Monday, December 29, 2014

Northern Nevada rabbits.

Went out after rabbits for the first time this year yesterday. It was a perfect day for it, clear, and about 30 degrees. We concentrated our efforts on the south facing slopes of hills, with plenty of rock piles. Cottontails use the rocks for cover, and come out to eat in the sun. We walk slow, keeping an eye out for rabbits holding still, trying to see them before they bolt. Sometimes you get lucky, and get a shot. Sometimes they bolt out in front of you, and you have to hope they stop within range.  

We saw two bunnies at the first spot, but didn't get a shot.

The next spot is a nice little bowl with a huge rock pile on top of it.  I saw a bunny jump on the way in, he stopped after about 15 feet, and froze. I got him in the cross hairs, and took him. A clean neck shot, just a little low. We walked up and around, and spotted a Jack, he ran about 40 yards, and stopped. I got him with a head shot. Two rabbits down, with another spot to go.

We walked for about another three miles, checking rock piles as we went. We saw a couple more jacks, but they ran for miles without giving us a shot.

All in all, a great day with my boy, and a good friend.

The Jack will be made into tamales, and the cottontail will be made into a delicious French recipe. My favorite.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Fantastic 2014 Mule Deer opener.

The 2014 Mule Deer season started like most other ones. The biggest difference this year was the location.  Thanks to the Old Man's five bonus points our whole party drew the coveted 194,196 tag. To us, that meant that we're hunting Peavine. The best thing about Peavine, besides being covered with deer, is the location. I have seen deer about seven minutes from my front door.

We started the morning in my driveway, and then went to McDonald's.  We had some coffee, and a couple of muffins, and waited for the sun to come up. Did I mention how close it is? 

We headed up the mountain at about 6:30. We could see headlights in front of us, not a surprise, this is an easy and close place to hunt deer. It only took a couple of minutes to see our first deer. A couple of does. We headed around to the west side, and spotted three bucks on the top of a hill. Another hunter was glassing them so we went around him. We almost immediately spotted about twenty deer, with at least one nice buck with them. My friend Katie had the first shot, she got out of the Sammy,  walked up the road a bit, aimed, and fired. Miss! The deer didn't really panic so she took another shot. Miss! This time the does took off over the hill, and he was right behind them. We drove around to cut them iff, and sure enough, they came down right in front of us. Katie took two more shots and missed. I thought she may have hit him once, so I took a quick shot as he was running over the next hill. I missed. We ran up to were they went over, and didn't see them anywhere. I told Katie that we needed to go up to the next drainage to look. I looked one more time, and saw his antlers above the brush about two hundred yards downhill. I sat down, aimed, fired, and missed. Unbelievable! He only walked a few yards, but I had a much better shot at him. I took my time, aimed right between his shoulders, and put him down. The shot went through his back, and out his front shoulder. A nice 4x3, 26 1/4 " wide. By far my best buck ever.

After a brief visit with the Game Warden, the real work began. It took me and Ian about two hours to cape, and pack him out. It's good to have strong skinny friends! If you look close, you might see Cabela's down there.

While me and the Old Man were taking my buck back to the house, Katie and Ian took the Sammy back out. They ended up spotting a small spike. Katie got into position, and missed? She took three more shots, and missed all three. Ian told her to aim high. She aimed about a foot over his back, and hit him in the spine. All morning her scope must of been off. Disappointing that she had a couple of shots at a good deer, but at least she got it done in the end. Spotted, stalked, and shot all by herself. A great first deer. 

They got the deer back to my house around 10:00.  We got it skinned out, quartered, and on ice in time for the afternoon hunt. We headed back up the mountain around 2:30 in the afternoon. We checked a canyon on the northeast side, but only saw two does. We headed back to the west side, and I decided to take a side road towards a pond I've seen deer at before. On the way I spotted four does on a hillside. We decided to go take another look at them, while glassing the original four does I noticed two more to the left. I looked back at the other four, and saw a big buck come out of nowhere, and put his nose in one of the does. I told Ian to get a good rest and get ready. He shot, and hit him. He kicked both back legs out, and walked a couple of yards, and stopped. Ian shot again, and dropped him. What a great buck. 4x4, and very symmetrical. Gorgeous.

After Ian's deer went down, we noticed another buck by the other two does. The Old Man took the shot, and put him down. A big forked horn. Look at those brow tines!

Two deer down at once, a true double. We got them field dressed, and in the truck in no time. Home before dark on opening day, with four deer in the box. Unbelievable!

With one day of butchering, and one day of grinding, they were packaged and ready to go.

A happy freezer, for another year.