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Hunt 2 November 7 - 11
When three of your nine hunters in camp request taking additional does instead of a buck, you know the closely watched success rate for bucks will take a hit. So be it. We are more interested in happy hunters than we are in reaching a 100% rate on antlered deer.
Jim Mousseau from Gypsum, CO began hunting here with his dad way back around the turn of the century. And for the past number of years, he has yet to take a buck. He is much more interested in the venison. But if he ever does pull the trigger on a big-un, that dude will probably be a candidate for the "Buck of the Decade." That's how selective Jim is. Jim was kind enough to send us the buck photos which can be found below. Here you will see some of the bucks that Jim passed on.
For the past few years, Jim has brought along family members. Back for the second year were Stephen and Cheryl Moon from Freeland, MI. Both collected good bucks - Stephen's was wider at 19" while Cheryl's had the most points - eleven. And both Moon's filled their quota of two does/each. Cheryl is Jim's sister.
Another member of Jim's family is cousin Pete Mousseau. Remember that name. Pete will be back here with his daughter after Christmas to introduce her to the "Adobe Lodge Experience." Pete was a busy hunter taking two does plus a bobcat, plus a fox. And until the very end, it appeared he would not find a buck that met his high standards. But on that final, beautiful morning, right at the last minute, we got to take Pete's photo with the heaviest and widest buck of them all - a 21-inch, ten pointer that weighed 152 lbs.
In addition to Jim Mousseau, another couple of hunters with zero interest in bucks were Californians Peter Ruseski and Ken Austad. We can date their first hunt with us back to 1996. For the past few years, however, Peter has been coming alone as Ken dealt with family health issues back home. Peter has been coming in his Porsche and last year loaded that vehicle down with all the venison it could carry. Indeed, the feat should qualify for the Guinness book of records. Never in all of history has a Porsche hauled that many deer. This year, however, and especially with Ken along, the pair wisely rented a proper truck to transport their bounty of deer meat.
The only first-timer in the group was Raymond Jordan from North Carrollton, MS. He was a busy hunter taking a buck, a pair of does, his first-ever javelina, and a fox.
Returning veterans were Rob McNamara and son, Zach. As things happen in the sport of deer hunting, poor Zach was the victim of the dreaded "B.F." disease which has been known to affect all of us when we are looking at an extraordinary trophy through a good scope. But it was a clean miss, thank goodness. The buck lives to be hunted again.
Rob, however, didn't miss, but he thought he might have. And if he had not been in a blind with such an extraordinary field of view, he might have assumed the worst. Rob tells it best. After the +/- hundred-yard shot, Rob watched the buck run in that wide open country for 600 yards or more. Not good. The only encouraging sign? The buck had his tail between his legs, not up and flagging as most whitetails do. That far out by now, Rob watched the old boy disappear behind a large, lone cedar on the otherwise barren hillside. He watched and waited. He waited and watched. Finally when guide Dick Irons arrived, they journeyed to that distant bush and there lay Rob's buck, and a dandy he was - an 18" nine pointer. Had thick brush, which mostly dominates all our hunting area, obscurred Rob's view, he could not have known where the buck might have gone. Rob got to watch the entire journey. We love stories with good endings, don't you?
The nine hunters in camp took five bucks. There was that miss to deal with, plus the three hunters who had no intention of taking a buck. The group put 22 does on the tally board. Extras included a couple of foxes and that bobcat plus a dandy javelina. It was a fun and busy hunt. Want proof? Almost 100% rebooked for 2019 except for one who had schedule complications with a trip to Alaska and another pair who requested to come on a later hunt next year. So we have two slots open on this date in 2019.
Hunt 1 November 2 - 6
There is something inherently good and wholesome about fathers and sons hunting together. Those of us whose fathers introduced us to hunting were truly blessed. Time spent hunting with your dad was mighty special. If you get to hunt with your kids, you are one lucky person. The tradition was passed to you. Here's the rule: if you inherited hunting from your forebears, pass the sport along to your offspring.
And so it was on Hunt 1. Everyone in camp was a father or son. It just doesn't get any better. Father/son groups are our favorites.
On Hunt 1, we once again hosted a father/son pair from California, dad John Seps and son Sam Seps. And once again for the fourth or fifth time, we got to see Joe Ivey and his two sons, Russell and Tony, from down around the Houston area.
Newcomers this time were a couple of son/father pairs from the Reading area of Pennsylvania, Bill Ruth and dad, John plus Keith Malone and his father, Doug.
We say "son/father" because Bill and Keith, who have been friends since kindergarten, decided to take their respective fathers on a good deer hunt. Keith admits to scoping-out countless web sites to finally settle on ours as THE place for the big event. Good choice. It turned to be a heck of a hunt, but to make things even better, the weather was almost perfect. Cool mornings, warm afternoons and not much wind. The hunters did get to see the effects of the recent rains - lots of muddy roads and wet ground everywhere.
We always tell hunters to be ready to take a buck that first afternoon of the hunt if they see one that "melts their butter" simply because you just never know if or when a better one might be seen. Sometimes they are; sometimes not. It's a dice roll if ever there was one.
Russell Ivey on that initial afternoon brought in a dandy buck that turned out to be the second-heaviest of all the bucks taken. He weighed 144 lbs. But his dad, Joe, passed a good'un that he later wished he would have taken. Such is the nature of fair-chase, low-fence hunting. The eternal question is this: "When am I looking at the best buck I will see while I am here?"
Meanwhile on that first night while we were getting photos of Russell, we also got photos of Sam Seps with a good javelina. A javelina is always a special trophy.
Next morning, a couple of handsome nine's were taken by Bill Ruth and Doug Malone. That night, three ten's were processed in the skinning shed. They were taken by Keith Malone, Sam Seps and John Ruth. None of us could remember ever having three ten pointers come in all at once.
The next day, John Seps won the point contest by collecting a dandy twelve-pointer. The rascal had a pair of perfectly matched split G-1s or eyeguards on his basic ten-point rack.
While doe hunting, Keith and Doug Malone happened to down a feral hog/each. Keith's was enormous but we had no way to find out just how big he was. Check out his photo below. Sam Seps also got a bullet into a feral, but we had no photo of the deed. No matter. In an effort to keep down their numbers, we encourage all hunters to shoot any and all hogs possible. We make no attempt to retrieve a hog's carcass since we don't bring them in to be butchered. Just shoot them and leave them lay - that's our policy.
Statistically, the nine hunters filled up every slot on our tally board by posting nine bucks and 16 does plus a couple of DNF does (did not find.) Thank goodness none of the bucks were DNFs. Indeed, there were two 8s, three 9s, three 10s, and that 12 pointer. In addition, we counted three hogs and that javelina, to boot. The guys were so successful that the Seps and the Iveys left for home with a day-and-a-half remaining in their allotted time due to the fact that they had filled their quotas already.
We are indebted to Keith Malone, Bill Ruth and our guide Dan Adney for furnishing some of the photos below. Thanks guys.
Luckily, our first hunt of the 2018 season got sandwiched in between rain events. The first three days were perfect with moderate temperatures and little wind. But the week before Hunt A got underway, our area was inundated with much, much rain. And yet another downpour came again just as things were drawing to a close. Indeed, if Polaris Rangers and John Deere Gators didn't exist, we'd be way out of luck.
On hand for all this excitement was our most faithful, long-term and prolific client, Mr. John Newsome from Shumway, IL. First time he was here, it was learned from studying our picture books, was way back in 1994. He hosted his faithful sidekick, Myron Woomer plus four others, all of whom have been here many times. Indeed, Myron collected our fabled "Buck of the Year" honors back in 1996. John's employee, Tom Rentfro won it twice in 2012 and 2014.
Others in John's group were his former employee and long-time amigo, Paul Cozadd and a couple of his area's law enforcement guys, Bill Frese and Larry Finfrock.
John collected an 18" eight pointer the first night of the hunt while Bill Frese got himself a huge female bobcat that weighed 29.1 lbs. The next day, Tom Rentfro put his tag on a 19 1/2" six pointer but later spotted a much better one. Sure enough, Larry Finfrock got him later from that same blind. Although he's only 14 1/2" wide, all ten tines were plenty long. Check him out in the photos below.
Paul Cozadd collected his buck plus the allotted pair of does. The only one failing to take a buck was Myron Woomer but he was only able to hunt the first two days. Myron and John had to hurry home for a family health situation.
Before that untimely departure, John did, as he has done so many times, took a second buck. But this year, John's real feat was putting one bullet through two javelinas. John had to wait and wait for the pair of swine to line themselves up for that special shot he wanted. As nifty as that trick was, we all remembered the time several years ago when Mr. Newsome with his incredible shooting skills laid down three bucks all at one time with only one bullet. John is always, always, more interested in the shot presented to him than he is the size of the buck. Interestingly, John refuses to harvest does.
Seems like every hunt brings an event that makes it unique and memorable. This one produced belly-laughs for all of us who heard Paul Cozadd tell of his experiences at a certain feeder. When the thing failed to go-off at the appointed time, a few minutes later Paul, a design engineer by trade who knows more than a little something about mechanical devices, made his way from his blind to the feeder, situated a hundred yards distant.
The device, by now, was at least 15 minutes tardy doing its duty. So as not to sit at a feeder where no corn had been dispensed, Paul hit the "test" button - a wise and logical move that should have activated the device to begin spinning out corn from the barrel. It worked. Out came the corn and amid the shower of kernels, Paul hurried back to the blind before any nearby deer, alerted by the sound, should happen to come his way.
But once in the blind, there was a very apparent problem. The motor on the feeder, which should have ceased operation after a few seconds, continued to spray out the golden food. Good grief, Paul thought. If I don't stop that thing, the barrel will be empty of corn after a while and Skipper will be upset with me.
So tilting his cap down to cover his eyes from the flying missiles (which can sting mightily if they happen to hit you just right, say on the ear), Paul bravely charged the feeder. His years of training told him exactly what to do and he did it. He disconnected the wires to the battery. The motor stopped. Now the ground was yellow in all directions. But the story ended even worse. No deer came to the bounty. But Paul saved many dollars worth of corn with his quick thinking, for which we were plenty grateful. Had he not acted as he did, seven sacks of corn (+/- $7.25/bag) would have been wasted.
The six hunters collected six bucks, eight does, two javelinas, and one bobcat. It was a heck of a good start to the 2018 season.