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Wild as the WInd

 
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Adventurewriter
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Jul-02-10, 
07:09 AM (MST)
"Wild as the WInd"

LAST EDITED ON Jul-02-10 AT 10:00 AM (MST) by Founder (admin)

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The high plains of Wyoming’s wild and wind swept call was calling again. I drew first blood on big game long ago in 1972 as a twelve year old. Seems like 50 lifetimes ago and many ways it was. Last year I found myself back. It was much like it had been 35 years ago a few towering windmills trying to tame the untamable Wyoming wind, yet everything else seemed the same. The relentless wind, the sweet sharp smell of autumn sage and the same vast vistas that had been vast vistas then and for the last countless centuries. But it was antelope I was after, and it was a big buck or bust. There are hunts that strike deep in your hunter’s heart and animals that live there well after the hunt is over.

It was hunt to remember and I was able to tag the biggest buck I had ever laid eyes. A towering tall buck I nicknamed “Black Bart”, a black masked hard rutting gunslinger with long an and wicked sabers taking all comers and quickly turning all contenders into cowards. With Pronghorns if you are looking for a real stud and you glass them and find yourself trying to talk yourself into him being the one…he ain’t. The instant the Spotting scope focused hard I knew he was the one. In used the same .270 I had mowed lawns for as a kid. An upgrade to Ziess Conquest but the same guts and glory action I had counted on for the last 35 years. The 16 ½ inch seven inch base buck had set the bar high for the rest of my life.

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 Subject   Author   Message Date   ID 
 RE: Wild as th...  Adventurewr...      Jul-02-10   1 
  RE: Wild as th...  Adventurewr...      Jul-02-10   2 
   RE: Wild as th...  Adventurewr...      Jul-03-10   3 
   RE: Wild as th...  Adventurewr...      Jul-03-10   4 
   RE: Wild as th...  Adventurewr...      Jul-03-10   5 
    RE: Wild as th...  Adventurewr...      Jul-05-10   6 
    RE: Wild as th...  Adventurewr...      Jul-05-10   7 
    RE: Wild as th...  Adventurewr...      Jul-05-10   8 
    RE: Wild as th...  Adventurewr...      Jul-05-10   9 
    RE: Wild as th...  Adventurewr...      Jul-05-10   10 
     RE: Wild as th...  Adventurewr...      Jul-06-10   11 
      RE: Wild as th...  Adventurewr...      Jul-12-10   12 
       RE: Wild as th...  Adventurewr...      Jul-14-10   13 
        RE: Wild as th...  Adventurewr...      Jul-14-10   14 
         RE: Wild as th...  Adventurewr...      Jul-19-10   15 
          RE: Wild as th...  Adventurewr...      Jul-19-10   16 
           RE: Wild as th...  Adventurewr...      Jul-24-10   17 
            RE: Wild as th...  Adventurewr...      Jul-29-10   18 
             RE: Wild as th...  Adventurewr...      Aug-04-10   19 
              RE: Wild as th...  Adventurewr...      Aug-12-10   20 
               RE: Wild as th...  Adventurewr...      Aug-22-10   21 
                RE: Wild as th...  Adventurewr...      Aug-23-10   22 
                 RE: Wild as th...  Adventurewr...      Aug-24-10   23 
                  RE: Wild as th...  Adventurewr...      Sep-05-10   24 
                   RE: Wild as th...  Adventurewr...      Sep-05-10   25 
                    RE: Wild as th...  Adventurewr...      Sep-13-10   26 
                     RE: Wild as th...  Adventurewr...      Sep-19-10   27 
                      RE: Wild as th...  Adventurewr...      Sep-21-10   28 
                       RE: Wild as th...  Adventurewr...      Sep-23-10   29 
                        RE: Wild as th...  Adventurewr...      Sep-24-10   30 
                         RE: Wild as th...  Adventurewr...      Sep-27-10   31 
                          RE: Wild as th...  Adventurewr...      Sep-30-10   32 
                           RE: Wild as th...  Adventurewr...      Oct-04-10   33 
                            RE: Wild as th...  Adventurewr...      Oct-06-10   34 
                             RE: Wild as th...  Adventurewr...      Oct-08-10   35 
                              RE: Wild as th...  Adventurewr...      Oct-10-10   36 
                               RE: Wild as th...  Adventurewr...      Oct-12-10   37 
                                He smelled of ...  Adventurewr...      Oct-13-10   38 
                                 RE: He smelled...  Adventurewr...      Oct-18-10   39 
                                  RE: He smelled...  Adventurewr...      Oct-21-10   40 
                                   RE: He smelled...  Adventurewr...      Oct-23-10   41 
                                    Lllama/ backpa...  Adventurewr...      Oct-26-10   42 
                                     After Elk  Adventurewr...      Oct-31-10   43 
                                      Rocky Mountian...  Adventurewr...      Nov-07-10   44 
                                       RE: Rocky Moun...  Adventurewr...      Nov-13-10   45 
                                        Big Six  Adventurewr...      Nov-17-10   46 
                                         RE: Big Six  Adventurewr...      Nov-20-10   47 
                                          RE: Big Six  Adventurewr...      Nov-23-10   48 
                                           RE: Big Six  Adventurewr...      Nov-27-10   49 
                                            Houdini Herd  Adventurewr...      Nov-29-10   50 
                                             RE: Houdini He...  Adventurewr...      Dec-02-10   51 
                                              RE: Houdini He...  Adventurewr...      Dec-05-10   52 
                                               Hanging Basin ...  Adventurewr...      Dec-07-10   53 
                                                Back to Bull B...  Adventurewr...      Dec-09-10   54 
                                                 Back to Bull B...  Adventurewr...      Dec-11-10   55 
                                                  RE: Back to Bu...  Adventurewr...      Dec-14-10   56 
                                                   RE: Back to Bu...  Adventurewr...      Dec-15-10   57 
                                                    RE: Back to Bu...  Adventurewr...      Dec-18-10   58 
                                                     RE: Back to Bu...  Adventurewr...      Dec-23-10   59 

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Adventurewriter
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Jul-02-10, 
05:50 PM (MST)
1. "RE: Wild as the WInd"

For everybody it all starts someplace for me Wyoming was where it all started for me

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Adventurewriter
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Jul-02-10, 
05:38 AM (MST)
2. "RE: Wild as the WInd"

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Adventurewriter
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Jul-03-10, 
02:20 PM (MST)
3. "RE: Wild as the WInd"

But like with many things we cherish in life it I felt like earned it. I had spotted “Black Bart” in a hidden valley and watched and patterned him for four days. I had never hunted that area before on opening day and I heard it could be a zoo. I planned to be in position well before first light. If and when I spotted him, I could make a quick move before other hunters started coming through spoiling our one on one meeting. I bitterly remembered being onto the Muley buck of a lifetime and having a pickup truck full of guys lobbing 800 yard shots at him ending that dream. I knew my best and likely only chance would be in the critical first few minutes of daybreak.
I actually missed a long windy shot at daybreak and following him for miles on foot puttng him down seven hours later. Down to my last sips of water, aching back, a variety of cactus wounds. But he was mine. As hunters there is that magic moment that we put our hands on out quarry. That connection between our world and thiers, he smelled of musk and the wild wind. He was mine. The buck I had been dreaming of my whole life was mine.

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Adventurewriter
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Jul-03-10, 
02:20 PM (MST)
4. "RE: Wild as the WInd"

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Adventurewriter
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Jul-03-10, 
02:20 PM (MST)
5. "RE: Wild as the WInd"


I work overseas in well “challenging” countries... With my schedule I am either here for months at a time or gone for months at a time. Last year I got back in time for Rifle season this year I will be leaving to go back right after Ramadan….second week or September or so and too soon for gun hunting. I would have to get it done with my bow. I would have all summer to get it right and find a small handful of bucks I would chase. Could I get one of Bart’s Brothers????? With my bow????

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Adventurewriter
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Jul-05-10, 
09:09 AM (MST)
6. "RE: Wild as the WInd"

“Go west young man” was the advice given to the young adventurer of yesteryear looking to get lost in the untamed wilds of a raw America. Men like Jim Bridger, Hatchet Jack, Crazy Horse the notorious Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and countless other free spirited wanderlusts found their way in the western wilds of Wyoming. From the heights of the Teton’s stunning peaks of stone and ice to the bubbling cauldrons of Yellowstone on down to the Hole in the Wall badland hideaways and the smoky blue sage vastness of the rolling flats, the roots of Wyoming hold hard and it still offers the West at its wildest.

The more I travel to different corners of the world the more I realize what an amazing gift from God the American West is. The abounding game, raw wilderness and the freedom to relish it and hunt the animals that call it home.

It was true I was going back. The tag was in the mail. Avoiding the “popular” trophy areas where the I was pretty sure I would draw and I did. Time to get the rubber to the road. Let the games begin. The first scouting trip would set the stage.

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Adventurewriter
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Jul-05-10, 
09:09 AM (MST)
7. "RE: Wild as the WInd"

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Adventurewriter
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Jul-05-10, 
09:09 AM (MST)
8. "RE: Wild as the WInd"

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Adventurewriter
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Jul-05-10, 
09:09 AM (MST)
9. "RE: Wild as the WInd"


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Adventurewriter
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Jul-05-10, 
09:09 AM (MST)
10. "RE: Wild as the WInd"

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Adventurewriter
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Jul-06-10, 
02:17 PM (MST)
11. "RE: Wild as the WInd"

It was good to be back and the plains of Wyoming were as green as anyone could remember. The plains have a beauty in a subtle way. The higher peaks of the west command attention and are more likely to drop jaws with such stunning sights as to sometimes seem unreal. The plains quietly grow on you like the girl you marry. The space of it all, the open vistas and to sit on a mesa at 7500 feet looking at a rolling, living carpet of sage stretch to the horizon and imagine it was once a prehistoric ocean. Sort of like looking at the stars on a dark and clear night far from the light pollution of cities and try and wrap your head around it all.

This time of year a good Antelope buck is almost done growing his horn. Almost being the key. The difference between a nice buck and a true trophy buck can be a few inches and judging pronghorns are tough. When I arrived I was seeing plenty of Antelope. It can not be understated how territorial Antelope are and a buck you find now will be very close to the same place for month to come. The first place I looked was where Black Bart from last year lived and sure enough a nice hard hooking buck had moved in. Looking at several hundred of lesser bucks I saw about five that I put on the contenders list. It had appeared to be a good winter and I saw some great tops and the summer was shaping up to be a good growth year. I was finding the best bucks in hidden pockets. These bucks use the same home ranges year after year. Think about it. Most Antelope hunters hit the easy flats and take the first buck or decent buck they see. Those buck never get a chance to get the years to grow a real set of gear. Bigger bucks never show their faces until forced out of the hidden pockets by weather and many time long after the hunters are long gone. Those are the bucks I am looking for.

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Adventurewriter
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Jul-12-10, 
08:10 AM (MST)
12. "RE: Wild as the WInd"

LAST EDITED ON Jul-12-10 AT 06:03 PM (MST)

Heaven on earth. Sangre De Cristo Wilderness. Blood of Christ. With the llamas panniers packed we were off. Each step bringing us deeper and deeper into the wilderness and into natures beating heart. The strain of the climb, the warm sun, short cool rain sprinkles and the clean smooth air felt like a sort of baptism. The air was full of life, the pure smell of rich alpine flora and sweet pines, wild flowers like carelessly tossed about jewels visited by fat bumblebees and butterflys, towering peaks reaching to the heavens all coming together to shame any man crafted art. This was truly a masterpiece and it was all alive. There is little to surpass the shocking beauty of the Rockies and soon I found my mind clearing of gushing oil wells and lying politicians. I was feeling I was back where I belonged. Close to God.

My overseas schedule looks to be giving me time for two bow hunts. Wyoming Antelope and for me the king of all game animals a wilderness Bull elk. This trip we were looking for elk, but as always it ends up being about much more than the game we chase.

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Adventurewriter
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Jul-14-10, 
02:30 AM (MST)
13. "RE: Wild as the WInd"


I have had my share of success in taking game and I have had my disappointments too. Took me a long time to realize those disappointments made the successes that much sweeter. One of my unrealized dreams and number one on the list is a nice Bull elk on my own. Oh, I have taken decent bulls, but nothing with a sap-stained rack that fills the back of a pickupa and beams as thick as a farm boys arm. Really, any DIY elk is a prize but since I was a little kid a big bull was what I wanted more than anything. I had come sickeningly close many times…..but a shift in wind…. an unseen set of eyes….or just the Hunt Gods saying ….nope….not your day had kept that big bull in my dreams. Seeing bulls and getting a fatal arrow in them when the game board is their backyards of up and down and the altitude is 10,500 plus are two different things. It made me want him even more. It was once written "Many men go hunting all thier lives without knowing that it is not the game they are after" I am realizing as I get older the wisdom in that thought.


Sitting, typing about an eight hour hike in is pretty easy. But step by step hiking at high steep altitudes even with the llamas doing the grunt work, eight hours is a long time on the trail. Arriving mid afternoon we set up camp and settled into a well deserved nap. I can honestly say the best nap on earth is in a tent at alpine after a long hike in dozing to the murmur of the cool mountain breeze.

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Adventurewriter
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Jul-14-10, 
06:57 PM (MST)
14. "RE: Wild as the WInd"

Refreshed and up in time for evening glassing we started seeing elk. Elk don’t like people, simple as that and these elk were far from the maddening crowds.

Through an alley in the trees I saw elk about 600 yards away. A big sixth point split made my heart skip a beat. For the most part big bulls hang out in the fringes and shadows never really letting you get a good look at them. Usually a fleeting glimpse, or a part here or there is all you normally get. This boy not only worked his way out through his dark living room to the meadow edge he brought his big buddy with him. Whoa. Wrapping my grubby paws around the rack of either bull would let me die a happy man.


The big split bull was a bruiser. A Brahma bull head with hulking shoulders, a sway back and sagging gut that would make any sumo wrestler proud. The other bull was a handsome stud, big and sleek with Hollywood good looks. His points a bit shorter, yet rack thicker and heavier, with a better third and the tease of a seventh point still to be decided, "Lucky Seven". Both were beautes. But my eye was drawn to “Big Six”. He was a horse. A big horse. It was as Cassius Clay is to Tyson. I could only imagine this fall these summer buddies slugging it out for High Country Champ. I planned to be ringside.

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Adventurewriter
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Jul-19-10, 
12:13 PM (MST)
15. "RE: Wild as the WInd"

LAST EDITED ON Jul-19-10 AT 02:14 PM (MST)

The above two studs, "Big Six" an "Lucky Seven" were not the only bulls we saw but the top contenders for sure. These three bulls were wanders with a sighting here or there. Not as big as the two buddies but nice bulls in my book. We saw another four or five smaller sixes and nice fives.


Keep in mind these are over the counter bulls. I think there is not a wiser, more noble animal in North America than a big bull Elk that has grown up in an over the counter area that gives out come one come all licenses. Colorado is the most heavily hunted elk country on earth and any mature bull that has made it past a gauntlet of bows, muzzleloaders and three or four rifle seasons, optics, scents, game cameras, expert calling, scoped rifles, hard weather, or just plain bad luck. year after year is a smart bull. No points, no longshot draws, anybody that can pony up a licensee fee is in the game. Any legal bull in an OTC area is a good bull for about everyone. But these bulls that make it past the teenager years get smart quick and stay smart to stay alive.


Give them some of the roughest country in the lower 48 as the game board and the game gets really interesting.


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Adventurewriter
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Jul-19-10, 
06:50 AM (MST)
16. "RE: Wild as the WInd"

WHAT!!!!!!Your going SCOUTING AGAIN!!!!!!!!


Ha just kidding of course one of my biggest supporters in every aspect of my life is my “Bowgirl” Jenn. She was with me the first day I saw Black Bart last year and loves a new adventure and experiencing something new.


Yes I am going back to Wyoming this week. Gonna try and stop at the Country seat and see if I can find who owns the land where my favorite buck lives, follow up on a “maybe” permission and see how the summer growth is going.

Long story short. My GPS died and I lost allot of coordinates but remember where my “Fave Five” hang their hats and want to check in on them and maybe find a few new contenders.


Not bringing it this time but this is a contraption I came up with. Fun to make and just might work. The Decoy mounts on a swivel and you can flip it from side to side. I want to see if I can use it to stalk in broken country… I am going to add alligator clips so I can cut and hang some of the natural foliage. A work in process as they say…….

Well off to the plains…

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Adventurewriter
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Jul-24-10, 
09:14 PM (MST)
17. "RE: Wild as the WInd"

LAST EDITED ON Jul-24-10 AT 09:59 PM (MST)


Felt like I was going home and getting to know the country better and better knew my favorite bucks by name. My “maybe” permission turned into a yes which gives me full reign of 13,000 acres of prime private land. I would be the only bowhunter.

First I went back to check on one of my favorite bucks, “Captain Hook” named for his hard hook and cutlass prong. This old pirate was missing a 1/3 of his right ear sort of a peg ear. Cap’n Hook was sort of skinny in the rear and sort of walked like an old man. He could still run like hell and did when the lighting storm came across the horizon. I really liked this old swashbuckler. The only thing he was missing was an eye patch and a parrot on his shoulder.


He had moved into the stomping grounds of my last years buck. Sure enough there he was. I had never seen him outside of a half a mile square.

He is the most massive buck I have seen. At times from certain angles he looks short but I think it is a visual trick; His mass carries all the way and just has a thick, heavy look. Using his ear as a measure, (the good ear) I think he is about 14 ½ to 15 length. Not the longest buck I have seen, but with his mass could put up some good numbers. And scores aside I like this guy and would love to bring him home.

This wicked storm came marching quickly across the plains brandsihing lighting bolt swords and the thunderclaps of legions. An army of black angry clouds were on the hunt. I was caught caught unaware and a mile from the truck. The wind was picking up and the I found myself looking for the telltale funnels clouds that mark a storm changing from a barroom brawler to a serial killer. I just beat the main assault and back to the safety of my truck. I always have loved a good storm.

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Adventurewriter
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Jul-29-10, 
10:50 PM (MST)
18. "RE: Wild as the WInd"

LAST EDITED ON Jul-29-10 AT 11:49 PM (MST)


Well Capt. Hook was my favorite but not the only buck I saw. Actually I have seen hundreds of bucks and you get to where within two seconds of glass you can see if it is worth looking harder at. I would say less than five percent of Bucks are in the trophy class and just a few that are really in a class of their own. I do have a good spotting scope, glasses and camera but don’t have the scope to camera connector so some of the pictures are not too hot….but for the most part you can see the buck.

I call this guy "Buckethead" not a bad horn but a head and face that has the appeal of an oat bucket.

I am still trying to figure out how to take some sort of decent pictures holding a camera up to the spotting scope. Some of the results are not bad and some are plain terrible. Here are a few random bucks I was able get some sort of shots of.

Well I did check out the private property I have access to an and it is where I went exploring after I checked on the Capt. A battalion of windmills laid watch over my hunting grounds. And for windmills business was good. The wind was relentless and almost biblical at times and averages of 50 mph with gusts up to maybe 80. Day after day. Not a big plus when sporting your bow and trying to stay steady and send a projectile with a trio of wind vanes to a precise spot.


This is one of the terrible pictures but this buck was really something so I added it. I call him “Heartbreaker” His horns make a big heart shape witha wicked curl back, yet his starring point is freaky long prongs, with average mass and lots of sex appeal he was on the wanted list for sure. These pictures are at dark and but I got a good look at him.

For those of you who have done much glassing at midday know that seeing a decent image with the mirage heat waves almost impossible. Add in a shaking spotting scope in the wind, and well you do your best.

Heartbreaker is on the short list



A couple of smaller bucks ina sea of grass


There is scattered water and a few bigger pond/lakes that the Antelope come in random places making it hard to pick a waterhole spot. Heartbreaker and several other nice bucks liked a place that has a tiny spring running through a flat with some green. I saw them there several times and decided to dig a blind in the central spot that afford a little movement and stalking in a few directions. Who knows the spring could be dead dry in a few weeks….but dug anyways. I kept thinking of the old song “Sixteen Tons” and digging Boss Keens dirt in “Cool Hand Luke”


Through the middle of the private ground is a really cool canyon of rocks and gullies. I found this guy I call the “Jester”, he looks like he has one of those Jester hats on. Never was drawn to non-typical. Antelope, but this guy is sort of cool. He just needs a couple of bells hanging from his tips.

I will be making one more Wyoming scouting trips before showtime. The season starts in just a couple of weeks....lots to do....

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Adventurewriter
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Aug-04-10, 
08:50 AM (MST)
19. "RE: Wild as the WInd"

Well minor setback but all is good. Last time I was in Wyoming I was living out of my truck. At one point I was washing out my socks and hung them on a barb wired fence to dry and took a nap while they dried in the wind. Well on the eight foot barefoot walk back to the fence I stepped on a thorn. No biggie…pulled it out…when I got back home still sort of hurt….basement surgery….got what looked to be the point of the thorn. Well my heel kept hurting and got infected and I am day two into the anti biotics. More men in the history of warfare were slain my a microscopic germ than all the bullets and swords put all together. But already about healed. I’ll spare you a picture of my foot. Gives you a real appreciation of all the things that could kill a mountain man. Wild animals, Indians, Outlaws, falls, weather (biggie), starvation, insanity, disease, and a thorn in the thumb or such.

When at home I glanced up at last years buck and he seemed to say “find anybody as handsome as me????? I didn’t think so”

Found some good bucks…..but might go along time before seeing another buck like this. Might head back to Wyoming day after tomorrow. Last scouting trip for Antelope....

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Adventurewriter
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Aug-12-10, 
01:54 PM (MST)
20. "RE: Wild as the WInd"

LAST EDITED ON Aug-12-10 AT 02:37 PM (MST)

Just about to head off the radar and up to Wyoming and got to finish packing. I have about eight days until I come back to gear up for my elk hunt. Well the last trip to Wyoming turned into another trip to the high country. Really saw some beautiful country but not the amount of quality bulls we saw at the other spot.... it is a good back up and with a little pressure or movement could be stinking with elk in a couple of weeks...


This is gonna be brief packing always takes about double the time you ever fiqure....want to get on the road today which will give me a full two days to put my final tacks in my plan.

Capt Hook is number one on the list....just a cool knarly old buck....but have several others on the radar for sure...Heartbreaker...number two...Buckethead....well ugly as the day is long but a nice horn....and you never know the suprise buck that might show up....and you never know what might start looking really good on day seven of no shots. Chasing big horns is fun....makes it much more challanging and interesting, but really only part of the overall adventure....so here are a few pictures of the last scouting trip....

Gotta pack and hit the road.....

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Adventurewriter
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Aug-22-10, 
05:06 PM (MST)
21. "RE: Wild as the WInd"


I’m back….crawling through cactus….dodging rattlesnakes…..and getting bit by red ants....and having the time of my life. Those people that go on cruises and all inclusive beach resorts don’t know what real fun is.


In my unit I had some private land to hunt and had scouted allot on BLM. Arriving as few days before season I noticed more hunting rigs rolling through than I imagined there would be. I like to hunt without constantly be worrying about how other hunters in the area that might spoil my plans or make me make a move on an animal when the smart thing is to wait.

So I got to thinking I would focus my energy on the ranch I had access to where there would only be two other hunters. It was a prime piece of land and the landowner from our conversations a great steward of the land and the game that roamed it. There would be one section that would be off limits as the landowner wanted area with little to none hunting pressure and a good soild gene pool. That would still leave me with more than 10,000 acres to play in and where “Heartbreaker’ lived.

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Aug-23-10, 
10:48 AM (MST)
22. "RE: Wild as the WInd"

Checking in with the rancher I was able to meet his young two sons. Bright and engaging they had just finished making Indian tomahawks and bows and arrows from sticks, strings and sharp stones. Really well designed and able to shoot the stone-tipped arrows across the yard at a supringing distance. And those tomahawks looked fearsome for any age.

One of the boys on a glance looked a distant raptor circling on a lazy wind and said “Red tailed hawk” a refreshing change from too many city kids and the gadgets they stare into and are under the spell of and would’nt know a hawk from an airplane.


So day one I decided to hunt a shallow trench I had dug on the edge of a popular feeding area. I had seen lots of Antelope in this flat and thought I had seen some good ones but hard to get a precise look due to the heat waves of most of the glassing. 10 hours of lying on my back and making peeks above the edge had the look at dozens of bucks and chances a several smaller bucks. But maybe shots….I have a new and deeper respect for pronghorn and their freaky eyesight and quick reflexes. Could I have gotten a shot off at the spring loaded….lightning reflexes and eyesight that is legendary and told to see a blinking eyes at two hundred yards…..maybe yes maybe no.



Day two lying behind some sage in a shallow pit was another 12 hour long windy hot day of about 40 bucks than came and went. All medium to smaller….a few bucks bedded about 40 yards away and pretty sure I could have gotten a good shot off.


This was “Heartbreakers” hangout and he never showed….until just before dark far on the horizon. He turned and walked along the horizon back into the darkness.


I had saved a book I had read as a kid for a re-read on this hunt “Man-eaters of the Kumaon” by the famous hunter Jim Corbett. His months of being roped into and sleeping in trees and living on meager rations, fighting illness deep in the jungles of rural India kept me humbled when lying in the dirt for 12 hours and nothing trying to eat me except the red ants.

http://www.monstermuleys.info/photos/user_photos/1687tiger.jp

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Adventurewriter
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Aug-24-10, 
03:31 PM (MST)
23. "RE: Wild as the WInd"

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Sep-05-10, 
06:54 AM (MST)
24. "RE: Wild as the WInd"

Well have been running and gunnin.....as they say and not allot of time to post.

This highly organized gear is my transistion from Antelope to my Elk hunt....you can see not a thing out of place....a numerical system gear.....food...sad attempt at humor. Hey I just have to have it all out and get a look at it.....Some guys love getting ready....packing....I hate it....I just want to go hunting....but you have to have you gear and stuff act together or it will all come apart. (hmmmmm seems like the photo attach link is not working...will have to try later)

Funny how there are things we just can't do without....imagine life without cell phones???? Without a Rangefinder????

Of course not finished with my pronghorn adventure....I guess sort of midstream on that but the elk are calling so off to the hidden valley to try and root out a bull or two.....

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Sep-05-10, 
02:18 PM (MST)
25. "RE: Wild as the WInd"

Okay here is the gear heap..... I used to do all this crazy back country stuff out of a backpack and still do on occasion. But the llamas are golden. Instead of cutting your toothbrush in half sleeping on a pad that might be better used as poster board and food better suited for gerbils. You can actually bring a few comforts and good and filling food.

. As my buddy who owns the llamas says “I have needs!!!” Good food and a few comforts….but with that said having the llamas you tend to throw in more stuff “just in case” so the gear pile can get a life of its own.

And when you kill in one of Satan’s little backcountry hell holes the pack out is not a literal back breaking death climb…..let the llamas do the main grunt work. As a general rule they can go anywhere a man can go where he does not have to use his hands….as in climbing over rocks or having to push away heavy branches and brush. Love the llama thing.

Later I will go into more gear stuff….more on how llamas work….things I have learned….this year and years last.

My go date for overseas is in just a few weeks and I will have lots of down time to go into more detail….right now the hills are callig......got lots to tell has been a very cool year sos far.....


Don't worry I know I left the Antelope hunt midstream....too busy to give all the cool things that happened with a quick post a few pic's......more later

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Sep-13-10, 
03:37 PM (MST)
26. "RE: Wild as the WInd"

Back to Antelope for a bit...trying to juggle both of these hunts....getting my act together for my go date for overseas which is looming. This contract will be for three months and thsee hunts are giving my a good tinme to grow my camo-beard. not for the elk...if you get my drift. Anyways.

Day three time to get on my feet. The best buck I had seem so far this year a Boone and Crockett contender was always to be found on a high flat. And I mean Flat Not great prongs, not bad but not great but long and heavy main horn. This flat was bordered by a row of scrubby pines. Plan was to work the edge of those pines hoping he would wander close. The flat was a mile across and the chance was slim that he would wander with 50 yards or so of the edge but a chance it was. I would have to be realy lucky....and for those of you that have hunted with a bow....you can be tacked down....hve it all together....do everything possible...a little luck is as good as gold.

All the day hunt were started in pitch black and a walk through sage and broken rocks on the look out for badger ankle breaking holes to the chorus of coyotes cries yapping and the wonder of the stars looking to the eastern horizon for the glow of a new day.

Sure enough with a dose of good luck I found him and a herd of about 10 does about 100 yards from the edge of trees. Two hours of waiting while they milled about did not put them any closer. A rare work truck on the main county road sent the herd on the run. The does going one way and the buck heading deep into canyon country. Which is a bit unusual for them to split but this buck was one of a kind….you could sense he was smart.

Hmmmmm this is going to get interesting, I know that canyon and there might be a chance for a stalk. I followed him for six hours looking for a break. I started calling this buck “Banjo”. He was strung tight and would only bedded a few times for 10 minutes and then jump to his feet. Never giving me a chance for a stalk.

At times he would stand on lookout point to up to an hour make hard stares in the surrounding country. Finally he moved back into the big flat and really for the most part any stalk was out of the question.

Driving out of the area I saw him 500 yards up on the flat. I stopped to look and started driving away on the county road. I was doing about 40 mph and he started running parallel to me several hundred yards out….coming closer and closer. I kept driving and he kept moving closer coming as close as 100 yards out to my side in a blur…. He was spectacular and running full out seeming to want to show me his speed….a natural wonder….fluid poetry in motion. I slowed, and the more I slowed the faster and faster he ran… he crossed 200 yards in front of me an off into the horizon in a cloud of dust and flying hooves. Antelope are born to run and you could have set a tea cup on his head as he ran across the broken ground. Let me be clear I was not chasing him in any way. He was showing his stuff I was a spectator. For those of you that have spent time in Antelope country you likely have experienced this in some way. I had stopped to look at him a dozen or so times, he recoginized my truck and I think he wanted to show me who was king of the high flat. Wow what a cool buck.


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Sep-19-10, 
12:21 PM (MST)
27. "RE: Wild as the WInd"

Other than blundering about as a teenager with an old bow this was my first attempt at Pronghorns with a string and pointed stick and was gaining extreme respect for these amazing animals that in my opinion don’t get the respect they deserve.

The night before the chase of Banjo buck through the canyon lands I had set up a pop-up blind in the feeding flat from the first day. Sticking out like a sore thumb is an understatement when I saw this blind in the flat when I looked back on it from the overlooking bluffs. It went against my instincts for stealth….but I had seen some waterhole pop-ups that looked ridiculous but had been effective. I thought maybe a day might let them get used to it and was planning on being it when the sun rose.

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Sep-21-10, 
09:16 AM (MST)
28. "RE: Wild as the WInd"

Another magic sunrise in antelope country….. But after six hours of a few antelope giving me the hard stare from 300 yards it seemed pretty hopeless and I yanked the cord, The ruse I was selling they weren’t buying.

Oh yeah, something sort of funny happened. It was as flat as it gets and there was a loose tangle of barbed wired in a bundle the size of a washing machine. A decent buck wanting to sharpen up his headgear and lacking any suitable bushes chose this tangle to spar with. Well you guessed it after a minute or so his horns were tangled in the wire. I could see him trying to shed his trap and I thought…..if I pop out of this blind in a screaming banzai run with my hunting knife held high he is gonna freak try to run and become hopelessly tangled and I can get him with my knife…..just kidding of course I would never do that but it likely would have worked. He kept working and surprised me when he was able to free himself from his shame and stiffly walked off across the horizon. Glad he was able to get out of his mess. To get him unhooked and free without both of us ending up a bloody mess would have been a tricky one to pull off and I couldn’t have just left him to the coyotes. Seriously he was a bad step or two from getting his legs tangled then really would have freaked and been in a real fix. I am sure five seconds later it was completely forgotten as he strolled off

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Adventurewriter
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Sep-23-10, 
09:21 AM (MST)
29. "RE: Wild as the WInd"



Time for a new plan. I went to a part of the ranch I had only been to once. Sort of a remote corner. I remembered I had jumped a nice buck a few days before who had blazed to the horizon hundreds of yards away and had me thinking even without a spotting scope look. “Nice One” I saw a waterhole I had never seen before. The sage was a little higher indicating more water and I just saw a sliver of flickering water before I was ready to turn around. I better view and there was a little water hole. Hmmm. The waterhole is within striking distance from the Banjo Buck and I thought maybe it is where he came for a drink.

On closer inspection it was a sweet hidden spot with a high bank of tall sage on the short dam side. A scattering of fresh tracks and one set surely attached to a big buck my next plan was forming. It was a perfect set up for a natural blind. After sitting in my “sticking out like a sore thumb” blind and feeling sort of like a dork I was ready to go back to Ninja mode. As like with any project around the house what I thought would be a couple of hours project turned into five….but it was looking good. This was not going to be a condo blind…., no running water cable or hot tubs. Just but just big enough to sit in and shoot from and crouch to shoot.

Finishing with a few hours of daylight left. Having the rest of the day….I went to again check on Captain Hook and see how the old pirate was doing.

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Sep-24-10, 
12:06 PM (MST)
30. "RE: Wild as the WInd"

As I traveled north giving my new blind the rest of the day to settle down I drove past areas the I had laid glass on many times. I wonder if I would find Captain Hook and was guessing I would. As I mentioned before pronghorn bucks are super territorial and 90 percent of the time I could find him within two miles of his home mesa. Problem with the Captain was he watered on private and his flatland home impossible for any stalks.

I did find him far from anything higher that 10 inches in a broad bowl of the heart of his spread. Fun to look at but…coming up with a plan was becoming frustrating. Hated to turn my back on him but really could see no chance with him using a bow. I head back to over night a mile from my new blind and the hope of a new day.

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Adventurewriter
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Sep-27-10, 
10:11 AM (MST)
31. "RE: Wild as the WInd"

LAST EDITED ON Sep-27-10 AT 11:12 AM (MST)

Setting off of the mile hike to my blind the night was cold and clear with a steady breeze. Halfway to my blind……aahhhhhh @##%#*&^% I left my release at the truck…. I would have to hurry back and now my steady hike was going to turn into a fast hustle back to the truck and hopefully be back in the blind by first shooting light…

I made it with minutes to spare. I did another check to see if there was anything that might catch or or pop when I drew my bow. Any shot across the pond was right at 40 yards….35 yards to the hard right. Any shooting would be on one knee and a butt cheek on the sloping dirt bank. A little different from standing flat footed at the range in a t-shirt and shorts. But I practice allot in weird positions and am a firm believer in training like we hunt. It was going to be cramped but had a good feeling about my little sage nest.

The dawn crept across the prairie. I had spent allot of time that week in shallow graves and at least I was able to sort of sit up in this latest ruse.


Just after dawn……SLLLLLUUUURP…I looked hard right and there was a doe slurping up a good drink. She had come in hard right and was in such a place as there could be 20 antelope just out of sight. I slowly turned….and I mean slowly towards her trying to get in position for what might come. She lifted her head…glared right at me and ran away. My balloon of hope was popped. You gotta be kidding me…she saw me??? I had taken great effort on the blind and make extra effort to keep out rays of light that might show my movement. So now I am thinking GREEEEAT….might wait here forever just to have any antelope bolt on my first movement. Well I would give it a solid shot and see what happened next. Nothing for hours…really sort of surprising. Just not many antelope in this corner of the ranch. There…..at about noon I saw the black face and tall horns of a good buck about 500 yards away staring my way.

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Adventurewriter
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Sep-30-10, 
10:58 AM (MST)
32. "RE: Wild as the WInd"

LAST EDITED ON Sep-30-10 AT 11:08 AM (MST)

The glass brought good news….not the Banjo buck but a good one for sure. The heat waves kept me from a really clean look but I had looked at hundreds and hundreds of bucks this year and and many through heat waves and he was packing some gear. Hopefully he was coming my way and not just passing by. Antelope are amazingly patient. The buck stood in one spot for 15 minutes staring at my waterhole before taking a step forward. The buck was coming directly downwind. Antelope use their noses but nothing like deer or elk and really for the most part seem to only really trust their eyes.

It took two more hours for the buck to move 400 yards closer….a step or two and 10 minutes of staring hard at the hole. After my brief run in with the morning doe this tightly wound buck likely would be a hard one to draw on and get a clean solid shot without a string jump.....or any shot at all.

I had been in my cramped blind for about eight hours now and the red ants were having a heyday with me. The ants were tolerable when you could kill them with vengeance and keep them at bay. But trying to make miniscule moves as not to alert the buck when you are having the little devils do their evil deeds. My chicken bones from yesterday of little interest to them. They wanted live meat. Me. These were red ants just a bit smaller than there monster cousins fire ants. They were doing thier best to leave me a fresh skeleton clutching a bow……Never really liked of disliked ants before….I hate them now


I had long ago slowly gotten everything set…arrow nocked facemask pulled down, bow in place. He was at about 80 yards now and had swung around in a good wind and was coming head on to the hole. Those legendary eyes were dissecting every square inch. The same eyes a friend of mine swears can see a blink at 100 yards seeing a doe flinch every time he blinked for five minutes before bolting away. I was even trying to blink slowly….and keep my pounding heart down to a low bang. By now I had a good look at him and he was a good one for sure….tall….15 or so with obviously great prongs and good mass.

He was frozen in place staring…and staring hard.

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Oct-04-10, 
08:46 AM (MST)
33. "RE: Wild as the WInd"

LAST EDITED ON Oct-04-10 AT 10:00 AM (MST)

I felt an ant crawling up my neck he made his evil way behind my face mask and I could feel him (I am not making this up) right below my right eye…I don’t know if he was liking my sweat or didn’t like being trapped or it was fresh meat was on the menu. That little monster just started biting me as he crawled about. There was no way I was gonna flinch after the doe bolting this morning at my slight move. After all I had put into this what are a few ant bites. (can’t wait to football kick the next ant pile I see…ha)

The way the buck had moved in so slowly I thought the last 80 yards might take a long time…I was wrong. He strolled in the last 80 satisfied the waterhole was clear of sharp surprises. I had planned on drawing my bow when his muzzle was 10 inches about the water. I figured that would be the instant he would have to be looking down for sure. I was afraid he might stop head on and not offer a good shot. I don’t know who said waterhole hunting is boring wasn’t feeling what I was feeling. I felt like Sugar Ray Leonard was using my heart as a speed bag.

His horns were high and jet black in the hot sun and the anticipation of the long week and summer of scouting was coming to a pinpoint. After his quick walk to the waters edge he stopped just short of broadside with a slight quarter toward me. In the same motion he bent down I drew my bow….like I had tens of thousands of times….but this time it was real. The 40 yard pin settled on the sweet spot and I touched the trigger….


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Adventurewriter
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Oct-06-10, 
09:43 AM (MST)
34. "RE: Wild as the WInd"

Tttoooonk! After hours of trying not to blink…move and petrified the slightest movement would bring it all to an end in blur of hooves and dirt. The normally soft doink of my bow going off sounded like a cherry bomb in church. The buck reeled and bolted for about 30 yards to a lazy rise and stopped.

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Oct-08-10, 
08:20 AM (MST)
35. "RE: Wild as the WInd"

I did not see my arrows flight but heard a quick “Sheeerlapp” of something hitting something. Noting like and errant clatter at the 3D range….but like an axe into a ripe pumpkin. The buck stood stiff and wide-eyed. I was till not sure where my arrow had gone. And the buck was showing no sign of anything other than being a dragster at the line ready to peel out.

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Oct-10-10, 
05:29 PM (MST)
36. "RE: Wild as the WInd"

It was quickly back to being as still as possible. After a few minutes he took a few steps forward and his head momentarily bobbed low. My hopes soared. By now ten minutes had passed so a double lung or heart shot possibility was fading.

He turned slightly and almost center of the white patch on his side was a small spot of blood. When I shot he was just short of broadside quarter towards me and slightly lower because of the blind sitting higher. I was thinking about four inches too far back…yet I had killed a Bull elk years back in the same spot clipping the liver and he went 50 yards and when I cut him open a wash basin of blood gushed out. I was hoping for the same fatal wound.

He took a few more steps and laid down…..my heart was pounding….I’m gonna get him!!!! He was behind some sage but I could see his head which was bobbing slowly towards the ground and then out of sight. After minute or so my silent glee squeaked out in a jaw clenched….”I got him” that was not louder than talking across a table and now he was 100 yards out and the buck jumped to his feet….utttt----oooohhh he is not dead……

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Oct-12-10, 
09:13 AM (MST)
37. "RE: Wild as the WInd"

I had plenty of daylight and the buck was in sight so a time to wait. He eventually made his way around a banked bluff 150 yards from my blind and out of sight.

I had my daypack ready for a long pursuit if necessary. Remembering similar situations that turned into long waterless treks whe nI had bolted after and animal leaving my stuff behind. I slipped out of my blind after marking a few reference points snuck to the top of the steep cut. It felt good to be on my feet. I stole a peek through some sage. There he was bedded and looking the other direction. The angle compensating range finder said 30 on the nose and almost straight down. I drew behind the sage to mask my movement and then leaned forward…the 30 yards pin high on his shoulder....slow down..make it count..this is where it ends. A deep breath and a trigger squeeze

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Oct-13-10, 
11:28 AM (MST)
38. "He smelled of Musk and the Wild Wind"

I saw this arrow a carbon-comet zip right into the shoulder fold. Perfect. The buck snapped his head around his eyes wide looking uphill. I could almost sense him say “SO YOUR BEHIND THIS!!!! , Still don’t think he had a clue what actually happened other than that drink of water had made him feel ill until that moment. He sprung to his feet with surprising quickness and sprinted harder and faster than any pronghorn I had ever seen on a 100 yard death run right back towards the waterhole in a whirlwind of dust ….a blur of muscle and hooves. Midstride, as if struck by lighting he tumbled down in a 15 yard crash of dirt, sage, horns, hair, flesh and blood coming to rest 30 yards from the waterhole. I got him!!!!! I was whooping happy and for those that have put in endless hours and days trying to get it together when it finally happens can understand that supercharged ecstatic feeling and know that feeling is priceless.

I approached him and he was a stud. A solid Pope and Young buck with lots to spare. He appeared to be perfectly symmetrical and was right at 15 inches with good bases cool little extra prong coming off one oh his tremendous prongs added character. Had me think he was about 79 which later proved to be spot on. He smelled of musk and the Wild Wind.



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Oct-18-10, 
10:54 AM (MST)
39. "RE: He smelled of Musk and the Wild Wind"

LAST EDITED ON Oct-18-10 AT 11:34 AM (MST)

All the hours… all the glassing… all the sleeping in my truck…it had paid off. And the payoff was not my buck, it was the journey there. It always is. I would miss my time on the high plains, the Wild Wind and the smell of fresh sage. Time to head south to Colorado regroup and head to the high Alpine. The elk were calling and the season was off to a great start. But the sun was setting on Wyoming for the year....

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Oct-21-10, 
08:38 AM (MST)
40. "RE: He smelled of Musk and the Wild Wind"

Back for a short regroup. Time to pack and time to shoot.

Time for a few tune up trips to the bow range before heading to the high country. I have been lucky to be just a few minutes away from an amazing bow range I am a member of $125 and unlimited use and rarely is there anyone on the course. Every year the best money I spend for hunting.

It would be hard to imagine the range to be any better without releasing live animals. Just about any challenge is presented.


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Oct-23-10, 
09:47 PM (MST)
41. "RE: He smelled of Musk and the Wild Wind"

Been hunting long time and we all collect allot of gear but this is my bow- arrow set up and my glass.

Mathews DXT set at 70 pounds with a 28 inch draw.

Love this bow. It is light, quiet and small which is great for spot and stalk hunting which is mostly what I do. And will drive arrows with surprising accuracy to long distances if you do your part. I startede using a bow sling this year and it is a great addition.

Spott Hogg Seven Deadly Pin wrap.

These pins stay on fire until well after it is too dark to shoot. I was sold when leaving the bow range one evening and ran into a guy coming out who had one. My sites pins where dim and there was still enough time to shoot. His pins were light years ahead of mine and I knew right them it was going to be a got to get buy. No regrets for sure on this.

QAD Ultra Rest.

It took a bit of time to tune this rest up but since I did I like it. Full enclosure. One thing I would change on this rest is if you take your arrow out you need to “snap” it down and it makes a small sound.

Easton FMJ 340’s tipped with Grim Reapers 125 grain.

I like a heavier set up, not pool cues but they carry some ‘THUNK” when hitting an animal.

The broadheads were a big change for me and my first time with an expandable. Early before heading to Wyoming after trying to tune my broad heads I finally gave up. I work hard on my shooting and when I put on fixed broad heads my fist sized groups out to 60 turning into wash basin sized scatter groups. Put on the expandable and I was right back to stacking them….just like that. Should have made the change years ago.

Years ago I cried when I paid, but my Swarovski 10x42’s EL’s have been a great purchase and are always tagging along. I use them allot.

I had a friend who had a fly fishing store and had a great line when it came to buying outdoor gear. “Buy the best you can and then you only have to cry once” The glasses where a reward to myself for ending up on my own two feet with all my fingers and toes after a year in Iraq.

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Oct-26-10, 
10:09 AM (MST)
42. "Lllama/ backpack prep tips"

Here are a couple of prep tips I use for llama trips/back pack trips. It is important in my book to keep a good nutritional regime going in the mountains. You are working your body hard and that work needs good food for repair and energy. Your body is you most important piece of gear. I grind up my vitamins and mix them, one dose of vitamins to one dose of protein powder. I take the liquid vitamin capsules and wrap them in single use packets.


I make these peanut butter and jelly bagel (thick peanut butter…yum) and wrap them in aluminum foil. They will keep for a week. In the morning, quick mix of the vitamins/ protein powder and a Peanut Butter and Jelly bagel and you have started the day with a good shot of protein, vitamins, carbs and some fat from the peanut butter, sugars from the Jelly, a cup of coffee and you are ready to rock.


It is super quick, easy, and good for you. I don't like messing wth too much stuff in the morning and you’re not going to be burping up breakfast if the day starts with a tough hike or run and gun action.


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Oct-31-10, 
03:47 PM (MST)
43. "After Elk"

Time for the Elk Chase to begin. I was heading right back to where I had left Big Six and Lucky Seven. I was planning on being set up on Thursday before the season began. Which would give me a total of three dusks and dawns to see if I could find one of the big boys and set up a deadly ambush. The last time I had laid an eye on those bulls was a few months past and allot can change in that time. Still feeling good after getting my knife bloody in Wyoming I had high hopes for making this the time I finally put a wall hanger bull down.


It felt good to be back in the high country and the cool air and sun on my face made my made me think this was going to be it…my confidence was soaring.


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Nov-07-10, 
06:36 PM (MST)
44. "Rocky Mountians..the marrow of the World"

The hike was long yet satisfying knowing in two days I would be hunting elk bow in hand and where Big Bulls had tread. I have been blessed with being raised in the Rocky Mountains. I have memorized my favorite passage from my favorite movie, Jeremiah Johnson and find it inspiring to recite on a hard trail.


You might remember Jeremiah and his Buddy Del Gue were saying their farewells.

Del says “I told my Paps and Mam wanted to go the Mountains…be a Mountain man…well they acted like the was gut shot, they says make your life in the towns that is where the people is…the mountinais are for savages and animals…I told my Mother Gue the Rocky Mountains is the marrow of the world and By God I was right. I ain’t never been there but commons sense tells me the Alps is foothills and The Andes is for children to climb…these here is Gods finest sculpt rings….and there ain’t now laws for the braves ones and Asylums for the crazy ones and there aint no churches ceptin this right here and there ain’t no priests cepting the birds. I are am Mountain Man and I’ll be a mountain man till and arrow or a bullet finds me and them lay my bones on the map of this magnificent…

I like to think of the people who had the balls to head west into the wilderness and make their way…lives on the line. The smallest mistake could mean death and they did it anyways. No Gore-Tex…cell phones..nylon tents…..the list is long. I am in awe of them and would like to have a met a few. The memory of them and teh scale of it all and all those who passed through this country before is an easy way to keep you humble.

The Scenery was spectacular…

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Nov-13-10, 
12:56 PM (MST)
45. "RE: Rocky Mountians..the marrow of the World"

Then first night sit down and glass was a cool break from a long day. Good to have camp set up and the llamas set out. It had been about six weeks since I had been in here and seen all those bulls and I started looking where I had last seen them. Nothing happened until just before dark. Several cows started to drift on the far side of the basin tempted by the sweet grass.


Ahhh there horns. A smallish five point pranced into view followed by another bull that could be his twin. The coming rut had those boys feeling feisty and they played and sparred until another pair of slightly bigger bulls stepped into the arena. Surrounded by bored cows the four bulls sparred and pirouetted trading opponents as the mood struck them. I could hear the dull thunks of their antlers in the still mountain. The mountain evening was stunning and the stage show something money can’t buy. Still no sign of any of the bigger bulls. More cows came from the timber and the teenage bulls tired of their schoolyard shoving matches had a few bites themselves. The smaller grazing bulls stopped look back into the timber lifted their heads and moved out of the way.

It was Big Six.

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Nov-17-10, 
06:56 PM (MST)
46. "Big Six"

LAST EDITED ON Nov-17-10 AT 08:30 PM (MST)

Big six came out and everyone knew who the boss was. His rack was finished, a classic nice six, heavy, symmetrical with wicked white tips. A summer of fresh green and long naps had put a few inches on his grassgut and his shoulders blocky, full and ready for the Rut Rumbles that were sure to come.

The full rut was at least a week away, maybe two so he tolerated the teenager bulls hanging out. The smaller bulls kept a keen eye on him drifting along with the rest of the herd up into the alpine basin. Everyone’s mood was mostly on the lush grass. But with the coming rut that mood would change to jealous rage. It was Thursday evening, it would be a long wait until Saturday morning and the time I would stop watching and dive in…bow in hand. It would be a long wait. But I had found him again so all was right on track. It became too dark to glass anymore and I quietly made my way back to my camp in the cooling breeze. It felt good to be alive.


Scouting photos from the summer of Big Six

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Nov-20-10, 
04:48 PM (MST)
47. "RE: Big Six"

The same herd the next morning and Friday evening generally coming and going through the same 200 yard slot in the timber. They seemed to be relaxed and but with the hot weather coming out late and heading into the timber early. For my live hunt don’t really take the time or risk to take better live photo shots. Just too many things can go wrong. But here is the herd scattered across the hillside in the morning I fiqured I was far enough away to snap a few shots.


The Friday evening before season a miracle happened. We are always looking for signs of good luck and I think all hunters are a bit superstitious. I have never had a sign of good luck so incredible. A brief shower came through and blew me away with what God left behind. Right where…and I mean right where the Bulls had been coming and going this summer was one of the most vibrant and electric rainbows I had ever seen. The rainbow touched ground exactly where the Bulls trail was. The Pot of Gold at the end of the Rainbow. Never had I hoped harder fairy tales came true. I never have seen such a thing in all my life and zillion of hours in the field. The night before the season…right where I was looking to see the Bull that would fill my dreams was one of the most amazing works of Gods hand. A Rainbow. Wow.....

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Nov-23-10, 
10:21 AM (MST)
48. "RE: Big Six"

The evening before was clear and cold and without any kind of light pollution from any cities making the stars look like diamonds tossed carelessly across a Universe of black velvet. I could hear a few elk mews and sounds of a content herd over the ridge. A little too early to be hearing any serious bugling…but as if on cue a hoarse half bugle let all know who was King of the Hill. I was hoping they did'nt come any closer and had camped above a rocky ridge to keep the Elk in the lower basins. I felt confident the buffer was enough

I always pack my daypack and get my gear ready the night before as not to have to do much in the morning but heat water for coffee, eat a peanut butter bagel and protein drink.

As always a restless night of sleep usually ends with the beep… beep… beep of my small alarm just when I have actually fallen into a deep sleep. The haze of the night was broken by a bugle over the ridge. It had to be them. I quietly got ready slowing pulling open the tents zipper flap. I had left all my gear where I could get it on and ready in the dark without a light. No reason to risk light. I stood near the tent sipping my coffee feeling its warm buzz. I was getting a feeling for the wind and what it might do. The winds are notoriously shifty in the high basins and these early winds had me a bit worried. They were all over the place. I hoped they would settle with the coming dawn. I would have to try and get around my scent and it would take longer to get where I wanted to go so I needed to leave. It would be a lightless hike with just enough ambient glow from the stars and a small sliver of moon.

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Nov-27-10, 
07:00 PM (MST)
49. "RE: Big Six"

LAST EDITED ON Nov-27-10 AT 09:50 PM (MST)

I was able to drop down below where the elk should be working my way quietly through the broken timber and tumbled rocks. The wind was still troubling. I was hoping for the thermals to calm down with the cold morning air being chased back into the shadows below the sunrise line and the warmth of the coming day. I was in position and looking hard for any hints of the elk. Yet still too dark to see anything but shadows of false hope. The had to be there and if they did what they had been doing for the past two days, and the wind made up its mind…I might have a chance. I was not hearing anything except the hiss of the shifting wind in the pines. I found myself cursing the wind through clenched teeth.

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Nov-29-10, 
01:44 PM (MST)
50. "Houdini Herd"

The wind continued with its wicked ways, yet I was still well down the hill from where I thought the elk would be waiting. The sun was bringing the day to life and the wind was sort of drifting down hill for the most part. I waited until the sun was well up and the herd never showed. It was one of those mysteries that happen sometime in hunting. They were surrounded by very steep and rocky mountains and there was only one game trail out and I should easily have seen them if they went that way. They had just disappeared. I had no explanation for it. I really don’t think it was the wind…the distance was too far and these elk had been acting like farm animals all summer long getting fat on green grass so their alert meter was not pegged out. Oh well. The season was only a morning long. Lots of time left…. So much for well laid plans. But damn….

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Dec-02-10, 
10:28 AM (MST)
51. "RE: Houdini Herd"

*NOTE* I know Archery Elk is long done. But I am back overseas (in a place that ends with “stan” and you see it on the news everyday and things go boom) and have to get it in here and there. Internet access can be dicey and I don’t want to just knock out a few paragraphs to wrap it up. Having too much fun with this….

Back to the hunt...

Well the weather was beautiful….for hiking in your shorts and snapshots.. The wind continued its fickle ways….I mean the High Rockies are known for unpredictable winds but these were really bad. For a bow hunter death.

I knew I just needed one chance and it could all turn on a dime. Waiting and glassing was really the only smart game to play. Diving down in the timber with those winds would be the kiss of death for this valley. Patience is huge part of bowhunting. In the next three days I mostly glassed and waited and saw a disappointing number of elk and Never saw Big Six again or any of his buddies Damn,….but as you elk hunters know that is elk hunting. The wind literally went 360 every few minutes or so. I waited three days for it to settle and it never did. Last morning I took a hunt down through the timber. Saw zero elk and little sign. Time to move.

There was a hanging basin on the far side of this valley and over the top. I figured I could access it best from the other side of the mountain it was on my way out that would be the perfect place for a herd to hide the season away. It is where the long steep rocky trail led out of this valley that I spoke of earlier. The basin might be an Elk filled honey-hole.


During the summer I had seen a herd of six bulls take that trail up and over. I had chuckled to myself when I had seen it. By the time they had gotten to the top all were slack jawed with a more than a few tongues hanging out. So sort of nice to know even the elk take a beating in these mountains now and again.

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Dec-05-10, 
06:30 PM (MST)
52. "RE: Houdini Herd"

LAST EDITED ON Dec-05-10 AT 07:32 PM (MST)

Something weird happened. When I was trying to figure out where to camp and get below the hanging basin I had to wander off trail through the woods to try and get my bearing through the tree and figure out how I was going to make my moonlight hike up the hill. I started see a scattering of trash. Keep in mind I was still many hour of tough trail from the trailhead parking lot.


It is not unusual to see a wrapper here or there but I started following the trash uphill and there was quite a bit. Many of the wrappers looked like the had been opened by bears (I was all too familiar with the looks of bears tearing up food stuffs as it greeted me at the trail head one year after coming out from the back country. A bear had broken in to the shell of my truck leaving several hundred dollars of freeze dried and foods stuffs a scattered mess, seemed to take one bite of everything….ba****d) I started seeing some of the packages that had been marked in some months in 1999. Hmmmmm I kept following it all and started seeing five gallon buckets that had been opened by bears and emptied. I found one bucket still intact. A treasure hunter at heart this was a major find…what would it be filled with???? I felt like a kid at Christmas. It was filled with fuel canisters, lighters, cord, hand sanitizers, spices, bandages, a water filter, candles, plastics bags etc. Not exactly bags of money and gems….but still neat.


I was sure I had come across the remains of a Y2K stash. I remember when it happened and the paranoia surrounding it. I spent the next hour looking for a mark on a tree, a pile of rocks, some sort of marker because bears are not interested in Guns, Gold and Knifes. But no luck. I took some of the usuable stuff and wished I had more room to try and bring out some of the trash but I was full. I am going to try and fit in a scouting trip in that area next summer and load out some trash. Strange goings on in those woods

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Dec-07-10, 
08:37 AM (MST)
53. "Hanging Basin Stud"

I gave myself an hours a change to make the almost straight uphill climb. I was going light to move quickly. I made it in about 45 minutes and there was still about 45 more until daylight. I had brought changes of a light pullover to get out of my sweaty hiking shirt and had a light jacket. The wind was blowing and it was friggin cold on that exposed ridge where I had to sit to see down in the basin. I was just short of busting out the space blanket but opted to go into a fetal position and shiver. The sun came up ever so slowly. I was glassing hard. There a moving rack.... Whoa…the biggest muley I had ever laid eyes on. He was 500 yards away but a HUGE clean four point. He had a four point buddy with some stickers that the Big Guy made look like a dinky two point. I mean he was a real hoss. It was a perfect remote fortress of stone and distance and the hanging basin could easily be over looked. A prefect place for an old buck to grown knarly.

But it was elk I was after and not a tawny hide to be found. There really was no place for elk to be in the basin and it appeared to be a wash. Back down…pack camp and time to move about 50 miles away to one of my favorite places. Bull Basins #1, #2, #3

Some amazing things have happened in thos basins....and I was eager to get back where I had taken my first Bow Bull years back

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Dec-09-10, 
10:13 AM (MST)
54. "Back to Bull Basins"

Back on the trail again. I have been hunting these basins for decades and it was like visiting an old friend. It was where I had taken my first bull elk with a bow and had seen a great seven point years back.


The wilderness area and steep distance usually finds me by myself. Only on occasion had I seen semi-fresh sign of humans over the years and only once a bow hunter. Fresh sign I say as there is evidence in many of the remote basins of the sheepherders that once lived their summer s the high valleys tending their sheep. I had spent many a day in these basins and knew them well. I had come oh so close several times here fulfilling my dream for a truly big bull.

The time I had been 20 yards away from a mud covered Stud following cows that needed to make one more step for a slam dunk 20 yard shot. He didn’t take that step. Last year when I chased a nice 330 bull for three days and he went left after I went right…and I went left and took another trail it was like chasing a ping pong ball with a nice rack. I remember the storm from hell that was biblical one year that pounded my Northface tent brutally for 12 hours with everything Mother Nature can throw at you had while I curled up warm in my down cocoon. I love a great storm.

As I mentioned my first Bow Bull was taken in these basins. I can still see it in my mind eye like it happened yesterday. Things like that are never forgotten or even become foggy with time. I can see the flight of the arrow and only the fletching showing as the bull bolted downhill. This was before I reaized the miracle of llammas for backcountry hunting.


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Dec-11-10, 
06:32 AM (MST)
55. "Back to Bull Basins"

Another Llamas trek up steep switchback and steep broken trails and sprawling hillsides of yellow, gold and red amber scrub. Fall had touched the high country and I was hoping the change might kick off the rut. .

I felt like I was back home. I knew these basins, as they say like the back of my hands. There was the red rock that the Big seven point had laid down at years back. Up until then the Biggest OTC elk I had ever seen. A real horse of an elk with a pickup truck fillin rack. So many memories in these high basins. It was good to be back.


The first evening had me glassing Basin #1. Hmmmm I could always count on seeing a dozen or so deer at least and at least a few elk. I saw one small two point deer. Not encouraging. But that happens sometimes and tomorrow is a new day.


Two days of watching and hunting Basin #1 made me think it had to have been hunted. I had never seen it so empty and never laid eyes on an elk and when I was on foot trails that were normally pounded with elk tracks they had a few prints here and there and nothing fresh. Then I found it. Fresh TP and human squat. Someone had been in there. With Google Earth and such I think more and more backcountry hidden spots are being found on a computer screen. I have heard the same from friends. I use the computer so not dissing anyone…but the game is changing.

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Dec-14-10, 
01:09 PM (MST)
56. "RE: Back to Bull Basins"

Time to look at Basin #2 and it was more liley that if Basin #1 was hunted #2 being further it might have been left alone and even might have all the elk from#1 who had been chased out. I knew it took 45 minutes to get to see find myself perched overlooking that basin to look for elk and craft a plan. I was up at 4:15 and that alarm seem to have a I always liked twilight hikes and except the most extreme darkness try and do it without a headlamp if it is across open ground.

On to basin number two. I saw a small four point bull in a full out panic run stopping a few times to look back over his shoulder for something that was trying to kill him diving deep into the timber. Never did see what was after him but my guess is it was an unseen bow hunter as the poison of wolves have not infect These basins…yet.


Over the next few days I heard a few scattered bugles and was able to get a glimpse of a herd with a medium six moving through the timber well down and out of the basin just minutes after sunrise. This hot weather was running the elk to the cool timber early and was being a problem. I was running out of time and had to drop off the llamas. I had one more honey hole spot that had been a gem over the years.

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Dec-15-10, 
06:31 AM (MST)
57. "RE: Back to Bull Basins"

This spot is a hit and miss. I have seen it like a wasteland without a tweety bird to be seen and stinking full of elk. A bit of a crap shoot. One classic morning years past the hillside has at least 25 buglin bulls on it. It was insane and something that does not happen often in an OTC area from what I have seen.

This was a shorter trip in but still two hours up and down at 11,000 feet. I loaded myself down with gear and became a pack animal like in years past. None of the extra stuff that the llamas carried but still a load that made me grunt when I tried to get it up on my back. I could go get the llamas if I killed. But I would like to say I was looking at moving light and fast….but it felt more like a heavy slug away with one foot in front of another.

I was soon into Elk. First evening a steep cut near camp I saw about 60 head of elk scattered along the face of a hillside. There had a to be a big Bull in the group. He strolled in and no doubt who big daddy was. Trying to keep my load manageable I had left the spotting scope out but my Swaro 10x42’s told me all I needed to know. He had a great Sabre point and a solid and thick rack that would make any hunter proud. From then on this bull would be Sabre Bull The winds remained all over the place changing 360 ever few minutes or so and with all the eyes ears and noses it wasn’t gonna be easy. But then it never is.

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Dec-18-10, 
07:50 PM (MST)
58. "RE: Back to Bull Basins"

I was able to find them in the same basin two days in a row and the wind and scattered herd still making me wait. I was dying to dive down in the basin, but it wouldn’t have done anything but blow them out of the country. It was tough to watch them and not make a move. To be honest I wish I had a muzzleloader tag. It would be a different game for sure and I really wanted that bull.

But Sabre bull was not the only bull on the mountain. One night I lay in my tent and listened to a bull bugle up a small storm over and over as close to 40 yards away and never farther than 200 yards. The next morning he and I played tag. Like so many times in bow hunting he won the game and I was it. I was as close at 60 yards several times. He was a solid six point, nothing like Sabre Bull but a nice bull nonetheless and the best look I had at him was in a standoff at 70 yards while I tried to look small behind an even smaller pine tree and he busted me when I tried to nock an arrow.

I had been communicating with my longtime hunting buddy Ken who was hunting drainage with a muzzleloader tag. Ken and I had hunted together for 25 years. He was coming up empty in a remote basin that I had taken a muzzloader bull in 15 years ago. He was interested in the Sabre Bull for sure. The Sabre Bull was a real find in an OTC area. I had one more day and the wind and conditions had been terrible for two weeks.

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Dec-23-10, 
08:06 PM (MST)
59. "RE: Back to Bull Basins"

Last morning before I had to leave left me with one more shot at the Sabre Bull. The basin was close to camp. The pitch black night turned gray and the last dawn. Sabre Bull the girls and the normal bunch of horny hang around bulls were there but there really was no way to make it happen. The wind was worse that ever and the elk were heading to the timber spread across 300 yards in the early light. I was keeping Ken in mind. With close hunting buddies nobody is keeping score on who owes who. I would back off and let Ken know all I knew about the Sabre Bull. I likely would have rolled the dice a little more with those elk but if I thought I could get Ken on him so be it. Ken was borrowing my Thompson Center Triumph 50 cal. A small mountian gun with a big wallop to give it a try after having igniton problems with his kit gun a few times in the past.

That was it. I had cut it down to the last minute and I had to pack and go. I had run out of time. But there would be more to this story.

Ken had helped me get onto my number one trophy a 13 year old full Bighorn warrior years back. My favorite trophy of all time.

He had hunted the Sheep in that area taking good ram of his own. We were scouting together and he had actually been on the other side of the ridge and spotted my Ram the night before the season started. I likely wouldn’t have found that ram or even have tried to draw the area it lived in without Ken.

Ken and I discussed the Sabre Bull in detail. Ken had to come out of his basin for two days of work and I emailed him pictures of the basin. We discussed on the phone how the elk moved in and out of it, trails, wind, etc. He had the info now he was on his own.

Two days after leaving and getting ready for my three month contract and 25 hour flight I got a 7:00 am missed call from Ken on my cell. I just knew he had got him. No message….but there would be no reason for him to call me and use precious cell battery unless something big had happened. I was able to contact him a few hours later and the phone was cutting in and out…but the message was clear, between whoops he told he had gotten the Sabre Bull with a 92 yard shot. Wow.

I had a rush of mixed feelings. I wouldn’t have told Ken the details of the bull and played it safer than I normally would if I didn’t want him to connect…..but damn I ripped out my heart and soul for a long time for a bull like that. Of course I was happy for him. It was something to wrap my hands around the bull’s antlers just a few days ago now that I am back my contract over. Not how I pictured it. I could still see him standing on that ridge in the mist head thrown back ripping a hoarse Bugle letting all know who was King of the alpine valleys. I had played over and over in my mind sending a fatal arrow his way. The countless hours scouting...shooting... tuning equiptment...day dreaming.

It had been a great year from the heights of the Rockies to the Wild Wind of Wyoming. It was a year I would never forget

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