Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Free Spring Turkey Hunting Seminar with Darr Colburn and Jay Scott


Join us for an Advanced Tips and Tactics Seminar for Spring Turkey Hunting on March 20th.
We will cover the following topics during the seminar:
  • Scouting
  • Roosting Strategies
  • Setup Tactics
  • Calling Tips
  • Decoy Placement and much more!
Date: Wednesday Night March 20th
Time:  6:30PM-8:30PM
Location:  Bass Pro Shops 1133 N. Dobson, Mesa Arizona
Come upstairs to the Fine Gun Room

Every person who attends will have a chance to win a
Free Guided Gould's Turkey Hunt in Sonora, Mexico with Darr Colburn and Jay Scott during the 2013 spring season.  One name will be drawn at the end of the night to win this fantastic hunt to go down and hunt for (1) Gould's gobbler with  Darr Colburn and Jay Scott!

Seating is limited so please try to RSVP by emailing us at


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Ask JSO Question 2-Elk Hunting

Pictured above is Dick Corbett's 420 inch giant AZ bull guided by Darr Colburn
Here are a couple of questions that we have received about elk hunting from one of our blog followers.  We are getting lots of good questions so keep sending them,

Answer by Jay Scott:  I would say first thing I would do is try to sneak in tighter to the bull before calling to him in the first place.  If  bulls are bugling on there own I don't call at all.  Try and get right in his hip pocket before you make a peep.  Often times they will come right over if you get inside bow range before making a sound.  Another tactic to try that works well on a bull that hangs up is have your buddy fade back and cow call like the cow is leaving the herd.  Most of the time the bull will eventually follow.  Lots of times they will follow silently because they  just can't take the cow walking away.  We refer to this tactic as the fade away or floater.

Answer by Darr Colburn: If the bull is on the move I would not call and try to loop around and get in front of him depending on the wind.  I usually don't call at all if a bull is bugling on his own.  I push the envelope and sneak in as tight as I can silently.  Once you get inside of 100 yards you never know what can happen.  If a bull is screaming and acting very aggressive sometimes raking a tree and sounding like another bull can push them over the edge and get them coming your way. 

Answer by Janis Putelis:  Change something!  Even if that means shutting up for ten minutes.  I also like to add lots of other sounds in addition to the calling.  Examples being: raking, thrashing, stomping, literally running through bushes.  Elk are big and make a lot of noise when rutting around so they expect to hear that from you to.

Answer by Jay Scott:  I very rarely bugle.  I may bugle for location then move in tight and "sweet talk" them.  In my opinion, very few guys can bugle good enough to consistently call in big giant mature bulls.  If you are trying for younger bulls bugling can be extremely effective.  To me cow calling is where it is at.  Try to concentrate on soft, sweet nasally sounds.  I have found the more natural and real that you sound the more success you will have calling in bigger bulls.

Answer by Darr Colburn:  I never bugle.  I am not a master caller by any means.  I usually sneak in silently and only call when I need to stop a bull for a shot.  Most hunters I hear call don't sound very good because they don't practice.  If the call does not sound good to my ears the elk will for sure know the difference.  Practice your calling and listen to the really good callers like Jay and try and imitate the sounds they make.  There are some great calls out there that sound good with a little practice.  Another thing is elk are usually on the move in the morning and evening.  The majority of the time they are traveling into the wind.  You need to be in front of the elk in the direction they are traveling to call them in most of the time.

Answer by Janis Putelis:  It depends on the stage of the rut.  I mostly just bugle as a locator or to keep the bull bugling while someone else is sneaking in, but I've found that there is a period pre-rut when the bulls seem to really respond and come to bugles.  I think at that point they are more focused on gathering harems and pushing off other bulls than actually mating.  Once a larger percentage of the cows are hot, cow calls are where it's at.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Heads or Tails by Todd Moen

If this doesn't get you fired up then you might as well forget it.

HEADS OR TAILS from Todd Moen Creative on Vimeo.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Ask JSO Questions 1-Coues Deer Hunting

We get many great questions emailed to us from hunters all over the country and parts of the world for that matter.  We have been keeping track of some of the questions and are going to be starting a new segment here on the JSO Blog.  We have been trying to think of a name for the category but have yet to come up with something sharp.  So for now we will call it "Ask JSO".  Feel free to send any outdoor/hunting related question to us at and we will try to answer as best we can. 


Answer by Jay Scott-The answer to this question is I love both for different reasons.  We guide/hunt in Arizona and Mexico.  If I had to choose one or the other and you take out the economy of hunting in Arizona close to home then it would be Old Mexico without a doubt.  The simple reason why I like Mexico better is more bucks.  The complex answer is I love the overall quality experience while coues deer hunting in Mexico.  Typically, you see many more mature bucks than if you were hunting on public lands.  While trophy hunting for a quality buck it is nice to know that you can "leave a buck" and keep searching for a bigger one then if not found return and glass the original buck up.  Sometimes this may take a day or two.  When hunting public alot of times if you "leave a buck" you never know if he will be there or not when you come back.  It makes walking from a buck way more risky.  Usually the amount of bucks and overall size of mature bucks can make for a much better hunt.  There is something to hunting the animal you are after and not focusing on managing people and other hunters.  Sometimes hunting coues on public can be somewhat of a "rat race".  I wish that every coues deer hunter could get the chance to experience coues deer hunting in Old Mexico.

Answer by Darr Colburn- I look at hunting Arizona and Mexico as two different experiences.  I shot my first coues deer in Arizona 23 years ago and have been hooked on hunting these deer ever since.  I can see mountains that hold coues deer from my house and any chance I get I am out glassing and exploring new spots to hunt.  My expectations on an Arizona state land hunt are different than while hunting in Mexico.  Coues deer hunts in Arizona can be somewhat of a rat race but you can get a tag to go hunt every year.  The top end bucks killed in Arizona rival those harvested in Mexico every year but the age class of bucks is older in Mexico in my opinion.  In Mexico you can hunt during the prime rut (January) while in Arizona the premium hunts end on December 31 which is usually pre rut.  The lack of hunting pressure in Mexico makes the experience second to none.  I have been going to Mexico for 12 years and it continues to be the hunt I look forward to the most every year.

See answer below

The four photos above are pictures of a couple of desert ranches in Sonora, Mexico.

Answer by Jay Scott-Again the answer to this question is both.  If I had to choose one or the other to hunt for the rest of my life it would be a mountain ranch because I like to see lots of deer while hunting.  Most mountain ranches have more deer and more bucks.  The flip side is desert ranches have less deer but can have some giant bucks.  I can see how my answer may breed more questions on this subject and we welcome those.  You may ask what do I consider a mountain ranch and a desert ranch.  A mountain ranch is one that can be found at say 3000 feet elevation and above.  Mountain ranches contain vegetation like oaks, mesquite and yellow grass where a desert ranch has lots of cactus, ocotillo and palo verdes.  I do really like mountain ranches that have lots of mesquite and ocotillo country as opposed to all oaks.  We have killed giant bucks on both types of ranches but I would say that the desert or "flats" ranches produce more giant bucks than mountain ranches.  See the pictures above of Desert ranches and below of Mountain ranches in Sonora, Mexico.

Answer by Darr Colburn- My answer is I love hunting coues deer in Mexico and it does not matter what type of ranch it is as long as I am hunting!  I do like the style of hunting better on a mountain ranch versus a low desert ranch.  The biggest bucks I have seen in Mexico have been on the low desert flats ranches.  These ranches are often tough to hunt and glass.  Lots of the desert flats ranches are low deer density and require sitting water holes or riding in a high rack.  I enjoy glassing and seeing high numbers of deer so the mountain ranches appeal more to my hunting style.  The biggest buck I have shot in Mexico came from a mountain ranch.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

2013 NWTF Grand National Senior Finals

I had the privilege of being at the contest this year and the quality of turkey callers was amazing.  Here is the 2013 NWTF Grand Nationals Senior Finals.  This is the event where the best of the best compete.  The intro to this video is sweet with all of the past champion callers.  All of these 15 callers were unreal.  The winner Matt Van Cise is at 1:23.  For more competitive calling go to Enjoy!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Dr. Bob Rice's Unit 15D Desert Sheep Hunt

We got a call from Dr. Bob Rice from Canada stating that he had drawn a Unit 15D Arizona Desert Sheep permit and he was looking for an outfitter.  Darr and I were already committed for other hunts so I told Bob about our good friend Russ Jacoby.  Russ is not only a friend but he has helped Darr and I the last two years on the Arizona Super Raffle sheep hunt.  I put the two of them together and the hunt was set.  This ram was going to be Bob's Grand Slam ram.  They had a great hunt and harvested a great grand slam ram.  The 9 year old ram was checked out by the AZGFD at 167 3/8 and his right horn was 35 5/8 X 14 4/8 and his left horn was 34 X 14 2/8.  Congrats to Dr. Bob Rice on a fine ram.  To add a little icing on the cake, Bob had purchased a Mexico Desert tag prior finding out he had drawn his Arizona tag.  He went on to kill another great desert ram in Mexico about 1 month later.  Special thanks to Russ Jacoby, Dr. Bob Rice and "Uncle" Fred Ashurst for his help on the hunt and friendship!


 Below are pics of Dr. Rice's Mexico Sheep a couple of weeks later.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

2013 NWTF Grand National Friction Calling Championship

I just returned from Nashville, TN from the 2013 NWTF Convention.  We spent all week and had a fantastic time checking out the exhibit hall and listening to all of the great turkey callers.  I learned alot and look forward to sharing some pics and video of our trip.  I will be posting all of the contests but you need to check out this cool website by Shane Simpson called  I met Shane and he is a great guy and competitive turkey caller from the land of 10,000 lakes.  His posts most all turkey calling competitions on his site and it is a great resource.  Turkey season is right around the corner! Gobble Gobble! 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Buffalo Creek Ranch Elk Hunting in Colorado

Last fall I had the great opportunity to guide Elk hunts at Buffalo Creek Ranch in Walden, CO.  It's hard to know where to start when describing such a phenomenal place and operation.  Without going into too many details and specifics, the easiest way for me to applaud BCR is by saying that, if I owned and ran an Elk Outfitter, I would closely model it after BCR.  What I loved most about the operation was that the Elk are treated with as much respect as the cattle.  Through intense forestry, manager John Ziegman improves the health of the forest, specifically for the creatures that live there.  Mostly private land hunting, I rate it a 9/10 for the state of CO.  We killed a handful of bulls over 300" which most CO outfitters can only dream of.  Especially for a unit that is not a limited draw unit.  More importantly the staff rocks.  From the management, to the cook, to the guides, everyone works together to make a great experience for the client.  Here are a few pics of last year's hunts.

Scott Graham making sure the hunters' rifles are hitting spot on.  A crucial extra step to a successful hunt.

A couple of nice bulls being prepped for skinning.  BCR takes amazing care of the meat.

Opening morning of 1st Rifle was a snowy one.  This bull bugled just enough so we could find him in the near whiteout conditions.

Unmatched scenery.

If you're interested in a great CO elk hunt, don't hesitate to contact me or go to Buffalo Creek Ranch directly.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Backcountry Cheesecake Recipe

While filming the latest Caribou episode with the MeatEater crew, we took some time to whip up some dessert.  This is a great idea for those who travel the backcountry with a sweet tooth.

Click the link to check out my Backcountry Cheesecake Recipe photo essay.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Gear Review Vortex Razor HD Binoculars

By Darr Colburn
The new Vortex Razor HD line of binoculars has really caught my eye since they first came out. I have been most impressed with the edge to edge clarity of the Razor HDs.  In my opinion they stack up against many of the binoculars that are twice the money. I have not seen any other binoculars that compare to the Razors in the $800 to $1200 price range. The light weight and ergonomic design make the Razors easy to hand hold. The Razors are also easily mounted on a tripod with an Outdoorsmans stud and bino adapter. I don’t understand why some optics manufactures refuse to make their binoculars easily tripod mountable. The Outdoorsmans sells the 10x42 Razor HD for $1199.
Key Features Include:
• Premium HD extra low dispersion glass

• XR fully multi coated lenses for increased light transmission and maximum brightness

• Argon gas purged for superior waterproof and fog proof performance

    The Razor HD stands up nicely against my older pair of Swarovski 10x42 ELs.  The Ocular lens on the Razor HD is 25% larger than the Swarovski.
The Vortex Razor HD binoculars are available in four models
  • 8x42
  • 10x42
  • 10x50
  • 12x50
Like all Vortex optics the Razors are backed by a no fault lifetime warranty. Here is the warranty right from the Vortex website:

Our warranty is about you, not us. It's about taking care of you after the sale.

The VIP stands for a Very Important Promise to you, our customers. We will repair or replace your Vortex product in the event it becomes damaged or defective—at no charge to you. It doesn't matter how it happened, whose fault it was, or where you purchased it. You can count on the VIP Warranty for all riflescopes, red dots, rangefinders, binoculars, spotting scopes and monoculars.

• Unlimited Lifetime Warranty

• Fully transferable

• No warranty card to fill out

• No receipt needed to hang on to

If you ever have a problem, no matter the cause, we promise to take care of you.

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