Jan 30, 2008

The Camera Lens I Want - Again

I believe this is going to be the production model of the Sigma 200-500mm (w/ built-in 2x converter for 400-1000mm!) I like it! I still haven't seen a price posted anywhere. I highly doubt it will be feasible. Around 35 lbs...yep, I think I'll take two!

Arizona's 5 Worst Units for 2008

If you're applying for any of the following units you might be in for a long hunt.

Unit 21
Unit 30A
Unit 31/32
Unit 34B
Unit 35A

These units, collectively, have a total of 56 available tags between archery, muzzle loader, and rifle. Four of the units are south of Phoenix and the other is the closest unit to Phoenix with antelope.

Why are these units bad? If you're a trophy hunter these are the units with the fewest recorded big bucks. In fact, we've scouted these units and found very little so we agree with the record books. A few years back we managed to find an 86+ south of Tucson, but that's more the exception then the rule.

Region V - Tucson

The SCI Show 2008

The show was fun, but all the pictures are on my sisters camera so I have nothing to show.

My favorite booths of the show:

Wilderness Whitetails - I know the deer are farm raised, but they're still amazing to look at.

IRP Outdoors - The coolest ice chests in a long time! (pun intended) They also have a tree stand blind thingy that looks pretty sweet.

Ed McBride - Awe inspiring steel sculpture.

Jan 19, 2008

When I Return

...from SCI I'll post whatever it is I hear or see or get a picture of or...you get the idea. I'll post stuff from the Reno Convention. It's usually full of great things to talk about so hopefully I run into a few of them.

Jan 14, 2008

Muzzle Loader World Record

I can't find a picture of Whitaker's buck - I'll keep looking. Until then I'll post a picture of the buck taken by Chad Corbin, the Arizona Super Raffle Antelope Tag Winner last year. He hunted with us and took this buck with a muzzle loader in mid August. The buck officially scores 94 3/8 SCI and 92 2/8 B&C making it the largest antelope ever taken with a smoke pole! I think a more appropriate name for this buck would have been Mickey Mouse - check out those ears! The buck had the largest ears we've ever measured, they were 8 2/8 inches long - his face was only 8 inches long.

Jan 11, 2008

What Ever Happened to Whitaker's Buck?

Have any of you heard of Susan Whitaker? If you own a copy of Arizona's Record Book then you might know who she is. In 1984 she took a giant pronghorn in Coconino County. The buck officially scored A LOT! The very next year Mike O'Haco took a buck near Chevelon Butte in 4A. Both bucks, after being entered into the Arizona Record Book and the Boone & Crockett Record Book, were invited to B&C's 3-Year Awards Banquet where they would need to be panel scored to uphold their entry scores. Both bucks were bigger than the current World Record so the anticipation was high!

The rest of this is a story that was told to me by a little birdie ;)

The two bucks were officially entered into the book at 94 6/8 for O'Haco's and 94 4/8 for Whitaker's. They were then sent to be panel scored. After the panel O'Haco's buck scored 93 4/8. Whitaker's buck was slightly smaller. O'Haco's buck was declared the New World Record. O'Haco was then awarded B&C's most prestigious honor - The Sagamore Hill Award. After the ceremony Whitaker noticed something on the score sheet she received from the panel - the score didn't add up. The panel apparently added incorrectly and her buck should have scored more than O'Haco's. She brought this to the panel member's attention and they said there was nothing that could be done now, presumably because they had already awarded O'Haco The Sagamore Hill and they weren't about to take it away. Susan then immediately withdrew her buck from B&C's Record Book. If you look in B&C's book you will not find her buck.

This is the story I was told. It may just be a story, it may be the truth.

In 1984 a friend of ours claimed to have archery hunted Susan's buck in Unit 10 near Bishop Lake. If that's the case the genetics have disappeared with time. After my Dad heard where her buck was supposedly taken he scoured Bishop Lake for the next several years and found nothing even remotely similar in size of shape. Another story has her buck being taken either near or on the Freeman Ranch (private). There are big bucks on this ranch, but I honestly have no idea if either locations are correct. For all I know it could've been Bishop Tank which is quite a distance from Bishop Lake.

In the years from 1984-1987 Arizona had quite a bit of moisture so I'm sure there were several giants taken that became rumors and never appeared to the general public. Any one of them may have been thought to be Susan's buck.

I have a picture of Susan's buck somewhere - when I find it I'll post it.

There are many other fun and thought provoking mysteries surrounding other giant bucks...I love hearing good stories like this - it gets my blood pumping and my heart pounding and it gets me ready to go chase rumors!

Jan 9, 2008

The Lens I Want

This is the lens I want - Sigma 200-500mm with a built in 2x teleconverter! One of these days it shall be mine. ;)

SCI Convention - Jan 23-26

For anyone thinking of attending an SCI Convention check out these pictures of the show floor, the auction, etc.

I found something else cool online - it's OUR booth at the SCI Convention! Check it out!

For those attending the show stop by our booth and visit with us, we're booth number 5018 - inside the McElroy Ballroom.

Jan 5, 2008

My Lens

I absolutely LOVE my camera lens! I bought it before last season began and it's worked perfectly for what I do. I researched the camera forums and debated which lens to purchase for a long time before deciding on the Sigma 50-500mm. It's not a small lens, but it's not too big to take on a couple mile hike. If you hunt mountainous terrain or hike super long distances I'm not sure that I'd recommend it - unless you're a professional photographer.

But, when it's all said and done, I still feel like I need more reach. About twice as much would be nearly perfect. Until then, this lens will be the one providing the photos for this blog!

Jan 4, 2008

Bomber vs Bomber - Maybe

The top picture below was taken in 2006. The bottom picture in 2007. The bucks were photographed within 500 yards of each other. Initially I assumed it was the same buck, but, upon closer inspection, it becomes a tough call.

Some observations:

The area this buck lives in has a lot of similar bucks year after year. Like the old days of 19AS, a lot of the bucks are so similar genetically that we have a hard time deciphering which is which from year to year.

This buck's right horn and left horn appear to have switched directions - the one that pointed inward now kicks back and vice versa. This isn't a huge deal because we've noticed that as a buck ages his horns are more susceptible to oddities such as extreme variations and either hooking more forward or more backward than usual. Although, because the horns have switched we can't overlook it.

The 2007 buck is clearly bigger, but this is what we might expect so no alarm there.

The black patch is similar enough in both photos and the hair and stripe patterns aren't clearly visible since the bucks were both shedding.

What do you guys think?

Jan 3, 2008

Arizona's 5 Best Units for 2008 - Part 5

With many other Arizona units capable of producing giant bucks it's hard to narrow down the Top 5, so this entry will be "sleeper" unit (note that I use the term "sleeper" loosely.)

Units 4A and 4B:

We don't scout these units as much as we'd like, but last year I found an 84+ in only one half day of scouting and the year before we found an 85+ and an 86+ in limited scouting. A few years ago rumors of a couple upper 80's and a 90 incher being killed were floating around. The potential is there for a 90 incher - remember O'Haco's buck?

Both units are beautiful to scout and provide that knot-in-your-gut feeling you get when you just know a monster is over the next rise.

Last Year:
4A Rifle: 10 tags, 1% draw chance
4B Rifle: 10 tags, 1%
4B Archery: 20 tags, 13%

This Year:
4A Rifle: 10
4B Rifle: 15
4B Archery: 20

Mike O'Haco's former B&C World Record - 93 4/8.

Jan 2, 2008

Brochure 2008

I just finished our brochure for 2008 and dropped the CD in the mailbox. The cover is posted below. It has 30 pictures of giant bucks we've taken and 6 different photos of live bucks over 88 inches! It's not only our biggest brochure ever, it's our best!