Hello everyone! 2014 turned out to be another great year at Antler Ridge Outfitting, once again filled with great people and successful hunts! Here is a summary of what went on this year. Thanks again to everyone that came.
This year started out pretty well with my first hunter of the year, Scott Hardison from Oklahoma, who came out looking for a bull in muzzle loader season. After seeing some really nice bulls down at Archie Cruz’s place, Scott hunted the rest of the week there and he was finally able to connect on a 6×6. After a somewhat lengthy recovery that worked me much harder than I like to, Scott headed home loaded with elk meat.
Second season turned out to be a great season this year. Despite the warm weather, pretty much everyone was able to get an opportunity. The guys from Ohio Bill, Dennis and Brian were back out again with a couple of new guys, Mark and John, one of which, Mark, killed a nice buck the first night down at Pargin’s. Brian also had success the first night when he killed a 5×5 bull over at Bruce Clark’s. Things slowed down for a couple days, but then Bill was able to make a great, long distance shot on a buck down at Pargin’s as well. The next in the group to fill a tag was the other new guy, Bill’s brother John. After a couple of sasquatch sightings that had John a little nervous about those deep draws over at Zellitti’s (well maybe it was a bear but I like my version better), John, Kevin, and I were able to make a stalk on some elk and he dropped a nice 6×6 with a split brow to make him a 7×6. This hunt with John was one of the best times I had this year. Dennis was the last to fill a tag, but Kevin was able to help Dennis bag the biggest buck of their group over at Linda Moore’s place.
Two more guys in second, Jimmy and John Corley from Arkansas were able to have some decent success. John shot a nice buck down at Archie’s place to get the father son group started. Jimmy was next when he killed another nice buck over at Bumpy Stewart’s. The two had a couple encounters with bulls but those encounters also included some bad luck. The first bull they saw came in to Jimmy’s cow calls, but never presented a shot, and the next one he took a shot at but then discovered his rifle had somehow came off zero.
Mike Curran and Hodge Phillips came out from Ft. Worth in second also. Their week started out pretty slow, but about mid week Hodge got a chance at nice buck, but unfortunately was unable to connect. The buck must have taken offense to being shot at because he ended up coming within 4 feet of running Hodge over! Mike ended up killing a really neat buck that had curls on all his forks, kind of like a pig’s tail. Mike also had a close encounter some elk but actually ened up being too close. When he moved to get his gun, a cow that was 10 yards from him saw the movement and spooked.
John Harding, and his two kids, Joe and Grace came from down from Boulder, and Grace ended up making a great 200 yard shot, killing her first deer. We thought about getting her to give some of the other guys in camp some shooting lessons afterwards! John ended up getting the 4×4 buck that had almost ran over Hodge late in the season, and Hodge was pleased to hear that that killer buck was no longer on the loose. Unfortunately Joe was unable to get a chance but was very excited for his father and sister. So like I said, second season turned out really well and I had a great time seeing the return hunters as well as getting to meet some new ones.
Third season was more of a mixed bag as far as success. Two groups did really well and one did not. Rowdy, Shawn, Roy, and Randy came up from Florida and ended up doin g really well. Rowdy got things going when he killed a 6×6 bull down at Archie’s early in the season. After a couple slow days, Shawn got a nice buck at Archie’s. Next would be Rowdy when he killed a really mature deer over a Bruce’s place. Randy was able to kill a good deer over at Wayne Webe’s place. Roy finally was able to kill his first muley down a Archie’s towards the end of the season. He shot a toad at 11am in the trees at 50 yards. Definitely one of the biggest bucks this year.
Larry Wartenbe and his brother in law, Mike returned again this year from California. Mike filled his cow tag early in the season over at Bruce’s and then ended up getting a nice buck at Wayne’s. Larry ended up putting his bull tag on a really nice, heavy horned 6×6. Larry, Mike, and I were all greatful to have Rowdy, Randy, and Roy stop by to help us load him! Larry took a really nice buck at Wayne’s to make the group 100% this year!
The other group in third was Craig, Tom, Tim, and Monte. Unfortunetly they didn’t do as good as the other guys. Craig killed the biggest buck of the year over at Zellitti’s and that was about all that happened for the group from Oklahoma. Tom ended up missing a buck and Monte and Craig had some close calls with some elk, but they just managed to stay on the wrong side of the fence. I guess you can’t always have success when it comes to fair chase hunting, but I sure would’ve liked to see these guys fill a couple more tags! They were great guys and good hunters and hope to have them back sometime.
Fourth season included Jerry Hans, from Prescott AZ, and Jim Yancy from San Antonio. There were a few deer around but we contiued to have warm weather for the first couple of days. It ended up storming for the next couple days which would have been good if the season had been longer. Jerry finally got a chance at a buck at Wayne’s but ended up missing. Jimmy and I both found this hard to believe because Jerry is an excellent shot, but after further investigation we decided it was true. Jimmy ended up killing a decent buck the last day of the season. He was a good mature deer with pretty nice horns but just not quite a big as you hope for in 4th. Jimmy also had a bull tag but just couldn’t get one within range.
I had a great time with everybody that came this year from start to finish. It was good to see guys that have been here before and meet the new ones that hadn’t. I want to tell everyone how thankful I am for having a great group of clients. I enjoy what I do largely because I have been lucky to meet some really excellent people. I look forward to seeing all of you again in the future. I also want to thank my parents, George and Donna, and my cousin Kevin for their help again this year.
See You Next Fall,
— Tom Kenner