Did you get one? Bring home some meat? Nope, we did not bring home an elk this year. We did, however, have one of the most successful hunts we’ve ever had. Interesting how people define success differently. This year we had very difficult conditions. We had to go a week earlier than planned resulting in hot weather, very quiet elk and little rutting activity. So how’d it go. We called in 4 different bulls within 15 to 20 yards from Matt. A very nice bull was within 30 yards of me for over 5 minutes and I had a stare down with a cow at about 20 inches, eyeball to eyeball. How can you get that close to so many bulls and not bring one home? Well, we never shot an arrow. The video on this post was made to give you some kind of idea how that can happen. Elk like trees and have the uncanny ability to park their vitals behind one.
For me just spending a week in the mountains is regenerating. It’s hereditary. Both of my granddads and my father spent every day they could find in the mountains of Colorado and New Mexico. Mountains are spiritual to me. God resides in those of us that know him and is everywhere. So obviously we’re not closer to him at 10,000 feet. But, it sure feels like it when I’m there.
As far as hunt success goes I really judge it by how did we hunt, did we create opportunities for a shot. If we get really close to a bull in a week we’ve had a good hunt. Getting close to five, that’s a great hunt! Could we have done something differently to actually loose an arrow. Absolutely. But that’s what is so awesome about elk hunting, you are always learning. This year we did a great job of posting the shooter near the door. That’s why we got close to so many bulls. What we could have done differently was setting the shooter up with better lanes and a broader shooting range. What’s that mean? It’s worthy of a specific blog. For now lets just say, next year we’ll have a little more wisdom.
Success is always quantifiable. But each of us needs to decide for ourselves what criteria is used in the equation. It’s the same with business, life, marriages and hunting. We need to define what are we doing it for, the why. With hunting in my case, it’s not to kill an animal. If that was my goal I would use a gun. Actually, if that was my goal I would use a compound and not a traditional bow. I hunt for the challenge. To do my best in a given set of conditions. To feel the primal instincts and discipline that was required to harvest an animal with a bow as it was done at the dawn of time.
So, if you ask me I would define our hunt as incredible. Looking into the eyes of that cow elk inches away was as cool as almost getting a 30-yard shot at a nice bull. But, if you asked my wife her definition wouldn’t be as positive. She just wanted to know, “Where’s the meat!”