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Adventures on the Ranch
Hunting Season and My First Deer Ever!
-----Hunting season is here, which means we have broken out all the orange vests and jackets and are running around the ranch in orange. Since we live in the mountains in elk and deer country we always wear orange when we go out for hikes so that hunters don't mistake us for deer. We put orange harnesses and collars on the dogs and are extra careful with both them and the horses - it's 5 weeks a year we are really reminded that we do live in the remote wilderness!
-----Bow season started the beginning of September - and even though I don't bow hunt (yet) I went out every weekend with friends that do.
-----We found lots of elk this year. The first day we went out we got right into a big herd of cow elk, we started calling to them (cow and bull calls) and they started coming right to us. Cow Elk were legal in that area so YES! we had em. Or Not.......... just as the elk headed our way out of the trees comes a HUGE cinnamon black bear and it ran right at the elk which chased them away from us and up into "their" draw. It was only 4 days before bear hunting season started too! Or else we would have at least had a huge bear.
-----Oh well, that was it for the day - those elk nestled up in their draw and were going to stay there till dark. So we headed back home.......
-----We went out many times after that and got into elk every time, one time we had them coming to us again when some other bow hunters walked right by us - which was fine. We motioned them over to us and were going to let them have a shot at the elk when they came in to us - because the elk were close AGAIN. But the hunters ignored us and kept walking - right into the elk!! That scared them off and wrecked all the hard work of calling the elk in, so close - yet so far.
-----The last time we went out during bow season we were walking along and all of a sudden you could just smell the elk. So we stopped, set up in the trees and started calling them. Within 10 minutes a very nice 6 point bull came down within 50 yards of us - stood there just looking at us for awhile and then slowing walked up the hill and out of sight. You ask WHY didn't we shoot it - well because unfortunately, in that area during bow season you can only get spike elk or cows - not the "big boys". It was annoying to have him so close and only be able to look - yet at the same time anytime you get THAT close to something so huge and so wild it's a treat ! And also shows us that we were plenty sneaky, plenty quiet and plenty good at calling elk - to bring him in and never scare him off.
-----That was the last weekend of bow season - we didn't get any elk but it wasn't from a lack of effort or miles spent hiking!!
-----There is a week in between bow season and rifle season - to give the animals a break from being pressured by hunters.
-----Opening day of rifle season we went back out - we were going to go elk hunting but when we arrived at "our" spot it was so full of hunters even at 5 AM that we decided to forget that and go deer hunting. Elk hunting there just looked like a good way to get shot…….. at!
----- I had my deer (and elk) tag....... we hiked a bit and found a nice white tail doe just laying there in her bed. We watched her lay there for a good 15 minutes and she had no idea we were there. She would have been easy to get - but no one had their doe tag and we didn't want to use our main tag up on a doe. So, we resorted to running down the hill and chasing her - hey it was something to do....right ?
-----Next Friday I decided to buy my doe tag - chances of finding a doe were better than a buck and I just wanted to shoot my first deer - ever! So I bought that and we headed back out Saturday morning. We hiked to our usual white tail place and sure enough I saw a doe out grazing in a little field. There was another one in the bushes - and luckily neither of them saw us! I laid down - got my rifle set up and scope on them. We watched them for a little while - waiting for the one in the bushes to come out because it was the bigger of the two. Pretty soon it stepped out and with one - perfect - shot I got my first deer!! WHOOOO HOOOOOOOOOO! It was a little buck, whose horns haven't even popped out yet..... but I could tag him with my doe tag because he didn't have "real" horns. It was the first time I hunted (not counting going out with friends) and the first deer I ever shot at - not bad for a "rookie"! I named the little deer "nubbins".... cause that's all he had for horns! I don't care - I was just thrilled to get my first deer in such a good way.
-----Sunday we went out again, this time looking for a real buck. After hiking for 6 plus hours (which including a long hike looking for elk) on our way back we saw the most awesome HUGE White Tail Buck - one to make you just want to cry he was so pretty. Unfortunately, he was in really thick timber and saw us at the same time we saw him and was GONE. Oh Yeah, he didn't get that big by accident! But we know where he lives and will go back - we might not get him - but we will give it our best shot!
-----Till Next Time,
-----Leah and Everyone at Omega Shepherds

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