My AZ hunt report

SDHNTR

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2012
Messages
2,158
Just got home from 5 days in the desert. We hunted just a little North of where Doug was. We were a group of 4. For me, this hunt was a bit cursed from the beginning. I really wanted to focus on coues deer as I have never killed one. I had a bitchin remote water hole in mind that was getting hammered all fall. You had to ride a quad about 45 minutes and then hike in about 1.5 miles. Thought it was a sure fire thing. Then right after thanksgiving, it dried up. Dammit!

OK, Plan B. Talked to a local buddy of mine and he had a spot in mind but it was a risk at higher elevation and the potential to be snowed out of the spot. So I load up the truck and drive another 440 miles (each way) to go check it out and set up the blind. Of course, right as I got there a snow stom hit. I pretty much grew up in the Sierra mountains and have never seen snow like this. It dumped 6 inches in 30 minutes. I had to turn my quad around.

OK, then Plan C. Head back to lower ground. Throw all the blind and crap on my back and hike into an area I wanted to set up. Sign all over. I thought this was gonna be awesome. As I got into the area I wanted, I looked down and saw a freshly cut (with a saw) mesquite limb. Then another, then another. then I realized someone had cut a trail. I followed it 20 more yards and found a blind already set. Damn!

Plan D. Back off and hiked out further and set up in another good spot about 1/2 mile away. This area was hammered. Tracks and piles of scat all over. Set up the blind and camera. Conned my buddy into checking the camera and keeping me updated.

10 days later... Buddy calls me. Good news and bad news. Good news is that the does had been all over my blind site. Bad news is that some other people had found it too and basically ruined it.
 
Last edited:
OP
S

SDHNTR

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2012
Messages
2,158
So it's now 10 days before I am supposed to be back out to hunt. Again, I conned my buddy into pulling my blind out and setting back up in a mid elevation spot. This is an area I have hunted before and a proven spot. I was excited again. A week goes by and my buddy goes to check the cam. This is now just 4 days before I am to arrive to hunt. Again he calls with a report. More bad news. And crazy too! A flock of crazy goulds turkeys apparently called my blind site home and literally attacked anything that came near. I've never seen turkeys with no fear of humans, but that is exactly what happened. My buddy said they ran at him and he had to kick them away. Crazy! If he hadn't of video'd it, I would have never believed him. There was no way deer would come in with these crazy birds.

Tired of moving the blind, I left it there and hoped for the best. I was right. Nothing. When I arrived the first thing I did was go check the cam. Nothing but psycho turkeys. No deer.

Plan E. Go hunt mule deer and javelina. the upside to this is I'd get to hang with my buddies as that is what they were going to do all along.
 
OP
S

SDHNTR

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2012
Messages
2,158
We go hit a spot where I have killed pigs in the past and usually see deer. Nothing from the first glassing spot, so we decide to go for a hike to get to a spot I like to glass from because there are some canyons you cant see from the road. Picked up pigs in the glasses right away. 2 of my buds on this trip have never killed a javelina before so I took one on the stalk with me. We get in close and slip off the boots. Yes, bootless in cactus country is lots of fun, but it sure makes you move slow! We got to 50 yards from the herd and my buddy roll a rock. The pigs bugger. I get on the call and they turn on a dime. They come charging in and my buddy misses a shot at 10 yards and then another at about 30. A little bit of buck fever involved there. Game over.

We go to a new spot for the afternoon and as evening is closing in my buddy spots more javelina way out. We have to reposition and hike in. We get to near where we last saw them and I catch movement in the bottom of a wash. It's a nice, heavy 22" 3x4 mulie and I forget about the pigs. The buck was chasing a doe and I thought I could get ahead to ambush. The doe had other plans and tok him off in a direction I was not predicting.
 
Last edited:
OP
S

SDHNTR

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2012
Messages
2,158
We go back to that spot the next day to try to find the herd of pigs again. We find them right away. Again I took a javelina virgin buddy of mine in on the stalk. The pigs got into some really thick brush in a wash and we lost visual. We were creeping in really slowly when they busted out from behind us. We had over stalked them by just a few feet and they winded us. I tried to call but they got a full nose of us and had none of it. A buddy did have one stalk on a small 3x2 mulie but his does busted him.

We headed to yesterday's area again and didn't find much for the first hour plus when my buddy said he sees a doe. He talks me in and I said "I don't see any doe but I got a nice buck bedded!" Long story short, I gave it a go and got to 200 yards with a good wind when all of a sudden the does jumped up and flew out for no apparent reason. The buck bailed and I hiked back. Right as I got back to my buddy we saw a truck full of quail hunters come out of a wash that was immediately next to the deer. They must have bumped em. Arghhh!!

To another spot that is a LONG bumpy ride up a rough road. Piles of both whitetail and muley does, but no buck. With an hour of light left I glassed up another herd of pigs. This time we sent the two rookies in. I've killed pigs before and really didn't care. I wanted to see these two guys kill more. The crept in perfectly but the way the wind was, they had to stalk in due east and wound up with the sun directly into their faces. They had opportunites, but couldn't see well enough to shoot. They tried to call them into a better position but no shots. They had a long hike back with chins held low.
 
Last edited:
OP
S

SDHNTR

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2012
Messages
2,158
We head out to my favorite area because it receives little pressure. Again, lots and lots of does with no bucks. This was a common theme on this trip and unlike I've ever seen in the past. I think the GFD is giving out way too many rifle tags in this unit. There are 4 rifle hunts before the bow hunt. But, we did find some pigs waaaay out! Again we send the rookies. They stalk in nicely and then we loose sight of the boys but can still see the pigs. Then the pigs all of a sudden bust out and take off. We watched them run about 100 yards when they all stop on a dime and about face. It was obvious our friends were calling. The pigs run in on a string and we lose visual as they drop into the same wash our buds are hidden in. My buddy and I are dying in anticipation after several minutes of not being able to see them when my phone rigns. All I hear is hooting and hollering and them saying 2 for 2! One ended up being a very tough blood trailing job but the rookies got it done. That right there made the trip.
 
Last edited:
OP
S

SDHNTR

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2012
Messages
2,158
As they are bloodtrailing, we glass up another herd even further out than before. Like 2 miles out. We had to pep talk ourselves into going after them. We eventually made our way in and the wind started getting swirly. We couldn't see the herd but knew we were close. The ground was covered in noisy loose rock and even in socks it was too loud. I thought the gig was up. I told my buddy I was gonna call as a last resort. I start wailing and give it a good 20 seconds then stop to listen. I heard the distinctive "woof" several times. Back on the call and here they come, 80 yards and closing hard. One hits a clearing in front of us at about 12 yards and I stop calling. The pig stops too. You can kinda manipulate and position the pigs as they come in by when and how you call. The pig was wide open but frozen head on. I tooted on the call just a bit and he made a few steps. I stopped again and he did too, broadside. Arrow gone. No good. My buddy is cussing and I start calling again. Kinda hard to call and knock an arrow at the same time. I get one knocked, blowing on the call all the while, and draw back. As I draw the string hits the call in my mouth and it almost falls out. It just twists to the side as I hit my anchor. I'm still wailing when I see one closing and I'm gonna get a shot. I stop and he stops.
 
Last edited:
OP
S

SDHNTR

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2012
Messages
2,158
As I'm anchored at full draw and about to shoot, I realize the call is sticking out inside the string and if I trigger the release it's likely gonna hurt! I just spit the call out on the ground and letter rip! Nice quartering away shot and I see a gusher as it runs off and then hear it fall just a few yards away. Red carpet and a heart shot. Wish they were all like that. Get pics took and cleaned and start the long haul out. We ended up 3 for 4 in one day. Not a bad way to spend the day bowhunting.

The next and last day I had to go pull my blind so I didn't want to go very far away in the other direction where the previous day's spot was. I went back to a glassing knob and checked a herd of does I had been watching for 2 mornings. Sure enough, there was a nice 145-150 class 4 pt with the does. As I am watching them in the glasses and strategizing, I see his posture change. He puffed up and started to thrash a tree. As he is doing this I catch movement in the bottom of my field of view.
 
Last edited:
OP
S

SDHNTR

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2012
Messages
2,158
The movement was a tree swinging around. There wasn't too much wind so I was confused at first. Then I saw him. Ever see something in your glasses that takes your breath away? This was that kind of buck! We had seen a very well known guide in this area and I knew he was after something special. This had to have been him. I'm talking a legit 30", 180+ monster. A giant deer for the desert on an OTC tag, or anywhere else for that matter! We plan out a stalk and reposition only to loose them. We go back to the original spot and find them again. This time the smaller buck was gone and the big guy had stolen his does.

It was an absolutely perfect set up. What I had been waiting for my entire archery career! Perfect wind. A nice, quiet sandy wash for the stalk that would keep me out of sight until just at the right moment. I was convinced this was gonna be it and my heart was in my throat as I closed into position. All of a sudden a herd of moo cows busts out of the little draw the deer were in. Oh no, I'm thinking. I crawl up just a hair to peek over and I see two other ding dong hunters who had tried to move in on that buck from upwind. As if that would ever work!
 
OP
S

SDHNTR

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2012
Messages
2,158
They were standing there with arrows knocked and a wide eyed look on their faces. I was pissed at first but this is public land and an OTC tag so it comes with the territory. I went over and talked to them and it was actually a nice guy with his teenage son. They hadn't seen me until I popped up out of the wash. They apologized and acknowledged I was in a much better spot to kill the buck and if they had seen me they would have backed off. Oh well! That was an experience I'll always remember. Likely one of the top few bucks I've ever laid eyes on. And the biggest deer my buddy who was with me had ever seen. He talked about that buck for hours. Again, that made it all worth it.

In another location my buddy got to about 75 yards from a big coues buck also to have it blown by other hunters. Another truck drove by and buggered the does. We spent two days up in this area and that was the only vehicle we had seen. It just so happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Dumb bad luck!

So that's a wrap. 3 for 4 on pigs.
 
Last edited:
OP
S

SDHNTR

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2012
Messages
2,158
And here are the spoils! Yes, mine has no head, but check the body size difference. I have a couple other skulls at home so I didn't pack out the extra weight. And don't make fun of my hat. When you have had as much skin cut off as I have you take sun burns seriously.

All in all, a great trip in the frozen tundra of the AZ desert. Did I mention it was 12 degrees? BRRRRRR!
 

Attachments

  • 2013groupjavelina.jpg
    2013groupjavelina.jpg
    99 KB · Views: 46

Mckinnon

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 26, 2012
Messages
711
Location
Reno, NV
Sound like a good trip, even with the mishaps, but like you said that is public land hunting for ya. Thanks for the write up!
 

2rocky

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2012
Messages
1,050
Location
Nor Cal
Well done Nate. Gotta love that buck who will be in your mind every time you see a deer.
 

vcb

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2012
Messages
511
Location
Colorado
Yeah that was a hell of a cold snap that came through. I was a big pussy here in co just going out in the back yard to take a couple of shots! At least you got to hunt. Nice javelina!
 
Top