|Zach Owens, Mike Marshall, and Spenser Owens with Mike's 2012 rifle buck|
I want to share a little about my hunt today, and a few success photos from viewers of our site.
|Camping: a bike race on kids bikes? Why not!|
Day 2: Indescribable! My morning started out with more of the same. We loaded the kids up and went for a little ride. Nothing. Towards the end of the ride we finally jumped a fair buck, which the kids were encouraging me to shoot! Trying to get an angle, the buck split! But hey, day 2 and a good buck, things are looking up!
|What could have been!|
So, I decided to head out for an afternoon hike where the big typical 4 point had been on the previous hunt. Starting into the aspen stand it was only minutes before I was seeing over turned leaves from a few deer I was pushing. The crunchy leaves were impossible to sneak through, and I had my doubts! I moved out of aspen, and into adjacent mixed conifer, where I was able to ease along much more quietly. Approaching small clearings, I heard the tell-tale sound, that "thump, thump" of a deer bounding. Holding up, I could see movement beyond the 1/4 acre clearing. They had to be bucks.
|Porter Evans with his 2012 rifle buck. What a toad!|
I shuffled another shell and approached the kill site cautiously. Nothing. He wasn't laying where he should be. No blood, just nothing! But I had knocked him right off of his feet. Surely he was close. I located where he had jumped up and joined the other 2 bucks. He was running strong, no signs of distress in his pattern. Over big white aspen logs for 1/2 mile and not a drop of blood or a glimpse. Finally, I heard them bounding off again. This buck didn't seemed to be hurt at all. What had I done?
I have not missed a buck in years. At this point, I felt everything from anger, despair, to a feeling of just wanting to cry. There went my perfect chance at a trophy. Chances like that don't come along every day during a general hunt.
Day 3, Out for Redemption! After a rough night of replaying my nightmare from the previous day, I had finally raised my spirits, and rediscovered determination and optimism. We loaded the kids and headed for another ride. Daylight greeted us with two-2 points crossing the road. A glimpse up the hill and there he was, a nice 24" 4 point. This one is mine! I jumped out, found him broadside at 150 yards, and fired. My off-hand shot had missed. Another shot on the run, missed again. The buck was gone over the ridge. What was going on? I missed! Again? I picked up a small rock at 100 yards and fired, shattering the rock. Oh, it wasn't the gun by any means, it was me. The feeling was one of total despair and depression. What was I doing? I never miss!
And on to the End: I spent the next few days trying to deal with anger and frustration, trying to stay optimistic as the emails and texts of big bucks flooded my inbox. I had blown 2 chances, I'm sure I won't have another shot at a big one. Back to the the yearly ritual of shooting "Bambi". The next 2 days were rough. With the storm approaching I was sure I would see a lot more deer. I had another big buck coming in perfectly, only to have my excitement spoiled by someone out on a horse ride for fun. They booed up the 28" 3 X 4, I never had a chance. Hunting in cold wind, rain, and snow I was seeing little.
Oh, The Lessons Learned! I always look back on my hunts, jotting down some memories, and making plans for next year. As I look back as always, I obviously did not hit my goal this year. Was the deer hunt a failure? Oh, by no means! I'm 31, I've been hunting big game for over 15 years, you would think a guy hunting for that long would have it all put together. My friends, there is always something to learn! I heard so many veteran hunters say that deer didn't move as they normally do this year. There are so many cards at play with hunting, there is always something to learn or improve on! For me, remaining positive and finding little things to continue on will help me immensely in the future. I learned a lot about getting around in dry conditions where it is hard to sneak. I found that it's not just about the chase, I have missed out on so many little things hunting the past few years as I have become to "serious". I've learned not to rush things, be calm, go through the motions, don't shoot too early, hunts can get better as time goes on. If I had held out 2 more days, deer again started moving and a lot of big bucks hit the ground, some in my favorite areas.
I don't care who you are, or how much homework you do, I am convinced that the game species and mother nature always have the upper hand. That's why it is so important to hone skills, and to not be afraid to try new things when it comes to hunting. A great deal of luck is associated with getting the big one, but honing skills will improve odds. Money doesn't accomplish everything! Great gear enhances the hunt, but if you don't get out there and use it, your money is doing nothing for you.
|Mat and Randy Houston's bucks packed up for the trip home|
Thanks to good friends and good times throughout the hunting season! The memories are awesome! I look forward to next year, and many more next years down the road!
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