Bowhunting 2010 — The Best of Times, The Worst of Times
Bowhunting 2010: The Best of Times, The Worst of Times
I am sorry for the time that has lapsed since my last post here….I hope the following helps explain.
July 26th – I finished the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run in 22 hours and 41 minutes, earning my first WS100 “100 Miles-One Day” silver belt buckle for completing the race in under 24 hours. Earning my WS silver buckle, the most coveted award in the ultramarathoning world, and truthfully my sports “Gold Medal”, was, and is, my greatest personal athletic achievement but also a bittersweet time in my life.
On the drive down to where the race started in Squaw Valley, California I talked to my dad on the phone and he didn’t sound good. He’d been battling cancer for quite some time and I knew in my heart he was nearing the end of his fight. I thought about him a lot during the run and took some solace in knowing he was following my progress live on the www.ws100.com website.
What running Western States proved to me is that I could achieve all my mountain bowhunting dreams. I convinced myself that if I could run 100 miles through the Sierra Nevada Mountains with 41,000 feet of total elevation change, in over 90 degree heat, while battling mental and physical fatigue and despair, in less than one day, I could do just about anything. I’d put in the work, now it was time to reap the rewards.
July 5th – My dad died at age 62. He was the only true hero I’ve ever had.
July 23rd — I wrote my dad’s memorial speech and received a special musical tribute from Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys who’s music was powerful medicine to my dad. Brian is a musical genius and Grammy award winner…he sang a message to play at my dad’s service. Click on link above to hear it.
July 24th – Dad’s memorial service.
August 1st – Hunted the Nevada wilderness for 8 brutally tough days and saw 20 deer total. One of the least productive hunts I’ve ever been on. Luckily, I had a good partner/cameraman, Jody Cyr, who was tough as nails.
I’ll admit, leaving for this hunt was not easy for me so soon after losing my dad. Ideally, when leaving for a tough hunt, a guy wants everything in order, to be focused on the challenging task at hand, having a heighted sense of things. Such was not the case. Regardless….bowhunting is what I do, it’s who I am, so I loaded up my pack and gave it everything I had. It wasn’t enough.
August 28th – As many who have followed along on my bowhunting exploits know, bowhunting trophy blacktail is a long time passion of mine. To learn more about my “First Love” check out this post from last November –
This season, I was going to have two days to hunt Oregon blacktail before beginning on a month long elk hunting adventure that would take me from Wyoming, to Colorado, back here to Oregon, then up to British Columbia. I made the most of this time by arrowing a big blacktail buck as long time hunting buddy, Chad Montgomery filmed. This buck is my 12th Pope & Young class Columbian blacktail…11 from Oregon and one from California. It is always nice to get that first tag of the year notched as with bowhunting, doing so is never guaranteed. Time to hit the road.
Sept. 1st – First elk hunt of the year…Wyoming backcountry. It was early and the bulls were not heated up. I passed on 6 bulls within 30 yards…young bulls. Never had a shot at any trophies so went home without loosing an arrow. Did get some high quality footage captured by Adam Moffat, which I was thankful for. Look for this high octane compilation on www.underarmour.com. We had never hunted together before and for as difficult as this rugged country hunt was, he did stellar work.
Sept. 11th – Next up was Colorado, hunting the high country of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains for trophy bull elk. After three days of hunting I’d had a number of bulls in close, but nothing “perfect” for the camera. Adam again was with me and capturing some of the most incredible elk hunting footage I’ve ever seen. It was a magical time, but we weren’t there to just get close to bulls and record some neat video, we were there to arrow a big bull on film. I was feeling the pressure when finally we earned the chance we’d been waiting for. Just as the sun peaked through the clouds lighting up a secluded meadow, the old bull entered, closing to bow range.
As Adam caught all the action in high def, Justin Adkisson emitted timely, sweet sounding cow calls from 100 yards behind me. The big 6×6 made a grand entrance and while I had a broadside shot when he was at 40 yards, I knew Adam didn’t have a good angle with the camera so I knelt patiently in the shadows of the dark timber that surrounded the golden grassed meadow. He made his way to a wallow, directly in front of Adam who was off to my left, and as he worked the mud with his antlers I bounced the laser rangefinder off his hulking side…45 yards. I eased my bow back, pulled hard, picked a spot and gently fingered my release. My arrow arced before driving home on the quartering away bull, disappearing in his hide exactly where I was aiming. He bolted, but only made it about 15 yards before stopping. He was hurt. I quickly nocked up another arrow and sent it on its way hitting him perfect again. He ran about 20 yards, stopped and started to sway. I emerged from the shadows and nocked another arrow, then grabbed my rangefinder, but only got it half way up to my eye. I was going to hammer him again if need be, as I have bowhunted long enough to know that when you have an animal weakened you pounce, but it was clear he was done. In seconds he was down and it was all over. Me, Justin and Adam met at the fallen bull, grateful for his quick demise.
Sept. 18th – I’d been looking forward to this hunt for months. This week I’d be chasing monster Oregon Roosevelt bulls on the Coast Range. On this hunt, I was able to experience a bowhunting achievement that still has me shaking my head in disbelief. For a little background it might help to know I grew up hunting Roosevelt elk. A young spike bull was my very first bowhunting animal some 22 years ago. So, hunting this magnificent animal in the big timber of the Oregon Coast Range means more than words could ever describe. The long and short of my recent home state elk hunt is this….with the amazing calling of my friend Kevin Akers and the filming and elk knowledge of Jody Cyr, we teamed up to get what we believe is a top 20 P&Y Roosevelt of all-time. We are all Oregon boys and grew up hunting here which means the significance of a kill like this will be something each of us cherish forever. Both of these guys took vacation from their jobs to be there with me…just to be involved in what they hoped would be something monumental…and it was.
We green scored the heavy antlered 6-point at over 320 and given the P&Y minimum is 225 and the Boone & Crockett minimum is 290, there is little doubt this bull is a bowhunting pinnacle for me. We estimate this bull of a lifetime, the 8th straight 6×6 or better I’ve arrowed, walked the those dark timber patches at 1,200# live weight….he was a horse of a bull. A true Monarch of the Mountain to be sure.
While I released the arrow that brought this beast down, I don’t think it ever would have been possible without a great team, so Jody and Kevin thanks for hunting hard, staying positive and never giving up on our dream to arrow a monster on film.
And, special thanks to Ron Hofsess for allowing us access to what I think is the most amazing Roosevelt elk country in the world…sitting in the shadow of Avery Mountain. Ron and his wife were two of the nicest and most genuine people I’ve ever met…it is clear, Ron loves elk and the elk mountains of that Powers country as much as anyone in the world. For an incredible elk, deer, bear or turkey hunt, I’d recommend contacting Ron at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What a hunt. I feel like the luckiest guy in the world right now. If I never get a chance to hunt big Roosevelt in elk country as amazing as this again, that’s OK….I’ll cherish this one hunt for the rest of my life.
Look for footage from this hunt on RMEF’s Elk Chronicles which airs on Outdoor Channel.
Sept. 25th – Last up was British Columbia. It was awesomely, wild country and as a first timer hunting elk in B.C. I’ll say without hesitation I loved it and can’t wait to get back. Amazing place and on any given day a guy could see elk, moose, Rocky Mountain goats, Stone sheep, grizzly bear, black bear or wolves. In the end I did not arrow a bull…passed on some not perfect for the camera opportunities before ultimately making the trip home with elk tag in tact.
The thing that stands out most to me from all of this, was when flying home from British Columbia on my birthday, Oct. 2nd, I remember looking out the plan window after checking my phone messages. I had a few voicemails and texts wishing me a good b-day but all I could think about was that for the first time ever in my life my dad wouldn’t be calling, or giving me a hug, telling me he loved me and to have a have a happy birthday.
I know others have lost loved ones and at some point, everyone is going to lose their dad. I am not unique in that regard. That being said, to me, my dad dying is the worst heartache I’ve ever felt. Honoring him is what gives me strength when I am at my weakest. And, I needed that strength this season…a few times stand out…no elk in Wyoming, no breaks for awhile in Colorado, through the pouring rain and tough hunting in Oregon and the long way from home, week after week on the road missing my family grind while in B.C. Dad, your courage to fight as long as you did inspires me every day. I miss you.
While I still have a few deer hunts left, for me, September is the pinnacle, because as a western bowhunter, that is when it all goes down. So, on the heels of an amazing month of hunting, while it could have went better it also could have went a whole lot worse. I am thankful for those heavy packs and the sore back that give the incredible mountain experiences I lived in 2010…realism.
In that regard I want to thank my bowhunting friends and family for all their love and support during this time. In this time of reflection I feel so grateful I found the sport of bowhunting as it has made me the person I am and lastly, I want to thank the doubters out there for motivating me to prove you wrong.
Keep pushing fellas….conceive, believe, bleed and achieve. Cam