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Back from Idaho

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Back from Idaho

Postby 7mmfan » 10 24, 2019 •  [Post 1]

This is the "Other Big Game" portion of our Idaho trip. I'll add a portion in the elk forum as well when I get a few minutes.

Man what a trip to Idaho this year. Got home yesterday and got things sorted out, back in the office today completely worthless. We had 4 hunters in camp for most of the time, and everyone had their opportunities.
We left home at 2:30 a.m. and arrived in camp on the afternoon of Saturday the 12th. Got camp set up and headed out to cut firewood. Had just a few minutes of time to glass that evening and didn’t turn up much. I was the only one in camp with a deer tag and I only had 2 days to get it filled before elk season opened. I was confident I could find a decent buck in some of our tried and true areas, but I wasn’t going to be overly picky.

Sunday morning came and I was up and out well before anyone in camp was stirring. I had a couple mile walk to get to my starting point. 45 minutes before light, I was sitting on a hillside, sipping hot coffee from my Yeti thermos and listening to elk bugle their heads off below me. What a way to spend the morning! It was cold and still, and as light slowly came on, there was little to view before me other than the elk that were still chatting away. I got up and slowly moved on to the next ridge. The area I was going to hunt is fairly open with some timber and brush patches, but lots of topography to hide animals. My game plan was to move from draw to draw glassing and picking them apart, and hope someone was home.

By noon, I’d turned up 5 does and an antelope buck that did not want to leave the area. He stood there blowing at me for a good 10 minutes, not 100 yards from me. I finally ran him off as I was tired of listening to him! I sat down under a tree where we’d processed my nephews first buck a few years ago and reminisced while eating a snack and some more coffee. With the full moon, I expected some mid day activity so I figured I’d just sit tight and watch. At 12:30, I saw 4 does get up ½ mile away and move down into a draw. I briefly saw another deer that appeared to be a buck but I wasn’t 100% sure what he was. I decided to just contour through the couple draws between me and where I’d seen those does. It was prime mule deer habitat with open timber and lots of brush.

I made it through the first draw, no dice. I eased to the skyline of the ridge and began peaking into the next draw over. I’d been standing there glassing for a full minute when I caught a shape in my binos. I needed to be a few feet to my right to get a better look so I did the foot shuffle quietly. It was to much though and a nice 4 pt began bounding towards the next ridgeline. I was on my pack in an instant, and trying to cow call to get him to stop. He did the normal mule deer stop and look back near the top of the ridge, but was screened by brush. At this point I still hadn’t gotten a great look at him, but I knew he was a shooter. He stepped out from the behind the brush but continued on over the top of the ridge. He didn’t appear to spooked, I wasn’t convinced that he knew what I was, just didn’t like me being there.

I grabbed my pack and rifle and high tailed it down to the bottom and up the other side. I was a huffing and puffing as I neared the top but I recovered quickly (worked my tail off in the off season, paid off big time), composed myself and eased up to the top in some pine saplings for cover. I immediately spotted a deer across from me, 250 yards away. It was a buck, but not the buck I’d just jumped. A nice wide tall 2 pt, feeding carelessly. I had a feeling my buck was nearby, as I had a good view of the whole basin and all the deer in it were calm and the none the wiser to me. I laid my gun on my pack and began picking the place apart. A couple minutes later I noticed a horizontal line in the trees/brush below the 2 pt and really focused on it. There was a white face looking at me through the brush, and just the faint outline of a very nice set of antlers. My heart started thumping as I laid down and got behind the scope. I found the spot and waited. As is always the case, it felt like an eternity, but was probably just a minute. My buck finally stepped out into the open 10’ or so below the 2 pt, just far enough to give me his shoulder. He was staring right at me as I began to squeeze the trigger. The 7mm-08 barked and a 120 gr TTSX was on it’s way. He hit the ground and did a face first death run straight downhill through the snow for about 100 yards before piling up against a tree near the bottom. Deer exploded from the draw, bounding in all directions. A 2nd buck I hadn’t seen, a nice 3 point followed half a dozen does out the bottom and the 2 pt left out the top. I laid there watching what I could see of him in my scope. I could see his antlers waving around a bit so I knew he hadn’t expired yet. As I was trying to move into a better position for a follow up shot though I heard the death moan and he rolled out from under the tree and another 50’ down the hill before hanging up again.

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As is usually the case with me, I’d taken no time to look him over before shooting. It’s a miracle that I even knew he was a 4 pt! I got over to him and was in awe. He was much bigger than I expected, and had a couple of little extras here and there that added to his prowess. He was caught in a bad spot but I had a flat spot 20’ away that I thought I could get him to for processing. This is when I found out how huge he really was. I grabbed an antler and tried to pull but all that did was loosen him from his tree and he took off like a rocket into the bottom of the draw, dragging me for about 10’ before I let go. I got down to him and finally saw him un-obscured. This was most definitely the largest bodied deer I’ve ever killed. I could not believe the size of him! I haven’t weighed out all the meat, and probably won’t, so I won’t hazard a guess at live weight, but I can say this, a 1 trip pack out was absolutely out of the question.

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I got my pictures (thanks to the Clip-Shot RJ sent me for the August photo contest!), got to work, and an hour or so later, I had all the meat hanging in a pine tree a couple hundred yards away from the carcass. I loaded my pack with a hind quarter, the backstrap, scrap and head, and began the descent towards my exit point. It was a brushy, rocky disaster and took me a good hour longer than I anticipated despite it only being a little over a mile to the road. I was a long ways from my truck, but close to camp so I ditched my pack in the brush and walked to camp for backup. Backup wasn’t there though, they’d gone scouting. Luckily one of their pickups was there and I was able to go back and pick up my pack.

By this time, daylight would be fading soon and I was whooped. The meat was in a good spot, so I opted to leave it over night. This is the first time I’ve ever left meat on the mountain and I was a nervous wreck. The next morning my Dad and I headed in to get the rest, and everything was in A+ condition. The cold air and downhill thermals had cooled the meat perfectly. We discovered a new route into the canyon where he was, and made the in and out trip infinitely easier.

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LIke I've said, I'm far from a horn hunter, but I'm beginning to think that maybe I'm a closet horn hunter and just don't know it yet? Lightening can strike twice, but if it happens a 3rd time I'm going to reevaluate some of my life choices and figure out how I've gotten to where I am.
I hunt therefore I am. I fish therefore I lie.
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Re: Back from Idaho

Postby 7mmfan » 10 24, 2019 •  [Post 2]

A few more. That's not real anguish on my face, but trying to see the dang phone screen with sun shining on it!
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Re: Back from Idaho

Postby wawhitey » 10 24, 2019 •  [Post 3]

Great buck man, youre sure having a good year so far
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Re: Back from Idaho

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 10 24, 2019 •  [Post 4]

Great write up and awesome buck brother!!
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Re: Back from Idaho

Postby Swede » 10 24, 2019 •  [Post 5]

Congratulations on a beautiful buck and a great story. I like the way you write. It isn't the exact same as being there, but as close as you can get while at home.
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Re: Back from Idaho

Postby 2Rivers » 10 25, 2019 •  [Post 6]

Great deer. One of these years my son and l willcash in points.
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Re: Back from Idaho

Postby Tigger » 10 25, 2019 •  [Post 7]

Nicely done! Great buck! Great hunt! Doesn't get any better than that combination.
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Re: Back from Idaho

Postby 7mmfan » 10 25, 2019 •  [Post 8]

Thanks guys, it really was a great hunt. It was nice to go in with a plan and have it work out somewhat how I expected it to. My plans don't usually work out, my best luck is when I stumble onto them.

However, we had a couple of other good hunts while back there, and 1 of them was a plan that worked out nearly flawlessly. I'll get those ones up soon.

Thanks for reading.
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Re: Back from Idaho

Postby Fridaythe13th » 10 30, 2019 •  [Post 9]

That is a nice buck. Someday I well get a mulie tag.
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Re: Back from Idaho

Postby 7mmfan » 10 30, 2019 •  [Post 10]

Fridaythe13th wrote:That is a nice buck. Someday I well get a mulie tag.


Theres nothing stopping you! Lots of good Mule Deer country between you and me.
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Re: Back from Idaho

Postby Lefty » 10 30, 2019 •  [Post 11]

Enjoyed the shunt stories,..

Your taking some great pics Ever think of entering the photo of the month contest on Wapiti Talk :lol:
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Re: Back from Idaho

Postby 7mmfan » 10 31, 2019 •  [Post 12]

Lefty wrote:Enjoyed the shunt stories,..

Your taking some great pics Ever think of entering the photo of the month contest on Wapiti Talk :lol:


Someday I'll drag something out and throw it in the hat. Maybe I'll get lucky :D
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Re: Back from Idaho

Postby >>>---WW----> » 10 31, 2019 •  [Post 13]

I'm jealous ! :D
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Re: Back from Idaho

Postby 7mmfan » 11 01, 2019 •  [Post 14]

>>>---WW----> wrote:I'm jealous ! :D


Of what??? Look at that buck in your avatar!
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Re: Back from Idaho

Postby 7mmfan » 02 18, 2020 •  [Post 15]

Spent yesterday making a couple mounts for my Idaho bucks. Pallet wood and old cedar planks. Felt good to make some sawdust after being cooped up in the house from endless rain the last month and a half.
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Re: Back from Idaho

Postby wawhitey » 02 18, 2020 •  [Post 16]

Awesome
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Re: Back from Idaho

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 02 18, 2020 •  [Post 17]

Excellent!
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Re: Back from Idaho

Postby Lefty » 04 05, 2020 •  [Post 18]

WapitiTalk1 wrote:Great write up and awesome buck brother!!


I just reread this . Just wish a few of our other regulars would post a hunt or seasons write up
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Re: Back from Idaho

Postby 7mmfan » 04 05, 2020 •  [Post 19]

So do I. People's hunt recaps are what got me interested in online hunting forums in the first place. I've thoroughly enjoyed the stories I've read over the years, and have learned an amazing amount from them as well.
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