bed on the ridge but the wind was bad for continuing; I waited until the wind was right and made my way through the thick pines towards the place where the tracks were heading. It started to sprinkle but soon I was in a downpour. I pushed on, and then I heard elk in the timber— it was a bull raking its horns. I moved in close enough to shoot,
Early Fall 2012
but it was so thick I couldn’t see a bull. I moved in closer and found the smaller six raking his horns. I watched for a minute looking for my bull and then the small six turned and headed down the hill, he had seen or smelled me. I started tracking him thinking my bull was still with him as I tracked him toward the gorge I could hear the loud roar of a river and I knew I could lose these bulls for good if they crossed. I stopped 100 yards from the gorge as a massive flood raced by with huge timbers and boulders rumbling in it’s waters. I decided to sit down; I had not all day and it was just a couple hours before dark. I sat down long enough to drink a bottle of water before heading back up the pine hill to see if maybe my bull was up there since I had only seen the one track on the way down. As I got up to go I could see a few yards away were the small 6x6’s tracks had turned back up. The flood had turned him. I went up to look for my bull’s tracks and when I got to the top of the ridge I could see another flood on the other side roaring down, so I was trapped on this ridge awhile—but so was my bull.
The author and his family get a better look at this great bull at sunrise
The rain finally stopped leaving me wet to the bone and 20 pounds heavier. I located his track and he had paralleled the small six down the hill and turned back. I tracked the bulls down the ridge and could see them feeding on the back bone of the ridge in a small opening. It was getting dark and I had a cross-
wind blowing down the ridge so I side-cut the hill hoping to get around them. I hurried as fast as I could through the thick pines and was almost below where they were when I could hear them coming down the hill. With no time to spare I drew my bow and held where they would hit my scent in the cross-wind. Tan patches of hair moved threw the pines with no openings, and then in an instant he stepped out into the anticipated spot and froze. He had hit my scent but my job was already done—I had released and my arrow was in flight. The arrow hit him just as he froze in his first step. After impact he stumbled, going only 30 yards before dying. While gutting him I found that my arrow had dead centered his heart. I left the old boy there to cool for the night and got my team of mules as close as I could to pack him out.
Early Fall 2012
RHINO 700 FI AUTO 4x4
THE RHINO 700. THE TOUGHEST NAME IN SIDE BY SIDES. Hunting for the toughest, most off-road capable side-by-side? Then set your sights on the 2013 Rhino 700 FI. What makes Rhino the industry-standard? Rock-solid, comfortable ride, even over the harshest terrain; industry-exclusive fully automatic Ultramatic® transmission with dual-range drive and reverse; fully independent four-wheel suspension; and industry-exclusive three-position On-Command® In/Out 4WD with differential lock. Plus, it’s assembled right here in the U.S. The Rhino 700 FI Automatic. Real World Tough.™ For whatever the real world throws your way.
For your nearest Pro Yamaha dealer, and to learn more about the Rhino, visit yamahaoutdoors.com Shown with optional accessories on private property. Always protect the environment and wear a seat belt, helmet, eye protection and protective clothing. ©2012 Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A. Cypress, CA 90630
Win a Yamaha Rhino 700 Subscribe/renew to Hunting Illustrated Magazine for a chance to win a Yamaha Rhino 700 valued at $13,399! We will also be giving away a Vortex spotting scope, a Swarovski Z5 3 1/2x18x44 rifle scope and a Fierce custom rifle with caliber of your choice. You will earn an entry to the drawing for each year you subscribe. Subscribe today for a chance to win at www.HuntingIllustrated.com and get a free Mossback DVD
To subscribe/renew call or logon:
(435)-287-7368 HuntingIllustrated.com or send form with payment to: PO Box 1045 â€˘ Gunnison, UT 84634
Name Address City
(add $5.00 for Shipping & Handling)
Legends of the Fall
*Special offer limited time only, additional $10 per year outside of US
cvc# (on back)
Eva's First Pursuit for Elk “
inosaurs??” I whispered.
“Shh!” hissed my dad. “Tigers?!” My whisper grew more audible. “SHHH!” “Elephants? Chimpanzees? Gorillas? Sasquatch??!” “Elk,” my dad replied. “Those are elk?” I asked. “Yes, those are elk. It’s called bugling.” “Bugling?” There are better words to describe the wild tones echoing around us. These elk shriek, squeal and roar at the exact pitch and tone that sends chills down my spine and triggers my flight vs. fight response. Or at least triggers the flight part. Find a happy place. Find a happy place. Growing up in British Columbia, I spent my fair share of time in the mountains. The Shockey freezer was always full of deer, moose and caribou, but not elk. My dad hunted black bears every spring without fail, headed to the Yukon every fall, Saskatchewan in the winter but only once did “Colorado” 64
ever grace his calendar, and seldom did an elk grace our kitchen table. Up until last year, the only elk I’d seen was one Roosevelt elk mount in my dad’s trophy room. That said, he actually once wrote, “Elk are the Brad Pitt’s of the animal kingdom, whereas moose are the Mike Tyson’s.” My dad obviously is a Mike Tyson kind of guy; I on the other hand, have no problem with Brad Pitt.
After a lifetime of wapiti-less hunting seasons, it was a big surprise when I got the call last fall from my dad asking if I would be interested in joining him in Colorado for an elk hunt. Of course when he asked me, I’d never come any closer to an elk than I’ve come to meeting Brad Pitt. What I didn’t realize at the time was that he was really asking for me to come to the center of The author and her father, Jim Shockey, discussing the sounds surrounding them.
Early Fall 2012
the place with the highest density of elk on the planet, during the middle of the rut when all those Brad Pitt’s are so full of testosterone that they start acting like Mike Tysons. After a long stint in the remote Yukon wilderness, my dad and I flew straight into the bustling Denver airport and then connected to the small city of Hayden. Our guide, Mark Jones, met us at the airport and we all jumped into the Suburban and headed north toward the ranch. As we skirted the Wyoming border through the aspen-cloaked valley toward camp, I sat staring out the window in awe of the vibrant reds and glowing yellows against the bright blue backdrop of Colorado sky. The fall foliage was lit up in gold and auburn; I could almost smell the trees changing. This hunt was with our longtime client and family friends, Tom Arthur and his lovely wife Dixie on the Chicken Creek Ranch in northern Routt County, Colorado. With my dad on the road for more than 300 days of the year, this hunt had been in the works for a long time and we finally made it. “Welcome to Chicken Creek Ranch.” It turns out that Chicken Creek is actually named for the only flowing creek on the entire 5,500-acre property, but in my opinion, could easily be called Chicken Dribble instead. 66
“So that’s Chicken Creek?” “Yup – in all its glory!” Mark replied. Mark was a stoic, mature, confident cowboy; exactly how I imagined a Colorado elk guide to be, but as he stood beside me, apparently looking at the same so-called inspiration, I couldn’t figure out why he looked so proud, rather than confused like my dad and I. So I stepped across Chicken “Creek” to see if it was any better from the other side. Well, the creek certainly wasn’t the Grand Canyon, I thought to myself as Tom passionately began telling us the story behind the name. He said when he bought the land back in 1998, there were all kinds of ranches with glamorous names like “Quaking Golden Glory” and the “Aspen this” and “Aspen that,” and he wanted to be different. With one of the best elk hunting ranches in the state, he chose to name it after the tiniest creek that no one had ever heard of - the perfect understatement! The perfect overstatement, on the other hand, was his ranch house. Perched on the top of the hill at 8,400 feet in elevation, with more luxuries than the Four Seasons and overlooking the golden aspen woodlands below and Routt National Forrest in the distance. In a word, the place was magical. Over dinner, Tom explained to us how the hunt was all spot-andstalk accompanied by lots of elk grunts, bugles and mews from our guide slash
expert elk caller, Mark. Growing up as a competitive athlete and dancer, fitness was never an issue for me, so when Tom told us we’d be doing a lot of walking, I didn’t even think twice … Until we began walking that was. It wasn’t until I was standing 9,900 feet above sea level, that I realized what John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High” really meant when it said, “he climbed cathedral mountains, he saw silver clouds below.” At that altitude, there were no oxygen molecules – it was more of a Rocky Mountain Gasp. My lungs took awhile to realize they were no longer at sea level in Vancouver. During the first two days of huffing and puffing up the mountains, the elk must have heard my heavy wheezing because they were on high alert. The quaking aspens were a madhouse of bellowing elk, but only the young satellite bulls would let us get close enough for a shot. I’m not a trophy hunter in the traditional sense, but since there were so many elk and I was using a powerful Thompson/Center .300 Win. Mag. that was capable of a longer reach than my usual go-to T/C muzzleloader, we decided to hold out for a fully mature bull. By the third day I had acclimatized and was ready for some action. It was dead silent as we sneaked through the trees in the pitch-blackness and just like the first two mornings, as it started to grey-up, the extraterrestrial sounds started. Screams, whistles and
Tom Arthur helps Eva become familiar with “Chicken Creek Ranch”
“Walking up to such a magnificent animal for the first time in my life overwhelmed me with emotions. It was a flurry of exhilaration, euphoria and a part of me even felt disappointment that the hunt had come to an end.”
grunts exploded around us, but this time not only was the entire herd within 200 yards of where we stood frozen, but I could count more than 30 Angelina Jolie silhouettes and one beefcake of a Brad Pitt. Mark, Tom, my dad and I all tried to chameleon ourselves into the nearest clump of aspens. The next two intense hours were spent trying to work our way in for a shot at the magnificent 6x6 herd bull as he puffed his chest and gathered one cow at a time, only to return her to his herd just in time to watch another cow stray from the rest. Gun ready, trigger finger itching and eyes bigger than pancakes, I couldn’t get a clear view of the bull’s body, let alone a clear shot with so many cows
surrounding him. Finally it happened, the bull chased a smaller bull out of the thick cover, out onto the open face of the ridge 100 yards across from us. Just as the herd bull took his first step into the opening, the cacophonous mews and roars from the surrounding elk triggered another untimely Jurassic Park scene. The roars and bellows of the bulls below were disconcerting enough to cause me to shake violently enough that the scope crosshairs raked the bull from top to bottom and side to side! Breathe, calm, forget the Jurassic Park sound. Breathe and squeeze, squeeze … BOOM! At that moment, Jurassic Park went silent for the first time since we
left the house that morning. “You got him Eve!” My dad was hugging me. “Perfect! He’s huge!” And huge he was. Walking up to such a magnificent animal for the first time in my life overwhelmed me with emotions. It was a flurry of exhilaration, euphoria and a part of me even felt disappointment that the hunt had come to an end. After three thrilling days of being immersed in one of the densest elk populations in Colorado, the intoxicating behavior of these animals had me hooked and I knew I would be back. Thanks to our friend Tom Arthur for inviting us to hunt in the beautiful state of Colorado and the expert guidance of Mark and my dad, it was at that moment that I really understood what Mr. Denver meant when he sang “Rocky Mountain High.” Early Fall 2012
PHOTO:VIC SCHENDEL | RECREATION: MATT MOGLE
n August of 2005 I found out that I had drawn a December elk tag. As a member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe in Arizona, I have waited 10 years to draw a trophy Elk tag. I haven’t been fortunate to draw a September rut tag but the unit of Drylake in December was good enough for me. My wildland firefighter season came to an end in October and I began my scouting in November. Excited, I started talking with friends about where 68
to hunt during the winter; I have hunted many winter bull hunts but never in this trophy area. I had spent most of my time on the reservation going all over fighting fire and tagging along with other hunters on their hunts, but never on my own hunt. I decided to go solo and start scouting some canyons along the Nantac Rim. There had been poor migration into the canyons as well as warm weather and in three days of scouting I was only able to locate a few bulls in mid-November. This
year was also a dry one and not much rain or snow had developed yet. My hunt didn’t start till December 4th. I decided to wait and return to scout the two days prior to the hunt. I was amazed to see over 20 bulls in one canyon, called Soldier Hole, in those two days. I had located about eight bulls that would push the 370 class range—wow! But I was determined to find something bigger. As many know, having a winter bull tag also means busted
BY JULIUS HOSTETLER
“There had been a spring below that I was aware of and I was sure that’s where the bull had gone to get his morning drink. Fifteen minutes passed before I caught a glimpse of this bull, and I had no doubt in my mind. I said to myself ‘400’.”
up horns, which I found plenty of. I found two bulls that I knew would pass the 400” mark if they had all their tines intact. I was a little disappointed, but that’s hunting. I was unable to find a bull of choice that would satisfy my once in a lifetime opportunity. My goal had always been to surpass the 400 mark, and I knew this wasn’t going to be an easy task. Persistence!—was the word that kept going through in my mind. Either way, I was at peace being in the great outdoors, and overall enjoying seeing that many big bulls. When opening day came about, I decided to go ahead and keep hitting the same canyon for
the 3rd day in a row. I decided I would take a nice bull regardless of whether he would score 400 or not. I think anywhere else in the world, you wouldn’t have this kind of opportunity to look at 360 to 380 class bulls and have an option. I slept in my truck and ate a light breakfast of a granola bar and coffee with a quart of water. The fire season had kept me in good shape so I packed light, knowing I was only going to be out for the day. I hit a trail that would put me on the east facing aspect of the canyon and decided to get at least ½ mile in and start glassing before the sun came out. I glassed up 5 bulls that I had seen the previous two days. I decided that I wanted
to shoot a clean 7x7 that I had spotted. It had significant mass and would definitely gross over 380. “Why not?” I thought to myself, “It’s a great bull.” So I decided to close the distance and march down into a creek bottom and try to get across him from a point that stood in the middle of the canyon. This would give me a good 300 yard shot at least. As I approached to the top of the point, gasping for air, I looked over the edge and realized that there had been another bull in the thick oak patch feeding below the 7x7. As I needed to catch my breath anyway, I decided to wait this bull out and see what he looked like. There had been a spring
Early Fall 2012
below that I was aware of and I was sure that’s where the bull had gone to get his morning drink. Fifteen minutes passed before I caught a glimpse of this bull, and I had no doubt in my mind. I said to myself “400”. I am sure some hunters have had that ‘no doubt’ encounter like this. I loaded my Remington .308, got rested up for the shot, and set up waiting for the bull to come to a clearing. I ranged an opening about mid-slope on the west aspect at 400 yards. As he began to feed his way up to the exact opening I ranged, I kept steady and waited for the bull to clear the oak trees. I still didn’t know how many points he had or if he had any broken 70
points, all I knew that he was a 400 bull. My heart was pounding even though I am not a net score guy; nets are for fishermen. Haha. He came across into the opening, and I reminded myself that this was the first time a 400 bull had been in my sights, and I put my crosshairs on this left shoulder and slowly pulled the trigger. If you’re surprised you shot, you know you have a dead bull down. And that’s exactly how I felt, as I watched him run down and pile up. I was pumped up and excited. I pinpointed his location and went over to find my kill. He turned out to be an 8x7, and I figured he might barely hit the 400 mark. Later I got him unofficially
scored at a local taxidermist and came up with a score of 416 7/8 gross. Wow! I spent the next two days packing the elk out by myself but had a smile on my face those two grueling days of packing, though some would say on the reservation, ‘Apaches don’t smile.’ I had to with a bull like that in my possession. I would like to thank God for blessing me with such an opportunity to hunt, and keeping me strong for my family, my guiding, and firefighting, and also those who have taught me to hunt and introduced me to the great outdoor life, you know who you are.
Early Fall 2012
he great Alaskan frontier has treated me well in my previous hunts, harvesting a moose, a wolf and a brown bear. But my long awaited Dall sheep hunt was about to become a reality. It all started when I met a bush pilot by the name of Seth Kroenke. A few years ago, Seth needed help building his home and lodge â€“ which has become Alaskaâ€™s River Wild Lodge. After working with Seth and spending time with his family, I was sure I wanted to book a hunt with him one day. My time came in August 2011. Before I traveled to Alaska, Seth told me that my guide, Loren was a gentleman from Wisconsin, very close to my hometown. I contacted him and we were able to get together before the hunt. After introductions and seeing his portfolio from the area I would be hunting, my excitement for my upcoming adventure increased, and I was confident I would have my chance at a Dall sheep. August 8th, 2011 came fast as I worked long days of construction in preparation for the hunt. I was finally in the air and off to Anchorage. When I arrived at Merrill Field, I was met by the previous camp owner, John Latham, and was told we would leave as soon as the plane was loaded. While waiting, I met a tall man in camp by the name of Keith. As we talked, we realized that we were headed to the same camp to hunt sheep. We boarded and were soon flying over incredibly beautiful country before landing on the Farewell airstrip. Once landed, we were met by our guides, Loren, Pete and Otto. We packed our gear in 1940s Dodge Power Wagons from WWII and headed to camp. Our adventure began by taking tight trails through the alders following and crossing the river that led us further into the mountains and eventually to our camp. At one river crossing, a grizzly bear stood up to see what was making all the noise. After hours of riding in the trucks, we finally reached camp. Plywood cabins and wall tents were a warm welcome to what was going to be a high mountain wilderness hunt. After meeting our camp cook, we were shown to our sleeping quarters. It was a hardsided plywood floor wall tent with beds and a wood stove - high living for being in the wilderness. The rest of the day
the blessing of alaska
BY JODY MARCKS was spent sighting in our rifles, getting our gear in order, and watching sheep across the river from camp. Opening morning of the sheep hunt, Keith and I awoke early as the camp cook brought coffee to our door. He informed us that breakfast would be ready shortly. We loaded our gear into the trucks and settled into the cook’s cabin for breakfast. The guides gave us an idea of how our first day would begin. After breakfast, we went through a short check list, loaded in the trucks and headed out. My guide Loren assured me that in a ten day hunt, we wouldn’t hunt the same area twice. We crossed a deep river, following its shores further upstream until we found the spot where we would start. We pulled on our hip boots, grabbed our packs and rifles and we hiked up the small stream. We reached a great vantage point and immediately saw sheep – small rams, ewes, and lambs, but no legal rams yet. Each day began with a good breakfast and a quick meeting with our guides discussing which areas we would hunt that day. We concentrated on hiking up drainages and finding good spots where we could glass for miles. Throughout the next four days, we saw plenty of sheep, but no legal rams yet. Day five we awoke to fog and rain. Upon entering the cook’s cabin, John Latham said there would be no hunting unless the weather broke – and it didn’t – for two days. Day seven, Keith and I got up early, excited to see clearing skies, we quickly ate breakfast, packed our lunches, and headed to the mountains. We hunted hard all day, returning to camp in time for a celebration. Keith had gotten a great sheep. It was my first up close look at a Dall ram and I was very happy for him. After having a good dinner and listening to Keith’s story, it was time for bed. I went to bed that night wondering if we were going to find a legal ram in the next three days. Day eight was another great day for hunting. We trucked to a new area. Loren said this was his ace in the hole. Upon nearing the top, I glassed a small white dot across the river and downstream from camp. Loren got
Sheep fill the steep mountainside. Staying on top of the ram the author was after would prove to be a challenge.
out the spotting scope and said it was a ram, but too far away to tell how big. We quickly hiked the rest of the way to the top only to find ewes and lambs. I turned to Loren and said, “Let’s go after that ram we just saw and see if he is legal.” Loren agreed, but explained that it would be afternoon by the time we would get there. Loren said he had only been in that area once in the eleven years he guided there and where that ram was laying was going to be a tough climb. I was ready for anything. We started downstream with the truck and when we neared the base of the mountain where the ram was, a black bear and her two cubs crossed the river ahead of us. We parked on the opposite side of the river to keep the truck out of sight from the ram. Without the aid of the truck, the big river was tough crossing. We successfully crossed, but not without nearly being swept away by the strong current. Thick brush and gravel greeted us on the other side of the river. It took a couple of hours to reach the base of the peak where the ram was last seen. When we reached the ridge where we had last seen the ram, there was no sheep in sight. We decided to continue walking the ridge top slowly, glassing the big mountains behind the camp. The further we went, the more sheep we counted behind the camp –
39 in all. We decided to head back, planning to hunt behind camp the next day. As we got back to the saddle below where we had last seen the ram, we couldn’t imagine where he had gone. Was this my only chance on this trip for a ram? Suddenly, there he was, coming from a small stream that was trickling out of the high mountain valley. I quickly ripped off my pack, ranged him at 370 yards, and got the word from Loren, “This is the one.” He said, “It’s a monster.” I touched off a round with my Remington 7 mm Ultra Mag, shooting a steep downhill shot, through tall grass – I had missed. The sheep ran back down the hill gradually side-hilling to the next The crew plow through river bottoms in these old work-horse trucks.
Early Fall 2012
“I reached the tall rocks and once again threw my pack down just in time to see the ram stop right on the ridge, the ram looked up at us and stood long enough for me to range him in at 368 yards. I checked the setting on my scope, took a breath, and squeezed the trigger. The ram was mine! “
saddle in the ridge where he had just come from. I grabbed my pack and started running in a panic thinking this was my big chance and I blew it. While running further down the ridge to reach a tall rock pile for a good rest closer to where the sheep was, I could see the sheep was in a position where he easily could cross over and be out of our sight. I reached the tall rocks and once again threw my pack down just in time to see the ram stop right on the ridge, the ram looked up at us and stood long enough for me to range him in at 368 yards. I checked the setting on my scope, took a breath, and squeezed the trigger. The ram was mine! I took a follow up shot to ensure he stayed put, but he started tumbling down into the thick grass and brush. I couldn’t believe I had two chances at this great ram and was able to take him just a few feet away from where he could have gone over the ridge and out of sight. Collecting my pack and
heading down the hill to see my trophy, I felt relieved and so excited that I got a beautiful ram in an awesome place. When we got to the ram, Loren said it was one of the biggest rams he knew to be taken in this camp. Loren mentioned that dark was quickly approaching and we should get back to camp so the others would not worry. We took some pictures, gutted the ram, tipped him upside down, covered him with my coat to deter animals and headed for the stream below us. As we approached the stream, the water had risen, making it bigger and faster with more over-hanging brush, which made it hard to follow. We reached the river where we had crossed before. Loren made it across, but my stick broke out from under me and down I went. I managed to get back upright keeping only my gun out of the water. After making it to shore and peeling off my over flowing hip boots, I felt lucky that I was just wet. That river crossing could have been
much worse. When we reached camp, everybody was waiting. We told the story and showed the pictures of the ram. We proceeded to the cook’s cabin for a late supper that John had been keeping warm for us. The next morning, Loren, Keith, Pete, Otto, and myself headed back to retrieve my trophy. It was nice to have all the extra help. Our time at the camp was nearing an end. We caped and prepped the skin and horns and packed up our belongings for our trip back down river. Moose camp was our destination. There, we would be closer to the airstrip on the 10th day - just in case a river became uncrossable or any other complications that would keep us from leaving. I spent my last day at moose camp cleaning meat, watching more sheep on both sides of the river and packing for my flight back home. I had hunted in a truly magnificent place and had gained a few good friends while doing it.
PHOTO:VIC SCHENDEL | RECREATION: MATT MOGLE
BY COREY KNOWLTON
y friend Brian Bundrick called me last year and tried to convince me to bid on the Arizona Elk Tag, and then he called me again, and again, and yet again until I said that I would give it a whirl. After the auction was over I found myself with a tag we started to plan the hunt. Our elk crazy friends Chad Smith, Corey Pritchard, Chad Rhoton, Jay Lopeman, and Doug Star all got phone calls and were told they would be asked to help find the biggest freak of nature that ever ate a blade of grass in the West. I know it sounds like a crazy goal, but these things happen on enough energy drinks. With this tag you get to hunt from August 15 through August 14, one full year, which is helpful when looking for a mega giant freak of nature. You really need all the time you can get on this sort of thing. Our initial plan was to comb all of the top units, but when looking for a Godzillaesque giant mega freak you need to look everywhere, so we expanded the search. I could legally hunt in Arizona from behind the McDonald's in Tusayan all the way to the border of the San Carlos, from the New Burns to the Old Burns, from Highway 40 to Highway 10, from. . . well, you get the picture. The first call I got was from Brian telling me that his friends Benny Wells, Jason Gisi, and Mark Van Wormer had found a bull that I needed to look at. I hopped on the plane on August 27th, 2011 and headed to Phoenix. They had nicknamed the bull "Trucker" because he liked to hang out by Highway 40. Trucker was a cool bull. He was big—freaky big—over 400” for sure. Big fronts, nice backs, extras. He had it all. We spotted him late that evening and he was chillin' about 1/4 mile away from the highway watching his beloved Kenworths and Peterbilts fly by at 80 mph and listening to the sound of the Jake breaks. We all knew Trucker was a giant. But Doug and I had our reservations about giving him “Ultra Giant” status. We decided to try to find him again the next morning and, with a little luck and some ear plugs for the trucks going by, we did. He had moved off from the highway about a half-mile, so Benny, Doug, and I were able to pull out our ear plugs and make a stalk.
We closed the distance to within 230 yards and we had Trucker dead to rights. Benny was freaking out and Doug was kinda freaking out. I was too tired to freak out because we didn’t stop on the way out for a Red Bull or even some coffee. We looked at Trucker and Benny was telling me that this was a Super Freak and I would not get a chance at a bull this big in Hard Horn again this season. He thought the bull was around 410-420” and Doug thought the bull was around 400”. I thought the bull must have been deaf from hearing those eighteen wheelers and that's why he couldn't hear Benny freaking out on the hill when I said I wanted to let him go. It was still early in the hunt, and I knew that Trucker was a giant and all, but he was just not the bull I was looking for and I was cool with letting him go. Little did I know that I would never hear the end of it. Later that night I called my partner on the show The Professionals, Jim Shockey, and he began to tell me how crazy I was—as if I did not know this about myself—and that I had let the bull of a lifetime go. I told him that I could not kill the MegaFreak-Giant-of-a-Lifetime if I killed the Giant-of-a-Lifetime first. He agreed, laughed, and wished me good luck— I still don't know if he was being sarcastic. I headed home the next day, hopeful for a call from one of my friends telling me that I needed to head back out to look at another bull. About a month or so later I got a call from Brian and he said that a muzzleloader hunter had taken Trucker and that he was a bit bigger than we thought. He ended up scoring over 420”, non-typical. As you can imagine, I was told what an idiot I was for passing such a giant. For the next 10 months I was reminded by everyone I knew, again and again, how stupid I was for passing up on Trucker. Chad Rhoton and I had been talking a few times a week about some of the big six-pointers that had made it through the season and we figured we should hit it hard as soon as I could make it out to Arizona. That date came on July 17th. We hunted hard for a week and we only got a quick glimpse of one of those giant 410" sixes. Meanwhile, Doug Star and Eric Hively were looking hard in unit 10. Earlier that
The bull the author dubs “Dinosaur” appears to be of another era. The spotting scope shows this elk is massive!
Early Fall 2012
week they had found a bull they called "Dinosaur" and they were sure he was over 400, but I was so intent on hunting the big sixes that we decided to stay after them. After a lack of success on them I headed home for a week to see the wife and kids. Then I was back out in the 30th of July with Dinosaur on the brain. We were after “Dino” or another big 6x7 that Art of Mossback, AZ had spotted. We were pounded with rain the first day and we had to sleep out in the truck beds because it was too wet to make it back in to town. We woke up to about 7 billion gallons of fog in the air, so hunting was shot for that morning. We looked around that evening, but still no sight of Dino or the 6x7. We were able to start early the next morning and hunted hard until 11am, and then Doug, John Lewton, and I decided to play a round of golf to get our minds off of the elk for a while. John had not played in 30 years and Doug had never played so it was interesting to say the least. I think we spent more on golf balls than I did for the elk tag. It turned out to do the trick. It was not long after the round was over that we found Dinosaur—Jay Lopeman spotted him. Chad, John, Eric, Doug, and I all stalked within 200 yards of the bull. The wind swirled and he trotted up a brushy jungle of a hill, only showing us his horn tips. He finally slowed down and walked through a small opening just wide enough to see
“Dinosaur” taped out at over 440-inches! This surely was a hunt of a lifetime for the author.
78HUNTING HUNTING ILLUSTRATED.com ILLUSTRATED.com
his body. I had my scope cranked to 420 yards and squeezed the trigger just in time to hit the bull. It was late and about to pour rain again so we rushed up the hill and started to follow the bull’s huge tracks. We had just reached where Dino had been hit and Chad said "It's him!”—I saw the bull moving through the trees at 40 yards and shot twice. We followed his trail again for another 1/4 mile and decided to wait until morning to continue. We thought the bull was hit hard and we figured we would find him nearby in the morning. We headed back feeling a bit down but confident we would find our bull. As luck would have it, it rained all night. The rain was our saving grace. The ground was so soft that once we got to the track we could follow it easily. So Doug, John, and I followed the track very slowly for about an hour before we found the bull—he jumped up from his bed still very much alive. This time I had a clear shot and was able to drop him at 40 yards. We walked up to this giant and we were all speechless. He was bigger than we could have ever hoped; John scored the bull at over 440". His long beam was 59" and he was 52" wide. . . truly a freak of nature. He was truly the dream bull of a lifetime for all of us. Thanks so much for the hard work of all the friends that helped make this dream of a once-in-a-lifetime bull come true!
Zero to 1000 in record time. The Velocity 1000 reticle: Matched to your rifle and load. Precise shot placement to 1000 yards. No guessing at holdover. ™
Now, accurate shot placement to 1000 yards doesn’t require timeconsuming calculations, drop charts, elevation adjustments or complicated reticle designs.
In addition to clearly marked holdovers to 1000 yards, the Velocity™ reticle also provides 5, 10 and 15 mph windage compensation indicators.
The Nightforce Velocity™ 1000 yard reticle is matched to your rifle’s ballistic profile and load. Our online reticle calculator instantly identifies the proper Velocity™ reticle and Nightforce riflescope based on your information. Then, if you’ve sighted in properly, and you know the distance to your target, you can shoot and hunt at extreme ranges with unprecedented confidence, speed and accuracy. There is still no substitute for making ethical shooting decisions and practicing at the ranges at which you plan to hunt. But, if the art of long-range shooting has seemed way too complicated, the Velocity™ 1000 reticle will solve the mystery and place consistent, accurate shots on target. All in record time.
3.5-15 x 50 NXS™ with ZeroStop™
The example at left is based upon a .25-06 hunting load. Enter your own data, print the results and take it to your nearest dealer.
www.NightforceOptics.com www.NightforceReticleCalculator.com 336 Hazen Lane • Orofino, ID 83544 • 208.476.9814 • firstname.lastname@example.org
BY JOHN MOGLE
n November of 2010 I decided to take my family on a long overdue vacation. We had the opportunity to join my son Joshua and his in-laws on a trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. It would be the first eleven days of September 2011 and, at almost a year away, we would have plenty of time to plan and save for the trip. As luck would have it, in May of that year, after seventeen years of applying for one of Utahâ€™s
hard to get tags, I finally drew my longawaited elk tag. I was thrilled, but also a little upset that I would only have three or four days to scout because of the timing of our vacation. The area that I drew my tag for was very familiar to both me and my family, so at least I would not have to worry about learning the country. This particular unit was where my family spent the majority of our time hunting; as a matter of fact, my son Josh harvested an incredible 200â€? mule deer a few years
earlier in this area. So despite the short scouting time available to me I was not too worried about finding a good bull. We had a great time on our trip to North Carolina but I was glad to get home to start the hunt. After catching up on work for a couple of days I finally made it to my area to scout. At daylight on Wednesday September 14th, in a light drizzle of rain, I found the bull I had been waiting 17 years to shoot.
BY MACK PROBST I videoed the bull for about ten minutes or so until he fed back into the trees and then rushed home to put it on the TV to view. While watching the
Even at a distance this bull looked massive. Could this be the bull worth holding out for?
video I heard myself say “I will shoot that bull!” on film. I asked a couple of good friends, Troy Truman and his brother Todd, to come over to confirm the bull was as good as I thought it was. After starting and stopping the tape several times we guessed the bull to be 391-396”. That is when I decided I would not shoot another bull for at least the first five days of my scheduled hunt. Another good friend, Blane Farnsworth, and I went back out scouting Thursday and Friday. We saw some other really good bulls but not “Hook”—that is the nickname I had given him because of the cheater that came off of his left main beam and hooked back, and all four front tines came out and hooked straight up. My family has always been very close, so when my brother, Steve; my dad, Grant; my son, Josh; and my nephew, Cory, all asked if they could join me I never hesitated for a second. The hunt was during the prime rutting season, a perfect time to bugle up a big bull, but I knew there wasn’t any way in the world that I would ever be able to bugle in Hook, or any other bull for that matter, with so many people tagging along. But I was confident that I would kill this great bull. My friend,
Blane, sheepishly asked if he could join the party too. “Absolutely, no problem”, I said. Now there were six of us, and believe it or not, I was excited! Friday night in camp was one of the wildest nights I have ever spent outdoors. It poured! The thunder and lightning was incredible that night. Saturday morning was absolutely perfect for hunting. We videoed and passed on a great 350-360” class bull at first light, right where I had first seen Hook. We spent the rest of Saturday glassing a few other bulls up but never saw my bull. Blane left on Sunday so now it was just my family in camp. The day was pretty slow, although we glassed a monster 5x5, which I passed on as well. Monday morning Josh, Cory, and I left camp on foot for an hour or so before daylight to get to a hill that overlooked a waterhole that I thought Hook might be using. We never saw an elk. When we got back to camp, my dad and Steve said they had taken the Ranger for a drive and my bull had stood and watched them for five minutes at only 100 yards from them! At least now I knew this great bull had not yet been shot by anyone else and was still in play. That evening we headed back to the location that Steve and Dad had spotted him at. Just before dark
Early Fall 2011
some cows came out of the thick trees; I knew a bull would be right behind them. Finally, I saw a huge bull just inside the trees. In the meantime, a cow had spotted us and we could tell she was nervous and would soon be leading the bull back in the trees. “It’s him!” Josh yelled quietly. I thought I could make a clean shot with my .300 Ultra Magnum. He was right at 275 yards and I was sighted in for dead on at 300 yards. When I shot you could hear the solid “wumph” and I saw the bull hump up, lurch forward and then disappear into the thick trees. I made it over to where the bull was and found his tracks and only two small specks of blood. I was sick just thinking that I might lose this bull; I had thought he would be lying just inside the trees or at least have a good blood trail. With the lack of blood I made the decision to back out and wait until morning. Needless to say, there wasn’t a
lot of sleep in camp that night. Right after daylight, we started tracking Hook in the thick junipers. The bull bleed very little, only a couple of drops here and there. It was now 10:00 AM and Cory and Josh had to get back to work soon. By this time I was literally sick to my stomach. We decided to give up for a while and head back to camp and get the boys packed up. As we were walking through the thick trees I caught a quick glimpse of movement in front of me. I threw up my scope and could see about a ten-inch spot of Hook’s neck, the base of his right horn, and his whale tail on the right side. I whispered for Josh to start the video. Josh was just behind me and a little to my left as I got ready to shoot. I found out later that all he could see was a small patch of hair and the rest of the crew could see nothing. At the shot, the bull dropped like a rock. When he fell we could not see any part of him and he was only 30 yards
away. As soon as we came around the trees and saw the bull on the ground, we all went crazy! The great old bull looked even bigger lying at our feet. Hook scored 392, with an incredible 63 5/16 inches of mass and a ton of character. I don’t believe I will ever show anyone except my family and close friends the video—Josh had the camera dead center on me when I first put my hands on Hook, and believe me, I acted like the ultimate hunting fool. It was not the score of the bull or the mass that made this hunt so great, it was the entire experience. Thanks to my dad who has always been the best, as well as Josh, Steve, Cory, Blane, Troy, Todd, Brad Bowler, and a big thanks to Jake and Ronald Garrison for all of their help getting this monster out of those trees. Most importantly, I need to thank my wife, Sandee, who puts up with me and all of my hunts. Sandee, make room in the house for one more mount!
BY JOHN MOGLE
He was a bull worth holding out for after all. “Hook” measured out at 392-inches with and incredible 63 5/16 inches of mass.
Early Fall 2012
CORP. INTERVIEW Kenetrek Boots
Jim Winjum - Co-Founder North American Sheep with a rifle and we are now working toward duplicating that accomplishment with our bows. I don’t mention this to brag about our personal accomplishments, but to point out how vital the knowledge and experience we http://www.kenetrek.com have is in developing Kenetrek products. As you know, until you have been on some of these mountain hunts, you really can’t fully appreciate how hard they are and how Question: Jim when did Kenetrek important good functioning equipment start and what was the inspiration is, especially boots. The following is a for you to start a boot company? letter from our latest catalog that tells the company story: I graduated from college as a It was August of 2002, and we’d mechanical engineer and took a job at been hunting sheep in the Mackenzie Schnee’s Boots as their boot designer. Mountains of the Northwest Territories Working there for almost 20 years, I for eight brutal days. I thought I was in really learned a tremendous amount marathon shape, but I knew I only had one about the footwear industry, but more climb in me at best. We were going my main passion in life was always through food like mad men, trying to keep hunting, fishing, and time spent in the up with the 10,000 calories sucked out of Montana outdoors. When Schnee’s us every day. We just hiked a brutal 10 sold the company in 2005, I decided miles to a hidden basin, killed a beautiful the time was right for me (and my 39” Dall ram, and were headed back to two main partners) to start our own camp. My muscles were crying all out company. My partners and I have mutiny, and my pack straps felt like they’d over 50 years of hard-core mountain cut through my skin and were welded hunting experience between us. Two into my shoulders. In an almost euphoric of us have achieved grand slams of state, I smiled realizing that I must really love this sport if I’m still going when all Jim has put many miles on the mountain I wanted to do was lie down and die. And with his feet. Hardwork brought a great then the blisters started passing the point of tolerance. More like gashes, they finally harvest in this sheep. won when they split my feet open, completely breaking me down. I found myself lying on the ground unsure if I would ever get up again, just hoping a grizzly would eat me and put me out of my misery. Yeah, I signed up for the merciless exhaustion knowing how tough it would be… but I didn’t count on my boots letting me down, forcing me to quit. That’s when I knew we had to design corporate
and build boots that could keep up with the barbarous conditions we mountain hunters subject ourselves to. Since then, we’ve continually and brutally beat up our boots in the field, brought them back to the shop, and added new design features on the spot. And it’s worked so well, we brought up all of our boots, packs, socks… everything we offer, we put to the sheep hunter’s test. So it doesn’t matter if you hunt like we do, hike, or enjoy backpacking up to a mountain lake… having the owners of our company out there practically killing themselves to test everything, guarantees that from the boots on up, Kenetrek will never let you down. Question: Tell me a little about the manufacturing of Kenetrek boots and some of their key features. The foundation of the company has been built on three distinct product categories: Kenetrek Pac Boots, Kenetrek Mountain Boots, and Kenetrek Gaiters (and now Socks). Our Kenetrek Pac Boots give you allday comfort, warmth you demand, and keep your feet dry. Our Pac Boots cradle your feet and give you the support you need to take on side hills formerly reserved for hiking boots. Our Mountain Boots are built for unyielding traction, support, and comfort in the most rugged terrain and weather. Our thick leather uppers wrap around stiff nylon midsoles, on top of high traction outsoles. The bottom line is they make it possible to get anywhere you need to go in total comfort. Our Kenetrek Gaiters just work. They slip on and fit easily, and stay in place when you’re slogging through deep snow. The top web straps with cam lock buckles adjust effortlessly to keep out the snow, while the Stormblocker waterproof
house customer service in the event they ever encounter a problem? The most important thing to our customers is performance. Comfort is a huge part of the performance but it is also traction, support, light in weight, and waterproof. Durability is not always the most important. For example, our most durable boot is the Mountain Guide 400. That boot is most likely too much boot for the majority of our customers (me included), as you have to sacrifice some comfort and add some weight to gain the durability. I have included a link to a power point presentation I did last year for one of our major dealers to help their sales staff assist the customer by getting them into the correct boot. The presentation is available for download here and may help your readers also define the right boot for them: http://www.kenetrek.com/Filedownloads/2011-SALES-CLINIC.ppt
membrane gives you complete waterproof/breathable protection. Question: When it comes to highend hard core hunting boots I think the consumer is very concerned with comfort and durability. When a customer buys a pair of Kenetrek boots what can you tell them to expect from both performance of your product and from your in-
Question: What is your most popular selling boot and why do you think that is? We have many great selling styles but I would have to say it is the Mountain Extreme 400. I have been designing and selling great quality hunting boots for over 30 years, and I have never seen such a wonderful combination of fit, comfort, and performance in any other boot. Question: What tips would you give for breaking in a pair of your hiking boots?
The first key is to check the fit. I also have a good article on checking the fit of your hunting boots. You can view the article here: http://www.kenetrek.com/ fitting-tips-mountainboots.asp With any new stiff supportive mountain boot, it is absolutely critical that you wear them for about 50 miles before taking them straight uphill. This is because the boots have very stiff and supportive midsoles that have to be broken in. At about the 50 mile point, the leather in the boot will start to be “molded” right to the shape of your foot with a nice flex point in the midsole at the ball of the foot. The boots continue to get better and better until they eventually are worn out and you have to start over. Most customers can get at least two resoles before the boots are done. Question: What is the one “Core Message” that you would like to get across to our readers about your products? We continue to look for ways to improve our products and our service to our customers. We will never be satisfied with making the greatest hunting boots on the planet. My next question is always OK, now how can we make them better! I believe our customers have really come to know who we are as a company and that we really understand what the needs of great mountain hunting products are. Question: Ok last question, what is your favorite game animal to hunt and why? That is a great question, and one that I always answer the same way. My favorite animal to hunt is “the next one.” This year I have been fortunate enough to take a giant 7’ interior black bear in British Columbia, and I leave next week for the Red Desert country of Wyoming for archery antelope. Then it is back home to Montana for elk, deer, and antelope. Next is Utah for a muzzleloader elk tag that I won at the Western Hunting Expo. And finally Bob and I will wrap up the year with an Arizona Coues deer hunt in December. Next year… who knows?
Early Fall 2012
2. Standard measurement that typically describes a bullet’s weight, or powder charge weight 4. Main actor in True Grit & Big Jake 7. Elongated hole made in a target by a tumbling bullet 8. Knot formed by passing the end of a rope around its standing part and then through the loop, often used in pairs 10. Form of shooting where the firearm is supported in some way 13. Side to side adjustment of a sight 14. Whitetail deer are more abundant in this state than any other in the U.S. 17. Revolver with half a dozen capacity 18. Used to push a bullet down the bore of a muzzleloader; or a strong disciplinarian 19. Inexperienced hunter 20. Muzzleloader rifle AKA
1. Slight chance of winning; or a 1,000 yard target, for distance 3. Model 1885 Winchester 5. Second largest living land mammal 6. Electronic meter used to measure the speed of bullets and arrows 9. All components assembled together to propel a projectile from a firearm 10. Cartridge case with a neck diameter smaller than the body diameter 11. Unusual antler point; or swindler 12. “Roll your own”; or you must do this in order to fire again 15. African big game hunter and author John Taylor AKA 16. A sort of “handcuff” for horses; or akward walk
By Courtney Bjornn
Just For Laughs
Early Fall 2012
etail kner • Whit Derek Faul 11 20 • e se Tennes
Kayli Syx •6 years old Aoudad • Texas • 2011
Jared Young • Mule Deer Utah • 2011
Bear n • Spring Justin Cowa ah • 2011 Ut • ” 16 20 1/
“This issu e’s winner ” Winner: Kenneth Wi lliams, Wy oming
Win Vortex Binos!
Each issue of Hunting Illustrated we will be giving away a pair of Vortex binos to the Braggin’ Board photo winner. We would love to see your photo in the mag. All you need to do is send it to us! We select our favorites to show in each issue. email@example.com Randy Daws on • Coues Whitetail Mexico • 20 11
Josh Suda •Mule Deer Montana • 2011
Geordie Ro llins • An telope Montana • 2011
Derek Layton • Red Stag 2011
er h • Mule De Chris Smit • 2011 New Mexico
il h •Whiteta Flint Smit 11 20
Kent Hoffma n (in memo ry of) Elk • Sout hern Utah
Chwialkows ki • Muskox Alaska • 20 12
Braggin’ Board Submission
Send Photos To: firstname.lastname@example.org
Eric Craig • Mule Deer 2011
Each issue’s photo selected as the Braggin’ Board photo winner will be selected by the Hunting Illustrated team. Send in your entry today. Please use high resolution images. www.HuntingIllustrated.com Cody Brown • Mule Deer Wyoming • 2007
Early Fall 2012
Over 1,200,000 acres of private land hunting! The R & K Hunting Co. has some of the most spectacular fair-chase hunting opportunities in the western United States. Our ranches are located in UT, WY and MT ranging in size from 8,000 to 250,000 acres
Elk Hunts Mule Deer Hunts $5,500 – $7,500 $5,500 – $7,000 September Rut & November Late Hunts Available
September Velvet & November Rut Hunts Available
Justin Richins • 435-655-5484 • www.thehuntingcompany.com
To advertise here, call 1-888-517-8855
Early Fall 2012
Mother Nature’s Uppercut
hat a summer! I spent the combination of record moisture in a weekend in mid-July 2011, followed by a 2012 mild winter. scouting for Oregon A situation like that brings healthier antelope and found a nice 80”+ deer, healthier habitat, and higher buck, only to have the buck’s home winter survival. What was needed range burn up the next day in Oregon’s largest wildfire in over a century. One of my favorite Utah backpack spots for mule deer went up in smoke earlier this summer, too. And now as I write this, another fire has already decimated 180,000 acres and growing on a quality muley unit my wife Emily has drawn this year. One rancher, while looking for “There’s a lot of disappointment watching over cattle in the wildfire, had already 3,000 square miles of western range and forestfound two mature bucks that land go up in smoke...” had succumbed to the flames, including a great 28” buck. Fires to finish the perfect one-two combo in the west have been the norm was a good wet spring, but instead this summer, not the exception. Mother Nature threw an upper-cut In last issue’s column we were and delivered zero precipitation and hedging our bets on whether or record heat this spring and summer, not the 2012 season would be the making the additional plant growth perfect season for mule deer, given stemmed by the abundant moisture of
5MULE DEER WATCH5
2011 nothing but a tinder box. It is safe to say that the intermountain and southwest regions are now drier than a popcorn fart in a dust storm. There’s a lot of disappointment watching over 3,000 square miles of western range and forest-land go up in smoke this summer. I’m sure we can all think of plenty of decadent habitat that could use a fire (or logging), but it is gut-wrenching to watch prime deer winter and summer range smolder to ashes. And to think that if they’re not managed well post-fire, these areas may end up with nothing but cheat grass and medusa head. Drought and Deer “Do they just die of thirst?” a hunter once asked me regarding deer and drought. Some folks don’t comprehend how drier conditions can have such a significant effect on mule deer.
The drought compounds other deer mortality factors making it one of the leading causes correlated with deer mortality. Drought inhibits quality forage forcing deer into winter with fewer fat reserves; if a severe winter follows drought conditions winter-kill will be significant. Winter conditions may kill those deer but drought was a leading factor. In drought years, fawns are typically born a pound lighter. These smaller fawns are less likely to survive harsh winters, and they’re more vulnerable for a longer period of time to predation. One study found coyotes prey on ungulates more during drought years, likely because of the fawn’s poorer condition, there is less cover to hide in, and a decline in rodent populations. Particularly in drier states that live rainstorm to rainstorm like I live paycheck to paycheck,
every bit of precipitation is essential to keep creeks and springs running. The amount of water (or lack thereof) on the landscape regulates the crowding of predator and prey. Predation rates increase near water sources as water availability decreases. We aren’t the only predator that has keyed in on water for mule deer when there is a limited supply. It is the predator that kills the deer but drought once again is a leading factor. I know, I know…this is bad news for mule deer and mule deer enthusiasts. So what are you going to do? There are two different responses from hunters; there are those that complain that it’s too hot and dry, elk and deer only grew half their antlerpotential, and it isn’t worth the gas to hunt this year so they’d rather forfeit their tags. Then there are those hunters who realize that these dry conditions are unpredictable but inevitable, and though it has major negative impacts on habitat condition, these hunters don’t fold
just because the conditions aren’t right. Guess which hunter gets more hunting in? The animals are there but their behavior may have adjusted so your strategies may need some adjustment as well. Is antler growth going to be affected by the drought? Yes, there will be an impact in some areas more than others, but did you see the Commissioner’s tag Arizona bull that was recently killed that scored 440”? It was killed in a unit that was definitely affected by this spring’s drought conditions. From what I’ve seen during my own scouting trips so far this year, I ‘m concerned over the effects the dry conditions will have on the habitat, but I’m not too concerned with antler growth. Are deer going to adjust their normal patterns in these drier conditions? Maybe. There’s only one way to find out. Scout. By scouting the unit, there won’t be any surprises and you’ll most
Position your camera to the north or south of your Trophy Rock, otherwise the sun might ruin many of your pictures. Trophy Rock also provides over 60 natural trace minerals to help with antler growth. Enter our trail camera contest at www.trophyrock.com. 5MULE DEER WATCH5
Early Fall 2012
likely come up with a game plan for your hunt. If your schedule doesn’t allow you to go to the unit and learn for yourself how the deer have responded to the dry conditions, get interactive with local hunters, unit biologists, and landowners—either on the phone or on-line—and learn from them. Make sure you try and find a way to pay back good information from other sportsman. Some questions that’ll need to be answered in your scouting endeavors are: Was there a major fire on the unit and how has it affected mule deer? If the unit you hunt has limited water sources, where is water available this year? Don’t be surprised by showing up at your unit right before your hunt only to find out your hunting spot looks like a charred moonscape. Fires can benefit or harm mule deer depending on the intensity, plant community being burned, and perhaps most importantly, which plant life takes over after the
fire. I’ve seen deer return to a burnt area quickly after a fire as long as it was a low-intensity fire and some young succulent plants have begun to sprout. Water availability may be key this year, especially for some of the early hunts. In 2011 I drew a muley hunt 700 miles away from home. With a packed schedule, driving to the unit prior to the hunt wasn’t an option. Part of my longdistance scouting was looking for water sources. I learned the Forest Service was clueless which springs had water available on the unit. I finally found one person who would know where water is available; the local rancher who runs cattle on the unit. He was kind enough to clue me in on which springs had water and which had dried up. He then mentioned where he’d seen a herd of huge bucks the previous fall while gathering cattle. Although the National Climatic Data Center has declared severe drought conditions in much of the intermountain west there is
5MULE DEER WATCH5
a glimmer of good news. The outlook through October shows that Western Colorado, Southern Utah, Arizona, and Western New Mexico should see some improvement. If conditions do not improve, mule deer may not build sufficient fat reserves, becoming vulnerable to the 2012-13 winter. Ideally, this next winter would bring lots of snow into the highcountry and milder conditions in the winter ranges. The secret to a successful mule deer hunt in drought conditions is nothing more than getting out there with a positive attitude and learning how the deer have responded to the changing conditions. You may not kill a buck this season with upper limit antler growth, but at least you’ll be hunting rather than sitting at home making excuses. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to scout out how bad the wildfire will affect my wife’s big mule deer hunt this year. I’ll keep you posted.
ÂŠ2009 Vortex Optics
X-FACTOR PERFORMANCE: Designed to exceed the perfomance requirements of western long-range hunting, our XR optical coatings deliver incredible image detail with extremely high resolution and light transmission. XD glass objective lens elements are carefully selected and precision crafted to exacting standards for true-to-life images of startling clarity and color accuracy. And our XT optical design virtually eliminates abbberation for edgeto-edge accuracy.
y policies will necessarily cause the cost of energy to skyrocket” says Barak Obama. Skyrocket! Yeah, that will be good for America. So very presidential. “I believe a Hispanic woman is better capable of making meaningful judgment calls than a white male” says Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor appointed by Barak Obama. That may not be the exact quote, but damn close and supremely racist nonetheless. The woman is a clear and present danger. “I think we need to spread the wealth around so everybody gets a fair share”, Mao Tse Tung, the founder of communism and Barak Obama, Mao’s #1 fan. Recently, the four liberal Supreme Court Justices signed their names to a document stating that they do not believe the 2nd Amendment guarantees the right of individuals to own guns. And, get this; they also stated emphatically that American citizens have no fundamental right to
self-defense. R e a d that again and let it burn forever into your psyche, for it cannot get any worse than four of the nine most powerful authorities in the United States of America making such an outrageous, offensive, soulless, anti-human, anti-American statement by any stretch of the imagination. But, wait, there’s more. America’s top law enforcement official, US Attorney General, Eric “Fast and Furious” Holder stated calmly, as a matter of fact, that the government, schools, community leaders,
A quick review of Obama’s Czars show that they are all anti-gun, anti-hunting, far left, members of various communist, socialist and Marxist parties, and are doing all they can to gut the US Constitution and Bill of Rights and put an end to the American Dream as fast as they can. I could go on and on and on and on with truly amazing, painful and ugly examples of how this president and his gang of Mao fans are intentionally dismantling the greatest quality of life in the history of mankind, knowingly orchestrating the demise of the once strongest economy on earth, all in the name of “social justice” and “fairness” for all, when in fact, this America hating gang thinks that successful people are cheating
ILLUSTRATIONS: COURTNEY BJORNN
the media and celebrities need to “brainwash” Americans about guns. And of course, Mr. Criminal Gun Runner of the century, USAG Eric Holder, is also on record declaring that the 2nd Amendment does not guarantee the right of individual Americans to own guns. This is the same USAG, who along with the president and rest of the world, watched the videos of his Black Panther buddies committing numerous felonies on TV as they threatened voters at the polling place in Philadelphia in full gang regalia. The same racist Black Panther gangsters who offered a reward for the murder of George Zimmerman in Florida. No charges filed. Cass Sunstein, president Obama’s Regulatory Czar, and a proud anti-hunting, antigun, animal rights maniac, is on record that animals should have the right to sue people in an American court of law. According to this insane person, a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy. “Regulatory Czar” my friends, with the power to decree laws, no vote, no Congress, no “we the people’ just a decree from on high.
Early Fall 2012
and stealing from those who refuse to be productive. With a bloated US Fish and Wildlife agency, under the anti-nature directorship of animal rights zealot Jamie Rappaport Clark, this out of control bureaucracy has become infested with hunter haters and animal rightâ€™s maniacs. This runaway power abusing agency represents the bizarre world of a government gone mad, turning right into wrong and wrong into right, making wildlife policy driven by their insane animal rights agenda. Raiding Amish farmers for selling raw milk, decreeing private livestock to be off limits to their owners, raiding Gibson guitars, shutting them down, confiscating precious wood, but failing to even filing charges five years later, orchestrating raids on law abiding hunting families for fraudulent federal felony wildlife charges, lying to
judges to procure fraudulent search warrants and holding innocent people at gun point at wrong addresses. Anyone who doesnâ€™t see this is truly mentally deficient if not downright crazy. I spoke with Mitt Romney. I asked him hard questions about the US Constitution and Bill of Rights. I asked him tough questions about gun control and 2nd Amendment rights. I asked him about the bringing an end to the run-away abuse of power by a corrupt, criminal government operating with impunity and refusing to be accountable. I asked him about living within our means and not further burdening future generations with obscene debt while the government wastes vast amounts of hard earned tax dollars on bloodsuckers and thieves. I asked him a lot of questions, and believe me when I tell you he answered them all from good to damn good. His past record is not without error, and he is no Michael the Archangel for America. But
compared to the demolition crew running amok in the US government right now, he may as well be the knight in shining armor. It is time America. Know that if just the licensed hunters and freedom loving gun owners of America would vote as a single minded block of Constitutionalists, we could literally clean house this November and set America back on track to once again be the most productive, powerful, positive force for freedom, individual rights and liberty on planet earth. The life or death question remains; has apathy already corroded our souls, or is that glorious, defiant Spirit of American excellence still coursing through our veins?
PHOTO: JAKE BESS
Parting Shot 98
Packing out never felt so good!
We shall see. You know what to do, and pray we do it with more heart and soul and nonstop activism than ever before. There is no excuse.
THERE’S A LOT OF TALK ABOUT CARBON. NOVELTY, OR THE REAL DEAL?
WE GIVE YOU PROOF. Montana is home to a new science driven, carbon fiber barrel and custom rifle manufacturer that is inventing the future of firearms. While others have tried with carbon, our patented carbon-fiber process is the secret to producing light weight, durable barrels that shed extreme heat – creating longevity and incredible accuracy. We’re confident in our process and our products and invite you to visit the “Here’s Proof” section of our website or call to learn more about carbon fiber barrels and the future of firearms. Claims are one thing. PROOF is another.
www.proofresearch.com (406) 756-9290
Shane “The Eliminator” Carwin
range 1.7 hold-off
dot value for 10 mph wind
X96 Reticle Technology Within a split second, the X96 Reticle shows your range, holdover and wind compensation. All calibrated for your specific load and cartridge. Above: Illuminated red dot indicates holdover. Just adjust your aim 1.7 dots into the wind and the trophy is yours.
“I’m known for one shot knock-outs and my Eliminator III gives me the same lethality in the field with automatic holdover and windage compensation for my rifle – faster than you can blink a black eye.” Shane Carwin
• Range Out to 1,200+ yards • Easily Programmed for Your Specific Cartridge/Load • Accurate Trajectory Compensation at ANY Magnification • Accurate Windage Compensation at ANY Magnification • New X96 Reticle for Extreme Ranges
Greeley, Colorado (970)356-1670 www.burrisoptics.com
This issue features some of the largest elk harvested this year, including Corey Knowlton's 440" monster Arizona bull. Editors Ted Nugent, E...
Published on Sep 13, 2012
This issue features some of the largest elk harvested this year, including Corey Knowlton's 440" monster Arizona bull. Editors Ted Nugent, E...