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Newsletters

Volume 5 Issue 2 Summer 2013

A Yukon Hunt to Remember
John Gibbs - HH Pro Staff

With over 200 big game animals harvested, I still didn’t have a moose.  I wanted a big moose which meant I needed an Alaskan/Yukon moose.  In 2010 a friend and I decided to try and find a great moose hunt.  I spent the better part of a year researching outfitters in Alaska and the Yukon before I decided to book our hunts with Lone Wolf Outfitters out of Whitehorse, Yukon.   We spent the better part of the next year planning for our September 2012 hunt.

We flew to Whitehorse, Yukon on September 18th and then took a float plane the next day 100 miles east to our camp on Fish Lake, our home for the next eight days.  We would be hunting moose, grizzly and wolves on the lake and river system that the lake drained into. 

The first couple days of our hunt the weather was warm and beautiful, too warm for moose hunting.  I did manage to see one small bull and a few cows and calves.  My hunting partner, Eric, shot a nice bull late on the second day of the hunt.

The third day we decided to hunt the lake shoreline rather than the river.  We did see several small bulls, cows and calves and finally right at dark a bull that looked like a shooter.  He was 600 yards away as my guides frantically rowed trying to close the distance.  Unfortunately he didn’t hang around for us to get a good look at him. 

We decided to try the same spot the next afternoon to see if we could locate the moose.  He didn’t show up but a different bull did.  He was a shooter, but it was only the 4th day of my hunt and I decided to hold out for a bigger moose.  As I watched him, 3 cows and calf, I couldn’t help but wonder if I was making the right decision.

The next day we went back to floating the river and had no luck.  On day 6, we decided to head back to the end of the lake where we had seen the two shooters.  I wouldn’t be so picky this time.  Several hours before dark we were tied up on the right shoreline about 180 yards from the end of the lake.  Soon we heard a bull in the brush right next to us start grunting and raking the brush with his antlers.  We quickly moved about 200 yards from the shoreline so the bull wouldn’t be right on top of us if he came out.  Soon we heard another bull on the left shoreline which was about 400 yards away.  The bulls were not happy to be around one another and we figured it was only a matter of time before they would approach one another and show themselves. 

About a half hour later all hell broke loose in the woods to our right.  At first we thought the bull was fighting with another bull, but then we saw the bull crashing through the timber and running straight at us.  He ran about 40 yards into the lake before he spun around and faced the shore.  You can imagine our shock when we looked toward shore and saw seven wolves chasing him.  He was safe standing in about 4 foot of water as the wolves stayed close to shore.

My guides were yelling “shoot the wolves, shoot the wolves”.  I asked if the bull was big enough to shoot but their only response was “shoot the wolves, shoot the wolves”.  Finally one of the guides said the bull was not quite big enough so I picked out the biggest black wolf that was standing in about a foot of water and shot.  He went down but jumped up and ran into the bush.  After about a minute the bull decided he had had enough.  He swam past us and went back to shore about 400 yards from where the wolves had been.

You can imagine our surprise when after all of the commotion and a gunshot we looked up to see the other bull coming down the shoreline to check things out.  It was the bull from the third day and he was definitely a shooter.  He hit an opening in the brush at 210 yards and I shot.  I double lunged him but he spun around and ran about 150 feet out into the lake where I gave him another round from my Weatherby 338-378.  He went down; I had my bull. 

He was floating and we dragged him as close to shore as possible and then went back to camp to get a come-along to try and get him closer to shore.  We got him about 30 feet from shore before we could no longer move him.  We gutted him out in the lake and left him laying feet up in the lake until the next day when we quartered him in the lake.  It was a great hunt and I will never forget the image of that bull being chased by seven wolves.

I got a great moose and a large black wolf.  As it turned out, the wolf was bigger than we thought.  After a 60 day drying period the skull was measured by a master SCI measurer and he was ranked #5 in the world.  I’ll never forget the events of that afternoon; especially that pack of wolves chasing the bull.


Looking to promote your Outdoor Business, Guide Service or Outfitter? Heartland Hunters has a well established following not only on the web but, thousands of Outdoor enthusiasts receiving our Newsletter. Place your ad with us and your next client is only on click away from getting in touch with you. For more information on advertising with us, e-mail  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  


What the Hunt!

Heartland Hunters is proud to offer you What the Hunt! See your state's hunting seasons at a glance, organized by date and not by game. Have you ever been turned around on your state's website while trying to find out what you can hunt on a certain day but find that the site is organized according to species? We've turned that on its head and allow you to select your date and we'll show you what is available to hunt that day. Plan your vacations, see what is available to hunt this upcoming weekend, or check it while in the woods! Internet access is not required to use the app, just to download the periodic updates.



 Whitetail Deer Special!

  Indianhead Ranch is an ideal destination for hunters seeking trophy-winning exotic game.  With 10,000 acres of pristine, open-range estate bordering the dramtic cliffs of the Devils River, you are sure to have the finest fair-chase hunting experience in Texas!  The ranch has been expertly managed by one family for over 27 years and you will immediatly notice the care they have taken to ensure every detail: from the health of the animals to the luxury of the accomodations and fare.

 

WHITETAIL SPECIAL
2 hunters, 5 nights, 4-day hunt, 2 whitetail trophies up to 150"
$7,500
For more information email: 
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Call 830-703-9045, or visiti their website:  http://www.indianheadranch.com/IndianheadExpeditions.aspx


 Newsletter Spotlight  

 

Waterfowl Habitat in Prairie Pothole Region and Canada to Produce an Abundant 2013 Flight

Rich Radil - HH Pro Staff

Last season was one of the best waterfowl seasons in recent years for many. Eight of my buddies and I kicked the 2012 season off with 9 limits in a matter of about 2 hours, and the rest of the season had us shooting ducks and geese on nearly every outing. With some help from Mother Nature this past spring, the experts at both Ducks Unlimited and Delta Waterfowl are predicting another great waterfowl season for 2013. Late season snow fall in the prairie pothole region (PPR) of North Dakota and a later than usual spring in the majority of Canada have all added to one of the most positive habitat reports in recent years.

The late spring did prohibit many ducks from reaching the Canadian nesting grounds in a timely fashion, but once spring did arrive it came with higher than normal temperatures, which helped melt the snow pack quickly creating ideal nesting grounds. DU Canada confirms that in Saskatchewan most wetlands are full or beyond full thus creating some of the best habitat in decades. While spring did arrive late this year most of Canada has a good outlook for this breeding season, which should help our upcoming waterfowl season.

Much of what has been happening in Canada has also been taking place on the US side of the PPR – late season snow falls delaying spring. This is also going to be a very good thing for wetlands and waterfowl. Late season snow fall in North and South Dakota kept waterfowl from migrating back north to the breeding grounds in a timely fashion. However, once the snow pack began to melt it began to fill the PPR with ample water creating suitable breeding habitat. In 2012 much of the PPR was suffering from the drought, but duck numbers were still good. In 2013 the PPR has an abundance of water and the predictions are for an even better breeding season.

Overall, the past few years have produced wet, productive conditions for waterfowl in their breeding grounds setting the stage for yet another possible fruitful hunting season in 2013. Proof of recent breeding success may be soon to come from the Department of Interior. The United States Fish and Wildlife (USFW) has proposed raising the legal limit of teal during the early season to 6, up from 4; and increase the possession limit of all waterfowl from two daily limits to a 3-day limit. This decision would obviously make early season teal hunters, as well as all waterfowl hunters, very happy. DU Chief Scientist Dale Humburg states, "Harvest regulations are biologically based, and teal population trends have certainly been favorable in recent years." Organizations like Ducks Unlimited and Delta Waterfowl, along with their members, work extremely hard to give hunters the best opportunity to harvest waterfowl. Please do your part and join one or both of these organizations.

As I prepare for a North Dakota duck hunt in early October with my two oldest sons and 7 buddies, I can only dream of full straps for our group. Thanks to the efforts of conservation groups, and a bit of help from Mother Nature, it just may become a reality.

Take ‘em!

Rich

Information for this article was gathered from the following articles:

“More Teal in Early-Season Bag, Higher Possession Limit Encourage Hunters” by Andi Cooper http://www.ducks.org/news-media/more-teal-in-early-season-bag-higher-possession-limit-encourage-hunters?poe=whatsnew

 “2013 Spring Habitat Conditions in Canada - Above-average habitat conditions throughout most of Canada”                                                                                  http://www.ducks.org/conservation/habitat/2013-spring-habitat-conditions-in-canada 

“Late Spring Sets Plate for Duck Smorgasbord” – Delta News Archive http://www.deltawaterfowl.org/media/deltanews/130419-smorgasbord.php

Click here to meet the Pro Staff Team



Heartland Hunters proudly welcomes The Hunt Channel as our newest partner; a new outdoor TV channel that has launched on AngelTwo, Dish Network channel 266. Hunt Channel featuers quality Outdoor Programming that can be seen during Primetime. Be sure to tune in!

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British Columbia and that Little Black Bear

Chris Sellers – HH Pro Staff

One word to describe hunting in British Columbia would be “Amazing”.  My friend Leo and I decided to make the journey up to Fort Fraser, BC with the idea of harvesting some bears. Well, we did that but got so much more. After several connecting flights we came into a small airport in Prince George, BC followed by a 2 hour drive west to Pitka Mountain Outfitters. Log cabins were nice with nothing more than beds and a wood stove, a wash house was a short walk away. Nothing more was needed as the long spring days were all spent hunting and enjoying the countryside. Meals left nothing to be desired with an early breakfast, a sack lunch and wonderful home cooked dinners.

Our hunt began with quite a bit of driving and scouting, trying to locate the bears after a very late spring proved somewhat challenging. Day two offered us a stalking opportunity on a large black bear only to have him disappear just as fast as he showed up. The next day brought about quite a few bear sightings and a lot of bear sign. We hiked to a beautiful mountain top overlooking a river bottom. Within the first 10 minutes we watched a bear swim across this river to reach the green pasture on the other side. Once across he turned and went right back, as if he was just wanting to go for a swim. We decided to hike out and move to lower ground.  As dusk approached we were able to stalk within 40 yards of what looked like a good bear. Bears are very hard to judge for size as they all look “big” when on their feet.  With the crosshairs settled on this bear the guide and I began to lite heartedly bicker back and forth on the size of this bear which took us past shooting light; we decided to return to the same location for day 4.

After returning on that fourth day we were not able to locate our black bear from the night before.  Little did we know he had guided us into an area that would define our hunting adventure.  As we continued down some older trails bear sign picked up. We followed several sets of tracks right into a field full of green grasses and clover. The tracks were large and promising, the field was full of bear scat and the decision was made to sit and wait. It didn’t take long and a large bear appeared in the field, merely 80 yards away. The bear was light brown with some silver hair along his back; care was taken to ensure this was not a grizzly. After watching him for some time the guide and I agreed this was a black bear and I hear him say “smack him”. Without delay I gave the trigger a gentle squeeze only to watch this bear take a step forward at the same time. I knew the bear was hit but leaving nothing to chance I quickly chambered another round and followed up with a 2nd shot which dropped the bear in his tracks. He was a beautiful brown and silver color phase black bear and will measure over 6 feet nose to tail.

Day 5 brought on morning snow up high, with rain and wind much of the day.  This would be the only day that no bears were spotted. With another guide in camp and 3 tags to fill the decision was made for Leo and I to split up on days 6 and 7.  Leo and his guide would head back to the clover field that evening with knowledge of a couple more bears in the area. My day was filled with hiking incredible country and spotting anything from silver fox to big moose.  As darkness fell I headed back to camp, shortly followed by my hunting partner who was nothing but smiles. Leo and his guide walked past the clover field where my bear was harvested and set up on another field full of sign just to the south. Guess who showed up, it was the black bear from day 3 that had led us to this area. My guide was correct as this was a younger black bear; while legal the choice was made to pass on this bear yet again. With a younger bear calmly feeding Leo and his guide decided to check the clover field to the north. And there stood his trophy, a couple hundred yards away.  Another really large brown colored bear.  Leo and his guide watched this bear as it lumbered across this field and approached 30 yards.  Based on color and size extra care was taken to ensure this was not a grizzly, but at 30 yards it was apparent they were looking face to face with a very large black bear. The guide spoke the words “shoot him” and the shot rang out. A well placed shot behind the shoulder followed by a 2nd shot brought his giant bear down. Another beautiful brown color phase bear, this one chocolate in color and measuring 7 foot nose to tail.

We were all amazed that not 1 but 2 large brown color phase bears had been harvested in this clover field. The guide mentioned that Leo’s bear is among the largest he has ever guided for.  Top it off with a light colored chevron on its chest and what an amazing trophy it really was.  He stated mine was the first black bear he has ever seen with silver hair mixed in with the brown. With so much vast wilderness to hunt that little black bear had led us to an area that would provide memories that would last a lifetime.

 Day 7 was filled with hiking to some of our favorite areas. Reaching the end of the day I was able to fill my 2nd tag by harvesting a nice black bear at 60 yards, this one jet black in color.  On this trip we watched an abundance of Mule Deer, Whitetails and bears throughout our days.  We had seen a momma bear and cubs that put on a show as she stood and kept a close eye on us and sent her cubs up a tree. We watched a momma moose and her day old calf as he stumbled around trying to stay on his feet. We had seen a wolf, bald eagles, foxes, and an array of small game. This British Columbia territory is nothing short of amazing. It holds an abundance of wild game and offers incredible hunting and fishing. Special thanks to Pitka Mountain Outfitters and our guides Colonel and Doug. We had the experience of a lifetime… 


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Volume 5 Issue 2 Spring 2013

 Snow Days
By Mark Casper, Heartland Hunters Pro Staff

The excitement had been building to the point that we almost couldn't take it any longer.  Reports had been showing the snow goose migration was in full swing and the landowner where we were hunting was kind enough to keep us informed of the volumes and patterns the birds had been working.

We left midday on Friday, 5 hours later pulled into Tim's driveway with a fresh bucket of KFC and a pickup bed full of layout blinds and steel shot. We quickly said hello and shuffled into Tim's pickup to go survey our morning set-up.  Within a few hundred yards of the farm, we were in the middle of a tornado...

I've always heard rumor of guys that manage to get themselves on the "X".  Until this hunt, it's only been a dream for me.  We watched the birds pouring in by the thousands it seemed in the sound, the sight the volume of waterfowl was more then I had ever been privy too in my hunting career.  We were on the birds, the perfect setup for a hunt of a lifetime.

We made two runs to a cut corn field, filled the back of a pickup truck twice over to get enough brush to perfectly hide our 8 layout blinds.  Brian managed to roll in just as we finished the last blind, 3 more hunters were rolling out at midnight to make the 5 hour drive for the morning hunt.

When we stepped out of the house Saturday morning, we had no idea what kind of day we were getting ready to have.  Our morning hunt ended with 136 birds on the ground, 158 total for the day. 

It took a full week to get the tenderness out of my shoulder, but I don't think the smile has ever left my face.  A sincere thanks to Tim for his hospitality and to Brian for making the arrangements for a unforgetable hunt!


Looking to promote your Outdoor Business, Guide Service or Outfitter? Heartland Hunters has a well established following not only on the web but, thousands of Outdoor enthusiasts receiving our Newsletter. Place your ad with us and your next client is only on click away from getting in touch with you. For more information on advertising with us, e-mail  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


What the Hunt!

Heartland Hunters is proud to offer you What the Hunt! See your state's hunting seasons at a glance, organized by date and not by game. Have you ever been turned around on your state's website while trying to find out what you can hunt on a certain day but find that the site is organized according to species? We've turned that on its head and allow you to select your date and we'll show you what is available to hunt that day. Plan your vacations, see what is available to hunt this upcoming weekend, or check it while in the woods! Internet access is not required to use the app, just to download the periodic updates.


New Heartland Hunters Website!

We are excited to announce the Heartland Hunters new website design! In an ever changing technological world, we are excited to bring you the 3rd Generation of the Heartland Hunters website. With a dynamic look, more interactive and new features. Although we were unable to carry over some of the old stories and pic-tures, we think you will find it much more pleasant to view and easier to navigate as we share with you our outdoor adventures by word and by picture from deep in the Missouri woods and waterways, along with the trips and tales that reach beyond the boundaries of the beautiful heartland....

  

 


 Newsletter Spotlight

 Congratulations to the New Members of the Heartland Hunters Pro Staff Team!

Heartland Hunters proudly welcomes our new Pro Staffers to our elite team of outdoorsmen! We are happy to have the new team on board and look forward to their contributions.

Click here to meet the Pro Staff Team

 

 










Delta Waterfowl, St. Louis Arch Chapter, Duckapalooza

 

Saturday, April 27, 2013 Crestwood Elks Lodge 10261 Bauer Rd Saint Louis, MO 63128-3214
~Open Bar ~Great Food ~Guns~Guns~Guns ~Hunting Gear Raffle Packages ~Live and Silent Auctions ~Youth Items and Games ~and Much Much More!!!

This Newsletter has been brought to you by;



 



 



 

Fall 2011 Newsletter

Volume 3 Number 4
 

Big Montana Mule Deer

John Gibbs, Heartland Hunters Pro Staff

I've been mule deer hunting in Montana for 21 years. The past 14 years I've hunted with Bill and Mark Perkins of Perkins Outfitters, www.perkinsoutfitters.comBill has several great ranches totaling several hundred square miles. He takes a limited number of hunters and with this much territory over hunting is not an issue. The terrain ranges from the Powder River bottoms to some rugged piney hills. In between you will find open prairies and sage brush cuts and draws. There is an abundance of quality whitetails, mule deer and antelope.


This year Bill's son Mark was my guide. Opening morning of the 2011 deer season found us glassing the sage brush and grassy flats trying to locate a big buck heading back up into the hills to bed. We were seeing some nice bucks but nothing I was interested in harvesting. Around 9am we spotted two bucks that had just crossed onto the neighbor's property. They both looked respectable so we got the spotting scope out to take a better look. The back buck had extra points and very good mass. We eventually pegged him as a 7x7. He was a neat buck, one that I would consider harvesting if he wasn't on the neighbor's property.

The rest of the day was spent glassing a lot of country. We saw several hundred antelope, 10 coyotes and around 20 mule deer bucks. Our thoughts kept going back to the 7x7 we had spotted in the morning. We decided to get to that area the next morning at sunrise to see if we could find him feeding on our side of the fence.

Mark picked me up at the hotel in Miles City at 0 dark 30 and we were off to the ranch. We timed things just right and were only a few miles from where we had spotted the buck as daylight was breaking. We started glassing and within about 30 minutes we spotted our buck over 1000 yards away.

The good news was that he was at least a half mile from the property line. We watched him feeding on a grassy flat for about 10 minutes before he wandered out of sight into a deep cut in the terrain.

We weren't sure where he was headed, but we could see all of the surrounding area and we were sure he couldn't leave the area without us seeing him. We decided to put a stalk on him and see if we could get a good shot. Our plan was to stay down wind of him and try to get up in the hills above him. We were hoping that we could locate him from a high point and also be able to continue to watch the surrounding area in case he tried to slip by us. Not knowing where he was, we had to be on alert just in case we jumped him.

We started our slow walk to get to a better vantage point. I was concerned that we had walked several hundred yards past him when Mark spotted the buck. He was bedded on a cut bank about 200 yards below us. Unfortunately, he wasn’t offering us a good shot. Over the next half hour we made four attempts to get in position to take a good shot while trying not spook the buck. Finally on our fourth attempt we had him broadside in front of us at 132 yards. I got my bi-pods down and peeked over the top of the hill. I slowly got into position to make the shot. As I put the scope on the deer’s vitals he was staring right at me. The thought most of us have had at one time or another jumped into my head, please don’t bolt before I get this shot off. I squeezed the trigger of my 300 win mag and his head hit the ground. There would be no tracking job with this buck.

__________________________________________________________________________________

Aoudad Hunt with Hidden Creek Outfitters and Bill Perry

This is a 2 on 1 guided hunt in West Texas for free ranging Aoudad (Barbary sheep). This hunt will be on a very remote private ranch. All meals and accommodations are provided. Species also included will be javelina, coyotes and quail. Hunt dates are 1/17 – 1/20, Hunters will arrive after 12:00 pm on 1/16 and depart before 12:00 pm on 1/21, Closest airport: El Paso, TX. License: Non Residence Five Day Special Hunting License $48.00 goto www.texasaoudad.com

_______________________________________________________

 

First and Finest

Steve Bemke, Heartland Hunters Pro Staff

 

I looked down at the temperature gauge in my truck as I made my way west traveling through southern Kansas, 100?. A few minutes later, 102?. I had left my home in eastern Missouri earlier that morning, where the first break in the record heat all summer was anticipated. 105?; something is wrong with my temperature gauge, this can’t be right. A short time later, I stopped for gas and was blasted by the heat when I stepped out of my truck.

I had driven into the hottest day of the year in Kansas on my way to Logan, New Mexico for my first ever antelope hunt. After staying the night in a much welcomed air-conditioned motel, I made my way to New Mexico in what seemed like a matter of minutes that next day. After a quick bite to eat, I met up with my guides that afternoon and made my way to camp.

During the short trip to camp, my guide, Jerome and I, talked about the anticipated hunt that would begin the next day. I knew right from the start, I was going to have a good time, and Jerome and his brother James were going to be a lot of fun to hunt with. The temperature was 100? when I arrived. With higher than normal temps, along with an on going draught, conditions were going to be tough.

After setting up my tent and unpacking my gear, we piled into James’ truck with two other hunters in camp who had been hunting that day. One had already put down a 70 class antelope that morning and they were now looking to fill one more tag. Since I couldn’t hunt till the next day, this was a great opportunity for me to ride around and glass the 38,000 acre ranch and size up some antelope for the first time.

Over the course of few hours, we spotted three or four nice bucks in the 70 class range, that I would be thrilled to wrap a tag around. That night, after trading stories at camp and filling my stomach, I somehow slept better than I would have thought, as the anticipation of the following morning hunt ran heavily through my mind. Right about 4:30 A.M., a great horned owl perched in a near by tree called out eerily in the still morning air. The only other sound came from the near by windmill that creaked and moaned with each turn. An ideal alarm clock, and I was ready to go.

A little more than an hour later, we headed out with our guides in separate trucks with full stomachs, as the night steadily let go of its grasp of the coming morning. It didn’t take long, and right after first light, our other hunter in camp, pulled the trigger and wrapped his hands around a beautiful 82” antelope. Moments later, Jerome and I spotted one of the bigger bucks we had glassed the night before. We drove down the road a little ways and decided to make our move.

The buck was about 400 yards away. The terrain was relatively flat, and closing the distance would be a challenge. Using the terrain to our advantage, as best we could, we closed the distance to about 280 yards before the buck finally had enough, and slipped under the fence to the neighbors ranch.

Enjoying my first attempted stalk, I was neither, discouraged or concerned for that matter. I was already having the time of my life on my first antelope hunt. We continued to glass the ranch, as I was amazed at the number of antelope we glassed. We spotted a couple more really nice bucks that were either on the wrong side of the fence or just too far for a respectable stalk. So we added them to our or hit list, and would later return if we were unsuccessful in other areas of the ranch.

One of the prettiest bucks spied the night before was next on our list. We drove across the ranch to try and locate him, and the handful of does he was keeping company the night before. We eventually reached the top of a tall plateau that stretched a ways across the ranch surrounded by the valley below. This gave us a clear view of the surroundings, and a good opportunity to ambush the buck.

After a slow and deliberate walk around one edge of the ridge, he had finally reached the end. Jerome asked me to wait where I was, as he wanted to peer over a small finger at the end of the plateau that we could not yet see over. As he peered over the edge, he quickly motioned for me to hurry over.

Sure enough, he had spotted the does bedded about 250 yards below us. After a few minutes of glassing, Jerome spotted the buck. “There, under the cholla,” he said. “What the hell is a cholla?” I quickly responded. After a quick lesson on cacti, I quickly found the buck bedded beneath the cactus in question.

We inched to the edge of the ridge and quickly set up on the tripod. The does who had been watching us inquisitively, finally made a dash to our left, and soon after, the buck was on their heels.

I moved to the next opening between some yuccas, and the buck stopped broadside to find out what the commotion was bout. “207 yards,” Jerome whispered. Thump… Thump… Thump, my heart pounded, my cross hairs bounced over the buck’s vitals, my breath erratic, as the buck stared towards us.

I took a deep breath, held and squeezed the trigger. The buck tore off to the next county as Jerome advised I had shot high. “Were you shaking?” he asked. “A little,” I greatly understated. We quickly laughed off the miss, and on our walk back to the truck, I later admitted I was shaking like I was getting ready to shoot my first whitetail ever.

Excited about the encounter, and optimistic about getting another opportunity, I was ready to get back to glassing after a quick lunch. I would be lying though if I didn’t admit that I had in my head, my tagged should have been already filled.

After an hour or so of glassing different areas and another blown stalk, we made our way down the county highway where I soon spotted a lone doe feeding less than 200 yards off the road. We quickly pulled over to glass the area. After a several minutes of glassing, like a ghost, a buck appeared out of nowhere 150 yards or so away facing us. He looked at us inquisitively, and continued to feed along with the doe as I came to the conclusion, this was a buck I would be happy to take aim at. We drove down the highway to move ahead of the buck, but he began running with us, as if racing us down the road. He finally gave up and we turned into the ranch a little ways down, and drove around to the other side of the ridge where we observed him.

It didn’t take long and we spotted the buck grazing ahead of us at about 250 yards. We quickly set up and the buck continued casually along as it glanced our way. “280 yards,” Jerome relayed. I got a lot of jitters out after my initial miss earlier that day. I wasn’t sure if I was even going to attempt a shot, but I laid the cross hairs on him and relaxed as much as I could. The buck remained wary but calm. I took my time, and the cross hairs began to settle tighter and tighter on the buck’s vitals. “Aim for the top of the shoulder,” I heard and slowed my breathing.

Almost with out warning, my finger squeezed and the gun roared. I looked up to see the buck trotting away. Missed, I thought. I slammed in another round and found him in my scope again. Yet, when I located him, he was looking back my way with his chest painted in red. He turned and trotted another 30 yards, stumbled and fell over. I looked at my guides with astonishment. “I can’t believe that just happened!” I exhaled. After some hand shakes, I asked how far he was when I shot. “317 yards,” Jerome replied. If possible, the smile on my face grew, as this shot was over twice as far as any shot I had taken back home.

We approached the downed buck and I noticed horns sticking up, and I thought to myself, what nice looking animal. However, as Jerome approached, he grew even more excited. “ I think we underestimated this buck!” The closer we got, the bigger he got. The mass on this buck was substantial and gave the appearance of his horns being shorter in length. I stood over my fist antelope dazed and astonished.

Several pictures later, and a tattooed smile on my face, we arrived back at camp. After caping out the buck, we green scored the horns. Jerome looked at me at grinned, looked back down and shook his head, looked up again. “87 1/2 gross.” I didn’t believe him. It seemed to good to be true. After we measured again and confirmed, I was in disbelief. My first antelope hunt and I had taken what may be the only Boone & Crockett animal of my life.

In a day’s time, I took a ride on a roller coaster of events that ultimately made up one of the most amazing times I’ve spent hunting. From the scenery, to the vast number of antelope we glassed, to making a shot I will never forget; I was on my way back home with a hunt of a lifetime behind me, and a Boone and Crockett antelope in the back of my truck.

A special thanks to James and Jerome Provencio of Provencio Outdoor Adventures who made the whole experience possible. They truly have an outstanding, professional hunting operation and are a pleasure to hunt with. If you are interested in a hunt, you can contact James at 505-264-3534 or check out their web site at: Provenciooutdooradventures.com

____________________________________________________________

 

 

Hidden Creek

Mark Casper, Heartland Hunters Pro Staff

  

“I rode a elephant once, at the Kansas City Zoo one summer… long, long ago” was my response when Leonard asked me if I’d ever ridden a horse before. This was during my first riding lesson, just weeks before we saddled into a pickup truck for a 23 hour drive to North Western Wyoming.

The anticipation had been building for months. Preparation for so many new experiences, physically preparing for high altitude hunting in a remote camp only accessible by horse and pack train…wait…horses??

We started with the basics…how to saddle a horse, how to lead a horse, a proper tie off…things I would have never have considered as preparation for a 30 mile ride through the Shoshone National Forrest to Hidden Creek Camp… (HiddenCreekOutfitters.Com)

Thankfully Leonard was patient enough to spend time with Brett and I, giving us the saddle time and key fundamentals that made the commute in to camp a success.

We left St.Louis a little after 9AM on Monday the 28 th. Uncontrollable nervous excitement about what was to come, a trip out West for a archery Elk hunt in the most remote true thoroughfare wilderness camp in the lower 48.

70 miles outside of Powell Wyoming, lays Hidden Creek Outfitters, a stable and shed, home to horses, mules, saddles and packs. A truck full of gear was now being weighed and distributed in cross member mule pack’s for the ride in, just a few clicks away was the trailhead, only 4 hours to deer creek pass, the halfway point of the ride in to base camp.

We rode a faithful Tennessee Walker’s into camp, Seth and Howard, by name...sure footed and cautious stepping stallions yet not nearly as quick-stepped as the mules that led our pack train up to Deer Creek Pass. The first 4 hours of the trip were literally a blink; the thrill of the ride overtook the terrain which consisted of sleek dirt trails diligently cut into the mountain sides over years of pack trips into camp. Most of the trails were less then the width of our saddle’s, the one thing I hadn’t prepped for were the deep breath’s required when your livelihood depends on the sure step of a horse, looking over steep embankments of sheer rocky drop-off’s. I’ll never forget the emotion that ran through my body when I stepped off my horse at the halfway point….knees weak from the ride, energy dwindling as reality set in that we were only halfway to camp... I lost count of the creeks we forged over the next 4 hours…when we finally saw smoke whisping through the trees as we neared camp, it all became real. Night was setting in, we were in Elk Camp.

Hidden Creek Camp sets in a valley at about 8500 ft of elevation, a oblong flat tucked between First Creek and Hidden Creek. The flat housed several pack tents, a finely built horse pen and tack area, a cook tent, shower tent, makeshift fire providing fellowship and warmth. Just off of the to the edge of camp there was a tree house chock full of dry goods, well above black bear level that we ultimately found was the only structure that stayed in tact in the valley after the end of Elk season…Every stick, every canvas, cots and cook stove…had all been packed in beginning several weeks before our arrival. The camp jack, Clint, had spent the last 5 days in the mountains by himself, prepping for the season.

Reality set in, this was not a weekend deer hunt a few miles from home…this was true wilderness. No phones, no electricity…no facebook. It didn’take long to realize the logistics of the operation were more then I could have ever imagined, a finely tuned machine, ran by true professional outdoorsmen.

Day 1 – We had Bull elk bugling in our face… Bill had been open with us the night before we rode out, “Early archery season is tough in the thoroughfare” We were hunting day one, week one of the Wyoming archery opener. Much like spring turkey, dependencies in a archer’s success were greatly impacted by how vocal the elk are. The variable factor being wind, we knew we had a tough road ahead of us. The night before we left camp our guide (Nick), told the cook we would be up for breakfast at 4:30AM. We’d leave by foot to get to elevation long before daylight in hopes to get above the bedding elk. I’ll never forget watching the sun break the skyline after scrambling through steep bear stricken fallen timber to elevation. After a few cow calls, a bugle chuckle combo and our first bull elk let us know he had heard us loud and clear.

We didn’t close the deal day one but found ourselves in a scenario that would repeat itself several times over the next 6 days of the hunt… a bull elk would bugle a response, quick set-up…cameras rolling, arrow knocked, and swirling winds to bring it to a end. Our routine was mostly spot and stalk with the occasional quiet set/decoy in areas that had proven themselves in the past.

With each day that passed, appreciation for the logistics’ of the operation grew stronger. It’s a pretty amazing experience being surrounded by folks that literally live for breathing the mountain air. Outdoorsmen and conservationists, passionate about their career in the mountains, simply because of their love for the mountains

The last day of the hunt we made a decision to head back to First Creek… We’d spent the day prior there, and had a hot bull evade us from the plateau, one of the closest experiences we had to date. 4:30 AM briskly traversing the mountainside, trying to get to elevation, full confidence as we headed back in to the timber to close the deal. The morning light is slightly burning through the Eastern horizon as a low howl breaks the cool silence…wolves have moved in, and within seconds 4 more answer the good morning howl, just over the ridge from where we were standing. Words can’t describe the emotions…nature at its finest, another incredible experience in high country and somber acknowledgement that today, the final day would be one of the toughest hunts yet.

As the sun sank on the final day of the hunt, unfiltered instant replays of the week’s activity began to replay. The intent of this trip was to bring home an elk, but the reality is, that would have simply been icing on the cake. The experience was once in a lifetime, the memories will never be replaced…believe me, our coolers were full of more then I would have ever imagined as we hit the road on our long journey home.

A special thanks to Bill Perry, Leonard Wolter and to the crew of Hidden Creek Outfitters: http://hiddencreekoutfitters.com/

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Missouri's Best Kept Secret

Leonard Wolter, Host, Hidden Creek Adventures TV

My early days of quail hunting were some of my best days of quail hunting in Missouri. Bird populations were high and the leasing of hunting land was not common practice. We could hunt an entire weekend on permissions without ever hitting the same farm twice. A limit of birds was expected every day, and at least one double was anticipated. It was during these great years of upland hunting that one day we stumbled over Missouri's best kept secret. Woodcock!

The American Woodcock, also known of as the Timberdoodle or Snipe. These beautiful little birds are both native to Missouri, and migratory to our state. What is truly amazing is the fact that many devout hunters are unaware of their existence. When in fact, I've had many recent fall hunts when it is far easier to find a timberdoodle than it is to find a bobwhite! I will admit that many people may not intentionally traverse the briar thickets and dense secondary wood thickets that these little birds inhabit, but I'm sure that there are many a bowhunter that has seen these long beaked bombers on their migratory flights just before dark. The next time you are sitting in your tree stand on the edge of that creek bottom thicket, at that last magical fifteen minutes of light, and you hear a high pitched whistling sound of wings look up. You will probably see this funny looking bird with a long bill and almost no tail. That, my friend, is a woodcock.

As aforementioned, woodcock are both indigenous to Missouri, and migrate through our state. In the spring, males they can be seen on moonlit nights performing their courtship flights. This is when the bachelors fly as high as 100 yards into the night sky and spiral back to the ground producing a distinctive sound as the air rushes through their wings. This wonderful phenomenon has been witnessed within the city limits of some of our largest metropolitan areas. I have on more than one occasion located the females very sparsely built nest on the ground. The females themselves are very well camouflaged as well as their eggs.

Although not necessary, I prefer to hunt woodcock with at dog. As with my normal motif, traveling the road less worn, in my early days of upland hunting I picked the bread of Springer Spaniel to be my companion. These wonderful little friends are of the flushing breeds as opposed to the more popular pointing breeds. Basically all that boils down to is that you need to keep up with them and be ready for a bird at all times.

In the northern states these dogs are extremely popular and considered a classic woodcock locater. Now don't get me wrong, any decent bird dog will be an asset in the pursuit of woodcock, but it is very hard to beat the determination of a Springer in the dense foliage these birds call home. I have been told that some dogs will not retrieve a woodcock. This has never been a problem for my Springers.

While I have shot woodcock in all areas of the state, most of my hunting has been done in the central area of Missouri north of the Missouri river. Typically I would like to have the history of a hard frost to eliminate some of the green vegetation before my first hunt. You will also want to venture out before the ground freezes hard due to the fact the timberdoodles are worm eaters and head south when the dirt gets too hard for their slender bills. Look for heavily overgrown fence rows in creek bottoms. Creek bottoms are great locations but the seemingly most important element is briars. Multiflower rose bushes. The thicker the thorns, the better. If I could pick my spot it would be a long drainage area moving into a creek bottom. Heavy briars in the middle of sapling willows surrounding the briars with soft ground underneath and green grass around the saplings.

Woodcock are not difficult birds to bring down. I often use a 28 gauge with #9 shot. Even if wounded they will usually drop and stay put. When flushed these birds typically have two different flight patterns. The first pattern is low and straight away. They aren’t hard to hit due to speed, but if they start dodging trees can become very difficult. The other typical flush is straight up in the air then suddenly straight forward. Don't shoot this flush on the rise. The bird is too close, and usually when you pull the trigger is when they switch to the forward flight. Wait until they change to their forward flight pattern and you will have an easy going away shot. When you get a flush stay on your toes, very often these fall birds stay in groups of two. They also hold very tight to the cover. Stop often when you are busting the brush. That can be all it takes to make them nervous enough to take flight.

When the maples start to turn and the frost is on the pumpkin, pull on your briar proof pants, don't forget eye protection, grab your shotgun and bust some brush. Why if you were in England hunting woodcock you would be considered elite. Here in Missouri just consider yourself special to have such a treasure.

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Volume 4 Number 1 Winter 2012

To Tech or Not to Tech?
Ben Scofield- Heartland Hunters Pro Staff

That is a question on the mind of many hunters. For every hunter asking his or herself this question, there are probably two opinions about it. Strong opinions. How much tech is too much? All states outlaw the use of things like night vision and spot lights for deer because of the unfair advantage that it gives to the hunter and every ethical hunter I know believes this is in the sport's best interest. But what about those things that are legal?

Read more...

By Steve Bemke
Heartland Hunters Pro Staff

One common debate or question that comes up a lot is; do I run-and-gun, or set up a blind, and stay put? Is one method better at killing turkeys than the other? I’ll do my best to break it down. I want to preface that in the examples to follow, we’re assuming that we are hunting an area that we know turkeys inhabit; whether from pre-season scouting, roosting and locating the night before or hunting the same land that’s been handed down for generations.

Read more...


Looking to promote your Outdoor Business, Guide Service or Outfitter? Heartland Hunters has a well established following not only on the web but with thousands of Outdoor Enthusiasts receiving our Newsletter. Place your ad with us and your next client is only one click away from getting in touch with you. For more information on advertising with us, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


 Heartland Hunters is Proud to offer our first two mobile apps in our suite of huntig apps!

 What the Hunt - See your state's hunting seasons at a glance, orgainzed by date or by game! Have you ever been turned around on your state's website while trying to find out what you can hunt on a certain day but find that the site is organized according to species instead of date? We've turned that on its head and allow you to select your date and we'll show you what is available to hunt that day.

 

Where the Hunt - is the first ever, all inclusive, public cooperative hunting app that is designed by hunters for hunters. The precious time we have to spend in the woods never seems to be enough, so in order to enahnce your time and make the most of your hunt, we designed Where the Hunt!


 Southern Boyz Outdoors

Check out the new iPhone and Android App for our friends at Southern Boyz Outdoors. This App has it all: Weather and wind direction from your exact location or from the location of your stand, Spot management for tracking your honey holes, mapping with blood tracking, a trophy room and more! To get yours today, just search iTunes or Google Play for Southern Boyz Outdoors (don't forget the Z in BoyZ)!


 

By Ben Scofield
Heartland Hunters Pro Staff

There is a hunting season that most of us don't know about. Some of us do, but still feel that the risk is just too great and the prey too dangerous. OK, OK... with the big picture of a mushroom next to these words- there's no point in belaboring the intro. Yes, we're talking about mushroom hunting!  If you're like 99% of the people who avoid mushroom hunting then it's because you're worried about potentially killing your friends and family. And if you're worried about killing your friends and family, I've got good news for you: Not only are you not a psychopath but you're also in a good position to start  mushroom hunting! Why? Because it's the cocky and unworried folks that get sick (or worse) when it comes to mushroom hunting.Read more...


 

By Dwayne Norton
Heartland Hunters Pro Staff

It seems that all of us are trying to accomplish more in less time…work, take care of things around the house, spend time with family and yes, spend time in the deer stand. Owning my own business one would think that I can make time to hunt whenever I want…unfortunately this doesn’t seem to be the case. So when I get that chance to hunt, I often like to hunt my favorite stands, but only if the wind is right.

Scent control is one aspect of bowhunting I focus a lot of attention on. My hunting clothes are always stored in airtight containers, I continuously spray down with scent killer and never wear “street” clothes to the woods.  Read more... 


 

By Brett Grimm
Heartland Hunters Pro Staff

I remember watching a Turkey Hunting Video at a young age; I set my eyes on this glorious Tom strutting across my TV screen. But, this bird was different than the turkeys I was used to seeing in Missouri, he had all these beautiful white tips on his fan complimented by a sun drenched mountain back drop when all of a sudden, BANG! An elated hunter jumped up as he harvested, in my opinion, the most beautiful Turkey I had seen. I was told those turkeys only live out West, and later, found out were called Merriam’s. It was an image and dream that I would carry in my mind until now.Read more...


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Newsletters

Fall 2013

Fall 2013 Fall 2013
Volume 5 Issue 4 Fall 2013 The Waiting Game
Steve Bemke - HH Pro Staff   It was day two of our Wyoming pronghorn archery hunt. Rain had soaked the prairies during the weeks prior to our...
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Volume 5 Issue 2 Summer 2013 A Yukon Hunt to Remember
John Gibbs - HH Pro Staff With over 200 big game animals harvested, I still didn’t have a moose.  I wanted a big moose which meant...
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Spring 2013 Newsletter

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Volume 5 Issue 2 Spring 2013  Snow Days
By Mark Casper, Heartland Hunters Pro Staff The excitement had been...
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Winter 2012 Newsletter

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Volume 4 Number 1 Winter 2012 To Tech or Not to Tech?
Ben Scofield- Heartland Hunters Pro Staff That is a question on the mind of many hunters. For every hunter asking his or herself this question,...
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