I'm still pretty excited about my goat hunting on Kodiak Island. My buddy Steve and I braved hard-hitting rains and spent five days glassing and stalking mountain goats. It took us a while to figure things out because we were fairly new to goat hunting, but Steve ended up taking a massive 350-pound billy and I shot a my first mountain goat right before a storm hit. Here's some bonus video footage from that hunt.
The video is pretty self explanatory and covers the “meat and potatoes” of deboning an elk, so here a few things I didn't have a chance to talk about in the field. These 10 tips will make the field dressing and deboning process a lot easier.
1) Make sure that you have all the equipment needed to track and take care of an elk inside your pack at all times (knife, rope, game bags, marking ribbon). That way you save a trip back to camp and wasted miles on your feet.
Anything can happen when you head into the backcountry for two weeks on an elk hunt. This year’s hunt was no different and all the physical and mental challenges that I’ve come to expect were in full force.
We started the hunt off with a 3.5-mile hike and the rain seemed to start the moment the truck door opened at the trailhead. It lasted for the next three days. The good thing about bad weather is that it seems to always push elk into a rut frenzy. The storm front was just what we needed to kick the bulls into gear.
On the third evening of our hunt my partner and I set up on a meadow that was surrounded by dark timber. It was early in the evening, but we hoped that the storm would get a bull to respond a little earlier than normal. At 6 p.m. we did a short sequence of cow calls and bugles. Then the mountain came alive. There were 3 bulls hanging out 400 to 600 yards above us that bugled back immediately. I was set up about 80 yards above my partner Fred when the bulls sounded off, and he ran up to me to get a quick plan of attack together.
With my Kodiak Island mountain goat and blacktail deer hunt less than a week away, I’m getting all my bags packed and equipment checked for another hunt of a lifetime.
Goat populations are exploding on Kodiak Island. For years they were draw only, but recently it was opened to any Alaskan resident willing to make the trip. Well, my buddy and I are willing, and are going to try to do it with recurve bows. This requires a few extra steps when dialing in the gear – namely fletching arrows and sharpening broadheads.
Over the last few years I’ve been lucky enough to pack multiple animals out of the wilderness and into my freezer. Through trial and error I’ve discovered hauling heavy loads is as much art as science. You need a good amount of brute strength and plenty of mental toughness, but there are a few tricks you can do to lighten that load.
1) Bring a minimum of three game bags. This will allow you the option of splitting the animal up into at least three loads.
2) If you plan on taking the elk out in three loads, keep in mind you will need to pack your camp out as well, so make one bag light enough to account for the weight of your gear. Otherwise that last hike out will kill you.
After my recent Colorado mule deer hunt video the editors at Outdoor Life had a couple questions for me. First, how the hell did I miss a 10-yard shot? Second, how the hell did I re-knock my arrow so fast and get off an accurate follow-up shot?
The answer to the first questions was simple: the deer was moving a lot faster than my arrow when he blew off his bed. The awesome GoPro footage shows the arrow right on path, but the deer bounded out of the way. When the arrow arrived at its intended destination the deer had turned and bolted.
I’m not a mule deer hunter at heart. You see, I have what’s called ELK A.D.D. When the bulls start to bugle, everything else in life seems to fade away, including mule deer.
But this year it was a little different. A friend invited me to hunt some prime mule deer habitat in western Colorado. I couldn’t pass it up. This hunt was to be a little different than my standard 5-mile hike into the remote wilderness. It was private land that bordered oil company property, where we also had permission to hunt. It was a short hike in, so what it lacked in beauty it also lacked in physical punishment.
My hunting partner and I headed out a day before the season to get a few bucks bedded down for opening morning. Everything was working out as planned and several bucks were spotted, so we walked back to camp to make dinner. It was getting close to nine o’clock when my Mountain House Chili Mac was ready to eat. Little did I know that this simple meal was going to cause a whole lot of pain.
One of the first things you will find out in spot and stalk antelope hunting is that blown stalks are many and shot opportunities are few. My guess is that most hunters draw their bow on 1 out of every ten stalks. Now that doesn’t necessarily mean that you'll get to release an arrow, it just means that you get the bow drawn!
These numbers can get even worse if you’re hunting OTC units on public land. The idea that each stalk is going to end with a downed animal is not very realistic. So start out judging your success by inches and not miles.
There are several reasons that make spot and stalk antelope hunting tough, but here is what I consider to be the top two. Antelope have 8-power vision and can reach speeds that exceed 60 MPH, so they can see you coming from a long ways out and can run to the next county in less than a minute. When you factor in the flat and treeless terrain they live in, you really have your work cut out for you.
Here are a few tips and tactics that will make your next spot and stalk antelope hunt a little less painless and a lot more enjoyable.