Southeastern Idaho Dream Hunt
Southeastern Idaho Dream Hunt
September 8, 2010
After that long anticipated wait we finally arrive at our hunting location in Southeastern Idaho. The place is more beautiful than we had imagined. If you imagined the dream hunt location of a lifetime, this is it. If we are not successful on the mule deer the remainder of the hunt, it has already been more that anyone can wish for.
The trip started off with a lot of difficulty. It seemed that everything that could go wrong did go wrong, but I am a firm believer that everything happens for a purpose. God has a reason for everything and since the beginning he has proven his reasons. God has richly blessed us with a family experience that left us with memories we will never forget, and we will never repeat.
We arrived at our destination on Wednesday afternoon, got in some quick practice just to make sure the Z7, and Passion had made the trip fine, and then prepared for an evening hunt. Our guide Billy, his brother Danny, and their Mom and Dad, Glenna and Lynn are a great family and wonderful people. Their devotion to their guests is phenomenal. Billy had prepared ground blinds for the evening hunts near watering holes that would accommodate all of us, so even my wife could experience our daughter taking her first elk and making her first kill with her new Matthews Passion.
We arrived at the ground blind around 1745 and got settled in. Billy started hitting the cow call trying to call in that trophy bull. After a short wait, Billy started bugling, to see if we could get an answer.
It wasn’t long before that big boy was talking back. Billy kept bugling, and he kept answering. Suddenly he appeared through the aspens looking for a fight. He came to within about 60 yards off to our right raking his horns in the ground, shaking his head, raking the bushes, throwing grass in the air, and continued to do this repeatedly. Suddenly these actions stopped and this monster just laid down. We are in an excellent downwind position about 25 yards from a watering hole. Now this just became a waiting game, and we could only hope Mother Nature continued to be on our side.
After about 20 minutes this beautiful monster decides to get up. Instead of going toward the watering hole as we expect, he starts walking straight toward the ground blind. The ground blind is shadowed by some aspens and underbrush leaving only a couple openings to place a shot directly in front. We had strategically placed the cover in front of us to mask our figures from the oncoming elk, and placed the watering hole slightly to the right. However, now the path this trophy was taking put him in front of the heaviest cover, leaving only very small shot lanes that would be difficult for a well-seasoned professional. As he continued walking the closer he came. When he got behind the Aspen, Angelica drew back that deadly Matthews Passion, but he decided to hold up just behind the aspen, leaving her at full draw for what seemed like a full 10 minutes. When he stepped in the very narrow clearing he was exactly 8 yards on the range finder. (I guess this is a good time to say that the shortest sight pin on her bow is 20 yards and anything less she is guessing, and since she has owned her bow less than a month she has never made a shot less than 20 yards.) With me trying to coach her and her trying to judge how far low to pull she lets the arrow fly. The arrow goes low just under the girth clipping the skin. The bull flinches slightly and then steps up the hill about 10 yards looking back, not knowing what happened or even knowing we are there. Billy started hitting the Hoochie Mama Cow call to get his attention. Angelica was outstanding; she did not panic, but immediately knocked another arrow. Even though the bull had moved up the hill about 10 yards, he is still within 10 yards of us. Angelica again brings the Matthews Passion to full draw and lets go. This one is in the boiler room. This is a true Matthewâs moment, and it was then I truly understood what the company means by this slogan. Being able to have a family experience with such an incredible animal, in such a beautiful part of Godâs country is an unforgettable experience and a true blessing.
September 9, 2010
Thursday morning we headed out to try for my trophy by spot and stalk. As we headed into the back country we spotted a couple smaller bulls but decided to pass. As we continued we spotted a shooter feeding on some choke cherry bushes around 0745. We make a plan for the stalk. Billy and Angelica were going to walk up on the hillside at long distance to draw the elkâs attention. This would allow me to slip within shooting range of this monster. I waited until Billy and Angelica got in place, and Billy hit the cow call a couple times drawing the elkâs attention. Keeping the bulls head behind the trees from me I began the stalk. The closer I came to this monster the louder I could hear my heart beat. Once I got within what I felt was shooting range, I put the range finder on this trophy. From where I was he was 35 yards but I had to get the trees from between me and him to get off the shot. I looked around and quickly picked the spot from where I would shoot judging that at that point I would be exactly 30 yards. Moving to the side in the opening for the shot this 7×6 monster pegged me. I immediately froze not to startle him, because where he was in the choke cherry bushes, I could not get an arrow through the cover to the kill zone. Now weary he turned away and started to leave, turning broadside and stopping momentarily. As he turned I came to full draw on that Matthews Z7 and locked in, and then as he paused slightly before making that initial leap, I let that carbon express arrow fly. Contact, the arrow hit home just behind the left shoulder. As the monster moved I heard a loud pop that let me know the arrow was in the flesh somewhere behind the shoulder and broke with that first leap. I watched closely as this guy moves to the top of the hill and appears to stop.
We decided we would wait at the point of the shot to give him time to give up. This is the hardest thing a hunter has ever done, but one of the most important. After about 30 minutes we started up the hill following the blood trail. When we got to the top of the hill where the monster appeared to stop, there he was still standing with his nose on the ground, hurting badly, but not yet expired. As I tried to move around to put another arrow in him I was having a difficult time finding an open path through the tall under brush. During this short time his adrenalin kicked in, and believe me these big boys are tough. To add another degree of difficulty to the hunt, just as he begins to slowly move down the hill, the rain begins to come down like it is pouring out of buckets, making it impossible to follow a blood trail. The chase is on, and we are determined we are not going to leave an animal of this magnitude injured. To add to the difficulty my cell phone gets wet so Billy and I no longer have communication. Billy does a tremendous job of staying just about 100 yards behind this trophy for about 2 hours, all the time Angelica and I are trying to get in front and intercept him for another shot.
Suddenly we hear a vehicle coming up the logging road near where we are. Billy had called in his brother Danny for some added help to relocate me and Angelica to an interception point, since Billy and I no longer had communication. Billy and Danny knowing the area well knew just where to lead us to arrange for the second shot. We positioned ourselves behind cover and it was only a matter of seconds before this dream trophy showed his rack in the skyline across the top of the hill. Definitely injured and moving very slowly he worked his way down the hill staying close to the tree line. Danny was keeping me informed on the distance with range finder and with only his head in the clear he was at 50 yards. Danny was talking to me continuously trying to build my confidence for this last chance long shot.
As he stepped through the very narrow shot lane, once again I pulled back on that smooth draw of that Matthews Z7 and locked in for the long shot. Knowing this was the final straw on ending this chase I had to be dead on with aim and concentration. (We all want to get out of this cold rain and out of these wet clothes too.) Releasing the arrow, I immediately heard Danny say âMoney Shotâ. Still watching through the sights I saw the arrow slam into the flesh within 4â of the fletching, right through the heart area. With the broad head coming out the opposite side of the bull, both sides were squirting blood. The celebration was on, and we found my southeastern Idaho trophy about 100 yards away. Again, this is a true Matthewsâs moment, and a super incredible hunt of a lifetime.
After field dressing, skinning, and capping, Angelica’s Bull had a Boone and Crocket score of 361, and my bull had a B&C score of 402. For at least 10 years now every opportunity we could capture we have made a family experience of a western hunt. These are our fondest memories and the ones we talk about most often. This one will be the fondest of all the hunts so far, and I am sure the most talked about. Two consecutive days, two Mathews Moments, and two incredible trophies.
This hunt is incredibly special as it had been planned for quite some time, and even though I got the alarming news just a few weeks before that I had prostate cancer, I just put that behind me until I enjoyed this special time with my family. Our family had looked forward to this moment for such a long time I could not put myself in front of my family. The hunt was very special in another way as it was a very big surprise to our daughter. For some time she had been ragging us about a significant amount of money we had spent on other entertainment options. After careful consideration I decided there was time to concentrate on the proper treatment option after these special memories were carved in our minds.
Shortly after Christmas that year additional devastation hit our family that confirmed I made the right decision to continue with the planned hunt. My wife and I received a call with some news of our daughter that left us wondering if we would ever see her alive again. Thanks to God we are still enjoying our wonderful family relationship today.
Whenever there is that opportunity to take advantage of spending some time with the family in God’s wonderful Outdoors on a hunt with such a wonderful weapon as the Mathews bow, my advice is DON’T LET ANYTHING STAND IN YOUR WAY.
Note: Angelica’s Bow was a Matthews Passion