Posts Tagged "national forest"

Hunting Bear: The Downside of DIY

Posted by on Jan 25, 2013 in Feature Articles | 0 comments

Gifford Pinchot National Forest

Gifford Pinchot National Forest

Every fall, one cannot help but find stories of elk camps, deer camps and duck camps in the shiny pages of hunting magazines all over the country. And for good reason. Sharing the excitement is part of the excitement itself. How does that old adage go? Sorrow shared is half the sorrow; joy shared is twice the joy. Never is that sentiment more in-your-face than in hunting camps everywhere. Our first organized bear camp, in the mountains of Washington in August of 2010, was no exception. Our party consisted of three guys. Two of us shot our bear on that trip. I did not.

Like most good friends and hunting companions, when we left camp after that long weekend, I was genuinely happy for my comrades. But just because I was happy for them didn’t mean I wasn’t disappointed. I am always disappointed when I am not successful…at anything. But I usually don’t flog myself or stop eating out of self-contempt; I just do what any other obsessed hunter would do: try again.

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The Redemption Bull: Elk Hunting in the National Forest

Posted by on Jan 16, 2013 in Feature Articles | 0 comments

View of Mt. Adams, Cascade Mountains, from near elk camp.

View of Mt. Adams, Cascade Mountains, from near elk camp.

Opening day of archery elk in western Washington, September 8, 2008, found me sneaking through the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in search of the wily wapiti. To be quite honest, it didn’t matter very much to me if my broadhead found its mark on the side of a world-class bull, or a small cow. Sure, most hunters have a yearning for a trophy in some capacity, but for me it was in part my goal to make up for some big mistakes I made the previous year in a close encounter with a cow. Quite simply, I was in search of redemption.

 I began my third year of bow hunting with new equipment, but most importantly, with new-found confidence.  I practiced in my back yard five days a week for months. I had numerous dress-rehearsals where I practiced in full camo. I practiced shooting from a blind, from behind trees, from under branches, kneeling, standing, sitting- you name it. As the season approached, I would practice with only one arrow, and sprint back and forth from the target to retrieve it in order to try to simulate the pounding of my heart in the excitement of the moment that I visualized a thousand times.  I wasn’t going to let another season slip by unsuccessfully on account of mistakes or ineptitude.

 At daylight, I began hunting the bottom of a big canyon where I had found elk on several occasions the year before. But this year there were no elk, no sign to get excited about, and the only bugling I heard came from a lazy hunter that I heard drive up to the edge of the forest around 8:30 in the morning.

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