As a caveat I did start posting this on another forum, but wanted to share here as well
To start the year off I had a hunt for Coues deer in Mexico. It was originally going to be in December but lots of rain postponed it to January. I went with my buddy Brady and we had a good price on a new ranch out of Hermosillo. I have unsuccessfully bowhunted spot and stalk for coues deer in Arizona a few times. I had killed a small 2pt buck with a rifle in AZ about 20 years ago.
Well, the weather didn't cooperate and it rained the first few days there. Makes for long boring sits at water holes! The other hunters were super slow as well. The Second to last day we set up a new ground blind at a small water hole that was getting hit. We brushed in the front we thought the deer would come from, then Brady said don't worry about the other side. I wanted to take the time but he was hungry!
The last day I sat the blind, and I see a monster buck circle around the waterhole and walk to the far side of the blind that wasn't brushed in. It came down the bank and at 45 yards facing straight at me locked onto the new blind! I had no shot as he took a step backwards and disappeared. Ugg, after a week of nothing i lost a chance at the biggest Coues I have ever seen.
Luckily not long afterwards 2 other bucks came in, a smaller 6pt and a 7pt. I had decided to shoot the first legal deer, being the last day. These young deer come into water and I pick the one broadside. I go through the draw process and settle the pin and release- I watch in horror as by arrow goes right under the buck! I used the wrong pin.
I do have to admit that white tail deer from a stand has always been my archery shooting nemesis! I have missed more whitetail from a stand than all other hunts combined! Pretty sure I get way too excited, but that's why I love it :) .
Luck was on my side. The 6pt buck that I didn't shoot at came back about 15 minutes later by himself. I took my time and made a good shot for my first Coues deer with a bow! I knew the ranch had extra deer tags so I stayed in the blind. Needless to say another small basket 8 came in about an hour later. It was at the far side of the water hole and spooky coming in. I waited it out and decided to try the shot. Not meant to be as the longer shot and jumpy buck completely jumped the string.
A coyote showed up later, and I put an arrow through it- a little back but solid hit. Pretty enjoyable for my first trip to hunt Mexico. The food is great and warm weather and Sunshine sure is a nice break from the Alaska winter!
Next up was Kodiak Mountain Goats. I never had a tag before so March is a great "off Season" hunt. I had a couple buddies who wanted to go as well. Winter hunting adds a whole new layer of gear and preparation. Weather is always a concern as well. We got into Kodiak and dropped off just before a storm blew in. First day glassing was promising!
Lots of snow that year- the Goats were less than a mile away but up about 2500'. Killer quad burn. The hardest part was busting through the snow. By afternoon the wind was blowing snow, but there were enough breaks to still see. We got to 4-500 yards below the group when they started to get spooky. The big Lead goat started heading away from us with the rest following.
I dropped down and dialed for the distance and hoped I was holding enough for the wind. My shot dropped her! The rest of the goats turned back momentarily not knowing what to do. My buddy was then able to connect with another. 2 goats down! The third friend was having a tough time with the snow since he weighed more and would break through. We started working on field dressing in the weather.
45 minutes later we see the 3 buddy crest the ridge. As luck would have a few new goats had feed over the top of the mountain. After a wind correction, there were 3 goats down! plenty of fun skinning out goats on a windswept hillside with 3' of snow!
With the daylight quickly fading we decided to cache the meat and hides and get back to camp before too late. We made it down after an exhausting day. The next day we busted out the snowshoes and were able to retrieve everything, while also glassing up a nice Billy the next mountain over. Due to work constraints with the pressing Covid pandemic I was to head home early while my buddies planned out a spike camp to go chase the billy.
Back to March- we all know the pandemic took a huge turn for the worse. The State of Alaska issued Health mandates that virtually shut down my dental office. So I decided to go hunting ??. I still had another goat tag for Kodiak and wanted a good billy. I had another buddy who had never killed a Goat so he was up to go.
We flew into a different spot this time and the weather forecast was much better. Once again we found some Goats from camp.
We glasses door a couple days but didn’t turn up a billy. There was a big collared nanny to go after. The morning we went after that group they had relocated a mile down the ridge. We had to skirt some cliffs on the beach but found a good chute to climb. My friend needed a closer shot so we tried to close the distance but got coiffed out directly below the goats. I saw them for a split second before the old goat busted us and left over the ridge,
We tried to skirt the cliff in the snow and ice. The one thing I learned about Mt. goats is they live in steep terrain! Easy to slip and fall. As we made our way to the next basin we spotted a few more goats coming our way. My buddy set up and after a few shots?? he had his first Mt. Goat!
Next up was bear season. I have grown to love the spring bait season. Great way out of winter and start getting in shape. My oldest had two first time bear hunters planning to come so we opened two new baits in addition to a bait I ran the previous year. Lots of bushwhacking and machete work to find suitable and legal locations.
Luck was on my side and the bears quickly showed up. Feeding a couple of Brown Bears takes a lot of bait! Once they started hitting regularly towards the end of season I committed to hunting them full time- which means sleeping in my ground blind 3 nights in a row only 20 yards from the bait by myself with my bow ??.
I didn’t know who scary that could be til the 3rd night the bears finally showed up together right before dark. If there ever was a time I wished I had the biggest rifle in my hands that was it!
the sow came in first while the boar warily circled. They took a piece of fresh bait and quickly left. 5 minutes later they come back. It took everything I had to calm my nerves and wait for the boar to present a shot.
Finally he came into to the bait mostly broadside, slight quarter to me. I drew and settled on a spot, But then told my self Middle of the Middle is better than shoulder! I released and saw my arrow hit dead center! The boar circled and ran down hill, the sow busted out thankfully straight away from me and I started shaking!!
It was getting close to midnight and a light drizzle was falling. There was no way I was going to spend another night solo in that blind or go after a bow shot Brown bear by myself in the dark ??. So I quickly bailed out the blind and made it to my truck and home.
The next morning I called some back up and we got to the bait by midday. I was hoping to find my arrow or good blood but nothing. I did feel ok about the shot, a bit back but the arrow seemed to go all the way in. I was shooting an Iron Will v100 standard with collar on an injexion shaft. Total weight about 450gr. I knew that blade would continue to cut if inside the bear.
I was relieved when my friend found some evidence- the back 6” of my arrow witch was crunched