Nevada ’08 Bowhunt, Part 3

 

It was a real treat to sit in camp that afternoon with the buck and to have the opportunity to carefully trim meat and talk about the hunt.  I love being out in the open country so much, and was actually sad to have the hunt be over on the 2nd day, although taking a pair of decent 4×4 bucks on public land in one of Nevada’s easier to draw areas was very rewarding. 

Nevada 2008 Bucks

Nevada 2008 Bucks

 

I have analyzed this hunt like I do all hunts and have come to some conclusions.

1)     Persistance and hard work pay off.  Chris could have easily had a lazy Monday in camp, but chose to try to spot deer mid day, which in low density areas like this is a low percentage practice.  After he chose to pursue the buck he killed, he stalked down a thousand vertical feet knowing it would probably mean 2 round trips, with one stretch hauling meat IF he happened to kill it.  I knew there wasn’t a shooter in walking range on Tuesday morning by 8:30, but I chose to stay out and spot even though I was totally exhausted.   I DID luck into the buck I killed, but I was out hunting at 2:40 and had to make a great shot.

2)     Waiting the buck out is best.  Chris was set up within 45 yards of his deer for more than 2 hours, but because there were clear skies and steady wind, he chose to wait for the buck to get up and stretch or feed instead of trying to make it stand up.  Those conditions which allowed him to wait the buck out also caused him to bake in the Nevada afternoon sun, but he was patient and the 4 point did present the perfect shot.  I did kill my first buck by tossing the rock, but the other times I have tried this have been disasterous.

3)     My daughter was not only good luck, but very helpful.  I mention in my mule deer introduction about how kids are not a disadvantage, but actually an asset with this method.  Chris and I had never killed bucks the same year, so she was a good luck charm, but she was actually instrumental in Chris’s success.  Having someone to keep a scope on one feeding buck while you look for others, or as in our case to give hand signals during the stalk, and  to keep an eye on the paralyzed buck while he drove to camp to get me and our packs.  Chris started doing this when he was 10,  four years before he could hunt and learned the method well.  His 1st year, he actually watched my arrow fly high over a bedded buck through the spotting scope.

Beautiful Evening

Beautiful Evening

  4)     We didn’t work hard enough to justify killing bigger bucks.  I take pride in backpacking in a ways and for the first time in years we hunted near the car, even though we were equipped to go deep.  We were happy with these bucks, but we didn’t see a P&Y minimum buck in this area, where last year in the range to the south that we packed into, we say multiple bigger bucks every day.  We started in this area hoping for the easy big buck and chose to take these instead of working harder for the big boys in deep.  We are satisfied with this hunt, but in 2011 and in the future it will be big bucks at all cost.  That means  being in decent condition, putting in the practice time on the target, and not allowing something like a frayed bow cable to potentially ruin a hunt.  It’ s a great story that I was able to create a cable and kill a good buck, but it was about as luck as my chance at the deer!

5)     This method is almost unfair to the deer.    In this kind of country, with this method, ANYONE can take a decent buck.  I know many will not be impressed with these bucks, but like I said previously, I really believe that 80 percent of bowhunters would be happy with these results at least for several years.  And the fact Chris was spotting from his truck and my buck went down above the road should suggest what kind of opportunities there are away from these roads.

I need to mention that as easy as this hunt seemed, out of the non-resident hunters in this area, only about a quarter  took bucks, 3 were 4 points and we had 2 of the 3.

Well that is it for this hunt.  It felt good to dig up the pictures and re-live the hunt through this post.  I won’t post any more pictures or video from this hunt and  will  put the past behind and continue to write my thoughts on the hunting method and backpacking.  Please feel free to leave comments, suggestions on what I can do better in writing, or topics you may be interested in for articles or posts.

Nevada ’08 Bowhunt, Part 1

This time of the year, the applications are in and as I’m waiting for results, I am always getting a little antsy.  I have been writing tips and think it’s time to jump ahead for a post or 2 and tell a story.  I tried muzzleloader hunting in ’09 and, due to Utah archery tags selling out in the first draw for the first time ever, didn’t hunt at all in 2010.  This is the story of my last bow hunt, 2008 in Nevada.   I am including many still pictures and short video clips to bring this to life.

My son and I drew tags for the same easy to draw area we hunted in ’07.  We had an amazing hunt in ’07, and due to scouting techniques mentioned on this site had good opportunities but both came up short.  Our second ever Nevada hunt was highly anticipated and didn’t dissapoint.  My 14 year old daughter joined us for her 1st backcountry hunt.  We had supplies and equipment to camp by the car, backpack or bivy hunt.  We had a hunch that the 1st week of August was a great time to hunt some rugged but truck accessible country that would allow day trips from the car camp up to 3 miles in each direction.  Plan B would be to backpack into another range in our area. 

 We arrived at our destination after dark on day 1.  Our plan was to each move out onto ridges and spot back toward the bowls below where we were camped.  Before 1st light, we were each in position to spot large basins that looked very promising.  I love the sensation of the eastern sky slowly getting light while straining through my optics in the cool morning air to identify deer.  I started to see deer, but discovered that this lush, water filled basin hosted several does but no bucks.  My son had the same experience in his spot.  We met back at camp to make a plan for the rest of the day.  We shot our bows and I noticed my arrows were moving to one side.  Suddenly the cable jumped off the wheel.  One side of my yoke had broken.  Phone calls to regional archery shops told me there MAY be a cable in Elko, a 7 hour round trip .  My hunt was looking grim.   I had a thought.  There was an old bow string in my bow case.  I would remove the serving, seperate the strands and build a new cable.  I told my son and daughter I was going to build a harness and go kill a big buck with it. 

 He cynically wished me good luck and left before noon to spot a basin 2 miles away for the day.  I carefully un-served the string and accumulated a pile of serving material.  I ended up with 45′ each of white and black strands from my zebra string.  I took the old cable, laid it out on my bow case and put screws into my case where the 2 cable ends should be.  5 hours later, I had the newly made cable, beautifully served on my bow. I shot a few shots and after drilling the center at 40 yards called it a success.

  I had been finished for 5 minutes when my son came driving up and calmly said, “Wow, the bow looks nice”.  He then told me that he had spotted, stalked and shot a nice buck, but hit it high and paralyzed it.  We grabbed the packs and equipment, headed back and were very happy to see my daughter with the spotting scope still watching the terminally wounded buck.  Chris had been within 45 yards for over 2 hours patiently waiting for it to stand up.  It was a steep downhill shot and he hit high, but fortunately got  the spine.

She and I watched as he moved down and finished off the nice 4×4.  We boogied down the steep 1000′ into the treeless basin and celebrated his beautiful buck that would fall just short of P & Y due to deductions.  I love the near euphoria of these moments, and the respect that is had for these magnificient animals.

!st Day Buck

It’s always been amazing to me how extreme mood shifts are a part of hunting.  Earlier in the day we had no opportunities for stalks, and my hunt was in jeapordy.  Now in the evening of our first hunting day, we had one 4×4 down.  We had work to do as it was getting dark.  We gutted, skinned and de-boned the buck and began the trip up the steep hillside in a moonless night. 

 

 We arrived back at the trucks after midnight tired but happy.
  Midnight Haul

We went to sleep after 1:00 a.m.  It was a great start to a memorable hunt.

Part 2 will be posted shortly.