My first late season cow elk hunt. We hunted for three day's on foot in knee deep snow. We saw elk every day but couldnt get to them in time. ( ran out of light ) We dragged Ice fishing sled's behind us and stashed them while we hunted. We both filled our tag's the third day. We started hiking at 4:00 am shot our elk at 11:00 am and loaded them in our sled's and with the help of some friend's ( made a cell call ) were back at the truck by dark. It was by far the hardest hunt I've ever done!
I think one of my most memorable was a duck hunt with an old friend where we ran into a swarm of Mallards that just filled the sky..... it was like something out of a hunting video.... and since it was just he and I in the spot, that made it more special. Of course, getting so close to elk that I could shoot an arrow at them without them knowing I was even there was pretty memorable as well. This fall so far has had several memorable trips already..... but the two listed are a couple of my all time favorites.
I was actually pondering this exact topic the other day. I was thinking this because while this year has been by far the most successful as far as taking game animals, I am not sure it will be my most memorable. This year I have harvested both my deer and elk on the archery hunts, I have also been able to get out and do some grouse hunting that I was able to connect with a few birds on, and duck hunting this year has been the most productive and succesful I have ever had and will only get better.
That being said, with the exception of a few days on the elk hunt with some freinds I have gone solo on every outing. Due to school and scheduling conflicts, my usual hunting partners and brothers have been unable to go out with me and vise-versa. Don't get me wrong I enjoyed every outing and have some memories and pictures from each one. But, My most memorable hunts by far are those with my family and freinds. The last hunt my father was able to participate in was a year nobody harvested a single animal, we had more fun and made more memories that year than I have done on any hunt preceding or after. The funny thing is even though it is funner to have family and freinds along, I still prefer to hunt alone. I don't have to worry about anyone but me and what I need to do.
As far as most memorable "Harvest" (PC Lingo). Was A doe I shot a few years back while my 6 year old stood single file behind me as we stalked close enough to her to flick a 380 grain sliver.
My most memorable was a pronghorn hunt when I was in high school in central Idaho back in the '80s. But it needs some background.
In the early 80s, we had adopted an "old man." This guy was a WWII marine, who fought in the south pacific. After the war, he cowboy'd around Idaho, working for ranchers in the summer and running traplines in the winter. After some years of that, he settled in as a snowplow driver, keeping highways 93 and 75 clear through the winter for 30 years. His passion however, was the mountain man days. He had adopted his mountain man name of "***** Joe." He'd spend his summers going around the country to different rendevouz with his brother, "Trigger Jim". When I knew him, his wife had divorced him and his kids all moved away to forget about him. But he became part of our family. Every Sunday, he'd come for dinner. My Mom would send him home with 3-4 extra plates made up for dinners through the week to make sure he'd eat well. He called her his "Sweetie" for the kindness, and it seemed right.
From the time I was 12, he call up in the summer and just say "Send the boy over." So I'd climb on my bike, and later my motorcycle, and head to ***** Joe's house. That meant I'd be mowing his lawn or weeding the garden. Other days it would mean I'd be heading to the forest to help cut new poles for the teepi, or cut firewood that we'd deliver to all the widows in town. All the time I'd spend with him were filled with story after story of battles in the war, hunting adventures in the Sawtooths, and the ways of the Mountain Men. I am guessing that some of them were even true, as all were told in the spirit of the Mountain Man. All the time in his retirement, he'd wear only his mountain man clothes - full shirt and leggins of buckskin, or pioneer style shirts made of a calico fabric. Always Indian style beaded necklaces around his neck. He kept his silver hair long, including the beard and handlebar mustache. ***** Joe was a mountain man born 100 years too late.
When I drew my pronghorn tag the year I turned 16, it was clear who would go on the hunt with me. My Dad, and ***** Joe. It was a rather uncomplicated hunt really. That summer I had worked a local ranch, moving sprinkler pipes, bucking bales, and chasing cows around. The ranch bordered some BLM lands and I had the priviledge of watching wildlife all summer long. After chores were done in the mornings, I'd take off on my motorcycle to scout the antelope. I had my eyes on a buck all summer. Nice size. Semetrical horns. A very interesting looking buck, past his prime and well scarred from several years on the land. I knew when he went to bed, when he woke up, where he slept, and where he fed. I knew that if we worked the plan, he would be in the truck by 8:30 AM.
So we picked ***** Joe up from his house at 7:00 AM. He was in his skins. Of course he was - it was all he wore! We made the quick 20 minute drive south of town to Gooseberry Creek, and waited until it got light enough to shoot. We parked Dad's old Ford F-100, below the ridge, and walked to the top of the ridge where we would see the buck below, getting out of bed. It went exactly as planned. Me, my Dad, and ***** Joe walked from the truck the 50 yards to the ridge. There was the buck, about 75 yards away, just standing up. I leveled the '06 and shot. Hit. He started trotting. I shot again. Solid hit. He took off running. ***** Joe started laughing at me. Not just a teehee - a full out laughing, head thrown back, and nearly uncontrollable laugh. So we loaded into the truck, me in the back, and headed after the buck. A mile later, he stopped. We stopped. I fired one more time and he was down.
We went to the pronghorn and took the usual pictures. Me with the buck. Me and my Dad. And then me and Joe. We all had a great time. I heard all about my shooting, and having to take three shots, all the way home. We arrived at home around 8:30. It was a perfect hunt. ***** Joe had to relive the hunt with us the next day at Sunday dinner. That was followed by a two-hour "how to shoot like a marine" session in the living room. It was perfect.
As winter came, ***** Joe headed with his camp trailer down to the St. George area, as the Idaho winters were too much for him. The week before Easter, he was loading up to head back to Idaho and dropped dead of a heart attack. My Dad spoke at his funeral, and I helped carry him to his final resting place in Sun Valley on Easter weekend. I have a portrait of him, painted as he posed in his mountain man regalia, hanging in my office today. When my first son was born - naming him was simple. Joseph Dale, after ***** Joe, and my Dad.
I guess for me, the most memorable hunts come from my relationships shared with those close to me, and with the land. When I think of that hunt - I remember far more than the hunt. I remember the stories he told, I remember working very hard to help other people annonomously, I remember my Dad not minding when he called my Mom "Sweetie". I remember how much it helped me growing up, to have my very own "old man" to help my Dad teach me about life. Hunting is so much more than hunting. Every kid needs an Old Man.
2007 archer hunt.
every bow hunt since i was 13 we have spent a the first week up at our spot.this year was no different. i am now fifteen. opening morning we didn't see much, then it started to rain se we bailed back to camp. then headed up to mill hallow and some secret places. on the way back we saw three little buckies. stopped the truck got out, my friend could have stuck a spike but if he missed his arrow would have flown onto the highway. then we headed back to camp. that evening hunt me and my dad set up on the face, and had some bucks withing fourty fiv yards but decided to hold out for a closer shot.
sunday morning i decided not to get up early, woke up at ten and went out on my dirtbike with the bow to see what i could see. didn't see crap. went to where i was sitting the previous night and set up a bit of a blind where i was only twenty from where i had seen the deer the previous night. then headed back to camp to wait for the evening. come about five thirty i head to my blind only to find another hunter in it :twisted: so i walked about 100yrds away and set up. a 2 by3 walks out maybe ten feet away :shock: i don't dare move or breath. so i wait, it busts me and runs down to fourty five yards. i draw back put my fourty pin on his spine, and let-er-rip. miss#1 just took place. so i go find my arrow no blood or anysign i hit it, so i walk to my bike and head to where my dad was and told him. turns out he missed a 3 point at 17 yards, that makes me feel better.
monday morning i arise at the crack of 9:30 yet again head out on the bike to see what i can find, headin up a trail where i have seen many deer before i see a doe run across the road. then run back, so thinking its with a fawn i continue to where it was, its with a 1by2 so i get my bow out of the racks, set my bike down still running. and draw back, oops the arrown fell off the rest, redrew back put my thrity just behind his front shoulder and let it rip. miss#2 also no sign of hitting the animal. so i head up another trail, find my buddy who also just missed a 1by2 and a 2 point! so i just head back and call it a morning. that evening my dad said we would just roadhunt, we see a group of deer, my brother shoots and misses. so we continue up seeing only does and turn around, on the way down we see a group of bucks, my brother ranges them 47 yards. so i get out and they drive off, i sneak up within fourty put my pin on and hit my mark! my grandpa was up there and made the whole expeirience even better, but on with the story. we go find my arrow and it has ten inches of blood thats it, it got kicked out when the deer took off. so we look for blood for an hour, completely unsucessful. so we decide to go back the next morning.
tuesday. my dad wakes me up at six to tell me to come look for my brothers deer. we get their and he said he hit it in the butt. :x so we look for blood for a good hour. and we went and checked the way it ran, binoed the feilds it would be in, and nothing, so he ripped his tag up. now its my deers turn. we head up hopeful to find him. we are lookin all over, and i didn't use the restroom before we left so i find the nearest bush and turn it into a bathroom. but the bush is bloody! so i holler at my dad and everyone else. they all come and we start tracking him, we go up down all over. he is jumpin over 6' tipped over quakees. then on one tree he shook and there was blood ten feet up! so we continue on the trail. he starts to head downhill so the trail gets easier to fallow, and we start finding chunks of meet. then turn a corner and there is my trophie two point! i put out one lung and clipped the heart. my bow was set at 48 pounds. so i cleaned him, drug him out, then skinned him. all in all it was awesome. i can't wait to try again next year! <<--O/
The last year my dad went hunting. We had gone out for the morning hunt on opening day and didn't see any deer. Back at camp, Pa was busy with breakfast for all of us. Suddenly a hurd of deer came busting across an open hillside above camp. 4 bucks in the group...(I know it's illegal now, but I think at this time "party hunting" was still legal...it don't matter anyway) Dad grabbed his 0ught six, which had been leaning against the tree all morning, cuz he didn't go out with the rest of us. Stepped out of camp and fired 5 shots at the running bucks...3 of the bucks fell to his shots!!! What an amazing feat for such an old man! He turned to us 4 sons and said "Go get em boys! I'll finish up with breakfast!" I'll never forget that scene! When we got back and had the bucks hung in the tree, he was about 1/3rd finished with his bottle of Ancient Age! What a great father he was!
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