Heading West….

Just found out that i will be packing my bags and heading out to Colorado for an elk rifle hunt.

Leaving November 3rd, will be hunting November 5th through 9th.

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Joe’s Big 10

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Kansas Rifle Hunt

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Kansas Teaser

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Big Buck Down

One of my goals this hunting season was to kill a big old mature buck.  I have tried unsuccessful in the past to do so but always come up short.  Not shot opportunity, too far too close you name it the past two-year it has happened.

This year I was determined not to let it happen again, I set out early gathering all the intel I could, I don’t even want to know what i spent in buying batteries to keep the cameras running.

Going into the season I had several “shooter” bucks located and was ready.   I hunted hard for 5 weeks saw several of these bucks but never got a shot opportunity.  If I would hunt stand B, the big boy was at Stand A at 8am, I kept thinking eventually my luck would change.

In my mind my best bet would be muzzleloading season.  I call the stand “the spot”, the first time I went into it over a year ago I have three nice bucks on camera within 2 days.  I knew I had something, this July and August leading up towards opening day I had 5 shooters showing up pretty regularly at this spot.

A month ago I made the decision not to hunt and stay out of the spot until I had a muzzleloader in my hands.  This past Saturday bright and early I was up after a rough night.  We showed up at camp and our trailer was a hot 84 degrees and my wife was babysitting a 6month old pup for the weekend, between the heat and constant dog crying I did not sleep well, I was really more looking forward to a little peace and quiet than anything else when heading to the stand.

I really had my doubts sitting up in the tree waiting on the sun to rise, in the few days prior the temperatures have risen and the moon was full, the high that day was expected at 85 degrees but there I was 25 feet up in a pine tree.

It was a quiet still morning, around 8am I caught movement and quickly knew it was a good buck, as he worked his way through the pines toward my feeder I could tell what buck it was.  I have been hot on this bucks tail for nearly a month, two weeks prior i had him at 20 yards but trees blocked any shot opportunity.  With the added range of the T/C omega in my mind this buck was dead.

I climbed up in a pine tree and to the right 2 feet away there is a bay tree for cover, during bow season I went well above the tree to be clear of all limbs when bow hunting, with a rifle in my hands i decided not to go as high and use the tree for cover.

Well there he stood 35 yards away nothing but my cover tree standing in the way.  I should have waited and he probably would have cleared the tree but i stuck the barrel out and tried to get through the tree when i did i had a branch, he took a quick step back towards cover and my heart sank i just knew it was over, but he stopped looked back i quickly threw up but nothing my scope was completely fogged up.  a quick wipe with my hand and i could see his white chest patch and shoulder, good enough, i shot.

The next half over seemed to last an eternity.  The smoke lingered for almost a minute I had no idea where he went or if i even hit him.

after 10 minutes I got down to look, I went to where I shot, nothing no blood no sign.  I began walking up and down from my shooting location to the bucks looking for anything, Burried in the dirt I saw something shining I looked down and found my bullet

A thousand thoughts ran through my head, I was expecting to see some blood, muscle or hair at least something to confirm a hit, but what i found was a perfectly expanded 250g barnes bullet.  It just didn’t add up.

I climbed back up the tree and replayed it all in my head.  I remember hearing a slight crash but it was not distinct.

At this point in my head i missed the buck, but i just didnt know how, not saying I am Robin Hood or Bob Lee Swagger but a 50 yard shot on a quartering buck to me is a gimmie

I got down and just started walking pine rows looking for something

75 yards later I saw his belly

What a relief so many hours and time I could not belive it, I quickly called the wife to share the good news.

I cannot wait to get him up on the wall to admire him for years to come

He scored 130 -0/8 in weighed 195 pounds

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Hit List

Bow season is drawing to a close

Here is what I will be after with the  Muzzleloader

The first is a buck nicknamed “nose” as you can easily tell he is an old buck with a good heavy rack

The 2nd buck I simply call the Big 10, he is probably the biggest buck on the lease.  I don’t have a lot of photos of him but would certainly put him down if he walked by

The 3rd is a buck I call the G2 buck, because of the kickers on each of his G-2’s

I will have to pull some more cards but I have a big 8pt, a 9 and another 10 that made the list

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Sitka Gear: Mountain vs. Ascent Pants

A few weeks ago this was sitting on the door step, I have been pre-occupied chasing whitetail deer but here a first look at one of the items inside.

In 2010 Sitka Gear introduced the Mountain Pant which they say takes the Ascent pant to the next level.  Well does it?

My first experience with Sitka Started back in 2007, I have owned the original Mountain pant, original 90% pant, ascent pant and now the new Mountain Pant.

I feel both the new Mountain pant and ascent pant are vastly superior to the original and since the 90% are much heavier and warmer I will exclude both of those pants from the discussion.

General similarities

Both of these pants share a similar fabric, it is light dries quick and 4 way stretchable.  Share in the same optifade open country camo pattern.  You will notice that the new 2010 is lighter in color than previous years.  It is not a huge difference but it does exist.

The new 2010 is on top of the 2009

Pros

The mountain pants have removable knee pads which is great for stalking and closing in on game, also when not in place you have a double layer of fabric.

Sizing– this doesn’t apply to the 2010 ascent pants but I sure am glad sitka went to 2in waist increments and got away from the s.m.l and xl sizing. 

Built in belt, a very simple effective belt is built into the pants, it is low profile to ride under a pack, my only concerns are durability and holding up in extremes as the buckle is a plastic of some sorts.

Front pocket reinforcement–Like many I carry a small pocket knife with a clip and I do not like how it rides or the ease of use on my current ascent pants, Thanks for the tap for a knife on the mountain pants.

Pockets- both pockets have small built-in zipper compartments compared to just the right side of the ascent

Cons

Cargo pocket closures not sure how this is going to hold up and also have security concerns.  While it is quiet it does not seem to give a good secure hold and keep the pockets closed

Not Sure

I am not sure about this but the Mountain pant lacks side zippers at the bottom of the pant.  I go back and forth, for one you are going to have to remove your boots to take these on and off, but that makes the pant lighter and removes the extra metal and tabs from the bottom of the pant making them more comfortable.

Also, I try and get all the use out of my gear as i can, in Florida i hunt in rubber boots and a pant lacking zippers and tabs is a whole lot more comfortable than those that have them, while i know neither of these pants were really designed with this in mind it is nice to know that the mountain pants can see use both in the southern whitetail woods as well as out in the western mountains.

Overall I am very impressed with the new mountain pants, I believe sitka did what it set out to do and improved upon an already great pant.   These to me are the go to backcountry pant.  I would spend the extra money and get the mountain over the ascent every day of the week.  The built-in belt, removable knee pads, added zipper pocket are worth it, plus i like the lack of zippers down the leg.  To me less is more.

I am going to pick up a pair of the optifade forest Ascent pants as i think these with a core shirt are going to be just the ticket for early season florida hunting along with spring turkey hunting.  I believe each has their place but if you are heading out west do your self a favor and take a look at the Sitka Mountain Pant.

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