At the beginning of Sept. I skipped town once again and headed for no mans land middle Oregon for an Elk hunting trip in which I never had to carry my own bow. I wasn’t hunting on this trip, but rather there to hang out with great people and offer a few of my extraordinary talents to the hunting party.
Whats that? You would like to know what my extraordinary talents are? Well, for one thing, I have undisputed super hearing abilities, a real talent for hearing Bull Elk bugling from a distance when no one else can. Second, I was in charge of cow calling any potential Bulls at a perfect broadside distance from Snowball. And lastly, I brought along my dazzling photography and video skills to catch all the action. (Shhh, I know! They musta missed all the entries here where I bemoan the entire photography gig)
Elk were aplenty from day one and remained so until an arrow went flying from Snowballs bow next to the last day of our schedule trip. Not a day went by that we didn’t hear and engage with Bulls that were all tuned up and singing their distinctive bugles.
We had great weather, we had rainy weather. We learned quickly is that if you take 1 part Oregon clay dirt and mix in 1 skiff of rain you end up with hiking and driving conditions that make for an interesting afternoon.
There’s nothing like hiking 20 steps and building up a 5 lb adobe brick on each boot to work out the old ass muscles. An additional bonus to the adobe boot bricks was with a swift outward karate chop type kick, one could potentially release said brick from boot sending it flying through the air to knock out Slayer who always walked in front of Snowball and I.
Snowball and I thought it was hilarious fun, Slayer…not so much. Occasional boot brick fights broke out, but when it was all said and done, no one suffered a special blend of Oregon mud concussion.
Slayer was the official Bull caller who sported his Outdoor Dick “Don’t be a Rut Jockey” sweatshirt the whole trip. Without a doubt he has a special talent for it. Not a day went by that he didn’t summon up several bulls that were in a randy mood for us to chase around. Snowball and I simply had to set up and wait for the festivities to stampede towards us.
I know the guys didn’t appreciate them as much as I did, but I happened to get the biggest kick out of the satellite bulls —spikes and raghorns– Several times we would be inside the kitchen of a Big Bull, bugles screaming, a tough stand off happening and suddenly a stampede of 3 or so bachelor Bulls would come racing around the ridge like they just crashed their first keg with the promise of loose ladies in attendance. Careless, wild-eyed, and vibrating with excitement. Then they would wind us and all the fun would be over in their loud exit.
Snowball, Slayer and I were lucky hunters in that each night we would come off the mountain and return to Elk camp to the smells of a big dinner. We had our very own Camp Mama spoiling us rotten each day, filling our stomachs with good eats and generally making sure no one keeled over on the hillside from starvation. You can only live for so long on Snicker bars and Diet Coke…so I’m told.
A piece of advice to all who read this. Everyone should have their own Camp Mama on all adventures. It brightens the whole trip!
We did take one afternoon away from chasing elk around the mountain and visited a smallish trout pond with Fly Rods in hand. A 10 incher was a real trophy and for fish that can’t possibly get much pressure, the little guys gave us a run for our money. We figured it would be easy pickins and it wasn’t, but we certainly caught a fair amount of beautiful little trout before it was time to climb back up the mountain. Maybe they were dissing us because we still had our hunting camo on…
As I spent my days in the midst of archery nirvana, I couldn’t help but compare the many similarities between fly fishing and archery. To catch the big fish or to pursue the big bulls, conditions have to be pretty optimal and both situations leave little room for error. A bad presentation, whether a fly on the water or the angle an elk comes in can make or break the whole deal.
A good example of that scenario is this snippet video I took on the trip. As always, forgive the bad photography…or in this case, video quality. A steady hand when I’m crawling around on the ground is hard to come by. But, when the video really counted, I held steady. This Bull should have stopped, broadside, when I first called, but of course, he didn’t!
Thank you Slayer for putting this little piece together for me to share.