So far this season has been a crazy one. Opening weekend we went up camping and was able to take all of our kids. It was a good time.
I got up real early and headed down to a new spot that I felt good about. Two years previous I had traversed into this area and had bumped a large group of mature bucks. So I wanted to drop in and see what I was able to see. As I dropped in it was barely light enough for me to see where I was going not much more than that. I got down about mid mountain and heard a stick break. Slowly as my vision adjusted I was able to see a large group of bucks 50 yards down the hill from me. As the sun came up I was able to see them better 14 good size bucks and a couple does. They were all together in a large group of trees and I was unable to get a shot from that position. I sat there for what seemed like forever (probably 20 min) waiting for one of them to come into the open. All of a sudden a large 4 point made the move but I quickly found out that the brush was too high I could only see his head. Then he turned and went back into the trees. Something below spooked the does and then took off running and the bucks followed. Major bummer right? Well I found a better spot more open not to far away and set up. I soon had this doe come in and for 30 min she circled around me no more than 5 yards away.
Shortly after she took off I had two nice 4 points come 40 yards down the hill from me. One stepped into a great shooting lane so I pulled back and took my shot. I didn’t have time to range him and had estimated that he was at 50 yards. My shot was high and my arrow cracked into a tree. The two bucks didn’t spook they were just looking around trying to figure out what that noise was. The buck I shot at dropped down the hill a little further and out of range. But the other buck was standing much closer at around 35 yards. So I knocked a new arrow and pulled back he turned broadside and I placed the pin right were I needed it and released. I was watching my arrow and it was headed right to the sweet spot when all of a sudden he turned and did this bronc kick towards me and I hear this loud crack sound just like before when I hit the tree. I was in shock did he really just jump my arrow? I watched him as he walked away and he seemed fine in fact the other buck joined up with him and they started walking up the hill. Bummed out I went down to find my arrows.
So just a quick shout out to my PSE Evo and Grimm Reaper Broadheads. I found my first arrow and it was stuck in a 4 inch tree right smack in the middle and the tip of my broadhead was sticking out the other side. I was unable to find my second arrow. After a ton of searching I actually found some blood I tracked it up the hill to the ridge and the blood stopped and I was unable to find anymore. My brother and dad came and we searched all afternoon and nothing was found. I think as he jumped that I ended up hitting him in the brisket as the blood we found was not too one side or the other but small drops in the middle of the trail. I was bummed about it but after a good nights sleep and replaying it over and over in my mind I didn’t feel I had fatally hit him.
I ended back up in the same area later that week for an evening hunt. I was actually up scouting for Elk. My wife got the new PSE Stiletto for Christmas and this was going to be her first year hunting. I was hoping to get the lock on some cow elk because we were going up there that weekend to hunt. So I was sitting and cow calling on the hill when all of a sudden I see antlers moving through the trees and this real nice 4 point starts walking 40 yards below me. I was able to get a clear lane as he stopped and fed broadside slightly quartered away. I ranged him and then pulled back put the pin where it needed to be and released. I watched my arrow drive right through him. He took off into these thick pines and I heard a loud crash and started my celebration dance I was sure he was down just in those pines. I sat down and checked the time and decided to give him 45 minutes and eat some dinner.
After 45 minutes I went down to were I hit him. He didn’t start bleeding real quick so I followed the trail into the pines and started seeing blood. Unfortunately he wasn’t in the pines like I thought and made his way down the trail blood was spraying out both sides of the trail. I had hit him on the right side and about 20 yards on the trail found the back half of my arrow on the left side of the trail soaked in blood. The blood trail was pretty easy to follow it pretty much traversed the hill. Then it started to traverse uphill more. I ended up in a clearing and looked up and there were two bucks standing in it looking at me. Neither of them were bleeding and they took off running. The crazy part is the blood trail headed straight up to where they were and I found this.
I was sure I was going to find him soon. The blood trail shot straight up the hill towards a clump of thick pines and I was sure he was going to be down in them. I get up to the pines and find large clumps of clotted blood covered in dirt and pine needles and then the blood trail stopped. I was in shock up to this point it was easy to follow plenty of blood and then it just stopped. We searched with out headlamps well into the morning and nothing. I spent the night on the hill and then was back at it in the morning and ended up finding two drops of blood and did several circles in the direction he was headed and could never find him I was so disappointed and confused to what happened. I appeared as if he had laid down and something bumped him into the trees above and then further up the hill. I was beside myself because I really felt it was a solid hit and the blood indicated that as well. Too be honest I’m not sure what we could have done differently. I hate to be the one that fatally injured an animal and not be able to recover it.
Ok I have a couple of shout outs. I was able to try some new products this year that I loved. This year I tried the Core4Element clothing line. This stuff was amazing. They are using the new mothwing camo pattern and it worked perfect for the area I was hunting. The pants and jacket are lightweight but efficient. Everything from the suspenders, removable knee pads, and zipper vents was so well thought out. I highly recommend this product. My family likes to joke about how I go through clothes trying different ones. You name it I have had it. Until this year I though Sitka had the best out there but Core4Element has them beat. Its a far superior product.
OK one more. This year I was asked by Slay products to try their scent elimination products.
As you can see from the pictures of the doe and my experience I had no problem getting close to the game this year. This stuff is amazing. On top of the performance was the design of the spray bottles. The one thing I am tired of with scent spray products is the spray bottle is either spraying too much or not enough. And then they clog all the time. Slay has a spray bottle that actually mists out the product for a real nice consistent even spray I loved it. The kit came with a larger bottle (12 oz) and then a smaller (4 oz) The bigger bottle was great for an initial spray at camp before heading down the hill and the smaller one was perfect for the hunting pack. This year a bunch of us went back packing for Elk in the high Uintahs. I took the Slay kit along with us minus the laundry soap since they I knew we wouldn’t have a washing machine. When backpacking you have to limit the weight of what you take with you. So that means only one set of hunting clothes. We were up there for 6 days. Let me just say that by day 4 my wife and I’s socks were not smelling so great. We sprayed them down the the Slay spray as we went to bed. The next morning I put my nose right up on them and nothing they were ready good to go. On day three of the hunt my brother in law and I grabbed the Body wash and Shampoo and headed to the creek for a bath. It was great I loved the product it washed real well and rinsed without a soapy residue. On top of being clean and smelling clean. Later that night my wife made the comment of how soft my hair felt an added bonus. I highly recommend this product it works and not only does it work they spared no expense on the bottles. And to top it off the whole kit retails for $31.00 so not too bad. I need to mention that before the season started I washed all of my clothes with the laundry detergent and it worked great.
Well happy trails to those of you that are just getting into your seasons. I hope that they are filled with memories that will last a life time. I hope that in the next few months that I will be able to report some better success. Still need to get an Elk in my freezer.