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Thread: Oh crap! Did I just become a trophy hunter?...

  1. #1
    Member TMCKEE's Avatar
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    Default Oh crap! Did I just become a trophy hunter?...

    So in all the polls that we have on here about why do you hunt? Ive always said for meat. Well, you know that disclaimer situation that folks always throw out where you have a huge antlered something or other standing next to a small antlered something or otherit happened. Ive always told myself Id take the first offered shot, and I truly believed it that I would. Of course, thats easy to say when its all talk and your not faced with the situation.
    A buddy and I took a trip up north the last week of August with a pocketful of harvest tags, a canoe, bows and rifles. After the all night drive we stopped for breakfast in Coldfoot and I did my best to get my $13.95s worth of food. All fueled up we headed over the pass. There must have been 70-80 sheep between the pass and PS4. It felt like a good sign for some reason. We kept driving, and saw one cow while we were going through the construction area near Toolik Lake, but we didnt consider pursuing her since it was our first morning up there. Once we were around Slope Mountain the road was pretty crowded, but as we continued North it thinned out. As we were driving we stopped to put the binos on something that stood out about a quarter mile off the road. While staring at what turned out to be a 55 gallon drum, we see two large bulls on our side of the river and half a dozen cows and calves on the far side of the river. There wasnt anyone in the area so I grabbed my bow and made my way down to the river. The bulls were feeding close enough to the river that it looked like if I got down below the river bank I would be able to get close enough for a shot. Everything was going to plan and I was about a 150 yards from where I was going to come up out of the river bottom, when the cows from the far side of the river decided to crossright where I was headed! When they topped out they kept moving and took the two bulls with them, so I knew I wouldnt catch them. I headed back to the truck and as my buddy and I were driving out there were three trucks and at least four hunters on the ground trying to stalk that herd.
    We talked it over and decided that we didnt want to face those kind of odds and decided to head into rifle country. We went to bed early knowing that we wouldnt be able to manage the canoe trip up the river since we hadnt slept much the night prior. The next day we loaded up and headed up the river. The weather couldnt have been more perfect, beautiful warm day. 249669_3913084104698_886300764_n.jpg We saw a lone cow on the way up, but she was on the horizon a long way off. After we were at the 5 mile mark (per GPS) we decided to stop and eat. We figured we might as well go sit up on some high ground and when we topped out there was a heard of 9 musk ox. We were both pretty excited just to see these guys. Neither of us had seen them before in the wild and we had discussed driving further north hoping to get a chance to. Little did we know that this herd and another larger herd of about 17 would hang out across the river from our camp all week. 400463_3913094784965_1684049854_n.jpg

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    Member Bearclaw67's Avatar
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    Ok where's the rest, I'm not able to hunt this year and it's killin me, so I'm living vicariously through you guys!
    Paul

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    Member TMCKEE's Avatar
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    We split up and covered some of the area, mostly just getting to know what was around. Around 2:00 in the afternoon I made my way back to the camp for lunch and had just settled down for a little siesta when my buddy comes hollering into camp that he spotted animals on the other side of the river. So we get our stuff together and we ferry across. We look around for a bit and dont come up with anything. There are a lot of nooks and crannys on this side for animals to easily disappear into, but while were over there we run into a hunter whos got a heavy pack and a priceless grin on his face. He and his partner half just scored a double on a couple of real nice bulls. We decided that we would need to check this area out a little more thoroughly the next day. Shortly after breakfast we cross the river and head out. Within a quarter mile of the river we top out on a ridge and have a pretty good view and spot a single bull about a quarter mile a way. There is a large pond to his left and a large pond to his right. He was moving away and at last sight was headed straight between the two ponds. For reasons that I still cant understand, my buddy decides to split up and he says hes heading to the pond on the right to check it out. I decided, well I may not catch him but Im going to head the same direction that bull was headed. I wasnt moving too fast, there were a lot of hills and depressions so I was working slowly just keeping an eye out. The lake that was on the left of the bull that I had seen stretched around in front of me, which I hadnt been able to tell from my vantage point where I had seen the bull. As I approached the end of the pond I was climbing up out of a depression when I see beautiful long velvet tines sticking up in front of me. I get down. He couldnt have seen mewhats the wind doing?...its in my facegood, relax, dont screw it up. As I settled my self I looked around and saw more tines. Okay, two bulls. Wheres my partner? I can see him a half mile a way and try to wave him over, but its too late, the second bull is standing up. The second bull has already shed his velvet and his antlers werent much to speak of. Hes standing broad side at under 150 yards, I have a steady rest and a shot. The first bull I still cant see anything but those long tines from the top of his antlers. Hes in a depression where there are hills on three sides and water on the other. The bull that I have a clear shot at bucks and takes off to the next hill, giving me another broadside opportunity at about 175 yards. At this point Ive made my decision, I want the big guy, but I still have no shot. The other bull bucks and takes off again and the big guy starts looking around, I can still see nothing but tines. At this moment I dont have a shot at either animal and Im afraid Ive just made a huge mistake. Im still in a seated position steadying myself for a shot when the bull comes up one of the surrounding hills, which would only be about 100 yardsat least thats what I assumed hed do. Instead, he turned to the water. I quickly stood and took an off hand shot to anchor him. He dropped right there and I only had to take my boots off to get him out of the water. Its been two and a half weeks and I keep staring at the antlersturns out I like a good trophy. Who Knew?

    Although this write up gives you the jist of the hunt, there are so many details that get left out, that it will never do the adventure justice. Thanks for taking the time to read my story.

    Tyler
    419337_3913094184950_1150963394_n.jpg185108_3913094624961_1269639033_n.jpg

  4. #4

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    Don't stop now. Interesting way to walk out 5 miles. oops you must have been posting when I was. Great story

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Nothing wrong with appreciating a nice set of antlers, and that set is a beauty! I wear the "meat hunter" badge proudly, but I have more than a few sets of antlers/horns/furs on my walls as well. A contradiction? Perhaps, but very few days go by when I don't reminisce about various hunt memories while looking at something on the wall, and that's not a bad thing...even for a meat hunter.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    I have not hunted for a very long time. I now go out and if something in season looks aloof and not concerned I may just take it and hopefully teach his peers a leason on being alert and trusting nothing.As for size we all know it don't matter and large or small should fall equal as they come.
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    Member Smokey's Avatar
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    What I see is a good young man entering the next "phase" n his hunting life! There has been a wealth of articles describing this process and just enjoy it and let the magic work. You will still take plenty of game without impressive headgear, but you may start going home empty handed occasionally and still wearing a grin of satisfaction. Even if you do not start looking for big trophy racks to fill a wall you may just find that next level of enjoyment that comes from taking a more mature and craftier quarry!
    Nice pics and story - well done!
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

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    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    Sounds like a great hunt and a nice caribou!

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    Great story brother. Looking forward to meeting you Saturday.
    Jason

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    Great story Tyler! You weren't trophy hunting. You just took the one with the most meat. Am looking forward to meeting you and Jason this weekend!
    An opinion should be the result of thought, not a substitute for it.
    - Jef Mallett

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    Charterboat Operator Abel's Avatar
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    Always told my trophy hunter Uncle at Deer Camp back in Michigan, you can't eat antlers. But however I've come to learn, lots of times those big antlers are attached to something that has more meat. So you get a nice trophy, and the price per pound per bullet/tag goes down, right?

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    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twodux View Post
    Great story Tyler! You weren't trophy hunting. You just took the one with the most meat.
    I'm loathe to ever agree with dux, but.........................+1
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by martentrapper View Post
    I'm loathe to ever agree with dux, but.........................+1
    <GROAN>


    me too....
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

    meet on face book here

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    Boy, a compliment from MT and another from Vince all in the same day? Did the River Styx freeze up? http://www.pantheon.org/articles/s/styx_river.html

    Feels like Christmas, New Years, Easter, and a bit of Halloween all rolled into one. I'm marking this day on my calendar!
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    Member TMCKEE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amigo Will View Post
    I have not hunted for a very long time. I now go out and if something in season looks aloof and not concerned I may just take it and hopefully teach his peers a lesson on being alert and trusting nothing.
    Love this.

    Thanks for the kind words all. twodux and plentycoupe I think its gonna be a great trip and I look forward to getting to know you guys.

    Tyler

  16. #16
    Member TMCKEE's Avatar
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    It's been a few years since I posted this, and I've since moved away. A little home sick for AK, had to revisit this amazing trip. My wife gives me a hard time when she catches me staring at the antlers on my wall, need to get back up there. Sorry for bumping up an old one.

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    I like how hunters always go on about how they only hunt for the meat. I'm not ashamed to say that I'd like to shoot a moose with a big rack a lot more than one with a little one 100 times out of 100, and I'm not ashamed to say that the shooting of the animals is quite a bit of fun as well. No shame in shooting a bigger moose. Like the others said, they've got more meat anyways most of the time.

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    Ill keep nice skull, skin or claw if I happen to get the fella sporting such and I happen to hunt 'em down.

    Indeed, eat em, and more

    Now shooting 'em just for the cool stuff would be another matter....
    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

    "Dam it all", The Beaver told me.....

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