First Lite Clothing

December 30, 2012 by  
Filed under Gear & Reviews



Back to the Basics


I feel like, the older I get, the smarter I get.  I’m sure you can find people that would tell you I’m not getting any smarter, but what do they know? Most of them are still wearing their old, traditional camo clothing made from cotton, polyester, and even denim.  Over the last couple years, I have jumped on the band wagon and have been experimenting with some of these new high performance hunting clothing companies.  Let me tell you, there is some great high performance clothing for hunting on the market right now.


75 Degrees and the first Lite worked flawlessly!

One such company is a First Lite which is an industry leader out of the Sun Valley, Idaho area.  First Lite is one of the pioneers in high performance hunting clothing.  It all started by wearing merino wool clothing to give them added warmth and freedom of movement on the ski slopes.  They soon fell in love with the attributes of merino wool and wanted to use it on their hunting ventures. The problem was,  merino wool only came in black, so they were forced into wearing a cotton or polyester camouflage over their wool.  They had the same age old problem that most hunters have had.  All the warm clothing was big, bulky, heavy and didn’t breathe very well.  There is nothing worse than being sweaty, wet and cold while skiing and or hunting.  It is miserable and can even cause death!  The solution, start a company that builds state of the art hunting clothing out of merino wool in camouflage patterns.

As we all know it gets cold in Kansas in December! Well the First Lite work perfectly…


In 2007, Kenton Carruth and Scott Robinson owners of First Lite, set out on a mission to create clothing that would breath, is light weight and would not restrict the athletes movement.   It all started on the ski slopes and moved into the hunting industry.  From earlier archery season to late season, if you are cold weather deer hunting, they have you covered.  First Lite addressed each of these concerns and faced them head on to come up with what I feel is the perfect combinations for all your hunting adventures.

Texas Mule deer hunting! It can be 60 degrees one day and 20 degrees the next, as was the case on the day I harvested this great buck.


Let’s talk about the most important part of your clothing, whether it is early season or late season which is the first layer of clothing next to your skin.  Layering your clothing is the most effective way to achieve the perfect body temperature control in any environment.   The best material to have next to your body, hands down, is merino wool.  Merino wool is much smoother, finer wool when compared to the wool of an ordinary sheep. Not even all merino sheep have wool that is suitable for clothing, especially if it is next to your body.  Only the best merino wool can be used.  Traditional wool, as we all know, is very warm and itchy.  Merino sheep have much softer, finer wool compared to that of their cousin.  These finer strands of Merino wool eliminate the nasty itch caused by traditional wool.  As a matter of fact, when I received my first order of First lite I had to check the collar to see what it was made of.  It did not feel like any other wool I had tried in the past.  It was soft, elastic and fairly light compared to that of other base layers on the market. The collar, to my surprise, read 100% merino wool.


A huge attribute to wool is its ability to wick away sweat from your body.  It has the ability to disperse sweat into the millions of fibers and rapidly dry your garment.  The best part about this is, you and your garment remain scent free for longer periods of time.  Body odor is caused by bacteria growing and feeding off your body sweat.  No sweat, no body odor, the wool evaporates and dries quickly not giving bacteria time to grow.  I have tested this very extensively!  These high performance first layers are not cheap, so the average guy can’t afford to run out and buy one for every day of the week.  One base layer is going to have to last you multiple days of wicking away sweat and staying scent free.  Take my word for it, this stuff is amazing and worth every penny.  As Jim Shockey would say (I hope he doesn’t have this trademarked yet) “I trust my life to it”; it’s that good.  With First Lite’s first layers I can guaranty you that you have a much better opportunity to survive a night or two out in the cold, than if you weren’t wearing it.


As you can see, I personally, used the heck out of the Llano top, a 170 gram interlocked fabric base layer and the Allegheny 230 gram, mid weight bottom this year.  I tested them from ten degrees to ninety degrees Fahrenheit, and they performed flawlessly. As a base layer or my only layer, First Lite’s merino wool passed everything I could throw at it, including a smell test.  After three days of climbing hills, sweating and filming deer in ninety degree plus temperatures, I took the shirt off and asked my wife to smell it and tell me what she thought.  After a funny look and cautious smell her response was “what, it doesn’t smell like anything” I then told her that I just had taking it off after abusing it for three days in the field.  Her response was ” Wow, we should get you more of this”  I don’t no what she meant by that, but maybe after 12 years of washing my stinky hunting clothes she was ready for a positive change in the smell of my dirty garments.

I truly believe in this product. How people you know will strip down to their undies to show support to a great product. That would be me!


One of my favorite attributes to this base layer is it’s ability to stretch in all directions and go right back to its original shape.  A traditional garment would look like an over sized shirt at the end of four or five days of wear. These are breathable and have an articulate cut that allows for less restriction during movement.  What else can I say about these undergarments, besides they are the best!  If you are not a long bottom kind of guy, you need to try their Red Desert Boxers.  They are the bomb!  They are cut and seams are placed to prevent chafing and rashes, that you would normally get from tradition underwear.  I find myself wearing them even when I’m not hunting.  They are comfy!

A great management buck! I put this gear through its paces and I feel in love with. You can’t go wrong with First Lite gear. You have my word on it!


First Lite has all of their clothing in many of the popular camouflage patterns available on the market today.  If you are not a fan of camo, they also have them in a number of solid colors.  With multiple garment configurations and fabric weights in their first layers there is no reason for your core to ever get cold again.


This is not a paid endorsement, just my personal beliefs on how great First Lite’s products are.


PRO’s:  The best of the best. Breathable, light weight, wicks away moisture, and helps you remain odorless longer. Their clothing is everything you could possibly need!  They have me hooked!

CON’s:  First Lite is a little on the pricey side, but worth every penny.  Other under garments that compete with First Lite are similarly priced.

PRODUCT: I would like to see them expand their product line!  Maybe something that is water proof.  If it’s not raining you will need nothing besides what they offer, except for an excuse to get out in the field.

COMPANY: These guys are great!  I stopped in during an archery deer hunt and they treated me as if they had known me for years. Small company, with small company values. Order your clothes early as they do run out of certain sizes and colors.  They do sell their clothing on the retail market, so it can be readily available in your area.  Ask your nearest retailer for First Lite clothing.


A couple huge archery mule deer!

September 17, 2012 by  
Filed under the PURSUIT

Seems this could be the year of the archer!


Here are a couple of my favorite deere that have been harvested this year!  The first is Randy Ulmer’s Nevada buck.  Randy is no stranger to killing huge mule deer with his bow!  For year he hunted with Greg Krogh and killed some of Nevadas biggest deer.  Don’t know much about the deer other than it was harvested in Nevada.  As I here more I will let you know!  Congrats goes out to one of My idols  Randy Ulmer!

Randy Ulmer is no stranger to posing behind huge mule Deer!

The second buck I know absolutely nothing about!  I do know that it is Thomas Baker behind the deer!  I’m assuming he was the guide and the deer was taking in Wyoming.  Just a Guess as Thomas talks up what he can do in Wyoming.  Maybe he finally got it done. I really like the width, mass and stickers on  this buck.  The mass and width make it one of my early favorites so far this year!

I just want to know where the Jack Russell is?

Zach’s latest record buck!

March 2, 2010 by  
Filed under the PURSUIT

Zach’s Latest record book deer.  Scoring in 228 net, Zach’s buck is the new number two record Pope and Young buck for the state of Idaho.  What a great couple of years Zach has had chasing monster mule deer.  Zach will be a guest speaker at the Mule Deer University, this weekend at the Sports show here in Boise.

A photo of Zach’s great buck from August 2009

Zach harvest a second great Pope and Young buck during the 2009 season.  His incredible typical buck would have scored close to the 200 inch mark if not for the 6 inches of broken main beam.

Zach’s state record archery buck from 2001. It good to see he finally upgraded his bow!  Rumor has it that Zach is going to be shooting Hoyt this coming year.  Welcome to the awesome world of Hoyt, Zach. I’m sure you will add some more tremendous bucks to your wall!


September 9, 2009 by  
Filed under the PURSUIT


Possible new Pope and Young State record for Washington

washington record all photo rights reserved

What a great guy!  Just got off the phone with the lucky hunter Mark.  What a humble person!  This is a great story, Mark has watched this deer for three years and was able to draw the tag a stick an arrow in this awesome animal.

“It really hasn’t even hit me yet.  The phone has been ringing off the hook and it hasn’t even giving it time the sink in.  I wish the deer was still alive and a pet in my back yard.  Its hard harvesting something you have so much time invested in.  I’ve watched this particular deer for three season now.  He deserves the respect, not me”

From my conversation with mark on the phone I can tell he is a true gentleman in every spectrum of the definition.  Its good to see good people work hard and get what they have put in, back out of a sport they so enjoy.  Congrats mark, on a spectacular buck! I can’t wait to see the field photos and hear the full story!  This is KARMA at its best!wash3

Currently the State record for Washington is a 202 0/8 incher harvested in Franklin County back in 2004 by Tom Adrian.  The number two Pope and Young buck was harvested in 1983 in Chelan County and scores 189 1/8 inches. We should have an unofficial green score some time today. (Information per the 2005 edition of the Pope and Young record book) I’ve my got fingers crossed for you Mark.wash2

Update 9-10-2009

Unofficial gross green score is 209 1/8 inches with 8 7/8 inches if deductions.  This gives it an unofficial net green score of 200 1/8 inches, putting him number two in Washington.  He is 31 1/2 inches wide, with great mass al the way out to the tips. This is a beautiful buck. Congrats mark, thanks for the update!


Founder, Mule Deer Country


August 11, 2009 by  
Filed under Gear & Reviews

logo_main_196Trophy Takers Shuttle T-lock

s7_417041_imageset_01The most important part of all archery equipment is arguably the broadhead. Achieving success while archery hunting requires a fast, strong, accurate, quiet broadhead that cuts a big wound channel.   The Shuttle T-Lock by Trophy Taker is my broadhead of choice.

Over the last four years my archery equipment has gone through many changes.  However two things have stayed constant with my gear, my Hoyt bows and the Shuttle T-Lock broadheads.  When you find something that works, stick with it.  I have never had a T-lock broadhead fail me. From their thick non-vented, stainless steal blades to their patented T- Locking blades, they are guaranteed not to fail. These broadheads are bullet proof and fly as true as field points.

From the smallest of big game to the largest, these blades cut wide wound channels and get 4 to 6 inches deeper penetration than expandable broadheads.  When it comes to the fast bows of today, the shuttle T-lock is the perfect fit.  They have a smaller over all blade diameter with thicker shuttle cut blades and they slice thought the air with ease when shot through the high speed bows of today.

Like I said earlier, I have shot Shuttle T’s for a number of years and have been blessed to harvest some quality animals.  Even when the shot was a marginal hit, the blade did its job and the game was recovered.  My 2006 elk was quartering to me as I shot at 20 yards.  The bull ran 40 yards and fell over dead.  When I approached the elk, I was shocked to see a five inch wide cut into the front shoulder.IMG_0242

Idaho Archery elk 325 inches, 20 yard quartering to shot

My Alberta mule deer was my first mule deer with a bow.  It was a sixty yard shot.  The broadhead went clean through the front shoulder and stuck in the off side shoulder.  The buck ran 70 yards and expired in the cattails.   When we open the deer, I found myself shocked to see that the shuttle T  went through the shoulder blade and both sides of the rib cage before lodging in the offside shoulder and that was at sixty yards!  My arrow should have been 6 inches further back, but the broadhead still did its job.  Pretty impressive for a marginal shot!


The Alberta #2 Pope and Young mule deer,  195 4/8 net inches. (hard horned).

Trophy Takers Shuttle T-lock broadheads

  • Pro’s- Toughest, quietest, most accurate broadhead I have shot.  The proof is in the pictures.
  • Con’s- Shooting the vanes off of my arrows at 80 yards.  Who would have thought a broadhead could be this accurate.
  • Company- Great people.  I have spoken with Jerrod Lile on the phone on a number of occasions.  We got along like two old college buddies.

IMG_0075A cool Texas double dropper white tailed deer harvested with the Hoyt and A Shuttle T-Lock.

IMG_0221A Pope and Young black bear from forty yards with the Hoyt and a Shuttle T-lock broad head

Dan MarrowGood Friend, Dan Morrow, with his #2 Oregon Non-Typical Elk.  Harvested w/ a Hoyt and the Shuttle T broadhead.

I can’t wait to try out the new Terminal T-lock broadheads by Trophy Taker, due out this summer!  They look like one wicked little broadhead.

Steve Alderman


Krogh and Ulmer hook up Again!

June 22, 2009 by  
Filed under the PURSUIT

 Greg Krogh – Mogollon Rim Outfitters

Greg & randy 2007 NevadaFeatured Outfitter Greg Krogh


In July of 07 I was heading to Nevada with My wife and family to start scouting for Randy Ulmers archery mule deer hunt. The whole drive over I was preoccupied with the thought of a buck that had eluded us the year before. I had glassed him up during the actual hunt the year before on opening day, but by the time I went and got Randy and made it back to my glassing knob he had disappeared. Feeding right in the same general area was another great buck with a big hook cheater and awesome mass. I told Randy it wasn’t the same buck and he opted to pass and keep looking for the bigger buck. After three days the bigger buck never showed himself, so Randy decided to take the other big buck with the hook cheater.Ulmer 2006 Nevada

Randy and his awesome 2006 Nevada buck! Outfitter Greg Krogh of Mogollon Rim Outfitters 

 While still a great buck, I was anxious for the 07 season to arrive so I could spend some time looking for he phantom buck that disappeared on us.


After setting up camp I got to get in an early evening glass, but was unable to locate the buck. 4 days later and I still hadn’t turned him up, so I decided to start looking for some other bucks. After another couple of days I still hadn’t been able to turn up any bucks that I knew Randy would be interested in. On the drive back to AZ I called Randy and told him the bad news. We considered selling the tag and canceling the hunt, but ultimately he decided he would take his chances and I scheduled one more scouting trip the last week of July, one week before the season opener. 


On this last scouting trip a good friend of mine Dave Jenkins decided that he would come along and help. We left the day after Dave’s Retirement party. During the drive over we talked about what Dave was going to do with al his newfound free time, but I was preoccupied once again by the phantom buck that had disappeared into thin air the year before. I just knew he was there somewhere, and I was just missing him.Ulmer-Dave 2007 Nevada 

 Dave Jenkins holds Randy Ulmers 2007 Nevada Buck

We spent the next few days on the south end of the unit, but once again couldn’t find any great bucks.  Before we knew it, it was three days before the opener and I hadn’t found a single buck for Randy to hunt. I decided to head back once again to the area were I had last seen the big buck 12 months earlier. It was early afternoon and Dave and I were huddled under an umbrella the Dave had packed out to our glassing point. As we sat there glassing, I was apologizing to Dave for making fun of him for packing an umbrella up the mountain. As soon as the rain cleared I glassed up the outline of what looked like a big buck in a real thick burned patch of mahogany. Every time he turned or moved his head I got glimpses of a lot of bone. We excitedly made our way over to a closer vantage point 3/ 4 of a mile across the canyon from the buck. I just had this feeling it was the very buck I had seen the year before. He was even in the same canyon 400 yards from where he had disappeared the year before. Once we got set up and started to pick apart the opposite ridge, our excitement turned to disappointment. For the next two hours, we searched but never could relocate the buck. Finally, the sun hit his antlers just right and gave away his location. He was bedded not fifty yards from where we had last seen him, but the thick growth made it very difficult to see him. Soon after he stood up and stretched and we were able to get a great look at him and he was definitely the buck we were looking for. He was about 30 inches wide, with a 200-inch main frame and four outside cheaters.


 I couldn’t believe our good fortune, I had finally relocated the buck, and the hunt was starting in just two days. That night at Camp I called Randy and told him the great news.

Thankfully, the next morning Dave and I found the buck again and watched him until noon. I left Dave to keep an eye on the buck and I headed back to Camp to see if Randy had arrived. When I got there I showed Randy some video and we tried to come up with a plan of the attack for the next morning.  Since Randy already knew the area well, because it was right where we had taken his buck the year before, he decided to stay back that afternoon and double check all of his equipment for the next mornings opener. I headed back up the mountain to meet Dave and watch the buck until dark. The buck was hanging really tight on the thick ridge, and hadn’t traveled more than a couple hundred yards in two days. Everything seemed to be looking like a slam-dunk.


We had the whole area to ourselves opening day, but one thing or another kept us from getting the buck killed. The good news was that the buck was still right there and he had no idea we were even hunting him, despite the fact that Randy was within close range twice, unable to get a shot off because of obscured shooting lanes. Day two and three were much of the same, but we were starting to get closer. Early on day four I glassed up the buck really early and he was leaving the bachelor herd of bucks that had been making it so difficult to get close to him. Shortly after sun up I watched in disbelief as he bedded all by himself 45 yard below a rocky ridge line .We knew this was a golden opportunity, and Randy quickly made the mile long circle to get behind the rocky ridge. I watched through binoculars as Randy’s head appeared along the ridge directly above the bedded buck. He quietly settled in and the long wait began. Twice in the next 3 hours he stood up, only to quickly bed back down again without offering any shot opportunity. Finally, after watching for five straight hours, the buck stood up around high noon and took four or five steps into a little opening to feed and stretch. At the top of my field of view in my binos I could make out Randy readying himself for the shot.  As the buck quartered away from him to feed on some brush I watched as he slowly came to full draw. I shifted my focus back to the buck’s ribs just in time to see the arrow hit its mark. The buck broke into a dead run for twenty yards and then piled up. Finally, after 12 long months, everything had come together and the giant buck was down. When I made it over to Randy the celebration began. With awesome mass, long tines and multiple extras, he was definitely worth the time and effort.


Ulmer 2007 NevadaRandy Ulmer with his 2007 Nevada buck.  Guide was Greg Krogh of Mogollon Rim Outfitters.





Alberta, New #2 Archery Mule Deer!

May 27, 2009 by  
Filed under the PURSUIT

Alberta Bliss

By Steve Alderman

canada-mag-coverAnyone and everyone in  the mule deer world knows that Canada is home to impressive mule deer including the current world record, the Broder buck.  Hunting the rolling hills of Alberta for trophy mule deer had been a dream of mine for the last ten years.  Harvesting a monster mule deer with a bow is a difficult task because of the mule deer’s keen senses. Nonetheless, before I knew it, a mule deer hunting buddy of mine, Joe Wiggs, referred me to an outfitter in Southern Alberta.  The date was set and I  was headed north to hunt the rolling agricultural fields of Alberta.


 I would be hunting the second week of the season in Alberta.  It would give my guide and outfitters some time to locate a good buck.  I called the outfitter every night of the first week to get updates and it seemed as if 180+ class bucks were the norm with every phone call.


My hopes were high as I started my trek to Alberta.  Soon, I would get my first chance at a trophy buck  with my trusty Hoyt.  As usual, none of the bucks that were seen the prior week showed themselves, however, I did find a 190 class buck on the third day of the hunt.  A sudden  wind change blew our stalk on the heavy Alberta muley.  The rest of the hunt was spent chasing the elusive 190-inch non-typical that seemed to vanish into  thin air.  Needless to say, my 2005 hunt ended without even taking an arrow out of my quiver.  


Fast forward to 2007.  This year I was on a cancellation hunt, but instead of the second week, I would be hunting the first.  I was really looking forward to hunting with guide and good friend, Scott Olson.    Lucky for me, Scott had a summer job grading roads before the hunting season, which in my eyes doubled as a daily scouting opportunity.  If nothing else, Scott would know what fields and water source the deer were frequenting.


canada-4We arrived in Alberta two days before the season started in an attempt to find an elusive 6×8 non-typical Scott had photographed the prior week.  As luck would have it, opening morning was upon us and we had not spotted the big buck. The morning dawned cold and wet with the pungent smell of freshly cut alfalfa overwhelming our senses.  We began scanning the hay fields surrounding the area where the buck was previously spotted twice.  Suddenly, in the distance, I spotted antler tips in the depression of a hay field  to the East.  We scrambled into position to try and cut the deer off as they were moving to their bedding area.  Crawling  through the freshly cut hay to the edge of the depression we were able to set up our glass.  Looking through the lens of the Swarovski scope we spotted the deer watering and realized these were eight bucks  Scott had never seen before.  Two among the group were worthy of a stalk with antlers grossing in the mid 190’s.  I chose to make the one with the extra kicker my quarry.  He was a little wider, much heavier, and he just had to be the one because mass is my big weakness.  Spirits were high as we had found a couple of great bucks to stalk on opening morning.  We were joking and making fun of one another as the deer made their way to an aspen patch located in the middle of the hay field.  The deer bedded for the day and the stock was planned.  The first 1000 yards would be in the open, but the last 200 yards had the cover of a spring where the grass was over two and a half feet tall due to the fact that it was simply to wet and difficult for farmer to cultivate it.  canada

Alberta and Hoyt, go together like peanut butter and jelly!

We snuck from hay bale to hay bale for the first 1,000 yards, but then it was hands, knees and bellies for the next  400.  Halfway through the stalk,  the deer got up and left the cover of the aspens to bed near a single bush in the middle of the spring.   The mature bucks worked their pecking order to vie for the best beds while the forked horns were left to bed in the open, 20 yards from the bush.  The stalk was back on. This time, however, we had to move more slowly to ensure one of the young bucks didn’t detect our movement and destroy the last two hours of painstaking stalking.  


canada-21Finally, we reached the cool, tall grass of the spring.  To our surprise, the spring was lower than the bush the deer had bedded near which allowed us to stalk within 50 yards of the big boy.  Unfortunately, the forked horn bucks were between us and my prize.  We couldn’t get any closer  so we settled in for the long haul.

Fortunately for us, after 15 minutes, the clouds broke and the skies began to clear.  It started to heat up and the deer began to pop up almost magically out of the tall grass looking for a shadier spot to bed.  The big boy stood up and began feeding on the bush he was previously bedded under.  I knew the buck was 50 yards from us and standing broadside.  The camera man had been standing over my right shoulder with Scott kneeling to my left.  “Are you on him” I asked the camera man.  He replied “yes, I’m rolling”  I slowly started to draw my Hoyt Vectrex back, anchored  and let the arrow fly.  The buck spun 180 degrees and ended up facing the opposite direction.  To my disbelief, the arrow had flown harmlessly over his back.  Now he was standing broadside curiously trying to figure out what had just happened  allowing me to knock another arrow, ask the cameraman if he was still rolling, draw, anchor, concentrate on the spot, release and follow through.  The arrow flew perfectly and found its mark.  The buck ran eighty yards where he crashed lifelessly into the cattails.  It was almost surreal that everything had gone so perfectly, from finding this buck, executing the perfect stalk, and being granted a second shot.  It was amazing to share this experience with two great friends and harvest one spectacular animal with my Hoyt on the first day of the hunt.

As we made our way over to the buck, he kept growing and growing.  This was one of those times when the deer was actually bigger than we had thought.  His mass was spectacular with huge 3’s and 4’s.  He had massive blading which made all of his points appear shorter than they actually were.  Our Alberta buck measured out with a 204”  typical frame with four inches of extras.  He officially nets out at 195 4/8” typically, which places him #2 right behind the new #1 shot by Peter Tsoulamanis almost two months later.  

canada-5Camera man Cody Waldo and I on cloud nine!


What a trip!  Three days in Alberta and I had the biggest buck I had ever harvested!   I couldn’t wait to get it back to the States with my 208” gross buck and rub it in! 

One tip that I would pass on to new archers is that you need to have patience.  Don’t force the situation.  Allow the buck to do what is natural for him and eventually he will make a mistake that you can capitalize on.  This was an experience I will treasure. I now have an Alberta buck that still takes my breath away.  Good luck and “Dare to dream big!”


*On a side note, there was one down side to this hunt.  I called to rebook a hunt for this coming year and the cost of the hunt went up by over fifty percent.  It looks like I will be archery hunting in My home state of Idaho this year!  It’s not that it is not worth it, I’m just not made of money.  If I was, Scotty, would be busy helping me find that next trophy of a life time.

Hunting north of the border for mule deer is something everyone should try, at least in September when the weather is somewhat pleasurable.  You just never know when that buck of a lifetime will walk out of a thicket.


A special thanks goes out to my good friend and guide, Scott Olson, for taking us around and letting us stay at his grandparents house.  You are the man Scotty!  Thanks for all you have done to help make my dream a reality.  Thanks to my wife and son for making room in the house for one more mount and to Hoyt for making the best bow money can buy!  Thanks also to Kings for their awesome camo!  No need for shadows when you can flat hide anywhere.  Congratulations, goes out to Peter Tsoulamanis for his new Alberta record.  What a buck!

canada-6My guide and friend Scott Olson and I loaded and ready to head back to camp


Hunter: Steve Alderman

Location: Alberta, Canada

Outfitter: Jack Franklin

Guide: Scott Olson

Date: September 5, 2007

Days Scouted: 2

Weather: Overcast, rainy

Temperature: 70’s


Terrain: Rolling agriculture with thick pockets of vegetation

Camouflage: King’s Mountain Shadow

Weapon: Hoyt Vectrex

Spotting Scope: Swarovski 20-60 ATS-HD

Binoculars: Swarovski- 10×42 EL

Range Finder: Swarovski

Pack: Mystery Ranch.  Nice System.

Boots: I wish they were Kenetrek 7” Hardscrabble Hikers

The Payback Buck

May 20, 2009 by  
Filed under the PURSUIT

GREG KROGH, Featured Outfitter

Mogollon Rim Outfitters

The Payback Buck

 by Greg Krogh  (Mogollon Rim Outfitters)


The Payback Buck The story of this buck goes back to three years ago when Randy Ulmer spotted the largest typical mule deer he had ever seen. Randy graciously told me about the buck and gave me the green light to hunt him with my clients that year. However we never were able to find the buck again that fall so Randy and I both applied for the tag the following year. Believe it or not I beat the odds and drew the tag! On the second day of the season I was able to harvest the buck and he was everything Randy said he was and then some. I now had, what I felt, was a nearly impossible debt to pay and that, is where this story begins…….038

Greg Krogh with one of the largest net typical velvet bucks ever harvested!


A few days after taking my buck I drove over to a neighboring unit to spend some time scouting for my rifle deer hunts. I had been glassing for two days in an area where I had jumped a real nice non-typical during the year prior. I had seen some pretty good bucks but nothing too great. Truth be told, I was still basking in the afterglow of my archery hunt when suddenly I noticed some movement under a big burned cedar tree. I was a long way off but I thought it was a buck’s rack. What intrigued me most was the apparent rack was 100 yards from the rim rock where I had jumped the nontypical the year before. Just as I was convincing myself that I was imagining it, the buck rose from his bed and walked out in the open. I wasn’t sure if it was the same buck from the year before, but regardless I knew he was something very special. I quickly got some video of the buck before he walked out of view. I couldn’t believe it, it was opening weekend of the archery deer season and there was nobody hunting this buck. For two days I filmed the buck and by then I was confident nobody knew about him.

With nobody to share my excitement except my non-hunting wife and twin 1-year-old daughters, Randy finally returned my countless calls. He had been hunting sheep in Wyoming and after hearing about that, I proceeded to tell him that we had a buck for him to hunt next year that would definitely settle up our debt. After I got done telling him, in detail, about the buck he said he would have to see it to believe it. One week later in our elk camp I showed the video to Randy and then the long one-year wait began.

An eternity later, August rolled around and found Randy and I once again in Nevada searching for the buck. It was four days before the season opener and the buck hadn’t been spotted since the prior year. I was glassing from the same knob were I had previously located the buck on prior years but this time we were having no luck finding him or any other deer for that matter. I was starting to get that sinking feeling that maybe he hadn’t returned this year, when I decided to look one last time down below me where I had first seen the buck two years ago. I couldn’t believe my eyes when my binoculars settled in on the buck chewing his cud, bedded under a tree eight hundred yards away. He was facing straight away from me and I counted twelve points per side. That’s when the uncontrollable shakes started. I tried to film him and it took several minutes for me to hold the camera steady. After getting some good video, I slipped off the backside of the mountain to go back to camp and tell Randy the news. When I arrived in camp there was nobody around. I had just found the buck of a lifetime and I had nobody to show it to. After several hours Randy returned from scouting and I showed him the video. The look on his face was priceless. After the initial excitement subsided, we came up with a plan of attack. The next three days were the longest of my life as we spent every waking hour watching and patterning the buck. Every time the buck bedded, I would take a nap and dream of what it was going to be like to eventually see the buck up close and hold his rack. I can’t explain why but I was just sure we were going to harvest this buck. I think my biggest source of confidence came from knowing that Randy was going to be the shooter. I have been lucky enough to go on numerous hunts with Randy over the years and there is nobody better. Everyone knows he can shoot a bow but his stalking and hunting skills are what set him apart from everyone else that I have ever hunted with. As confident as I was Randy had to keep being the voice of reason over the next couple of days and reminded me often that this wasn’t a done deal and that it was still a bow hunt.greg-randy-pib-comp

Randy Ulmer on another successful hunt with Greg Krogh of Mogollon Rim Outfitters!


On the evening before opening day we had finally come up with a plan. For days the buck hadn’t traveled more than a couple hundred yards and he always chose his bedding area below a jagged peak that gave him a great view of any approach from below, while the wind currents tumbled over the top behind him would warn him of any danger from above. His water source was a spring 150 yards below him and there was surrounded by feed. The good news was that we could locate him everyday with relative ease, but the bad news was that we couldn’t figure out a way to kill him where he was. We finally decided to patiently wait the buck out for as long as it took until he made a mistake. Our main concern was that if we bumped him he might disappear forever because he was surrounded by thick country. We had hoped that by one of us watching from afar (me) and Randy several hundreds yards away waiting, we would be ready when the buck slipped up and left his secluded fortress. For days on end Randy would leave in the dark to get into position and after waiting all day he would return under the cover of darkness when the buck wouldn’t cooperate.

Finally, after seven long days of watching the buck, he left his secluded fortress and went over the top of the jagged peak into some rolling cut up country. He made his move right before dark and we didn’t have any choice but to watch him disappear over the skyline and hope we could relocate him in the much more stalkable, yet thicker, country where he appeared to be headed.

The next morning found me glassing from a nearby peak while Randy patiently glassed the edge of the area we believed the buck to be in. After two hours of turning up nothing, my spirits started to drop. I was starting to second guess our decision to not stalk him when we had had the chance. Inwardly, I was starting to resent Randy. After all it was his idea to be patient. I had wanted him to try the stalk several times but he kept convincing me that odds were too low. If only he had the same confidence in his stalking abilities that I did. I couldn’t believe we had let the buck of a lifetime get away without pursuing him more aggressively. I had just about worked myself into a total frenzy where my whole world was crashing down when suddenly……there he was! He was bedded under a cedar tree chewing his cud without a care in the world. To top it all off, he was approachable from downwind with the cover of a ridge to within bow range.   

Time was now of the essence and Randy quickly circled the buck to get the wind right. The next time I saw him was when he slowly crept over the ridge. There were four smaller bucks that were with the giant, one of which was bedded 50 yards off to Randy’s left.  Fortunately, Randy spotted him before it was the other way around and the situation quickly turned into a waiting game. Soon all five bucks were up feeding towards Randy. At one point the big buck was painfully close, but he couldn’t draw because of the other bucks. Just when I thought the other bucks were going to get too close, they all turned and started feeding slowly away. I watched as Randy slowly closed the gap, only moving when all heads were down. As luck would have it, the big buck was the closest to Randy but he was facing straight away. My prayers were finally answered when he turned broadside to nibble on some brush. I watched through the binoculars as Randy drew his bow and took aim. The buck lunged forward at the impact and then turned and trotted straight at Randy before going down a short distance later. I couldn’t believe what I had just witnessed. I had been confident we would get him, but now that we had, I just couldn’t believe it was real. After joining up with Randy a short time later and holding onto the rack it all started to sink in.

Mogollon Rim Outfitters, Nevada 2007

May 14, 2009 by  
Filed under the PURSUIT


Story coming soon….


Greg Krogh (Mogollon Rim Outfiiters) successful again in Nevada.

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