Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Bonsai Scouting for Elk

I just returned from a trip back to Wyoming to see my mom, dad and sister, as well as to do some "Bonsai" elk scouting for my hunt in September. Bonsai scouting is a term referring to scouting a hunting area as hard as you can in a very short amount of time, usually due to the fact that you are saving all of your vacation time for hunting season. This is certainly true in my case. After putting in some time studying topo maps of the Dubois region, I was able to narrow down a few places that I wanted to scout for signs of elk, and hopefully see some critters. I'll be hunting an area 67, which I have never hunted before, and to me nothing compares to actually putting your boots on and seeing the land with your own eyes.

We got to the area on Saturday afternoon and spent most of the afternoon driving around getting the lay of the land and a general feel for the area. I hiked around a few areas and found some sign that should be a good indicator of elk activity. I found a few wallows, rubbed trees, tracks, poop, bedding areas and travel routes, and hopefully I can put the pieces of the puzzle together come September with some more scout-as-you-hunt hiking. Sunday morning bright and early, my dad and I were at it again, this time checking out a completely different location. There we found some really high elevation meadows, with lots of vantage points.

Although we didn't see any elk, I feel pretty confident with the sign I found, and I think I have some huntable spots that will hold elk. We did see a bunch of mule deer, and that got the wheels turning in my dad's head for the his general deer tag. They were mostly does, but we did see quite a few decent bucks still in velvet in broad daylight. Many of them were right in the town of Dubois.

As I write this, I'm sitting in the airport in Denver, CO waiting for my flight back to Atlanta with a camo backpack and duffle bag at my feet. Over the course of this trip my camo gear has gotten quite a few reactions, from crazy stares to silent nods of approval, to questions about what and where I'm hunting and what bow I shoot. The camo badge is one I'm proud to wear and I'm never ashamed to show up in boots and camo to any affair. After all, I've got friends in high places....

Monday, August 13, 2012

A slightly political post...

A few weeks ago I posted a picture of me shooting my bow in a suit and tie. It was right after church on a Sunday afternoon, and I got home and decided to shoot a few arrows before heading to bed to get ready to work that night. Although I had already taken my coat off, standing out there in my dress clothes with a bow in hand really tickled my funny bone for some reason. So I put my jacket back on for the photo opp.

Now that GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has selected Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate, a picture of him in a suit and tie with his Mathews at full draw has surfaced. I'm not sure when the photo was taken, but it certainly wasn't circulating like it is now. I just thought it was pretty cool that our pics were so similar. And it's certainly nice to think of having someone in the White House who understands outdoorsmen and women because he is one of us.

So there's my plug for Romney/Ryan 2012.

Friday, August 10, 2012

A Look Back and Ahead

Hog hunting near Mershon, GA

Just an update from the last few weeks! A couple of weeks ago I went hog hunting in South Georgia on a farm that belongs to some friends. They've been having some problems with hogs destroying corn so I wanted to try and help out by shooting a porker or two. Unfortunately I didn't see a live hog during the hunt, but still had a great time and it was good just to be back in the woods. It was the first time I'd been hunting anything since May, and I have managed to hunt something every month this year except for June. Hopefully I can continue my streak by hunting some hogs again in the month of August.

Last Eyecon Black Widow trail camera at Bass Pro Shops in Lawrenceville, GA

In the meantime I've been working at Bass Pro Shops during their Fall Classic Sale on behalf of Big Game Treestands, and attending some of the outdoor shows and expos that have been happening in Atlanta recently. One of the highlights for me was meeting Troy Ruiz of Headhunters at Buckarama. Troy was a member of Team Primos for several years and has always been one of my favorite TV personalities.

Troy Ruiz of Headhunters

I also got to meet some legends of the bass fishing world including Jimmy Houston, Larry Nixon, Roland Martin and Forrest Wood at the FLW Outdoors Expo at the Gwinnett Center. The Forrest Wood Cup was held on Lake Sidney Lanier this weekend.

Forrest Wood, founder of Ranger Boats

September is just around the corner, and with it comes a month full of hunting. The first week of September will find me chasing mule deer on New Mexico. My buddy J. J. Salinas who lives there has been scouting and seeing some good bucks, so hopefully our group of three hunters will be able to connect on muley or two. We'll get back to the South just in time for the Georgia archery deer/bear season to open. I plan to spend as much time as I can during the early season looking for a black bear in the Cohutta Wilderness in North Georgia.

When the last week of September rolls around I will be in Wyoming on a DIY archery elk hunt with my dad. I was able to get a last minute leftover Type 9 archery-only elk tag for area 67 and this will be the first time I've gone back to Wyoming to hunt in several years. I'm really looking forward to hunting again with my dad and hopefully smoking a Wapiti with my bow.

In the meantime I'll be shooting as much as I can, studying maps, and fine-tuning my gear. September can't get here soon enough.