Her First Hunt

Our daughter was born on July 2nd , 2007. As some of you are already thinking, or at least I was, “how in the world am I going to be able to put the scouting time in that I need to during July and early August?” Luckily, I never skipped a beat and spent the needed time in the woods that summer to make me feel confident going into opening weekend.

Opening day finally rolled around and the morning found me making my way through one of my favorite canyons. Unfortunately, this canyon offers zero visibility so I pretty much purely hunt off sound, sign and prior scouting. The canyon was full of sign but for one reason or another I didn’t find myself in the middle of elk that morning. I decided to hurry home and see how my new little girl was doing. Being a month old now, life was full of surprises for us being this was our first child.

That afternoon, Sara wanted to go out with me. I never pass up that opportunity, but now with a new addition I wasn’t quite sure how it would go! Anyway, I decided on a spot, a short hike that would tell me where I needed to be in the morning and at the same time making it possible to have a little family time. We made the mile hike in behind a ‘blocked off’ road. I told Sara just to hang tight with Brook and I would do a little calling down into this nasty canyon basically to make sure the elk weren’t there so I didn’t waste time in the morning.

I sent a couple cow calls into the canyon and immediately had three bulls respond. Now this isn’t what I was expecting, but pretty obvious why I didn’t get into elk on my morning hunt. Knowing a one month old is about as predictable as the Oregon coast wind, I told Sara, “I don’t care what you have to do, please keep her Quiet!” I slipped over the ridge to break up my outline and create a new focus location for whichever bull decided to bite. Finding a good shooting lane by Oregon coast standards (3 ft hole I could shoot 30 yards into) I simply broke a few branches and chose not to call. Didn’t take long and I could see bit’s and pieces of antler nearing my shooting lane. Coming to full draw, I could see his tops and knew it was a decent 6×6 I would be happy shooting. Next step, he walks right into my shooting lane and doesn’t stop for my call? I let down and give a couple more very soft calls. Perfect, now I see antlers coming back through the salmon berries right where he walked into. I was thinking, he’s going to give me anther crack at him. Back to full draw, already anchored, “Eeeeooo”, whack!!

Something didn’t look right to me as the bull spun and took off. Sara heard the shot, and now Brook was full of milk (clever move), we met on the dirt road and decided it would be best to take Brook home and I would come back after giving that bull a little time to start the pack out.

After getting a few of my buddies to help pack, we headed back up to begin the fun stuff. However, I couldn’t pin point what didn’t look right to me after the shot? After taking up the blood trail, a quick recovery was made not 50 yds from where I hit the bull. Now the mystery was solved! Apparently, the nicer bull didn’t give me a second crack at him Rather, a different bull was making his way to the commotion and I didn’t shoot the bull I thought I was shooting. Oh well, Brook’s first outing was a good trip that our family will remember forever…