Thursday, December 27, 2012

AZ Coues Deer LeftOvers

After not drawing a Strip tag for the 9th year now, some friends and I decided to pick up some leftover coues deer tags in southern AZ.  We chose a unit that none of us had been in to try and learn some new country.  Because no bonus points were burned and we knew nothing about the unit, it was pretty much an "anything with antlers" trip.

Our gang included myself, Richard Owens, Ben Williams, and Craig Blackburn.  Damon Hughes came along for the ride and was our hook-up for our sweet lodging.  We arrived late Wednesday night and scouted all day Thursday.  Then we hunted Friday and Saturday.  Here is a brief breakdown of each day.

Thursday Nov. 8 (scouting)
The weather was beautiful and we saw lots of deer.  Saw 10 bucks with two over 95".  Also had a mountain lion run across the road behind us.  No shots at the lion.

Friday Nov. 9 (opening day)
A storm moved in and it was miserable; windy and rainy.  Still managed to glass up one of our big bucks.  Craig missed him at 490 yards.  Didn't compensate for wind drift, shot wide left.  Fought weather all day.  I shot a buck about an hour before dark at just over 300 yards.

Saturday Nov. 10
Still fought weather; more wind and rain.  Craig and I saw some bucks and talked Ben and Richard into them.  Ben moved in and dropped the buck at 189 yards.  Later that evening, Richard and Craig found two bucks and Craig made good on a 160 yard opportunity.

Our Final Tally
4 tags bought.  2 days of hunting.  3 tags filled.  All bucks taken were 2 points.  Lots of fun!

Craig's 2 Point
Ben's 2 Point
My 2 Point
All Our 2 Points
The Gang
L-R: Richard Owens, Craig Blackburn, Me, Ben Williams, Damon Hughes, & Eyeguards!!

Have I mentioned that I'm heading to Mexico in January to hunt coues???  Stay tuned!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Arizona late bull elk in Unit 1

The 2012 late season found the BTO crew in Arizona hunting Unit 1 for late bull elk with new found friends Gary Walker of Booneville, Mississippi and his good friend Keith Phillips of Maryland, who came along to see Arizona and keep Gary awake for the long drive.

The opening day found us seeing a lot, and I mean a lot of elk. With Devin and Daniel seeing over 300 elk and Gary, Keith and myself seeing 150+ elk.  It was a great start to the hunt. We did put a play on two great bulls that Daniel watched go over a ridge but we ended up bumping into the bulls who had joined up with several other bulls for a noon day nap. Opening day came to a close with a lot of elk being seen and sore feet for some of us.

Day two brought unseasonably warm weather but again alot of elk were seen.  Devin and Daniel spotted one of our shooter bulls that we were able to bed, but around 10 AM all the elk were spooked by something on the ridge they were bedded on and they moved up and over the top not to be seen again. The highlight of the day two was when Gary, Keith and myself got to see up close and personal a collared Mexican Grey Wolf that we watched at less than 100 yards for more than 5 minutes. It was amazing to see how big of a predator these things really are. We also heard howling from camp one of the nights which was cool too.

Day three found us chasing bugles, yes I said chasing bugles.  We heard bugling everyday on this hunt and this day was no different. We finally glassed one of the buglers with a group of cows and watched the bull until he bedded for the morning. We moved the group to within 358 yards and sized up the bull for Gary. With the bull getting up to reposition himself the decision was made to take the shot. Gary put an incredible 358 yd shot with a 20-25 mph crosswind and couldn't have put it in a better spot.

A big thanks to Gary and Keith for making the long drive out and congratulations on a great late season Arizona bull...

Gary's bull bedded at 358 yards
Gary with good friend Keith and a great late AZ bull elk

The BTO crew which made for an easy pack out

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Kent Hall's "Wrong Buck" AZ 3C Mule Deer

We've all heard stories of people shooting the wrong animal.  Personally I've never been apart of such a mishap nor had it happen to me.  That is until this last deer season!  With the 3A/3C deer hunt winding down, a friend and myself set out to find a buck I had seen two weeks before while scouting.  I had hopes of taking this buck with one of our clients but had lost him due to all the pressure from the cow elk hunters.

Kent and I hunted for a couple of hours without a single deer sighting.  We moved locations and continued our search.  By 9 am we had located him!  He was with a small 3 point and almost a mile north of where I had last seen him.  While we prepared for the shot, the bucks decided to bed for the morning.  The big buck bedded in a jack pine thicket offering no shot.  At 256 yards we set up and waited for the buck to stand.  After almost an hour, the buck stood and began to bristle up and posture.  He walked away and into a small thicket and began raking on a tree.  Kent had to get out of his scope and adjust his rest and got back in his scope.  Kent immediately found a buck standing in the open and facing us.  Kent settled the cross-hairs and shot!

"Kent, you missed!" I exclaimed.  Suddenly I noticed a different buck running towards us with blood running down his side.  "Kent, you shot the wrong buck!!"

Those have got to be the worst words to hear when hunting.  Had I not witnessed it, I probably wouldn't believe it.  Better yet, I captured the whole thing on film.  The big buck apparently was displaying his dominance to the other buck as he approached.  When Kent took his eye off the buck and tried to relocate him in his scope, he found the other buck that was standing in the open.  When I get the video edited, I will post it.  It's sad, but priceless.

Luckily, Kent still managed to shoot a good buck considering it was the wrong buck.

Kent with the wrong buck
Kent's 28" 3x4
The one that got away.........
Sorry for the pic quality
Unfortunately for this buck, Kent's nephew had a Junior 3C deer tag and ended up killing this buck the next weekend.  Congratulations to Jace on such a great buck.  He should thank his Uncle Kent for unintentionally letting this buck walk!

Jace Hall with the right buck

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Farrel Holyoak's 3A/3C AZ Mule Deer

I also had the privilege of hunting with Farrel Holyoak of Overgaard during the 3A/3C general deer hunt.  Farrel had booked a mule deer hunt in northern Utah and ended up missing the first day and a half of the AZ season.  He got home just in time to load up and head out for the evening hunt of day two.  Despite our efforts, we only saw a little buck that night.

The next morning we moved locations and slowly worked a little ridge, glassing some burned out bottoms.  Within minutes, we located a heavy, wide buck directly below us.  I told Farrel that it was a nice buck, but only a 3 point.  I told him that I thought we could do better.  He adamantly insisted that he was a big buck and that we should kill him.  After a few minutes of debate, I told Farrel that it's his tag and that the decision was his.  "BOOM!!!"  Farrel put his 270 WSM to work and put down the buck.

Congrats to Farrel on his Buck
Farrel's 30" Wide 3x3

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Bill Davis 3A/3C Mule Deer

This year I had the opportunity of hunting with Bill Davis of Tennessee.  Like most non-residents, Bill had been applying for the AZ strip over the last 9 years.  Upon realizing his 0% chance of drawing a strip tag without max points, Bill took the advice of some research articles and applied for 3A-3C general mule deer.  Bill drew his tag and called BTO for help.

Bill arrived two days before the start of his hunt and spent some time scouting with me.  On the morning before the opener, we saw a buck that I had scouted and named "Jowls" because of his double chin.  Bill looked over the 4x6 buck and moved him to the top of his list.  Opening morning was cold and windy and deer movement was minimal.  Around 10am, Jowels and some friends made an appearance and the stalk was on.  By the time we got into shooting position, the bucks had bedded.  Jowls was bedded in a jack pine thicket with a small shooting lane to his vitals.  Just before noon, Bill made a perfect 225 yard shot and his 1st mule deer was down.  Congrats to Bill on a great buck.  He'll look good hanging next to his whitetails.

Bill with his Arizona Mule Deer
A big Thanks to J Lewis and Damon Hughes for helping out on the hunt
Damon kinda got lost and didn't make the group photo

Now you see why I named him Jowls!
As a side note: Jowls had a tear under his tongue that was allowing food/cud to pack in between his tongue and jaw bones causing the bulge under his jaw.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Dane Hancock's 3A/3C rifle velvet mule deer

This year I was able to take my younger brother on his deer hunt.  My dad (Mike), Daniel, Dane, and Myself had spent many days scouting for Dane and our clients and had come up with quite the hit list of bucks.  The unit was looking more promising than the past two seasons with more deer and more mature bucks.  Dane and myself were looking for two bucks in particular, The wide heavy four and a narrow tall four point that we had seen for the past three seasons while hunting elk but had eluded us during the past deer seasons. 

I drove up Thursday night and headed into where the two bucks lived to glass.  I ended up not seeing any deer but saw around 100 head of elk.  Opening morning came and Dane and I were headed out to drive in to start still hunting down through some burned cuts.  We were sitting in the truck talking about our game plan and waiting for it to get light enough to start walking up the ridge we were going to work down.  Grey light finally approached and we were getting our stuff together to take off up the hill.  We had made it 50 yards from the truck when two bedded bucks stood up out of a stand of jack pines at 175 yards catching both of us off guard.  We were still getting stuff situated and hadn't had a chance to get the shooting sticks ready.  I told Dane to get ready as I threw up my binos to see what the bucks were.  The buck in the front was our "Wide Heavy Buck" I thought would be 185-190 range.  Both of the bucks were still in the velvet which was odd for the time of year.  I told Dane to get on him as he was moving away up the hill with the other buck.  I ranged him at 215 yards and told him to take him if he could, as he was having to shoot offhand.  As Dane's 300 win mag rang out I watched as the big buck kept moving up the hill and the second buck hit the ground.  He had walked in front of the big buck at the wrong time and took the bullet intended for his buddy.  We made our way up the hill to find that Dane had caught the buck right at the base of the pedicle and shot a horn off.  The hunt ended up lasting about two minutes total after leaving the truck.   Although it was short it was nice spending time with my brother in the woods doing what both of us love to do.  Congrats to Dane on a nice buck and thanks for letting me be a part of the hunt.

Dane's velvet buck

Some bucks from the same area

Potential looks good for next season


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Burnt Timber Outfitters featured on Cabela's Out West

Here is our episode of Cabela's Out West featuring our Arizona early rifle bull hunts in units 3A/3C.  A special thanks again to Jay Scott and Damon Hughes for filming these hunts!  And Congatulations to Rob Cox and Chester Crandell on their trophy bulls.  Enjoy the Show.

Friday, October 12, 2012

3A/3C Early Rifle Bulls

With the archery tags filled, we began scouting for our early rifle clients in units 3A/3C.  Rob Cox of Oregon has been applying with us since 2008 and finally drew with 18 points.  His brother Billy, who has hunted with us on two previous elk hunts, accompanied us on the hunt.  My father-in-law, Chester Crandell, lucked out and drew his 2nd early bull tag in 6 years.  I know what you're thinking and I agree; Sick and wrong!  Steve Ingersoll of Phoenix also got lucky when he drew with only 2 points.

Scouting was fast and furious.  Mike and Devin located the first big bull a week before the rifle hunt began.  He was an inline 7x7 with flattened G6 points that looked like crab pinchers on the ends of both main beams.  Because of this unique characteristic, we nicknamed this bull, "Lobster Claw".  Mike and Devin kept tabs on the bull and filmed him on two different occasions.

Just days before the rifle season, I found a bull and got a short video clip of what appeared to be a 350 type bull.  Upon further review, we noticed that the bull had triple eyeguards on his left horn and double G3's on his right horn.  This 7x7 bull got the nickname of "Triple Double".  These two 370 class bulls topped our hit list for 2012.

Rob and Billy arrived a day early.  We showed Rob the footage of the two bulls and told him to make the decision of which bull he wanted to pursue.  After much deliberation, Rob chose Lobster Claw.  Opening day had us scattered all over the unit.  But there were no shots on day one.

On the second morning, Chester, myself, and Damon Hughes(cameraman) were hot on the trail of the Triple Double.  Just when I thought our morning hunt was over, the bull made a fatal mistake.  He left the thick cover to check another batch of cows still feeding in the burn.  We quickly positioned ourselves between the bull and the thick trees.  Triple Double singled out a cow and headed our way.  Chester made a perfect 200 yard shot and Damon captured it all on video.

Chester with Triple Double
Congrats Dad-in-law
On the third morning, Rob, Mike, Billy and Jay Scott(cameraman) also got the break they had been patiently waiting for.  Lobster Claw had finally stayed out feeding on some open points long enough for Rob to take advantage of.  Rob made a couple of well placed shots at 275 yards.  Jay also captured the entire hunt on film.

The Cox brothers with an AZ trophy
Rob and Mike with Lobster Claw
By the third evening, Steve, Devin, Bill Rimsza, and myself we're covered up in bulls.  After passing on over a dozen bulls that night, we decided to start heading for the truck(2 miles away).  Suddenly a bull appeared out of the trees and enticed us into taking a closer look.  We gave a quick assessment of the bull and put Steve in the scope.  Steve took the 140 yard shot and dropped the unique bull in his tracks.
Steve with his 1st AZ bull
Steve and Devin

A BIG THANKS to Jay Scott and Damon Hughes for coming along and filming our hunts.  Jay has also made it possible for both Rob's and Chester's hunts to be aired on next Thursdays (Oct. 18) Cabelas Out West web show.  We will post the show link here on our blog next week when it's available. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

AZ Archery Elk .....Tim's 4B & Eric's 4A Bulls

Sorry for the blitz in posts, but we're trying to get caught up.

This year we had the pleasure of hunting with Tim Allen of CA.  Tim drew a 4B Archery bull tag and was looking to cash in on his 3rd AZ bull with a bow.  It had been more than 10 years since I had personally guided in 4B. I can honestly say the unit is better than I remembered.  But it's still no 3C.

We located and chased bulls every day and saw some really good bulls.  We had some close calls early on and even a deflected arrow on the 5th morning on a dandy bull.  On the evening of day 6, we worked in on a cluster of 6 bulls.  The handful of cows kept the bulls occupied while we moved into the middle of the group.  Tim decided he wanted to have a bull called into bow range so Mike and Tim got setup by some trees and I moved back 40 yards and began calling.  Immediately a bull screamed and started moving our way.  The bull stepped into the open presenting Tim with an 18 yard shot.  Tim made two great shots to end the hunt.

Tim's called-in archery bull
Congrats Tim on another AZ Archery Bull

With Tim's tag filled and a little bit of time to spare, I headed for 4A.  Damon Hughes was hunting with his brother, Eric, and had been experiencing the highs & lows of archery elk hunting.  Eric Hughes and I attended school together and I was hoping to have some time to try and help Eric fill his tag.
I showed up at camp at 4pm and gave Eric my pep talk.(brown it's down; hops it drops; flies it dies!)  Eric agreed and off we went.  Within the hour we had moved in on a good bull with cows.  Unfortunately the swirling winds foiled our plans and the chase was on.  We bounced from bugle to bugle trying to find a good candidate for Eric's tag.  With darkness falling, we approached a bugle that sounded promising.  The bull emerged and we noticed that he was missing his G4.  Eric decided that he didn't care and was ready to fill his tag.  Eric's 1st shot deflected off a branch and sliced the bull above his left eye.  Then Eric smoked him at 50 yards.  Congrats Haird!!!(school nickname)
Eric's 1st Archery Bull
The Motley Crew

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Taylor's 4A Rifle Antelope

We had the pleasure of hunting antelope in unit 4A with Taylor Rimsza.  After a few weeks of scouting, we were ready to see something hit the dirt.  A buck we'd nicknamed "Lefty" was on the top of our list.  However, some other hunters bumped Lefty the night before the hunt and we never saw him again.  But on day 2, we'd glassed a buck tending a doe about 2 miles away.  A plan was devised and I went to the top of a hill, while Taylor and his brother, Brian, moved in to cut the distance.

We watched the bedded buck and doe for 2 hours in the heat.  Finally the buck got up and pushed his doe into an opening.  Taylor settled in for the 385 yard shot and let it rip.............. twice!  Brian did a great job of capturing the whole thing on film.  We will post the video soon.  Thanks to Devin and Damon for their time and also Taylor and Brian Rimsza for allowing us to help.  It's always nice to hunt with good guys that love to hunt as much as we do.

  Congrats Taylor!!
Great Mass and Prongs

Monday, October 1, 2012

OE4A AZ Antelope Hunt

After hunting the archery antelope season the BTO team moved straight into the rifle antelope hunts.
 Having spent alot of time in unit 5A, I was contacted by Brad Remfrey and asked if I could help out a great organization called the Outdoor Experience for All. This great organization has been created by Eddie Corona and assists kids with life threatening illnesses and provides outdoor experiences for them. I jumped at the opportunity and a first rate camp was set up by Eddie and his crew and the hunt was on.
Opening day found us glassing and seeing several lesser bucks before deciding to make a play on a great mature buck. With a short stalk and a 20 minute waiting game, Matt made an incredible 480
yard one shot kill on his first AZ antelope. Matt showed incredible composure and his no fear attitude was a perfect combination for success.
It was a pleasure and a honor to get to know and hunt with the Gonzalez family and friends. They are a great group of people and look forward to the new friendships made and sharing future hunts.
If you are interested in supporting a great organization check out website for information and give Eddie a call.

Matthew Gonzalez with a great AZ antelope
harvested with a 480 yd shot

The "Crew"

Saturday, September 1, 2012

AZ Archery Antelope Success

With the AZ archery season opening up last weekend, I found the boys and myself hunting some familiar areas. This is our third year in a row in the same unit hunting antelope and lets just say the unit has treated us well. We spent the first weekend trying to find the "Heartshaped" buck but with an over abundance of monsoon rain we did not find our big buck. However, the night before season  Devin found the buck he nicknamed Big Heavy from last year in a familiar spot and the hunt was on.

Big Heavy the night before season

Opening morning we glassed our buck and moved into position for a stalk. Big Heavy decided it was time to travel and left his does in search of greener pastures. It took until late afternoon opening day that friend Damon Hughes and myself located him about a mile from where we lost him that morning. I stalked to within 75 yds of him and his new set of does but just could not get it done before it got dark.
Saturday found us looking for the "heartshaped" buck again and putting a stalk or two on some lesser bucks before going home to work the week and get ready for the upcoming long weekend.
Labor Day weekend found Devin and I leaving camp in search of the "Heartshaped" buck or Big Heavy. Within 30 mins of the sun coming up we had located a buck from quite a distance with 8 does. An hour or so later after quite a stalk we finally glassed a bedded doe that was with our unknown buck. Crawling for approximately 250 yds found us inside of 130 yds of our bedded antelope. A short 30 mins later does began to get up and guess who gets up with the does, none other than Big Heavy. As Devin and I were discussing our game plan we decided to try a decoy to see if we could get him to move our way.
Just as the buck finished making a scrape Devin flipped up the decoy. Big Heavy locked on and the stare down began. Finally he gave in and started working our way. Big Heavy walked up to within 50 yds but with a tree blocking my view, the only tree in front of us, I did not have a shot. He finally had enough of our decoy and decided to walk back to his harem. Once the does locked onto the decoy and began to work our way Big Heavy decided he needed to revisit us. When he finally presented a shot it was a quartering away shot with him looking at me.  I had to slide over a few feet to have a clear shot and knew I was caught for sure. Well the antelope gods smiled on me that day and the Ulmer Edge broadhead took him right behind the shoulder and exited through the opposite shoulder blade. Big Heavy only lasted a 100 yds and the celebration began. Both myself and Devin were excited beyond belief. We had worked hard for this buck and what a great buck it is. Thanks to Devin and Damon for all their help. Special thanks to Devin who is always there to scout and work just as hard as I am for an animal. Enjoy some pictures from the hunt and who knows; will we get to hunt antelope 4 years in a row?

Big Heavy

Great reward to a great hunt

A great year for monsoon moisture

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Burnt Timber Bucks

Since the 2012 deer draw results will be posted soon, just thought we'd give you a little "Deer Teaser" to peak your anticipation.  All of the following bucks were taken in units 3A-3C over the last few years.  We've had great success on both the Junior and General hunts alike.  Enjoy the pictures and good luck on the draw!!

2011 General Hunt

2010 Season (Jr and General)

2009 Season