Attitude is Everything

By Quentin Jones
Nevada, 2010, DIY, Public Land
Attitude Is EverythingMay/June 2011 EBJ (Issue 65) - 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.

Before the season began I had a goal. It wasn’t to kill a record-book bull, although I was hopeful. My goal was to enjoy the hunt and keep a positive attitude. I shot thousands of arrows during the summer and got in better shape. I scouted with Justin and Jeramie. All that was left to do now was go hunt and keep that positive attitude. It would turn out to be easier said than done. Most of the first week was spent sitting in a tree stand on a spring dubbed “9800” due to its elevation. It was hard to keep a positive attitude up at 9800. It can be sheer torture holding still for hours and waiting, especially when it’s cold - and it was definitely that. And last, I had hoped to get a shot by calling a bull in. I was determined to stick it out though. My odds were better sitting water until the bulls started rutting harder.

After hiking to 9800 a few times, I decided it would be better to just stay on the mountain. The hike in was a grind to keep going up and down, so I loaded up a sleeping bag, food and water, with a plan to stay up there for four nights. After two nights, my friend Ryan would meet me halfway to restock on water and food.

It was tough, with limited elk action, but I made it all four nights. After the sun would go down at night, I would head over to the tree I was sleeping under and call Justin or Ryan and let them know if I could stand it another night. They would tell me about the bulls they had seen and that made it even tougher, since I had only seen a couple of spikes and one small five-point. After those four nights, I was sure I would never sit water again.

Ryan had taken a week off from work and headed home, and because we hadn’t found the two big bulls we had seen scouting, we decided to relocate to another spot we had scouted. I was a little unsure, but tried to keep a positive attitude.

I arrived Sunday afternoon with some friends for company. As soon as we got there we set up camp and split up to try and locate some bulls. In just ten minutes we had a couple of really nice bulls spotted fairly close together. I was able to get within 70 yards of a big 7x7, but one of his cows had me pegged and wasn’t going to let me get any closer.

This was the fourth time I had been close to a good bull, but for one reason or another I couldn’t get a clean shot.

Jason Hornbacher

For a full account of Quentin's adventure, go to page 18 in the May/June 2011 issue of Eastmans' Bowhunting Journal.