Average Joe's 2018

sn.outdoors

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It’s that time again! Looking back at our thread from last season, http://www.rokslide.com/forums/roks...47-average-joe-hunting-adventures-dan-cj.html Dan and I decided to keep our goals basically the same. We hope share our experiences in the most authentic way we can, and through our stories, illustrate to people the abundance of opportunity that exists in this great nation. All you have to do is take advantage of it.

Since Dan and I are both constantly trying to improve ourselves, we each have a few things we want to do better this season than we did last year. My biggest personal goal for this season is to improve my storytelling and photography. Primarily, telling a better story through my photos. I really want to capture the special moments with my camera, and share them in a meaningful way.

As far as the hunting goes… well we’re nearly 6 months into 2018, and the majority of our plans for the year are beginning to solidify. So far Dan and I will have at least one hunt we’ll share together, and I can’t wait for it.

As of right now, I have one big elk hunt on the schedule this September, but I’m also hoping to sneak away to Oregon for an early archery hunt over Labor Day weekend. (Maybe I’ll get lucky like I did last year and kill one on the first day ;) A guy can dream, right?) Earlier this year, I half-jokingly said to Dan that I’d like to kill either 3 elk or an elk in 3 states this year, but it’ll take a lot of luck to get it done since my work schedule is busier than I’d like. I will for sure be hunting deer and elk in ID, but I’m still waiting on ID deer, elk, and antelope results to come out to know when those hunts will happen. I’m applying for rifle deer and elk tags, and an archery antelope tag. I'm also throwing a wild dart into the Arizona deer draw, but the results are doubtful.

My wife is applying for deer, elk, and antelope rifle tags here in Idaho. And lastly I will most likely buy 2 deer tags in ID, since I’m kinda starting to get addicted to chasing muleys. It’s just too much fun not to do it more.

Regardless of the tags that find their way into my pocket, my biggest hunting goal for this season is to take new or inexperienced hunters out into the field. If that means I don’t get much time to hunt for myself, I’m not too worried…. My freezer is pretty full after all. I feel I’ve been blessed more than enough, and I really look forward to helping some buddies put meat in their freezers and create memories they’ll cherish forever.

In summary… there’s more opportunity than what my calendar allows for, but the three priorities for the season are: do everything I can to help new or inexperienced hunters get out in the woods this fall, hunt elk in the rut with my bow, and take my wife on her first elk hunt. I’m sure I’ll do much more than those three things, and I can’t wait to get it started.

Here are a few photos of what I’ve been up to so far this year…

















"Never follow your passion, but always bring it with you." ~Mike Rowe
 
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Like CJ mentioned, there aren’t too many changes this year as far as our goals go. 2018 is already shaping up to be such a fun year and we cannot wait to share it with you.

So far I’ve been fortunate enough to land a New Mexico archery elk and rifle antelope tag.



I’ll be in the elk mountains from Sept 7-24th. I’m going to head out a little early to help a buddy on his hunt and then roll right into mine.
Im also very lucky because I’ll be able to tie in another antelope hunt into my New Mexico hunt. Oct 1-9th are the antelope dates. I plan on hunting an over the counter archery antelope state prior to my New Mexico antelope hunt and that’s going to be a ball.

Mid October I will be heading up to Kentucky because a good buddy of mine drew a KY cow elk hunt. I’m so excited to help on that hunt because my friend could potentially be killing his first elk in his home state, how neat is that?

Late October kicks of Florida deer and let me tell you, this year is going to be an interesting one. I will come back to this in another post though ;)

November will also be an amazing month. I was fortunate enough to draw a Kansas archery tag. So I plan on tying the Kansas hunt in with an Oklahoma public land hunt. My good friend also drew a New Mexico mule deer hunt that I plan on helping him with. He’s never taken a deer yet, so I’d love to be a part of that. Three years ago introduced him to hunting and it’s been so fun watching him grow into the hunter he’s become. It’s really what all of this is about. So November should be 2-3 weeks of fantastic deer hunting!



The remainder of November, December, January, and early February will be chasing whitetail in Florida and Kentucky! Again... in a few posts you’ll understand why I’m going to invest a lot of time down here in Florida... ;)

There are still a few draws left out there that I’m waiting on, but I have a feeling that this will most likely be this years plans.
Iowa, Oklahoma, Maine, Wyoming, and Texas are the last draw states I’m waiting on and any drawn tags in those areas would really turn this into a extra interesting year.


I’ve got a lot of stories to catch up on, so I’ll keep this one short.
We hope you enjoy following along this year. Last year was so much fun being able to share our experiences and interact with everyone. We love when people take their time to post in here and encourage you to as much as you want. Tell us what you think no matter it may be, bad or good, we are here to grow!


Take care and enjoy.


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My 2018 season officially kicked off in April.
I met up with some friends at our annual Kansas TurkeyFest.
We typically do it a little later in the season, but due to some work issues, we opted for the archery season! It didn’t matter though, we were there to hangout and have fun.



I hooked up and hit the road.

As you can see “camp” is vey rough. We have a fully stocked pond, dinner area, and some cover from the Kansas winds.






I got in a few hours before everyone so I did some quit bird scouting and exploring.



I found some birds right away, so things seemed to be off to a good start.

I did some walking and found this little guy.



I set up on the side of a field that evening and just glassed. It was so nice to watch the sun set over the wheat fields. Something I never got to experience when I grew up.








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My buddy who hosts the camp took me to his barn the night before everyone got me in and asked me something that almost made me faint.

He asked if I was interested in hunting his farms this upcoming season.....


Mind you he asking me this standing in front of all of these...






Of course I said yes and the trip was off to a killer start!


Here is another little treat my buddy has in his barn




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The trip immediately turned into 40-60mph winds, rain, sleet, and birds that were broken up.

There was plenty of exploring though and I got to scout all the spots I’ll be hunting this year.




















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The funky shed I found got my buddy excited because he actually had pictures of him.




It’s a neat deer for sure and all of these sheds came off the same farm.







Some really neat areas out there for sure.














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One day my buddy said he wanted to show us a secret turkey spot....

This is what we drove up to...










His good buddy runs an elk ranch. It was amazing holding some of those 400”+ sheds.


We ended up getting skunked on the trip. The birds weren’t responding (probably because they couldn’t hear us beyond the wind), they weren’t broken up and in their normal areas, and it was chilly (for spring turkey season)


I did pick a mount off my buddies wall and told him this is the one I wanna shoot this upcoming year, so he needs to tie it to a tree ;)







It was a great trip and I cannot wait to get back out there in November



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So after I got back from my Kansas journey it was about time where Florida deer were starting to drop their antlers.
There was one specific buck that I’ve been trying to peg for a while now, but with the odd Florida seasons, tons of safe zones, and pressure... he eluded me again this past season.

However... with a little walking and some knowledge from where I found sheds before.... I stumbled onto this....












As you can imagine I was screaming at the top of my lungs for joy when I found this bad boy. I now have sheds of his from 2014, 2015, and 2017. He’s a great deer!






I can tell you right now that I’m going to spend a lot of extra time this year trying to make this all happen. He’s an old deer, a smart deer, and he had these awkward Florida seasons to his advantage....
but I will hunt smarter than I ever have, scout harder than I ever have and maybe, just maybe... it’ll all happen!


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Earlier this month I had two work trips in Texas. One in Austin and one in Wichita Falls. That gave me the weekend off in between conferences, so I did what any normal person would do....

I drove out 8 hours to my NM elk unit, hiked 16 miles, hunt some cameras and scouted!



They looked at me kind of funny when I had game cameras in my carry on lol




The unit in hunting this year is beyond dry. The worst I’ve ever seen it.... I’ve been praying for rain!












I did find some nice pockets of water that were still deep enough... for now...







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My buddy came up that weekend to spend some time with me and he brought his family.

One day I took two of his boys out with me to find some sheds and hang some cameras... it went very well!



I was able to help his oldest find his first shed! He nearly fainted when he found it!


I found some too ;)











Found this guy too, but those have to stay in the field!






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All in all it was a great, very fast, but very effective scouting trip.

I believe I’ve got 5 cameras up, all my old spots look good, and found a few more that look extremely promising.

The animals all look extremely healthy (saw 22 elk, 8 deer, and some turkeys)

I cannot wait to get back up there to the mountains this September. It’s going to be an amazing trip.




There is something very special about this place....


Oh and of course I had to stop at my favorite little country general store.




This is always the worst feeling ever....





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Speaking of turkeys....


I’ve hunted a unit in NM for a few seasons now for elk. Every fall I’d see TONS of turkeys, but for the life of me couldn’t figure out why they didn’t have a season for fall turkey.

So one day I sent an email to game and fish and was referred to a lady who specialized in turkeys and their seasons.


I sent her all my intel, game cam pictures, etc. Well a few months ago I saw this.








Because of my email they are presenting it at a meeting soon to have it added (along with a few other units).

It also sounds like it’s being fully supported.

I’m so friggen excited.... after talking to the lady again handling this she told me that this is just the way it was and no one questioned it since 1986.

Moral of this small story.... sometimes it’s better to ask about these kind of things verse just assuming it’s something they are looking into or “someone else may do it”.


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Ok, last post and I’m caught up with any cool or interesting points from this year.

To stay proficient with my bow I’ve actually been shooting some 3D tournaments the last couple months and it’s honestly been going quite well!









I’ve also signed up at a local range that has some great practice targets. I am not messing around this year!


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I ran out to some spots in Florida today to collect cameras. I need to freshen the batteries and some of them will get redeployed in Kentucky.

Some good news though, horn growth is just starting off down here!






I think this picture is pretty neat because the moon is in it.



I’ll be heading out to KY in a few weeks to help my buddy start scouting for some elk and I’ll hang some cameras on some public land out there. I cannot wait to get out there.



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sn.outdoors

sn.outdoors

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My spring has been very busy at work, and due to my busy schedule and the fact I'll be gone from home for most of July and the for work, and much of Sep/Oct/Nov for hugging, it's tough to convince myself I need to be in the woods chasing bears instead of spending that time with my family. Before my calendar got full (before bear season) I managed to pick up enough deer and elk sheds to cover most of my tag expenses and maybe 1/2 a tank of gas. Unfortunately we're all going to have to budget quite a bit more gas $$$ this year :(

I had a few good days of shed hiking





And a few adventurous days...



But all in all, especially when compared to last year, the shed hunting was much more productive, and I'm very fortunate to have been able to get out and put some miles on.

---

The only morning I was able to sneak away to look for bears I found one within the first 10 minutes of glassing. I chose to let it go and spent the rest of the morning watching it feed, roll around in the grass, and do bear stuff. It was quite enjoyable.



I haven't done the amount of hunting and hiking this year that I would have liked to, but I've been out there enough to satisfy the itch. My "work" trips help scratch the itch too...



"Never follow your passion, but always bring it with you." ~Mike Rowe
 
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sn.outdoors

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One of my highest priorities for this off season is to redevelop a hunting load for my wife to use this be year. After the snafu with her buck last season, I knew a change needed to happen. I never want to have an experience like that again, and a simple change in bullet selection will go a long way in helping that.

Each of the rifle kills we had last year were with my .257wby using copper bullets going Weatherby fast. That load has killed several truck loads of game for me, all of the shots were placed precisely, and many of them were at long ranges. It's performed very well for me, and I'm a little sad to go away from it. (This was the first rifle I started loading for, and it holds a special sentimental place in my heart.)

Now, I know everyone cries shot placement, shot placement, shot placement. "If you put the bullet where it counts it doesn't matter what bullet you use." Well, duh. That's obviously true, but in real life, not all shots are perfect. After doing the autopsy on my wife's buck, and seeing hits to vital organs not kill the animal, I deciding a change was needed. She hit the buck as he was quartered away through the top of the liver, diaphragm and nicked the back of the far side lung. Obviously the placement was not ideal, but I'm very confident a fragmenting lead bullet would have given a much different result.

I could continue down the rabbit trail further, but I think the other sections of this forum cover this topic far better than I am willing to go here.

All that said, I've been working hard to stack the deck in our favor, and have all of my equipment dialed in and keep our skills polished. Reloading is one of the excuses I use to convince my wife that I "need" to go shooting. I also bought a new rifle "for her to practice with."

I have several of these savages Cabela's likes to give away for a few dollars, and after trying to avoid the 6.5cm craze, I broke down and bought one.... But remember, it's for my wife ;)



I think I have a couple loads I can start working with.

6.5cm 147elms RL26 12rd velocity test.


Same load, 30 minutes between shots.


The new .257wby load should be a wrecker too, just not as meat friendly as the old one.
w/magnetospeed attached

no magnetospeed


Over the next few weeks I'll get out early before work to make sure everything is dialed in, predictable, and functioning properly. I'll also start my wife on a more robust training regimen to get her ready for the fall. After all, preparation is the best way to increase the chance you'll find luck.

"Never follow your passion, but always bring it with you." ~Mike Rowe
 
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sn.outdoors

sn.outdoors

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I snuck away today to confirm whether or not this thing is a stick or an elk shed...



Well it's a stick. But I'm pretty hopeful I'll at least see a bear. I've spotted several mule deer does and a couple cow elk, so there's got to be a couple fawns and calves nearby. Hopefully a bear too.


"Never follow your passion, but always bring it with you." ~Mike Rowe
 
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sn.outdoors

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In my rush to leave home I forgot a very important part of my meal....



Looks like I'll be eating cold, crunchy ramen tonight. Mmmm, my favorite.

"Never follow your passion, but always bring it with you." ~Mike Rowe
 
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I had some time today after church so I decided to go walk a piece of public land that I’ve been wanting to hit.

100+ degrees and humidity is not fun....







Found this guy....







Snakes, banana spiders, and sweat.... but it was totally worth it. I was able to get about 4 hours of hiking in and was able to piece together some areas that may help me narrow down on this big old Florida buck!

I need to get some cameras out soon so I can catch them growing.


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