First Lite clothing on the cover of Muley Crazy Magazine!

September 14, 2012 by  
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Local Ketchum company graces the cover of Muley Crazy Magazine!

 

First Lite in the spot light….

First Lite, A local Kethum company, hits it big time with the cover of Muley Crazy Magazine, sharing the cover with a 221 inch monster mule deer harvested in southern Utah.  I dropped in to the headquarters of First Lite the other day on my way to hunting camp and the guys were headed out the door to hunt for themselves.  they did stick around for an hour to show me the ropes and what they had on the plate for the upcoming year.  they are working on some great stuff.  Before I left I raided the selves that hid way back in the corner of the building, Didn’t think they would miss it much if they didn’t know it was there.  I grabbed a couple different under garments and a few hats.  I grabbed a Liano in the ASAT camo and wore it for the first three days in camp and loved it.  Marino wool is my new gig.  I love it, soft, wicks away moister, warm in the mornings and cool in the afternoon.  It doesn’t get any better than marino wool as a base layer.

It’s a little on the spendy side but you must way out the benefits you get when you buy their products.  You can wear one of their shirts for three or four days before you have to change it, compared to the average camo that you need to change daily.  Something about marino wool that bacteria does’t grow very well on it.  Therefor, no body oder! Right out of camp I would have to climb 1,000 vertical feet to get to were I was hunting.  By the time I reached the top I was soaking wet and within five minutes I was dry as a bone.  even with the cool morning temps the wool dried very quickly.  I would give this product a 10 out of 10.  The only problem I see is that I don’t have enough of there product.  All in due time though.

Greats  group of guys with a great product.  Check them out at First lite.com  I promise you won’t be disappointed in their products.

 

 

Idaho Fish and Game to kill Thousands of Deer!

November 11, 2011 by  
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Idaho fish and Game commission gave the game department permission to kill thousands of deer on the winter range!

 

Yesterday, the commission approved the killing of 500 doe from the Bennett hills winter range.  The  two hunts of 275 tags each will start in December and run through the end of the month.  This hunt was concocted after a fire tore through the winter range in August of this year.  The first proposal was to kill 2000 head.  The local and the state biologist feel that the lack of feed will stress the deer into having a poor fawn crop or even the possibility of starvation.  These are both possibilities, I agree.  Were I disagree is with the solution.

Killing 500 does is not going to take the stress away from the other deer looking for food!  It is going to stress the deer even more with the thousand plus hunters driving around flinging bullets into the herds. The deer will be on their winter reserves as it is and now  you’re going to chase them for 30 days and through some lead at them.  Makes total since to me.  Yea right!  There will be some deer die, they do every year.  Maybe even a few more, but I’m willing to take my chances that it won’t be 500 more.  It’s not like the winter range was even close to carrying capacity as it was.

Sure 60,000 acres is a ton of habitat, but deer aren’t stupid they will find food.  The deer only need to move a couple miles one way or the other to find suitable food.  Most of them will gather in the fields to forage on left overs.  It might cause a huge increase in depredation claims but that is part of the game.  It’s nothing new. The fish and Game  can have my tag fees and put it towards a depredation claim.  I will be buying a tag along with hundreds of other concerned hunters just to turn them back in at the next commissioners meeting!

Killing 500 does this year is truly  harvesting 1,500 deer this year because they will be already bread and carrying twins.  Over the next six years that is 26,000 deer that could have been born. Sure you need to factor in that all deer don’t have twins and some deer die ever year due to harvest, winter, predation and other causes.  But, even if you take half that number its 13,000 deer that they are taking away from the sportsmen and women of this great state.

Just my two cents.  I would love to hear yours.

 

For more info on cost of application and how to apply, check out the post on the forum page under Idaho. Lets make a statement and let them know we are done supporting this kind of nonsense.

 

Steve Alderman

Once in a lifetime!

August 28, 2011 by  
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2010 Deer Hunt
by, Blake Tubbs

After hunting for seven days I finally saw the one. It snowed a skiff the night before, which resulted in Jeff and me not getting out of our sleeping bags as early as we should have. We were hiking to our destination and it was already getting light and we still had half a mile to go. As we were heading to our destination, we were moving pretty swiftly and I was pretty irritated at myself for not getting out of bed a half hour earlier. That was until we spooked some deer over a ridge and I saw a buck that I knew was the “one.” If we would have left camp when we intended it would have still been dark and would have never seen that buck.

We immediately ran to the top of the ridge expecting to see it from the top, since it was open sage brush country on the other side. We saw several deer, but not the buck. I knew he had to be there somewhere and continued to look for about 15 minutes. I finally decided to go back down the hill to retrieve my pack from where I had left it and see if I could find the buck’s tracks. His tracks were pretty obvious compared to other deer and I followed them to where we had previously been on top of the ridge. The snow had melted on the other side and we sat there wondering how far away he was by now. We were looking into a really big, open drainage and we kept saying to each other that we should be able to spot him. After standing there for another 10 minutes we heard rustling about 150 yards below us in a patch of 3 to 4 foot tall brush. I was then shocked to see “my buck” run out of that small patch of brush at full speed.

I immediately put my gun up to start blasting, but Jeff pulled the barrel of my gun down saying, “where’s he going to go?” It was wide open country and he was right in the fact that it would have been a tough shot with the buck at full speed and me having a serious case of buck fever. The deer ran until he was about 800 yards out and then just stopped and started to browse all by himself. It was an amazing experience to watch that buck in our binoculars and spotting scope for 30 minutes. As soon as he crested a small ridge and was out of sight about a quarter mile away, I hurried as swiftly and quietly as possible to hopefully catch him just on the other side and within range.
Once near the crest of the ridge, I paused to catch my breath, got on my belly and crawled to the top. He was not where I expected him to be, but was 200 yards to my left with several does. I was able to shift to the left without being noticed and bring the buck down in his tracks with one shot from my Remington model 700 30-06. Jeff watched the whole ordeal unfold through the spotting scope and was worried I might not be able to see the buck since he didn’t go where we expected him to. Jeff was watching the buck when all of a sudden he just disappeared and 3 seconds later Jeff heard a shot.

After we admired the beauty of the magnificent animal, we took care of him and were able to head out for an evening hunt in hope of finding another one. We spotted another really nice buck and watched him in the spotting scope for quite a while before we made a plan to stalk him. Jeff tried to close the gap, but there were too many does to make that possible and he got away. Over the next couple of days we continued to look, but none of the bucks were as nice so we eventually decided to go back to where we’d seen that buck two days before. To our surprise we were able to spot him near the same spot. However, this time we decided to just watch him until he lay down before making a game plan. I didn’t think he would ever lie down, and he never did. We watched him and a 3-point go up into a small finger at the top of his mountain until they were out of our site. There was no chance to make a stalk from where we were, we’d already tried that. So, we decided to drop off the backside of the mountain, get on the other side of the deer’s mountain and climb up from the backside to come up the finger we’d last seen him in.

From the backside it was tough to determine which finger was the right one. After an hour of hiking we crested the top of the mountain and five minutes later I thought we were busted when I saw the 3-point running away from us. After another 10 minutes of walking we found the finger we thought he should be in. All of a sudden Jeff just froze and signaled for me to get down, whispering that the buck was about 200 yards away lying down. I never saw the deer and Jeff could only see him when standing up. I was carrying the spotting scope tripod, so I quietly extended the legs as far as possible and Jeff used it to balance his 300 ultra mag on. It took one shot. The deer was lying underneath a cliff and never got up from his bed. By the time we got him off the mountain we just made it home in time to go trick-or-treating.

LOST AND FOUND

May 11, 2011 by  
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By: Tivon Miller

Was I crazy? The anxiety was killing me! What was I doing passing on a 200” deer even on this hunt? However, 3 weeks before while out scouting with my good friend Jason Sandusky, we found the buck I was looking for.
This particular buck had been the topic of conversation between me and most of my close friends since I found out of my good fortune of drawing the tag I had put in for, for so long. Over the 4th of July weekend, my wife, kids and I were staying with our friends the Mooseman’s. Brian was re-telling a story told the previous October, about a buck that his stepdad had missed in my unit last year. As he was giving me every last detail about the bucks’ antler configuration, it dawned on me that he was talking about the same monster that my brother, was lucky enough to find a shed off of later that winter. After a quick look at the pictures Brian had snapped of the buck it was confirmed it was the same buck. So now all I had to do was go find that deer. We all know how easy that is!


After three or four scouting trips with my 10 year old son Gavin, and buddies Jason and Brent, we had found some great bucks. A few from 180-190”, but not what I wanted yet. Hunting stories filled the air in Brent’s pickup all the way down on Friday. We made our way in the heat of the day to the spot where Brent had shot his buck a couple of years prior. As we turned up the rocky road, it was a spot I was very familiar with. Brent showed me where he got his 200 incher and we continued to another location that we wanted to check. Just before dark we found an upper 180’s buck that topped off a great day. The next morning started off early, as we covered a lot of new country, trying to learn a new part of the unit. At noon we stopped to have lunch in the middle of a two-track road. I unloaded my pack off of the cooler in the back seat and made our sandwiches. An hour later, and 30 dirt road miles away, as I reached back to my pack to get some chap stick on my wind burnt lips. I said, “Oh crap!” “You’ve got to be kidding me!” My backpack with all of my gear, including my Swarovski spotting scope and anything else you need to hunt with was gone. I was freaking out!
Just minutes before neither of us could stop talking about the hunt and all of the possible hot spots, but now hardly a word was spoken. Brent flew down the dirt roads to get me back to my gear, and I wondered if my pack might still be there. As we pulled up to the spot where we had ate lunch just an hour before, the pack was gone! We searched the area off either side of the road, in hopes someone had come along, saw it and hid it just in case the owner came back. But the intense reality set in that someone else had my gear.
The next few days were a wreck. Picturing someone else fondling all my stuff and looking through the digital camera photos of our family memories was almost too much to bear. My wife and I decided to spend all day Monday hanging posters all over the unit, that just a few days before meant so much to me for the fact I held such a great tag. Now it felt like this whole experience was a disaster.
Two weeks later after returning home from an evening archery elk hunt, my sister in law called and said a man called saying he had my pack! A short minute later I was on the phone with a man, I had never met or heard of, making plans to meet up so I could recover my gear. Thanks Dale! I honestly never thought I would see all my stuff again. You are an honest and refreshing individual.
On the dark drive down, with Sandusky, three weeks after the recovery of my pack, I once again found myself thinking of the buck that consumed my thoughts. As we began glassing I knew it was possible the buck could be living in this area. Within a few minutes Jason said, “I got some bucks, get your scope!” In an excited panic, as I dialed my Swarovski in on the bachelor group, I immediately confirmed what I was hoping. It was my buck, and he was awesome! He had taken full advantage of the mild winter, and exceptional water year. He had lost the four in character point off of the back of his right G2, but make up for it with a ton of mass, better looking frame, and even a split eye-guard. Jason and I decided he would score between 200 and 210 as an 8×6! We snuck out of the area knowing the obsession of keeping tabs on him and his five buddies for the next few weeks, would now kick in. I honestly didn’t even want to leave.


Three unsuccessful scouting trips later, with my brother and buddy Adam, since locating the buck, we had yet to turn him up. On each trip we found all of his buddies, but not him. What the heck! He had disappeared. I knew he had to be here under one of these rocks, but I didn’t want to tromp all over his home and run him out. In the back of my mind I wondered if he had been harvested by a muzzleloader hunter. I figured if someone had known about him I should have at least seen them on the opener. Two days later I would return with the camper, and spend my last couple days trying to locate my buck.
Once the camper was unhooked and somewhat leveled, I headed to another part of the unit looking for a mid 190’s typical; I had only heard of. What in the heck was I thinking? On the drive to look for this new buck, all I could think about was my buck. I can’t find my buck if I’m looking for some new buck! Too late now! It would be dark before I got back. Tomorrow morning and evening would be devoted to relocating the 8 by 6.
The alarm went off and I thought…”In 24 hours the hunt of my life starts.” “It would be nice to find my buck today”. I picked the hillside apart over and over from a mile away, looking at all of the country my buck could be hiding in. Just as I was getting ready to move a half mile to the north, there he was. Thank God! A doe and fawn had passed by his bed and he couldn’t resist checking her out. Thankfully, that’s what gave him away. After just a couple minutes, he hurried his way around to the west slope to put himself back in the shade. I immediately called my brother to let him know the good news! At two o’clock he moved only 100 yards from the spot he had been all morning. He tucked himself between some sage and rim rock, and although I stayed until dark with my brother now by my side. We did not see him again.
Sandusky and I made our way up the mountain in the dark and I couldn’t help but wonder what this day held. Darkness gave way to opening morning as we glassed the country below. A handful of small bucks and does filtered up the mountain while we gradually made our way towards my buck’s hideout from the day before. Our glasses went to serious work for the next couple of hours, but we couldn’t turn him up. A while later we talked to Cliff and he had seen a group of bucks around the corner from us with one really good buck in the group. Once we got him spotted, we agreed, it was a great buck, probably right at 200”! Was I crazy? What was I doing passing a 200” deer? I have never killed a 200” deer. I knew what buck I wanted and it was only opening day. I couldn’t give up on my buck already. As I was having a close heart to heart with myself, it was interrupted by Sandusky, hissing, “Tivon get over here, I got a good buck!” With my tripod legs still fully extended I ran, jumping over rocks trying to get to where I could get a look at the buck. When the pistol grip settled, I was happy to see my buck lying underneath a pile of rocks, surrounded by thick sage brush. I quickly realized why I passed the other buck. If all the years of general season had taught me anything, it was to never give up on your goals. We spent the next few minutes videoing the buck and we quickly devised a plan on how to get within range of him.
All the way back down the mountain, I prayed the buck would stay put. We occasionally peeked over rocks ever so slowly to keep him landmarked. An hour later and 167 yards away, I could see his right antler poking out from his bed in the thick sage. I had so many different scenarios playing out in my mind. At one point, during the wait I even considered walking in the thick sage brush and jump shooting him like a jack rabbit, but I knew that was the wrong thing to do. As I was taking pictures of the antler we could see from our vantage point, all of the sudden he was up. Immediately I was on my belly, behind my rifle scope, and as he made his way out of the brush I could see his antler tips and flashes of his grey hide. I looked for a small opening he might step into. There he was! My Kimber 7mm 08 put him down just as fast as he showed up, and the hunt was over!
The short wind sprint over to my buck that I had been thinking about all summer was the best feeling of my hunting career. I couldn’t help but feel some remorse for the fallen buck. I thought of how many times he might have used this bedding area to avoid danger. I have been very fortunate to harvest some very nice general season bucks, and this was the icing on the cake! Every detail about my buck will be forever etched in my mind. The mass was awesome! As I picked his head up off the ground I noticed he had broken a couple of inches off two of his extras on the left side in the fall. Between pictures and video we would be able to get his antlers back to their original state. He had a mid 190’s frame with a unique fishhook like right main beam. The extra on the left side took me back in time to the winter range, when my brother picked up the left antler. He is a 27 inch wide 8 by 6 that ended up scoring 211 once the points were fixed by Dan Morrow at High Country Taxidermy!
Sharing that hunt with my brother and Sandusky on that afternoon, taking photos and video of the whole experience is something I will never forget. Thanks you guys! And thanks to all my other good friends who helped me on my quest. After both my pack and my buck ended up being lost and found, I feel very fortunate to have relocated both.

Idaho Fish and Game to allow Kill Permits?

August 7, 2009 by  
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Fish & Game approves plans that include kill permits

By Eric Barker

Plans for managing wild and domestic sheep herds are certified as required by law passed last year

Idaho Fish and Game Director Cal Groen approved 11 plans Thursday aimed at keeping domestic and bighorn sheep from coming into contact with one another.

Some of the plans, known as best management practices, include kill permits that allow ranchers and sheep herders to kill bighorns if the wild sheep are seen mixing with domestic sheep. The kill permits were included so ranchers can help ensure wild bighorn sheep that come in contact with domestics do not have a chance to carry disease back to their herds and infect other wild sheep.555439813_430581100_mbr_9318_wsl-1

Jim Unsworth, deputy director of Fish and Game, said in several cases the department also has permission to kill and remove domestic sheep that wander into areas where they could come in contact with bighorns.

“We have allowed kill permits for bighorn sheep, and the opposite of that is permission is given to Fish and Game to kill domestic sheep if they are in the wrong places,” he said.

In May, a bighorn ram was seen in close proximity of domestic sheep near Riggins. Afterward the ram showed signs of pneumonia, and the department decided to kill it to prevent it from spreading disease to other bighorns. But the ram eluded the department’s efforts for about three weeks while it ran with a group of bighorn rams.

A law passed by the Idaho Legislature last winter mandated the department to seek out the agreements with all domestic sheep ranchers who run their animals in areas where they could come in contact with bighorns. According to the law, those plans were to be certified by Groen by Thursday.

Most wildlife managers and biologists believe bighorn sheep are highly susceptible to contacting pneumonia when they mix with domestic sheep that carry the disease. Cases of die-offs and chronic pneumonia have been documented in wild sheep herds throughout the West after they have had contact with domestic sheep.

Groen said the department determined 18 sheep ranchers in the state operate in areas where contact with bighorns is possible. The plans range from simple to complex, and a range of measures are outlined depending on the threat of contact on each of the allotments. Participation by the ranchers is voluntary, and Groen said four declined to work with the department to craft the plans. Another four did opt to participate but the department and ranchers have not yet been able to craft plans acceptable to both sides.

“We will move forward on the ones we are still working on and hope to get something accomplished on them,” Unsworth said. “We may or may not. This is a voluntary deal on the producers’ side. They may decide the (best management practices) we suggest are not appropriate.”

In certifying the plans, Groen said the department is saying the plans “provide for the separation that reduces the risk of disease transmission between domestic sheep and bighorn sheep to a level that is acceptable to bighorn sheep viability.”

The law, written by Sen. Jeff Siddoway, R-Terreton, who is also a sheep rancher, was prompted by a process on the Payette National Forest that could reduce domestic sheep grazing in Hells Canyon and the Salmon River canyon by about 60 percent. Bighorn herds in both areas have been documented with pneumonia and the Salmon River herds have declined by more than 70 percent in the past 20 years.

Officials on the forest are in the process of finalizing that plan, and in passing the law legislators hoped to influence their final decision. But the agency could decide to disregard the plans and reduce or end domestic sheep grazing in areas occupied by bighorn sheep.

Last week, Region Four of the U.S. Forest Service, which includes the Payette National Forest, added bighorn sheep to its list of sensitive species. The designation means the agency will work to preclude bighorns from advancing to threatened or endangered status under the Endangered Species Act, and all forests in the region will have to consider what effects proposed actions have on wild sheep.

Keith Lawrence, director of the Nez Perce Tribe’s wildlife department, said the sensitive species designation is both appropriate and important.

“I think the recognition says that the trends are not headed in the right direction and that it needs to change,” he said. “When you are talking about the population being 10 percent of what it historically was, I think that is a huge recognition that we are in trouble and we need to fix this.”

555439898_430581164_crw_1075_rt16-mThe tribe is opposed to the law calling for the best management practices and instead believes domestic sheep should be kept out of areas where bighorns roam.

“We have not had a chance to review the plans that have been developed. We hope that they do not advocate continued domestic sheep grazing in or adjacent to occupied bighorn sheep habitat, as it has been shown that the (best management practices) approach is ineffective when applied to occupied bighorn sheep range,” said Samuel N. Penney, chairman of the Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee.

Lawrence said similar plans to those envisioned by the law were in place along the Salmon River in May, when the bighorn ram came in contact with domestic sheep.

“There was still contact and after the contact the provisions in place in the (best management practices) agreement to contain the risk of disease transmission failed.”

Lawrence went on to say agreements with kill permits might well stem the spread of disease after contact occurs, but the end result is still dead bighorns.

“The root problem is you still have domestic sheep too close to bighorn sheep. If you have to have a kill permit to make separation then you are probably way too close.”