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October 2019 Soapbox

October 2019
Author: Robert Hanneman

Last winter and spring, there was a lot of moisture that fell across the West. Everyone was hoping for a good horn growth year, and 2019 did not disappoint, especially in the desert states. I am amazed at some of the animals that have already been harvested this season. Nevada and Arizona have produced bulls over 400", and I am sure we are going to see more as the season goes on. I cannot remember a time when so many giant mule deer were harvested in Arizona, Nevada, and Utah. The biggest buck to be harvested so far was in Arizona and is rumored to go 300". David Virostko, one of Huntin’ Fool’s Endorsed Outfitters on Utah’s famous Paunsaugunt unit, had three archery hunters who all harvested giant bucks with an average score of 230". I have lost count of how many bucks have broken the 200" mark this season.

My first adventure this fall was going to Idaho to help out on a bighorn sheep hunt with Sheep Mountain Outfitters in unit 11. They purchased the guide area last year, and this was their first year hunting it for bighorn sheep. They run a great operation in Oregon and wanted to do the same in Idaho, so they spent a lot of the spring and summer scouting as they had booked both tag holders. I will let the hunters tell their own stories, but it was a very special hunt where two Boone and Crockett rams were harvested. The larger of the rams is one that you dream of holding in your hands at some point in your lifetime. You just sit there staring in disbelief that a ram can grow to 203". More than likely, I will never be part of a hunt again where a ram of this size is harvested, but that won’t stop me from dreaming about being on another one. I cannot say enough great things about the two hunters and everyone else in camp. It was one of the most enjoyable hunts I have been on in many years.

Speaking of sheep hunts, my oldest boy, Connor, was lucky enough to get a Desert bighorn sheep hunt tag in Arizona. This hunt won’t take place until December, and I don’t think I could be more excited even if it was my own tag. My family ended up with a lot of tags for 2019, and I am doing my best to make sure my three boys get every opportunity they can to be in the field. If you get a chance this fall to take a kid hunting, I promise you will have a great time.

As a reminder, if you have not already purchased your points for Wyoming, the deadline is October 31st. Best of luck to all this hunting season!