Hunting season 2019

Warning!  Graphic photos ahead!  If you are a softy, you may want to just move along now.

You win some, you lose some.

This sums up our hunting season for the most part, and we definitely won…eventually!

But that win only came with countless hours of trial and error.

September 1 marked our first ever season of bow hunting.

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Okay okay, this isn’t entirely true I suppose. I should back this up a bit here.

Spring 2019: We are hunting black bear via bow. The entire bear season was a barrage of learning lessons. From choosing a location, figuring out where to put bait stations and how to protect trail cams. We asked (and subsequently) figured out questions we had like:

What do bears eat?

SPOILER ALERT: It’s generally not humans. They tend to favor popcorn and donuts.

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Do bears shit in the woods?

Yes, yes in deed. We witnessed this quite a few times. Want proof?  ↓↓↓↓↓

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Do they make noise when they fight?

No, not overly. They are quiet, very very quiet. We now like to call them bush ninjas, because with the blink of an eye they appear or they are up your tree! Calm down, I will add we never had any come up our tree, but they sure did come up all the trees beside us! And I say calm down because that is what you need to be in these situations CALM….phew!

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Wait, was that a bear?

Nope just another effin squirrel! remember bears are bush ninjas, you most likely wont hear them!

Bear season was one for the books. So, so many nights sitting in the tree stand watching, learning and absorbing.

Side note: bears are an amazing animal to just watch!

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Behind us please note… Elvis and Priscilla as we named them

In the end, only one of us tagged out on bear. Troy waited and waited and finally the brute that was on our trail cam, that we named Sam Tarly wandered in while he was there. He took his shot and ended his season with a perfectly placed arrow on a beautiful black bear, one that filled our freezer and unknown at the time, also put Troy in the record books with a Boone and Crockett score of 21-15/16.  And this also meant that Troy and our friend Colin were up for about 25 hours by the time they got the bear out of the trees, back home, skinned and in the freezer)  Yes, most bears are excellent to eat! There is a huge stigma about bear being terrible to eat, but it’s a misconception. The only thing to realize is that you need to cook the meat to a minimum 165°f as that will kill the potential bacteria called trichinosis!

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Colin, Sam Tarly, Troy

Fast forward to September 1 and we are back to walking with our bows in hand. For bow season we had tags for Mule Deer, White Tail Deer, and the prairie unicorn (in our area of the non-woods anyway) Elk.

 

We spent our first week out walking, learning the terrain, sitting and glassing hillsides, meadows and fields with some good friends of ours.  We saw a few deer, a couple of those elk, but nothing ever close enough to make something happen. Because the thing with bow hunting is that you need to be close. I personally would feel most comfortable taking a shot, only if it was within 40 yards.

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The bow crew:  Bottom to top:  Paula, Colin, Me and Troy 

Weeks turned into months and while we saw lots and had many opportunities, nothing ever panned out for us. But we are ok with it! We learned so many lessons during bow season. Next season will be epic!

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Views like these…

November 1st we roll over into rifle. We spent 2 days checking known spots for Mule deer.  On day 3 Troy decided we should walk into one of our little honey holes and sure…

**Pause here for a minute, remember those two months of bow season that we were unsuccessful with? Well, we gained a little knowledge as we learned just where to go!**

Continue: Sure enough there was the big bucks we were looking for in bow season, but that is not what we are after for rifle, as we had been drawn for Mule does.

“So, where were the does?” I asked

“Be patient” said Troy, “they are he….”

“Oooh I see them!” I said.

Troy was already setting up to take a shot lol.

BOOM…

“Did you get her?” I asked.

“Yes”  he said.

“Why is she still running?”

“Shes not!”  he said.

“Oh I see… Way to go!” I said.

She only ran like 20 yards, it was a perfectly placed shot, double lung, she did not suffer at all.

Now rifle season probably doesn’t seem like a huge deal to most, but to me rifle season was scary and intimidating. I went with Troy last year and sat and watched… I fired the gun once at a target. Guns used to scare the jeebus out of me. So this year when it was time for rifle, I was a bit terrified. I didn’t know what I was doing, but Troy had complete unwavering confidence in me. He taught me gun handling, how to aim and properly shoot, and I took 3 practice rounds at a target. “You’re good! ” he said.  But I’m still not fully confident in myself, he reassures me again and we continue on.

One week later we get some Intel from a friend about where we can find a whole herd of mule does. We go out one evening and tracked them down.  From there we formulated a  plan for the next morning. 7 am, its -23 with the windchill and Troy and I head out. We spot them where we hoped they would be, but we are about 600 yards away across an open pasture, not a great shot to take. So we crouch hustle walk across the pasture staying in the low spots to try and get closer. The doe spots us so this takes time and patience, and we manage to get to about 250 yards from her, then we wait for the right shot.  FINALLY she turns broad side.  I’m nervous and my fingers are frozen solid.  I get her in my cross-hairs, and in what feels like a split second-  I hear Troy say “shoot when ready”  I don’t even remember pulling the trigger.  I heard the boom, I heard Troy shout that she was down, but I wasn’t going to get too excited. He reassures me she was down, but I was still so nervous that I had made a bad shot. I will add that I was confident that I put my cross hairs right where I thought the vitals should be but that looming thought and self doubt of a newbie kinda took over. As we went over and found her, I realized she was not 10 yards from where she was standing.  A perfect double lung shot,  I was now a bit more excited.  But I was still feeling like it may have all been a fluke lol!

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Draw Tag!  Mule doe

The next week, we are out again.  This time scouting to fill our general white tail tags.  This means we can take either a doe or a buck.  We decided to go out, just for a drive with the kids one night, just to see what was out and about.  And what do you know?  White tail buck, chasing a doe across a field and into a bush.  Troy was anticipating it coming out of the bush and across the field.  It did just that, but not towards us. We were quite a ways away for a shot. So we load up and head around the field to get over to it and intercept it at another bush.  He was not there.  So we continue along the bush line and what do you know Troy spotted him. Since I was lagging, he went for it!  One buck down. Another double lung shot.   This was super exciting because all the kids were with us and got to see first hand what we were putting so much time into and what it all entails to get that deer from the field to freezer.

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white tail buck

 

 

 

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Some pretty pumped kids

A few days later….

My turn to find the white tail.  We were able to go out during the day while the kids were at school.  We knew where the white tail would be, as we have been seeing them since September in the same area.  The problem this day was getting there.  A steep icy/muddy hill was in our path, and after sliding backwards down the hill in the truck in 4 wheel drive, we decided to walk in from there.  Up the hill, across the canola, and over another knoll and there they are!  2 does.  We sat and watched them for a bit, waiting for the buck to come out.  He never did, and the does started to wander away.  This was pretty much our last opportunity to go out, so Troy left the decision up to me.  Did I want another doe, or wait it out and see if we luck out on a buck?  As I was contemplating, this I was watching her in my scope.  She turned broadside, and I don’t think it even registered when I pulled the trigger.  She hopped and went about 10 yards then stopped.  I thought I missed, but then she stumbled and down she went.  Another double lung shot, and I think I validated myself… slightly.

Troy now calls me “old dead eye” and I am pretty proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone, and learning something that literally scared the shit out of me.  I still have a long ways to go, but I can confidently say that I have stepped 100% into a world I never thought I would be in.

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Now the real work begins! There is a lot of work I never went into detail over in this write up.  From getting the deer gutted, skinned and hung to processing the meat yourself or at a butcher.   And work it is! As we choose to do all of it.   It is time consuming and when you have four deer to process it can take awhile. The end result is so worth it though.  A fully filled freezer with wild game meat can not be beat.  And knowing that you helped to put it there is a major pat on the back.

 

In closing I will leave with this:  Hunting may not be for everyone, and we fully understand that.  We however take great pride in the fact that we were able to set a goal of learning, understanding, and committing to an adventure that not only filled our freezer for our family, our friends and ourselves, but also aids in the conservation of these animals so that there are healthy herds for our Eco-system and future hunters alike.

We submitted all of our heads to the conservation office for testing and surveillance of Chronic Wasting Disease or CWD.   Two of them have come back negative. (Still waiting on the last two). We truly believe that testing and monitoring of this is vital to future generations of deer populations.

Tell us about your hunting season this year!  Send us an email or leave us a comment!  Please feel free to share this blog!

Dorè Lake

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Things were going great that day.

We had the camper hooked up, the fridge was full, and the beers were cold. We were headed out for a much needed kid free fishing vacation! Nothing could rain on our parade….. I mean nothing!

Then the turbo on the truck blew up………

Fast forward through a flat bed tow truck, (shout out to Midway Auto Towing), a special 2nd truck delivery via one special Grandma and Great Grandma, a gas station, a 5th wheel hitch and rail swap out and re-install into the #2 truck, and we were on our way again!

Nothing, and I mean nothing, was going to hold us back from this trip. (We even made it to our destination before night fall!)

So where were we headed that we were so bound and determined to get to you ask?

Well……..

Dorè Lake Saskatchewn. It is Saskatchewan’s 7th largest lake. Known for ample amounts of walleye over 21.5″ and recording setting pike. (33 pounds to be exact).

Dorè has been on our bucket list for a very long time, so when the opportunity to spring fish this lake with NO kids in tow came up, we jumped on the chance faster then our kids on a new trampoline!

There are a few different choices in places to stay. We opted to haul our camper and stay at Dore Lake Fish N’ Camp RV Park. Its a newly established campground that offers full services. We are not usually the type to care very much about power and water, so full hook-ups were kind of magical. There are also a few different lodges that offer cabin & boat rentals on the lake as well.

Day one actually started kind of slow. While we were casting for some pike, Troy managed to snag one, but this wasn’t the legendary Dorè Lake fishing we had come to expect.

That’s it! Time to move!

Boom!

It didn’t take us long after we moved to hit the money spot. After only a few minutes trolling in this new location, trying a few different fishing presentations of bait, along with figuring out speed of the boat and our depth, we were hooking 8 pound walleye all day and the Vogt fishing derby had commenced, this was the fishing we were expecting to have… Maybe even slightly better then we were expecting to have!

Now, Troy is a field staff for Exsile Outdoors, so I’m going to let him take over to give you all the low down on our set up and all that jazz.

So for our two days fishing we found that 8.5 and 9.5 feet was where the fish were hanging out. The presentation that was working for us was bottom bouncing. Bottom bouncing is a led weight with a thick wire through it, hooked to your line, then a leader with some beads, a spinner blade and hook/hooks hooked to that! Top the hooks off with a worm or leach and you are ready to go!

I like to use a combo of my own tied hooks and bought hooks. There are many different options for making spinner rigs but the color pattern we found that worked at this place and time of year was gold, silver, and red! Also silver and blue,(not shown). Chartreuse, pink and white also worked but did not have the hook up rate that the other patterns did!

That being said the trick to winning the family fishing derby is to keep your rod tip bent….at all times with a fish on! As it keeps hook tension, and gives next to no chance for the fish to spit the hook!

Speed, that’s a tough one! We had to keep our speed at 0.9 to 1.1 mph. This is hard to achieve without a decent trolling motor. Ours has GPS and gives very accurate speed on the hand held remote. It’s a Minnkota power drive 24 volt 70lb thrust. If you dont have a trolling motor, you could use your phone and a tracking app for hiking or something like that, as they usually have a speedo on them. If using your boat motor and you are going to fast, tying a pail with a few holes in it and tossing it out the back can help to slow you down!!

Location, location, location. While we had never fished this lake, we did receive some pretty good intel to follow. Spring time, the walleye are moving out of the bays and into the main lake. We didnt have to venture far from our campsite to fish. In fact, we were able to come in and have lunch each day! If you are more adventurous and want to find some big pike, we have heard rumours of the infamous “T-Bay” across the lake- all the way across! We didnt brave the main lake this time. I’ve heard though, if you do go out on it to be prepared. It can go from calm to insane in .5 seconds. Many have been known to have to seek refuge on shore for the night. So bring some extra supplies.

Day 2 proved to be much of the same. Same locations, set ups, sizes, and numbers caught. We did try our luck farther back in the bay we were in, but had little luck. We are told the walleye head out of the bays by mid-June early July, so the fishing gets tougher and you do have to venture out on the main lake for best results. So we were pretty lucky to be there for the spring fish this year.

All said and done, we only explored a small amount of what this lake has to offer. There are many trails to explore, places to stay and fishing holes to find. There is also guided hunting in the area which we hear have stellar results.

We highly recommend checking out Dore Lake for a wicked walleye/pike fishing. We have plans to make this an annual spring time venture for us!

Heading to Dorè Lake?

Have questions for us?

Leave a comment or shoot us an email! We love to hear from everyone.

Oh, and if your wondering, yes I won, but Tanya makes for a great fishing partner, and if she would have kept the rod tip bent she would have won the derby.

Final talley:

Troy – 62

Tanya – 43

P.S. if there are items you would like to buy from the Exsile site, here is a promo code to use T_Vogt3.7M

 

Sledding Family?….like ..with 3 kids!?….

So like… you guys all sled?

Yes….

So like…. you take all 3 kids out all day?

Yes……

Like in the cold?

Yes….

All day?

Yes…

And no one complains?

Well…. not exactly…

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We have had this conversation more times then I can count.  So many people are taken aback when they see us load up our three kids and head out for a days adventures on our snowmobiles.

“I saw you guys leaving early this morning and you didn’t come home until after dinner!  Like holy s!*+!!!”       Yes well……  We do absolutely head out for the entire day sometimes.   We pack up and head out first thing and not come home until way after dinner time.

The thing with sledding is that the season only lasts so long.  Add in that it is stacked up with busy work schedules, school and other weekend activities!  Also lets not forget the costs associated with running 5 snowmobiles. So when we do get out, we have to make the most of it.  When we are including all 3 kids (Ages 11, 8 and 5) into the mix we most definitely need to pre plan our day.  It doesn’t come easy or flawlessly to us, but like many things we do in our lives if we plan it out well, the day can go pretty smoothly.  Of course some things can not be avoided!  This comes with the territory of being a parent.  The inevitable…… It will happen!  Plan for it!  Prepare for it! and expect the unexpected!  (As cliche as it sounds).

So what do we do to prepare?  How do we handle our kids out on the trail?  Well your in luck!  I am about to dish out our best tips and tricks to keeping everyone happy and non whiny (mostly) throughout the day.

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STEP 1

Proper gear!   This goes without saying, and rings true not just for kids but for adults alike.  Kids absolutely need to be geared up well.  Warmth is key.  If they are not geared well all your going to hear is that they are cold, that their fingers are freezing and that you will most likely have to amputate toes because they are about to fall off.  This has taken some time to get right with our kids.  Boots and mitts are our biggest issues.  Our boys handle their own sleds so their hands are generally warm, however our daughter is still a passenger so she gets cold.  Dont’ scrimp out on boots and mitts. this has been one of our failures in the past. High quality is key for warmth and these extremities are the first to get cold.  We use high quality moisture wicking socks, and those dang shaky packs can save your life! We always carry ample amounts of them and tuck them everywhere! This year I am highly considering the battery operated insoles or socks for the kids.

Gloves:  The verdict is still out…..  we say this because we have yet to find gloves that seem to work in the different temperature ranges.  For our daughter a good leather mitten would probably be best although we have failed on that aspect and have just coated her hand with shaky packs and a low price range mitt.  As for the boys, their hand are either too hot or too cold.  We have yet to find something that works well in a variety of temperatures. but yet somehow we still get through our day!  A good tip here would be to possibly carry a decent finger glove for the warmer day and in your tunnel bag carry a good leather mitten for cold days and nights.

Base layers:   Proper base layers…. definitely a must have! So spend the money and get them, and not just long johns from walmart! (though these can work as well). This is the lesson we have learned so far on the hundreds of km we have put on with the kids! Merino wool is a great option,  moisture wicking is a must!  On top of their base layers, we mid layer! Usually this is a hoodie and some sweats.

Then the outer layer….. This year our kids are rocking some TOBE OUTERWEAR  (full review on this to come).  However our preliminary reviews are coming in that this is some amazing gear for kids. 100% Windproof and 100% waterproof.  These are musts, but at a cost! “is it worth it you ask?”  At this point, going from low-range snowsuits, to mid-range snowsuits it’s worth it.  So that being said, on the mid to high range jump, the verdict is still out!  But one thing we have learned so far is that higher quality comes at higher cost, and typically give higher gains. Remember full review is to come on this one.

Headwear:  Our kids of course wear moisture wicking balaclavas under their helmets.  Our boys are hidden behind some tall windshields while they are driving their sleds, so they rock the helmet / goggle combo with no complaints.  My only hint here is to make sure you are purchasing winter helmets and goggles, not summer or MX ones.    Our daughter (who rides in front of me or Troy) has a full face helmet.  Our sleds don’t have much in the way of  windshields so the full face offers her full coverage and keeps her warm as she takes the full blast of cold air     **hint** (benefits of windproof gear).

 

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STEP 2

When we are riding on the trail we try and plan our routes according to where the shelters are and know that we will be stopping at every one of them.   We don’t try to push our luck (most of the time)! and just skip on over to the next one.  Our plan will surely always fail!   When stopping we are prepared to start a fire quickly to get the shelter warmed up (if it isn’t already).   We always carry waterproof matches, fire starters, a few bits of paper.  Usually the warm up shelters we stop at are fully stocked and ready to go, but just in case, we carry them.    Stopping at shelters is vital to our success.  It gives the kids a break to run around, have a drink, eat some food, use the washroom and warm up.  Even if the shacks are close together we stop in quick and make sure the fire is going and stoked so that if we loop back around or another group of snowmobilers stops in, we know the shelter is warm.

 

 

STEP 3

FOOD!  Whatever you do, do not forget the snacks! We pack what the kids would normally eat in a day and then we triple it.  We know our kids will just waste away if they don’t constantly have some form of food shoved in their mouths.  We pack lots of higher protein snacks like,  granola bars, pepperoni sticks, cheese and trail mix.  We also bring sausages, and hot dogs to fry up on the fire, burgers work great as well.  We don’t carry buns, they are too bulky, so we take tortilla wraps instead.   We also take stainless steel water bottles with water and warm them up on the fire for hot chocolate.  If your starting to think we must pull a uhaul along to carry all our stuff, you are wrong!   I only have this little set up on my sled  ⇓ and Troy usually has a backpack.

 

 

STEP 4

We let them rest!  We don’t push them too hard (all the time), we know that they are probably tired and worn out after a few hours.  This kind of ties back into stopping at the shelters but I feel its a key component and needs its own paragraph.  Letting them take a break to recharge and enjoy the scenery and take it all in off of the sled, is absolutely essential!  If you do not give them enough time to recharge when you stop you will be in for meltdowns later on.

 

STEP 5

We let them have some fun!  Our kids (like their parents) get bored of the trail riding.  While yes, it’s beautiful and fun, we find we need to get them off trail to play around and have some fun on their sleds.  We often dip off into meadows or lakes and let them go.  They get to race around, practice their skills, try out each others sleds, and watch their parents do the same.  It’s a fun time for everyone to just kick back and enjoy themselves without having to worry about the rules of the trail.

 

 

 

A few other points about riding with our kids:

  • Our daughter generally rides in front of Troy or myself.  For this reason she has a Tek Vest.  It’s important to consider this for your children if they are riding in front of you.  If something head on happens, she is taking the full impact plus the potential of us slamming into her. Tek Vests are  a good choice for any rider! Safety first.
  • We feed our kids a huge breakfast before we head out for the day.  Bacon and eggs, toast, pancakes, fruit, etc.  Things to fill them up.  It is most definitely not a morning to pop a piece of toast and go.
  • We let them help.  When we stop at shelters they generally want to help get the fire going, help chop wood, bring in the snacks.  Keeping them busy and making them feel like they have jobs to do keeps them happy.

We have probably left out some key points but all in all, the main thing is that they are happy and having fun.  Whatever we can do to make things enjoyable for them we do!  So in closing, yes we do go out with all 3 kids for full day adventures, and most of the trips turn out on a positive note. One thing we keep in mind is that not every plan goes according to plan.  Not every preparation we take will aide in our kids being warm and happy.  Ultimately at the end of the day its how well you roll with the punches will determine the outcome of our daily adventure.

 

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