I enjoy a good hunt just as much as the rest of us. Roaming through the open old growth timber knowing there could be a buck or bear around any corner really keeps a hunter alert and focused. Hunting October bucks is just that, a focused active endeavor.
I'm really tickled this October. Folks around Sitka just don't hunt much in October stating "The bucks just disappear". They push out of the alpine vegetation. They are super fat from a summer of eating and as such don't feed as usual. They are gaining range and establishing where the does and other bucks are. The bears are still out. So you have a fat and focused animal hanging out in the steep heavily vegetated rainforest hillsides. This has never been a glass and stalk hunt. I leave the spotter at home.
So far I'm pleased to say I've brought home two of these elusive October Sitka bucks. I didn't photograph the one last weekend. I really just wanted to break it down and continue scouting an new area. This photo is of the one from yesterday.
Well, I boated from Sitka to a semi remote hillside, anchored off shore and used my packraft to paddle in. My partner and I roamed up 1,400ft of oldgrowth timber to a muskeg ridgeline. We didn't commit to the open muskeg though, we roamed the edge and still hunted. It was fabulous. We got into a single small buck who will live to grow. We also got into a group of three does who moved to within bow range because of their curiosity. We stood there just like statues in full camo and they walked right up us and around until they got wind. We did a drive on a ridge top. My partner pushed another doe that he didn't even see. They can be very sneaky. Then on the top of the ridge at 1,800 ft, I found a pair of does bedded and decided to sneak to within bow range of em, just for fun. I was about 20 ft, yes ft from these two when a buck to my left caught my wind and bolted down below me. I only had enough time to chamber, confirm buck, lead and fire. He was cruising so fast that at about 150 yrds I lead him just a bit and still ended up busting him a bit back. The .416 Ruger is my new favorite. It really makes up for foul shooting. Which I'm not ashamed to say happened in this situation. I prefer a cleaner shot situation but when you have been hiking for 8 hours and finally find the buck your after it's boom time. We broke him down in about an hour and took the cape down off the hill. He's got a dandy face. So if anyone is looking for a premium cape, I've got one without damage or blood. We rolled off the hill in the dark and enjoyed a clear moon lite run back into Sitka. October hunting at it's finest. IMG_0767.jpg