Friday, June 27, 2014


Jägermeister is off to college in Beaver UT tonight. Dropping him off for first day of school at 9am tomorrow. He'll be on the shock collar (they call it stimulation) the whole time. Too bad you can't do that on human kids in school! It's going to be a LOT of fun hunting with a dog this year. He's proven to be able to stay close when around big game and has never barked one time. I hope everybody gets at least one Grouse in addition to the Elk up in Ely! These are Blue Grouse (Dusky or Sooty) not Sage Grouse. Remember there are Peafowl up around where I expect to find the Elk so if you see a Peahen, they kinda look like the Grouse, but are a bit bigger. Don't shoot the Peacocks, you won't be able to explain that one mounted in your living room. Google is your friend in figuring out what these birds looks like! Just think GIANT quail.

Updating our supply list, Ryan has a Honda generator so we'll have that for emergencies or additional power and lighting. Jerrycans will be great for the extra fuel we will need. I think Garner has several of them.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

1st trip to the range

78 degrees, no wind, no sun - probably won't happen again for awhile in Las Vegas! Garth and I went to Clark County shooting complex late Thursday. We both came away needing to dial in a bit better, possibly doing a double check on the scope mount as well as ammo.

We did get the .458 dialed in, leaving my shoulder a bit sore today. 2" group 2" high at 100 yards. We'll be safe from African Lions and Water Buffalo if they attack.

Garth is probably in for the first week of Elk season as well, so we will head up Saturday afternoon, August 30th, returning on Sunday Sept. 7th.  Probably just one vehicle but we'll see. Ryan will be joining Monday evening the 1st through the 7th.

Monday, June 16, 2014

1st week of Elk season is set

I'll post in here Ryan's email because it is great info. I'll also further comment on the equipment:

I put in for vacation last night at work; Sept 1 - Sept 7.  I will have to miss the first day of the season and arrive that evening since it's a three day weekend.  I will have to work that Sunday night, but will head up Monday after getting some sleep.  I will stay until the following Sunday the 7th.  Garner, major bummer that you will not be able to be there the whole time but we understand.  BTW, great blog addition.  I especially loved the intro.  I appreciate being included as a contributor to the blog, but I don't know that I have any significant hunting experience to contribute.
It's a bit of a process to become a member of the Desert Sportsman's Club, but I should be a full member after my orientation on the 28th of this month.  You guys can join me anytime after that for just five bucks.  I will keep you informed.  Please keep me informed about any radio purchases I should make.  We will have to discuss group gear at some point.  Redundancy is good to a point, but shaving weight often trumps it.  I've got lots of climbing gear to draw from, if either of you need anything.(hiking and camping gear, etc.)
Here are some of my recent purchases:
-sweet shooting tripod by Hammers
-Federal Nosler Partition ammo
-Wyoming bone saw #3
-10x42 Bushnell binoculars
-Eberlestock H2 Gunrunner Pack

Design looks fantastic, and half the price of the one I suggested

Knowing that Ryan has this bad boy, I'll just carry the small Gerber I had last year. Somebody should buy the Wyoming Saw I.
Go by Sportsmans Warehouse and try it on. Beats carrying the gun all day and will allow for an all day outing. I'll likely get the same one. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

New guns, making range time a priority and calendar

There is a rifle range between Ely and McGill and I'd like to get in some high altitude practice at least twice before going after the Elk. At over 5,000' this will change the ballistics a bit. Also, the Las Vegas heat makes it difficult to get quality range time. Ryan has a membership at the NRA range at Red Rock so we should take advantage of that at 6am one day.

I have 2 guns needing practice and make ready so I'll have 3 deer/elk guns ready to go in case anybody needs a spare or an alternative.

My .458 Winchester  I've had for over 20 years.  When we first got it, the original stock broke on my shoulder so we had a very nice faux wood synthetic stock custom glass beaded to the barrel and action (yes it kicks THAT much).  The synthetic wood look has darkened over the years.  The 1.5 x 5 leupold scope is typical for large dangerous game guns (see em quick, shoot em quick). The straight wall case shown here has a 325 grain tipped hollow point lead core bullet which should yield over 1 inch of expansion and a great big wallop out to 200 yards. In the past, I've taken a couple of deer with 510 grain soft points but it's not a comfortable shot worth the shoulder and forehead pain when the target isn't trying to eat you.

New to me is a relatively rare 338-06 A Square Weatherby Mark V ultra light. Fluted stainless barrel, synthetic stock make for a 5 pound gun much easier for the old guy to carry across the step toe valley.  This bullet is a 200 grain nosler e tip, solid copper with a tipped hollow point. I have 210 grain nosler partitions as well. The scope is a Trijicon 3x9 fiber optic.

The 338-06 and the hand loaded ammo were assembled and tested by my cousin. The 458 was set up and hand loaded by my father.

Antelope season for Garth starts August 1. Tentative plan to head up to Ely on Friday Aug 1 and come back Sunday Aug 3.  Repeat the next 2 weekends if needed.  This includes all of area 121 as well as 4 areas further north of 121 that I have never scouted. I'm very confident that we'll get some shots in the step toe valley right off the road as we saw hundreds or thousands of antelope in that area last year.

We'll certainly treat each trip as also a scouting effort for the hunts to come, marking deer and elk sightings and tracking movements. Remember Jason and I saw 3 GIGANTIC mule deer just outside of McGill on the mountain side when we were dead headed back off the Elk hunt.

While I plan to treat the Antelope and Deer hunts as seriously as the elk, it's the first week of the Elk hunt that I plan to dedicate a serious amount of time and hope that some or all of yall can plan to join in part of the time.

I'd like to head up to Ely on Saturday August 30th with Jager and stay at the Hotel Nevada. Definitely hit the shooting range Sat night and/or Sun morning. Prepare camp Sunday afternoon and do one scouting run Sunday night. Monday morning the 1st, the season starts. Hunt every day through the weekend, returning home Sunday evening. If you can make it for either or both weekends great. If you can make it during the week also, that is great. Hopefully, we can all be there Friday night the 5th, through Sunday the 7th. By that time, I'll know the exact movements of the Elk and we can start baggin' them up!  I plan to have a meat locker located in McGill or Ely as well just in case. There are a lot of custom meat places in the area so that might be just as easy since we know were are coming back in October at least once.

Remember Grouse and Dove season also starts Sept 1. We can hunt the Grouse all the way through the October deer hunts as well.

The 2nd and 3rd weekend of October, Garner and Garth both have Mule Deer tags in Ely. The dates don't match exactly, but they definitely over lap those 2 weekends. We can plan on those as well and by that time, we will have seen the Mule deer for sure. Remember we can also hunt the Mule deer up in the mountains west of the step toe valley.

Quail, Chukar and Rabbit season start the 2nd week of October and runs through the 1st weekend of February.

Jason's Mule deer take is for the areas north and south of Mesquite in November. We'll focus in on the Virgin peak area as we know the game trails and we know there are a lot of quail and chukar.

One regret from last year is the lack of quality game photography. I'm hopeful that Tammy will know how to use her new camera by the fall and accompany us on some of the trips (we need a cook! haha). Also, Garth has a 50D with the same lenses as Tammy so I"m also hoping Garth will document as much as possible as well as set up the camera for me to photograph him as he releases that arrow in the heart of the antelope Sat morning August 2nd! How's that for optimism!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Gman's Post #1


I am so excited to be a contributing member on Alan’s blog site!  First off, I want to state that any information that Alan claims to know about hunting is a misinterpretation of info I have given him.  He has stolen all of my Nevada hunting experience and claimed it as his own.  He is a great hunting partner, but only if you need someone to get you another beer.  He is an amateur at best….

"Hey Alan, Can you get me another beer?"

Actually, that is a big fat lie.  We have been out for many seasons, and I have seen Mr. Alan get more and more into hunting in our lovely state of Nevada each year.  This year, I think he has lost his mind.  First, I thought it was a purchase of the jeep and now the pup.  This guy is going to bed each night dreaming about the next hunt and how it is all going to go down.  I couldn’t ask for a better hunting comrade.  We work extremely well together in planning and hunting execution.  Each time I come back into town from a hunt, I just want to get back out there, but regular life gets in the way.  That is why I value each time we head out.

Our trucks take a beating, our house chores get neglected, our instrument practice goes out the window, but it is all worth it in some non-comprehendible way.  Bring it!  The hunt of 2014 will be insane and better than anything we have done in the past.  It’s going to take planning, money, more planning, and more money to make this happen.  Totally worth it!

The radio I use is the one to the right of the rear view mirror in my H3.

Alan wants me to write something up about the radios we use.  Ok.  Well, out on foot the best have been the GMRS/FRS radios you can get at any sporting good shop.  That is about all they are good for.  They will work in the vehicles, but not at any good distance.  Maybe a mile?  They get good battery time, and are cheap.  The audio quality is acceptable and the menus must be mastered to change frequencies.  I limit mine to never beep on transmit or receive.  That is great not to scare wildlife of annoy the hell out of everyone.

In the trucks the CB radio works great, but it’s a CB radio.  They are limited to 5 Watts and have a minimal frequency range of 40 channels.  Most of the channels have some much noise the squelch has to be cut so high that the radios will only work when really close to each other.  Ouch!

My H3 rig has a slightly modified communication setup.  I have the dash mounted CB, and a ham radio on a floor mounted arm and in a compartment in the rear of the truck.  I have to describe what the ham radio does a little more in depth. 

11-  Yes, people still use ham radios.
22-   They can use much more power that a CB, typically 100W for truck to truck communication, and 5 watts for handheld receivers.  The range is GREATLY increased.  This is mostly the 144Mhz frequency (Called 2 Meter).
33-  You have to take a test to get your license.  The test for the first level is really easy and that will allow you to use the FM range with voice operation which is great out hunting.
44-  They are expensive.  A handheld unit that will use 5W is at best $200 for a single radio.  My truck radio was $900 not including installation.  But a 2 Meter radio in the truck can be as cheap as $300. 
55-  The radio is not set up into channels.  You pick the exact frequency that you want to operate.  If there is noise, go somewhere else.
66-   It is “polite” radio conversation.  There are no truckers (unless they are hams) and no bandit transmission blocking your usage.  All communications are formal and precise.
77-   Distance is huge.  On the 2M band, you can expect to cover 20 miles easy truck to truck.  If you splurge and get the next level of license, you can operate on many, many, many frequencies and talk around the world, so you could easily talk across the state form vehicle to vehicle.  And if atmospheric conditions are good, talk around the world at night around the campfire.
88-   No morse code on the test.
99-   The test fee is $10, so get the study book and get started. 

 If Alan doesn't mind, I am going to get on here and blab about our hunting season.  Between my blog at
and this site, I will be busy all summer.

We will keep you all entertained.



Monday, June 9, 2014

packs and other gear

I tried on some of the Eberlestock packs at Sportsmans Warehouse this past weekend:

The "Team Elk" has an aluminum frame. I liked the "X1" and the "just one" packs the best so far. I'm going to go back later and try again. Maybe a smaller one just for water would be nice as well but that was why I thought the Gun Runner would be best.

Jager goes back to school in a couple of weeks, but he will rejoin us in time for the September hunts. So far, he has been great at staying close and quiet on command, which is needed for the Elk/Deer hunts.

I'm going to investigate the Ham Radio deal with Garner a bit further. Obviously, it's far superior technology.  I may purchase this set, then just have them programed for everybody to use. The licensing is a challenge to get around though:

Ham radio's for all?

This way we could just wear an ear piece (FBI style) and talk as needed. These also have a type of GPS functionality so that, in a pinch, you can be "recovered."

Friday, June 6, 2014

the shot?

So where DO you take that shot? No question, the brain or heart shot no matter the bullet, and it's over.  However, don't try it. First choice is always, for all large game, the double lung shot first. For the Elk, it's the neck second. If you are going to pull a shot one way or the other, go for the neck, not the gut. A gut shot and the elk, deer or antelope etc... will run 5 miles, even with the end trails hanging out.

With Elk, the double lung shot with heavy penetration and exit as you get with a Nosler Partition is always your first choice. Last year, I was underpowered with a 25-06 but with a 115 grain Partition, a moving target, almost 300 yards and I pulled the shot just off the front of the lungs to the base of the neck. She dropped faster than any game I've ever taken (other than a doe at 50 yards with my .458 win mag sporting a 510 grain soft point which hit the ground so hard it bounced).

Check out this photo and get an idea of just how big the lung and neck area is:

So you get it, right? Just aim above the front leg, right in the middle of the body. If you pull it forward, you get the neck, if you are slightly low, you get the heart, if you are slightly high, you get the spine. If you hit the shoulder bone, a Nosler Partion bullet will hold together, shatter the bone and go straight into the lungs. A non partion expanding lead core will just shatter, depending on the total weight and velocity. For example, Ryan has a .338 win mag. Really doesn't matter what bullet. Any hit on shoulder or any lethal area, and it's over due to the combination of high bullet mass and high velocity.

Just ask if you have question about penetrating bullets etc.... Federal Premium Ammo, Nosler Partition bullets - consider it - do it.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

more links

June 4
I mentioned a hunting pack. These are what I want to go check out:

Hunting packs

Cabellas hunting pack

The charges for buying the licenses and tags should be hitting soon. The big one is the elk tag of course at $120

Here's a link to the complete breakdown:

my tags cost HOW MUCH???

Monday, June 2, 2014

First Post

June 2nd, Just 60 days away from the first day of hunting season, so long as you are Garth or also have a longbow Antelope tag! Thought I'd start this to let the comments and ideas start flowing. Here's an edit from a prior email:

Step Toe Valley is 6,000’ elevation so while it will still be warm in the days, it can get cold at night as well as rain/snow. The Eagles nest and the sand dunes are my choices for camp sites pending a change in patterns which we will investigate in August. I’ll have to show you where those are on the map and in last years photo’s. Eagles nest because it is just a really cool spot, and sand dunes because it is also super cool and it’s where Tammy and I camped the morning we did finally get the elk.  Here’s a start of a list to begin planning. Each item has its own discussion points so let’s talk about it soon one of us has at least one or some version of all these items to review and see if you want one.

Must have:

Gun ammo and hunting license AND tag. Hunting boots, layers of clothing, gortex shell at the least. sharp knife, 150 QT cooler, binoculars, extra water, sleeping bag, 2 way radio with extra batteries, one for every person and vehicle. Cheese cloth game bags. CB Radio in vehicle. Planned meals, ice chests can serve dual role of camp food, storage and game retrieval.  Flashlight,


Scout/spotter (don’t hunt alone, but we can do this for each other to an extent), Wyoming Saw, multi tool, skinning knife, hunting pack, to take with you on a moments notice away from the camp or group on foot containing water and food and shelter for long game tracking even overnight, upgraded binoculars, range finder, canvas game bags, tent, GPS device. Hunter orange material for flagging. extra gasoline, shooting stick, bipod or tripod. Camp chair.


Sat Phone, upgraded cooler (yeti etc…), upgraded binoculars with built in ranger finder, spotting scope. Camera. 

This will give you an idea what to expect. You can't see it in the photo, but the elk herd, or in this case, the harem was in view about 1-2 miles away. Two bulls were actually fighting which was a first for me and probably rare for just about anybody

The morning we finally got the elk, we spotted them about 3.5 miles away, immediately set out on foot. I took the shot from 290 yards away.

While I started field dressing, Tammy walked back 3.5 miles, got the jeep, then proceed south, down and around where the Elk was down, then proceeded offroad for about  1 mile. We were able to quarter the elk and keep everything from the shoulders to the pelvis. We discarded the neck, which was a considerable amount of meat.

I hope to use this blog to help everybody prepare and learn from last years (and a full lifetime) of mistakes!

The biggest mistake we made last year was always trying to drive a little bit closer. Guess what, the elk can see a car coming. They didn't always take off, but they were spooked and hauled ass way before a shot could be taken.

Use a shooting stick or tripod. It's all flat. Unless you are a bad ass and can just shoot offhand at 300 yards, you need to rest the gun on something. I will show you how to use the shooting stick. Alternatively, a shooting bi-pod or tri-pod would be even better. Needs to be at least 4' tall to shoot over all the bushes etc...

Better radio's. Our 2-way radio's crapped out and it would have been a huge problem. We'll shop around for a better brand. Garner has a very nice set so I am going to consider a matching pair.

Have a hunting pack ready to go and start earlier in the morning. This is a simple backpack that can hold necessities and even your rifle while hiking. Be up 1 hour before sunrise glassing the valley, possibly even head out towards the heard prior to sunup as to get a jump on them.

The other huge mistake I made last year is I tried to use a gun that I was never 100% comfortable with at the range. Ultimately, I took a shot and missed. Tried to shoot again, it misfired. Bad Bad Bad. I immediately went back to the gun I've hunted with for 20 years and it was perfect, though under powered.

To be continued....

June 3
This will give you an idea where we were last year both for camping and where we actually shot the elk:

If you overlay this with Google Earth, you can see the road where, after Tammy walked back to camp, she drove back to the East, then South about 5 miles, then back to the West just past my position, then back North about a mile to where we had the Elk down. Within 1 mile of the road is about as good as you can expect. Also note, that line running through the middle of the Steptoe Valley is a RailRoad track, not a road, but it's long since abandoned and can be driven upon in a pinch!

I mentioned some kind of shooting stick, monopod, bi pod or tripod. Check out