Sunday, September 22, 2013

Bulls, Blues and Babies

Nine miles per hour over the speed limit. 

That's what my Dad always preached.  He was referring to driving on the highways to avoid getting that dreaded speeding ticket.  Well, I've received a few of those tickets over the years but it's been a while since that piece of yellow carbon paper sat in my glove box until the due date.  

But it's these days as a new father, a business owner and an avid sportsmen that it seems that life is starting to cruse by way over the speed limit of life.  Living hard and playing hard is what I have always have known.  Forty hour work weeks are considered part time in my family but there are life events that always seem to put our hectic lives in slow motion.  

A few months back I contacted an old friend through Facebook to see if he was interested in joining me on a fall muzzle loader elk hunt.  It's been years since I've last seen this friend but I thought he we be game for a hard DIY elk hunt.  We never hunted together in the past but I wasn't worried about that.  This friend lives and breathes hunting like I do.   Emails and texts were exchanged to organize the tags, the gear lists and what to expect while we were out afield.  And before we knew it I was picking him up at the airport.  

The hunt started out with a brief scouting trip the day before the opener.  Some fresh sign was noticed but what got our blood flowing was when we saw a mature bull elk getting up from a bed within 100 yards of our path.  There is nothing like getting close to what brought you to that 10,000 ft mountain than seeing the game you are in pursuit of.  A restless night of sleep was in store as we confirmed the excitement of the impeding hunt. 

The opener brought some more sign and a few animals moved as we crept through the rain soaked dark timber.  The second day started out with some instant action as we had a huge animal, most likely an elk, move from the willow brush in front of us as the day light moved in.  We took it slow not wanting to ruin any potential action with any over aggressive moves.  

As day light glistened off the grass meadows our ascent up a ridge was interrupted with an elk bugle that was close.  A bugle was returned from my call and a few more exchanges brought a massive animal within 65 yards of our location.  I'll spare the readers the details of the shot but the 6x6 bull elk was down within 3 minutes from when he first bugled. 

6x6 Bull Elk
A few photos and congratulations were exchanged but the hard work started as we had to pack the elk out back to camp.  
Heavy Pack

By 4pm the last pack hit the tail gate of the truck.  We then raced the meat down to processor as the next days temperature wasn't great for aging meat.  Another quick pursuit was in store for the next day but we quickly decided that any elk taken would defiantly but us in a bind as our time on the mountain was running out.
Billy & Mia

Our attention turned to grouse as my older pup Mia was brought up to our hunting area by a a few friends and family that were grouse hunting.  The first bird flushed only minutes as we casted Mia off in the broken timber.  Before we knew it we quickly had three birds in hand.  And it seemed the remainder of our limit happened just as fast as we headed back to camp to celebrate the days take. 



Max Ramiro Ortiz

 Our last morning in the mountains brought smiles to our faces and I read a text: "It's a boy!" It was a text from my brother to inform the world that his son Max Ramiro Ortiz entered this world early that morning.  With all that happened in the previous 3 days this was a fitting end to a hunt that I will soon not forget.  It seems you need a lot of things happen in a few days’ time to make life slow down so you can enjoy it.

til next time...
  

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