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2017 Hunting Recap

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Hiking the Trail

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.

Thwarted by a Horse (1)
Horse eating my turkey decoy

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.

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Grouse in a tree and I don’t have a gun!

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.

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2017 Pheasant

 

 

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!

 

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One of My Best Hunting Trips of the Year!

Squirrel (4):  Those little things are great target practice and they are everywhere.

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Scouting up above timberline

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.

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Late Season hunt with no snow and no deer.

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.

Aaron P-Bull Elk, October 23,2017-2
2017 Bull Elk
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2017 Cow Elk

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

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2016 below, 2017 on top.  What will 2018 bring?

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!

 

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Hunting in Colorado

 

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