2017 is in the books and so is my hunting season. This past year was a great year for hunting. While I did not harvest an animal every time and ended with some unfilled tags, this year was incredibly rewarding. I enjoyed every minute out in the woods and continue to learn and experience new things every time I’m out. I was blessed this year to have many hunting opportunities with several different species. Here is a quick recap of my year.
Spring Turkey (0): Once again, close but not quite. Multiple times I saw turkeys, but was never able to get a shot. Hoping 2018 is the year to finally bag a tom!
Grouse (0): Didn’t get out as much as I was hoping exclusively for grouse this year. I saw several grouse while big game hunting, but didn’t shoot the grouse for fear of scaring off any big game. I did attempt to shoot a grouse with a .308 while walking out one afternoon, but missed just high. One other time I was packing out an elk and had great opportunity to shoot a few grouse, but had decided to leave my .22 back at camp. I still love to hunt these birds and hope to get out a bit more this next year.
Pheasant (1): This was one of my biggest disappointments this year! One of my New Year Resolutions (Besides the resolution to hunt more), is to work on my shotgun skills. I haven’t had a lot of use with shotguns so I missed well over 20 different pheasants this year. I should have reached my limit multiple days this year. Here is hoping that some time with my 12-gage and some clay pigeons this summer result in a much higher harvest in 2018.
Rabbit (1): I don’t go out for rabbit much, but this one was special as I got it on a Father-Son hunting trip with my 6-year-old. He had a blast and the quote of the day came as we were field-dressing the rabbit and my son says matter-of-factly, “that’s disgusting.” He is well on his way to becoming a hunter!
Squirrel (4): Those little things are great target practice and they are everywhere.
Happy to remove a few that had become pests.
Mule Deer (0): Learned a hard lesson about the Colorado draw and license codes on this one. There was a great leftover tag for muley buck that I tried to get, but I accidentally picked up a doe tag in the draw that didn’t allow me to get anything else. My hunting time was limited on this tag and warm weather and a full moon made hunting difficult. I won’t go for that specific tag again unless it’s leftover. Looking forward to getting a buck tag this next year.
Elk (2): I was incredibly blessed again this year to be able to fill my bull tag for an 2nd year in a row. The antler comparison between last year and this year is huge! While not a massive 5×5, he was a great size for the area. I also filled my cow tag, but unfortunately lost a lot of the meat. At this point I would say elk hunting is my favorite animal to hunt. My goal for next year is to get my wife to fill her tag as well.
Antelope (0): I had high hopes for this one as I was going back to an area I was familiar with. The tag was a late season hunt and I picked it up as a leftover. Hunting pressure
would be low and I had a lot of land to hunt. This year I found antelope every day of hunting, but could never get close enough for a good shot. They were incredibly skittish and I wonder if early hunting pressure caused them to be extremely cautious. Next year I’m headed to a new area.
As 2017 fades into the past, I’m already planning and anticipating my hunts for 2018. I hope to build on the experiences and knowledge I gained in 2017 to become a better hunter in the future. The memories I’ve gained over the past year will stay with me and remind me of why I hunt!