Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Welcome Isaac!!!

What a fun year!!  The Idaho Legislature passed a law allowing 10 year old kids to hunt big game.  This was good news for Isaac!  In August he passed his Hunters Safety class (along with his friend, whose name is Hunter).
The hunting began on Columbus Day.  I had the day off work and we decided to go south on I-84 and hunt near Sublett Reservoir.  Our thought was that if we go away from the bigger cities, we would have a better chance to get away from the crowds in the mountains.  This did not really prove to be effective as there was a camp trailer and 4 wheelers in almost every drainage.
First thing in the morning we drove up a little dirt road heading north just before reaching Sublett Reservoir.  We saw a few deer running a long ways away at first light, but they were so far and already spooked, so we just watched them go.  We stopped on top and decided to walk for a while, hoping to run into something.  Earlier that week we got a really good deal at Costco on a couple of High Sierra Hydration backpacks ($15 each, regularly $60!).  They proved to be worth the money.  We stayed on the south side of the ridge for a while and then scooted over to the north side.  We spotted what appeared to be a lone doe walking through the tall brush.  Isaac decided to pass on her since it was our first morning and he was hoping to find something with antlers.  We walked around the hillside to another drainage to the east and couldn't find any deer there.  We decided to go back to the doe and see if she had any friends we hadn't seen.  As we topped the ridge about 100 yards from her, she and her two fawns took off across the hills.  They covered about 3/4 mile in view, and didn't kick up a single other deer.  We went back over the hill and a little farther but couldn't find any more deer so we headed back to the truck.  After retracing our steps later on Google Earth, we walked about 2.4 miles that morning.  It was a good hike and a fun start.

The afternoon was uneventful as we drove around looking for a place to go that evening.  We found a nice little drainage and hiked up the bottom.  After about 1/4 - 1/2 mile we hiked up on top of a little ridge in the middle of a big drainage.  We decided it was a good vantage point and that we would spend the balance of the hunting light waiting for the deer to come out.  It was a really pleasant time hanging out as father and son as we sat there in that beautiful area.  We actually took a little video that ended up being pretty funny.  Just after the sun set, we decided it was time to head back and hope we find a deer on the way back to the truck in the light we had left.   We stood up and hiked only about 30 feet up to the top of the ridge and WOW, there was 3 does right across the drainage about 150 yards away.  They had sneaked out of the trees behind us.  They didn't know we were there, and Isaac decided he was ready to shoot a doe.  Isaac and I learned a little from the next 30 seconds.  He wanted to shoot from a sitting position.  I thought he would do better from prone, and also thought it might be easier to get set up without spooking the deer.  He sat down and was about to take a shot.  I told him to lay down and shoot prone.  He crawled back and tried to lay down but couldn't get comfortable so he sat up again.  As this all happened, the deer spotted us and started to leave.  The big doe would go about 20 yards and then stop.  Each time she would stop, Isaac would get ready and then she'd move again.  Finally at about 180 yards she stopped for a while but just as she did, the other two deer stopped right in front of her.  I told him not to shoot and then they bounced over the hill.  I felt bad and Isaac was pretty upset that we had blown the chance.  On the way back to the truck we spotted two other does, but they were pretty far to be shooting at in low light, so we decided to pass.  Again, it was sad.  Despite all the sadness, it was a really fun day with some excitement and great memories.

For our second hunting expedition we decided to try up past Fish Creek Reservoir near Iron Mine.  We left on a Wednesday afternoon and spent the night on the mountain.  When we got to the Iron Mine drainage, there were already two trucks parked there, so we decided not to follow them.  We drove all the way up to the summit, but didn't see any deer (except a few that were on private ground).  We camped on the National Forest and had a good time eating chili and top ramen.  Isaac slept in the cab of my little red Ford Ranger and I slept in the bed.  It only rained on me a little :).  In the morning we decided to go up Long Canyon, just opposite of Iron Mine.  We hike almost 3 miles that morning and could only turn up one cow moose.  It was cool to see her, but she was not what we were hoping to see.  Again, we saw some really cool country and had a really fun time, but didn't find any deer.  On the way home, we stopped in Shoshone at the Snack Bar and bought Isaac some lunch and a "medium" ice cream cone that was about the size of his head.  It was awesome!  We both loved it!

Our third and last expedition was an evening hunt.  We decided to try Camp Creek Drive just to the west of Moonstone Mountain.  On our way there, directly south of Moonstone we spotted a decent buck (probably 3 1/2 years old) all by himself out on the flat below the mountain.  The law in Idaho says that if the land is not posted (or not cultivated) it is fair game to hunt on, even if it is private land.  We could not see any "no hunting" or "no trespassing" signs, so we decided to try to put a stalk on him.  As we were getting out of the truck, an Idaho Fish and Game officer stopped and talked to us.  I recognized him because my office is in the back of the Fish and Game building in Jerome.  I told him I was glad he stopped, because I wasn't sure if it was OK.  He said he wasn't sure either.  He got back in his truck and drove up and down the road looking for no trespassing signs as we were putting our stuff together.  While this was happening, the buck was making his way towards us fairly quickly.  We walked down the fence line and just as we were getting within range, the officer pulled up and gave me the thumbs down.  I was just lifting Isaac over the fence so he could get set up and shoot.  The officer said that the land was "not posted legally, but it was posted".  He found two old, faded no trespassing signs about 1/2 - 3/4 mile in each direction (they are supposed to be every 660').  He also said that if it was any other land owner, he would have given us the go ahead, but he knows that land owner and he wouldn't like it.  We had to stand there and watch as the buck bounded off, back to where he came from.  We then got back on the road and drove up Camp Creek Drive.  We took off on a road to the right about 8 miles up the road, but again didn't see any deer.  I couldn't believe that we couldn't even find a doe.  On the way out, just at the last moment of light we saw a truck on the side of the road and I noticed that there were 3 people in the bottom of the drainage.  We stopped and asked if they had gotten one, and they had.  We went down to take a look.  It was a grandpa, dad and son.  The son (13) had shot his first deer and it was a pretty nice buck.  They had spotted it from the road and the son got out and shot it.  He was pretty excited and the other two were also pleased.  We helped them pull it the 70 yards up to the road and they seemed grateful for the help.  It was fun for us to get to play a small part and see their nice buck.

That was all the hunting we were able to do this year.  Despite the empty freezer, it was a lot of fun.

We owe a big "Thank You" this year to two people.  Out of the goodness of his heart, a good friend from my mission named Danny did us a huge favor.  He provided a large portion of the gas for our trips this year, making these hunts possible.  Thank you Danny.  Uncle Jeff was nice enough to loan Isaac his rifle for the year.  Thank you Jeff.  We are very grateful to both of you for your thoughtfulness and kindness!  You helped create a lot of really fun memories for us this year, and a great start to many years of hunting to come.  Isaac and I are both excited to go again next year!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Rolling in does

It was a fruitful year for our little family.  Despite the apparent lack of horn soup, we are feeling VERY blessed this hunting season.  Doe #1
For the specific purposes of taking Isaac and making sure we have meat in the freezer, I applied for a doe tag for area 423.  I was able to get out with Isaac once in October to the State Section off of Highway 434, West of Wolf Creek.  We hiked all the way along the ridge but found only two does that were just off the section on the Dearborn Ranch.  We made a second attempt a couple weeks later with the whole family in the car, but had the same results (I wandered around and found nothing while they drove around and saw numberous deer on the Dearborn property).  The Friday before Thanksgiving I decided it was too late to come home empty handed again and too cold to take Isaac so I set out on my own.  I left town about 10:30 a.m. and went to the State Section lying just North of the Dearborn River on Highway 287.  On the way there I did see the nice buck shown in the photos below on the Dearborn Ranch (of course).  On this hunt, I was only hunting to fill my mule deer doe tag.  It was my first experience on this particular section.  I parked my minivan on the side of the road  near the North end of the section.  I walked west to the edge of the first big draw and turned south following the top of the draw.  As I approached the fenceline on the south end of the section I spotted three does just on the other side of the fence.  I hoped that there were others on the legal side of the fence, but could not move any closer without spooking the three does.  I backed out and crawled into a small gulley.  I went down to the fence line out of sight of the deer and then crawled on my knees for about the last 75 yards until I could see three more deer that were actually on the legal side of the fence.  I spent about 5 minutes trying to decide which one to shoot.  I didn't want to get a fawn.  I was forced out of my indecision by three does that suddenly appeared about 10 yards to my left (on the wrong side of the fence).  They busted me and began leaving the country.  As they did, the legal deer were alerted and started to move.  I quickly picked one and shot.  (about 80-100 yards).  I saw her jump and quickly go out of sight behind a hill.  I ran up looking for her to be trailing the other deer.  There was one lagging behind the group and for a second I considered taking a shot at her.  I wasn't very confident about my off-hand shot, but didn't want to end up with two deer down.  So since I couldn't see any blood on or around her, I let her go over the hill with the other deer.  That turned out to be a very good decision as I shortly thereafter found my doe piled up in the bottom of the draw.  I had mad a good hit and she had only gone about 10 yards.  She was a good size doe and I felt VERY blessed.  We have enjoyed a lot of jerky and have some good roasts in the freezer.
Here are some pics from this first successful trip.
These first ones are of a big buck I saw from the road while driving in.  He was coming my way (towards the road) but I decided not to wait for him to get closer.   My camera ended up running out of batter later that day, just before I shot the doe .  For a little camera comparison I am including photos of two different bucks.  The first three pics are the same buck.  I took these pics with my good zoom lens from about 350-400 yards away (In the first, I am zoomed in all the way).  They are not great shots, but its fun to be able to zoom like that.  The close ones are simply the same (or similar) images of the photo that have been cropped in close to the buck.  The fourth image is of a similar sized buck that I took with my cell phone on the way home.  He was about 25 yards from me when I took the shot.  I was really wishing I had remembered to charge my extra battery when he came walking along so close.  The next picture is of my doe on top of my hunting vehicle (not a 4WD, but we are considering having that added and buying some big meaty tires).  The last one is me at home.

Doe #2
Seeing how quickly we were going through jerky from Doe #1 we decided I better make sure we had enough to get through the winter.  On Saturday after Thanksgiving I called Grandpa Lay and he got permission for me to go with him on the Boulder River and try to get a whitetail with my rifle.  It was a fairly warm day and Isaac wanted to come, so we went together.  We got there about 3:00 in the afternoon and walked in to the treestand.  When we got there I cleared the snow and brush away from the ground under the tree and laid a blue fleece blanket down.  I put my seat cushion on top of that and Isaac sat down.  I handed him my ipod and put another camo fleece blanket on top of him.  He promised to be very still and quiet and I climbed the tree to the stand with my gun.  Isaac did awesome!  He didn't hardly make a noise or stir for a little over an hour.  He didn't stand up or talk until my gun went off.  After about 1/2 hour in the stand I saw about 6 deer come out about 200 yards away through the trees.  I passed on two opportunities for questionable shots.  Another 15 minutes later, the deer came back and approached my stand from another direction.  When the lead doe walked into the open at about 60 yards I made a good one shot kill.  She dropped right there.  Dad called when he heard the shot to see if I got one.  Apparently, shortly after we hung up from that call he had a good buck and 4 does come under his stand.  He made a good shot on the buck at 40 yards, but the buck was on high alert and jumped the string.  Dad said that the buck wasn't even there anymore when the arrow arrived.  Meanwhile I climbed down out of the tree and Isaac and I went over and cleaned out my second doe of the year.  Grandpa came over after dark and helped us drag it back to the car.  Isaac was a great little helper and walked all the way back to the truck.
It was really a fun day to be there with both my Dad and my son.  The freezer is full and as stated above, we are feeling very blessed this season.
This is a cell phone photo I took from in the tree stand.  Isaac is at the base of the tree to my right, under the camo blanket.

Here is the little man with the doe.
It has been really fun this year and it has made me realize how much more there is to hunting than just walking your behind off looking for large animals.  The little ones are also A LOT of fun and fill the freezer very well.  Also, the family experiences are much more important than just the hunting.  Next year I will again chase the big bucks, but I also plan on filling another couple doe tags.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Youth Opener 2010

Thursday and Friday of last week marked the very first Youth Deer Hunt in the state of Montana. I was able to take Jayden to a small place on the Upper Smith River to do some creeping around for critters.

We arrived in the dark to the sounds of bugling elk at the edge of the alfalfa field. The bugling continued as we settled into our make shift ground blind. Jayden had never heard an actual elk bugle and hearing one so close was an amazing experience for both of us.

The morning light became brighter and it was apparent that we had missed the exodus from the field by about 500 yards. The steady stream of does through the binoculars forced us to get up and try to sneak a little closer, but, as you well know, it is extremely difficult to sneak up on a white tail doe in the open.

We saw a lot of white flags bound away as we neared closer. One small doe stayed and offered Jayden a parting shot. This parting shot promptly cleared the field of all stragglers and ended our hunt on the alfalfa field.

We then dejectedly hiked over the hill to a rock outcrop that over looks another field of grass. We knew there would not be as many deer on the next field, but our chances were still okay. As we sat on the outcrop overlooking the field and the river, two bucks immediately below us had all that they could take and bolted through the river to the other side. The bucks stopped and looked back at about two hundred yards away and Jayden touched one off.

The bullet must have grazed the latter of the two bucks; it jumped and ran across an open field. We watched him run across the field to the other side and look back. We were able to seem him stop and then bed down, and I thought we had him.

I looked at Jayden and said, “We have to go after him.” She looked at me in disbelief because this would require crossing the Smith River. We found the best spot we could and started across. It was freezing! The look on Jayden’s face was priceless.

We reached the other side and wrung out our socks. When the laughing and wringing was over we started our circle to get behind the buck. Amazingly we were able to circle around behind him and find him bedded on the edge of the field about two hundred yards away. He could see us, but did not move and Jayden tried another shot. It sounded good, but obviously a clear miss, because he ran back to where he had come from with no apparent problem.

Thinking it was over, but not knowing for sure we headed back to where we had crossed the creek. As we came over the small ridge before the creek bed, we spotted him again just 70 yards away, his head peering over the small pucker brush. Jayden once again tried to get set for a shot, but he ran into the willows before she could get set.

I decided to do a makeshift drive for Jayden through the small willow thicket. After setting Jayden up with just the safety on, I grabbed a stick and started to circle around and beat the brush. I was singing, “Here deery deery,” which Jayden obviously found amusing. She later told me she was trying not to laugh out loud after hearing her Dad in the bushes. When I got close to where I thought the deer was I hollered to Jayden, Take your safety off and get ready, but don’t shoot me!” As soon as I said this, the deer stood up and took off directly to where Jayden was sitting. I kept waiting to hear her 30-30 bang………..The deer was just standing in front of her. It then began to run again and finally she fired. I watched her shoot three times which never connected on the running deer. She jacked her final shell in and I yelled, “Wait that’s your last shot!”

I climbed back up the small hill to her location and asked what happened? “My safety was stuck,” she said. When she showed me what she had done we had a laugh. She had let the hammer down and then tried to take it off safety. This of course does not work and this was her dilemma as she watched the buck stand 70 yards away while she fiddled with her rifle. Just as she figured it out it ran. Bummer!

To make a long story short she watched where the buck had stopped, but she only had one bullet left. I hiked back to the truck as she continued to watch the area. This hike included one more trip across the river, cold! I made it back to her in short order and as we walked to the area we saw him stop, and he stood again. It happened quickly, but she got one more shot off as he crossed the river back to where the truck was.

We trudged across the river one more time to check for blood. We found a little, but not enough for a fatal hit. This last time the deer ran like the wind and never looked back. I’m sure tonight he is licking his wounds and counting his lucky stars.

Jayden learned a ton on this trip, not the least was how to operate her rifle properly! She also learned to give every effort to recover a deer you might have hit and we both learned you don’t have to bring something home to have an awesome time.

We had a blast over the last two days and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Thanks Jayden for being an awesome hunting partner. I can’t wait until next time.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

New Country

It’s amazing how fast September comes and goes every year. There is no doubt it is the best time to be in the woods, but each year the priorities are stacked against me. Family, school starting, always work and all the little chores that have been neglected over the summer.When does a guy have time to hunt?

2010 would be different though; new job, tons of vacation time and a whole week off just before the peak of the rut. Things were looking good!

I was able to take Labor Day off and take Cooper up to the top of Little Hellgate. We had been in there earlier that summer and seen elk. This trip there were no elk, but the campfire was great! Cooper is quite the hiker, I can barely keep up. This year he received his own grunt tube and cow call. Next year, I’ll have some competition.

The very next Saturday on September 11, 2010 was a busy weekend. Cooper had football that morning and Heather had planned a garage sale with our friends the Christensons. Friday night was spent loading the truck several times in the dark and packing all the crud from our garage to their garage. My job was done, now I can hunt.

The next morning I woke up early and drove to Nunya Creek (2). I had never been there before and I considered this a scouting trip; "I’ll be home this afternoon", I told Heather. The hiking was surprisingly easy and the country looked great, open timbered rolling ridges with northern slopes for all the elk to bed.

I had hiked for about an hour after sunlight when I heard the first bugle. I hurriedly hiked towards him for the next ten minutes before spotting a spike bull. He had spotted me as well, but amazingly after a twenty minute stare down, he gave up and went back to feeding. I was able to creep forward another 200 yards before spotting a cow. I then realized that I had crept up next to the herd, mostly undetected.

One toot on the cow call and I was able to locate the bull, just over the lip of the rolling slope. The rest of the herd started to move closer to me. The little spike bull was back and three cows. There was a slight breeze blowing towards me and one of the cows continued to feed within four yards of me before skidding to a stop and staring me down. She bolted out twenty or thirty yards, but then continued feeding. Amazing!

Her bolting changed the direction of the herd. They were too close for me to move, so I held tight in hopes of getting a shot at the bull. All I saw were the tips of his antlers through the trees. Then without any fanfare they melted into the trees, gone.

I slowly got up and moved another 100 yards mostly in the opposite direction in which they were last traveling. I sat down and began dejectedly writing Heather a text to let her know I was a knuckle head and would be home early. (I know, texting my wife on the top of a mountain while hunting? What is the world coming to?) Nearly half way through the text I looked up and again saw the spike bull 20 yards in front of me. He was watching me punch numbers into the phone! We again had another 20 minute stare down before he lost interest. His head went behind a tree and I knocked another arrow. This time the herd bull was coming. He walked straight at the spike with his head lowered and herded the spike away from his girls. He turned and offered me a shot at what I thought was about 45 yards. I released and watched the arrow travel a straight line towards his boiler, but the arrow never dropped. He was on quite a slope and I should have shot for 35 yards instead and the arrow sailed about an inch above his back.

Aggghhhh! That miss was painful. The herd eventually sounded like buffalo running down the drainage and I did start heading back to the truck.

I had made it about 15 minutes from the painful miss when I hit a saddle where three ridges converged. Out of desperation I gave a bugle. Another bull answered and I saw him within seconds. He ran across the open saddle directly at me. I had time to knock an arrow and grab a tree. He stopped short at about 100 yards and circled to my left and downwind. It was just too open, he knew he should have seen me and when he got my scent he was gone.

Two bulls within 20 minutes of each other what an awesome morning! I continued down the ridge and back to the truck. At this point it was nearly noon and I knew the morning hunt was over. The rain gutters needed fixing all summer. This afternoon would be a good time to get that done.

One more bugle for the road….

I launched a parting bugle down into the dark drainage, wishing that I could stay for the evening hunt. I got out my sandwich and started to eat as I walked. A moment later there was a whistling answer from below in the drainage.

The truck was at the bottom of this drainage where it connected to the forest road. It would be harder hiking than the ridge, but I might as well try for the bull. He was, after all, on the way to the truck.

I dumped off the south facing talice slope down into the bottom. The bull was still farther down the drainage, so I entered the timber of the North slope to come down on him from above. I bugled one more time to locate him and then went in silently, just cow calling now and then. When I reached the small finger ridge in the dark timber of the North slope, I stopped about 30 yards from the crest.

He was close, probably within 100 yards. I cow called, no answer. I bugled and he busted loose just over the small ridge. My arrow was knocked as his antlers appeared over the hill and I drew my bow. He crested the top and stopped his vitals behind a small tree. I held my draw as he bugled and then looked down. I dropped my arm and readjusted my feet so the tree was not in the way.

His head was still down as I drew for the second time. As he lifted his head my pin settled just behind his shoulder. Before I knew it the arrow was gone and so was he, running wildly down the hill.

What had just happened? It was all so fast I didn’t see the arrow hit. I sat down and tried not to let the shakes get the best of me. I looked at my watch, 1:30 PM. After a little wait I went to find the arrow. I didn’t find the arrow, but I eventually found a blood trail that led to a stinky bull elk on the other end.

It was all over, but the packing and storytelling after that. Thanks again to Ryan and Kenny for helping and to their good wives who let them out of the house to help their no good cousin pack out a stinky elk. Without your help it would have made for a long weekend.

Cooper now thinks that he is my good/bad luck charm. I have only hunted elk four days in the last two years. He has been with me twice, neither time did we see elk. The other two times I lucked out and stuck one. Next year he can pack a bow and it will be his turn.

Thanks again to Ryan for this site. It’s fun to check out. Sorry my story was so long. Happy hunting!


Saturday, September 25, 2010

September Bugles

Today I was able to get out and go hunting elk with Dad.  We left early in the morning and went up Little Blackfoot past Kading Campground.  We left the truck and hiked for about an hour up a really steep draw before we got to the good hunting ground.  Once there it didn't take long and we started hearing some bugling.  We worked our way closer to the noise and started making some of our own.  The bottom was 50-75 yards wide and then steep up both sides.  I moved out in front of Dad about 100 yards and he started calling.  We stayed in that set up bugling with the elk for about 15 minutes and despite lots of answers to the cow calls and bugles, nothing seemed to move closer to us.  We both thought it sounded like there were three bulls ahead of us up the draw.  The one that sounded furthest away sounded the most heated up.  We moved forward another 100 yards and tried again.  Again, they kept bugling, but would not move in.  We moved another time and all became silent.  Then, of course, we decided to see what the top of the mountian looked like.  We hiked in a big circle around the area and came back to where we started.  We saw lots of sign, but no more elk.  We found a really well used, stomped out wallow, but it was in a really tough spot to get to, so I doubt a tree stand will be going up any time soon.
We stopped for lunch about 1:00 and Dad remembered that he had dropped his whitetail grunt call (the little can) sometime earlier in the day.  I am pretty sure that we witnessed a miracle, because it could have been anywhere on that timbered, brushy, steep hillside and we were able to find it in the trail without back tracking too far.
Even though we didn't see any elk, it was really a fun morning.  Dad and I were both pretty confident that we could get one of those bulls to come down and check us out.  I guess we don't sound as attractive as we look (ha ha).
I had Dad drop me at home in the afternoon so that Celeste could watch Women's Conference.  Dad went on to Boulder to hunt whitetails.  I talked to him tonight.  He said he had elk bugling all around him for most of the afternoon and evening but nothing would come in to his stand.  He did have 3 little whitetail bucks walk by, but he opted to pass on all three. 
It was a fun day.  Hopefully we'll be able to get out again soon.  Thanks for the fun, Dad.

Monday, October 19, 2009



Lake, River, Stream, Brook
Obtaining counts not
Only preparing and doing

Excites, calms, refreshes
Nerves, thoughts, worries
Go deep, some temporarily forgotten

Lulled, pacified, erased
Concentration of thought
One object in mind

How big will the next one be?

David Lay

We spent the month of June this year vacationing in Alaska. One particular fishing trip was really a lot of fun as we went deep sea fishing out of Seward, Alaska with some good friends of ours that we have known since we lived in Anchorage 40 years ago. We went out in the ocean approximately 30 miles on a calm beautiful day. We found a good spot about 70 or 80 feet deep and started getting a few halibut but when we moved to deeper water (over 200 feet) we really got into them. Sometimes we all had fish on at the same time. None were giants but most ran close to 25 or 30 lbs. each. We took our grandson Randy with us and as you can tell by the picture we all really enjoyed the experience.

According to the way this old man thinks, fishing is fun just like hunting but not as much work.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Dry Creek '09

It has been a long six months of travel this work season, and not being sure of my schedule, I was ill prepared for the archery season. But, as with all things in life, you must have priorities. Consequently, on September 26, 2009 I found myself on an unfamiliar mountainside with bow in hand and enjoying my first full day of bow season.

Much of the day was spent hiking and learning the territory. I had been in the vicinity before, but five miles away. I had spent most of the day hiking and trying to spot a large muley buck. My permit is for area 390 and it holds some good deer, but my spot and stalk day was cut short, mostly because I had no binoculars, nor my spotting scope. I have since unpacked that box and plan to resume my muley quest, but I digress.

The lack of long range vision caused me to walk farther and bugle more. By the end of the day, I had only seen three black angus cows, they looked tasty and tempting, but I passed. Jayden had a volleyball game later that night, so around 5:30 pm, I started hiking back down the mountain.

I was nearing half way to the vehicle by about 6:15 pm when I heard his first bugle coming from the ridge I was on 45 minutes earlier. I sat and pondered on how much I wanted to shoot a bull; stupidity got the best of me and I started back up to the top.

We quickly met each other about two hundred yards below the top of the ridge and proceeded to cow talk and intermittently bugle at each other. At one point he went quiet and I thought that he had boogied, but he apparently was content just knowing I was there. It was nearing 7:15 and getting close to the end of shooting light. I got as close as I could and tried to figure out the direction that he was headed. This was quickly sumized and I got myself in position for a shot.

He crossed in front of me and I cow called to stop him, this was good because he stopped, but it allowed him to peg my position. I was already at full draw, and when I released he jumped the string and the arrow hit him in a less than perfect spot.

Although he knew my location, he was still confused, and only walked about 50 yards further while I cow called to him until it was dark. Just before the last light I watched him wobble as he bedded down. Knowing that my shot was not the greatest, I decided to give him some time and as I crept out of the area, continuing to cow call in hopes of keeping him calm and in the same location.

As soon as possible the next morning, I headed up the hill. Nearing the area, I again cow called, not really knowing the bull’s location or condition. Just as I was about to crest the rise where the bull would be located, a small black bear popped over the hill about 50 yards away. He was upwind of me and could not figure out what I was. Three rocks, and many shouts later, he finally decided that it was not worth it to hang around any longer and he slowly sauntered off.

Topping the ridge, I found the bull in the same bed that I had left him, but not yet stiff, and none of the meat gone bad. He died just as the pictures show him, and no posing was necessary. My father in law, Dean Powers, Ken Lay, and Boyd Burnett helped me get him off the mountain. My thanks to them and to Ryan Lay, who started the phone tree of people to help.