1. I will be chasing turkeys in Alabama on November 3rd...PINHOTI 100...TALLADEGA, AL. "Pinhoti" is the Creek Indian word meaning "turkey home." Montrail Ultracup race with big---time---competition.
2. I have joined the VESPA team. I was pretty tired following the 100, with a general lack of power and a lingering fatigue from all the hunting. The few runs I have done with VESPA have been the exception. Uphill and downhill power, better focus and coordination, quicker recovery. I still don't understand the science, but that's OK for me at this point. The results for me don't lie, so I am willing to continue this experiment and share what I learn along the way.
3. Elk archery season ended for me last week. I harvested a young bull elk. I enjoyed lots of great days in the field with Nick, Brandi, Matt and Katie. Tons of mileage with big vertical and rough terrain. This will give me a solid training base as things ramp up for my next 100 in 6 weeks.
On the night of the successful hunt, Nick and I split up just before dark. He would cover one side of the meadow and I set up on the other, just up the hillside in some trees. I made some light cow calls and listened carefully. Soon, I heard some light footsteps coming from uphill of my position. The wind was perfect and it was clear that an elk was coming to investigate the calls. Just before he came into view, I drew my bow, so that he could not see the motion. He peered around the tree I was hiding behind and looked straight into my eyes from just 20 feet away. I held my draw for 2 or 3 minutes as he stared at me. Muscles straining, trying not to move, I made a light call with the latex reed in my mouth. This persuaded him to move forward into the meadow and turn his head from me. He slowly walked out into full view, perfectly broadside. Two well placed arrows from my Martin Firecat from 20, then 52 yards, resulted in a quick and humane end. He ran only a few yards and expired. All was silent again, except for my heart pounding out of my chest. Nick, just a few hundred yards away had no idea that anything had happened. I walked down the hill 30 yards and located the elk just as darkness fell.
Even after my experience last year, this was hard for me to accept. There is nothing at all nice about killing something you love. Last year, I could share my troubles with Brandi, but now I was alone. Tears flowed as I sat beside him stroking his ears. I reminded myself of the circle of life and found a little comfort in the thought that I was doing what my ancestors did to survive. Much of what Brandi and I will accomplish this year will be because of the health and vitality that this beautiful animal will give us. I promised myself that I would honor him and use the strength he provided to do good.
Nick and I worked all night processing and carrying him out the 5 miles to the truck. By morning, only 1 more trip remained. After a return trip home, Brandi, Katie and I returned to make the final carry. The next day we completed our work in our kitchen and stocked the freezer.
Meanwhile, Brandi and Matt still have an elk tag and are in hot pursuit. They will be spending their IMTUF100 taper on the hunt. I wish them the best of luck and hope I can help them with the aftermath as they helped me.
It was another memorable season and I will look forward to next September.
|Nick and I on Nick's last day of hunting in Idaho.|
|The terrain in the Idaho backcountry is never easy to negotiate. Here, Nick tops out on a little granite spur after climbing thousands of feet from the valley below.|
|Curious little bear. He bolted seconds later and within a minute, he was on an adjacent mountain side. Bears can really move when scared.|
|Brandi and Katie packing out the elk.|
|Thanks to SCOTT for a fresh pair of eRide Grips for my hunting season.|
|Dead-eye. Brandi stacking arrows at 30 yards.|
|Wild man Matt, deep in elk country.|
|Brandi on the hunt, climbing through vibrant fireweed.|
|B in a backcountry bowl at 7300'|
|Nick on another late night hike back to the truck.|