Dec 30, 2007

Arizona's 5 Best Units for 2008 - Part 4

Unit 18A:

Unit 18A has been a consistent producer over the last 20 years and has also produced many 90 inch bucks including Paul Langford's 20 incher. The unit is known for it's unique horned bucks and for it's bucks having great length!

The unit roughly breaks down into 4 distinct areas that hold antelope so running into other hunters may not be a problem during the rifle and muzzle loader hunts. The good news about the areas is that they have all held monster antelope in the past.

Last Year:
Rifle: 15 tags, 2% draw chance
Muzzle: 10 tags, 2%
Archery (includes 10/18B): 100 tags, 8%

This Year:
Rifle: 15 tags
Muzzle: 10 tags
Archery (includes 10/18B): 100 tags

The buck above was taken by Wayne Webber in 2004 in Unit 18A. It scores 96 5/8 SCI, 94 B&C.

Dec 27, 2007

Bucks That Got Away - Part 2

In 1997 my Dad and I were sitting in a blind in 19AS - we were waiting for either "WR1" or "L" to come in to water - both bucks were over 90 inches. However, this day, neither buck came in. A tall buck came in and my Dad debated whether to shoot or not. The buck was easily over 17 inches long, and probably closer to 18 inches or more, but with a broken prong and a broken horn tip. With the tips intact the buck would have scored around 83 inches. My Dad passed.

In 1998 we gave the buck a name, "Sticks". The picture below is from 1998, the year before "Sticks" was taken. Corky Richardson arrowed the buck September 9th, 1999. "Sticks" has the longest horns in history at over 21 inches long.

Dec 23, 2007

Arizona's 5 Best Units for 2008 - Part 3

Unit 19AN:

Ten years ago this entry would have been for 19AS. It's almost like the two halves traded places sometime around 2000 and 2001. We've taken several 90-inch bucks in 19AN the last couple years including the 2006 Auction Tag bought by Denny Austad (96 2/8 SCI), the 2007 Auction Tag bought by Shaun Friesen (97 2/8 SCI), and the 2007 Raffle Tag Winner Chad Corbin (94 2/8 SCI).

But, with all goods things, there's usually a catch and in 19AN it's private land. So far we've been able to get access to most of the ranches, but some charge a trespass fee anywhere from $500 to $1000. Some of the ranches will let you hunt for free, but only once you obtain permission. One of the ranches won't let anyone hunt (unfortunately it's the biggest ranch!) There is a tiny bit of public land, but I wouldn't apply for this unit planning on hunting it.

Another small chink in the 19AN armor is that it's very much like hunting in the city. If you're looking for a quiet, pleasant, relaxing hunt then this one is not it.

Also, one last note - muzzle loader hunters have first crack at the big bucks. If you're a rifle hunter, it's possible the buck you pick out during your scouting trip will already be gone by your opening day.

Other than that it's a good unit for big bucks!

Last year:
Rifle: 15 Tags, 1%
Muzzle: 15 Tags, 4%

This year:
Rifle: 15 Tags
Muzzle: 20 Tags

Dec 21, 2007

Bucks That Got Away - Part 1

In 2000 my Dad hunted 19AS with a PSE Mach 6! Hunting from a rock-blind above a watering hole he waited for a buck we named "Shorty II" to come near. When the buck arrived he was nearly to far from the blind for a shot, but this was my Dad's last day to hunt so he took his chances. The arrow missed. We estimated "Shorty II" at over 90 inches and, as far as we know, the buck was never killed.

Arizona's 5 Best Units for 2008 - Part 2

A much updated repost from last year:

Unit 10:

Still one of the best and most consistent units because of it's size and terrain diversity.

An excerpt from my Unit 10 post last year:

"If you look in the Arizona Record Book you'll notice that Unit 10 is a prominent unit for big bucks. I believe it will stay that way and I also believe it has the potential in 2007 to spit out more than one 90 incher! In 2008 or 2009 I'll predict a mid to upper 90 inch buck from this unit."

In 2007 we took four bucks in Unit 10 and their SCI scores were: 94 6/8, 93 7/8, 88 4/8, and 85. :)

Over the last 18 years we've guided to 16 bucks in Unit 10 and we have an average score of 87 5/8 B&C, 89 3/8 SCI!

The tags increased to 50 in 2006, held steady in 2007, and have now increased to 60. In 1999 and the early 2000's the buck numbers were low, so Unit 10 is definitely on the rebound and in the middle of it's peak years for this cycle. The last time it peaked was in the early/mid-90's and then before that in the mid-80's when Susan Whitaker took her World Record (story to come.)

If you've never hunted Unit 10 than you're in for an adventure. It's diverse terrain ranges from wide open prairies and rolling hills, to dense junipers, to sandy grasslands, and from private land to public to the Boquillas. Antelope populate every corner of the unit, but are difficult to find in the denser areas. The bucks in the open country run if they spot you from a mile away - the bucks in dense country do the same, but at least they have trouble spotting you. There's plenty of access to trophy areas. The private ranches in the unit also produce trophy bucks, but I don't think private land is necessary for a trophy - we've never had to hunt anywhere but land with public access.

For out of state trophy hunters it's recommended you hire a guide or find time to scout prior to your hunt. I've gone for half a day on The Plateau and not seen a single antelope so knowing where to hunt before opening day is a must if you want a big buck.

To increase your odds of drawing a tag you can apply for archery - it allows you to hunt Unit 10, 18A and 18B. (Increase your odds of hunting, decrease your odds of killing.)

Last year:
50 rifle tags, 1% draw chance
100 archery tags, 8% draw chance

This year:
60 rifle tags
100 archery tags

Dec 19, 2007

Arizona's 5 Best Units for 2008 - Part 1

Unit 5A:
I scouted the unit extensively for the first time and liked it. There were more antelope than I expected, but spread out. No single area had more than a few bucks, but I saw several over 85-inches.

Last year:
6 rifle tags, odds 1%.
5 archery tags, odds 12%

This year:
10 rifle tags
5 archery tags

100-Inch Pronghorn

The last few years I've heard 100-inch pronghorn rumors yet no one has produced one of these legendary beasts. The buck would have to dry (shrink) for 60 days to be officially scored and therefore need to green score more than 102-inches. That's BIG!

If the rumors are true then where are the bucks? I'd assume that either:

A) They're in units with few tags - no one scouts there, no one finds them. The person who does find one - the "rumor-starter" - does so on his way to camp after filling his tag. Drats!

B) The hunter doesn't know how to field judge, overestimates the bucks score.

C) The buck is far away, the hunter misjudges because heat waves blur the horns.

D) It's a lie.

E) B, C, and D

If this were multiple choice I'd pick "E" every time.

Does anyone have a 100-inch rumor they've heard? I'm always looking for one (a 100-incher, not a rumor.)

Dec 18, 2007

Wayne Taysom's 2007 Buck, Field Photo

Wayne Taysom was guided by Larry Heathington of Sheep Ltd. in Unit 8 last season. According to Larry the buck scores 89 2/8.

Dec 17, 2007

Glider vs Glider (2006 vs 2007)

The main photo is "Glider" in 2006, the inset is him in April this year. We almost took "Glider" last year with Denny Austad, but passed and took "Zeus", 96 2/8 SCI, instead.

You can see "Glider's" prongs were shorter last year, but his other measurements similar.

I lost almost all my 2006 photos. This is the only picture I have of "Glider" from last year. I'm sad about that. Maybe I'll invest in more memory cards this year and use them like film - make prints!

Shaun's Buck, Field Photo

Shaun's buck we named "Glider".

7-inch prongs, 18-inch horns! Shaun was one happy "motel-er" - we don't camp much. ;)

New Pronghorn Book

Research biologists David E. Brown and Richard Ockenfels have a new book out titled "Arizona's Pronghorn Antelope: A Conservation Legacy". I plan to buy it soon. David has helped me a lot with teeth aging and I think he's included some of that data in this book - along with a ton of other good information. You can check it out HERE.

Shaun Friesen's 2007 Auction Tag Buck

Shaun Friesen bought the second Arizona Auction Tag for 45k and hired us to guide him. He took this buck that we named "Glider" in August, 2007. The buck officially scores 97 2/8 SCI, 94 2/8 B&C ranking it number 2 in SCI and number 3 in B&C. Field photos to come.

Dec 16, 2007

My Current Camera

I snap my photos with a Canon XTi. It was a toss up between that and the Nikon D80. I thought briefly about the Sony Alpha A100, but the lack of lenses busted the deal - the Image Stabilization would have been sweet, though.

Why the Canon over the Nikon?

No reason.

Or maybe it's because I had a Nikon scope in my years before guiding and it wasn't great - it was just "ok."

Wollenman's Buck, Field Photo

Paul with his buck we named "The 18-incher". In 2006 the buck was 18-inches long. In 2007, not quite.

Paul Wollenman's 2007 New Mexico Buck

Paul Wollenman took this buck on one of our "Gold" hunts in New Mexico. It was bigger than we thought which is always a good thing! It officially scores 93 1/8 SCI, 87 4/8 B&C. The major difference in score is because of the bucks high prongs. SCI's scoring system allows 3 of the 4 mass measurements to be taken below the prong if the 2nd quarter measurement falls on or below the top edge of the prong. Pretty neat, we think. I'll post field photos today.

Dunbar's Buck, Field Photo

Larry Heathington gave me this photo of Bill's beautiful buck.

Dec 15, 2007

Bill Dunbar's 2007 Auction Tag Buck

Bill Dunbar took this buck - his outfitter and guide was Larry Heathington of Sheep Ltd. Bill purchased his tag at auction for 42.5k. According to Larry the buck scores 88 2/8 SCI - 17 2/8 long. If the buck looks familiar it's because many hunters posted pictures of this buck on AZOD and MM. Field photos to come.

Monument Valley

Not antelope, but I think it's cool. I took the picture last May in Monument Valley.

I'm Back

Sorry for the long delay. I got in a fight with my knee. Knee won.

We took MONSTER antelope in 2007! I'll post the pictures and stories shortly.

I'll post everyday, often more than once. :)