A look back on hunting's greatest memories
Hunting has always been more than the blood on the knife and the meat in the freezer for me. Pulling the trigger is just the end to a memorable experience, one that was instilled in me at a much younger age. As a father, a mentor and friend, I can now pass along the lessons that were taught to me. Hunting is a year-round gig for me, starting in early June with traditional camping and scouting trips. There is nothing like involving the family on these trips.
These hunting trips with family can last for days in the luxury of a big camper, or no longer than an overnight stay in the Jumping Jack Trailer.
Regardless of the stay, the outcome is always the same, my family relaxes while I’m out hitting the hills morning and night trying to capture an elusive monster buck on camera.
The sights, sounds and smells this time of year are something you just can’t keep to yourself. You need to share and pass them on to the ones you love.
As the seasons change, so do the camps. I normally go from camp with family, to camp with friends holding the golden ticket to some of the best hunting the west has to offer. We had nice base camps with all the luxuries of home, but we also spiked out for days at a time to get the animal we were in pursuit of.
On this trip, two buddies harvested two bucks over 200”. Sleeping conditions were not the best, but the hunting was out of this world. It goes to show that you get what you put into the hunt.
My hunting buddy, and good friend James, with one of his bucks taken out of a spike camp. Even An 8-mile hike out did not wipe the smiles off of our faces. Seeing a buddy tear up after achieving a life-long goal is all of the pay I need. This never gets old!
Sometime the spike camps are a different variety. We were just trying to get out of the sun for a couple hours at this spike camp on a sheep hunt. The 3-hour ride back to the campers was not an option. Instead, we spent some time under a tarp that was strapped to the quads to escape the heat. Hunting is truly an adventure.
All of the effort of a hunt is worth the trouble when it comes to memories like these. Hunting and filming with a husband and wife team is something I can never get enough of, great laughs are what is in store on these trips and this is another great example of creating memories.
Hunting truly creates lasting memories. Christina always finds a way to draw the tags, which means her husband, Dan, is in charge of cleaning, packing and mounting the animals she harvests and he is always a good sport about it.
At the end of a hunt, a successful tag punch is in order. To be successful and take a monster buck from time to time, you need to spend time in the field, at the gym, behind an outspread map, and behind glass. All of these things are part of the adventure.
Time spent preparing for the hunt when not in the field can save entire days when you show up to hunt or scout. Scouting on the computer is the perfect way to extend the joys of hunting into the offseason.
Time spent in the field after digital scouting is extremely important. Here I am glassing for a non-typical buck I heard so much about. Times like these you will be happy you did your homework ahead of time.
After putting in the work behind the maps and computer it is time to head into the field again. When you cannot get a deer tag, you might as well fill the freezer with some lean elk meat. Glassing also allows you to learn a lot about animals and what they do on a daily basis.
Whether it is elk or deer, the feeling at the end of the journey is always the same. Hunting is full of ups and downs. Wrapping my hands on this bull was a great feeling after a hard hunt.
Having your friends drop everything to come and help you pack out is humbling. This comradery builds lasting memories and friendships.
Hunting with friends adds a great enjoyment. My friend James isn’t much of an elk caller, but he does have a strong back when it comes to packing a big elk out of the hills. Hunting the best elk country on the mountain led to our success. Cover, water and elk were abundant here.
We watched a 310-plus bull make this rub two days before finally taking him. Memories like this help fuel my passion in the offseason.
This bull helped put the final touches on an great 2010 season that included three bucks over 200” including mine, which grossed over 220”. Seasons like that are tough to beat, but it keeps me looking over that next ridge each year in hopes of repeating that success.
This was my 2012 bull. I must be doing something right if my elk and deer seem to be getting bigger every year. While I don’t know how much longer it can last, I do know that if the animals keep getting bigger or if they get smaller, I will still enjoy my time in the great outdoors.
There is always more than the hunt, itself. I just enjoy just getting out, whether it is by myself or with friends and family. Here I am with my little brother Mike. Fortunately, I have had the opportunity to open his eyes to the great outdoors and now he cannot get enough of it either.
One of the questions I am asked the most about hunting, while being a trophy hunter, is whether or not I eat the meat. The answer to that is an easy yes.
Not only do I eat it, but all my friends come by and eat it with us. Life is good! Celebrating another good year with family and friends.
Whether it is the calling of the outdoors that forces me to get out of bed at 4 a.m. or just my hunter instinct, I know that there is something about seeing the sun rise and set on a perfect day away from the hustle and bustle of the city that keeps me driving up and down that old dirt road. This is why I hunt.