Outdoor Journal: Hunters hit the road

For those who’ve never exper­ienced the thrill of hunting other trophy big game in very different cl

I have recently received e-mails and telephone calls from local hunters who have traveled out of state to pursue various types of big game not found here in New York.

For those who’ve never exper­ienced the thrill of hunting other trophy big game in very different climates and environments, they are adventures you will never forget. Let’s take a look at some of the hunts taken this year by these local hunters, and see how exciting they can be.

Now, I do not want you to get the wrong impression. I am in no way dissatisfied with New York hunting opportunities, but we don’t have elk, mule deer, antelope, caribou, huntable moose or cinnamon-colored bears.

MOOSE

Dick Andrews of Amsterdam has traveled to Sam’s Hunting and Fishing Camps in Portland, Newfoundland, five times for bull moose and has never returned empty-handed. That says a lot for the outfitter.

This year, he was joined by Marshall Knapik of Amsterdam, Rich Kraus of Ballston Spa and Ken Pemberton of Lisbon, who was returning for his fourth time. Because of the added expense of shipping back the meat and antlers, the foursome decided to drive; and they all rode together in Dick’s truck, pulling a 5-by-8-foot trailer. The trip from Amsterdam to Deer Lake was just shy of 1,300 miles.

After acquiring their licenses and tags, they were flown in to the island’s upper peninsula base camp by helicopter, which in itself had to be an adventure. Bright and early the next morning, each hunter was paired with a guide and headed off in different directions. The rut had begun, and the bulls were actively responding to the guide’s cow calls. Ken and Ralph were the first to score late that morning, both taking nice 13-point bulls at a range of about 200 yards.

Dick and Marshall had bulls come in to the calls that afternoon, but chose not to shoot in hopes of getting bigger ones. Late that afternoon, with very little shooting time left, three bulls came in. Marshall downed the first, a palmated nine-pointer, at about 175 yards.

Just five minutes later, a huge

15-pointer came in, and Dick wasted no time downing him at about 250 yards. He used a Mossberg 100ATR chambered in .30-06, scoped with a Leupold 2×7, using 160-grain Federal Premium Nosler Partition bullets. Dick’s bull, which you can see on www.adkhunter.com., weighed between 1,250 and 1,400 pounds, and the antler spread was 50.5 inches.

Rich saw a couple of bulls early the first day, but could not get a shot, and finally, based on a very bad weather forecast, took a cow moose at about 250 yards on the fourth day. But he wasn’t quite done because on Saturday, Rich was in the right spot at the right time and added a black bear that measured six feet from the tip of its nose to the tip of its tail and tipped the scales at just over 400 pounds. For information about this outfitter, go to www.samshunting.com.

MULE DEER and ANTELOPE

Schenectady hunters Steve

Zahurak and Mike Beaver headed for Wyoming’s Pumpkin Buttes area in early October. It was their third time hunting this 4,000-acre private ranch located about 50 miles south of Gillette, in some of the best

antelope-hunting country Wyom­ing has to offer. And it also has a nice population of mule deer.

On opening morning, Steve watched a herd of six mule deer well out of range make their way up the Buttes — never to be seen again. It was the only deer that he saw for the next two days. Friday, Steve and California hunter Charlie Spiller decided to hunt some nearby Federal Bureau of Land Management property.

Driving around the dirt roads, they spotted a buck lying down that got up when they stopped and disappeared into a canyon. Driving around to the other side of the canyon, Steve moved quickly up toward the ridge, covering the last 10 yards on his hands and knees. When he peered over the edge, the buck was headed right for him. Getting quickly into the prone position, Steve shouldered his 300 Savage Model 99 and fired. Steve had his first mule deer; a beautiful 4-by-4 (western count) that field-dressed out at 170 pounds.

Earlier in the week, Mike had been wandering the ranch looking for a trophy antelope, and he found one. He said it was really difficult to pick out bigger ones because this year, there seemed to be a lot more bucks than in the past. When he found his, it was traveling in a herd of about 20, six of which were bucks. Getting into shooting range required climbing a steep hill, and when he peeked over the edge, his target was just 40 yards away. One shot from his .284 Winchester ended the hunt. The buck had heavy ivory-tipped horns that measured just shy of 15 inches.

CARIBOU

Early last month, Bill Zielinski of Schenectady traveled to Newfoundland, where he shot what might well be a record-book woodland caribou. This was his second trip with Patey & Sons Outfitters. Bill shot his caribou on the first day of his hunt at about 11:15 a.m. at 60 yards with a .30-06 using

180-grain Federal Nosler Partition bullets. His trophy weighed about 500 pounds on the hoof, and carried a double shovel rack with 26 countable points. Last year, Bill bagged a trophy bull moose that carried an 18-point rack with a 42-inch spread. For information on this outfitter, go to www.biggameoutfitting.com.

Elk & BEAR

A 20-mile ride on the back of a mule was Schenectady hunter David Leon’s only way in to the Heaven’s Gate Outfitters spike camp in the Idaho National Forest, where he would begin his bowhunt for a bull elk. And it was another hour on the back of a mule before starting a hunt up a steep mountain.

David’s guide, Darwin, called as they moved around for over four hours before they got a bull to res­pond. Setting up behind a tree, the hunter and guide waited, and when the bull finally showed, he was about 80 yards away. Slowly, the bull closed the distance, and at 20 yards, David placed the arrow perfectly behind the front shoulder. A final arrow about 300 yards from where the bull was first hit, and he went down for good. The bull sported a nice 5-by-5 rack.

While riding out on their mules, David spotted a cinnamon-colored bear at about 70 yards, parked his mule and drew his Ruger Redhawk .44 magnum handgun. Aiming a bit too high, he missed with his first shot. But the bear only ran about 10 yards and turned broadside to the hunter. Aiming lower this time, he touched off another shot and the bear came on a dead run right at him. At 30 yards, he turned, and

David ended it with a final

300-grain Hornady bullet.

Two trophies and plenty of memories and a hunt that he said, “was the most difficult terrain” he had ever hunted on. For infor­mation on this outfitter, go to www.heavens-

gateoutfitters.

FATHER/SON MOOSE

Paul Durling and his son, JD, of Granville were picked in this year’s New Hampshire lottery moose hunt drawing, and they took full advantage of it. The day before the hunt, they got permission to hunt on private property bordering

National Forest Lands, and spent the day scouting the area. It was well-spent time because 31⁄2 hours into the hunt, JD’s cow calling got the attention of a big bull moose that was traveling with a cow, and they both came in on a dead run. At 75 yards, father and son shot at the same time, and the hunt was over.

The bull dressed at 730 pounds, had 25 points and an antler spread of 481⁄2 inches. A biologist estimated the bull’s age at 61⁄2 years.

CHOOSING AN OUTFITTER

You may have noticed that most of the hunters above were returning to outfitters/guides they hunted with before. This way, the hunters know from past experiences they’ll get the most for their investment from these individuals.

However, if it’s your first out-of-state hunt, how do you choose? I recommend talking with those who’ve already done it, and on more than one occasion. The eas­iest way to find these individuals is through national hunting organizations that most of them belong to. The Safari Club International, Buckmasters, National Wild Turkey Federation, etc., all have local chapters, and within whose ranks are a number of out-of-state hunters. Local sportsman’s clubs and your local gun shops can also help.

Categories: Sports

Leave a Reply