Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Elk and Deer Hunt **Warning--long post**

Ok, so we've been back from hunting/camping for a few days, but I haven't had the time or the energy to blog about it yet. We had a ton of fun. And we were really stinky and dirty when we came home, tee hee. I don't think anyone could have enjoyed a shower more than me at that moment. I was just in awe of the hot water. Our water heater in the trailer doesn't work, so it seemed like a luxury when I came home. I did get desperate one day and hung my hair over the shower to wash it in ice cold water with dish soap. Hello---that'll wake you up in a hurry.
As I mentioned before, Shane drew out for a limited entry bull elk tag in the Strawberry hunting unit this year, and Garrett's very first muzzleloader deer hunt was the following week. I am happy to report that they both harvested their animals.
It couldn't have been a more perfect vacation. Shane waited 14 long years to draw out for that tag, and he waited 12 long years to watch our only son harvest his first animal. And, it just so happens that he gets 3 weeks vacation this year instead of the usual 2 because it is his 15th year with the company. He was in seventh heaven.
I have to say--Shane worked his tail off for his elk. He must have put 50 miles on his legs hiking around trying to get one to step out. On the first day of his hunt, he could here a huge bull very near him bugling, but it wouldn't come out of it's hiding place. I think if it had, he may have been shaking to bad to shoot it anyway, lol. Then he almost got trampled by an entire herd of cow elk. But, for the first five days of the hunt, he didn't see one worth shooting. I think he only actually saw one bull, and it was a spike. He was getting severely discouraged.
I could tell he wanted to give up, so we had a good talk on Wednesday night before we went to sleep. I'd heard him say something about God punishing him for being a bad person, and that upset me a bit. I don't go to church, and I can't quote bible verses or anything. I'm not what you would really call a religious person. But, I take offense when people start to blame God for things. And, Shane is a really good person. I know that he may have done things he regrets in his life, but he has asked for forgiveness with a true heart, and I believe he will be forgiven for any transgressions. God helps those who help themselves.
I won't get into embarrasing mushy details, but I basically said that I felt that he just needed to have faith and keep trying. I told him I didn't think that God would "punish" him or try to kill his dreams and that I really had a feeling it would happen soon.
Well, the next morning, Shane's dad told him that he just felt that today was the day---and it was! Best of all--Garrett was with him when he got it.
They were watching a herd of cows feeding in a clearing that evening, and I guess the cows wandered a little to far away from their bull. Because, he came running out looking like he meant business. Shane just started blazing away at it. Garrett was throwing shells at him left and right, and he just kept shooting until it went down. He didn't want it to fall back down the hill because it would have been harder to get it out. I think he shot 7 times and hit it 4 out of the 7.
Well, he shot it right before dusk, and he didn't want to leave it there for someone to steal, so he came back to camp to get help. We (Shane, Garrett, and I) loaded up the wheelers and headed up after it. We got back to the elk around 9:00 pm and started to try to pull it out. It wasn't going anywhere in one piece--even with a wench hooked to it--so we gutted it and cut it in half. We spent about 2 hours hauling the front half up to the wheeler, only to realize that there is no way we could even lift half of it onto a wheeler with just us three. We gave up around midnight and left it there.
Shane and I went down the canyon to make a couple phone calls asking for help--at 1:00 in the morning. We called my dad, and he said he wouldn't be able to get there until after 10:00 am at the earliest. We went down to Shane's cousin, Tracy's, camp and asked her husband for help. He said he could probably help, but he had another elk to go get first thing in the am.
So, basically Shane and Garrett ended up going back up first thing in the morning on Friday and quartering it out by themselves. They had just finished hauling it when Tracy's husband (Terry) showed up with horses. Lousy timing, but his heart was in the right place.
Shane didn't get the monster that he always dreamed of, but he got a good size animal. It is a symetrical 5X5 with good mass and width to it. It'll make a nice mount. Oh damn--where the H in my house will we put it? Another battle for another day.
After Shane's hunt was done and we had gone to town for showers (oh ya--and to get the elk to the butcher and the taxidermist), we moved camp from Strawberry to Tabiona on Saturday afternoon. We had 3 days before the deer hunt started, so we did a little fishing. Wow--the fish that came out of that reservoir were amazing. Especially considering that the water is so low. We couldn't keep a line in the water! We only kept what Shane and Garrett planned on eating, and we released the rest.
Wednesday was the first day of Garrett's deer hunt. Well, all the men were hunting, but no one planned on shooting anything but a trophy except Garrett. Grandpa Terry (Scott) spotted two deer for him on opening morning. He says he thought one was a 4-point, but he motioned for Garrett to get out of the truck and come out to where he was standing. Garrett promptly obeyed--and left his gun in the truck. LOL--he didn't know he had deer spotted. That makes me laugh. Total inexperience showing through. He went back and got his gun, but it was too late. They ended up coming back to camp early that morning because grandpa was tired.
The next day, Thursday (exactly one day after Shane shot his elk), Garrett went on the morning hunt with Shane. Almost as soon as it was light they had deer to shoot at. Shane says Garrett had bucks everywhere. All small ones, but still, that is pretty lucky. He shot at a couple and missed.
Then they stopped to look at this one herd with a 2-point in it. They didn't want to rev the truck, so they slowly creeped up on it. That dumb deer started running right at the truck! Garrett got out and shot, but he missed. We think it's because he only has open sights on his gun. So, Shane capped his gun and handed it out to Garrett. Garrett shot, and he hit the deer right in the hind quarters.
Shane knew he hit it, but it wasn't a good enough hit to keep him down. And, if they tried to track it, it would just have them chasing it for hours. So, he got G back in the truck and drove up to try to get radio contact with the grandpas. About a half hour later, he finally got in contact with them, and they booked it up to help track the deer.
They were all looking for it, and it jumped right up in front of G and Shane. Scared the shit out both of them. They both shot and missed it. Grandpa Terry shot and missed. Grandpa Neal shot, and we're pretty sure he hit it once. Grandpa Neal walked right past it once before they finally found it laying there in pain.
Garrett had shot about 8 times by then, and hit it twice. He ended up having to shoot it in the head to put it out of it's misery.
He's pretty proud of his first deer--it's bigger than a few of his dad's first.

I didn't intend for this post to be so long, but I've decided that I can use my posts for a sort of journal to look back on so that the details don't get fuzzy. Anyway, here are some pics. Most of the people who read my blog are on facebook, so I posted all of the pics on there.

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