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The System - Cameron Hanes
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The System

The System

In honor of the recently concluded elk season I thought I’d refer back on a successful backcountry hunt from a couple years prior. This season marked one of the first I utilized a bivy sack/sleeping bag combo to hunt the rugged backcountry. Staying mobile and camping wherever I happened to end up for the day made a huge difference. During previous elk season’s I would travel back and forth from base camp, wearing myself out and burning valuable hunting time. The finally I developed, “The System.”

Putting The System to the Test

My backcountry Oregon elk hunt paints a pretty clear picture of how proficient a guy can be in a wilderness setting when there is mental focus and a sound hunting scheme. Opening day in prime elk country and the season looked to start out with a bang as I rolled out of my bivy sack and immediately glassed up a nice 300 class Pope & Young 6 x 6 in the company of four cows and a spike, approximately a half mile away and directly across the head of the drainage from me.

Within about 45 minutes, I was standing under one of the landmarks I had chosen to guide me on the stalk. From the base of the white, broken topped tree, I strained to see into the shroud of darkened timber that the bull had slipped into. Bringing my binoculars up, I was about to begin picking apart the shadows for a tine or flicker of movement when I heard an elk rise to its feet. I could see the shape of the motionless bull on my edge of the timber patch, unfortunately he was still completely obscured by the low hanging limbs of his timbered fortress. My mind raced, trying to calculate both his and my next move. As if on cue he stepped clear and offered me a 43-yard quartering away shot. Quickly but with precision, I snuck a perfectly placed arrow between the bull’s ribs and into his lungs.

After the shot, I hit the cow call a few times to try and relax both him and his small herd. With an arrow nocked, out of habit I suppose, I sat down and replayed the shot and the bull’s reaction in my head a thousand times, while staring blankly at the tip of my broadhead.

After a short wait I went to recover my trophy. The blood trail told the story of a mortally wounded bull hit by a razor sharp broadhead. I knew that it would be a short tracking even before I saw my bull lying in his last bed, a short 100 yards from where he stood when I shot.

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