I'll get the blog posts rolling again after all the hoopla that is the Christmas season! Many more official scores and photos are on the way.
J.W. Marr booked a hunt with us in New Mexico this last year and he was able to take a great buck on one of our premium ranches on the first day of the hunt. Butterbean (my Dad named him so don't blame me! ;) was one of the top bucks on the ranch, but one of the more difficult bucks to snap a good photo of. J.W. made a 200+ yard shot at the buck (I'm sure J.W. will remember the exact distance) and dropped him around 9:30 AM on opening day.
The buck has 16+ inch horns and great top mass! The official scores are 85 4/8 SCI, and 84 4/8 B&C.
A re-post from the old blog...
I met Ty in Valle at noon on the Thursday before the opening day in Arizona's famous and bleak Unit 10. He brought enough stuff to camp for a month. On Wednesday he called me to let me know when to meet him in Valle. During our call I was driving down an old two tracker in an area I don't scout much and I hit the brakes and said, "Hold on just a sec!" There was a buck 100 yards out my window standing there looking at me - this never happens on the Plateau. I could hear Ty yelling through the phone though it wasn't next to my ear, "What do you see? How big? You're killing me man..." After just a short peak I grabbed the phone and quickly rattled off, "I'm looking at the buck you're gonna kill. I gotta go," and I hung up the phone. The buck started trotting off. I grabbed my back up camera, a Panasonic FZ30, and put it up to my scope to try and get some evidence before the buck disappeared. My pictures weren't very good.
The buck cleared a ridge and I hiked after him. I spotted him at just over 200 yards and took some pics with my real camera, though it wasn't quite made for this distance. The buck had short prongs, but great bottom mass. I thought he was about 16 inches. And knowing what I know about top mass I figured his tops were pretty big as well. I guessed him at 86 to 88 inches.
The night before the hunt I sat down with Ty and we reviewed all my photos. I showed him several bucks over 84 inches and 3 serious candidates for us to chase opening morning. One was in Aubrey Valley and the other two were on the Plateau. Our camp was right near Tin House on the Plateau so I hoped we wouldn't have to go to Aubrey, but I didn't tell Ty where the bucks were as I didn't want that to influence his decision.
I told him all 3 bucks were 86 inches on the conservative side and just told him to pick the one he liked the best.
He chose the buck in Aubrey. Ugh. With the road going through Rose Well closed we would have to drive clear around and it could take several hours. Looks like we were going to be waking up EXTREMELY EARLY in the morning.
And we did. I had an energy drink to get going and Ty helped keep me awake during the drive with more elk hunting stories than I'd ever care to remember! :) Turns out that Ty knows Chipper Jones and had guided many of the same hunters we had.
We got to Aubrey at exactly the right time, which was a little surprising as we weren't sure exactly how long the drive was going to take. We plodded down the dirt road and stopped to glass a few times before we spotted him. He was within a few hundred yards of where I had seen him last. No hunters in sight which was unusual. We started hiking. Two miles out and the buck herded up with some others and rutted his way clear to the other side of our truck. We hiked back. When we got to the truck we were both dripping with sweat though the morning was still a bit chilly. We re-planned, but while we did the buck made tracks right back to where we just were! Gr...
We hiked on him again as there weren't any roads in this area. This time, when we got to where the buck was, he decided to move away from us another two miles. We kept after him. We also noticed several hunting trucks just beyond him and wondered if anyone was chasing him.
We knew the buck was just on the other side of the ridge about 600 yards from us. BLAM! A gunshot rang out and Ty exclaimed, "They shot him!" We didn't even know who "they" were at the moment, but we knew "they" were very close to us and most likely firing at the buck we were after. The herd bolted and appeared directly in front of us running full speed without the herd buck! We scanned, no buck, all does. Our hearts sank and then it happened - the buck appeared, unscathed, nearly 300 yards behind the does. The buck paused on the hillside just 311 yards away. Ty dropped him.
The other hunters walked over to us afterward and they were very cordial. I wish I could remember their names, but one of them was a guide for Diamond Outfitters. Both were genuinely happy for Ty's success. Definitely an exciting hunt!
Ty waited (like most people) well over 20 years to draw this tag! We had a blast hunting together and hopefully we'll get to do it again real soon.
Ty's buck officially scores 90 3/8 SCI. Not much length or prong with those coming in at 15 3/8 and 15 4/8 and 5 4/8 and 6 1/8, but HUGE mass with his bottoms measuring 6 5/8 and 6 7/8 and then 7 5/8 and 7 6/8 under the prong. His tops were unreal at 5 7/8 and 5 6/8 just above the prong and 3 5/8 and 3 6/8 on his last measurement.
We finally have a lot of those official B&C and SCI scores everyone has been waiting for!
The buck above we named Diamond because of his diamond shaped right prong. The buck on the bottom right was the "other" buck that was in contention for the Statewide Auction Tag buck. It wasn't until the day Mike arrived that we finally decided to take Diamond instead of Tank II.
The photo of Diamond on the bottom left is the one that eventually was too much for us to take - we just had to find out if what we were looking at was real. It was.
Diamond officially scores 90 4/8 B&C and 92 3/8 SCI.
Here's a new unit I've decided to add to the list. It's a unit that I haven't been truly fond of in the past, but for the past couple years has been producing some great bucks.
I don't have a ton to say about the unit except that it's broken into roughly three separate hunt areas and that traveling between the three might be quite cumbersome as they're all located a good distance from each other (driving miles anyway).
Also, a large chunk of the unit, the Baca Land Grant and ORO ranch, is restricted to access. The grant lies almost directly in the middle of the three publicly accessible hunt areas.
Another reason 18B makes this list is that it's an easier draw than most other units - not much, but slightly.
We had heard rumors of big bucks in the unit for years, but only recently have any of those rumors started to materialize.
A quote I made in my review of Arizona's 2010 hunt recommendations needs to be amended. The quote is below"
"A lot more hunts lost tags this year than gained them. Nothing too notable except maybe Unit 19B losing 40 of it's 60 tags. Finally G&F made a good call, but not without causing a lot headaches for a lot of hunters. This should have been done a few years ago, but I guess it's better late than never."
Apparently, after reviewing the actual 2010 regulations, G&F decided to revert the tag quota in 19B back to it's original status - 60 permits. This is a reaction to what seems to be the unlocking of a few gates within the unit on a ranch that was previously forbidden to public hunters. I've heard grumblings on both sides of the fence, but I personally don't have any knowledge of what has been going on barring what I've read on the internet forums and a few friends word of mouth.
I'll look into this situation some more and find out all the details for those thinking of applying in Yavapai County's Unit 19B. Hopefully enough of the unit has been opened to the public to justify 60 tags.