The Year I've Been Waiting For - 2020

SoloHNTR

Member
Messages
30
Hunting plays an important role in my life. I don't have many friends or family that want to hunt the way I do, so most the time I go it solo, hence my handle. One of my favorite things, is to come back and share my adventures with my kids. partly to relive my own adventures, but mostly in the hopes that one day they will end up enjoying the very same things I do.

So far, this strategy is working miracles as my kids love everything outdoors and are dying for the day they are old enough for their own big hunt.

For my oldest Cooper (10 years old), that day has finally come!!

Cooper has a good Idaho Elk tag in his pocket and is so excited.

This thread will be my way of sharing my sons full first big game hunt experience.
 

SoloHNTR

Member
Messages
30
Step 1: Hunter Safety

Cooper couldn't wait to hunt and pretty much forced us to let him get it when he was 8. We told him he would have to do it on his own so we could make sure he really knew his stuff.

He did it all! He watched all of the online videos and passed every quiz without help. Since Idaho won't let you get your hunter safety until 9 we went to Utah where he had his field day, he passed his shooting and passed his written exam with a score of 86.

To say I was proud of him is an understatement

This is Cooper shooting at field day
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He's official!
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SoloHNTR

Member
Messages
30
Step 2: Get a tag

We planned all year on my boy getting a youth mule deer tag. The unit we put in for had about 90% draw odds. We thought it was a sure thing. So much so that beginning in April we were already in the unit scouting putting in some trail cams and learning the road systems.

The day results were posted was a sad day for Cooper as he found out he was one of the unlucky 10%.

However my Wife drew a good elk tag and not being a die hard hunter and knowing the disappointment cooper felt she decided to sign her tag over to him.

This was a surprise for his birthday. He was speechless, his eyes full of tears he just ran to her and gave her the biggest hug.

This is a good unit for elk, but tough for a little guy. He knows this and is just excited for the chance and is determined to give it his best effort.
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SoloHNTR

Member
Messages
30
Step 3: Scout

Last weekend I took my 8 and 10 year old scouting. This unit is tough for little legs like theirs, but my boys are so tough. In two days of hiking and backpacking we covered 15 miles with around 3,500 ft of gain. This was 100% off trail. The only trails we used the whole time were game trails when lucky enough to come across them.

My wife thinks this is borderline child abuse, but my boys want this as much as I do. during the entire weekend they didn't complain one time. at 5:15 am if they here my alarm they shoot up asking if it is time. If I were to ever sleep in they would be so mad at me.

This trip was full of adventure too:
We found Elk,
A rattlesnake shed,
A dead head,
5 point shed,
wild raspberries,
Had many bear encounters (We spotted 5 bears from camp #2)
I made them test their stalking skills on a herd of cow elk
did some night hiking with headlamps
Hiked to lakes with no names
found pretty big mountain toads

To say the least my boys were in little boy heaven.

My boys hiking some steep country
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Glassing
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First Bull of the trip
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Elk Rub
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Wild Raspberries
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close bear encounter
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my boys stalking into about 60 yards
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relaxing before dinner
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Retrieving a trail cam
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Unnamed lake #1
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SoloHNTR

Member
Messages
30
I had time for a solo overnight trip to glass the night and morning in a basin I’d been wanting to get to. Pretty hard to access. Might be too far for coop. I guess it’ll depend on weather. He probably can make it if there isn’t much snow on the ground.

I didn’t see any bulls but I saw cows pretty much every where I put my Bino’s, 80+ in total. I’m hoping this means the bulls will move In as they start getting girl crazy.
I’ve been told this is a poor deer area but I really just think they are higher then people are looking as I saw 10 bucks, 4 shooters (for me). I only could get picks of two though and forgot the phone Skope so quality is lacking.

As a bonus I saw 2 Mt. Goats as well which is always fun.

Few sun bathing cows
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smallest of the shooter bucks
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Hard to see but he was a pretty good buck. Narrow but tall and good forks.
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SoloHNTR

Member
Messages
30
And finally the post I’ve been waiting for all year.

He did it!!!!

To say I’m proud would be a huge understatement.

We’ve been planning this hunt for months and I was feeling a lot of pressure. Not necessarily to harvest an animal. Cooper knows hunting and gets that you don’t always win. The pressure I really felt was to be able to give him a great experience and help him understand why I love hunting so much.

since it was my wife who signed her tag to Cooper we all wanted her to be right there for the whole experience.

Cooper and Michelle are so tough. The experience I really wanted to give cooper was a backpack, backcountry adventure. This was going to be tough for a grown man, little lone a 10 year old and his mom. Luckily, I’m married to the toughest girl ever and we’ve raised one of the toughest kids around.

Cooper packed in camp, made all the hikes. Even the ones at 5:30am and 11 pm. He literally didn’t complain one single time.

All the hard work paid off this time. Cooper scored on an absolute awesome bull!

I may have ruined him for life😬

But more then the bull, the best part for me was his face after a perfect shot. In this moment I knew he felt the same connection I feel to hunting. It was so special to be right there to share that with him.

I am one lucky Dad and husband

A 6x7 at 10! What have I done.
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That face! That’s after a perfect shot. After sitting up he said “im shaking so bad my teeth are chattering”
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priceless
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SoloHNTR

Member
Messages
30
Man I have a good little hunter on my hands.
To end his season, Cooper finished with his first ever Buck. With all of his sports I only had him for two days. This time his brother Easton (8), me and my dad were able to back pack in Thursday night. Friday afternoon after putting this buck to bed, Cooper and I made a super fun stalk. We set up 200 yards above him in some cliffs and waited for him to come out. At about 2:30 he stood up to feed and gave coop a perfect shot. Coop was calm and made another one shot.
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