Archive for December, 2010

Recap on the 2010 season

Friday, December 31st, 2010

My annual calendar revolves around the activities of hunting, guiding and fishing.  2010 was no different, but I had a rougher year than usual. Unfortunately, I did not draw any of the limited tags I was hoping for.  In addition, my hunting partner and best friend Trevon was unable to join me for my Nov and Dec hunts due to his should injury.  Without Trevon’s camaraderie, the hunts are just not the same. I can’t wait for next year and for Trev to get the wing flapping again.  My work on the ranch was, by far, the most hectic and stressful year of my tenure up there.  Life was busy on my Swanson Lake Ranch hunting club as well, we competed the building of our lodge on the property this fall, so my time in Nebraska was focused toward the construction.  I hope that you enjoy seeing a glimpse of my year in the outback.

January and February found me surviving on the ranch with a few lion hunts tossed in here and there when I could break away from pushing snow around.  Here is a pic of a Tom we treed and harvested in Jan 2010.

March and April are two of my favorite months of the year. In 2010 they were spent fly fishing for permit in Belize, archery turkey hunting at Swanson Lake Ranch, and pre-runoff fly fishing for trout in the Rockies.  I also was still fighting the snow and cold at the ranch, and got my snow cat buried in an avalanche that I triggered while attempting to open up a ranch road.

May to August was an incredibly busy time for me. The ranch was going through several of changes, we were building a lodge at Swanson Lake Ranch, and I was still completing  all of my food plots and habitat work.  This didn’t leave me much time for play, but I did manage to get out for a few evenings of fly fishing.

September always seems to go by too quickly. Observing the elk rut and bow hunting for bugling bulls is hands down my favorite thing to do.  This year, during the first set up of the season on opening morning, I successfully called this nice 6×6 bull in for an older hunter.

The second week of archery elk season, I managed to work this nice bull in after an hour of calling. The bull approached to within 3 feet of my hunter, and he put an arrow in him when he was finialy turned broadside at 3 yards.  What an exciting hunt!

I had a couple days to myself before Trevon made it in to hunt, so I slipped out for one evening and one morning. In the short window of time that I had this year, I lucked out and harvested this nice 6 point bull.

Trevon came in a day later and we had a great hunt, calling in several bulls the first couple of day. The evening that Trevon harvested was magical.  We were surrounded by bugling bulls; there must have been seven or eight bulls in the park. Trevon managed to pick out this nice 6×6 bull and made a great shot and a clean kill to wrap up the 2010 archery elk season.

The four Colorado rifle seasons span from mid-October to late November. I was guiding every day of the open seasons. Here are some of the animals that I personally guided hunters to this year.

When I get breaks in Oct and Nov I always manage to get out and do a little bit of hunting and fishing of my own too. Without Trevon to join me on these breaks, I self videoed my white-tail hunt at Swanson Lake Ranch. I passed on numerous bucks from 120 to 140 class as I knew from my trail cams that there were a few monsters on my property.

December found me hunting ducks, pheasants and white-tails on Swanson Lake Ranch, as well as eastern Colorado Mule deer. As many of you know, I have trained bird dogs for almost 20 years and have as strong a passion for decoying waterfowl and hunting upland birds as I do for fly fishing and bow hunting. This year I was able to spend a few days chasing pheasants with my old buddy Trigger and my new German shorthair, Briz.  I spent time on my mule deer hunt catching up with my late wife’s family and helping out on their family farm and ranch. I did go looking for bucks in the mornings and chased some pheasants mid day, but I also really enjoyed having the time to catch up with my in-laws.

Here’s looking forward to 2011, lets hope the draw is kinder to me and I won’t have as large a work load, and my bud Trevon gets healed up. Thank you all for tuning in to Outback Outdoors and Happy New Year.

Hunting Year In Review

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

As the 2010 hunting season comes to a finish I thought I would just recap my year with Outback Outdoors. I spent a lot of time this past year either hunting or guiding and running camera. I had one of my best years to date and I can not wait until 2011 rolls around.

I started off in Nebraska with a good friend and his son for spring turkeys. In 3 days we were able to shoot 7 birds with the bows all on video. Large number of birds and some snowy weather made it tough but we prevailed and made some great memories.

After Nebraska I headed back to my home state of Montana to hunt some mountain Merriam’s. The snow followed us and I had several tough days hunting. Trying to find the birds in the Rockies can be frustrating but you have to cover ground and keep calling. I got some great footage and finally I made a close shot on a good mature bird.

After the turkey tags were punched I headed to far Northern Alberta to hunt huge black bears with Garrett Brothers Outfitters. They run two remote bear camps. One is a fly in camp 200 miles from no where and the other a jet boat ride of 75 miles up a pristine river system. I chose the second and the adventure was well worth the cost. I have hunted bears a bunch all over and this was an exceptional camp.

On the first night I shot a huge fat spring bear that I self filmed and the bear went a mere 5 yards after the shot. I had 7 different bears come and go after my bear was down and I had my first bear of the trip.

In Alberta you have the chance to take a second bear so I ventured out again. During the week I saw so many bears that I lost count. The camp has 40 different bait sites and they manage their area for big bears.

On the last night I sat a very remote bait site that I sat the evening before and it took 2 hours to get to. First an hour jet boat ride then an hour on a quad. I was after a huge bear that I saw the night before and got video of.

After only setting for less than an hour this huge bruin came in. Again a  10 yard shot and a 40 yard recovery had me standing over the largest bear of my career.

He was over 7 foot and close to 400 pounds and his head was like a black pumpkin. I was also able to capture this hunt on camera.

Both bears were awesome animals and I will have to find room for the taxidermy work in the next few years.

Summer went by very fast and soon it was time to sweat in a blind over a water hole for speed goats. I hunted in Wyoming and on my third night I had my luck continue. This goat came in 3 times over the course of 2 days and my friends son had missed him on camera the day before. I again self filmed and got great footage of the shot and him tipping over.

Elk season rolled around and I had to guide a few archery hunters. We had a good season and I had a chance to hunt after my clients had left. A friend of mine who had tagged out on a great bull I had called in the day before stayed and ran camera for me. The rut was still going strong and after a 3 hour stand off this beast was put down with a 25 yard shot.

Again I had the largest elk of my hunting life.

The rest of the fall was spent guiding some deer hunters. I had a 4 day break between groups so I took to the plains of Eastern Montana in search of a mule deer with my hand gun. After spooking a buck with several doe mid morning friends and myself relocated the deer and I made a good shot. He is a neat tall buck and I was thankful. My dream year continued.I would like to thank all of you for sticking with Outback Outdoors and look forward to bringing you these hunts in future webisodes. Hunt hard and stay down wind!!!

On The Road

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

Well the end of my 2010 hunting season went alot better than the beginning! I guided a few hunts for Trophies West Outfitting Co. in Montana and did 3 appearances for Under Armour at Cabelas across the country which took up most of my time in the latter part of the hunting season. After guiding my last client to a toad of a Whitetail on the Bighorn River I skinned, caped and boned out his trophy, loaded it up for him and I was packed up and on the road to Kansas to meet JT at Marl Elpers, of Outdoor Connections, farm. I left Montana at 10 AM and drove 16 hours arriving at the farm at 2:30 AM. JT had me up and rollin an hour and a half later and I spent the next five days in a treestand alternating hunting and videoing JT as well as witnessing some awesome rutting action and alot of bucks! I had a blast and am now hooked on bowhunting whitetails in Kansas after taking my first Pope and Young ten point on the last evening!

Saturday morning found me headed home and right into some of the worst weather we have seen in a long time. An early winter hit Montana and along with a blizzard, above average snow accumulation and below zero temps, the roads were absolutely treacherous! With cars off the road everywhere I decided to stop back at the Trophies West Lodge and help out with the last few clients and spend Thanksgiving with my guide buddies. Craig Hueter, owner of TWO, called and told me to go ahead and hunt for myself the last couple days if I wanted to. After trying to access some of our ranches in the terrible weather I finally decided to take a very old and very ugly buck that was still rutting this late. We take management very seriously at Trophies West and by killing a few management bucks like this every year as well as letting the young up and comers live we have taken trophy mule deer for years! If you are interested in hunting with Trophies West holler at me. I was happy to kill a cool old buck and do my part.

What a nice way to end my season. Its time now for the NFR in Las Vegas and then the holidays. January brings us the Hunting Industry Shows and my PBR season kicks off with a bang! From all of us at Team OO, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!