Hunting Reports & Photos
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Hunt Report – Hawaii Axis Deer and Goat – By Nick Beiter
In July of 2018, I traveled to Maui along with my family and hunted with Maui Hunting Safaris for the second time. While my family enjoyed the sights of Maui and played on the beach I was able to harvest a very nice 33" Axis buck and a feral goat. The weather was beautiful as always. And Rodney and Dawn were excellent hosts as usual. It is always a pleasure to hunt with them and I will be returning in 2020.Nick
Hunt Report – Kamchatka Brown Bear – By Nick Beiter
In April of 2018 Chapter President Mark Wehinger, Jamie Flewelling, Chris Schnetzler, and myself traveled to Kamchatka, Russia with the Stalker Group. We toured Moscow for two days and enjoyed sightseeing and many historical landmarks. I especially enjoyed the unique architecture of the city. From Moscow we then headed to Kamchatcka to begin our journey to camp. It took many hours of travel via dirt roads and by snowmobile to reach our final destination. Over the next four days we all took very nice bears. I, myself, was able to take two making it a very successful trip!Nick
Hunt Report – Mid-Asian Ibex in Kyrgyzstan – By David M. Webster
The mental and physical journey begins eight months in advance of my trip to the country of Kyrgyzstan to hunt mid-Asian ibex. It will require hunting gear to live out of a spike camp, for up to 5 days, in the Tian Shan mountains. After gear is gathered and physical conditioning the 8 months fly by and I am off in the middle of August. I will be meeting in Chicago, a fellow hunter, David Gamblin, an elk outfitter and cattle rancher from Wheaton, WY. We have been talking over the last few months and he has been very helpful in planning the trip as he hunted a bighorn sheep in his native state of Wyoming 2 years prior.
My hunting started at around 8 years old with a Crossman BB gun. I was always fascinated by all living things as a kid and remember laying on the family room floor watching Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom with my Dad. Never would I have imagined that I would be able to travel to those far away destinations to hunt those animals. I have done a lot of different things in my life and the fair chase of hunting a wild animal is still the best adventure on earth. The outcome is not know, your are forced to read the wind, terrain, animals, and deal with the elements of nature, as well as testing your physical and mental toughness.
After 16 hrs and 3 planes (7000 miles) we land in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. We are met by Renata and Raymond who will be our host and taxidermist for the next week. We leave Bishkek for base camp, normally a 6 hour drive is now 10hrs and our trip shortened by 1 day, because the Kyrgyzstan government wants us and our rifles out of the country before The World Nomad Games begin the 1st of Sept.
Hunting in Kyrgyzstan is limited to only a few different animals for international hunters and even more so for residents. All of the animals that I would hunt in the states like, pheasant, rabbits, marmots, duck, geese, etc. are all illegal to hunt even for residents.
We arrive at base (elevation 9200 ft.) and meet our outfitter Natalia, who shows us to our overnight rooms. We unpack and crash after 48 hrs of travel and little sleep. The following morning we are meeting our guides at 8 am. My guides for the trip will be Ruzlan and Shaun. My horse for this journey will be known as “Trippy”, as he had the habit of stumbling a lot at the most treacherous moments of the climb to spike camp. We arrive at spike camp after 5 hrs of horseback riding and thanks to my wife Brenda buying me some padded biking shorts, I feel no worse for the wear. Spike camp consists of two tents at the base of a mountain, along a gravel riverbed.
The next morning we are up at 3:30 am for instant coffee and a Cliff bar, then we are heading up a tight mountain gorge in the dark, I am thankful for a great headlamp and hiking sticks. The footing is poor and most of time we are walking from boulder to boulder or on the side of a hill. Sometimes it is necessary to plant my hiking stick downhill to have something to stop my boot and me from sliding off the mountain. We climb for two hours and ascend some 1500 ft. Legs and lungs screaming for more oxygen. The tight gorge was only 50-100 yards wide in places and now opens to a small meadow 200-300 yds wide. Just up the meadow we spot our first herd of ibex. My guide Ruzlan has played this game before and knew right where they would be at first light.
And now the hunt begins (elevation 11050 ft.) As we move up the meadow the ibex are on the left and we are on the right hugging the cannon wall. They continue to feed away from us up the meadow. There are 8 rams in this group and by my standards all quality rams. My goal is always a good representative animal of its species.
Finally Ruzlan finds a mound for us to hide behind as the ibex are now in the middle of the meadow. Ruzlan determines the best ibex is now second from the right I ranged him at 351 yards. As he finally moves clear of the others he is broadside facing left, I hold behind the shoulder and fire. In that split second he moves slightly left and my bullet hits him at the back of his lungs and the whole herd now moves off. He is slow to follow and stops, giving me another shot, and now he is done. As we approach he and his horns continue to grow in size. He is easily 350 lbs. with heavy bases and horns around 45” long. What a magnificent animal and nine years old.
Now Ruzlan and Shaun begin to skin and bone out this great beast, I relax and recover from the hardest physical hunt of my life. We pack up everything and begin the descent down to spike camp. I named the gorge we came up the The Valley of the Snow Leopard, for every few hundred yards there was a dead ibex skull and horns. We found one set of leopard tracks and some scat. As the descent continued I fell further behind the guides and became slightly concerned for my safety as I did not want to be leopard bait. Half way down the mountain it began raining, adding to the difficulty. Thankful for the hiking sticks, my legs felt like wobbly rubber bands by the bottom. If not for the hiking sticks I surely would have fallen. We were walking on ibex trails barely a foot wide and a misstep meant a 100ft fall to rocks.
So 7 hrs after we left, we arrive back at spike camp. I unpacked and crashed for 4 hrs. Never I have I been so tired in my life and yet so happy at what I had accomplished.
For dinner we feasted on ibex and the breast of a mountain grouse I shot while waiting for the skinning to be done. I mixed the breast meat with a package of Mountain House ready to eat Chicken and Rice meal and it was as good as any restaurant.
The next morning we broke camp and loaded my gear and all the meat on my horse “Trippy” while Shaun carried the cape and horns. Trippy did a great job considering he had close to 250lbs on his back. The trip back was beautiful 70 F weather and was downhill, only taking 3.5 hrs to get back to our extraction point. We forded 5 river crossings and the key was getting the right line and giving your horse his head. Most crossings got my boots wet and the bottom of our saddle bags. The extraction point was at an abandoned town called Enylchek. It was being built at the end of the Cold War by the U.S.S.R as a copper or gold mining town. But really it was for Uranium for nuclear weapons. The Soviets built all buildings in sections. So first the foundations of all buildings were done by one crew then next the walls, roof, etc. So when the U.S.S.R collapsed the towns buildings were all 3/4 done with no interior finishes. It looks like a ghost town. Now back in base camp i have several days relaxing for the other hunter to return, then the long travel home.David
Hunt Report – Southeast Alaska – By Nick Beiter
This past September I traveled to southeast Alaska to hunt with Larry Benda from Alaska Fair Chase Guiding. Larry had informed me that this would be a very physically and mentally demanding hunt. The terrain was definitely intense like he said it would but luckily we had good weather which helped. After a long climb from sea level up to 6,500 feet, we spotted several goats. I was able to harvest a mature billy on the first evening. We spike camped that night on the mountain and came back down the following day. Larry was a terrific guide. He is very hardworking and I would highly recommend Larry as a guide for any hunt. I was so pleased with my experience, that I have already booked my next hunt with Larry for brown bear in 2021.
In November of 2018 I hunted with Rainy Pass Lodge on Kodiak Island for Sitka Blacktail deer. This hunt was an auction item that I purchased at the yearly Central Ohio SCI Banquet that was generously donated by Legends Taxidermy and Rainy Pass Lodge. Flying into camp we knew bad weather was headed our way. I arrived around noon and immediately took advantage of the short amount of time we had of good weather to hunt. We spotted over a dozen deer and saw a nice buck which we decided to go after. The rut was in full swing and that stalk did not work out. While we were trying to find that buck we spotted another very nice buck that I instead harvested. After taking care of this deer and while packing him back to camp we then again spotted another nice deer and harvested him as well. We were very glad and lucky that we were able to harvest both of these deer on the first afternoon. The weather following that day was filled with pouring rain and 40mph winds. After several days of bad weather we were finally able to fly out of camp and back to Kodiak city. I was very impressed with Rainy Pass Lodge. I booked another hunt with them for a moose combo hunt in 2021 and look forward to my return.Nick
Hunt Report – Villa Santa Rosa, Cordoba Argentina Dove Hunt – By Mike Wehinger
This trip consisted of essentially 2 groups of tourists converging to form 1 big hunting party in Cordoba. The first group consisting of Mark, Lance, Brett and Chris headed for Argentina a week prior to the hunt with their wives (Patti, Meredith, Jill and Heather respectively) for what I’m told was an incredible week of sight-seeing and visiting wineries. After flying into Buenos Aires, they traveled throughout Mendoza, Argentina eating great food, taking in the sights, and of course drinking a lot of wine at the numerous vineyards along the route. Then continued on to Santiago and Valparaiso, Chile. The second group consisted of me, Joe, Kevin, and Chase. We spent a couple days in Buenos Aires taking in the sights and culture of this amazing city prior to the hunt.
Upon arriving in Cordoba, we were met by our host Jonathan Pascuettin of HP Wingshooting and within a couple hours the other group arrived and we were off to camp. Each day consisted of a morning and afternoon session of shooting dove in various fields. he birds were never ending in presenting themselves. Each of us had our own assistant throughout the hunt to take care of everything from setting up blinds, reloading (which is no small request when you run a couple thousand rounds plus per day), cleanup, etc. – what a great team they were! The lodge we stayed at for the hunt was very nice and easily accommodated the eight of us. As one might expect, the food in Argentina is great and the Pascuettin Family did not disappoint – incredible meals, plenty of libations, and a lot of tall tales on a daily basis.
If you are planning on a dove hunt in the future, I would highly recommend you checkout Cordoba and the team the Pascuettin family has put together at HP Wingshooting – they did a tremendous job. My thanks to HP Wingshooting for making this available in last year’s Live Auction at the Central Ohio Safari Clubs annual fundraiser and hope to hunt with you again!Mike
Hunt Report – Newfoundland Black Bear – By Nick Beiter
This past summer in mid June I traveled to Newfoundland and went on a Spring fly-in black bear hunt with Ironbound Outfitters. This is my second time hunting with Ironbound and I have enjoyed the experience with this outfitter. The accommodations and guides made for a very enjoyable hunt. This specific camp was acquired by Ironbound and had not been hunted for 10 years. There were many sightings of caribou and large moose. I saw several bears throughout the week and on my first night during the hunt we spotted a very large and impressive bear but the circumstances prevented me from getting a shot at him. On the second day of the hunt I harvested a very nice bear with a 20 inch skull. Later on in the week, on the fourth day, I harvested a nice bear with an 18 inch skull. It was a great hunt and would recommend Ironbound Outfitters to anyone interested.Nick
Hunt Report – Utah Elk Hunt – By Renee Simovart
For the last two and a half years, I’ve had the good fortune of working for AcuSport Corporation, a distributor in the shooting sports industry in Bellefontaine, Ohio. I get to live in the country and still have a corporate job that is 10 minutes from my house, which has allowed for greater work-life balance. Additionally, I get some really great perks! As Director of Supply Planning, I’m not responsible for just one category or a handful of manufacturers like the buyers, but I get to work with all of our manufacturers across all categories. In early September, I was asked to go on an elk hunt in Utah at the end of September to fill a spot for someone who had backed out at the last minute. In three weeks, I updated some of my gear, practiced shooting my .280 REM Ruger M77 rifle at 100, 200 and 300 yards, and hiked a few miles up some hills. Luckily, I had already been running and working out consistently. The day quickly came for me to leave for the hunt and I was so nervous. Everything from hunting without my husband, being a bow hunter instead of a gun hunter, never having checked a firearm, altitude sickness (which I have experienced skiing out west) , were pushing me beyond my comfort zone. But I remembered some wise advice I’ve heard in the past: “You only grow when you’re uncomfortable”.
The hunt was with Wild Country Outfitters who manage the Deseret Cooperative Wildlife Management lease program. The Deseret is over 200,000 acres with its highest peak at 8,500 ft elevation and takes up parts of three counties in Utah. They average 90 elk bulls to every 100 cows and don’t shoot anything under seven years old. Our hunt consisted of 10 elk tags and 8 mule deer tags. I was in the company of some of the finest owners and operators of independent retailers in the shooting sports industries. Also in attendance were Mike Schoby of The Sportsman’s Channel’s Peterson’s Hunting Adventures and Mark Keefe, Editor-In-Chief at the NRA.
The only two women in camp had the same name (Renee and Renae), so it was utterly confusing for everyone. We became known as Team Renee, Renee Squared, Renee and Blondie. We were paired together to hunt with Tom Land; the owner of Wild Country Outfitters. Before we even started, I was warned that I would be spoiled after this hunt and nothing will ever compare. After just one minute in the field, I understood. We saw hundreds of elk every day (usually more bulls than cows) and the bugling never stopped. Never. It was an amazing experience. We spent the first two days hiking, spotting big bulls, chasing bulls, and being picky. It also happened to be the peak of the rut with the full moon!
By day three, many hunters had tagged out, so Team Renee was split up to be guided one-on-one to cover more ground. I was guided by one of Tom’s younger son’s, Austin. We started hiking at 7am. I had my rifle on an old 5 by 5 within 30 minutes that ended up walking into a grove of pines. We saw about 20 bulls that were not shooters, but by 8am we were quickly hiking up a hill to get a bull that was bugling at the top. There was a guide on a far ridge that was talking to Austin by radio to give him locations of elk we couldn’t see. We got within 60 yards of this bull, I was ready to shoot, but he walked behind some brush, then the wrong way and over the top of the hill. Within seconds the spotting guide told us of another nice bull that was on the next hill and Austin started running. I had a hard time keeping up with him trying to avoid tripping over sage brush, roots, and rocks. I was at least 30 yards behind him when he was setting up the tripod for this next bull. I didn’t look up until I had chambered my rifle and saw the elk 140 yards away. He was broadside, took a couple steps, then Austin called him and he stopped. I shot and he immediately fell. I ended up shooting him high because my rifle was on for 200 yards; I meant to shoot lower, but in the heat of the moment that didn’t happen. Luckily it was a spine shot and he went right down. I put a couple more rounds in him and it just happened that fast!
My elk green-scored 310, and was probably the smallest of the 10 bulls taken that week. That proves that the wildlife management program that Wild Country Outfitters is executing is working. Aside from the hunting, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the accommodations and meals were phenomenal!
I consider myself an extremely lucky person that I was even invited on the hunt. I know that there are many hunters who would give anything to have the experience that I had. I did not take anything for granted. Every minute I was hiking (and gasping for air) and listening to the constant bugling, all I could think about was how lucky I was to be there. I am so thankful for good health to be able to endure the hike and the hunt.Renee
Hunt Report – New Zealand – By Jeff Fowler
My wife and I have just returned from a New Zealand hunt that was purchased at the Central Ohio fundraiser banquet in 2014. The hunt was generously donated by Chris Bilkey and his wife, Peg from Track and Trail safaris on the south island of New Zealand. I cannot say enough about the quality of trophies as well as the accommodations, company, food, and the attention to detail that these folks provide. As you can see, the trophies were well worth the trip. Chris is a professional and extremely passionate about what he does for a living and takes it very seriously. The Central Ohio Chapter is very fortunate to have the support of people like Chris and Peg Bilkey. Hunting is all about the experience and meeting new friends. Anyone that is serious about New Zealand hunting should take a look at Track and Trail’s website. They are more than happy to help you with your touring wishes as well as your hunt.Jeff
Hunt Report – Zimbabwe Plains Game – By Katie and Beth Wehinger
- Pete Fick Safaris – July 2015 – Bulawayo Zimbabwe
- Professional Hunters:
- Peter Wood and Ade Langley
- Animals Taken:
- 7 Animals Taken: Eland, Wildebeest, Zebra, Klipspringer, 3 Impala
- 12 Animals Taken: Eland, 2 Wildebeest, Zebra, Duiker, Steenbok, 2 Impala, Bush Pig, Warthog, Kudu, Baboon
We just got back from a trip to the Bubye Conservancy with our dad (Mike) and Uncle Mark. It was our first time hunting outside of the US and it was amazing. Our hunting camp had beautiful private rooms, excellent food, friendly staff, and the scenery was incredible – we saw elephant, black rhino, hippo, cape buffalo, sable, giraffe and tons of other game!
To get ready for the hunt we both did a lot of target shooting with our rifles (30-06 & 338) to make sure we were confident shooting from different positions and off sticks – which was a first for both of us. Our Professional Hunters were very patient and helpful so we could have a successful hunt – and we sure did! Thank you again Dad, Uncle Mark, Peter, Ade and Pete Fick Safari’s for making this the trip of a lifetime. We can’t wait to go back to Africa!Katie & Beth Wehinger