Tag Archives: Badlands Packs

James Blankenbeckler over the boarder Buck

One of the top hunts on my bucket list was to hunt Whitetails either in Texas or Mexico. There is just something about the thought and the mystery of hunting down there. Those dark racks and grey bodies are so beautiful and majestic to me. I was very blessed to be invited by Enrique Lopez and his family to come hunt with them at Las Cuevas Ranch in Old Mexico.  It was mid December and I was a bit nervous with all the media about crossing the border and getting safely to the ranch. They picked me up at the airport and everything went smooth and amazingly simple. Once at the ranch it was time to shoot my bow and make sure we were on for the hunt the next morning. I brought a brand new bow and this was its maiden hunt so I wanted to double and triple check everything.  We got settled in the blind early the next morning and all setup so hopefully we wouldn’t spook anything . As day light broke we saw a small buck and some does feeding in the distance. They have a strict age structure and we were looking for bucks that were only 7yrs old or older. I had Enrique’s younger brother Pablo in the blind with me to help judge age incase we got lucky and a buck came in we would know if it was a shooter or not. I defiantly didn’t want to shoot a deer that was two young and upset them or mess their program up.  We had a beautiful four year old come in that I would have loved to shot but you could tell he was young with awesome genetics so I had to pass him. I can’t wait to see how he looks in three years. Suddenly the deer feeding became alert and started staring to the right of the blind where I couldn’t see. A few minutes later a big bodied buck stepped out with his ears pinned back as he pushed the younger bucks away and walked them out. There was no doubt this was a dominate buck in this area and one they had several trail cam pics of.  Pablo told me this was definitely a buck on the hit list. After several minutes he feed into bow range but was quartered toward us or facing us for over ten min with no ethical shot. My heart was pounding and my nerves were on end as I prayed he would offer a shot. Finally he started to feed to the right broadside and opened his vitals up. It was a dead quit morning and I knew shooting a bow in the blind would increase the odds the buck could jump my string due to the noise. I slowly drew my bow and buried the pin low behind the shoulder incase he jumped my string. I was so focused on the pin and making the right shot as I was squeezing the trigger the bow simply went off and I watched the nock burry behind the front should perfect with a whack, crack and that distinct pop (we all have heard as archers). I knew he wouldn’t go far and as he ran off he stopped suddenly at about 60yrds and fell over. The celebration was on for Hunter (my cameraman), Pablo and myself. It was like a dream you never expect to come true.  A hunt you dream about for years to end on the first morning with a great buck but that was exactly what happened and I couldn’t believe it did. I stayed for three more days and filmed and took pictures and enjoyed the amazing hospitality of the Lopez family and the beauty of their ranch. This truly was a hunt of a lifetime for me and by far the best I’ve ever been treated on a hunt. Now I just need to figure out how to do it again. I can’t think Enrique, his dad Armando and his brothers Pablo and Armando jr for such and amazing hunt, their phenomenal hospitality and the friendships they have given me.

Bow: Mathews NOCAM HTR
Rest: Vaportrail Micro Elite
Sight: Spot Hogg Hogg It
Broadhead: Dead Ringer Trauma
Arrow: Victory VAP
Stabilizers: Dead Center Archery
Strings & Cables: Vaportrail
Optics: Vortex Razor HD 12X50 binos and Ranger 1000 rangefinder
Camo: RealTree AP
As always I use Dead Down Wind scent elimination products simply because they work and I trust them.


I started getting pictures of a deer we nicknamed fuzzy in July on our covert cameras. At first I had decided to let him grow another year until he kept his velvet and we knew something wasn’t right. We had several encounters with him but just couldn’t seal the deal. After gun season went out and the deer calmed down I was able to locate him again using a narrow block of timber to travel from bedding to feed. On December 8th we climbed into the stand with high hopes and not long after daylight we weren’t disappointed as he was the second deer we saw. He slowly made his way into range and after the shot he didn’t run far and went down in sight. Blessed to have another wonderful year in the woods.


Bow: Matthews the no cam
Optics: vortex diamondbacks
Bow case: skin
Backpack: badlands whitetail hybrid
Camo realtree
Trail camera: covert
Cooler: grizzly 150
Scent control: dead down wind

James Blankenbeckler “the other guy ” Colorado Bull Elk 2014

Bryan Clark of High Voltage Outfitters invited me out for second rifle elk season in Colorado. I was a little nervous about the hunt because with my new job I was very limited on vacation time so it was gonna have to be a weekend hunt. I had zero doubt that we would be on elk with Bryan. I killed my first elk ever with him in 2012. We hunted less then an hour before I let an arrow fly and watched him drop in sight. 
Hunter picked me up in Denver the night before season and it was gonna be a short night. We got into town around midnight and had to get the gear ready. 5:00am came way to early but I was excited to hang out and hunt with Bryan again. The weather was perfect calm and about 20°. We set up on a high spot were we could watch the alfalfa fields come to life as the sun started to rise. In the distant as the light came through we could make out a couple elk then 20 elk then 100 elk!!!! I had never seen so many elk in my life.  There were elk everywhere strung out across the fields. We spotted a group of cows with a couple good Bulls in the herd. We circled around and got on them and slipped to 150yrds as they fed through. The smaller Bulls and cows were in the front and were putting on a show fighting and bugling but the big boys stayed back just over the rise out of sight. Suddenly out of nowhere the elk bolted and went over the rise away from us. What happened did they see us? Why did they run? All the questions running trough our heads then as we Looked around we saw the neighbor checking his cows in the next pasture. Bryan had a plan and we quickly went through a draw popped out on the other side and was back on them again but this time they were in a big group all together.  I laid my CVA Apex on my pack and settled the cross hairs of my scope on the biggest bull in the herd, a beautiful 6X6 with whale tails that swept up. For ten minutes I followed the bull and never got a shot because there was always another elk in front or behind him and I never had a clean ethical shot. That evening we went back to the same fields hoping to catch the herd coming back out to feed but no luck as they came out on the neighbor and never made it to us.  Bryan had been watching this herd for a couple weeks and said they would be on him in the morning.    The second morning we went back to the same vantage point and exactly what Bryan said happened the elk were back on him but today they were moving to bed faster so we had to make a move quick. Once we got to the herd the bulk of them had already went into the timber. We quickly got set up on a nice bull but by the time the cameraman got set up and on him it was to late I didn’t have a shot. I was sick to my stomach thinking we blew our only chance since I had to fly out that night and couldn’t hunt the evening. Bryan looked at me and said its not over they cross a sage flat on their way to bed we just have to beat them there. We quickly made a loop to the flat and sure enough the herd was coming out of a draw they stopped to drink in. A nice 5X6 cleared the herd and I settled the cross hairs on him and squeezed the trigger. The shot took me by surprise. I missed judged the yardage and shot right under him. The elk had no clue with the wind where the shot came from so they bunched up again. Bryan never flenched and kept scanning the herd. All I remember hearing is big bull pushing through the back. Once Bryan and I was clear on the bull he was talking about I once again settled the cross hairs on him. He went about 80yrds and stopped clear of the herd. I slowly squeezed the trigger and BOOM the gun went off and I watched him crumble to the ground. I couldn’t believe it. I never focused on the size of the rack at all. I fully trust Bryan when he tells me to shoot something. As we walked up to the bull he just kept getting bigger and bigger. I had always wanted a 300″ bull and now I had one. He scored 311″ with a broken eye guard and is a dream come true for this Midwestern boy. I can’t think Bryan enough. He constantly proves to me why he is just an amazing outfitter. He knows his animals and his land and watched them year round. Not to mention is a great guy and a blast to be around. Once I got home and watched the footage from the hunt I realized I shot the bull I was on for ten minutes the day before with the sweeping whale tails. It never dawned on me until then cause we were so focused on getting the job done and so happy after wards.  God has truly blessed me again as he as done my whole life.  MAKE SURE YOU CATCH THIS EPISODE IN FALL 2015 on the pursuit channel 

Outfitter: Bryan Clark High Voltage Outfitters 1 (970) 987-2220
Rifle: CVA Apex in .300
Scope: Vortex Viper 6-24X50mm
Binos: Vortex Razor HD 12X50
Pack: Badlands Diablo 
Boots: Lacroose Quickshot 8″ 
Camo: RealTree Max-1
Scent elimination: Dead Down Wind cause it work. Boot and Storage powder is a must when spot and stalking.