Ruby Mountains Muzzleloader Hunt 2014

We had the mountains to ourselves and they were great. The mules produced the best trail riding of my pack-in career. The company was superb. My new EL10X42 Swarovski Optik field glasses were all they were supposed to be.

However, the mule deer bucks did not cooperate. I saw three legal bucks in six days of hunting. After the first three days produced poor results by the traditional spot and stalk method, we switched to still hunting, which is my favorite way to hunt.

However, the results were the same. Came within 20 yards of one buck and we suspected he was there, but he busted loose and disappeared in a flash. He was gone so fast that I couldn’t have touched him with bird shot in my Beretta O/U 12 guage.

Got some nice photos, but no venison.

Much of the time I had two guides. Dan Riddle and outfitter Henry Krenka.

Much of the time I had two guides. Dan Riddle and outfitter Henry Krenka.

On day three, Henry spotted this goat a long way off, but he didn't escape my Nikon.

On day three, Henry spotted this goat a long way off, but he didn’t escape my Nikon.

Center left in this photo is a nearly flat rock from which we glassed for deer on day one. As the trip progresses, the aspen began turning yellow and the service berry  red.

Center left in this photo is a nearly flat rock from which we glassed for deer on day one. As the trip progresses, the aspen began turning yellow and the service berry red.

Henry and Dan accomodated me well. Here they are bringing me my horse. Camp is in the background.

Henry and Dan accomodated me well. Here they are bringing me my horse. Camp is in the background.

Henry's comfortable camp was tucked away in an aspen patch at about 8,500 feet above sea level.

Henry’s comfortable camp was tucked away in an aspen patch at about 8,500 feet above sea level.

The mountain tops were impressive and reminded me of other rock faces I've seen above 10,000 feet.

The mountain tops were impressive and reminded me of other rock faces I’ve seen above 10,000 feet.

Despite some serious hiking and mule riding, I gained three pounds on the trip which is indicative of the quality and quantity of food provided.

Despite some serious hiking and mule riding, I gained three pounds on the trip which is indicative of the quality and quantity of food provided.

I sincerely could not have had a better time, even if I’d killed a big buck. Next time I draw a Nevada muzzleloader tag, I won’t hunt until after the 20th of September. The weather and moon phase are better later in the month and I’m convinced that it had a lot to do with our inability to locate bucks, which didn’t show themselves during the day.

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