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Old 12-04-2017, 10:15 AM   #1
trek8500xtr
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Default Garner SP Exotic Archery Hunt

Anyone else here this week? Orientation is in a couple of hours. I read the other threads about this draw hunt and will give an updated report after this week.
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Old 12-04-2017, 12:56 PM   #2
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Thank you

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Old 12-04-2017, 12:57 PM   #3
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Thank you

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Old 12-04-2017, 01:03 PM   #4
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Good luck!
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Old 12-04-2017, 02:25 PM   #5
SHOOTNSTR8
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I will be there 1/22 - 1/26. I am definitely interested in how your hunt goes.
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Old 12-04-2017, 04:49 PM   #6
RLHoward
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Good luck ! I put in but did not get picked .
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Old 12-11-2017, 03:07 PM   #7
trek8500xtr
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Since there was little to no info on the archery hunt and quite a bit of info on the gun hunt I thought it may be helpful to others to post everything i learned during my week there.

This was my first year to put in for the draw hunts and i drew this on the second draw because only 1/5 of the guys in the first draw paid to accept the tag.

Our hunt 12/4-12/8/17 consisted of 3 hunters hunting 5 compartments (map below).

The week starts out with a short orientation at park headquarters with the park superintendent (David Allen), and 2 other park personnel. David is a bow hunter himself, and was extremely welcoming, helpful, and in my opinion did everything in his power to help us be successful. Following the brief orientation where he covered safety and other rules the park personnel escorted us to the 5 compartments and made sure we understood the compartment boundaries and where the feeders were located. Each compartment had 1 feeder that had been in place for 1-2 weeks to try to help pattern the animals.

During the tour/orientation we saw quite a few Axis in the compartments and tons of turkeys. The turkeys are not, however, on the menu.

Following the tour we reconvened back at park headquarters to draw numbers and figure out who would hunt where. Because we only had 3 hunters he gave us the option of figuring out which compartments to hunt on our own.

After that you are free to hunt your compartment pretty much any way that you choose during legal shooting hours for the remainder of the hunt. It seems that this is where the archery hunt really differs from the rifle hunt at GSP. You hunt with your own vehicle, your own blind(s), your own bait (if you so choose), and without a guide. The only thing they asked is that we let them know when you shoot an animal so that they can help you bring the animal back to the cleaning station (at the front of compartments 2/3).

All compartments are on the outskirts of the park property and are closed to the public. I envisioned hunting "park deer" that were accustomed to having people around and I think that was where i went the most wrong in my approach. I was hunting compartment 4, which almost never has people in it and as a result the deer were extremely sensitive to smell and human activity.

Me and the other 2 hunters exchanged phone numbers at orientation (AT&T has service pretty much everywhere in the park area) and created a group text. We exchanged texts quite a bit during the week so we all had a pretty good idea of what was going on in the other compartments as well as our own. Here is what I learned of the compartments:

1. The smallest compartment. It is triangular in shape, bordered on 2 sides by paved roads, and the river on the other side. The park personnel said it has been the most productive compartment in the past. One of the guys in my hunt changed from Compartment 2 to compartment 1 for the final 2 days and saw Axis, but didn't get a shot.

2. Bordered by the river on one side and compartment 3 on the other. Loaded with Axis and turkeys. The hunter hunting it had 2 game cams up and saw hogs, turkeys, and whitetail, but didn't get pics of any Axis. He did however jump axis multiple times while scouting and we saw axis in there during the orientation.

3. Bordered by a paved road, the river, and compartment 2. We saw the most Axis during the week and during orientation in this compartment. It was also loaded with Turkeys. It seemed to have the most options for blind type. There were trees big enough to put a climber in, lots of thick stuck to put a pop up in, and some high areas you could hunt the river bottoms from without a blind. The hunter that hunted here had the most success with a ghost blind setup on busy game trails.

4. Bordered on one side by a major highway, one side by private land (clearly marked fence), on the other side(s) by mountains. The most remote compartment with the least human development. Park personnel indicated that they see lots of axis hit on the road in front of this compartment and the feeder had the most sign at it of all the compartments. That said, I didn't see a single animal inside it during the week. There are some highway-sized game trails running through it and awesome elevation changes. However, it is very large and you would need a truck to hunt much of it because the roads/trails can be pretty rough. I averaged 3 miles of walking per day hunting it and the day i scouted it i hiked almost 9 miles with 70 floors of elevation climb according to my phone.

5. Farthest compartment from the park and would likely require a truck to hunt it. If you didn't have a truck it would require a pretty long hike from the front gate up a pretty big incline. There is a pond in it that the park personnel said is the only water around other than the river. There were tons of tracks and some pig wallows at the pond. The feeder is setup in a low area on the biggest game path leading to the pond and you would have options to hunt it from above without a blind. The park personnel indicated that they have seen other exotics here besides just Axis. They specifically mentioned Fallow, Corsican Rams, and Auodad.

I baited with all of the following and had nothing touch my bait during the week. The park personnel said that Chaffhaye is by far the favorite bait of the Axis and it is available at the local feed store in Leakey.

Alfalfa Hay
Molasses
Chaffhaye (fermented grains, alfalfa, and molasses)
Livestock Sweet Feed
Primos Fall Harvest (grains and molasses)

The hunter in compartment 3 baited with Chaffhaye and at one point had some Axis coming at him from a strong upwind down a game trail and when they saw the Chaffhaye they stomped, snorted, and ran off. He said it was likely that they detected his ground scent, but wasn't sure if the bait made them more nervous or not.

If I could do this hunt again (and I will definitely put in for it) I would leave my climbing stand at home, bring a ghost blind, and consider bringing a tripod. I hunted the whole week out of my popup brushed in pretty well. It was cold and rainy 2.5 of the 4 days there and the pop-up definitely made that easier. I would enter my compartment a lot more stealthily, would bait and scout a lot less, and would setup with a ghost blind on the most heavily trafficked area I could find without moving around too much.

All of the compartments other than 1 take some time to get to and to get setup in, so I would definitely plan on hunting all day and take rations for the day accordingly.

The check-in/out and cleaning station is at the front of compartments 2/3. Since there were only 3 hunters and we were in a group text the park super allowed me to go straight to compartment 4 and check in/out via text with the other hunters. That said, that isn't the norm and he may require all hunters to check in themselves at compartments 2/3 before and after their hunts. For compartment 4 that would mean leaving the park 30 minutes earlier and getting back to the park 30 minutes later at night.

Note on the map: the lines are more to show the general areas the compartments are in. They are not exact and are free-handed by someone with shaky hands and a sensitive mouse...lol

Don't hesitate to ask if you have any other questions!
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Last edited by trek8500xtr; 12-11-2017 at 03:30 PM..
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Old 12-11-2017, 03:19 PM   #8
trek8500xtr
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Here's the park map with compartments added to it. Also shows where the check-in/out and cleaning station is.
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File Type: pdf GSP_Park_Map_Archery_Comps.pdf (274.5 KB, 85 views)
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Old 12-11-2017, 03:23 PM   #9
mastercraftka
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So there were only three hunters total for the whole hunt?
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Old 12-11-2017, 03:32 PM   #10
trek8500xtr
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So there were only three hunters total for the whole hunt?
Correct. 1/5 from the first draw, and 2/4 from the second. He doesn't do alternates for the archery hunt, so if only 3 pay then only 3 hunt. They only do a maximum of 5 per archery hunt.
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Old 12-11-2017, 03:52 PM   #11
.270
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Thanks for the updated information. This hunt is way different than the gun hunts. I like the archery ones better already and never been.
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Old 12-11-2017, 04:08 PM   #12
trek8500xtr
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Thanks for the updated information. This hunt is way different than the gun hunts. I like the archery ones better already and never been.
It was drastically different and the park personnel were drastically different than what I read about in the reports on the gun hunts. With this one it was essentially a cool DIY public land archery hunt where you had a parcel all to yourself and could hunt it any way you wanted. I felt like if I had known more and had been a better hunter then I very likely would have been successful.
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Old 12-11-2017, 04:20 PM   #13
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It was drastically different and the park personnel were drastically different than what I read about in the reports on the gun hunts. With this one it was essentially a cool DIY public land archery hunt where you had a parcel all to yourself and could hunt it any way you wanted. I felt like if I had known more and had been a better hunter then I very likely would have been successful.
Ya i have never heard much positive about those hunts they must have been talking about the gun hunts??
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Old 12-11-2017, 04:23 PM   #14
trek8500xtr
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Ya i have never heard much positive about those hunts they must have been talking about the gun hunts??
Exactly. For the gun hunts they have to close the park completely and have blinds setup throughout the park with volunteers to drive you to and from your blind. You have a narrow shooting lane and can not track your own kills. This archery hunt is as close to the polar opposite of that as possible.
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Old 12-11-2017, 04:26 PM   #15
mastercraftka
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Exactly. For the gun hunts they have to close the park completely and have blinds setup throughout the park with volunteers to drive you to and from your blind. You have a narrow shooting lane and can not track your own kills. This archery hunt is as close to the polar opposite of that as possible.
ok ya that is exactly what was described.
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Old Yesterday, 07:04 AM   #16
SHOOTNSTR8
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Thank you John for that detailed write up. I plan to use your information next month when I go for the last archery hunt period at GSP. Hopefully I can be lucky enough to harvest one of those elusive Axis.
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Old Yesterday, 07:43 AM   #17
.270
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"The hunter in compartment 3 baited with Chaffhaye and at one point had some Axis coming at him from a strong upwind down a game trail and when they saw the Chaffhaye they stomped, snorted, and ran off. He said it was likely that they detected his ground scent, but wasn't sure if the bait made them more nervous or not."


Having been there only for the exotic gun hunt, I would say it's the latter. Chaffhaye and alfalfa is not year round forage. It's likely that group has linked those things to hunters in the area. Just my opinion that's not worth 0.5 cents.
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Old Yesterday, 09:29 AM   #18
Budman68
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I hunted number 1 last year and was luck to see plenty of axis, but didn't get the job done. I was suffering from a major sinus infection and tried to push through it, but just couldn't stop the urge to cough. Pretty sure the deer could hear me for miles. LOL.
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Old Yesterday, 10:48 AM   #19
Randy
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My daughter drew this hunt in January.

Did you lodge at the park or somewhere else?
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Old Yesterday, 10:56 AM   #20
trek8500xtr
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My daughter drew this hunt in January.

Did you lodge at the park or somewhere else?
Hey Randy. I camped in the park in the Oakmont area on the river. The site was nice with electricity and water and about 50 yds from a hot shower with good water pressure every evening. It was my first time to camp in 20 years and I had no issues aside from packing up camp in the sleet. The only negative to camping where i did is that it was as far from the park entrance as possible and you have to drive out of the park to get to all of the archery units. It just meant i was leaving camp 10m before i would have had to if I had camped closer to the front gate. There are numerous private cabins for rent in the area as well if you don't want to stay in the park.
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Old Yesterday, 10:58 AM   #21
Randy
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Hey Randy. I camped in the park in the Oakmont area on the river. The site was nice with electricity and water and about 50 yds from a hot shower with good water pressure every evening. It was my first time to camp in 20 years and I had no issues aside from packing up camp in the sleet. The only negative to camping where i did is that it was as far from the park entrance as possible and you have to drive out of the park to get to all of the archery units. It just meant i was leaving camp 10m before i would have had to if I had camped closer to the front gate. There are numerous private cabins for rent in the area as well if you don't want to stay in the park.
I appreciate it. The cabins on site show to be booked. So we are trying to decide if we want to camp in the park or go stay somewhere else.
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Old Yesterday, 11:03 AM   #22
trek8500xtr
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I appreciate it. The cabins on site show to be booked. So we are trying to decide if we want to camp in the park or go stay somewhere else.
I would call the park and make sure. I found that the availability wasn't accurate online for the hunt weeks because of the park being varying degrees of "closed". The cabins in the park didn't appear to be a huge upgrade over camping and are relatively expensive. If I was going to pay $100+ per night for lodging I would at least look into some of the offsite cabin options.
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Old Yesterday, 11:05 AM   #23
.270
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Originally Posted by Randy View Post
My daughter drew this hunt in January.

Did you lodge at the park or somewhere else?
When I hunted this past January, I stayed at Criders on the Frio (http://cridersonthefrio.com/) trh a Groupon getaway deal ($55/night), about 2 miles from the park entrance. I was glad I did, cause it got down into the 20's and there were frozen water lines at the cabin and all the RV's at the park. Those in tents reported being pretty chilly.

Last edited by .270; Yesterday at 11:12 AM..
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Old Yesterday, 11:12 AM   #24
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I am pitching a tent at a campsite in the park. Based on this past January's temps, it can be from the teens to the 80's. The wind appears to shift almost daily too.
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Old Yesterday, 04:21 PM   #25
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I drew the hunt for January, I think that dad and I are going to tent/hammock camp.

Thanks for all of the helpful info!


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Old Yesterday, 04:52 PM   #26
trek8500xtr
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I drew the hunt for January, I think that dad and I are going to tent/hammock camp.

Thanks for all of the helpful info!
Congrats on drawing and good luck!
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Old Yesterday, 05:11 PM   #27
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Great info John,your detailed description of your hunt will really be helpful.
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Old Yesterday, 05:29 PM   #28
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Great info, thanks!

Randy, did your daughter draw the January archery hunt? Are you going down with her? I'll be there with Mo.

Shootnstr8, give me a shout next time you're in my neighborhood! Looks like we may have good TBH representation on this hunt!
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Old Yesterday, 07:28 PM   #29
BigLig
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Great info. Super helpful. Hope to get drawn this lifetime.
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Old Yesterday, 08:48 PM   #30
Budman68
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I camped in the rv section near the river. The only negative was I had to deal with a bunch of college girls that decided to camp next to me. Lol
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Old Yesterday, 09:13 PM   #31
Randy
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Randy, did your daughter draw the January archery hunt? Are you going down with her? I'll be there with Mo.
No sir, different hunt, she drew the either sex gun Jan 6th & 7th. I'll be there with her.
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Old Yesterday, 11:13 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by .270 View Post
"The hunter in compartment 3 baited with Chaffhaye and at one point had some Axis coming at him from a strong upwind down a game trail and when they saw the Chaffhaye they stomped, snorted, and ran off. He said it was likely that they detected his ground scent, but wasn't sure if the bait made them more nervous or not."


Having been there only for the exotic gun hunt, I would say it's the latter. Chaffhaye and alfalfa is not year round forage. It's likely that group has linked those things to hunters in the area. Just my opinion that's not worth 0.5 cents.
I have seen that happen before, in a few areas. I am pretty sure, the bait alerted the deer that there were likely hunters in the area.
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Old Today, 12:07 PM   #33
trek8500xtr
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I have a more detailed map of compartment 4 since that's the one I hunted. If anyone here that drew archery ends up in that compartment feel free to DM me and I will send to you.
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