It seems like I always conclude a season of hunting with introspection and thoughts of how I could have done better…followed up by oaths sworn to prepare better and train harder for “next year”. And time, with it’s ever exasperating way, reminds us that “hey, your time has come!”….and before we know it…yes, you guessed it…there is no more time left to be had. And as our years progress, time has an even more infuriating way of speeding things up faster, still. “Life” takes a hold and ratchets it’s self in and plans that we’ve made, would like to make…or have ever thought of making, seem to never fall into place as they should. This is the story of my life!
I’ve been on the hunt for a lighter weight boot to wear during the early seasons and may have just found the solution: the new Danner Gila. I’ve always been a fan of Danner boots, but until recently their designs were pretty limited and hadn’t offered anything along these lines. Last year I decided that I needed a lightweight and nimble boot, that was a bit “cooler” on the feet. Most full grain leather boots, regardless of being uninsulated or not, end up baking my feet during the warmer months. I’ve always shied away from boots that utilized mesh, or “synthetic” uppers and wondered if they would have enough support for technical terrain and be able to withstand the abuse that their full-leather counterparts can.
It’s getting close to hunting season and we were looking to boost awareness of the facebook page, so we figured…why not give away some gear?!
We have been lifetime fans of Cold Steel Knives and have tremendously enjoyed working with them over the past few years. I’ve carried a Cold Steel knife in my pocket, strapped to my belt and in my backpack for as long as I can remember. One of their models that I am very partial to, is their Pendleton Hunter. So, that’s what we are giving away! All you have to do to be entered, is “Like” our facebook page, “Like” the post that’s pinned to the top and tag a friend on the post. That’s it, plain and simple! Once the page reaches 1,500 hundred “Likes”, we will be giving the Pendelton Hunter away. Oh, but wait….we will be giving away a couple more Cold Steel knives in the meantime. So stay tuned to the facebook page for opportunities to win.
Thank you for the support and have a great season Everyone!
For some reason Will Greer’s line to Robert Redford in “Jeremiah Johnson” springs to mind, when I think of this past opening weekend’s bivy hunt. “You can’t cheat the mountain Pilgrim. Mountain’s got it’s own ways”. It seems just spot-on appropriate.
I began scouting the higher elevations just as soon as the snow receded enough to give me access and quickly found an area that held plenty of promise and had me excited. Towards the end of July, I began climbing higher and higher up the mountain and was surprised to find plenty of Elk, Mule Deer and Bear sign. The sight of a small Elk herd lolling in an Alpine bowl one afternoon, had my hopes high and fantasies of chasing bugling bulls above the tree line brimmed in my heart.
Every year I look forward to new adventures and new challenges; but I often find myself living inside my comfort zone. Nothing irks me more than living vicariously through other’s achievements or feeling inspired by what someone else has overcome; only to sit idly by…wistfully.
According to Newton’s first law of motion; it’s the natural tendency of objects to resist changes in their state of motion. And when overcoming the inertia of our routine seems too difficult, or impossible; what do we do? We have to mix it up, we have to push forward…and push hard.
I started off this year with my heart and mind committed that I would make this season better than the last and in doing so; I would need to mix it up and step outside of my comfort zone a bit. I needed a goal that deviated from the same old “scout more, shoot my more bow more, train more” gibberish that everyone mutters at the start of each year. To do this I had to think bigger and commit to something that would be difficult…and why not announce it to everyone, while also reaching out for sponsors, for some added accountability?
As soon as I heard of this “premier adventure race for bowhunters” called the Train To Hunt Challenge, AKA the”Search For The Fittest Bowhunter In The West”…I immediatly made up my mind that I was in. It was announced late last year and with snow still covering the ground; I went into training mode full-bore. Since I had been hunting more and more with my Recurve and had every intention of starting the season with it in hand…I had to ask myself; why wouldn’t I compete with anything other than what I would be using in the mountains? This would put me at a disadvantage; as far as being competitive goes…but this was more of a competition with myself, more than anything else. The course had been set and no alterations would be made…at least that’s what I thought.
With every workout; I felt my strength and endurance growing and with that, my confidence in my stickbow shooting grew as well. A moment dawned upon me; could I possibly do this? Could I possibly stand a chance of going beyond just competing…when the dust settled, could I actually be standing tall as the victor? At that point is when things went horribly off course.
The first setback came in the form of a concussion sustained from having an ax handle and my own fist being driven into my face. This happened while clearing a road into an area where my hunting partner had drawn a spring bear tag. I was very fortunate that I walked away with only a concussion, a broken tooth and a slightly mangled right hand. But this would set my training back an entire month and I was almost devastated.
Even though I couldn’t exercise much beyond a short, light walk during the time my brain was healing from my concussion; it was only a couple of weeks before my hand healed enough to allow me to shoot my bow again. I was ecstatic about this and began to shoot my bow daily from that point on.
Before long I was back into the swing of things and almost to the fitness level as I was before my accident…and then the second set back occurred. After spending a week with my wife on the island of Kauai; I returned and promptly tore my hamstring…only three weeks before the competition. It almost seemed that I just wasn’t supposed to reach my goals this year and that I just wasn’t supposed to be competing in any “bowhunter specific adventure race”. I wanted to scream out loud my frustration; but still was determined to be at the competition and do what I could. A week later found me in a treestand and waiting on a bear that never showed it’s self; but I had the privilege of packing out my Nephew’s first Black Bear instead. Somehow my hamstring kept it’s self together, as I lugged the 6′ 3″, 300 lb bear out of the woods. My nephew’s grin and enthusiasm matched the size of the bear that he had pin-wheeled…and that was more than enough for me.
The morning of the competition had my hamstring feeling a little tender and the butterflies in my stomach had me feeling very anxious. I gave it everything that I had and ended up finishing dead last in my division. Even though the competitive side in me wasn’t happy with my performance that day; deep down a warm feeling of satisfaction welled within me. Sometimes just being able to stay the course and finish; means more than the end result.
A quick note to thank some key people who provided some crucial help that enabled me to compete in this event.
I want to first thank Tim Endsley, of Bad Medicine Archery for his endless generosity. Without him, I truly would not have been able to even enter the competition!
I would like to thank the folks from Alaska Bowhunting Supply and Grizzly Stik arrows; for providing me with the absolute, hands-down, best arrow shafts that I’ve ever had the privilege to shoot. Grizzly Stiks “fly like darts and hit like a Mack truck!”
Also; I would like to thank South cox, of Stalker Stickbows for building the finest, custom recurve that I’ve ever laid hands to. My Wolverine FXT definitely delivers the goods!
Last but not least; a huge thanks to my best friend and hunting partner Darin, for running with me and documenting the event. I can’t wait to put all of his footage together!