Checking Trail Cameras - Testing A Fat Bike Wheel On The Pack Wheel

Me hiking in with a Pack Wheel and a Mineral block

Hiking up the mountain hauling in a mineral block, trail cameras and a shovel to dig out the wallow.  


My license plate on my Montero.

It was still a little muddy going up the mountain in May.  


hiking in with a Pack Wheel and a Mineral block.


hiking in with a Pack Wheel and a Mineral block.

Testing a fatty tire on the Pack Wheel.  

November 7th of last year I made my final trip up the mountain to check my trail cameras. It was a fun last trip up the mountain were I ran into two different sets of fresh bear tracks. I even got some nice footage of a large black bear that had been by my camera just a couple hours earlier.

On my last trip up the mountain last November I left three of my older Browning trail cameras out setup to take images. I have been excited to see what those cameras captured in over six months since I put them out.

With the rain we have been getting almost every weekend all spring long it has taken some time before I had a chance to get back up the mountain. When that mountain gets wet it turns into a greasy, slimy, mess making vehicular travel a little fun to say the least. 

In the location of one of my trail cameras I have been placing mineral blocks out for a couple years. The blocks do a decent job of keeping critters around long enough to take their photo but haven't done anything to really attract any more elk. In fact I almost believe that I use to get more elk on trail cameras in the years proceeding having the mineral block in the area. I have a few trail cameras in this area and elk that do come by some of my cameras rarely go the additional two hundred yards around the canyon to where the mineral block is. But if elk do come by the mineral block they'll give it a lick and get their picture taken. At least this is what I have found in this area. Minerals just aren't attracting animals but they do help with getting photos.

On this trip up I wanted to take in a new mineral block. I also had six more trail cameras, plenty of batteries to replace in the three cameras I had left out and a shovel to dig out the wallows. Of course I always carry my normal gear like a hand saw, snacks, knives, space blanket, BDM pistol, and head lamps etc. Anytime I go up on the mountain I like to go prepared so that I can safely spend the night should something happen to me.

To help with hauling in the forty four pound mineral blocks I like to use my Pack Wheel. On this trip I strapped down an Alps Outdoorz Commander frame pack to the top of the Pack Wheel and then placed the mineral block, trail cameras, batteries and shovel on top of this platform that the Commander frame pack provided.

For those of you who follow my blog and know me, I have worked on designing the Pack Wheel hiking/game cart for years now. It started with me looking for a system to haul bone out elk off the mountain by myself on my solo DIY archery elk hunts. 2007's archery elk hunt was the tuning point that got me really working on the concept. With all the years I have worked on perfecting the system I am always looking at testing something new. I may not be the fastest at testing everything that I have in my head to try but I do like to thoroughly test and look at options that may be helpful to the Pack Wheel. I take the Pack Wheel into some of the craziest places to see how it performs. I want to know everything I possibly can about how, where and what a Pack Wheel is capable of.

 

 

 

One of the things I am testing this year is a fatter tire and rim. So, on this trip up the mountain I am testing a new tire/rim combo in real world environments. The fat tire preformed well, was it earth shatteringly better than the current tires and wheel offered for the Pack Wheel, No. I will be testing it further this summer and during the hunting seasons this fall. Some of my initial thoughts are. It does offer the ability to run tire pressures at just 15 psi in a tubeless setup. This low tire pressure should soften the "ride" over obstacles. Did I notice this on this trip, hmm... slightly. The 2.35 inch tires on the 26/29 builds we offer I am able to run around 23 psi and feel just about as good.

On this fatter tire I am going with a really lightweight build. One of my requirements with all of my Pack Wheels is to keep them as light as possible and as strong as possible. The fatter tire/rim I am testing weighs in slightly lower in weight than our 29er builds. So why do I not just offer this fat wheel? Well I probably will... My dealer pricing for the components of the fatter build is $97 more. The rim is also not as strong as our other rims. Also, the rims are only available with 32 spokes instead of the stronger 36 spokes that I like to use. To compensate for only having 32 spokes I am running the strongest downhill jumping spokes I can find. Is it strong enough for my demands? Probably. Is it stronger than the 26/29 wheels we build? No. Is it worth the extra cost? Hmm...

Because I am taking Pack Wheels in areas that are not groomed biking trails, I am really insistent that the wheels be very strong. A Pack Wheel doesn't get the stresses like riding and jumping a mountain bike but a Pack Wheel has other stresses from the rough terrain it may be going through. Going on game trails and off trail the wheel and spoke may encounter sticks and rocks that may take out the spokes. Having more spokes helps insure that the wheel is still strong enough to get you back off the mountain should a spoke gets broken on a rock etc.

I'll be testing the fat wheel more and may offer this option in the future. If you are interested in a fatter option for your Pack Wheel drop me a line from the contact page on the Pack Wheel website.

On my trip up the mountain this time I didn't see any bear tracks. There were a few elk and deer tracks. I did see four deer with one being a young buck just starting to grow his first antlers.

It was nice to get back out on the mountain. I wish I could just live there. Sometimes I wish I was a mountain man, born 200+ years ago...

Now it's time to go through what the cameras captured during the winter. It's like Christmas every time. I love it. Trail cam pics below!

Bull Moose Browning Trail Camera Photo

Nice Bull Moose that came past one of my Browning Trail Cameras in December.  


Cow Elk Browning Trail Camera Photo

Some cow elk getting their photo taken.


Coyote Browning Trail Camera Photo

Here's a fun coyote pic that was captured this winter.


Red Squirrel Browning Trail Camera Photo

The snow was deep enough that this squirrel is right at the level of the camera.


Mountain Lion Browning Trail Camera Photo

A mountain lion passed by one of the cameras in a snow storm this winter.


Bull Elk Browning Trail Camera Photo

A couple real young bull elk showing up in May.


Cow Moose Browning Trail Camera Photo

The snow is starting to get deep.


Bull elk Browning Trail Camera Photo

A young bull elk passing the wallow in May.


Bull Moose Browning Trail Camera Photo

Young bull moose at the wallow in winter.

Hunt For The 7x8 Bull - 2015 Utah Muzzleloader Elk Hunt

7x8 Bull Elk

The 7x8 bull elk when I first found him on trail cameras in July.


Cow Elk Down

My cow elk (just over the barrel) from where I shot her.


CVA Accura V2 on Pack

My CVA Accura V2 Nitride finish.


KB showing me elk track

KB showing me some fresh elk tracks.


Porcupine

A porcupine chilling in the oak brush.


Ruff Grouse

One of the few Ruff Grouse I saw while hunting. They have been a little scarce this year. I find that on wet spring years there are few grouse.


Recovered SST muzzleloader bullet

I found the 300 Gr SST muzzleloader bullet resting against the hide in the abdomen after it passed through from the neck/shoulder area of the opposite side.


Pushing the Pack Wheel Game Cart

One way I will push a heavily loaded Pack Wheel up steep inclines is to rest the handlebar against my waist and push with my waist. Most of the time on inclines I do push with my arms forward but this is a nice change-up that works well.


PAck Wheel carrying Powerhouse ground blind

I left my tall Powerhouse ground blind setup from Dallen's rifle elk hunt a month earlier. I hauled it out on a Pack Wheel one day while I was hunting.

I have been looking forward to hunting with a muzzleloader for elk this year. Normally I archery elk hunt but this year I was really busy with other commitments in August and September so hunting the first of November with a muzzleloader was a better option for me.

This summer I also had a nice 7x8 bull on two of my trail cameras. Based on reviewing my trail camera footage from the previous two years most of the elk leave the area for the rut, especially the larger bulls. I was hopeful that some bull elk would be back in the area in November in particular the 7x8. Hopefully come November during the muzzleloader season things settle down and the 7x8 bull would move back in the area.

Opening morning I worked my way back into the area were Dallen had taken a cow elk during the rifle elk hunt. As I worked my way into the area I ended up sitting right where Dallen and I sat when he shot his cow. I was sitting near the end of a narrow meadow that meanders down the edge of quaking aspens, oak brush and maple trees.

While setup in this location, close to a CWMU property line, I started cow calling and within minutes had a bull bugling on the CWMU heading in my direction. Every few minutes he would bugle a little closer and I would answer with a group of two to three different cows calls. Eventually the bull had moved past my location and bugled but he was still on the CWMU. It appeared the bull knew where the no fly zone was. He was paralleling the property line and wanted me to come to him. How do they know where they will get shot?

Shortly after hearing the last bugle to my left I turned back to my right to see a lone cow elk coming around the exact same bend in the meadow that Dallen's cow elk came around during his rifle elk hunt. It was complete deja vu. I swung my CVA Accura V2 muzzleloader around, cocked the hammer, lined the Vortex 1x24 scope on the edge of her neck/front shoulder and filled the air with a blast of smoke. The 300 gr SST just crushed the cow dropping her right in her tracks.

With the cow on the ground I pulled out my range finder and ranged her at 68 yards. I figured Dallen's cow was at 75 yards when he shot her. Dallen's cow ran off 30 yards before her lungs filled up and she tipped over or both cows would have fallen within yards of one another as they were both standing in nearly the exact same spot when we shot them a couple weeks a part.

I was glad we both had purchased the $30 cow tags this year. It worked out great for us to fill the freezer.

I spent much of the remaining day boning out the elk and hauling it up and out of the canyon on my 29er Pack Wheel game cart. I took the exact same game trails up and out of the canyon that we did with Dallen's cow elk. With Dallen's cow we made a yoke to pull from the front of the Pack Wheel and we climbed up and out of the canyon licky split with both of us working the Pack Wheel. This time by myself. I was probably three times slower on the uphill but other than needing to take small breaks to rest I easily made it out with the whole elk in one trip by myself.

One thing I will remember from the day I shot the cow, is that I noticed I was peeing dark brown. Something a couple CT scans later showed I have a 6mm kidney stone that I will have surgery to remove later this month. Oh joy!

After a couple days I was back out looking for the 7x8. I ending up hunting six days, two completely full days and four half days of hunting. On one evening I had a five point sneaking past me in the really, really thick oak brush at just 30 yards. Unfortunately he never stopped and it was just too thick to find a hole through the brush to thread a bullet. It was cool hearing the bull coming through the brush as I could hear his antlers scraping across the oak brush. Through the narrow gaps in the brush I was able to recognize the bull as a wide five point I have bugling and chasing smaller bulls on trail camera from October 20th. You can see this video on the page.

Four days into the hunt I was sent a photo of the 7x8 taken by another hunter right near where I had just hunted. I was right, the 7x8 did move back into the area for the muzzleloader hunt but someone else found him before I could. You can see some full HD video of this bull in July on this page below.

One evening my youngest son KB went hunting with me. We found fresh elk tracks all over the place but nothing standing in the tracks. KB did find a shed elk antler and we also found a NOAA weather balloon with the styrofoam enclosed instruments and we sent it back in the mail to the NOAA. KB is fun to take hunting. He is getting so excited to be able to hunt deer and elk himself.

For the last couple days of the hunt I couldn't find an elk to save my life. I found fresh tracks and dropping all over the place but nothing standing in any of them. It appeared for the most part that my muzzleloader hunt and during Dallen's rifle elk hunt we were always in the right spot at the wrong time which often can be the case with hunting elk. When you are in them you're in them, when you're not, your not.

Elk season didn't give Dallen and I many opportunities for a bull. That's just how it rolls sometimes. I did have a lot of fun getting out in the woods enjoying all of God's beautiful creations and it was nice to fill the freezer with cow elk meat. There's always next year, yes next year.

 

 

 

CVA Accura V2 with 2015 cow elk

My CVA Accura V2 with my cow elk.


KB with elk anlter

KB found this elk antler while we were looking for elk.


KB my hunting buddy

KB hunting with me.


Hunting buddy KB

Selfie of KB and me hunting elk.


hauling out my cow elk on a Pack Wheel

Hauling out my boned out cow elk meat on a 29er Pack Wheel game cart up game trails.


Cow Elk

A selfie with my muzzleloader cow elk.


7x8 Bull Elk

The 7x8 bull elk on trail camera in July.


7x8 Bull Elk

Another photo of the 7x8 bull elk on trail camera in July. He doesn't look too healthy right now but I'll bet the the rapid antler growth elk have really take a toll on them in May, June and July.

Dallen's 2015 Rifle Elk Hunt

rain on opening day of elk hunt

Hanging out under our rain fly on opening morning.


fog lifting through pines

The clouds starting to clear out on opening morning.


Browning Powerhouse ground blind

KB and Dallen hanging out by the ground blind.


Elk rubs

KB and Dallen finding some elk rubs.


Bull elk in the distance

We watched this bull way off in the distance on opening day.


Bull elk on trail camera

Oh no! The trail cameras revealed that the bull we were calling to came in to where Dallen could have easily shot him but we left to soon to try another spot. No!!!


Montero stuck

I managed to slide the Montero off the trail and got it stuck real good.


Montero stuck

Another angle of the stuck Montero.


Cow elk in distance

A couple of cows we tried to catch up with.


A lady bug invasion inside of the ground blind

A lady bug invasion inside of the ground blind.

With the muzzleloader deer season coming to a close with me getting skunked and Dallen taking a nice buck, it was now time for Dallen to hunt elk with a rifle.

With a bull taking a 150 grain Accubond Long Range bullet last year by Dallen and getting away I wanted Dallen to use a different bullet this year. I was going to try a 150 Gr SST but didn't have time to work up a load in my 270 WSM X-Bolt. I also thought about trying the 150 Berger VLD that I love but also didn't have time to test it in my X-Bolt.

So with the lack of time to test bullets and work up loads I had Dallen carry my 300 Win Mag Model 1885 rifle with a 208 Gr A-Max load. This 208 A-Max load has been shooting great out to 1,000 yards with great accuracy.

I checked my trail cameras the day before the opener for what the elk activity looked like for the past month. Nil, Nil, Nil... not a single elk on any of my eight trail cameras. The elk had been in the area quite a bit around the last week in August but after the first couple days of September they completely dissapperared. Darn it.

The night before the opener Dallen, KB and I spent the night in a tent on the mountain. And it rained lightly off and on all night long.

Before light opening morning we set out hiking in the rain to one of my favorite places to watch from. Once we got there we setup a military poncho as a rain fly over top of us. As the fog and storm cleared we didn't see any elk at this location.

For the evening we hauled up my Browning Powerhouse ground blind to the location where Dallen shot Charlie One Horn in 2013. I wanted to have the ground blind there for us to get into whenever it rained and we were up there. I planned of just keeping it setup for a month so that during my muzzleloader elk hunt I would also be able to use it if I was hunting that area.

Not long after we got to this area we spotted a good looking bull feeding two canyons away from us. Whenever I would bugle this bull would lift up his head and look our way but other than that he appeared to pay us no mind and just continued to feed. This bull was way out there and across a steep and nasty thick canyon and after a while the bull feed out of sight.

We continued to call every 10 minutes or so to try and attract a bull into the canyon we were watching but nothing responded or showed up.

With a half hour of shooting light left we quickly moved to another spot. At this other location we spotted a cow elk briefly as it moved through a lane and into the thick maples and oak brush. We setup waiting for her or any other elk to move back out into the lane where we could get a shot but nothing ever did.

With the rain off and on during the day and the night before the roads were a greasy messy. I thought of spending the night and driving out in the morning but we wanted to get back so we could attend church first thing in the morning.

We made our way down the mountain in my old Montero and were in the process of trying to crawl over some large rocks while on a side incline the back of the montero slid off a bank and the front wheel dropped into a hole right behind a large rock. We were on a 23 degree incline from one side of the Montero to the other. Oops! We were stuck for the night.

At somewhere around 11pm we pulled our a tarp and some sleeping bags and slept on the ground next to the Montero. The next morning we were able to get chains on three of the wheels thanks to a handy man jack. We also dug out under the Montero clearing the rear axle and we dug a slot in front of both rear wheels and place a flat rock in front of both of them. Once we had this done the Montero crawled right out without any problem.

KB and Dallen will remember the night we got stuck well. I remained calm and discussed with them that everything would be just fine. We were prepared and would be able to get out in the morning. KB reminded me of one of his hunter's safety videos where a guy panics and takes off all his close and gets hypothermia. That's right KB, we remain calm and always try to be prepared to spend a night if we have to.

Dallen was out of school on Thursday and Friday so we headed back up Wednesday evening. Thursday we hiked a long ways and hunted the whole day. We found a couple cow elk but were unable to close the distance and find them again.

Friday we hunted back around the area I have my trail cameras out. At mid day we checked the trail cameras. Thanks to the USB cable and SD card reader we were able to skim through some of the photos and video while we were out hunting on my Samsung phone. To our horror and surprise we learned from the cameras that had we have stayed put on the opening Saturday a six point bull had came in with just enough light to get him. Dallen could have easily shot the bull from where we were setup at 185 yards away from one of the cameras. NO! We're pretty sure it was the bull we had been trying to bring in that was across two canyons from us.

Having this bull come this far really taught us a lesson to stay put if you are in a good spot and the bull you see has disappeared.

After the bull showed up it spent from 7:00pm to 2:00am going up and down this small draw passing four of my trail cameras repeatedly in the dark. Probably looking for those other elk he could hear...

Saturday we decided to go into bow hunting mode. We knew where some elk had been hanging around and there was plenty of sign in the area but it was really thick with maples, oak brush and quaking aspens. So Saturday we slipped into this area and snuck around really quietly. At midday we took a nap and that afternoon started sneaking around again.

In one spot we sat down on a side of a hill in the maples watching an opening below us as I cow called. It wasn't long and Dallen swung the rifle around to a cow elk that had come in right to 10 yards right behind us. All Dallen could see was it's face before it took off into the thick trees. That was pretty cool as Dallen had never seen an elk up that close before.

We continued to sneak around and call from time to time that evening. We made one last setup on the edge of a small meadow and I sounded like four different cows and a bull making short mini bugles. That did the trick and a cow elk came sneaking around the corner of the meadow 75 yards from us. I told Dallen to wait to see if a bull was following but it didn't take long for the cow to stop and suspect something was wrong so Dallen placed a 208 Gr A-Max into her lungs. She started to run off spun and took a second round from Dallen and she fell. She was dead on the first shot but we wanted to make sure.

I didn't have a Pack Wheel with me so I left Dallen with the elk and I hiked back out and returned with one. We didn't get started boning out the elk until almost 11pm. I wasn't feeling the greatest so it took us until almost 4am before we had the elk all boned out. Dallen actually did a lot of the boning this time and did a great job. Being so late we decided to just sleep under a tree for a couple hours and hike out in the daylight.

The next morning we experimented with making a rope yoke for the Pack Wheel by tying a rope from the bottom corners of the meat panniers. This worked totally amazing for us to work together to haul the elk up and out of a canyon on mostly game trails. We found that it worked best if the guy pulling just pulled using one arm. In this fashion the puller's arm would take up the slack back and worth without the rope falling back into the wheel. The system worked great and neither operator had to work very hard to move the Pack Wheel up and out of the canyon.

Both Dallen and I didn't draw regular cow elk tags this year but we were able to purchase $30 cow tags that we could use in the area we were hunting during any big game hunt. I was glad that we did because we have been out of elk meat for many months.

Even though it wasn't a bull we were both tickled to get some more elk meat back in the freezer.

We did get out one more time but couldn't find any elk.

Nice work Dallen. Great memories!

So now I have just one big game hunt left, my muzzleloader elk hunt.

 

 

Dallen 2015 cow elk

Dallen with his 2015 cow elk.


Pack Wheel pulling

With some rope tied to the bottom of the meat panniers on our Pack Wheel we were able to easily work together hauling the cow elk meat up and out of the canyon on game trails. With one of us pushing and steering the Pack Wheel and the other pulling with just one arm to their side it made the trip uphill quite easy.


Model 1885 in 300 Win Mag with Vortex Viper PST scope

My Model 1885 in 300 Win Mag with Vortex Viper PST scope.


Dallen standing for a pose

Dallen posing wanting me to take his picture.


Dallen hauling out his cow elk on a Pack Wheel

Dallen hauling out his boned out cow elk meat on a 29er Pack Wheel game cart.


Back to the Montero

Back to the Montero.

2015 Utah Muzzleloader Deer Hunt

Alps Extreme Commander Pack and Pack Wheel

Using my Alps Commander Extreme frame pack to carry my spotting scope, CVA Accura V2 muzzleloader and Double Crossed Shooting Sticks. The rest of my gear is loaded on the Pack Wheel.

 

Muzzlelaoder hunting with CVA Accura V2

Selfie of me with my CVA accura V2 muzzleloader.

 

Glassing for mule deer with Vortex Razor HD spotting scope

Glassing for mule deer with my Vortex Razor HD 11-33x50 spotting scope. I love this little spotting scope.

 

Alps Chaos 3 Tent

Sleeping in "luzury" in my Alp Chaos 3 tent.

 

CVA Accura V2muzzleloader with Vortex 1x24 scope

My CVA Accura V2 muzzleloader with Vortex 1x24 scope.

 

Pack Wheel hiking cart loaded going along the trail.

Pack Wheel hiking cart loaded with my gear going along the trail. I have my Alps Crossfire X day pack strapped on top.

After Dallen's successfully getting a nice buck on the opening day of the muzzleloader deer hunt I was itching to get back out on the mountain and find a nice buck for myself. I was packing my new CVA Accura V2 with Vortex 1x24 scope that Dallen used on his muzzleloader hunt to take his buck at 192 yards.

Even with only a one power scope shooting milk jugs out to 200 yards was not a problem for the Accura V2 muzzleloader when I was setting up the muzzleloader.

I planned on hunting the last four days of the hunt. I had my dad drop me off at the trail-head and I started the six mile hike across the mountain with the assistance of my 29er Pack Wheel hiking cart.

The spot I wanted to hunt generally is only hunted by a few guys who hunt from horses and that is only during the rifle season. Of those that hunt in this area I am not aware of anyone hiking down into some of the area I like to hunt. So as always I had really high hopes that I would be able to find a nice buck or two in the area.

As I was hiking in I glassed occasionally and found a few small bucks but nothing of any size.

This trip a took a luxury with me, my Alps Choas 3 tent. On many of my trips I only take a tarp and a military poncho to save on weight. With my 29er Pack Wheel I wasn't as concerned about the extra weight of carrying a tent. This tent is quite lightweight, very breathable, with lots of room inside and it sure was nice to crawl into in the evenings.

For the next three days I spent hour after hour glassing. The weather was a little warm for this time of the year and the deer weren't very active during daylight hours. What I found successful in finding deer was to glass for a half hour then move 50 yards around a canyon rim and glass the same areas again and again and again from the different angles to see if I could spot any bedded deer. Where I wouldn't see a deer from one angle I would from slightly different angle.

Although I was able to find a lot of bedded deer I was unable to find bucks of any size. I did one evening find a pretty looking 4 point buck buck but after examining it with my Vortex Razor HD spotting scope I found it to be a might on the small size. Having the spotting scope with me saved me a long hike going after this buck.

One evening I could hear a elk bugling off and on while I was in my tent. The next morning I found a 3x5 and two spike elk. I made a few cow calls with a cow call I always carry with me and the two spikes came on a string all the way across a large canyon right into my lap. I was able to get some nice photos and video of the three bulls.

On another day while I was glassing a canyon I heard something to my left and a cougar was coming over the ridge and going to pass right in front of me. I was able to reach back and grab my camera just in time to snap three quick photos of him. Upon a close look at the photos I noticed that the cougar had been hooked with what I would guess to be a deer antler in the side of his face making a nasty rip in is face. This cougar passed by at 21 yards in front of me.

On the last day I hunted I only found a single deer, a three point that was bedded. So much for getting a deer this year. At some point in my life I'll get rewarded for my hard work with a nice buck but apparently it wasn't to happen for me again this year. It was pretty disheartening to work as hard as I did, to hunt such a remote area, and not see any decent bucks to go after. It still was a lot of fun and I will always remember the cougar and those three bull elk playing around.

I think I really need to find a way financially to be able to hunt out of the state of Utah. I hear lots of stories of large bucks in the surrounding states on general public ground.

Mountain Lion with cut face

Mountain Lion with cut face

Mountain Lion with rip in his face that I would guess happened with an antler hooking this kitties face.

 

At this spot the Mountain Lion is 21 yards from where I am sitting.

 

Bull elk at wallow

Spike Elk up close

These young bull elk played around a lot at this wallow. I have some shaky hand held video footage of these three bulls on this page.

 

Spike elk up really close. It's amazing what a cow call can do to a bull elk. Two of these spikes came all the way across the canyon and right into my lap for a nice photo shoot.

 

Sunset on Salt Lake

Filtering water from spring

Sunset one evening.

I made a little dam under this rock to filtering water from this spring.

 

Mule Deer buck on CWMU

Doe and fawn bedded in a favorite deer bed

This was the largest buck I saw on the hunt and he wasn't big at all, not to mention he was across the canyon on a CWMU.

 

Doe and fawn bedded in a favorite deer bed.

 

small mule deer buck bedded

small mule deer buck bedded

Small buck bedded in the scrubby pines...

 

and another small buck bedded.

 

small mule deer buck bedded

small mule deer buck bedded

and another...

 

and another.

 

small mule deer buck bedded

small mule deer bucks

How about one more small buck bedded.

 

And some more small bucks.

 

small 4 point mule deer

Pack Wheel hiking cart

The largest buck I could find on public ground. A beautiful 18 inch wide four point.

 

My Pack Wheel hiking cart.

 

Dusky Grouse

Goal Zero charging phone

This Dusky Grouse was keeping an eye on me one morning.

 

Charging my phone with a Goal Zero solar panel.

 

 

Dallen's 2015 Muzzleloader Deer Hunt

Dallen at Sunrise

Dallen hiking down the mountain at sunrise.

 

Mule Deer does feeding at sun rise

Mule Deer does out feeding.

 

Spotting 3x4 mule deer

Dallen spotted this nice 3x4 mule deer buck first thing in the morning.

 

Accura V2 with Vortex 1x24 scope

Dallen setup with my CVA Accura V2 muzzleloader in the place where we watched a two point buck in the cliffs.

 

Bull moose

This bull moose was chasing a cow moose around the canyon.

 

two point mule deer in cliffs

Dallen spotted this two point buck that was up in the cliffs close to us.

 

mule deer buck bedded in chaparral

Relocating the 3x4 buck bedded in the chaparral at near 700 yards from us.

 

Mule deer in chaparral at 269 yards

Closing the distance, the 3x4 buck is now at 269 yards.

 

Mule deer in chaparral at 192 yards

This is all we could see of the buck where we setup at 192 yards from him.

 

Dallen 2015 muzzleloader 3x4 mule deer

Dallen with his heavy antlered, 2015 muzzleloader mule deer.

 

In 2015 Dallen and I both drew muzzleloader deer tags in Utah. I had to get a second muzzleloader so that we both could hunt together. I chose a CVA Accura V2 with the new Nitride finish and it has been shooting great while setting it up and sighting it in.

We were both wanting to pack in 5-6 miles for this hunt but as the hunt approached they're we just too many things going on for both of us to be able to pack in for the opener, things that included a pinewood derby for KB.

For the opener Dallen and I chose to hike down into the the steep canyons where he shot his 4 point buck in 2014. This is an area that isn't too far from the road but receives little hunting pressure because of the really steep terrain. And when you shoot something in this area you have to bone it out and haul it back up the really steep incline, through boulder fields and overgrown rock fields etc.

Early in the morning of the opener Dallen and I were headed up the mountain in my old Montero. As it was getting light we were slowly working our way down into the canyons.

It didn't take long for us to start spotting deer. Dallen was doing most of the spotting. Does and fawns were plentiful in the area. Not too surprising as this area usually is full of does, fawns and small bucks.

Within a few minutes of our decent Dallen spotted a nice, heavy looking three or four point around 1,000 yards below us. We watched it for a few seconds before it walked into some cover and out of sight. I was able to snap a photo or two before we lost sight of him.

This buck got Dallen pretty excited and he was chomping to go and find him. Not to be too hasteful and pass by other possible nice bucks we continued to slowing work our way sneaking around and peaking into small finger draws looking for other bucks as we worked our way towards the area we last saw the larger buck.

After a couple of hours of hiking we were sitting over a bowl of patchy thick jack pines. I figured that the buck was probably bedded somewhere in these thick small pines. We took a break on a cliff overlooking this bowl and started glassing. Although I figured it would be difficult to find any buck bedded in the think small pines I thought I should at least try.

The plan was to swing through this bowl and hopefully find the buck and gently bump him out so that he makes a couple bounds then stops and turns to take a look allowing for us to get a shot at him. At least this was the plan we were formulating as we tried to figure out where he might be.

While we were glassing from the cliff I started to glass the think chaparral that covered the far sunny side of the canyon. Bingo! I found him. He was bedded in the chaparral and we happened to be at just the right angle to be able to see into the hole he was laying in, that was in the middle of all the thick chaparral. At our current location he was just shy of 700 yards away.

We made a new plan to work our way through some pines on the opposite side of the canyon and see if we could sneak in close enough to be able to take him with our muzzleloaders.

Off we went going as fast as we could yet as quietly as we could so as not to scare him out before we got to where he was located. My biggest concern was that we would bump some other deer or the two moose that were somewhere in the area, out and they would run and scare off the buck.

Trying to be quiet going down the mountain was jamming our toes into the front of our shoes. I was thinking about how uncomfortable my toes were right when Dallen mentioned the same thing.

As we would go through windows in the pines we continued to glass to find him and make sure he was still in the same spot. As we got closer we also got lower and our window to view him diminished. When we got to 192 yards we could only see the top of his antlers over the chaparral.

We looked over the situation and figured that if we tried to get any closer we would highly risk being able to see him to get a shot. If we went any closer and lower we would be in thick quaking aspens that were twenty feet tall. If he took off while we were in the quakeys we might never see him. If we were able to make it to the other side of the quakeys we would now be right next to the chaparral and we also might not be able to see him very well at this angle.

Given the location we decided to setup at 192 yards. Both of my muzzleloaders were very capable of 200 yards shots. A week or two earlier I was shooting milk jugs out to 200 yards with my CVA Accura V2. I felt that if we waited it out the buck would stand up at some point and Dallen would be ready.

I plugged in 192 yards into Strelok Pro and the current barometric pressure and other weather conditions into my Galaxy S4 phone. Strelok gave me a 4.5 MOA for the shot. We removed the elevation caps on our muzzleloaders and dialed up the 4 1/2 minutes of angle and then waited and waited...

After over an hour of waiting the buck stood up. Dallen was quickly on him. When he stood up he was facing directly away from us offering a shot up the rear. Dallen was patient and after a few seconds he turned broadside looking directly in our direction. I think he could hear us whispering/talking as Dallen prepared to take the shot. Anyhow shortly after he turn broadside Dallen sent him a 300 Gr SST that gave a loud audible whop and the buck dropped like a ton of bricks and out of sight into the chaparral. Time to take a dirt nap Mr. Buck.

Just to be safe I sent Dallen over to find him just in case the buck jumped back up. I was able to guide him to find it as he fought his way through the chaparral.

The buck had dropped right back into the hole he was bedded in. And a hole in the ground it was. Deer have probably been bedding in this spot for who nows how long. There was a near two foot deep whole dug into the side hill.

We decided there just wasn't enough room to work in that location and that all the dusty dirt would get all over the meat if we tried to bone him out in this spot. So we pulled him out of the chaparral and into the quakeys on some grass so that we could work on him.

After we boned out and caped the buck we loaded it up in our Alps Outdoorz eXtreme Commander and Pathfinder packs for the trip back up and out of the canyon.

The trip out was in the dark. With it being a hot day it was nice to hike in the cool of the night. We spooted a few deer checking us out from the skylines on our way out.

The Commander eXtreme pack was so comfortable for the pack out. Although I didn't weigh it I'm pretty sure I was pushing near the 80 pound mark and this pack fit like a glove to my back making the trip out "enjoyable" given the amount of weight I was carrying.

What a fun hunt. Good job Dallen!

Now it's time for me to get a good muley with a muzzleloader.

Dallen smiling after shooting 3x4 buck

Dallen hiking over to downed buck

Look at that smile just after Dallen gives the 3x4 a dirt nap from 192 yards with a CVA Accura V2 with 1x Vortex scope.

 

Dallen hiking over to find the downed buck.

 

Dallen finding 3x4 buck

together with 3x4 buck

Dallen checking out the buck just after finding it.

 

Dallen and I with his 3x4 mule deer.

 

Alps extreme Commander pack with mule deer

Dallen with the buck all caped out

Testing out the new Alps eXtreme Commander pack for the first time.

 

All caped out and ready to pack out. If you are needing a cape it's in our freezer just drop me an email.

 

Hanging fat in the trees for the birds

Alps eXtreme commander pack with boned out mule deer

I like to take chunks of fat and hang it in the trees for  Chickadees and other birds to eat.

 

Finalizing getting the Alps eXtreme Commander pack loaded for the trip out.

This pack was amazing comfortable for hauling this load of meat and other gear. This is now my go to meat hauler pack.

 

Packing out mule deer with Alps packs

Packing out mule deer with Alps packs

Headed back out of the canyon with our gear and meat on our Alps packs.

 

Dallen with a lot of the gear, some of the meat, and the caped out head.

 

Doe on ridgeline at dusk

Packing out mule deer with Alps Pathfinder pack in dark

This doe was keeping an eye on us as it was getting dark.

 

Dallen scaling up through a boulder field on our hike out up the mountain.

 

 

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