Kansas Deer Season

I got to hunt one day with an Archery tag with my son and saw a buck but no shot that day. It was fun to sit on a stand again and watch the sun come up and go down that day.

Moved up to North Central Kansas to rifle hunt deer and usually its lights out hunting. This year my son came up and even though he walked all the canyons and he tallied at least 15 miles, he saw ZERO deer. 

Usually they are thick as fleas up here and seeing them along the road is normal. This year no one is finding deer and we think they are scattered out into the huge CRP fields and sitting tight. 

I got 4 tags again this year and unless things change I wont fill them. 

Antelope Season Colorado 2015

The Antelope Season where I live in Colorado is a draw tag and it takes about 7 years or more to qualify for a buck tag. I think there are archery tags available but as you can imagine, that is a hard hunt and beyond my ability to do. 

This past year a friend of mine who farms got some game control tags to reduce the damage to his crops by harvesting some doe antelope. The farmers in the are either use those tags or sell them to hunters and its a good use of a resource that lets the owners of the land where these animals feed, control the damage to the crops. 

As you can see from the picture I was able to harvest a good doe and in fact had two tags so got to harvest an additional one as well. They were both full of barley and we found the meat to be both buttery and fine textured and very good eating. 

I believe their being in the grain fields makes all the difference in any game animal. When animals browse on sage brush and other weeks it really affects the meat quality. We had people standing in line at the suppers we cooked antelope and even the liver went fast. Never have I had such tender and sweet tasting liver from any animal. 

I look forward to another fall out there and hope my friend can get tags again as it has made for delicious eating so far. 

Bear Season Colorado 2015

Bear season was a complete failure for me this year. I had gotten mixed up on the application deadlines and ended up with a muzzle loader license. This was the first time I had ever used that type of firearm and even though I had one in my closet, I had never even fired it. 

So the learning curve was there and I got to where I could load and hit my target but finding a bear was hard. In that season you only have one week to hunt and unless you have spotted a bear earlier that is frequenting an area, you probably are not going to see one. 

The last bear I did harvest was on an elk carcass and there were actually 5 bears visiting that same elk meat. So that was a great hunt. This year I didn't kill an elk or find one dead so it just did not happen. 

Currently the laws in Colorado prohibit baiting and the use of dogs and the use of electronic calls so its a tough season in areas with a lot of timber. The game wardens tell me that in the areas with oak brush its much easier to see bears and stalk them. i may have to try a different location next year. 

Deer Hunting Colorado 2015

Do your homework if you are fortunate enough to draw a coveted deer tag in Colorado as the numbers are sketchy in some areas while prolific in others and you want to have a good success rate. 

  The buck below shows what is out there however this ole boy stays in my dads back yard in town during the entire season.  

It takes at least 5 preference points to draw a buck tag in my area Unit 80 and that is pretty much the norm all over Colorado from my research. About 5 years ago, a resident could draw a buck tag every other year or 1 out of 2. So something has happened to the deer herd in Colorado in my opinion. 

Colorado Elk Hunting 2015

I have to say this was probably the worst season I have ever hunted for Elk in Colorado. The DOW officers also reported that there was a really low kill rate for my area in Southern Colorado. 

I have been bow hunting the past 4 seasons and its been a hard hunt each year but this year I saw even fewer animals than before. Every day I hunted both morning and evening so was in the forest for 30 days continually. 

Before the season I had installed game cams out in the areas I  hunt and was pleased to see both cows and bulls at the locations but there was no pattern to their visits. Two of the locations were heavily used every day but as the season approached the elk became TOTALLY nocturnal in visits to the wallows and other spots. 

I sat on them many hours and saw one deer twice but nothing else came in. The only elk I saw in daylight hours was a cow traveling fast between drainages and too far to shoot. 

Since I was up there every day I tried to talk to other people who were hunting and all reported poor success and seeing nothing. The weather was probably a factor as it was hot and that does affect elk movement. One group of 22 had two elk both of which were fluke events close to camp and when the hunter was not really ready. 

I was disappointed to say the least as I worked at this very hard. The people I know that are younger and can hunt remote areas reported the same lack of animals. 

The local DOW is saying there is a huge number of animals in this are but we are just not seeing them in the hunting seasons or when ATVing in the summers. So whether the fires had an impact on them or the dying spruce forests are causing movement out of the area no one seems to know but the results seem to show a difference from the Division of Wildlife numbers. 

 

Secret to Great Tasting Game

2013 Colorado Bear

I have always processed my own wild game and find it to be an enjoyable and profitable experience. First of all, having it done by a processing plant can costs upwards of $350 per deer and more for the larger animals like elk. 

My great aunt had her own butcher shop and so at about age 16 when I got my first deer, she taught me how to cut it up and package it and so I have been able to do that for myself each time I harvested an animal. 

There are also books and now YouTube videos that show you how to do it and so I believe anyone can learn. I don't believe you can make a mistake honestly so get in there and give it a try. 

Two years ago I shot my first bear and we were able to get it out of the forest and skinned an hung in about 3 hours. I processed it the next day and the meat was so mild I was shocked. Everyone we fed it to loved it and I believe it was the quick processing that did the trick. 

Last fall I harvested 4 deer in Kansas. These deer are corn fed and of great quality but quick handling of the meat is essential to a good product. I usually got them in the evening and would take them home and skin and quarter them out and lay them out in my dad's shed to cool overnight. The next day I boned them out and put them in the freezer. 

These deer are excellent table fare and again, quick processing is the key. 

Another thing I always hated about some processing plants is they do NOT give you back YOUR deer. Then just save a bunch up over the season and cut them up and divide the meat. SO you are getting deer that have been hauled around in trucks or left out in the heat and the meat is horrible. 

The expense is also a huge item for me as 4 deer would have cost me $1200 and all I had to buy was a small freezer for $149 from KMart online. It came out of Kentucky and I had it the NEXT DAY via Amazon. 

Our goal this year is to eat as much as we can from what I hunt and fish and  so far we have done a pretty good job of that. My girlfriend is an excellent cook and with her culinary expertise we never tire of the meals of wild game. 

It is also low in fat, has no feed additives or antibiotics so its good for you if you can get it. 

I will get her to post some recipes for you in the coming months so watch for her pages here on the blog. 

Kansas Deer License Deadline

For those of you wanting to hunt deer in Kansas this year, July 10, 2015 appears to be the deadline to apply for those licenses. They are all online this year so spend some time beforehand getting used to the process so you do not miss out on this opportunity to hunt. 

I hunted Kansas last year and was able to harvest a buck and 3 does and have been extremely pleased with the meat. There is NO gamey taste to it at all. 

I boned it out quickly and got it cooled and in the freezer the next morning. Weather was below freezing each night and perfect for processing meat. More on that in the next blog. 

 

License Tag Drawing Results Coming Back

I got back my Bighorn Sheep application money today along with a Preference Point for that species. So i await the rest of the drawings to see how I came out. Was hoping for a Moose Tag this year. I believe I selected Archery for that and what a thrilling hunt that would be. 

My plans are for Archery Elk and hopefully draw a bear tag again. We cannot bait or use dogs on bears in Colorado so its a very challenging hunt and one of being at the right place at the right time. Bear in September are always on the move so its a hit or miss adventure often. 

 

Colorado Big Game Seasons 2015-2016

For those of you wanting to hunt in Colorado in the coming season in Colorado need to be aware of the fast approaching date for application for licenses. APRIL 7 is the cutoff day for turning in your choices for next fall and you can do that via mail or phone or online.

Its quite a process to choose the applicable hunt codes from the online brochures and care must be taken to get that right. I sat down and made a chart to keep all of mine straight.

This year I turned in for Elk, Deer, Bear, Antelope, Moose and Bighorn Sheep. The chances of drawing too many of those to hunt effectively is not high but if I do, I will have to choose what I hunt and let the others slide.

Moose hunting and antelope hunting is relatively easy there as the pronghorn stand out in open fields to be hunted and the moose are just a tad dumb. I always am limited in what I can do and how hard I can go but will hire what help I need should I be successful. That works well for anyone considering killing a large game animal in mountainous terrain. $100 to $200 is cheap when you consider how hard it is to retrieve animals. That's a good job for younger people with horses and ATV's.

I have had to learn to hunt smart since injured and also now must let others retrieve my game. The main thing is whatever your situation, work around it, don't quit.

Bighorns are also seen regularly within rifle shot from the area roads and are too tame from lack of hunting. So very few are taken each year due to limits that they are just not people wary.

Elk hunting is like whitetail hunting on steroids. They are very elusive and very spookey. One look at you and they might run 25 miles into new areas. I will archery hunt Elk again and have places close to roads so I can physically do it. Older, injured and smarter I had to make accommodations. I have an accommodation permit to use a crossbow and let me tell you, it does NOT shoot as well as my Mathews Bow but I just cannot pull that anymore due to permanent injuries. I thought it would be more like shooting a gun but it has a terrible trajectory and is heavy to carry. Luckily I found a few spots close to a logging road that have Elk close by and so can still enjoy a hunt although I have yet to connect on one.

The one shot I did get the KNOCK on the arrow was loose and so it didn't fire correctly. IF YOU GET NEW ARROWS CHECK THE KNOCKS AND INSERTS.....before the season. 6 arrows were glued and 6 not.

OUT OF STATE licenses are expensive these days as in most States. I was smart enough to get a lifetime hunting license in Kansas when I lived there and so can also hunt and fish there as a resident.

IF YOU are thinking of moving from a great hunting State, you might consider getting a lifetime license as that usually sets you up to hunt as a resident even though you move to another State. Check the State laws for regulations on that idea.

So $900 poorer I am entered into the next round of drawings. Some of that will come back in the form of refunds and some I took a Preference Point to be used in some future year when I have time or enough points to hunt a highly coveted area. Even if you cannot hunt this year, you may want to turn in for points for future years. You have to pay the full price of the tag but get refunded all but a few dollars back when the Point is assigned in a month or two.

Moose, Sheep, Mountain Goat are all $250 for a RESIDENT. I applied for Pref Point on Goats as I will have to be in better physical condition for that one and be able to hire a guide to help me as they are found in remote places. Not this year for sure. There are so few tags given for Moose and Sheep that the chances are low you will even draw and then you also get a Pref Point. For Elk, I have 15 Points and will keep building those toward the 21 needed in the very best unit then hire a guide to take me. For now I can get on over the counter Crossbow tag and have enough fun for me trying that.

I also have 4 deer points this year and am not sure what do to about that. My calendar is full and hate to use those points if I don't need to. Just talked to The Colorado Division of Wildlife and you CAN turn your tag back in for either a refund or a restoration of points used if you are unable to make a hunt you drew a tag for. So I will not get online and apply for the deer tag and if I get too many tags to use effectively or if my physical condition is such I cannot go, I can at the least get my points restored for future years when I might be better than this year.

Again, if you suffer from some disability, make allowances for it. Become smarter and use maps and roads more to your advantage to find areas where you can still access. Get a friend to help you and trade what you do best for his help or pay some local young men to help you or if you have the money, hire a guide. You only live once. This isn't an dress rehearsal.

Kevin

Fall Colors Abound

This past weekend saw the conclusion of the archery deer and elk season.  

I have heard both good and bad reports so far but it appears that hunters who were willing to hike back in several miles scored more consistently than others who did not go as far. The elk found places to hide in response to the pressure from both bow and muzzleloader hunting.

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Hunting Report, September 18 2014

I had hoped to have a personal hunting success story for the readers this week but so far have struck out on both bear and elk. Those 4 a.m. alarms are starting to wear thin and I am just trying to hang on for now.

There have been some success stories of course but the results are too scattered to really try and pattern a hunt. The warm temperatures have sent the elk into hiding and hunters report poor conditions overall. I was able to stop and visit many camps this past week and everyone was reporting the same dismal results. Many of the hunters simply gave up and went home which is troubling for our reputation as a prime hunting destination.  

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Colorado Elk Season 2014

With a week of archery elk season under our belts I have heard of several nice bull elk being taken in the area providing healthy meat for the coming winter months and proving the success of the management process for the Colorado Parks and Wildlife programs.

While a few hunters have reported quick success, others are complaining of finding few elk in the areas they normally hunt. No one can ever guess the reasons elk move around in our huge forested areas but food, safety and numbers of people in the area have an effect on the elk.

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