Howa 6.5 Grendel update

mini with scopeI finally received my Leupold VX1 2-7×33 scope (LR Duplex reticle) the other day. With the Talley ring/mounts and scope the rifle is 6lbs 4oz. With four rounds of 123gr Hornayd SST it is 6lbs 8oz. I would like it to be under 6lbs, but it is what it is. When a company like Manners or McMillian start to produce lightweight stocks I’ll be in line. Good news was the scope came in under the advertised weight at 9.85oz (advertised at 9.9).

I did a break in session like Howa suggests and it looks like accuracy will be fine for big game hunting. I was surprised by the thump the 6.5 Grendel produces at 200yd on steel. I was also a little surprised by the recoil, of course I guess with a lightweight rifle it shouldn’t be a surprise.

No group pictures yet, I’ll make sure to take some next time out.

2017 Projects

I’ve got a couple of projects I am working on during the off season. I am attempting to cobble together my own custom big game hunting pack, and I’m attemptingto to do a semi custom mountain rifle.

The rifle will hopefully come in at under 6lbs with scope (and hopefully with ammunition). I’ve chosen to start with the Howa mini action rifle in 6.5 grendel.

I’m excited to get these done and for the 2017 hunting season which begins in August….just around the corner.

2017 Free Range Public Land Aoudad

I apply every year for multiple public land Aoudad (Barbary Sheep) hunts. The odds are incredibly long with the chance of being drawn around 2%. Somehow I was lucky enough to draw an Aoudad hunt at the Palo Duro Canyon St. Park. My hunt dates were January 25th-27th.  I applied with a friend that is a much better big game hunter than I, and that has had the chance to hunt Bighorn Sheep. Without his help I don’t know if I would’ve even seen any Aoudad, let alone have the luck to harvest a very nice representation of a free range wild aoudad in north west Texas. My ram was spotted at over 2k yards by my eagle eyed buddy and his swaro’ spotting scope. My friend took two rams and unfortunately we were busted hiking out with his two rams by two rams that were larger than the one I shot a day earlier.

In two days we hiked over 8 miles a day, and got our butts handed to us by the massive canyon know as Palo Duro. I knew it would be a physical hunt, but I had no idea it would be as insane as it was. When we left, a day early due to blisters, and soreness that made it impossible to put in another 12hr/8 mile day,  we were the only group to kill rams. Only one other group saw Aoudad. We hiked our asses off and here are the spoils…..

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Above is a look at the glassing point my ram was spotted from. He and several females were on the far side cliff face just left of the juniper bowl (2k yards away).pd2

Above is my ram coming in at an unofficial 25.25 inches. He had a beautiful cape, and I am grateful to have harvested such a fine animal.pd4

The above picture shows the next canyon (to the right of where I shot my ram) that we hunted the following day for my buddy’s sheep.

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The largest of the two shot by my hunting amigo.

And now just some random shots…pd8

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It was a fun, crazy-tough hunt. I hope some day I get to return and participate again. I can say that I’ll be in better shape physically, and more prepared for just the shear size and ruggedness of the PD canyon.

How much can a guy lose in a season?

I turned 30 just a few weeks ago, and my mind is already circling the toilet. Whether it be a equipment from work (taser…which I eventually found after 3wks), or hunting gear I cant seem to find anything this year. I’m now ready to send a search party out for my Sitka jet stream lite (that I scored half off from a RMEF website sale). I’m gathering gear for a chukar/hun hunt that Im heading out on next week…I need that jacket.

So I guess I’m going to tell the wife to buy some of that ginkgo biloba stuff and keep looking for my all the shit that has disappeared.

I haven’t forgot where my bird spots are, thank God. Or that I’m heading to Texas in January for a one in a million public land aoudad hunt.

 

 

September has been good

Hit  spot this morning I’ve never been to on a whim, hoping I might find some birds. I sincerely hope my luck in September carries over to October and the chukar/hun season. About an hour into the hike after we turned to go with the wind (like the first sharptail hunt of the year) we found a large covey. Unfortunately no points came off of this covey as they flushed wild about 40yds in front of both Ace and Molly (who were up wind), but I was able to knock down a single the flushed wild after the covey. Saw about ten birds, shot at four, and got one. The new Franchi Instinct L has some good mojo, even if I should’ve had an easy limit with my first three shots. I will gladly take a bird in the hand after a fine morning afield. I love the high plains.

After seeing this little fella on the side of the road as I turned off the hwy, I had a good feeling.

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Turnabout is fair play

Well after riding the high of my last three sharptail hunts where I actually got into birds, I knew reality was eventually going to catch up to me. That reality usually always hits when I go sage grouse hunting. Once again I pointed the U.A.V. (Upland Assault Vehicle) westward and headed to the sea of sage. The hounds hit the ground just after sunrise and we hunted hard until the temps got too warm. Nada. Not a feather, not a piece of grouse poop, not even an old track. I did see plenty of wildlife including approximately 200 antelope, mule deer, jack rabbits, cottontails, the biggest coyote I’ve ever seen and probably 30 elk (two 6×6 bulls). I was also scouting for antelope, the season opens on the 25th and I’ll be there in hopes of tagging out on opening morning. Then the weekend after that is the glorious first weekend of October……look out Chukar and Hungarian Partridge.

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Don’t listen to your friends

So when your friends say “oh its only like a mile hike”, do not listen to them. While it was some of the most beautiful scenery I’ve laid eyes on, it was in the high 90’s and most certainly more than a mile, especially when altitude gained and lost came into play. No trout were harmed (or caught) in this failed expedition. I will now always pack more than a liter of water, and my gps. Lessons learned, heat exhaustion is better than heat stroke…and cactus is a bitch.

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Finally hit the lotto

After four years of applying I finally drew a resident Antelope tag. Its in a decent area that has plenty of BLM public land, and some decent bucks. I hope to make a couple of scouting trips prior to the season; however life may get in the way (babies). A leftover tag may also be in the works.

I also hope to try out a new caliber I’ve had my eye on for a couple of years. If I can convince myself and my wife that I absolutely can not live without a 6.5 Creedmoor, that will be my caliber of choice come antelope season. If not, the .243 will have to get the job done.

Until then, here’s a couple of pics from a mountain lake I stumbled upon last week. I actually caught a brook trout out of it…on a fly rod no less.

 

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Baptism by Fire

So a couple of weeks ago I tagged along on a Fly fishing trip to the Green River in UT. We were fishing the blue wing olive hatch. I had never attempted fly fishing prior to this trip.

Wow. I was humbled to say the least. Usually I am capable of watching someone do something, and vicariously I can pick up on things pretty quickly….like archery. Fly fishing is not archery I learned. In three days I caught one fish. One average size brown trout. I don’t even know how I caught it, luck I would assume. I did lose two others, which is fine because the fight was fun and truth be told I probably didn’t deserve to land them anyway.

I managed to snap my rod in half, but at least I didn’t fly out of the boat and knock my teeth out. The beer was cold, the company was great, and I learned an unbelievable amount about fly fishing in just three days. I suppose it would have been smart to make my fly start on smaller water and not in a boat. But hindsight is 20/20.

Am I a fly fisherman? Not by a long shot. Will I continue to dabble in fly fishing? Maybe. I also said I’d take a lot of pictures to document my trip. Truth be told I spent most of my times cussing and trying to get knots unknotted.

Things learned:

  1. Casting is hard, it seems impossible in 30mph gusts
  2. flys are expensive
  3. Nymphing is not as easy as it looks, especially in an ever turning drift boat
  4. Dr. Mcgillicuddy’s mentholmint is delicious and refreshing.
  5. I now know why bird hunting and fly fishing go hand in hand, they are both incredibly humbling at times.

 

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2016-17 Season

As I sit here in March, I cant help but dream about where, when, and what I’m going to hunt in the up coming season.

My mind drifts, from state to state, species to species.

Sharptails, Chickens, Ptarmigan, Huns, Blue Grouse, Ruffs, Sage Grouse, Columbian Sharpies, Phez, Chukar, Scaled, Bobs….

I hope to spend the rest of the off season running the dogs, and dreaming about the sand hills, the mountains, cheatgrass, and sagebrush. I cant help but look at my two friends, Ace and Molly think of how I need to enjoy the getting while the getting is good. I don’t want to look back on their lives and say “man I should’ve took that trip”.

Who knows there might even be an antelope hunt or elk hunt mixed in there somewhere, but I wont waste much of my time on those.

I’m brain storming on a review of my Asolo Bajura boots, and my Lowa “whatever they are”….along with my Savage Stevens 555 in 20ga.

Until then, jam out to Micky and The Motorcars

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