Friday, August 14, 2015

And so it ends...

That is, my 2015 archery elk season, but if I am honest with myself, all signs lead that way throughout the year anyway. A lot has happened to myself personally and to my family over the course of 8 months. Friendships dismissed, family members lost and a knee injury that is plaguing my father.

We ventured up to Oregon with a little bit of hope, which was quickly overshadowed by the reality of the situation. It's just my father and I, and if one of us is not healthy, an elk hunt will simply not happen and that was the case for this season. On top of that, the area we scouted in Oregon, vegetation wise, was not what I expected. I can see why there are elk there, and that's also a good reason why there aren't many hunters there either, but it would be a challenge to hunt and an extremely physically demanding challenge at that... One that would tax your body day in and day out. No big deal, if you're ready for it. I felt like I was... To summarize the scouting trip, we saw elk, we saw some amazing country, saw some big bucks... and that's about it.

On the way home from the trip, my father called my mother to inform her that his knee was not holding up and that we were coming home from the trip early. I got a good laugh out of the fact that my mom gave my pops a good old school lecture about taking care of his body, and I also learned throughout the conversation that my mom was not doing so well emotionally. See, this whole summer my mother has been taking care of her father, my grandpa... She's been by his side as he is losing a fight to cancer. Right now, it's only a matter of time, which there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of it available... My mom was supposed to go on this elk trip with us, but within the last couple weeks said she couldn't go, because she needed to be home with grandpa.

Elk season, for many reasons... just wasn't meant to be.

The bright side, as if there is one, is I'll get to focus my efforts on hunting in California... and I'll get to write about it as well.


Friday, August 7, 2015

And so it begins...

It's 11:42 pm... We are headed North and we just passed an "Antelope" road sign. It's dark out, with an occasional instance of brightness from someone, headed somewhere, we are not. I am eating wasabi peas, while listening to the Corb Lund Pandora Channel... We've been on the road for over 5 hours now and it is my father's turn to take the wheel. 

Essentially, we are on our way to find out if all of my hard work over the past several months will pay off or not. If I could sum up our efforts in regards to archery elk hunting, I'd say it much like the song I am listening to, "I'm a losin' lately gambler, but that's not all I have ever been. Cuttin' back your losses is just another way to win." To elaborate on that thought, our destination for elk this season is Oregon, a state that has defeated us twice, but not entirely. We've cut our teeth here, we've got close and we have learned a great deal from hunting in The West and East. So back to Corb, I cut my losses with over the counter elk tags in Idaho and decided earlier this year, that my father and I will focus on Oregon. It's our closest opportunity to hunt OTC, and I know the quality of the hunt can be just as good as Idaho, at half to quarter of the distance.  I want a place we can call our own, I want to know that all the maps I have researched feverishly, all of the biologists that I have harassed recently, that this knowledge gained... Will pay off. I want my father and I to taste a victory, that we can own wholly. This is what hunting means to me in a large way... A responsibility of education. It's a lot about pride, but with even more humility and reverence to what I feel hunting is all about... 

This season will make us better, no matter of the ghosts that shadow our efforts. Our sights are set on the future, and I have to believe in optimism. 

2015, a new journey begins.