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May/Jun 2011 Issue of EBJ

In Memory by Steve Speck

In Memory

Steve Speck

May/June 2011 EBJ (Issue 65) - This isn’t going to be a typical beginning for a hunting story. Sitting down to write this I had a lot of options on how to begin - for example, right before I released my arrow I had a 343 bull standing at seven yards. I had worked tirelessly all year to be ready for elk season by competing in mountain bike races, shooting my bow, scouting new country, and investing in camera gear so we could film our backcountry hunts. None of those seemed appropriate. What truly shaped not only my elk season, but also the rest of my life, happened late in July. It’s an experience more compelling, more lifechanging than the hunt of a lifetime. As I held my fiancée in my arm, tears were streaming down her face. I wasn’t sure what had happened in the phone call with her mother, but I could feel the immense pain she was suffering from.

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Teamwork and the Learning Curve by Jason Hornbacher

Teamwork and the Learning Curve

Jason Hornbacher

North Dakota mule deer hunting is a relatively new adventure for me. Greg Busch, an avid big game hunter and friend, offered me a little advice last year when I asked him about bowhunting mule deer. His advice was simple - get some maps, look for a large block of public land with limited road access, strap on a backpack, and spend time covering ground. I took his advice and started covering ground…and covering ground and covering ground. I know the learning is in the struggle and man was I learning!

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Attitude is Everything by Quentin Jones

Attitude is Everything

Quentin Jones

I was watching a huge non-typical elk through my spotting scope, a mile away on the other side of a deep canyon. I didn’t stare at his massive rack; I was looking at his vitals - the place my arrow would hit. It was 3 p.m. and I felt sure I was going to get a shot at this bull before the sun crept behind the mountain. There was no way that I could know this; it was just positive thinking, and it would soon pay off.

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Shine In The Sage by Craig Mitchell

Shine In The Sage

Craig Mitchell

We spent 15-hour days behind the glass, to the point that when I went to sleep at night, all I saw was sage. Very few deer were seen even after much hiking, hundreds of miles of shale roads driven, and running from spring to spring only to find many of the drainages dry from a long summer. The several flat tires we dealt with and a clay washout that proved to be narrower than predicted slowed our momentum in the vast landscape. Every morning, it became more difficult to get up and morale became lower as hours of glassing turned up nothing but jackrabbits, sage grouse, and sunburn. But the promise of shining white antlers fresh out of velvet in the sage was enough to keep me going. Extreme heat in the desert atmosphere drove the deer out of view and heat waves made glassing the barren hillsides seem as if finding a buck would be nothing but a mirage.

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Looking For  A Do Over by Dave Rich

Looking For A Do Over

Dave Rich

The alarm sounded, but I was already awake. Rain had stopped pounding my tent, anticipation of the hunt had won out over sleep again, and I hurriedly stuffed my pack with enough food and water to hunt all day. Midday still-hunting can be very effective during the rut, with bulls cruising the timber looking for a new opportunity to pick up a hot cow. It was the third morning of a nineday, solo backcountry elk hunt and all was well. That was until a little twinge in my back began to grow rapidly. I was scared; I knew this pain - I had experienced a kidney stone four months earlier. In a panic, I quickly pounded down some food and Ibuprofen, but it was too late. Within minutes I was rolling around outside my tent in the darkness and wet grass throwing up due to the pain.

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Wide Open Spaces by Patrick Halde

Wide Open Spaces

Patrick Halde

Due to the fact that Dad didn’t like venison, I was never able to pursue big game. That all changed when I was finally able to convince him to get me a bow in January of 2010. Like any good hunter, I went out several different times during the summer, scouting different areas and finding several nice bucks that I would be more than happy to shoot. The terrain I would be hunting was wide open - CRP grasslands, sagebrush, and native grasslands. Trees are basically nonexistent.

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Heavy Duty by Douglas Dreher

Heavy Duty

Douglas Dreher

The flat terrain made it tough to see; I needed to get elevated - and quickly - before he got out of sight. Luckily, the giant pine that he had bedded under for over six hours had massive limbs that reached down and touched the ground. I quickly ran for the tree and began to climb. At 25 feet in the air, I finally had a good view. I found a stable seat in the limbs and started glassing. Some quick glassing revealed that he had bedded under the next closest pine, 175 yards away.

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Road Trip by Chad Wildin

Road Trip

Chad Wildin

These were some of the first caribou I’d ever seen, let alone hunted. The two bulls trotted by at 50 yards as I tracked them at full draw, waiting for a shot. Having never hunted caribou before, I had no idea how to stop them. Luckily, my brother realized the situation and deer grunted from his position behind me. Both bulls stopped in their tracks, offering a broadside shot. The months of practice were about to pay off as I settled my 50-yard pin behind the shoulder of the lead bull. I knew the shot was good the instant I released the arrow…

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Hardcore Field Test

Hoyt Carbon Element & Matrix by Darin Cooper

Hoyt Carbon Element & Matrix

Over the past 18 months, I’ve had the pleasure of abusing both of Hoyt’s flagship Carbon bows - the Carbon Matrix and the Carbon Element. Both are lightweight, rock-solid performers. From its unveiling, the Carbon Matrix was a showstopper – a bow unlike anything ever produced before. The radically different appearance invoked a polarity of reactions, but the overwhelming majority thought it was just flat-out cool! Walking into a pro shop with one is a bit like walking through the door with a supermodel - you quickly are the envy of nearly every guy around.

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