Deer hunting, cliff-dwellings & kidney stones

Discussion in 'Happy Trails' started by AZ~ThunderDan, Nov 3, 2007.

  1. AZ~ThunderDan

    AZ~ThunderDan Site Administrator Staff Member Super Mod Mod

    I spent the day yesterday (Nov 2nd) trying to help a friend with his deer hunt in Unit 5A. Some of you may know my friend as Mark Stephenson, aka elkman7X7 on other hunt forums. For those that aren't familiar with him, Mark was the lucky winner of the Arizona Game & Fish Super Raffle - Bear Tag.

    Anyway, I gave Mark and his son-in-law, Heath, a grand tour of the Clear Creek Ranch, which is part of the Hopi 3-Canyon Ranch group and located in the lower north end of Unit 5A. This portion of 5A is rich with history and is what we locals know was originally called the Zane Grey Ranch, located a few miles south of Winslow.

    Tom Chauncey, a successful Arizona business magnate, purchased the Zane Grey Ranch several years back, which is today, the property of the Hopi tribe. Hunter access is allowed here, through a registration process at the cattle ranch headquarters, located in downtown Winslow.

    Our treks yesterday covered a lot of ground, with most of our glassing efforts being hampered by the thick, heavy smoke from the forest fire currently burning near the town of Young. In one push along the canyon, Heath and I walked along the canyons edge, hoping to get lucky by glassing up a buck that would be working his way to his bedding area. On this particular journey, I quickly spotted a single 6X6 elk shed, and only minutes later, to find yet another matching pair of 6X6 elk sheds.

    On our way out of this particular area, we stopped to glass with the hopes of spotting a bedded buck on the south-facing slope of the mountain. As Heath and Mark were setting up the spotting scope, I decided that I'd wander over a small ridge to glass up a small cheater canyon nearby that I knew of. I found a prominent glassing location, which offered a wide viewing-angle of the area across the shallow canyon. I patiently glassed from that location for approximately 15-minutes. Suddenly, and out of nowhere, I spotted a most magnificent buck which had just stood up from his bed. He must have got nervous by my presence there and that's what caused him to finally stand up? Anyway, when I finally spotted him, he was standing there broadside and located directly across the draw from where I was glassing. I didn't have my range-finder to verify the distance, but I quickly judged that he was about about 125-150 yards away. This buck just stood there, starring straight at me for what seemed to be about 15-20 seconds. I tried to get an antler count using my bino's, but the thick cedars that he was standing in made counting his points difficult. One thing that I could plainly see, was that this bucks body-size was huge! I quickly estimated him to weigh somewhere around 180 lbs, and possibly even 200 lbs. As most of you would expect to hear, the buck finally turned and walked slowly away - and he slowly meandered over the ridge. When he walked away, I managed to get a quick glimpse of his antler width. I guessed him to be somewhere around 26-28" in width, and, he appeared - (from my obscured observation) to be at least a 4X4. I can't swear to it, but I'm pretty sure that his right side antler carried 5-points. What I can tell you is, this buck is absolutely the overall "second biggest buck" I've ever personally seen in lower 5A.

    Completely jazzed by the buck sighting that I had just witnessed, I quietly slipped off the ridge and headed back to the truck. Once I was sure that I was safely out of sight of the buck, I scrambled back to where Mark and Heath were. When I arrived, I was totally out of breath - my knees were knocking and my hands were trembling from the excitement. After explaining to Mark and Heath what I had just seen, we all three set-out to try to relocate this monster buck. Unfortunately, those efforts failed, but - we had a great time trying. I was probably the most disappointed that we couldn't relocate this buck, but I'm 99% convinced that this buck probably bedded down again (this morning) in the same generalized area as where I had spotted him yesterday. Too bad Mark is not well enough to have given it another try today, but hey, there's always another day.

    Our final trek of the day took us to a place where a prehistoric cliff-dwelling is located on the east bank of Clear Creek Canyon. When Mark saw the cliff-dwelling, he immediately wanted to seize the opportunity to take some photos of it by using his new Swarovski spotting scope and his Canon digital camera which has an adapter to mount it directly to the spotting scope.

    On our way back to the truck to gather up the scope. tri-pod and camera, Mark suddenly developed a sharp pain in his right side. He shrugged it off, and we headed back to the canyons edge to take some pictures. Once we departed there, Mark admitted that the pains were getting worse. Within minutes, he was doubled-over in pain and having a hard time enjoying anything else. During our drive out, Mark felt a small marble-sized lump in his lower abdomen, and he thought certain that he was probably just passing a small kidney stone. Naturally, we all agreed to call it quits for the day and to get Mark headed back home to Phoenix. When Mark and Heath dropped me off at my truck, Mark was not doing well at all, but, he was determined that he was going to make it back to the Valley without seeking medical attention in Winslow or Payson. Heath was now behind the wheel of Marks truck, so, I felt a little better that they would make it home safely.

    I locked the gate behind us as we both departed in opposite directions. A few miles down the road, it occurred to me that the 3 elk sheds that I had found were still lying in the back of Marks truck. :( Mark sent me a PM this morning and assured me that he would return my sheds to me, so I'm not worried about their safe-keeping until we can meet up again.

    To end, Mark told me that he is feeling a "little better" and that he will spend the majority of today in bed - and ,that he'll "probably" go see his doctor. Mark is a pretty tough guy, but - I gave him strict orders to go see his doctor! :rolleyes: It will probably be Monday before he does, assuming the pain doesn't worsen.

    I don't have any of the pictures to post that Mark took, but attached below is a picture of the cliff-dwellings that I'd taken from a previous trip there.

    All-in-all, we had an absolutely grand day together. And yes, I'm very disappointed that neither Mark nor Heath got to see the huge buck that had I glassed up, but hey, that's fairly typical of what happens during most hunting trips.

    And to the buck that I saw yesterday, all I can say is this. You are one lucky buck that I didn't have a 5A deer tag and my rifle with me yesterday when our paths crossed, because if I had, you can take it to the bank that your biscuit would've surely been buttered! :nyah: LOL!

    The cliff dwellings.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2007
  2. Great story Dan. One of these days I'm going to get up into your part of the country for an extended period of time. Not much of a mulie fan but I would consider one such as you described.

  3. rk

    rk I am NOT an Admin!

    Great story! I heard from Mark that he is getting an ultrasound today.

    Cool cliff dwellings, too.
  4. AZ~ThunderDan

    AZ~ThunderDan Site Administrator Staff Member Super Mod Mod

    rk - Thanks for the update on Mark.

    BTW, he had nothing but nice things to say about you yesterday. Well, ok, so he said you were a computer nerd. JK/LOL!

    Hopefully someday, we too can meet up.
  5. rk

    rk I am NOT an Admin!

    Hey, I resemble that remark!

    Mark's a good guy. Too bad his deer hunt got screwed up like that. I assume he told you about our little adventure last weekend with a guy named Kent and his dogs...

    I will be up in 5BS for my daughter's bull hunt Thanksgiving weekend. Feel free to stop by our camp if you are out and about.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2007
  6. AZ~ThunderDan

    AZ~ThunderDan Site Administrator Staff Member Super Mod Mod

    Yeah, Mark told me the short details about the trip/dogs.

    I'll be spending Thanksgiving weekend at my folks house in Payson or else I'd take up your offer.
  7. Nice write up Dan.Thanks guys for the nice comments,you guys are great company too.I am putting my operation of till after the hunts.I hope.I see the slicer on mon. the 19th.Sorry for the late response but just found this

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