Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Last Last Minute prep

Packing the trailer tonight. Updated plans are this:

Tammy, Jager and I leaving Friday night, driving slow, probably staying at the RV park at the Prospector Casino which is on the north side of Ely. 
Garner, Katherine & Andrew leaving Las Vegas at 7am, getting to Ely at 11am ish, staying at Hotel Nevada.
Jason & Mirvate also leaving Sat morning.
Mitch Johnson & Dan Kalutkiewicz who work with Jason and I at IBM are also joining us Saturday in Ely and will help scout Sunday and Monday. 
Garth is coming up Sunday and will go straight to camp.
Ryan is coming Monday and will go straight to camp. 
Of note, we'll be on 2-way radio channel 7-10 and for Garth and Ryan I will send GPS coordinates as soon as we make camp. If you don't have a radio, please let me know, we have plenty to share. 

Decided to not buy any more coolers. I think we have enough. Jason has a medium size for his ice blocks, Garner has a medium Yeti. Garth has a 110. I have 2 ARB freezers plus the fridge in the camper, then we have these 6 for a total of 9 coolers and 3 powered freezers:
The weather looks great so far, but don't trust the forecast, be prepared for at least a little bit of rain and mud. For your vehicles, plan to buy a gallon of windshield washer fluid when you fill up with gas somewhere along the way, probably in Ely, and fill it up. If it isn't raining and muddy, it will be dusty. Either way, you'll want to use it extensively. Alternatively, fill it up now, then refill the jug with water for an additional cooling brick!
Updated meal plans while camping:
Cold breakfast & lunches on your own.
Tammy and/or I will cook dinner every night.
Sunday night - hamburgers - 10 people
Monday  - Alan, Garth & Ryan (pre made re heat on campfire stuff)
Tuesday - Alan, Garth, Ryan
Wednesday - Alan, Garth, Ryan
Thursday - Jason (plus guest?), Tammy, Alan, Garth, Ryan
Friday - Garner, Katherine, Andrew, Other Brother, Jason, Tammy, Alan, Garth, Ryan (9) 
Sat - same
Sun - all go home, if not sooner

Obviously, plans will change, but this is it as of today. 

Lots of questions surrounding "processing." I will send that out in an email for you to print, study & discuss. 

If you forgot something, no worries, just go to the sporting goods store in Ely. As always, just ask if questions! 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Jager is ready, but are we?

Jager has graduated from finally. He went from 51 pounds down to 44 and grew about 1/2" taller. It's been great working with Jared Moss of He has two litters available if anybody is up for it. I highly recommend it!  Jager will be up in Ely the whole time, hanging back with me. After he figures out the Elk hunt routine, I'll move up closer with him. We'll also plan to hit the edge of the mountains where the blue grouse hang out. We got Jager a Garmin Alpha for graduation. It's an amazing piece of technology.

Went to the Range with Garth last night, dialed in his 30-06 and new scope.  Did a tune up on the .243 and my .338-06. The downside is I'm low on .338-06 ammo, so I've ordered more and will dial it in on Sat morning at 6am.

338-06 100 yards

Jager holding point on a bobwhite quail while Jared discusses the training. Jager is sporting his new Garmin Alpha. I have the controler/GPS off camera and usage of the training apparatus is what we are discussing.

Jager holding point, looking back wondering why we are talking and taking photo's instead of letting him flush the bobwhite quail.

Jager retrieving the bobwhite quail

Jared working with Jager

Monday, August 18, 2014

last minute equipment?

Here are some last minute suggestions:

add it to your phone, turns it into a great GPS complete with our hunting area info including private land etc... It will work outside of cell signal. There's a trick to using it in that you need to "cache" in the maps by zooming in all of the areas you want ahead of time. I can work with you on it but I do recommend a GPS device of some kind.  Cost is $30, available for both IOS and Android. I plan to add it to my iPad.
Ap store has a "free" ap which then takes you through the marketing and purchase process. It's a subscription, so it is only good for this hunting season.  Not so bad because you get new maps every year.

Game bags. Don't worry about getting the expensive heavy canvas Elk ones. The cheap cheese cloth deer ones are fine, but you need at least 5 of them.

Cooler bricks. Don't spend a lot of money on this. If you can't find them at Walmart or Target, just freeze a case of bottled water as cold as possible (zero or colder) then pack them tightly together in an ice chest. For everybody coming up several days early, this won't work very well, but we'll figure it out by rotating them into the 2 freezers I have. If anything, it will be great to have plenty of cold water to drink at camp! "The plan" is for my freezers to be running at all times in the jeeps and always be full of bricks at zero degrees so that we are ready to go at a moments notice to retrieve 2 elk at the same time.

Here's how this could play out:

You and your scout down an elk. You radio back to camp or the trailing scout your exact GPS location. The 3rd person jumps in what ever vehicle is back at camp, then heads out getting as close as possible to the downed location. Using your maps and GPS, you will see the roads and terrain and know exactly the best way to get there. It may be that you can not drive all the way to the game down position. The hunter and the scout during this time will use the small tarp you are carrying as well as the game bags and tools in your pack to "process" the elk and bag the meat to shield it from insects and sun. If you have questions on "processing" just ask me. I'll put together step by step suggestions for you to carry with you upon request. If by chance the jeep/truck can't make it to the down position, the 3 people will saddle up with straps and carry it. Good times!
These are just suggestions, this is your hunt, have fun and do what you think is best.  Sleep late, wait for one to walk across the road in front of you - just as likely to happen as any other scenario!

Jagermeister should be back in Beaver tonight from his "study abroad" in Montana. We did finally get a couple of photos:

Jager with trainer in Montana

Jager on point in Montana
I'm not sure how they were able to not only get to Montana but all the way back to 1974 but I bet this is the truck they are driving!

1974 International Scout

Friday, August 15, 2014

August Meeting and Range Time

Alan, good plan on the food and schedule.  Thanks for typing all that up.  Below is a little report from me.

Meeting on Wednesday was a success for sure.  You can't beat happy hour deals at SAGOs!  It was also great to see everyone at one time that is going to part of this hunt.  Well, everyone except Jager, Jonathan, and Andrew!

This guys somehow knows what's going on.  Hard to believe, I know.

It must be noted that Ryan got a super sweet radio install in his truck.  It's the same Yaesu 857-D that I have with 2 batteries, but a little different installation arrangement.  I like it.  He likes it.  This is for some boom boom radio communication within our hunting party as well as communicating back to Vegas while we are out.  Cell phones don't work up there.  I have someone in Vegas to relay messages we send from the field to all others in town.  Pretty cool.  We will be active on 2 meters, 80M and 40M.  I can't wait to try this all out.

Nice dash control mount job.  Perfectly in reach.

Wiring with isolator and charge controller.

Ryan with the amazing tool box.  Battery inside and 3, yes I said 3 antenna mounts.  He has the auto adjustable Yaesu screwdriver, 2M antenna, and a stand alone 80M stick.  Yes, he just outdid me.  I wont believe it until I communicate with the guys midweek while I am back in Vegas.  Unbelievable.

Second battery.  Air compressor.  TP.  Nice.

How did this get in here?  Oh yeah, I got the H3 from the dealer for a brake flush and parked the cavi next to this ride.  Is it time to trade in the cavi for something a little quicker?  Can you fit an elk in the back?

Now for the range time today.

We all met at Desert Sportsman's range outside of Las Vegas on Charleston.  I was surprised to see others there at 6am, but there were.  This place is only 15 min from home and I should have pursued it long ago.  Ryan is a member and he got us all in to shoot.  As you can see, the weather was perfect.  No clouds or wind, and about 75 deg.

Green Bus, Black Mamba, and Snow White.

Ryan's .338 WinMag on top with Alan's .338-06 on the bottom.  Big boy rounds compared to my .308.

My first group was the AE FMJ 150gr rounds.  I sprayed them in a 6" group and cried for a little bit at 100yds.  OK.... More coffee.  I chilled out and tried again with much better results with the same ammo.  But, the second group with the Sierra Matchking was a different story.  The 175gr bullet grouped in less than half the area.  Now we were talking.  I was also getting used to this new Geisselle trigger.  I went to 200yds and then out to 300yds.  

After a few range "hot" sessions, I went for the gong at 300 yds.  Ding!!!! Ok, then I did it again.  So it thought, let's got for the one at 400yds.  My first shot hit in the dirt lifting a giant dust cloud.  Let me try that again, I thought.  The second shot.... Ding!!!!  400yds!  I have never even shot at 400yds before.  I used the distance crosshairs in the scope for about 350yds and kept hitting it.  Then Katherine took a try.... Ding!!!  Yeah!  Then Ryan.... Ding!  The SCAR was making everyone happy, but will it bring home the elk in a few weeks?  I would like to keep the animal within 300yds, but I will not be shooting off of a concrete table.  Ideally, I will be in the laying down "prone" position with the bipod legs in the sand.  With the high sagebrush that might not be possible and I will have to use a tripod like the pics below.  

The range showed all of us things we need to work on and check.  Another session will have to happen next week.  Also, I need to run the actual hunting ammo I will be using.  Today, I just fired 2 rounds of the 180gr bullets with success.  They act very similar to the Sierra Matchking rounds.  

Alan and Gman

Ryan testing out his skills on the tripod.

The crater in the back holds the 400yd gong.

Range Officer Katherine on duty.

200yd group with the SCAR

Inspecting the 300yd gong.

View looking back from the 400yd location.  Beautiful desert for sure.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Meeting follow up

Great meeting last night! Here's the end of August plan.
I didn't reserve any hotels yet, however, I don't think it will be too difficult - Hotel Nevada, Prospector Casino,  LaQuinta Inn and Suites or just camp if you like. Here's who is confirmed and when:

Tammy, Jager and I headed up Friday night, maybe not go all the way to Ely. Garner, Katherine, Andrew, Garth, Mirvate & Jason headed up Sat morning (plus any other scouts we can pick up). Head to the range in Ely for final prep (GPS coordinates of range are marked in Garth's jeep).  Stop by the Sporting goods store and grocery store  for anything we forgot.
Sunday morning, head north, finalize the camp spot. We have narrowed it down significantly,  camp south/west of Lages Junction or straight west of Lages Junction. Scout as best we can 'til dark Sunday.  Sunday evening, 8 people for dinner and camping.

Monday morning, it's on. Hopefully we'll have something spotted. Monday evening Garner, Katherine, Andrew, Jason, Mirvate & Tammy head back home. Monday late afternoon, Ryan arrives at camp just in time for evening scout/stalk or straight to dinner. Garth, Ryan, Jager and Alan stay through the week. Thursday and/or Friday, Jason, Garner & Andrew return to Lages Junction. All head home Sunday or sooner if we have 5 elk on ice!

Meal plan:

Cold breakfast and lunch of your choosing every day, coffee coffee coffee, water water water. Obviously we will share stuff, like last year when we ran out of food and I raided Garners stash of vienna sausages!

Dinner nightly - this is the best part of the trip, we come together and lie about what we did all day, then crash an hour or two after dark:

Sunday night -  8 of us Tammy/Katherine - dutch oven chili or enchilada?
Monday night - Alan steak & dutch oven vegi's for 3
Tuesday night - Garth smoked salmon for 3
Wednesday night - Ryan for 3
Thursday night - Alan/Garth/Ryan/Jason? grilled chicken & a side? 4 people
Friday night - Jason for 7
Saturday night - Garner/Andrew for 7

People counts are estimates and we'll share the dinner costs of course to equal it out. I don't mind bringing more pre-prepared food for example.

We'll have plenty of cookware.  A stew or pasta dish that can just be heated up in the dutch oven and served is perfect.
With a minimum of five 150qt coolers, there is a lot of space for ice cold drinks. I suggest you pack in the coolers for the trip up. For hauling them, put in my trailer by Thursday the 28th. We'll have it at the house mid week.
To all coming in during the week, stop at Bradley's market in McGill (right hand side) and get two 20 pound bags of ice or one 20 and one block etc... I know it sounds crazy, but the ice at that store tastes better and is shaped differently than the exact same brand in Las Vegas. You can never have too much ice out in the desert!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Gearing Up!

Gman is stoked to get this thing started.  I am going over my calendar and checklists like crazy.  Even at night I wake up thinking if everything is though out.  What if.........?

Today I bought a few more things.

I was watching videos with guys using these.  Some said the elk came within 100yds after hearing these.  I will need to practice with them and come up with a plan.

I read some reviews on game bags and these look pretty bomber, but you pay for them.  The rugged terrain out here will tear stuff up, so I went with these.  I hope they get here in time.

Meeting tomorrow at  SAGOS TAVERN  3:45pm.  Be there.

Range time with Ryan this Friday the 15th at 6am.  Desert Sportsman's Club.

Yesterday, installed new trigger on the SCAR.  I popped in a bad boy 2 stage Geissele Super SCAR.  Friday, I will give it a whirl at the range.  I played with it last night with soft primer dummies.  Trigger pull is half of the stock 7+ lb issued with the weapon, and crisp! 

Last night we had spaghetti with elk meat in the sauce.  Totally awesome!  Just more of a reason to bring home a beast and fill up my freezer, and many other freezers.  Let's go!

Pronghorn closeout and Elk prep

Garth and I made the trip to Ely again, this time in Garths new Jeep Sahara! We camped south/east of Cherry Creek and hunted north of McGill. When I say "we" hunted, I mean I dumped Garth off in a ditch close to a game trail and water source for 14 hours, then went into town for more Elk recondo and rifle practice. We certainly saw a lot of Pronghorn, but no go for this year.

I did confirm a 24 hour meat locker/processor in Ely, I sent the details via TXT. Here's the catch. He requires Elk to be quartered. I don't mean field dressing quarters like the minimum requirement by Nevada statues, but the traditional quartered beef way. You cut it in half from head to tail, then each half into a quarter with the last rib in the butt section, the rest in the front! YIKES. We need to discuss this in great detail. He recommended a sawsall. We can probably dismantle at camp then take it in, I have some ideas and will consult with others. I still think that taking the traditional quarters (legs) off is the best first step, if anything, that is the only way you can pick it up. Also, if we have to carry it by hand, it will take 3-4 people per elk, and dismantling down to 7 parts will be required (front legs, hind legs, rib cage & neck, back and hip, head cape heart and liver). I guess that is 9 parts but you get my point. Just the heart & liver last year was easily 20 pounds. The head/neck and cape last year was pushing close to 100 pounds, which was why we didn't keep it.

It seems that with every effort comes mistakes (I guess that is learning). I was never 100% comfortable with the info I was gathering on the Grouse. As it turns out, the birds we saw last year, and the ones that Garth scared up stalking Pronghorn are Sage Grouse. Season for Sage Grouse is Sept 25-Oct 9.  Blue grouse are up in the mountains and are smaller, about twice the size of a chukar. I can also confirm large numbers of chukar up in those mountains, we heard them squawking like monkeys every evening and morning. If somebody doesn't get an elk week one, we can plan a combo Elk Sage grouse hunt Sept 26-29.

Monday, August 4, 2014

First Hunt

Garth and I headed out early afternoon Friday. We spotted 2 very nice buck Pronghorn that evening and stalked one of them. We set up camp up in the edge of the mountains with nothing too eventful other than a little rain. Throughout the day Saturday we saw hundreds of Pronghorn and several nice bucks. One welcome surprise came with the large number of grouse spotted right in with the Antelope. At the end of the day we happened upon a very nice one just north of McGill. About 80 yards is as close as we got and didn't get off a shot. As it turned out this was the best spot we had found. Garth spotted a significant game trail and the exact spot where the crossed under a fence. Close by is a moving water source from a spring. Also, there is a ditch where you can hide and even move around. Sunday morning, we returned to this same spot and I used the spotting scope from about a mile away. Garth spotted 5 Pronghorn about 500 yards away but nothing came through the location.

Live and learn. Next trip we think we'll just stay in this location due to the obvious heavy traffic. Also, we had phone signal! Txt messaging info was certainly nice.

Looking West, overlooking the Steptoe Ranch, Glenlivet for Garth's Birthday!

Looking West at the sunset

in a ditch just north of McGill
Two more weekends of Bow season, we'll go at least one more time and camp closer to McGill and stalk this ditch for a full day. We additionally scouted the western side of the mountains and found some great Mule Deer locations.