2019 Super Hunt lived up to its name

2019 Super Hunt combo winner Chase Ashcroft with his moose taken in Unit 54.

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It’s time to apply for the first of two drawings for Super Hunt tags, but it’s going fast. The deadline to apply is May 31 for the first drawing for Idaho’s best hunts, and Super Hunt tags are available for deer, elk, moose, pronghorn, and one Super Hunt combo, which includes one tag for each of those species.

If you’re not familiar with Super Hunt tags, they allow the tag holder to hunt in any unit open for the species in which the tag is valid. Simply put, a deer tag is good for any deer hunt in the state, general or controlled, and the same for elk, moose and pronghorn tags. Super Hunts are considered “extra” tags, so if you already bought a tag, you can still win a Super Hunt. And, you can buy as many entries as you’d like.

To learn more about them, and buy your chances to win, go to idfg.idaho.gov/superhunt.

If those details aren’t tempting enough, here’s a story from one of last year’s Super Hunt Combo winners to give you an idea of what the Super Hunt program has to offer.

Hitting the Super Hunt grand slam

It can be done: one moose, one elk, one pronghorn, and one mule deer — each of them brag worthy — after 44 days in the field from July through the end of November. As one of two Super Hunt Combo winners from a Super Hunt drawing in 2019, Utah resident Chase Ashcroft, 35, had one heck of an Idaho hunting season. And it didn’t cost him much for him to enjoy some of the best hunting of his life.

“I just kind of put in a couple (of entries), what I could afford,” Ashcroft said. “I think (Fish and Game) told me when I drew the Super Hunt Combo that I only had two entries in there, so I spent $40 and got it.”

That’s quite a bargain for what is perhaps the most coveted and dreamed-about hunting experience in Idaho.

“Being able to hunt those low-pressure areas with not many hunters, I don’t think I’ll ever have that experience again — not for those animals in one year, that’s for sure,” he said.

It couldn’t have come at a better time for Ashcroft, who was in a position to take the time away from his concrete business for his hunts.

“I was very lucky. If this would’ve happened to me even five years ago, there is no way I would’ve been able to put the time in that I did. It couldn’t have happened at a better time in my life,” Ashcroft said.

A strong start, with a little help

Ashcroft completed the first leg of his Super Hunt Combo experience on a moose hunt near Twin Falls. While his family owns property in Idaho, and he has hunted elk in the state for the past 10 years, he had never hunted for anything, let alone moose, in Unit 54. So Ashcroft decided it would be in his best interest to enlist some help.

“I ended up booking with an outfitter, who got me a fantastic moose. That was the very first guided hunt I had ever done,” Ashcroft said. “I was a little overwhelmed when I drew the tag, just because I knew I had to focus on four species, and wanted to maximize the situation.”

Despite setting a goal of harvesting a moose with his bow, plans changed when Ashcroft got a look at the moose in the picture. He packed his rifle, and he and his outfitter headed out to where the bull was spotted earlier in the day. They waited there all afternoon until, about five minutes before dark, the big bull ambled out of the pines right below them at about 375 yards. After a clean shot, Ashcroft had scratched out his moose on the first day of his hunt.

Regrets, redemption, and a dream elk hunt

Ashcroft returned to the Twin Falls area for two separate week-long outings during elk season. This time around, it was a do-it-yourself trip, although he was accompanied by some family and friends. According to Ashcroft, they were about the only people in the field. Considering F&G only allocates 20 tags for the controlled hunt in which Ashcroft was participating, that makes sense.

“I think on my archery elk hunt, I only saw one other hunter on that whole hunt,” Ashcroft said.

Settling on a pronghorn

Just a week after he harvested his elk, Ashcroft turned his attention to filling his antelope tag, with a goal of harvesting an 80-inch plus buck.

“I had found one good pronghorn down on the Unit I killed my elk on, but he just wasn’t great,” Ashcroft said. “So I focused on a different unit and found a really, really big pronghorn, and I just could not get him.”

He completed the fourth leg with a mule deer. You can read the entire Super Hunt account here.

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