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Unit 76 results

Brnsvllyjohn

Well-known member
3 of us left our meeting place in Reno at noon on Thursday Oct. the 8th for the opener on the 10th. We arrived in camp around noon on Friday. We scouted Friday afternoon and had a Saturday morning plan. Well like any other weekend opener everyone else in the county had the same plan we did. My son hiked in 4.5 miles and decided since he was that far in he would stay till well past dark then hike out. 2 of use hunted within 1 mile of a trailhead and then took a break at noon. Neither of us older guys saw a buck on the opener but my son turned down 3-4 bucks and one he said he should have taken but it was not a monster. On Sunday my buddy set up way before first light on a big canyon and decided to take a decent 3x3. The buck was a very difficult retrieve for 2 guys over 60 and I had told everyone before we made the trip that I could not and would not pack anyone else's buck. I did however carry his 300 Weatherby and his extra jacket back up the hill. He carried the hams in his new day pack and returned with his pack frame to bone out the rest of the deer the next day. That left my son and I with tags to fill. On Sunday my son had returned to the same mountain he had hunted on Saturday and once again stayed high all day and returned to a prearranged pick up point well after dark. He saw 3-4 bucks on Sunday also but nothing really big enough to tempt him yet. We tried a different area on Monday and although we saw well over 50 deer and one shooter at over 1 mile away in the spotting scope we had no opportunities to shoot anything. We did decide to climb a big ridge Tuesday morning where I have taken some OK bucks in the past. I dropped my son off and then drove 2 miles further before I climbed the ridge. My son hiked most of the way up to the top in the dark and was in a good spot once the sun started to come up. I was not as motivated or as smart. I decided to go 1/2 way up then glass to determine if it was worth climbing the rest of the way up. As it started getting light I was seeing a few deer here and there and saw 2 bucks that I wanted to get a better look at. One was 1500 yards to my north and 2 small ridges away and one was 1500 yards to my south and 2 ridges away. I decided the one to the south was a larger animal and had the best chance of being a shooter. I knew neither one was really big but I was willing to take anything around 20" at that point since I had not turned down a single buck yet. Well waiting until the sun was up to evaluate the deer was not a good idea I found out that at almost 9,000' it takes me way too long to get up a steep hill so by the time I got there there were no deer out feeding. I knew better but my knees were killing me and my back was not in great shape either. When my son topped out he jumped 3 bucks together and decided he did not want to go to Idaho and go home empty like he did in 1998. He shot a 3x3 that was 20" wide but not very tall. One of the other bucks was a little better but he took the best shot opportunity. He along with a little help from my buddy got his buck back to my truck by 2 PM. I never saw another deer after 9 AM and after running out of water around 2 I decided to return to the truck. That evening I was watching a big canyon and had a large deer start to come out of the timber but it held up at the edge. I was sure it was a buck but at 517 yards I could never be positive. I just watched it until I could no longer see and it had not moved in 20-30 minutes. On Wednesday I planned a one way hike down a 4 mile long ridge that has a very good trail in the bottom along a creek. My plan was to stay high and if I found something I could take it to the trail and then get help to pack it out. Both of the other guys wanted to scout the area and possibly trout fish a little so they drove me to my jumping out location. We got there a few minutes before legal shooting light and while we were discussing my plan my son spotted a couple of forks on the next ridge over. We had to wait a few minutes for it to be legal shooting time and that gave me the opportunity to think about what I would do. I walked out a few yards with my shooting sticks and sat down. A couple of minutes after legal shooting time the deer started to head back to the timber and a grunt from my son got them to stop at 210 yards. I decided with 2 guys to help and since it was an easy retrieve I shot the one standing broadside. My son then said I shot the smaller of the 2 but for me it was just an easy meat buck at that point and the best shot angle was the most important factor. I hit a little higher than I planned but the bullet clipped the bottom edge of the spine and the buck dropped. I never had to drag the deer at all since I had 2 helpers. We got the deer over to some large trees where we hung it and I boned out the straps and cut the ribs off the backbone. We hung the meat for cooling for a few hours then bagged it and returned to camp. It is the smallest Idaho buck I have ever taken but it should be great eating. Both of the other hunters have to be at work Monday and my son was hoping to get home in time to watch his son's last football game of the year. We managed to accomplish that. We had agreed on a maximum of a 6 day hunt and I shot my meat buck on day 5.
All in all I had a good time hunting with an old friend and my son and that was only the second time my son and I hunted out of state together. We need to get in a few more hunts before I cannot get up those hills at all. My son will most likely set up a spike camp the next time he returns to that area since you really need to be on top at first and last light. The weather this trip was way too nice to be good hunting weather but you go when you can and just deal with it. This is the first time I have hunted Idaho and not had at least some rain and snow. After hunting this area for a number of years I have met a few guys that hunt it every year and have for 30+ years. The overall opinion is even though there are a number of wolves in the area the deer numbers are improving from a low around 2010 after a really bad winter kill. A few hunters I talked to saw wolves and really wanted to get one but never could. Tags are apparently easy to get (I never even checked into it). The biggest difference I saw was almost everyone I talked to was willing to shoot small bucks on the third or fourth day. I only saw one truly big guy dead but did see a few decent 4x4 bucks in a few camps. In our camp area (25+ hunters) about 40% had deer and the 3x3 that my buddy shot was the largest in the camp area that I saw. My son's was better than most and I even saw a few smaller than the buck I shot. In years past 90% of the out of state guys would not shoot a fork for at least a week (if ever) so I suppose the expectation of getting a really good buck is not what it once was. Lots of guys from California and Washington in the area and some I have met on prior hunts. My basic plan is to return in 2 years to Idaho and if I can spend a night or 2 on the hill in my son's spike camp and see if we can't find something a little better.
 

THE ROMAN ARCHER

Well-known member
Congats to u guys filling your tags sounds like a great out of state trip.
U don't mention it at all but u where hunting in Idaho so i imagine they where Whitetail bucks right. Great write up John, u have any pics to post at all. Thanks for sharing my friend......tra
 

Bankrunner

Well-known member
That was a way above average report. Nice to get perspective like that on a unit from a person that has a little history there. Thank you and good luck in 2017!
 

Brnsvllyjohn

Well-known member
TRA they are mule deer. Southeast Idaho is mule deer country. I do not post photos of guys who are not members here unless they tell me to. I haven't even looked at my phone's pictures of mine but I will. Just got finished processing the meat. 54 pounds of boneless steaks, roasts and burger meat (we do not add fat) and 4 packages of ribs (12 lbs.) for a 66 pound total. Discussing the net weight with my son on my little buck for my wife and I it should be about 60 meals with leftovers on some. It cost me $800 for tags-license and gas. That is about $12.00 per pound. Not cost effective but when you go on most trip/vacations you do not bring back 60 meals worth so I guess the meat is free. Hey they now give you a 3 day fishing license so we did catch a few trout. Fresh grilled trout on a deer hunt ain't bad.
Do you really want to see a photo of a 12" forkie from Idaho?? LOL He was nice and fat.
 

THE ROMAN ARCHER

Well-known member
Thanks for the reply John, yeh i did not know they had mulies in that state that's cool. Hey a pic of u in a farmer Johns outfit holding a shotgun would even be fine.....lol
I have never done out of state hunting before but now I am on this coast I am planning on trying to make it up to upstate N.Y. for the whitetail bow season next October on our 50 acre family farm we still have there.....tra
 

vogel002

Well-known member
Great Write up and with my draw odds not looking good for WY in 17 after drawing this year I've been looking into Idaho.
 


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